Gun Brookes Advent Calendar 2012
Star Trek Voyager /Devil Wear Prada – Crossover
Dangerous by Design
"I know you guys are ready to go yet another turn around the shops, but I'm bushed." Andy looked imploringly at the twins. Seven had given up an hour ago and returned to the Brilliance, but of course the girls had wanted to stay longer. "We're meeting your mother for dinner in an hour. I don't know about you, but I want to shower and make myself presentable."
"Oh, all right," Cassidy said grudgingly. "Just one more peek into the candle store, please? I've never seen such diamond-candles before. Mom would love the silver one."
Andy agreed. "Okay. I'll find a seat outside and you girls can go in and pick out a candle for your mom."
She sat down with a huff of relief as the twins entered the store that really did have some wonderful items for sale. Rubbing her neck after placing the bags and parcels by her feet, Andy sighed and leaned back. These girls would become the death of her feet, no doubt, but, oh dear, they had stolen her heart. She could feel how they opened up to her more and more, which Andy knew thrilled Miranda as much as it did her. At first, when the twins learned of how the relationship between Andy and Miranda had altered, Andy had been sure the girls would either become jealous, or feel betrayed. When neither happened, Miranda had actually wiped at tears and hugged Andy very close for a long time after they went to bed that night. Another, totally unexpected, development was the close friendship with Seven. Miranda had expressed a similar joy at how close she was getting to Kathryn, as Miranda didn't have many close personal friends. Certainly no one who lived under the same spotlight. Kathryn and Seven were legendary after crossing the entire galaxy and beating the Borg in the process. Now that they were a couple, it was as if their fame had grown beyond all limits throughout the Alpha Quadrant, which bothered Seven more than Kathryn. She knew Seven was glad to be away from the onslaught of the media. The fact that Miranda had helped by adding to their legend through the Women of Voyager fashion shoot, did not seem to faze either of them, though.
Andy checked the time. 1900 hours. Half an hour until they were meeting up with Miranda. She was just about to stand up and get the girls' attention when she saw Tal Celes across the promenade. Tal was approaching a tall woman with long, shimmering hair. They talked animatedly in front of the luxurious hotel, Tal even taking a step back from the woman who invaded her personal space. The taller woman then grabbed Tal by the shoulders and pulled her toward the hotel entrance.
"We're ready, Andy. We decided on—"
"Shh. Wait." Andy held up a hand and perhaps something in her tone made the girls realize she meant it, because their chatter stopped instantly, but then continued in excited whispers.
"Isn't that the Mom's new girl? Tal? What's she doing? Why's that woman pulling her along? Are those guys spying on them?"
Andy glanced around them. Caroline was right. Darkly dressed men were standing to the left and right of the hotel structure, looking as if they were interested in anything but the altercation between Tal and the striking woman. Then the woman pulled Tal inside the hotel and the men moved instantly.
"Caroline, Cassidy. Listen. This is important. Take the bags and all our stuff and then you run to your mom. Hurry as fast as you can, okay? I'll page her and let her know why I'll be late."
"But Andy…?" Caroline looked frightened. "What if those guys are criminals or something?"
"I'll be careful. Your mom, Seven and Kathryn will help me if I need it. Now run toward the gate and go aboard the Brilliance. Instantly."
She watched the girls long enough to see them reach the gate. As soon as they were through it, she hurried toward the hotel. Something told her Tal was in trouble and even if the woman was a pain sometimes, she was also becoming a friend. She slapped her comm badge as she entered the hotel. "Andrea Sachs to Miranda Priestly."
"Miranda Priestly is detained in a meeting. Leave a message."
Oh damn. The computer voice was not what Andy wanted to hear. She could use an emergency override, but she was not sure it actually was an emergency. Instead she paged Seven.
"Seven here. Go ahead, Andrea."
"I'm on my way into the hotel close to the gateway, the Tamarina. I think I just saw Tal Celes being coerced to go in there with a woman. She in turn was followed by at least four men dressed in black. They did not look friendly, Seven."
"Andy, this is Kathryn. Do nothing to endanger yourself, but if you can keep your eyes on Tal until we get there, that would be very helpful." Kathryn sounded concerned. "This woman, what did she look like?"
Andy moved in through the doors of the hotel as she described the person Tal had met up with.
"Damn it. We need to get Miranda. This could blow up in our faces."
Andy understood exactly zero, but then she spotted Tal as the woman nudged her into an elevator. Studying the computer console above it, Andy saw it stopped already at the second floor. "Second floor," she spoke into the comm badge. "I'm going up."
"Be careful, Andrea." Seven sounded as if she was walking fast. "Miranda Priestly will not forgive any of us if something happens to you."
Andy had no idea as to what might happen when she took the stairs to the next level, she only knew she'd ended up in the middle of something she had no knowledge about.
"What?" Miranda rounded on Janeway, blue fire blazing from her eyes. "You're telling me Andrea is shadowing Tal Celes and a strange woman?"
"Believed to be Nash Forster, yes. Andy sent your girls back to the ship and followed Tal while she paged Seven. I was there. I gave her the go ahead to keep an eye on Tal so we could verify her whereabouts and who—"
"Andrea is a civilian! She has no training and now knowledge how to defend herself it this goes south. How could you use her, betray her, like this?" Miranda hissed and stalked closer. "Where is she?"
"That's just it. We can't go in after her as it'll be too obvious—"
"I asked; where is she?"
"At the Tamarina, on her way up to the second floor. I've got a transporter lock on her. If something goes 'south', I'll have her out of there instantly." Janeway knew this was hardly enough to sooth this tigress in front of her.
"You will beam her out now." The low growl would have intimidated any other person into action at a heartbeat, but Janeway only shook her head. "Stop wasting time, Miranda. Get to the Tamarina and once you're there and Andy briefs you, you can send her back to the ship."
Air left Miranda's lungs so fast, it sounded like a serpent's hiss. "Fine." She stormed out, nearly knocking Seven over on her way through the door, which said something for Miranda's state of mind.
Andy stood in the corridor just inside the stairwell, looking around the people crowding it on their way to their quarters. As it turned out, it wasn't hard to spot the tall woman Tal was with. She moved away from Andy and would soon round the corner at the far end of the corridor. A little farther behind, two of the men seemed to be in pursuit.
"Oh, hell." Andy hurried after them, pushing people aside as she mumbled apologies. When she reached the corner, she saw the woman more or less shove Tal through a door and as it was about to close behind them, the men caught up and forced their way in. "Oh, no!" Andy leaped forward and was about to follow, when a strong hand gripped her upper arm.
"Oh, no you don't."
"Miranda!" Andy pointed. "These people. They got Tal in there."
"I know." Miranda was still dressed in her haute couture outfit from earlier, and now she donned a stern face. "I'll explain more later, Andrea, but for now I need you to follow my cue. Will you be able to do that?"
So used to following Miranda's every command, every whim, really, Andy merely nodded. "Of course."
"It's important these people don't suspect anything. I'm the quadrant's leading fashonista; you are my assistant and more importantly, my lover. Got it?"
Confused now, Andy only nodded. Who else would they be? This didn't make sense. What was Miranda going to explain later?
Miranda shocked her by using some sort of gadget at the control panel to the left of the door, which hissed open instantly. Smiling broadly now, Miranda swept inside, her usual self-assuredness palpable.
"Tal, my dear, I thought that was you. Andrea and I were just going to dine downstairs when we saw you pass us with your friend."
"Miranda." Tal seemed relieved to see them. Between her and the two men, stood the tall woman from before. Unless Andy misunderstood completely, it was as if this woman had placed herself between Tal and the two men. "Yes, I would love to introduce you to an old…friend. This is Nash."
"Nash? Lovely to meet you. Why don't you and Tal join us for dinner? I'm sure your associates don't mind?" She smiled sweetly at the men.
"Of course not," the older of the men said through gritted teeth.
"That's settled then. Let's go downstairs before they give our table away. Come along, darling." Miranda took Andy's arms and only the way she clung to it like she needed Andy's strength to remain upright, showed that clearly nothing was what it seemed right now.
The four women stepped into the busy corridor, leaving the men behind.
Miranda stuck her hand inside her coat and tapped her comm badge. "All right. Miranda Priestly to Janeway. Four to beam over."
Tal stood motionless on the transporter dais where she'd rematerialized with the others. Andy looked completely mystified and the way she looked at her lover did not bode well. She hardly dared to look over at Nash. Surely she was fuming and ready to pull some concealed weapon and slit Tal's throat?
Miranda stepped off the dais first and nodded briskly to Janeway who stood there, gazing solemnly at them behind the computer console. "Not the way we planned, Admiral, but results are results nonetheless."
"We? We?" Andy joined Miranda, her eyebrows knitted and low. "What's going on?"
"Darling. Soon, all right?" Miranda gripped Andy's hand for a moment, her eyes going from ice to imploring warmth for a few seconds. "Andrea?"
"Okay. Soon." Andy relaxed visibly, but remained close to Miranda as if she thought her lover needed protection or something.
"So now I'm the unwilling guest of the Brilliance and Admiral Janeway. Fabulous." Nash joined the others, hands on her hips and with a disdainful toss of her impressive hair. "Anyone care to tell me why? I was under the impression that Tal was not all that eager to rekindle our friendship and that begs the question, what do you need from me? Am I far off topic if I think it's about my boss?"
"Not that far off." Janeway glanced over at Tal. "You all right, Tal?"
"I'm not a patient woman," Nash continued. "Unless you're about to brief me, I'm transporting back—"
"I wouldn't recommend that. Those men, they were Maladorian's, weren't they?" Miranda spoke politely. "They were no doubt there to make sure you didn't speak to anyone he did not approve of. Or…" She squinted. "Or you are here at your own initiative and he has had you followed as you didn't tell him where you were going."
"You're very perceptive," Nash said through her teeth.
"I have more perceptions where that one came from, but I suggest we move to the Admiral's ready room, or perhaps a conference room."
"Absolutely. As I don't want anyone to see us together, we're using a site-to-site transport." Janeway gave the voice command and Tal felt the familiar tingle before she found herself in Janeway's ready room where Seven met them.
"Of course, where Janeway goes, there goes her Borg." Nash smirked joylessly.
"Or vice versa," Janeway said lightly. "Take a seat everybody. Anyone require something to drink."
"Coffee. No foam latte, triple espresso." Miranda sat down on the couch.
"You get the show on the road and I'll prepare the replicator if that's all right, Kathryn?" Andy fidgeted. Her eyes were darker than normal and Tal guessed she needed something to do, to cope.
"Thank you, Andy." Janeway squeezed the young woman's arm as she passed her and took a seat as well. "Seven? Join me?"
Seven followed suit and Tal sat down too before her legs gave in from all the emotional turmoil. Nash seemed reluctant, but eventually chose the arm chair across from everyone else. Her eyes, normally so cool and calculating, was the only thing that gave away some of the fury Tal could sense emanating from Nash.
"First of all," Janeway said in an amicable tone, "I want to know how much of your boss' extracurricular activities you are aware of."
"And why would I tell you anything about my boss. He's the one who pay me, not you."
"Because I would surmise he's hidden the worst part from you. Would you agree with me, Tal?" Janeway changed her gaze to meet Tal's.
"Yes. When I read the report on his track record, I knew there was no way Nash knew about the full extent."
"Don't dismiss this so fast, Nash." Angry now, Tal spoke distinctly. "I left you because of him, and the fact that you work for him, and because I thought you'd never change. I was certain of it. Now that I know more about Maladorian, I have changed my mind. I don't think you could ever stand behind a man guilty of such atrocities. The thieving, the looting, and smuggling, yes, but being responsible for so much death…"
"You're wrong," Nash interrupted. "You couldn't be more wrong. I know exactly who he is, what he's done and what he intends to do in the near future. I made it my business to know."
Shocked, Tal stared at her former lover. "W-what? It's not possible…you…you're not like that. Like him." Her stomach was trembling as what was left of her heart began to crack.
"Guess you didn't know me as well as you thought. I can only say the same. Not really a cage-dancer-turned-model, huh?"
"Yes, but not only that." Tal glanced at Janeway who nodded. "I'm also Star Fleet intelligence."
Nash actually blinked a few times at that information. "Really. Your parents' death sent you on that route?"
"Not only that." Tal muttered to herself.
"So you claim that you work for Maladorian knowing full well the extent of his crimes?" Janeway leaned forward, resting her elbows on her knees. "I find that hard to believe, given your own history."
"Leave my history out of it, Admiral."
"Impossible." Janeway accepted a mug of coffee from Andy who now knelt on the floor next to the coffee table. "Thank you."
Miranda regarded Andy with a slightly uneasy expression and then refocused on Nash. "I'm sure there is a vast amount of intel to add to the dossier we're keeping on you, Natasha, but we know one thing that indicates you could be a useful double-agent."
Tal flinched. Natasha? Why had Nash never disclosed her full name?
"What so called truth do you think you know?" Nash sneered. "And I go by Nash. Only."
"Ridiculous," Miranda said with a superior tone. "We know Maladorian was behind the near complete destruction of the terraforming plant on Geyo 2. His evil deed resulted in the death of more than two thousand people, including—"
"Stop." Nash's throat worked and her complexion turned into a greyish green. "Just stop."
"It killed your sister, her husband, and—"
"And her two children. Aydis and Natasha." Nash's sounded ghostly, as if she'd left her body and was in hiding. Somewhere away from the particular pain that Tal knew only too well.
"I'm sorry he did that to you, to all those people. This seems to be his M.O." Janeway's compassionate voice was like a blanket around Tal. She remembered this voice, this larger-than-life attitude of the woman who brought Voyager back through thousands of light-years of hostile space. She worried that Nash couldn't use this particular memory to soothe her pain. This kind of pain, of losing it all, everything you looked on as yours. Your history, your family, your past—all of it eradicated by the action of a despicable individual. Tal also knew the encompassing fury that took you over, the urge for vengeance. A lust for retaliation that consumed every cell of your being filled your days and haunted you in the night.
Not really thinking of how it might look to the other or how it would be received by Nash, Tal shifted until she knelt by the armchair. She placed her hands gently on Nash's trembling arms. Those tremors weren't from fear. Tal knew this for certain. These were like the pre-tremors around a volcano ready to explode and pour it's magma over everything and everybody within range.
"I know, Nash. I know exactly. I told you my parents passed away not long ago. I didn't tell you they resided on the colony of Logg's Prime."
Nash blanched. "Logg's Prime. Maladorian…"
"Yes. He killed my family too. We share the same grief and the same anger."
Standing up, Nash walked over to the viewport and Tal held her breath as the woman she always thought had a wildness inside, turned to face them.
"Very well." Nash bared her teeth in what appeared to be meant as a smile of sorts. "I'll help you kill him."
Miranda regarded Andrea with as much dread as she'd ever felt. Would Andrea understand why she hadn't been able to share this part of her duties? Or would she see it as betrayal and—leave? "Tell me what you're thinking, darling." Miranda swallowed hard.
"I honestly don't know what to think." Andrea turned around from where she'd been putting away some of her fabrics. "You're some secret operative for Star Fleet. Tal is not a former cage dancer, but someone who is hell-bent on killing a man who is responsible for murdering her parents. This woman, Tal's former lover, I assume, is onboard for the same reason. Kathryn and Seven are who they say they are, at least. Always something."
"Can you understand why I couldn't share this with you?" Miranda pushed her trembling hands behind her, clasping them as she willed her heart not to break prematurely.
"Absolutely. I would imagine you'd break all sorts of spy code if you let the woman you love in on Federation secrets. They would have court-martialed you or something, I'm sure." Andrea sounded way too reasonable.
"Don't. Scream at me. Yell at me for not telling you. Tear my head off and let me know how betrayed you feel, even if you understand. Just d-don't push me away. Don't leave me, Andrea." Miranda could hardly breathe. Tears clogged the back of her throat and fear paralyzed her tongue, making it nearly impossible to form the words.
Andrea's mouth opened, but no words came through. She looked stunned. "Leave?" she finally managed to say. "I'm not leaving. Not you. Nor the girls." Tears rose in her eyes and the way she tugged at her fingers was a surefire sign how panicky she was right now.
"You're not?" Miranda stepped closer and unclasped her hands. As she took yet another step toward Andrea, her love leaped at her, throwing her arms around her neck and hugged her tight.
"No. No! I could never leave you. I'd…I'd die without you, Miranda. Oh, Gods, I'm shaking all over and I'm really trying to understand, and to find a way to be supportive and be what you need, to not make you pull away from me and think I can't handle it and—"
"Shh. You're doing fine. Andrea." Miranda found it easy now to be the strong one. As long as Andrea loved her and wasn't about to pack up and demand her own quarters, she could handle anything. "I'm sorry I couldn't tell you. I know you know why. And, Gods, I'm glad you do know some of it now. This way I can protect you and the girls better and I don't have to hide everything. There are still details I can't share, but know you know my double duty, to Runway, and to the Federation."
"Sort of interesting that you mentioned Runway first, before the Federation." Andrea chuckled breathlessly. "I just want to ask you a favor, Miranda."
"If it is at all doable, you can have anything you want. You know that." Miranda combed through Andrea's bangs with her fingers. "You know I could never deny you anything."
"I know. Normally I have to harness you in when you go crazy with the giving." Andrea smiled. "But this is different. If there is a way to share with me when you go off on assignments for the Federations, especially if they are dangerous, I would like to know. If I don't, then I'll worry my heart out even when you're away on totally benign Runway stuff—I mean, photo shoots. And such."
"I will be breaking the rules if I do, but I don't care. You never ask for anything. Never mind the 'spy code' as you so eloquently put it. You will not have to worry needlessly. I promise you."
"Wow. You hardly promise anything to anyone. This is pretty big." Andrea framed Miranda's face with her hands. "I love you. I love you so much."
Miranda's heart swelled back to what was its normal state around Andrea. "Silly girl." She pressed her lips to Andrea's and held her close. "I love you more than I ever thought myself able to. You're the keeper of my heart. You know that, right?"
"Yeah. And just so you don't forget whose holding my heart a happy captive." Andrea kissed her back, brushing those full lips against Miranda's over and over.
Miranda was about to deepen the kiss when the door hisses open and in stormed the twins, wide-eyed and out of breath.
"You're here smooching?" Cassidy came to a sudden halt. "Here we think you're being kidnapped by those goons and you're here. All cuddled up and just being cozy. Hm." She folded her arms over her chest. "Typical."
"At least they're all right," Caroline pointed out and went over to wrap her arms around Andrea's waist. "I was scared when you ran after those ninja looking guys."
"I'm sorry you were frightened." Andrea smoothed down Caroline's wild red hair.
"I wasn't scared. I thought it was exciting." Cassidy mimicked her sisters' pose and hugged Miranda. As much as Cassidy went for the bravado style, Miranda knew her daughter well enough to notice the evaporating shadows in both her daughters' eyes. They had been very fearful, both for Andrea sake and for their mother's. She hugged Cassidy tight to her with her free arm and held on to Andrea with the other. Andrea did the same and soon they were wrapped up in a rare sort of group-hug.
Miranda laughed. No matter what the future held in their quest to get to Maladorian and bring him back to face charges, this was a perfect, wonderful moment.
Tal walked silently behind Janeway and Nash as they made their way through the Brilliance's corridors. She listened intently and was not surprised at Janeway's ability for compassion.
"I'm not going to insult you by mincing words," Janeway said to Nash as she escorted the tall woman to her quarters. "You're going to find yourself in the presence of at least one armed guard until I feel you can be trusted. That said, I don't want to put you in the brig as we have rather a long journey ahead of us. You will benefit from being around Star Fleet personnel and the civilians aboard the Brilliance." She tapped the panel next to the door.
Nash and Tal stepped inside. "Impersonal, but adequate," Nash said, looking around. "Do I get replicator rations?"
"Slightly restricted in nature, but when it comes to energy spent, you have the same allotment as everybody else, including me."
"I wasn't about to replicate a weapon. Just a few knick knacks that I could use to make this a little more…homey."
"My quarters are across the corridor," Tal said. "In case you need…something."
Nash's eyes lit up with a dangerous fire that Tal recognized with a tremor of her midsection as evidence. "Oh, goodie. You know my taste so well. That will come in handy."
"Uhm. A security officer will be just outside the door until later. I've business to attend to. We're closing the gates in half an hour and then we'll be on our way to the L'Wiasta sector. ETA unless we run into a snag is twenty days from now. Use the time wisely, Ms. Forster. Lt' Celes." Janeway nodded politely and stepped outside. Tal heard her talk to the guard on duty and then there was silence.
Slowly Tal turned to Nash who regarded her with an unreadable expression on her face. Now that there were no witnesses, Nash seemed even tenser, and perhaps a bit…tired? Was that even possible? "So. You okay?" Tal wanted to groan at her trite words.
"Yes. Quite comfortable. Feeling like a prisoner, just a wee bit, but all in all, it could be worse."
"It could indeed." Tal sat down on the couch beneath the panorama view port. "We could be at the mercy of those armed thugs back at the Miramar. The stars only know what their true agenda was. Kill us? Kill one of us, or threaten to do so to get us talking. That sounds plausible. Would you have given everything away to save me? Or would you have kept your secrets, hid behind your under-cover part and let them slice and dice me?"
"Stop it. Stop!" Nash was on her so fast; Tal fell back against the armrest. Her arms closed around Nash's back automatically. "I would never let anyone hurt you. I would take them out so fast, they wouldn't see me coming. Even if I had to use only my hands, I'd keep you safe at all cost. I know you don't believe me. I know you hate me for my association with Maladorian, but that is the fucking truth! I would kill to keep you safe. Just like that." She snapped her fingers and then pressed her lips onto Tal's neck. "When you left…as much as I could understand why…I couldn't believe it. I had come to relax in the knowledge that you were there when I woke up. There when I went to bed. No matter what I had to do during the days…you were there."
"And then I wasn't." Tal spoke bleakly. She could feel the tremors travelling through Nash. So much emotion, only restrained because Nash had learned the hard way how to do that. Tal remembered one of the rare times when Nash had shared how she'd once studied the art of logic and control with a Vulcan master. She had a feeling that control was slipping and here she was—probably the one who had to bear the brunt of it when unleashed.
"Then you weren't." Nash looked down at her with hungry eyes. "And yet, a few months later, here you are. Going after me, guns blazing sort of, and in the company of such surprises as Miranda Priestly and the most famous admiral in the Alpha Quadrant, Admiral Janeway. Of course you brought the former Borg as well. And who was that little firecracker who served the coffee? I thought she was some sort of assistant at first, but the way Priestly looked at her, I could be wrong."
"Andy's her lover. Janeway and Seven are together. Just so you know." Tal's body was betraying her on all levels now. She arched under Nash. "And then there's me. Someone you have every reason to hate. Really."
Nash nibbled Tal's lower lip and then pressed their lips together in that type of mind melting kiss Tal had experienced over and over in her dreams after leaving Nash. She gave up. Clinging to Nash she wrapped her legs around the other woman. She parted her lips willingly and deepened the kiss. Nash grunted and took as much as Tal gave, and somehow, and this was new, she gave of herself just as much. Nash's hands caressed every part of Tal she could reach, and her shaking body revealed how affected she was.
"I still love you, Nash." Tal sobbed now. She had never meant to repeat those words every again, but holding Nash like this, and feel her reciprocate on all levels, made it impossible to lie, even by omission.
"Tal?" Nash raised her head some to look at her. "You speak the truth?" Nash fell into her native dialect. It was evident even through the universal translator.
Nash sat up and managed to pull Tal up with her. Straddling Nash's thighs, Tal held on to her shoulders and tried to get her brain to catch up.
"I adore you. You must realize how deep my feelings for you run when I risked everything I built with Maladorian to gain his trust." Nash cupped her hips. "I love you, Tal. I'll do what I can to make Janeway and her bunch to trust me. Together we can take him out…and then I will ask you how you feel."
Tal shivered. "Fair enough," she muttered and sank into the embrace. "But for now. Just hold me, all right?"
Nash squeezed her back. She felt the new little glowing light in the pit of her stomach and for the first time in months, she dared cautiously to hope.
"Seven!" Janeway arched under the skilled hands of her lover as a toe-curling orgasm tore through her system. "Oh, yes, yes, yes…Seven...ah!"
Seven had already climaxed twice to Kathryn's delight, and now she was reciprocating in kind. Sweaty, tousled, make up gone, and the icy pose Seven kept in place around others, eradicated, Seven had never looked more beautiful. Janeway looked down between her legs where the digits of Seven's Borg-enhanced hand connected with her body. As Seven slowly withdrew her hand, Janeway groaned and held her lover tight.
As their bodies cooled off, Janeway's mind returned to the breakfast they'd shared with Andrea and Miranda. She dreaded the answer, but knew she had to face it head on. "Sweetheart? Do you remember when you asked me about children?"
"Of course. I have an eidetic memory." Seven rose on her elbow. "Why does this question cause you such concern?"
"Do you want children?" Janeway blinked, confused at the sudden tears forming behind her eyelids.
Seven tilted her head for a moment, clearly considering the question. "Yes," she answered. "One day."
"O-one day?" What did that mean? Janeway prepared for the potential blow to her system.
"Yes. When we decide we have reached that place in our relationship when we could offer a child our undivided attention. I do not think growing up aboard a space ship is detrimental to a child's development, but I wish for us to be able to offer ample time on Earth or any other place planetside."
Janeway pressed her forehead against Seven's cheek, feeling the starburst formation of her Borg implant there against her. "I—I was afraid that you wanting children did not include me." She felt silly for saying this, but knew she had to be truthful if they were to stand a chance in the long run.
"Same-gender procreation has long ceased to be an issue, has it not?" Seven frowned.
"Yes, and I didn't meant that. I…just figured you might not think…" The more Janeway tried to explain her irrational fear, the sillier it sounded. She felt her cheeks color and she closed her eyes in dismay. "I'm sorry."
"Do not be sorry, my Kathryn." Seven nuzzled her cheek. "I know how I often fear you may grow tired of me, or how you perhaps might regret us being together. None of my fears are based in reality or from anything you say or do. I fear…because fear is always ready to attack us when we least expect it, I find. I do understand how our minds…I think B'Elanna Torres-Paris called them 'mind-ghosts', can sabotage us."
"So I'm a foolish old woman with mind-ghosts disrupting my happiness?" Janeway chuckled with tears in her voice. I'm not a very good catch, Seven."
Seven smiled broadly, looking relieved and happy now. "You are, Kathryn. You are the catch. Formerly the most eligible bachelorette in the Alpha Quadrant if you believe the tabloid PADDzines."
"Oh, God, don't remind me." Janeway covered her eyes. "Even Miranda who thinks there's no such thing as bad publicity, rolled her eyes at that one."
"And it is no longer true." Seven kissed her way up along Janeway's arm. "You are mine, Kathryn Janeway."
Melting into the pillows with Seven in her arms, Janeway knew she had never been happier. In the midst of a dangerous mission that might yet blow up in their faces, she was content to be just where she was—as long as Seven was there with her.
"Sleep now, Kathryn," Seven murmured and settled in next to her, her arm protectively around her. "I have you."
"Yes." Kathryn turned her head and buried her face into Seven's silky hair. "You do."