Seven sat on the couch, elbows resting on her knees, hands cradling her head, as Raffi gently rubbed a hand slowly up and down her back. The tears had stopped some time ago. Now, she simply felt drained. Raffi had stayed with her throughout the whole 'episode', holding her, softly talking whilst her body gradually stopped shaking, as the adrenaline wore off.
"How we doin there honey?" she asked. She watched as Seven slowly wiped her hands over her face as if to wipe away the evenings' event. She felt Raffi's warm hand make its way down her spine to come to rest at the small of her back.
Breathing out a feeble attempt at a laugh Seven turned her face slightly towards Raffi: "I'm ok, hah, I feel like someone hit me in the chest with a phaser". She closed her eyes and inhaled deeply. Resting her chin on her shoulder, she opened her eyes and slowly raised her gaze to regard Raffi for a moment.
"Thank you…." she whispered.
"For what?" Raffi asked, her voice warm and soft in Seven's ears.
"For being here…." Seven's eyes darting off to the wall, then back to the comforting brown ones of the woman beside her.
Raffi flashed one of her wide smiles which Seven had grown to adore, "C'mere" she said as she gently guided Seven back to rest against the back of the sofa they sat on and propped her head up against her arm.
"I know what your answer's probably gonna be, but … wanna talk about it honey?"
Seven pondered her options for a moment, unsure whether she could verbalise what had caused her to break down like that. She had rarely experienced anything like it and it unsettled her greatly. Yet there was something about Raffi. From their first meeting on board La Sirena she had felt drawn to her. Maybe it was their similar age, maybe their pasts had caused some subconscious bond. She was unsure, but she knew that with Raffi there was little pretence. What was the phrase she had heard - 'what you get is what you see?'"
Almost as though Raffi was reading her thoughts she reached to tuck a rogue lock of hair behind Seven's ear and rested the arm on the back of the couch behind her.
Seven let out a breath as she glanced around the room searching for something to hold her focus.
"She….. Jay…. she, where the hell do I start?... She didn't like my uh… my implants…." Seven struggled to get her sentence out, glancing at her hands as she started to fumble with the hem of her shirt.
"She… when we were…. you know…. If I was…. I had to keep something on …. She uh, she didn't like to see them…. So uh - when you - it…I'm sorry…. I'm sorr…."
She felt Raffi's fingers curl around her own as they toyed with her shirt…. Slowly taking them in a warm caress. "Babe…. " Raffi felt unsure of what to say. So she simply held the hands which she could feel begin to slightly tremble again.
"How the hell I didn't see any of it I'll never understand." Seven continued.
"She would tell me that I should get them removed, that they were …. ugly, hideous. I tried explaining but… She just didn't like touching me after a while. It was all about her."
Raffi could see the muscles of Seven's jaw tense, as though she were holding in some barrage of words. She gently brought her hand down onto the blonde's shoulder, allowing her thumb to rub soft circles around it.
"So long as Jay got ….. off… then I pretty much served my purpose."
"Selfish. Much" she muttered, attempting to lighten the air. Earning the twitch of a smile from the corner of Seven's mouth, to her relief.
"Yeh, that summed up Jay," Seven continued, feeling more at ease with her unburdening.
"She. She had a temper too" her voice quieter, almost a whisper.
Raffi sighed, unsure if she should respond to the statement. But when Seven lifted her eyes and met hers, she could see something reflected in the look. As though the fragile woman had conveyed the unspoken message withing them.
Nodding slowly she carefully considered her words.
"When I lifted my hand, you thought….."
Seven could only nod.
"Did she do it a lot, honey?"
Seven shifted in her seat. Raffi held the metal-encased had nearest her in her own, attempting to convey some sort of reassurance to her.
"Not….. A lot….. But… enough, you know?" Seven dropped her gaze down to their joined hands resting on her lap as she felt Raffi gently guide her head to rest upon her shoulder.
"I'm glad you vapourised the bitch. Saves me the job." Raffi dipped her head to drop a kiss onto the crown of Seven's and then brought her hand up, wrapping the back the blonde head in her arm.
She felt Seven slowly start to smile against her shoulder as she relaxed into the woman's embrace. Raffi glanced down at their hands still resting on Seven's thighs. Slowly she lifted hers and spread her fingers, offering them to Seven just like Seven had done with her just a few weeks previous over their game of Kal-Toh. It had been the start of their slow, tentative journey towards the first kiss they had finally shared this evening, and subsequently; this.
"Would you uhhhhh….." Raffi gently started. "Would you let me see?"
"See?" Seven asked.
"Your implants," she asked quietly.
The women regarded each other for a moment, then, slowly, Seven nodded her head in a small agreement.
"Is now ok?". Raffi didn't want to rush her, unwilling to risk blowing the efforts of the past hour.
Slowly and gingerly, Seven lifted the edge of her top to reveal dull, dark, grey metal bands which wrapped around her sides from her back, meeting below her navel.
If Raffi were honest, she was momentarily shocked at the sight, but quickly pushed it to the edges of her mind. She released her hand which was entwined with Seven's and hovered it above the implants, looking into blue eyes, seeking permission. A small nod gave her approval.
With all of the gentleness which she could summons, Raffi spread her hand across the exposed area before her. Touched by the fact that this woman who just a short while ago was so wrecked by her past experiences that she thought she had thrown any chance which she thought she may have, was placing herself, literally, in her hands.
"Is this ok?" she asked, smiling as she received a murmur and a smile.
Slowly, Raffi lowered her lips to meet Seven's, laying the gentlest of kisses on soft lips. She smiled into them as she felt the lips return the kiss. Not a kiss offered in any kind of sexual manner, but one as an offering - and a receipt - of trust. In that moment Seven knew that Raffi would never hurt her, neither physically, nor emotionally. This was Raffi.
Seven let her head slowly rest back against Raffi's arm which was now draped behind her weary shoulders and let out a sigh. Her augmented left hand absentmindedly began tracing patterns against the fabric of her trouser leg. She felt more settled now, resting in this woman's gentle arms, she allowed her eyes to close and simply savour the moment.
Her reverie was abruptly disturbed by the sound of Raffi laughing quietly and she opened her eyes to gaze questioningly at her.
"What?" she asked, brows raised in confusion.
"Hah, I'm sorry babe… I just realised that this whole thing came about 'cause I… "
She laughed again and brought a hand up to cover her eyes in mild embarrassment.
Smiling, she looked down at Seven's questioning face, that dammed cute implant rising as she waited.
Raffi opened her mouth….." because I… I wanted to, Gods… hahaha, because I wanted to touch your boobs!" she flustered.
They both simply looked at each other.
Eventually, Seven began to smile. That wide, bright smile which Raffi fell for the day they walked into the crashed cube on Coppelius.
"...Boobs?" Seven finally said as she began to laugh.
"What, are you, 12 years old?"
Raffi joined in with her laugh. "Don't laugh at me! I've never touched another woman's before" she laughed out her confession.
The two women laughed together as the tension of the past hour dissipated from the room and they savoured the sense of relief which it brought.
Raffi allowed her thumb to trace small lines across the implants on Seven's abdomen, gazing into those azure blue eyes, "So, do I get to see the girls then?..." wiggling her eyebrows comically.
"Yeh because that's so much more grown-up…" Seven laughed back and then slowly began to creep the top up, her gaze never leaving Raffi's.
She heard Raffi's breath hitch as the garment reached past its destination.
"Wow…. They are definitely worth the wait…" Raffi said with a smile as she laid another kiss on soft plump lips.
Seven breathed out a laugh against Raffi's mouth.
They would be ok.
She would be ok.
This was Raffi.