Chapter V (day three, night, Drone)

Water sloshed over the edge of the tub onto the floor when Kathryn abruptly sat up.  Sitting in a state of half sleep, the unexpected call of the door chime wreaked havoc on her nervous system.  She looked around the tub where the water had splashed and grimaced.  “Shit,” she sighed.  “Computer, who’s at the door?”  She had to know who was calling on her before jumping from the tub.  They’d ruined her daydream, for one.  Two, they caused a mess in her bathroom which she didn’t feel like cleaning up.  She smiled thinking that she might invite them in anyway and make them clean up the mess.

“Seven of Nine.”

She froze at the computer’s even toned answer, which shed light upon another unexpected turn of the night.  She sat back and was ready to admit the Borg, the door chimed again.  Laughing, she dipped fully underwater before allowing Seven entry.

Seven was beginning to worry that something was wrong before the doors to Kathryn’s quarters finally opened to admit her.  When she didn’t see the redhead upon entering, she worried again.  “Captain?”  She peered to the right and found no one.

Over the sounds of more sloshing water, Kathryn failed to hear the doors swish open.  Carefully, she set her feet down on the wet floor and reached for her robe.  It hung just out of her reach.  Before she knew it, she was on her butt and her head was throbbing.

“Kathryn?”  The crash she heard came from her left.  The ‘oomph’ accompanied by the thump made her run.  “Kathryn!”  Quickly, she shielded her eyes from a sight she was hardly prepared for.

“Seven!”  As much as her mind wanted her body to scramble to get a hold of the robe, her body would not comply.  Her behind and head hurt too much to move much more than a millimeter.  There was a shock of Seven seeing her lying supine on the floor of her bathroom, and not to mention nude, hardly embarrassed her, it was just weird.  Weird as it may be, she had to get her robe and get off the cold floor.  “Seven,” she spoke with a more controlled voice, trying not to laugh at Seven’s childish response, “I need your help.”

“You are naked.”

Now, she had to laugh.  “Well, yes.  Yes, I am.  You caught me in the middle of a bath.  Nevertheless, Seven, I really need your help right now.  It’s nothing you haven’t seen before, I’m sure.”  Seven reluctantly removed her hand from her eyes, but still kept them shut.  “Damn it, Seven, please.  I need you to get my robe and then help me up.  I’m not as resilient as I used to be, though if you ever repeat that to anyone I swear I’ll come after you with a phaser.  Borg enhanced be damned.”  Kathryn joined in when Seven started to laugh.  The laughter seemed to break down whatever it was preventing her from opening her eyes.

She wasn’t sure why she felt the need to shield her eyes seeing Kathryn naked on the floor.  Kathryn was right; it wasn’t anything she hadn’t seen before.  Easily, she picked up the fuzzy peach robe then bent down covering Kathryn’s shoulders with it and helped her to her feet.

“Now, that wasn’t so hard, was it?”  She pulled the robe over her shoulders, shoving her arms down the sleeves and tied the belt as tightly as possible making sure it wasn’t going to come loose.  Seven followed her from the room, through her bedroom and out into the living area where she plopped down on the sofa.  She winced as the pain returned.  “What was it you came to see me about?”

The question asked brought Seven back to the reason she was there in the first place.  When she realized she honestly had no reason, that she just automatically spit out ‘deck three’ in the turbo lift and made her way to the captain’s quarters on auto pilot she didn’t try to feign an answer.  “I don’t know.”

Kathryn’s face lit up with a confused smile of amusement.  “You don’t know?”  She thought for a moment.  “I saw you and Celes in the holodeck tonight.  Did you end up beating Tom and B’Elanna?”

“We did.”  She wanted to inquire about the conversation she had with Chakotay, but she wanted to find a way of doing it indirectly.

“And did you two have a good time together?”  She watched as Seven’s face turned a hot red.  “I’m going to take that as another ‘we did.’”

Despite the smile covering Kathryn’s face, something told Seven there was more than meets the eye.  “Your conversation with B’Elanna earlier today…  You spoke about what we discussed the previous night.”  The smile faltered for only a moment, indicating that her instinct was dead on.  “And with Chakotay tonight in the holodeck?”  With that, Kathryn’s smile was wiped clean off her face.  Seven sighed and resisted the urge to sit to talk this out.

After minutes of quiet contemplation, Kathryn finally lifted her head to speak.  “I guess this afternoon, B’Elanna spoke with you and Celes before she called me down to the Mess Hall,” her voice was quiet, husking softly over the hum of the ship’s normal sounds.  “She advised me that if I didn’t think about what we spoke about more that she’d kick my ass until I saw the light,” the sentence ended in a light chuckle.  “When I did stop to think about it more, I found myself questioning a lot of things in my life.  It was a lot more than I expected to discover over something that hadn’t existed three days ago for me.  Chakotay came over to me tonight asking me if I needed to talk.  I guess I did, but I shouldn’t have with him.  Hell, B’Elanna even offered to talk with me more, I should I have dragged her over to the table and sat her down.  He wasn’t at all happy there still was no chance for us.  I think what upset him more, though, was that he thought he’d lost to you when I haven’t even made up my mind yet.”

Seven knew what this meant right away, but she wasn’t sure she liked it.  Kathryn initially said no, so she went to B’Elanna who also said no.  Now that she’d found Celes, who apparently was saying yes, she didn’t want to give it up.  Consternation must have shown in her expression.

“Annika,” Kathryn got up, standing a pace away from Seven, “I know that you and Celes have hit it off, and I’m not saying that I want to be with you, exactly.  Surely, I don’t want to ruin what the two of you have established in such a short amount of time.”

“Then what exactly are you saying?”

She let out a sigh as she sat down again, her head was still throbbing, but only slightly less so than before.  “I’m not entirely sure I know the answer to that right now.  It’s scaring the hell out of me and I don’t know what to think of myself anymore.”

“Do not doubt yourself entirely for something that affects so little of your life.  I realize the issue of same gender relationships was at one time extremely controversial; however, you cannot allow someone else’s past mistakes and ignorance’s to form your future.”

“No, Annika, I realize that and it’s the least of my worries right now.  It’s something entirely different than the things I’m going over in my mind.  Maybe it’s because of what I put myself through traversing the Void.  I holed myself up in here and thought about nothing more than ‘I got us stuck out here and I can’t get us home’.  I had a lot of time to think and even thought it wasn’t conscious, I was thinking of everything, doubting every decision I’ve ever made in my life.  When you came in here that night, and I cried on your shoulder, somehow it released something in me.  What that is I’ve yet to figure out.  Maybe I’ll never know.  I do know that I’m seeing things in a different light now.”

“Perhaps when you hit your head earlier, you knocked your senses back to where they belong.”

Janeway was shocked only for an instant at Seven’s joking before she had to hold back her laughter.  “Perhaps.”  Seven smiled back.  “So, you’re happy with the way things are progressing with Celes?”  Again, Seven’s features blushed furiously.  “Is all the answer I’m going to get from you on this subject?  A red face?  You know if you answer B’Elanna like that she’ll be spreading rumors all over that aren’t true.”

“In which case, I would suspend her life.”

“Seven!  You’ll do no such thing.”

“To think of it,” Seven decided to shift the subject slightly, “there is something I wish to speak with you about.”  Kathryn eyed her quizzically.  “Other than what we have been speaking about.”

“Go ahead, then.”

The thought had only come to her just then, but Kathryn didn’t need to know that.  “I would like to quarter off a section of cargo bay two and create a more suitable living area for myself.”

Genuinely, Kathryn thought about the concept.  A few alcoves was hardly enough space after all this time.  She wondered why she hadn’t suggested something of the like sooner.  “I’ve got a better idea.”  Seven’s interest slightly peaked.  “Don’t look so dismayed, Annika, I’m not going to say no.  I was just going to suggest that you use one of the empty V.I.P. quarters up here.  I’m sure you do-“ she stopped herself in mid-sentence realizing Seven may have had an ulterior motive for her inquiry.

Seven knew exactly what Kathryn was implying.  After a few milliseconds of thought, she couldn’t deny that may have been the unconscious reason behind the mysterious idea.  “It was not my intention, but the notion will not be lost for future endeavors.”  For a moment, Seven fancied the idea of living with someone.  If they were as neat as Kathryn, fine.  If they were as messy as B’Elanna, never.  The idea of living with Celes lingered on as she continued the conversation.  “However, moving the Borg alcoves to deck two or three is not possible.”

“Oh,” Kathryn was almost excited to have Seven moving in above and right next door to her instead of decks below.

Detecting the note of disappointment in her friend’s voice, she decided to lighten the mood.  “It’s not as if I’m moving into fluidic space, Kathryn.”  The thought actually made her stomach turn.

Kathryn laughed lightly momentarily, “Annika, do as you will with part of the cargo bay.  Just don’t deplete the ship’s energy resources replicating what you need, all right?  We do need to get ourselves home,” she paused for effect, “sometime this millennia.”

“If you insist, Captain.”

“Oh, I do.  You are the one working on the slipstream drive, so, how is that going?  Any headway?”  Kathryn saw the frustration come over Seven before the young woman even thought to speak.  “Don’t rush it, Annika.  Take the time to think it out rather than to hammer it out by force.”  She didn’t give her any leeway leading into her attack.  “So, you’re not going to tell me anything about what’s going on between you and Celes?”  The blush crept up quickly from underneath Seven’s bio suit.  “You’re going to make me guess?”  Seven dipped her head shyly and even wormed under Kathryn’s scrutiny.  “Annika,” her voice was grave, “you don’t want me to guess, but” a sigh moved her voice higher and lighter, “if I must, I must.”  As she opened her mouth with her first guess about to roll off her tongue, Seven’s hand went up in protest accented with a cry of relent.  She calmed herself easily, still feeling the urge to play just under her skin.  “A captain can’t be curious?”

“No.”  Seven shifted uneasily, tossing her hands neatly behind her back.

Kathryn pouted, “A friend, surely?”  The mere sight of Seven rolling her eyes caused her to laugh.  “Please,” she almost begged after calming herself once more.

As reluctant as she was to divulge what had transpired, the pout crossing Kathryn’s face was hard to resist.  She made a note to tell Kathryn at a later date to use it as a tactic during negotiations.  Getting supplies would be simple if the captain utilized such an adoring expression.  “Very well,” she added ‘Captain Nosey’ under her breath, but Kathryn hadn’t seemed to notice.  “After leaving the holodeck, I ‘walked’ Celes ‘home.’  Before we reached her quarters, to avoid her,” Seven searched for a kind word, or two, “irritatingly rude cabin mate, I stopped and kissed her.  She kissed me back.”

An amused smiled danced across her lips, she knew.  Trying to hide it only made her feel silly, but Kathryn attempted it anyway.  “You sound surprised.”

She nodded her head slightly to the side agreeing with the captain’s assessment.  “It took me three point two one seconds before I understood what it meant.  That I had succeeded in gaining her favor.”

“Oh, Annika, don’t say it like that,” Kathryn laughed easily.  “It’s easy to see Celes harbors something more for you than just being your friend.  Even if she didn’t quite see it before she kissed you back.”  Seven looked uneasy on her feet.  “It’s good for you, healthy.  Go with it.  Do you want something?  I’m in the mood for some coffee.”  She started for the replicator before she even completed the sentence.

“You are always in the mood for coffee.  That is not good for you, healthy.  Do not go ‘with it.’”  Seven watched Kathryn’s steps slow before she turned back around to face her from across the room.

“You think I should switch to decaffeinated.”  Her tones were laced with sarcasm.  Seven glared at her making it known to her she was serious.  “All right, fine.  No coffee,” she turned to the replicator, a little annoyed, and whispered into it.  A small bowl appeared with a spoon sticking out from the side.  “You sure you don’t want anything?”  A negative response.  She shrugged, knowing better, then stalked back to the couch underlying the view port.  Kathryn was very aware of being watched intently.  She didn’t entirely care, so she spooned a mouthful of the dark crème colored treat into her mouth.

“Allow me to guess,” Seven paused, her mind thinking up ways to snatch the bowl and run with it while at the same time reprogramming the replicator to do away with anything that had coffee in its name, “coffee ice cream?”

Kathryn only looked up, her mouth attempting a smile while sucking the treat from the spoon.

The spoon was suddenly being pointed at Seven, wagging impatiently at her like a dog’s tail until Kathryn finished what was in her mouth.

“Will you please sit down?  You’re making me nervous standing there like that.”  In truth, it bothered her something terrible that Seven never relaxed when they spoke.  Seven’s mouth formed a response, but she held the spoon out again, “Aht!”  Again, Seven tried to protest.  “Nope!  Don’t even try it.”

Seven’s patience was being tried with each interruption Kathryn injected.  “Kathryn, I am not refusing to sit.”


“I must regenerate.”


“You are still acting as if I’m leaving the ship.”  Two pieces of a puzzle joined seamlessly in her mind.  “I believe I know why.”

“Do you?”  She hoped Seven couldn’t see the fear behind her eyes.

“Indeed,” Seven dipped her head, a calculate smile stretching across her face.  “Good night, Kathryn.”  She turned on her heels then heard Kathryn jump to her feet.  Before she knew it, a barrier made up of a petite redhead prevented her exit.  Her head tilted to the side minutely as she studied the emotions within Kathryn’s eyes.

Keeping Seven’s gaze locked with her own, Kathryn nearly lost her remaining senses.  Allowing her heart to guide her actions, she reached up slowly brushing her fingers lightly across the implant sheltering Seven’s left eye.  The blonde barely flinched, showing what little resistance that hid under her tolerance for such a touch.  Kathryn took the chance to steal a kiss, but was quickly denied as a finger was brought to her lips.  Her eyes relayed the questions in silence.  Answers were returned in the same fashion with the shake of a head.

Seven moved out from her view after a few moments.  As she heard the doors hiss open, she called out.  “Annika,” she turned her face to catch Seven, halted in the threshold, from the corner of her eye.  “I’ve made up my mind.  I won’t attempt to pull you two apart, nor will I give up on enticing you, but I refuse to succumb to Celes.”

Seven stood for only a moment before stepping away from the doors, allowing them to close easily leaving her captain in silence.

Kathryn wasn’t sure if she just initiated a courting ritual or issued a threat to the third party involved.