Raffi had watched Seven quietly excuse herself from the room as the others were comfortably engaged in their conversations. She could tell that the tall blonde seemed less than her usual casual self as the discussions had progressed, engaging less and less to the point where only her coffee mug held any of her attention.
She had allowed her hand to gently brush along Seven's arm, fingers briefly sweeping, as she had walked behind the rather luxurious, if holographic, couch which occupied Picard's office as she left the simulated room, faintly hearing a muttered excuse for heaving. The former Starfleet officer gazed down into her cold mug which she cradled in her hand, wondering if her lover would be returning to the group. She was missing the feel of those long legs resting beside her, the occasional brush of a Borg augmented had against her shoulder and neck as it had rested there behind her. Raffi found herself smiling contentedly at the thoughts.
Now, it had been almost 20 minutes since she had left and hadn't mentioned to Raffi whither she had planned in retuning but there was just something about Seven's leaving which had her slightly concerned, she couldn't quite put her finger on it.
She turned to Jean-Luc and leaned slightly toward him "Hey, JL, I'm just gonna go check on Seven, see if she's ok." she said, smiling at the ageing yet still exceptionally dignified Admiral. Even after all these years, after all their differences, their arguments, their trials, Raffi still adored this old man.
"Mhhh, alright, I did notice that she was somewhat quiet," he replied in that beautiful gentlemanly voice which often, as it did now, made Raffi smile.
Placing her cup on the low table she rose and made her own excuses to the others, earning nods and waves in acknowledgement.
Exiting the holo-office Raffi heard the doors swoosh closed behind her with their automated efficiency and she began to scan the wide deck for Seven, unsure where she would have headed. There was no sign of the Ranger in the mess area, Raffi had half expected to see her there engrossed in her usual game of Kal Toh which she often did to relax. How the woman ever found that game relaxing Raffi couldn't fathom. Stopping at the replicator station she requested 2 mugs of coffee which quickly materialised on the plate below the panel and she lifted to continue on her search, carrying both in her left hand.
Heading off towards the residential area of the ship Raffi hit the entry button for Seven's quarters, "Babe, it's me…" and listened as it chimed inside. She waited silently for a few moments without reply before attempting once more only to be met with a similar lack of response. She knew Seven well enough by now to know that she wouldn't just ignore her like this if she were inside.
Raffi headed off towards the stairs leading to the upper level of La Sirena, the small yet mighty little ship which had become home to their mishmash group over the past few months, and climbed up.
Glancing towards the rear of the deck she could see no sign of Seven, only the empty transporter pads. She quickly checked the armoury and found it to be equally void of the blonde. Turning on her heels she headed towards the bridge.
As she walked along the long metal corridor she began to see a familiar shock of blonde hair above the chair at the navigation station. Raffi breathed a small sigh of relief which began to filter into anticipation as she maintained her focus on the woman, wondering what was going through her mind as she sat there.
Slowly, Raffi stepped forward nearer the bridge, observing Seven as she silently watched the stars outside the ship as they flickered and shimmered in the darkness. Halting as she reached the railing.
"I know you're there…" Seven said quietly without turning. Her enhanced hearing affording her the pre-warning of Raffi's approach.
"I should have known" she responded, breathing out a low laugh.
Stepping towards the quiet blonde, Raffi held out one of the mugs. "I brought you some coffee."
Seven drew in a deep breath before releasing it slowly. "Thank you" she replied as she took the offered beverage. "I didn't finish the last one" she added with a raise of her brows.
"Yeah… I noticed."
Raffi eased herself into her usual spot at the ops console and pivoted the chair round towards Seven. Resting her head against the back of the chair she pulled her foot up onto the seat and hugged her knee with her hand, slowly taking a sip of the coffee from her mug. Glancing up she rested her gaze on Sevens face, noticing the distant look in her blue eyes as she, once again, stared at the contents of her own mug.
"What's wrong babe?" she offered. "You're way somewhere else."
Seven took a mouthful of her drink, attempting to stall her response as she contemplated what to say.
"Is there any point in me saying that nothing is wrong?" she said as she lifted her eyes, finally meeting Raffi's.
The dark-haired woman simply smiled, both of them knowing the answer to Seven's question.
A few moments of silence rested between them as Seven looked back out of the window. The view of the stars reclaiming her gaze as fingers gingerly toyed with the rim of her mug.
"It's Elnor," she said to the screen off to her right-hand side.
Raffi narrowed her brows … "what has he done?" she asked.
She could make out the slighted shake of Seven's head as before she heard her.
The other woman turned her head back to meet Raffi's brown eyes.
he hasn't done anything." blonde hair waved slightly against loosely hung shoulders as Seven continued to shake her head. She found it difficult to continue looking at Raffi and once again lowered her eyes to the coffee which was beginning to cool once more in her hands.
"I don't understand babe. What about him?" Raffi gently pressed. She dropped her foot back onto the floor and rested her elbows against her knees, leaning towards the other woman, conveying her concern.
Seven sucked in another breath as she attempted to find the words to express her feelings. Even after all of her years severed from the collective, despite how much she had needed to alter her behaviours to "fit in", Seven still struggled with expressing her feelings.
"Sometimes it's just so hard. So, difficult - to be around him." She looked back at Raffi; confusion evident on her face as she listened.
"He…" she paused; she could feel her emotion begin to manifest itself within her as she felt the prick of tears begin to surface.
"He just. He reminds me of him, at times." Her jaw jutting to the side as she bit the inside of her cheek.
"He's so like him."
Raffi let her head drop to her shoulder as she waited, silently trying to ease the rest of the statement from Seven.
"Like who, babe" she finally asked.
Seven parted her lips to speak as a single tear breached the confines of her lashes and crept slowly across her cheekbone.
"Like Icheb" she whispered.