"Come," Captain Kathryn Janeway answered the chime at her ready room door. She was unaware of the tender smile that crossed her face as she watched her Astrometrics officer enter the room. "Hello, Seven. How may I help you?"

"Captain, I have come to apologize. I am very disturbed at the negative impact my recent deal with Q has had on crew morale." Seven looked at the floor waiting for Janeway’s response.

Kathryn looked at Seven with concern. She indicated for Seven to follow her over to the couch and sit down. "What has given you that impression, Seven? I have seen the opposite."

Seven replied in a quiet voice "I have come from the mess hall. The Doctor was passing out the holo-vids that he had taken at the Christmas party. It was very unsettling. It must be a truly horrible memory. As each crewmember received their memento they began to cry. I did not realize what an awful thing I had done by reminding them of what they lost."

Janeway smiled gently and put her hand on Seven’s shoulder. "Seven , I know this is hard to understand, but even with the tears, crew morale is better than it has ever been. While it is true we are missing our loved ones all over again, at least this time we had the chance to say goodbye. So many questions that were on our minds were answered. Maybe not always what we wanted to hear, but at least there was resolution. It was a wonderful gift and I assure you that there is not one person who would want to change it." Then she gave Seven’s shoulder a squeeze and stood up. "Watch Seven, you will see people’s tears change to laughter. Soon they will happily talk about all the things they did and shared with their guests."

Seven stood up. "Thank you, Captain. I hope you are correct."

"I am, Seven. Dismissed," Janeway shook her head as she sat back down. And what did you learn, Katie? Janeway thought back over her time with her mother and Admiral Paris. Starfleet understands I am alone. Admiral Paris practically ordered me to find a partner. And mother seems to have taken quite a liking to Seven. It seems as though all my questions have been answered, so what am I waiting for. The only person left to ask is Seven herself. Would she accept me? Can I keep a relationship with her and my command separate?

Kathryn closed her eyes and pictured Seven in her thoughts. She smiled as the possibilities came to mind. The crew is looking at her in a whole new way since the gift. They know she is a generous caring person, not just a drone. Then the captain frowned as she remembered thinking Seven was off for the weekend with a romantic partner.

If I wait it could happen again and be real next time. When the clock announced the end of her shift Captain Kathryn Janeway left her ready room with a sense of purpose.

Seven had to work to keep her breathing steady when her Captain entered Astrometrics. Though she had seen Janeway in civilian clothes at different times something about her casual, yet elegant attire made Seven feel warm all over. It took only a second for Seven to commit the vision of Janeway in tight black jeans and a bright blue silk shirt to her eidetic memory. "Captain, do you require my assistance?"

"Seven, when I am in civilian attire do you think you could call me Kathryn?"

"Yes, if you would prefer that, I will comply. How may I assist you …Kathryn?"

" If you don’t have other plans this evening I wondered if you would like to share my holodeck time. I was thinking of a nice walk in the country and maybe a meal?"

"That sounds pleasant, Kathryn. Will anyone else be joining us?"

"No. I was thinking it might be nice to spend time alone together. Would you prefer we invite someone else?" Kathryn cringed internally as she waited for Seven’s reply. Oh god what will I do if she wants to bring a date on our date?

Seven studied her friend intently. "Kathryn, are you changing the parameters of our relationship?"

Janeway gulped. OK Katie this is it - last chance to bail out. She straightened her shoulders and replied. "Only if you want me to, Seven. You are my friend and I enjoy the time we spend together. I will be pleased if you join me under any context, but I would like to consider it a…well a date, if you are interested."

Seven’s smile lit up the lab. "What shall I wear on our date Capta - Kathryn? You look very attractive in your civilian attire and I would like to do the same."

Kathryn took a step closer to Seven gently rubbing her shoulder. "You always look lovely, Seven. Wear anything that you find comfortable." Janeway smiled shyly. "How does an hour sound, holodeck 2?"

"Acceptable Cap…Kathryn."

Exactly one hour latter Seven opened the doors of holodeck 2. It was Janeway’s turn to keep her breathing in check as she greeted her date. "You look lovely Seven, I have never seen you in jeans before." Seven smiled relieved that her choice of attire was appropriate for the evening. She looked around at the scene she had entered. Both women stared at each other, neither entirely sure what should happen next. Janeway finally broke the silence. "Shall we walk? I am running a program based on the northeast region of the North American continent. I have always liked the rugged rocky beaches of Maine more then the smooth sandy places like Risa."

Seven studied the area and asked, "This is someplace that you go when you are on Earth?"

"Mmm," Janeway smiled, "not much of a place to swim unless you like COLD water. But the rock climbing is good and I know a little place where you could ski while looking over the ocean." She stopped and turned to Seven. "I would love to take you there some day. As a matter of fact when I think of home I frequently think of it in the context of showing it to you."

Seven did not know what to say to such a sentiment so she kept walking. The women walked in a companionable silence for a few minutes then Janeway spoke again.

"I need to know what you are thinking. How do you feel about this, about us?" Seven stopped and turned towards the Captain. She was shocked at the unsure expression that she saw.

"Kathryn, I never allowed myself to hope you would feel for me as I felt for you. Never permitted myself to imagine what it would be like to be on a date with you. I feel very unsure about this," Seven waved her hand around the beach. "But I feel like we were meant to be …an us."

Janeway smiled gently.

"Oh good," Kathryn replied as she reached up and caressed Seven’s cheek. "I so much want there to be an us."

Seven felt the Captain’s hand caressing her and smiled as she moved her face against it. Janeway moved in a little closer and put her other hand on Seven’s shoulder. After another moment Janeway stretched her slender frame as tall as it would go up on her toes and then sighed in exasperation. "Seven," she said in a low tone not unlike a growl. "I would like to kiss you. Would you like that?"

Seven’s smile broadened as she nodded shyly.

"Well, darling, you are going to have to bend down a bit, because I don't think I will be growing any taller in the next few minutes."

"Borg do not bend." Seven said as she lifted the smaller woman to her. Kathryn’s chuckle was quickly silenced by the blonde’s lips gently caressing hers. As their kiss deepened Kathryn knew that in spite of the long trip ahead of them, she was finally home.

The End