A/N: Been busy lately, sorry if the wait has been too long!
This fic got a little more racy than I thought it would, but I go where the words take me...and I rather enjoyed writing the spicy parts anyways. ;) Enjoy!
It is eight months before we meet again.
I am sitting on a bench, enjoying the cool San Francisco afternoon, when the peace in the garden splinters.
The voice is directed at my back—clear, loud, direct; I can't pretend that I didn't hear it, yet I have no desire to turn around.
I know who it is. There is a reason I have avoided this for so long, and for a moment I resent her bold intrusion into my world. I don't appreciate being tracked down.
The air in my lungs becomes a burden and I finally exhale softly, my words quiet and tinged with resignation.
"What can I do for you, Seven?"
Her footsteps move closer, but she does not position herself in front of me, choosing instead to remain standing at my back. In my mind I can see her: hands clasped behind her, flawless posture, eyes intently focused on my head, penetrating expression.
"I wish to talk with you, Admiral."
"There's very little to say," I respond, allowing the teeth in my sentence to be abundantly obvious. I study the blades of grass across the path from me in the hope that she will take the hint and move on.
"I disagree. There is much to say." She calmly circles the bench to face me, looking down at my tired frame. I don't meet her eyes; the blades of grass are infinitely more interesting.
She continues anyways, defiant. "I have not forgotten. Have you?"
Her question strikes me like a slap across the face.
I glare up at her sharply, with steel in my eyes. "I will not play this game with you, Seven. Chakotay is a good man."
I curse to myself as my body automatically reacts to the sight of her. I need to leave. Now. This discussion cannot continue.
"Yes, he is," she replies, unwilling to fight.
"Then you understand that I need to leave." I stand up curtly, preparing myself to walk away. The breeze shifts between us and then falters, leaving a silent, empty space. A variety of flower scents tease my nose but I can't allow myself to oblige any of them. I am turning, leaving, ending this as fast as possible.
She catches my arm—and I feel as though there are hot coals pressed to my skin.
"I am no longer with Chakotay, Admiral." Her voice is layered evenly, and the only hint of emotion comes from the quiet way in which she delivers the news. I can tell that she is serious. For a moment I am speechless; what I am supposed to feel, how am I supposed to react to this? What does she expect me to say?
Her eyes are patient, steadily waiting for a response that I don't have.
"I…." The word hangs there awkwardly. I try again, resolute as I meet her gaze.
"This doesn't change anything."
Hurt and confusion scatter across her features; she doesn't understand. It's obvious that she was expecting a very different reaction; she came here with hope, and I've just crushed it.
The sun beats down on us for a few moments as the silence sits and magnifies her pain. Her hand is still trained on my arm, preventing me from walking off. I know that if she wants to, she can keep me here—she is stronger and could overpower me if she chose to. Not that it would come to that, but it's something I'm very aware of as I stand there.
I still can't comply with her command.
"Let me go, Seven."
She doesn't immediately loosen her grip. I tense, despite my trust in her.
Her eyes shift away from mine and her hand drops slowly.
"I have waited for this for so long." She swallows visibly, body very still. Her words fly like arrows released from a powerful bow: they are straight, sure, and they find the mark each time.
"I left Chakotay because I could not be with him. I kept thinking about you." Her eyes find mine again, adding a punch to her words. "I was sure that you recognized your feelings as I recognize my own. Now that I'm here, I doubt this."
She pauses, hands in tight fists. Though she is not visibly upset in her expression or tone, her body language betrays her.
"I do not understand why you are hiding, Admiral, and you refuse to explain it."
Admiral rings in my head; a familiar, bitter sting washes through my body. How long have I wanted to hear her say Kathryn, call me by my name? How long have I wanted her to recognize me as a person and not simply by my rank?
But she's right, I haven't explained. These eight months have taken their toll on me, however I try to bury that. Being separated from the life of Voyager and the people I'd known as family for seven years is devastating, my grief overwhelming. I sit at a desk every day and I listen to lazy, arrogant Starfleet brass spout off about trivial matters, people who have no concept of what I've survived. No concept whatsoever.
My resentment is so violent that it has driven me to a cynicism I didn't think I was capable of.
Seven reminds me of the life and family I had…and that unbearable pain of past memory drives me away from her. When I look at her, I see the shadow of my former life, the radiance of my former self.
She is still looking at me, hoping that I will say something.
"I can't feel anything but bitterness and loss, Seven. Voyager was my home and its crew was my family."
Seven doesn't blink. "Make a new one. Adapt."
I chuckle at her characteristically simplistic advice. "That's very easy to say—"
"It's just as easy to do."
Shock ripples through my face; she is so poised in the face of my obstacles, so determined to cut through my personal melodramatic bullshit and unwilling to take "no" for an answer.
"You underestimate my perseverance, Admiral." She smiles, having read my reaction.
"I've forgotten how stubborn you can be," I admit, breaking into a smile for the first time. Some of the implacable concrete inside of me has shattered, and I feel a little less haunted.
There is a period of quiet before Seven speaks again, and although we are still standing noticeably apart and at odds, I can tell from her tone that she hopes to advance this encounter beyond a truce.
"You are still grieving?"
"Yes," I confide. "The past several months have been difficult for me."
"As have they for me," she replies, nodding briefly.
We stare at each other for a few seconds and I fall in love all over again.
Her blond hair is down, in curls—it looks beautiful in the sunlight. She is wearing civilian clothes, casual, with very little makeup to mar her features. I'm glad to see this. I've always been attracted to her natural style, and at the moment I can't help but admire it.
I know the longing in my eyes is evident.
She arches an eyebrow. "I do not understand why you do this to yourself."
"Do what?" I place my hands on my hips defensively, sensing an impending argument about the way I choose to live my life. Chakotay was masterful in provoking these fights; maybe she learned the tactic from him.
"You deny yourself, Admiral. You have done this for as long as I have known you." The observation is simple, clinical, no judgment added. She tilts her head up slightly and rephrases her original question: "I do not understand the purpose of the strategy."
I won't answer. With my eyes I dare her to continue this line of questioning, and she regards me steadily, unwilling to back down. In fact, she steps closer—inches from me. I stare tautly back.
Her voice becomes a low murmur in response to the heat in my eyes. "Why do you deny the possibility that exists here?"
I sense an abrupt shift in energy and control. Seven has taken the helm and she starts to circle me tightly, deliberately, as though she has calculated this. I am suddenly her prey, unable to move; her boldness has caught me off-guard.
"Why do you deny this passion…"
My mind and stomach tumble sharply on that word. I feel her moving close to me, behind me, and I avert my gaze in an attempt to regain focus.
My skin tingles as I feel a finger lazily trace my spine.
I can't breathe as she starts to whisper the last word into my ear, her hands lightly settling on my hips. My lips part involuntarily, I have to close my eyes and fight to concentrate—
Where did she learn to do this?
She backs away and completes her circle then, jaw set when she faces me once more, several feet away. I try not to let her see that I am nearly panting.
"Why do you deny your attraction, Admiral?"
Powerless to stop myself, I close the gap rapidly and take her. My hands in her hair, my tongue in her mouth—I want everything.
I waste no time getting it, kissing her as deeply as I can.
She is just as forceful in her reply, soon pressing her fingertips into my back and quickly moving to bite my neck, eliciting a light gasp from me before I pull her back to my lips.
I don't care who sees this ardent display of passion. The moment is too important.
I trail a hand down her stomach and she breathes in sharply against me, a feeling that I can't deny I enjoy in a very sexual way. She responds by seductively sliding her tongue along my own, and my fingernails dig eagerly at her back. The rough, hungry movement of her jaw working against mine generates chills across my body.
Her glance is predatory as she pulls away, running a hand down my neck and chest, and I vaguely wonder again where this side of her has come from. I am burning. I am absolutely lost. My walls are gone.
"I believe your denial is cured, Admiral," she declares, tongue firmly in cheek, an alluring smile on her face.
I miraculously succeed in forming some intelligible words. "Call me Kathryn…."
A genuine warmth lights her expression and she laughs at my breathlessness. It is the most satisfying thing I've heard in a long time.
My heart races at the word.
"Seven, let's go somewhere else."
Her eyebrows shoot up in surprise and then she smirks at me, understanding.
"Lead the way."
In the heart of the heat of the love…
In the heart of the heat of the love…
A/N2: Once again, I hope that was worth the time spent reading it.
You know, when I think of J/7, I always imagine it'd be Janeway who snares Seven, but in this fic I really wanted to turn that around and play with the idea that Seven could have learned quite a bit by the time she met up with Janeway again. And who could resist a playfully seductive Seven of Nine?
Let's be honest—not even Janeway. ;)
Hell, I was getting turned on just writing about it. :D
Leave a review if you feel like it, I always appreciate them.