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Seven of Nine and The Doctor, together they were two of the happiest crewmen on Voyager, apart they were the most miserable. The trouble was neither of them realized the others feelings. Without realizing their mutual attractions for each other, both had given up hope that either one of them could return the others feelings. The trouble was both were still growing as individuals trying to become more than the sum of their parts, literally. They were both too paralyzed by a fear of rejection to dare to hope the other cared.

For the Doctor the realization of his feelings for Seven had come on quite suddenly. He could recall the exact second it had happened. Lieutenant Chapman had just left the holodeck and Seven had been quite upset over the failure of her first date. Knowing he had to get her confidence back up the Doctor had decided to teach her to dance. As the music played he drew her closer and closer in his arms until they were dancing cheek to cheek. When the song ended he kept holding her afraid to let the moment die. At that moment he knew he wanted to hold her forever.

It took Seven a while longer to identify what the doctor had known instantly. Being unaccustomed to human emotions she hadn't known what signs to look for. As time past after their first dance the doctor occupied more of her thoughts. She found herself wanting to spend more time with him. She even found his ramblings interesting. Then one day, the doctor took her to a special holo-program of earth designed especially for her. He had researched and found out where her family had lived before they left earth in search of the Borg and made a holographic representation of their town. She hadn't been able to express to him how special he had made her feel. She knew then that her feelings for the doctor were far more special than a simple friendship. She began searching for signs that he felt the same way, but she didn't know what to look for and he didn't know what to show.



"I must say I enjoyed myself immensely last night." The Doctor glanced over at Seven indicating to her he wanted a response.

"Mr. Neelix's Talent Night's certainly are a big hit with the crew." She responded succinctly.

"I was referring to our duet." He smiled recalling the memory of the past evening.

"The crew seemed to enjoy it," she stated blankly.

The Doctor was determined to get a smile out of her. "They enjoyed you. Several crewmen remarked to me how they hadn't realized you had such a lovely voice." He waited for a response, getting none he continued. "We'll have to start working on our next duet. I was thinking a piece from earth from a musical entitled."

"I do not believe I will have time to learn another piece in time for the next talent night. The Captain has given me a new assignment that will require me to spend most of my time in the astrometrics lab." Seven avoided eye contact with the doctor. During the past few months she had gotten very good at controlling her feelings in front of him.

The Doctor smiled trying to hide his disappointment. "Perhaps another time."

"Perhaps. I must go."

"OK, I'll see you later. If you're not too busy maybe we can meet for dinner tomorrow, Holodeck 2 1900 hours."

"Agreed," she gave him a nod and exited sickbay.

He watched her walk from the room and as soon as the door closed behind her he let out a long sigh. Tom had been in the lab watching the two of them with great interest. When Seven left he walked out of the lab. "She's never gonna be yours if you don't tell her Doc."

"Mr. Paris are you finished with that experiment I asked you to analyze." He asked ignoring him.

"You can change the subject all you want, it won't change the fact that she has no idea what you're feeling. You have to give her some hints, let her wonder."

"How do I do that without scaring her," he asked deciding it was futile to try and ignore Tom.

Tom grinned glad that he finally had the Doc's attention. "First things first, you have to stop this whole mentor/student relationship you have going. Trying to help her find Mr. Right is sending the wrong signals."

"She has already said there are no compatible mates on board for her. Those were her exact words."

"I know, but she probably never thought you were an option for her. You can't give up before you begin, here's what you have to do." For the next hour Tom attempted to instruct the Doctor in the subtle art of seduction. By the end of their session the Doctor's head was swimming, but he was eager to try his newfound skills out on Seven.

He didn't have to wait long to begin. The next day Seven came in holding her left arm. He saw her from his office and rushed to her concerned. "What happened?"

"I was damaged in engineering."

He ran his medical tricorder, the one she had given him, over her wrist. "Don't tell me you and Belanna have finally come to blows."

"No."

He waited. "Aren't you going to tell me how this happened?"

"No."

"Come on Seven."

She sighed, "I was distracted and I fell."

"Distracted? By what?" He glanced at her face and observed her blush noticeably at the question.

"I'd rather not say." She said her blush deepening. The truth was, once again her mind had been on him. She was finding it more and more difficult to concentrate on her work; he consumed her thoughts.

Watching her carefully for the right opportunity, he took a deep breath and decided it was either now or never. Lesson 1 in the art of seduction, lingering glances. He stared intently at her with what he hoped were the smoldering eyes Tom had spoken of.

"Doctor is everything Ok?"

Time for lesson 2: Seductive tones. "Everything's fine Seven." He said in a low tone.

He was acting very strangely to her, she hoped he wasn't having a program malfunction. She gave him an odd look. 'God, this isn't working. Better move on to lesson 3, soft touches. He reached for her damaged hand passing his regenerator over it. When he finished he allowed his hand to remain and ran one of his fingers across it. "Is that better?" he asked his voice still low. Seven shivered slightly at his touch and then pulled away abruptly.

"I am feeling much better Doctor. Thank you for your assistance." She started to leave but was stopped by his hand on her shoulder.

"Wait Seven." He knew he had made her uncomfortable. "I'm sorry." He felt foolish and embarrassed.

"For what?"

"For making you uncomfortable. It was not my intention." His face was crestfallen.

"What was your intention," she asked.

"Nothing, never mind." 'Damn Tom and his bright ideas' He put down his tricorder and headed for his office, but was stopped this time by Seven.

"Tell me, please." She said in a soft voice, a voice he hadn't heard from her in a long time. Usually her voice was strong and often abrupt. He noticed the only time she ever varied her tone was when she was feeling particularly vulnerable. 'I have to kiss her,' he thought. 'If I don't do it now I never will.' He reached for her and brought his lips to hers. Kissing her lightly at first, astonished at how soft her lips were, then pressing harder hungry for something he had been denying himself for so long. Seven immediately relaxed in his embrace. She too had played this moment over in her head and found reality much better than anything she had dreamt. With a sigh they separated.

"Forgive me." He said releasing his grip on her.

"There is no need for me to forgive anything." She said smiling shyly.

"Really," he asked grinning like an adolescent.

The doors to sickbay swished open startling them both and Tom strolled in. "Morning Doc, Seven."

Immediately Seven regained her stiff posture and the slight smile on her lips vanished. "Thank you for your assistance Doctor," she said before leaving sickbay quickly.

He watched her leave smiling to himself; this conversation was definitely not over. He turned to return to his work eager for their next encounter.

The Captain was in the middle of her third cup of coffee when Seven walked into her ready room. She had become quite accustomed to Seven's lack of decorum and merely glanced up at her.

"Captain, I must speak with you."

"What is it Seven?"

"I require the advice of a woman."

"Oh," she asked with raised eyebrows.

"Yes," she paused not exactly sure where to begin. 'Maybe I've been too impulsive coming to the captain about this issue' she thought. "If you're busy however."

"No Seven I'm not busy. Have a seat." She waved a hand to the coach and taking her coffee in hand sat next to her. "What's on your mind."

"The Doctor."

"The Doctor?" Janeway repeated confused.

"Yes."

Janeway waited and sighed, sometimes talking to Seven was like pulling teeth. "What about the Doctor?"

"I wish to know if I should begin a romantic relationship with him." She said bluntly.

If there had been coffee in her mouth she would have spit it out. Instead she stood then decided that it would be much wiser to sit for this conversation. "The Doctor? A romantic relationship with the Doctor. well. I um." She really didn't know where to begin to advise her.

Seven watched curiously as the captain lost her normally calm composure. "Then you don't believe it would be wise for me to pursue a relationship with him. Thank you captain." Seven stood to leave disappointed.

"Seven wait. I didn't say that. You just took me a little by surprise. I know the two of you have been spending a lot of time together, but I hadn't realized your relationship had taken a turn for the romantic. When did you start thinking of the Doctor romantically?"

"I find myself preoccupied by thoughts of him, but I was unsure of his feelings until this morning when he kissed me in sickbay."

"I see." The Captain said trying to cover her surprise.

"I am uncertain as to how to proceed. If I were feeling this way about another individual I would consult the Doctor, but."

"Seven, he is the best person to discuss this with. I know it isn't easy, but I have always found it easiest to be completely open and honest in these situations."

"I see. Thank you for your advice Captain."

The Captain watched as Seven walked from the ready room. 'I hope they know what they're doing' she thought.

For the rest of the day Seven debated going to the Doctor and each time fear kept her from him. Finally she decided she would feel more levelheaded after she regenerated. She stepped into her alcove, "Computer begin regeneration cycle."

Several hours later the Doctor walked into Cargo Bay two. He had been eager to see her all day as well, but was kept in sickbay by a sudden outbreak of Likarian flu that had infected half of Deck Six. He had his hands full with nausea victims. If he had been human he would have been too exhausted to speak with Seven, fortunately he was not and the idea of seeing her had him almost giddy with excitement.

He expected her to be working. He usually had to fight with her about regenerating enough. A couple of times he had even had to pull rank and order her to regenerate, so he was quite surprised when he walked into the Cargo Bay and saw her in her alcove. He paused at the doorway before entering content to watch her. He approached the alcove completely in awe of her. She looked so lovely standing there so peacefully, so unreserved.

He watched her for several minutes before deciding he better leave, as he turned to walk away he heard a small sound escape her lips. When he turned back the peacefulness that had once covered her face had vanished. Instead her forehead was wrinkled and her eyelids squeezed tight. He walked closer to observe her more intently. 'She must be having a dream, a nightmare by the looks of it' he thought. Again another moan escaped her lips. "Seven," he said softly, not really sure if he should wake her. Her breath was becoming ragged and her head turned from side to side. "Seven," he repeated this time more loudly. Her eyes flew open wide and she practically flew out of her alcove catching herself before she fell on the hard floor. Still not quite awake and disoriented her eyes scanned the Cargo Bay.

"Doctor, what are you doing here?" She asked regaining her composure as she stood to her full height.

"I'm sorry I didn't mean to intrude. I came to speak with you, but you were regenerating. I was about to leave but you seemed in distress."

"I am fine now thank you."

"Are you sure?"

"It was merely a nightmare. I have grown accustomed to them."

"Accustomed to them? Do you often have nightmares?" He asked worried.

"Only every other night or so. I have researched the phenomenon and found this happens to most humanoid species. It is nothing to be concerned about." She stated matter-of-factly.

"Seven, most humanoids don't experience nightmares every other night."

Her face clouded with worry for a moment, "Do you believe there is something physically wrong with me?"

"No, I didn't say that, but why didn't you tell me you were having nightmares. I have never experienced one myself, but am told they are quite disconcerting."

"I didn't wish you to think me weak," she responded honestly.

"I would never think you weak." The conversation paused awkwardly before the doctor continued. "I better get back to sickbay."

"I thought you wanted to speak with me about something."

"I did, but it can wait until morning."

"I have no desire to return to my alcove immediately. Please stay."

He knew she was apprehensive about being alone, but she would never say this even to him. The nightmare must have been pretty bad. "I'd love to stay with you." He looked around wanting to sit, but quickly noticed the lack of any kind of furniture. "This place certainly doesn't have comfort in mind."

"It is efficient."

"I suppose," he decided to sit on the floor with his back to the wall. He patted the space next to him. She joined him varying her position several times before becoming comfortable. He wasn't quite sure where to begin. "Seven I."

"Doctor." They spoke simultaneously. "Go ahead," she said after a pause.

"About this morning."

"Our kiss."

"Yes, our kiss. I just wanted you to know that it was wrong of me to take such a liberty with you. It will not happen again."

"Oh," she turned her head away from him hiding her deep disappointment.

"Unless."

"Yes."

"Unless of course you'd like me to kiss you again." The Doctors eyes were full of hope.

"I believe I would." She said turning her whole body to face his. She sat very still allowing him to take control of the moment. Slowly he brought his hand to her face and with the back of his fingers caressed her cheek softly. She shivered slightly at his touch and then he placed his other hand behind her ear and brought her face closer to his. Slowly he brought his lips down on hers and kissed her lightly. Her name was on his lips as he pressed her lips more firmly. They remained locked for several seconds enjoying the feel of one another's mouth against their own. Separating Seven sighed deeply. "Do you wish to pursue a relationship with me?"

"Very much." He said kissing her again.

"Does this mean we're a couple?"

"I hope so," he said smiling.

He wrapped his arm around her and she laid her head against his shoulder content to be in his arms. "I am unsure how to proceed from here. I have not had any experience with being in a couple."

His smile grew wider. "I'm afraid I don't have a great deal of experience either."

"But you have been with other women."

"Yes."

"How many?"

"Only two."

She hesitated before beginning again. "You were physical with these women?"

The doctor cleared his throat not really sure if she had meant it as a statement or a question, "Yes I was intimate with them. Does this bother you?"

"No. Do you wish us to have an intimate relationship."

'God yes' he thought to himself. In truth he couldn't wait to feel her body against his own and make love to her. "The choice of becoming intimate with another person is very special Seven. It is not an obligation in a relationship and it is not a step any couple should take lightly."

"I see," she said letting the subject drop.

"Would you like to try regenerating again." He asked after a pause. She nodded and allowed him to help her to her feet. "I'll stay until you're asleep."

"Good night Doctor."

"Good night Seven."

The next several weeks were some of the happiest of their lives. Each day they worked through their shifts thinking of each other and each evening they spent in the Cargo Bay talking to all hours of the night. The Doctor looked forward to the evenings with great anticipation. Seven was reluctant to display any sort of public affection; she wanted to keep their relationship private for the time being. She would not even allow him to hold her hand in public. The only time he was able to touch her was at night. Often she would work quietly while he rambled about the crew's state of health or some interesting piece of gossip Tom had passed along. She enjoyed hearing him talk; the sound of his voice relaxed her.

Only a select few in the crew were aware of the specific nature of their relationship, but everyone could see a change in them and of course they speculated. In the messhall they said the Doctor could be heard singing constantly in sickbay and on the bridge one crewman said he had observed Seven smiling to herself while she worked. The overall feeling of the crew was that it was about time their resident loners found happiness.

Late one night Seven quietly slipped into sickbay after the Doctor had deactivated himself. It was not the first time she had done this. Several times after some especially frightening nightmares she had made her way into sickbay and fell asleep in the Doctor's office, but she was always careful to leave before anyone discovered her. Somehow being where she knew he could be activated comforted her immensely. This night however, the Doctor had set his re-activation sequence for early in the morning. He had wanted to get some work done before sickbay got busy. When he materialized in sickbay he immediately noticed the sleeping form in his chair. He walked to her tapping her lightly. Her eyes fluttered open and then widened when she realized she had been caught. "Seven are you Ok?"

She nodded her head embarrassed she had been caught.

"Was it another nightmare?" Again she nodded. "Seven this is beginning to worry me. Have they gotten so bad you can't regenerate."

"This is not the first time I've slept in sickbay." She confessed.

"Do you come often."

"No, only a few times."

'You should have activated me."

"I didn't want you to know."

"Seven part of being in a relationship is learning to trust the person you're with. If you're in pain I want you to tell me, to trust me." He reached for her hands and pulled her from the chair. "Why don't you sleep in one of the bio-beds until morning." She looked around uncertain. "Don't worry, I'll wake you before Tom's shift begins. No one will know you were here."

She laid down on the bio-bed trying to get comfortable. The Doctor walked toward his office but was stopped by her, "Talk to me." She said softly. The doctor rejoined her pulling a chair next to the bio-bed.

"What do you want to talk about?"

"Tell me why you started singing."

"Ok." He paused trying to decide where to start. "I guess I started singing a few months after I was activated. The first few months of my activation were really hard. I never told anyone this, but I was incredibly intimidated with the idea of being a full time doctor. I wasn't sure if my programming was up to it. Most of the crew treated me just that way too, like I was a simple computer program and back then I guess I was. Anyway, the only person who treated me with respect and feeling was Kes; she was my first assistant. Kes encouraged me to explore my own humanity."

"The way you encourage me." Seven interrupted.

"Yes I suppose so." He said thoughtfully. "She was my only advocate for a while. Eventually the crew came around, but it took time. Often I felt frustrated by the situation I was in. When Voyager was first stranded in the Delta Quadrant it felt like we were constantly battling alien species intent on blowing us to bits. Sickbay was always busy. It was quite frustrating at times. Kes suggested I take a hobby that would take my mind off work, so that's when I started singing. I was never comfortable expressing my feelings in front of the crew, singing allowed me to express all the feelings I couldn't express during the day. That was one of the reasons I suggested the activity to you. You remind me a lot of the way I used to be."

"Mmmm."

He smiled down at her watching her nod off. "You are so beautiful. I can't believe you're mine." Her breathing had become regular and he knew she had finally fallen asleep. Quietly he stood and went into his office to work, keeping a careful eye on his sleeping angel.

The bridge was abuzz the next day. People rushed from engineering to the bridge and back at a frantic pace, but most of the crew was unsure of what was going on. Several times the Doctor almost called Seven to find out what was going on, but he controlled his curiosity. He knew as soon as she could get away she would tell him what was happening.

"All senior officers report to the conference room." The Doctor raised an eyebrow and grabbed his mobile emitter. 'Finally' he thought, 'I'll find out what's going on.'

The room was silent as a stone when everyone had arrived, Seven caught the Doctor's eye and they shared a private smile.

"As most of you already know," the Captain began, "early this morning long range sensors detected neutrino emissions 100 light years away. Upon further investigation we've been able to determine the cause of these emissions is a wormhole." She paused and gauged the response of her officers, most took the news in quiet contemplation. This hadn't been the first wormhole to work the crew into a frenzy and some even speculated to themselves it wouldn't be the last. "Seven and I have been in astrometrics conducting scans all night and we have determined that there is a 70% chance that the wormhole does indeed lead to the Alpha Quadrant." She paused dramatically allowing for the information to seep into her senior staff. "I know we've had disappointments before, which is why we kept this a secret, but news this big won't keep on a ship this small, besides we need everybody to accomplish what I hope will be our final mission in the Delta Quadrant."

Chakotay stood beside Kathryn and put his hand on her shoulder smiling. "Now that we've all got our pep talk let's start working. It will take approximately 19 days to reach the wormhole. The PADD in front of each of you contains your assignments for the next couple of weeks. As of right now, all other assignments are suspended. Our only goal right now is to be 100% sure this wormhole is the real thing and then to get through that wormhole with the ship intact and all hands accounted for. We have a lot to do so let's get started.

The quietness of the meeting came to an abrupt end as everyone scrambled out of the room to their respective departments eager to spread the word and begin preparing the ships. Finally the only two people left in the room were Seven and the Doctor.

"Can you believe this," he asked shocked.

"The crew is very resourceful I knew this day would come."

"How do you feel about returning to earth."

"I would not be truthful if I said I didn't have some apprehension."

He pulled her in his arms in a warm embrace, "me too."

She pulled away slightly to look him in the eyes. "What will become of us?"

"I wish I knew," he said sighing. "I don't doubt Captain Janeway will do everything she can for us, but I just don't know what to expect."

"I have always expected to be studied if we ever returned to earth and I had accepted this as my fate, but now the idea of being separated from you is almost unbearable." She gripped him a little tighter and whispered something in his ear.

"What," he asked softly.

"I said I love you."

"Oh Seven," the Doctor beamed and began planting kisses all over her face. "I love you too. I won't let anything happen to you ever. Oh God I love you."

She smiled and returned his kisses.

Suddenly he stopped and pulled her away from him. "Seven, I know how we'll be able to stay together forever. Marry me."

"Marry you?"

"Yes, don't you see, together we'll be safe. I can protect you and we'll never have to be apart."

"Doctor, we have only been in a relationship for a short time."

"What does it matter, Seven I've loved you for so much longer. Yes our romantic relationship has only just begun, but our friendship hasn't. Having you in my life has kept me sane all these years and knowing that you love me just makes me feel alive. I know it's soon, but I've known since our first dance that I wanted to spend the rest of my life with you. And I'll spend the rest of my life trying to make you feel the same way if you'll let me."

Seven's eyes were wet with unshed tears and she clung to him whispering yes in his ear.