An Original Voyager Story

2007 by Patricia L. Givens

July 2007

Disclaimer # 1:Many of the characters used in this story have been borrowed from the existing Trek universe. I mean them no harm and promise to return them intact (more or less) as soon as I am done. No gain, monetary or otherwise, is expected from their use.

Disclaimer #2:All original characters and storylines contained herein belong to me. (Like anyone else would claim them!) This story may be archived by those so inclined as long as permission is obtained before hand, and the story remains entirely intact.

Disclaimer #3:This story depicts a romantic relationship between two consenting females. Some scenes may be graphic, but lovingly so. If you are under the age of 18, either stop reading this now or find a good place to hide it! I don't want to hear from your mother! If this sort of thing is illegal where you live, try looking on the bright side. At least stupidity isn't contagious.

Disclaimer #4:While "Someone To Watch Over Me" is one of my very favorite episodes, I wasn't all that thrilled by the depiction of Sevens first date. Maybe because I had my own ideas about how it should go. In any event, this being fanfiction, I am going to do it my way. So in regards to this bit of fiction, that episode never happened. Aside from that, I have tried to stay as true to the characters as I can.

Who To Blame:Thanks must go out to several people for their inspiration and patience in dealing with a fledgling J/7 writer. In particular, I would like to thank G.L. Dartt, for her incredible, loving look at our favorite ladies. I bow to your incredible talent and thank you for sharing it with us. Thanks must also go to Ky for supplying all the back episodes I desperately needed and craved. And last but not least, my thanks goes out to ANDREA and SHAWN for being my loyal beta readers! They try to help me keep it real lol.

This story is dedicated to Kat, because I can't seem to find the words to express my gratitude. "I miss you like I miss the rain, on sunny afternoons. And darkened nights, with cloudless skies, and nothing there but moon…"

This story is also dedicated to Chrissy who, even though she was not familiar with the characters or the back story, still managed to say the right things at all the right times.

A tip of the hat must go to the movie "While you were sleeping…" because I just couldn't resist! (And would not presume to take the credit.)

I welcome all comments, suggestions, criticism and compliments. Please email them to either of the above addresses. Flames concerning the lesbian content will be promptly laughed at, printed, and used to line my cats litter box.

To all that makes us unique!

DAx /\ The Occasional Bard

Forbidden fruit a flavor has

That lawful orchards mocks;

How luscious lies the pea within

The pod that Duty locks!

-Emily Dickinson

Chapter One: Questions

So warm… everywhere she touched was so warm. From the sheets tucked firmly around her body to the soft weight pinning her deliciously to the bed. She couldn't remember the last time she had felt so…satisfied, so replete.

It had been years, she knew that much. Years since she'd felt the warm fire in her belly, an eternity since she had experienced the afterglow of love, and she was enjoying every moment of it. It didn't matter that she couldn't remember anything before she had awoken. Only that every part of her was warm and happy now.

The body on top of hers shifted slightly, pulling away and she felt the warmth recede with it. With a playful whimper she reached out, her fingers closing over the soft, smooth skin of her companion's arm. Tugging insistently, she tried to pull her lover back towards her.

"Don't go." She whispered, her voice low and husky. "Stay with me… for just a little while longer."

Her companion hesitated for a moment before moving close once again. She felt warm skin slide up against her body and shivered into the breath that whispered in her ear.

"I will comply…"

Captain Kathryn Janeway of the U.S.S. Voyager woke with a start, her hands flying immediately to the mattress beside her. "Computer! Lights!"

The computer obeyed instantly, illuminating the Captain's sleeping area with a harsh brightness. Blinking to adjust her eyes, Janeway glanced around quickly, only able to bring her racing heart under control when she was sure that she was alone.

With a shuddering sigh she pulled herself up into a sitting position, her knees drawn up against her chest, hands dangling limply from atop them. "Computer…time?"

"The current time is 0300 hours." The feminine voice replied.

"Damn." Janeway sighed again, shaking her head. She had only been asleep for 47 minutes before…

Her eyes widened as her dream began to coalesce into a vivid memory.

It wasn't the first time she had dreamt of being held, of being loved…six long, solitary years would play hell with anyone's subconscious. No, dreams of the "blue" variety, as she liked to call them, had become the norm for her some years before. And they had only increased in frequency since her tenuous romantic link to the past had been broken.

When Voyager had first left Earth, over half a decade earlier, she had been engaged to the proverbial 'boy next door'. A caring if simple man, Mark Johnson had been a fixture in her life for more years than she cared to remember. And if their friendship, and subsequent courtship, had lacked a certain amount of passion…well, his quiet support and easy manner had seemed a fair trade at the time.

Actually, it had been more than fair. It had been exactly what she wanted, not that she would have admitted it or even realized it then. But now, looking back, she could remember the overwhelming sense of relief she had felt when Mark had finally proposed. Not because she had ever doubted that he would. His predictability had been one of the most comforting things about him.

In truth, his proposal had succeeded in accomplishing the one thing that Janeway herself could never do.

It had stilled her restless heart.

From the time she was a small girl, until the moment Mark Johnson asked for her hand in marriage, Kathryn Janeway had been at the mercy of her heart.

Not that mercy had ever been in abundant supply.

It had been a curse to her, how deeply she felt things. An incessant annoyance that caused her to blush at the most inappropriate times, and often stripped her of her dignity when she was most in need of it.

Like that episode with William Riker at the Academy? Her internal voice snickered. How much sleep did that little display cost you?

Janeway sighed.

Eventually, she had learned to turn her emotions inward, trapping them behind the mask of command that she could slam into place at will. Yet, while this gave the appearance that she was in control, all the needs and desires she suffered from still raged deep within her.

And then Mark freed her from them. Oddly enough, with the very thing that was supposed to inspire such emotion.

By accepting his proposal, Janeway had finally found the means to lock away her heart. She would be his spouse, his lover, as he would be hers. For better or for worse, in good times and in bad. Those kinds of vows did not allow her the luxury to want or need for anything more. She had promised him her loyalty and he would have it, completely and forever, mind, body and soul.

And if there was one thing within Janeway that she could use to shield herself from her heart, it was her sense of duty.

It didn't matter that his touch had never been more than pleasant, or that his quiet little life had often bored her to tears. There was no need for her to worry whether or not they were even truly compatible.

She was a Starfleet Captain. A quad pip ship jockey with a mistress she did not have to hide, or be ashamed of.

And a fiancé she would only be required to miss.

That was what made Mark perfect. His existence was a barrier between her and her needs. He kept her focused and closed off, unapproachable to those who might wish to know her, and unavailable to those she might wish to know. His memory had provided her with the only excuse she had ever needed to avoid personal entanglements, even on the other side of the galaxy. And all she had to do in return was miss him.

And she honestly did. She missed his laughter, his way of telling a story. Mostly, she missed telling him about the events of her day, comforted that he was listening, regardless of whatever else he was occupied with at the moment.

Sometimes Janeway wondered if those were truly the kinds of things a woman would miss about her husband. Or were they things you would miss in the absence of a friend? Perhaps it all came down to one simple fact.

That she would only ever be able to miss Mark the same way she had loved him… without passion.

But then, that had always been more than enough for her.

Until recently.

After years of being lost in the Delta Quadrant, Voyager had come across a series of relay stations that stretched all the way back home. Through those relay stations, they had received an encoded message from Starfleet Command. She had expected its content to be purely militaristic and had been shocked, although pleasantly so, to find that it also contained personal letters for her crew from the loved ones they had left behind.

Janeway had been thrilled when she was handed one addressed to her, then overjoyed when she saw that it had come from Mark. The joy had been short lived however, when she read that although he had waited longer than most, he had eventually given up on her and moved on with his life. He was now happily married to a woman who had been his research assistant.

And while she wished him all the happiness in the world, the news had been a bitter pill to swallow.

Since then her dreams had visited all sorts of torment on her. From visions of someone holding her sweetly, to images of lovemaking so intense that they left her physically exhausted, her dreams ran the gamut of the emotions that she was missing in her life.

The only constant that they shared was anonymity of her partner; a dark form that neither spoke nor showed enough of itself to be recognized.

Apparently, that was no longer the case.

For even though she had never opened her eyes in this particular dream, even though she hadn't seen the body that moved so sweetly against her own, the words that still echoed in her mind had been enough to quell any doubts as to the identity of the person sharing her bed.

"I will comply..."

She had heard that phrase a hundred times before from her Astrometrics officer, a former Borg drone named Seven of Nine.

Six feet tall, blonde with ice blue eyes, Seven had been a part of the Collective for eighteen years, having been assimilated at the age of six along with her parents, who had been studying the Borg at the time.

Janeway had first come in contact with Seven when she entered into a short-lived truce with the Collective, which was being decimated by a brutal race designated as Species 8472. Unaware that the Borg had initiated the conflict, she offered them a means to combat the deadly creatures in return for Voyager's safe passage through their space.

Unwilling to allow the Borg to fit them with neural transceivers during the negotiations, Janeway suggested a representative be chosen by the Collective to act as a liaison. The representative supplied had been an arrogant and belligerent young female.

Her designation: Seven of Nine, Tertiary Adjunct to the Unimatrix Zero One.

When the truce had fallen apart, Janeway found herself compelled to take the once human drone with her, ignoring Seven's pleas to be returned to the Collective.

Since then, Captain Janeway had considered it her responsibility to help the young woman embrace her humanity. A task that had proven to be quite difficult thus far.

Stubborn and opinionated, willful past the point of being insubordinate, Seven had clung to her Borg ideals of perfection. She had refused to respect the chain of command; even going so far as to openly oppose the Captain herself when she thought that Janeway was in error.

Because of that, most of the crew treated her as a pariah, giving her a wide berth and refusing to interact with her on any level except when absolutely necessary.

But Janeway had sensed something more within the beautiful young drone than cold indifference and contempt.

She had been intrigued by the subtle complexities that made up Seven of Nine. The displays of individuality carefully hidden behind her disdain for human frailty and disorder.

Because of that, she never ceased in her efforts to reach out to Seven, never stopped trying to make Voyager more than the prison the drone thought it to be.

Whether she had been successful or not was a matter of opinion.

Or more specifically, a matter of whom the opinion belonged to.

Janeway knew that many of her crewmembers resented the ex-drones presence. She supposed she didn't blame them. The fear of being assimilated, or of losing a loved one to assimilation, was a powerful one.

And here she was, inviting the wolf into the fold.

"Once a Borg, always a Borg." That had been Chakotay's opinion.

But from the beginning, she had known…it just wasn't that simple.

Eighteen years ago, Seven of Nine had been human. A precocious six-year-old named Annika Hansen who had had her childhood and future stripped away from her through no fault or choice of her own.

How could she deny Seven the right to become the person she was meant to be?

Janeway sighed. She could sit up all night and debate with herself about the rights and wrongs of what she had done. But the bottom line was still the same.

From the moment Seven of Nine stepped out of her Borg alcove, she had known that there was something special about her. Something reachable… something salvageable…

Something… irresistible?

If she was going to be honest with herself, then she had to admit that there had been something inexplicably appealing about the young drone right from the start.

She had been fascinated with her, feeling as drawn to her arrogance and anger as she was repulsed by her Borg nature. For some unfathomable reason, she felt compelled to know the human buried deep within the machine. Why this particular drone had evoked such strong emotions within her was an enigma she found herself unable to resolve.

Until the first time that Seven of Nine, Tertiary Adjunct to the Unimatrix Zero One…smiled.

It had been nothing more than a small quirk of those full, ruby lips, but it was enough to send the Captain's pulse racing with the sheer beauty of it.

A reaction that had startled Janeway, to say the very least.

Was that when she began to realize that her feelings for the Borg weren't entirely maternal?

Or was it Stardate 52842, when Seven had sat across from her in the mess hall and quietly told her "thank you". There had been something so fragile about the way she had said it, something so endearing in how she shyly looked away.

That shyness had been lucky for the Captain as well. Otherwise, the emotions written so plainly on her face may have led to questions that she wasn't ready to answer.

Are you ready to answer them now?Are you finally willing to listen?

Listen to what? Janeway wondered idly. Pipe dreams and fantasies that could never be reality?

Even if she did finally accept the emotions that were trying so hard to batter down her will, even if she did let herself act on it…revel in it…

It would still never happen. Even if it wasn't against Starfleet protocol for her to become involved with a member of her crew, why would Seven ever choose to become involved with her?

Almost twenty years her senior, with a sense of duty she could not ignore and weary homesickness she could not shake, what did she really have to offer someone like Seven Of Nine? Her first priority would always be Voyager, she had never had much luck with romance and she was well aware that there were people on her own ship that made her look, well… less than desirable… when she stood next to them.

All in all, she was not the first experience that she herself would go looking for. Why would Seven bother? Especially since she was so convinced that romance was a waste of time?

Janeway shook her head. No, there was no way to make it work. The best thing she could do, for both of them, was to forget she had ever even considered it.

With a bone-weary sigh, she stretched out again, calling for the lights as she pulled the covers up to her chin, trying to forget the warmth she had felt so sweetly, if only in her dreams.