First Steps

by A. Magiluna Stormwriter

DISCLAIMER: I don't own them, as much as I wish I did. Cuz if I *did* actually own them, things would be a lot diffferent, and CONTINUITY would be a given. BTW, this story deals with f/f type issues. If that bothers you, or you're not old enough to read it, DON'T. Thanks.

The EMH looked up as the doors to Sickbay opened. He watched his half-Borg protégée storm up to him, a wide range of emotions playing on her face. "Hello, Seven. Ready for your next lesson in socializing?"

"I am damaged," she replied, the slightest hint of fear in her voice. "You will fix me NOW."

He reached for his tricorder. "What are your symptoms?"

"Symptoms are irrelevant. Your tricorder will tell you what is wrong, and you will fix it."

He paused in his scan. "That is true, Seven, but it helps the patient to talk about what is bothering them." Seven began to protest. "Yes, I know, talking is irrelevant." He looked at the tricorder, a slightly smug smile crossing his face. "Seven, you are not damaged."

"But I am bleeding! This is not normal! Borg do not bleed! I am damaged. You MUST fix me!" Her fear was more pronounced now.

"Seven," he began, reaching toward her, but she recoiled from his touch. Sighing, he called, "EMH to the captain. Your presence is required in Sickbay."

"I'm on my way. Janeway out."

The EMH watched the blonde worriedly pace, hands clenching into fists unconsciously. A few moments later, he sighed with relief as Janeway stepped into the large room. She stopped short at the sight of the distraught young woman. An arched brow toward the EMH got him talking.

"Captain, if you would read the information here." He gave her the tricorder. "Seven came to me, worried about this. I tried to explain to her--"

"Captain, I am damaged and he refuses to fix the damage," she protested.

She stretched out a hand to comfort the younger woman. "It's alright, Seven. Let the doctor finish."

"As I was saying," he continued, "I tried to explain to Seven that she is not damaged but, in fact, quite healthy. Yet she refused to believe me. I thought perhaps...."

Kathryn smiled, returning the tricorder. "I'll take care of this, Doctor. Thank you for informing me of this situation."

The EMH nodded. "I'll note this in her file." And then he left toward his office.

Kathryn watched Seven pace again. She reached out her hand again, stopping the younger woman. "Seven, the doctor is right. You aren't damaged in any way. You are simply going through a normal biological process for women known as menstruation."


Kathryn moved to the monitor, calling up a file, then motioned Seven to join her. "I want you to read this information."

She stood back as Seven began to process the information before her. Finally, the blonde looked up at Kathryn, confusion clear in her wide blue eyes. "This is normal? I am to be like this the rest of my life?"

"Yes, Seven, you are. And right now, you need to take care of the immediate situation. You remember what the information told you?" she asked, a hand unconsciously going around Seven's shoulder. The blonde nodded. "Go on and take care of it, then we'll go somewhere more private to discuss this further."

She watched the child-woman move off to remedy the physical discomforts of her first period. A small smile crossed her lips as she remembered the talk her own mother had had when a twelve year old Kathryn came running into her mother's arms, sobbing hysterically, afraid she was dying. "At least Seven hasn't put on a waterworks show yet," she mused silently. A few moments later, Seven emerged from the head, an odd look on her face. Janeway smiled, knowing exactly how she felt. She smiled and motioned for Seven to follow her. "Come on, let's go to my quarters."

Seven nodded. "Please."

The trip was made in silence. Thankfully, they weren't met by anyone on the way. Kathryn watched Seven from the corner of her eye. She saw that the younger woman was frowning, deep in thought, a hand resting lightly against her lower abdomen. She placed a hand on Seven's shoulder, smiling compassionately, then motioned for her to enter the quarters. They moved to sit on the couch in silence for several minutes. Finally, Kathryn spoke.

"How are you feeling, Seven?"

"Confused....and in pain," came the honest reply, their eyes meeting.

Kathryn smiled again. "That's normal, Seven. The pain is called cramps. We all get them at some point or another. Some women have minor ones, others have such horribly strong ones, they can't even get out of bed."

"What kind do you get? And how do you stop them?"

Kathryn looked down for a moment, cheeks coloring slightly. "Mine are actually quite painful, but I've learned over the years to deal with the pain. There is a wonderful herbal tea blend that helps, as do warm baths and sleeping with warmed towels over your stomach. Each woman finds her own remedies." She looked more closely at Seven. "Are you alright?"

"How long will these...cramps last?"

"Each woman is unique. Mine are only for the first couple days." She stood and ordered herself a cup of coffee, then a cup of the tea for Seven. Handing it to her, she said, "Just ask for Janeway blend 47. It's in the computer."

Seven nodded and took a tentative sip of her tea. A thoughtful look crossed her face. "This has a rather interesting flavor to it."

Kathryn smiled again. "It's a special blend, handed down in my family for generations from mother to daughter." And then her eyes brightened. "And I guess since I've passed it on to you, that makes you like my daughter."

Seven cocked her head to the side, thinking, as she took another sip of the tea. "The familial connotation is....acceptable." Another sip of tea brought silence to the room. Finally. Softly. "Captain?"

"Yes, Seven?"

"I must admit I find the entire concept of menstruation highly irrelevant."

"Not if you wish to have a child, Seven. That single desire makes menstruation very relevant, even vital. If women didn't go through this cycle every month, they wouldn't be able to conceive children, therefore they wouldn't be able to continue the species."

"But I do not wish to bear children. I am Borg, childbirth is irrelevant."

"You are human, Seven, as your body has now accepted with this onset of menarche. Now we must get your mind and heart to accept your humanity as well."

Seven looked down at the cup in her hands for a long, silent moment. "I am afraid."

Kathryn moved to sit next to her on the couch. "Seven, you have nothing to be afraid of. You are becoming a woman, as you should have a long time ago, if not for the Borg assimilating you." She paused a moment, gathering her thoughts, then chuckled softly. "I feel as though I'm explaining the birds and the bees to my teenaged daughter."

Seven's face twisted in confusion. "I do not understand the reference."

"It's an Ancient Earth idiom that refers to the discussion parents have with their children about sexual matters." She looked at Seven. "I know you understand the mechanics of sex, due to the abundance of information the Borg assimilated. But what do you know of the emotions involved? The subtleties?"

"There are emotions involved?" The panic filled her eyes again. "More emotions that I do not understand?" She stood, began pacing. "What is this obsession humans have with emotions?"

"It's no obsession, Seven, it's our nature." Kathryn chose her next words carefully. "Seven, what do you feel.... How do you feel about Ensign Kim?"

"I do not understand your question," came the quick reply, too quick to be honest.

"Yes, you do, Seven. How do you feel about Harry?" She watched the young blonde very carefully. "Do you have feelings you can't explain for him? Strong feelings that seem to draw you to him?"

"Yes," she murmured.

"Is there any tenderness to those feelings?" Kathryn knew she was treading on thin ice with this conversation. But she also knew Harry Kim well enough to know of his feelings for this naive blonde before her. And her instincts told her the feelings were mutual.

"Yes," she repeated. "I wish to pursue something with him, but I am afraid."

Kathryn smiled again, more tenderly this time. She couldn't help but feel maternal around the young woman. "Seven, come sit down by me. There's no need for you to pace like that." She watched the child-woman move to sit next to her. "Seven," she began slowly, "there are things you should know before you pursue anything with Harry. You need to understand the emotions involved."

"I am afraid of the emotions, Captain. This is all too complicated. Why can we not just pursue sexual relations as Lieutenants Paris and Torres already have?"

Kathryn suppressed a chuckle. "Seven, Tom and B'Elanna have been cultivating their relationship for four years prior to initiating any sort of sexual relations. If this is what you choose for Harry, you must do the same thing."

"I must wait four years before I can pursue anything with Ensign Kim? That is highly unproductive, and highly illogical. Did you have to wait the same four years before beginning your sexual relations with Commander Chakotay?"

Kathryn blushed furiously. "No, but that is none of your business, Seven. We are talking about your relationship with Harry, not what happens between Chakotay and myself."

"So you are still within that four year courtship then, Captain?"

"NO!" she said quickly, then took a deep breath. "Seven, my relationship with Chakotay is very unique, something I don't normally share with anyone but him."

"Then why am I to share what I feel about Ensign Kim with you?"

Kathryn couldn't fault the younger woman's logic there. "You don't have to. I'm just offering you some advice about this, as you've never been through something like this before." She took a deep breath. "Please understand, Seven. I am very happy for you and Harry, should you choose to pursue a relationship. I just want to make sure you're going to be okay, both of you. Sometimes relationships can hurt us quite deeply. I just want you to know that you can always come and talk to me, okay?"

Seven nodded, then stood. "Thank you, Captain. I appreciate this. But I must get to Astrometrics. I have work to do there." She moved toward the door, then stopped, turned to face the captain. "I do appreciate your concern, as new as it is to me. Thank you, Captain." And then she left.

"First steps are always the hardest," Kathryn murmured, watching the door close.