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 lyrics sung by Kathryn at the end of the story are from the song "Only Over You," written by Christine McVie. I don't own them either, but they fit the situation perfectly.
The sound broke into the quiet solitude of Kathryn Janeway's quarters. She'd been sitting in the semi-darkness for the better part of two hours, knees tucked up under her chin. Her thoughts were trained, as they had been for the past two days, on the young woman currently serving her duty shift in Astrometrics. They hadn't had much of a chance to see each other since declaring their growing feelings. The newest information coming in from the nebula had taken up much of Seven's time, and consequently the reports generated took up a big chunk of Kathryn's time. Not to mention the fact that they had rotated into conflicting shifts.
"Come in," she called softly, unwilling to break the magic of the moment. Looked up into the warm eyes of her First Officer and dearest friend. "Hello, Chakotay." The mellow tone of her voice spoke volumes to him.
"Do I take it your talk went well the other night, Kathryn?" he asked lightly, sitting near her.
Sighing happily, she nodded, then turned her gaze to his eyes again when he chuckled. "What's so funny?"
"I don't think I've ever seen you quite this relaxed or content before, not even on New Earth," came his honest reply. "I think I could get used to seeing this side of you."
She smiled again, stretched out a hand to squeeze his briefly. "I have no idea where this is going to go, but for once I don't mind. Seven is a wonderful person; she has grown so much over this past year. And now, she's growing in yet another direction."
"All thanks to you." Chakotay looked away for a moment, sheepish. "You know, as much as I fought Seven joining us, I'm glad she has. And not only because of your relationship with her, tho' that is an added perk." Smiling, he dodged her playful swat. "Seven still has some adjusting to do, but she's seemed to finally find her niche within Voyager's rather close-knit family. And once again, a lot of that is due to you, Kathryn."
"I set her apart, Chakotay, treated her more harshly, as well as coddling her, far more than anyone else aboard. How she managed to do as she has is a wonder to me."
Chakotay smiled again as she yawned. "When's the last time you got some decent sleep, Kathryn? Five days ago?" At her guilty nod, he stood. "Go get some sleep. You know you need it, after all those reports and your own personal emotional upheaval. If you should need anything, you know where you can find me."
"Thank you, Chakotay," she replied, leaning up to brush her lips to his cheek. "What would I do without you?"
"Wander aimlessly away from your destiny," he replied, smirking at her mock-scowl. "Sweet dreams, Kathryn." With that, he left.
Some hours later, the door chime once again broke into her silent reverie. "Come in," she called groggily, then rose to slip her robe on before exiting the bedroom.
"Captain?" came the soft, almost tentative voice.
"I'm right here, Seven," Kathryn replied, tabbing the wall panel to raise the lighting. "What can I do for you?"
"I--" she faltered, fumbling for words. "I believe the questions is 'Would you care to accompany me to dinner?'"
Kathryn smiled broadly. "I would be delighted, Seven. Let me change into something more appropriate. Make yourself comfortable. I'll just be a moment." With that, she moved back into the bedroom to change. Slipping into a pair of beige pants and a soft forest green silk tunic, she ran a comb through her hair and pulled the sides up in matching tortoise shell combs. Satisfied, she eased her feet into a pair of comfortable flats, then stepped out into the livingroom again.
She started to speak, but stopped at the sight of Seven curiously fingering a small figurine. Smiling, Kathryn realized it was the small yellow canary her father had given her as a small child. "Do you like it, Seven?" she asked softly, moving to stand next to the blonde.
"It does not seem like something you would own," Seven replied, setting the figurine back in its spot. She looked at Kathryn. "I do not mean to pry."
"It's alright, Seven, you're not prying." She lovingly caressed the figurine. "It has great sentimental value to me. My father gave this to me when I was just a child. I was his Goldenbird, and he gave it to me to remember him by when he was away on his various missions and functions."
"Goldenbird? I do not understand."
Kathryn took her hand. "Come on, I'll explain it over dinner."
They walked amiably through the corridor to the turbolift, then toward the Mess Hall, where they were greeted by Neelix. "Hello, Captain, Seven."
"Good evening, Neelix," Kathryn replied, echoing his enthusiasm. "What's on the menu tonight?"
"Well, I would suggest the Terkalian vegetable pie, and for dessert I've done my best to make chocolate pudding."
"That sounds wonderful. And I'd like some of that juice you had this morning, if there's any left."
"Seven?" he asked, turning his gaze to the ex-drone.
"That would be acceptable for me as well," she replied as he set the food on their trays. "Thank you, Neelix."
"You're welcome. Enjoy your meal, ladies."
Kathryn led Seven to a quiet corner table, sitting across from her. They began eating in silence, then Seven cleared her throat softly. "You said you would explain the figurine?" she asked softly, almost tentatively.
"So I did. As I said, the figurine was a gift from my father, a reminder of him and his love when he wasn't around."
"Why did he call you Goldenbird? Did he not use your given name?"
"He did, but Goldenbird was a pet name, a term of endearment. It was a private name he used to show his love."
"And these pet names are common?"
"Yes, nicknames and pet names are common among people who care for each other."
"You said you care for me, did you not?" At Kathryn's nod, she continued. "Do you have a pet name for me?"
"Not yet, but I'm sure I'll find one that will be uniquely yours." Kathryn sipped at her juice, eyes never leaving Seven's face. "Do you have a pet name for me?"
"No. I am still getting used to calling you Kathryn, as opposed to Captain. But I am also sure I will find such a name for you." The smile on Seven's face brightened as Kathryn reached across the table to lightly squeeze her hand. Then they returned to their meal.
From across the room, Chakotay smiled as he watched the two women. His smile was caught by his dinner companion. "What're you smiling at, Chakotay?"
"Just something that should have happened a while ago," he replied.
B'Elanna turned to follow his gaze and blinked. "Am I seeing what I think I'm seeing?"
"Yes, and you'll do well to keep your mouth shut, B'Elanna," he warned. "Let them live their lives and do as they feel is right."
"I won't say a thing," she replied, a bit angry. "I can't believe you'd insinuate otherwise, Chakotay."
"Your animosity toward Seven is no secret, B'Elanna," he replied gently. "Just let them have the happiness they can find together."
After dinner, the two women found themselves in Kathryn's quarters again, sitting on the couch facing one another.
"This has been a wonderful first date, Seven. Thank you."
"First date?" came the expected question.
Kathryn stood and moved to her console, tapping a few keys. "Come here, Seven." When the young woman came to sit at the console, she continued. "I want you to read the files I've called up. They may be able to help you understand better the concept of dating and relationships, both in general and for a same-sex relationship such as ours. When you're finished, we can discuss this, if you'd like."
The blonde nodded and began to read as Kathryn moved back toward the couch. Stopping at the replicator, she turned again to Seven. "Would you like something to drink, Seven?"
"I have no need for nutritional supplements at the moment, but if you are having something, I will as well."
Kathryn smiled again. "Computer, two glasses of white wine." When the glasses appeared, she carried them back to the desk. Setting one next to Seven, she rested her hand on the young woman's shoulder, her thumb gently caressing the back of the graceful neck. "I don't know if you've had wine yet, Seven, so just sip it slowly. And if it doesn't suit your tastes, I can get you something else."
Seven nodded and picked up the glass, taking a small sip. She held it in her mouth for a few seconds, then swallowed. Looking up into the blue eyes, she smiled. "Thank you, Kathryn. It is a unique taste, but not unpleasant."
She watched Kathryn move back to the couch to curl up in the corner and begin reading from a PADD. She felt a slight loss, having found comfort in Kathryn's hand on her shoulder. She shook her head slightly and returned to the reading before her. Every so often, she would take another sip of her wine, amused by the warmth it produced within her. She knew the nanoprobes within her would nullify the alcohol's more detrimental effects, but the warmth suffusing her was rather nice.
Kathryn took in the sight of Seven reading and sipping the wine with a delighted smile. She wouldn't go too quickly in this relationship, choosing to allow Seven that control. She had no idea what sort of knowledge base Seven had with regard to love and relationships, thus the files being read. She would have to discuss with Seven just how affectionate they could be in public, as opposed to here in her quarters.
The more she watched the back of Seven's head, the more she realized she had never seen the woman's hair completely out of the tight french twist. Standing, she moved behind Seven again and began to pluck out the pins holding her long blonde tresses in place.
"Cap -- Kathryn?" Seven asked, mildly confused.
"I just wanted to see you with your hair down," came the husky reply. "Do you mind, Seven?"
Seven gazed at her for a long moment, then shook her head. "I do not mind. And Kathryn?"
"You may call me Annika, if you wish."
"Thank you," Kathryn replied, pulling out the final pin. She ran her fingers through the blonde locks, combing them to fan down about the fair face, then gazed at her. "Oh, Annika," she murmured, "you are truly beautiful. Promise me that when we're alone like this, you'll wear your hair down."
A faint blush colored Seven's cheeks at the praise. "I promise, Kathryn." After a moment, she turned back to the monitor and shut it off. "I am finished with the files now. May I ask something?"
"Of course, but let's go back to the couch."
They moved to the couch, sitting facing each other. Once again, Kathryn tucked her legs up under herself, resting her hands on a raised knee. She watched Seven removed the heels, then attempt to imitate the position. "What's your question, Annika?"
"Have you been in a relationship like this before? With another woman?"
"Yes, when I was a cadet at the Academy. It didn't last long, only a couple of months, before we realized we weren't to be more than friends. Why do you ask?" She held out her hand toward Seven, intertwining their fingers lightly, giving tender support.
"I have never...."
"I understand, Annika, and we will proceed with this relationship as you are comfortable, no sooner."
Seven smiled, clearly grateful. "May I ask another question?"
Kathryn chuckled softly. "My dear, you may ask as many questions as you wish. You don't need to ask my permission."
"Very well. I have had a resurfacing of some memories from before my assimilation by the Borg. There is nothing concrete, but I do remember someone's arms around me, as if protecting me by their presence."
"I would assume you mean someone was giving you a hug, holding you," came Kathryn's response.
"May I -- Would you hold me?" It came out in a soft, tentative voice.
Kathryn pulled Seven closer with their clasped hands, then wrapped her arms about the woman, leaning back further into the corner of the couch. She tilted Seven's head up to gaze into the pale blue eyes. Very gently, she brushed her lips across Seven's. After a few moments of silence, she spoke. "Annika, there is something we need to discuss."
"We're going to have to exercise some caution in public, especially in these beginning stages of our relationship."
"Because you're the captain?"
Kathryn nodded. "We will go slowly. Meals together in the Mess Hall, going to various off-duty functions together."
"May we hold hands? It gives me comfort."
"Of course, but any further displays of affection probably wouldn't be a good idea just yet." She paused a moment. "Is this all okay with you, Annika? You have a say in this, too."
"I believe so. If someone should ask, may I tell them we are romantically involved? Or should I keep it a secret?"
"If they ask, you may tell them the truth, Annika, that we are involved in a relationship, but that is all they need to know." She gazed at Seven thoughtfully. "Would it make you happy if people knew?"
"Perhaps. I am not entirely sure."
"Paris to Janeway."
"Go ahead, Tom," she replied, hearing the sounds of Sandrine's in the background.
"We're having an impromptu pool tournament. I was just wondering if you'd like to hand over your title as champ to me?"
Kathryn laughed outright. "In your dreams, Tom. Haven't you suffered enough yet?"
"Would I be asking if I had?"
She looked at Seven, an eyebrow arched in question. When the blonde nodded, she smiled and said, "Give me a few minutes to change, then prepare to eat my dust yet again. Janeway out." She looked at Seven. "Let's get you something to wear."
Thirty minutes later, the couple finally entered the holodeck. Kathryn stayed in her outfit from dinner, but all eyes were drawn to Seven. The statuesque blonde was dressed in a simple midnight blue tunic over black leggings and flats, her long hair framing her face. Everyone watched as Kathryn led Seven to the customary 'senior staff' table where Tom, B'Elanna, Chakotay, Harry, and Sue Nicoletti were already seated, talking over beers.
"Good evening, everyone," Kathryn replied, sitting next to Seven, a sparkle in her eyes. "Tom, would you like to just forfeit now and let these others play an honest tournament?"
"Never. I will beat you, you know."
"In your dreams, Tom, in your dreams."
"Ah, Captain," Sandrine exclaimed, gliding over. "What can Sandrine get you tonight?"
Kathryn glanced at Seven, who shyly smiled back. "Two glasses of white wine, s'il vous plait."
"Mais oui," the hologram crowed and left.
"Seven, you very nice tonight," Chakotay said. "This is a very good look for you."
"Thank you, Commander. Kath -- The captain helped me with it."
"The captain has impeccable taste," he replied, then smiled. "Off-duty, you can call me Chakotay. We have no need for formalities here."
Before she could reply, Sandrine returned with the wine. Kathryn took a sip, then looked at Tom. "Singles or doubles?"
"Doubles. You and B'Elanna against me and Chakotay."
Kathryn's delighted laughter filled the already full room. "You're really into humiliation, aren't you, Tom?" Then she looked at B'Elanna. "Shall we trounce them soundly, partner?"
As they stood to begin playing, Kathryn leaned over and murmured to Seven, "Just relax and enjoy yourself, okay?"
"I will. Good luck, Kathryn," she replied.
The game progressed as it always did. The women allowed the men to win every so often, to keep them interested in continuing to play, but it was clear to all that Kathryn and B'Elanna were enjoying themselves immensely as they soundly beat the men. And Seven watched in avid interest, taking in the easy banter the foursome engaged in, even joining in from time to time, but her eyes rarely left Kathryn.
After a particularly tricky shot that won the final game, Kathryn sat next to Seven and unconsciously draped her arm around the blonde's shoulders. Tom raised a questioning brow her way. "Captain?"
Noting that the only people left in the bar besides the five of them were Harry and Sue over in a dark corner, sitting rather closely together, Kathryn smiled and looked at Seven. "Go ahead and tell him," she said softly, knowing the blonde wanted to tell someone.
Smiling broadly, Seven looked at Tom. "The cap -- Kathryn and I are involved in a romantic relationship, and that is all you need to know."
Her comment brought laughter to the room, then B'Elanna, genuinely happy for the couple, spoke up. "That's wonderful." Now that she'd seen the former drone in a more relaxed setting, she was warming to the woman.
And then Seven yawned, cheeks coloring in embarrassment. "Well, since it's obvious the women have once again stomped all over the men, I'm going to call it a night," Kathryn replied. "Seven is tired and so am I." She stood, helping Seven to stand. "Good evening to you all. I had a most enjoyable time."
"Good night," Seven replied softly as they left.
The couple walked in companionable silence to the 'lift, then stopped. "Shall I walk you home, Annika?"
"Would it be presumptuous to ask if I could stay with you?" Seven was once again very quiet, shy, her eyes on the ground between them. "I get so lonely in the cargo bay."
"Oh, Annika," she murmured, taking the blonde in her arms. "Of course, you can stay. First thing tomorrow I'll arrange for quarters for you." Then she stopped. "Unless you'd rather--"
"I will decide tomorrow, Kathryn. For now, I simply wish to sleep, knowing you are nearby."
Kathryn nodded and started their destination. Holding hands, they then made their way to her quarters.
Back in Sandrine's, Tom, B'Elanna, and Chakotay sat discussing this news.
"I mean it, Tom. I hear one word about a pool on this, I'll personally blow you out an airlock."
Tom gave him an exasperated look. "As much as the thought of all those rations is tempting, I wouldn't even dream of doing it. I respect the captain more than that. She deserves to be happy."
'Very true," Chakotay replied, then glanced at B'Elanna. "You're awfully quiet."
"I guess I just never thought of the captain that way. Or that Seven could be anything but a pain in the ass. But they look happy, so who am I to question that?"
Long after Kathryn had fallen asleep, Seven lay in the circle of her arms, just content to be with this woman. Shifting slightly, she looked up at the peacefully sleeping face. An involuntary sigh escaped her lips as Kathryn's eyes fluttered open to gaze sleepily at her.
"What are you doing, Annika?" she murmured huskily.
"Watching you sleep. I am unable to rest myself at this time."
"Unable to?" Kathryn looked at Seven more closely. "Have you actually done any sleeping since we severed you from the collective? Or have you simply been regenerating?"
"I have been regenerating. There has never really been a need for sleep before. It was much easier to slip into the alcove than to make a futile attempt at sleep in the cargo bay."
Guilt washed over Kathryn at that. "I'm sorry, Annika. I didn't think about that."
"I do not blame you, Kathryn. You were doing as you thought was correct. I cannot fault that." Seven looked down for a moment. "I have vague memories of a woman singing to me as a child. It seemed to calm me and make me sleep easier."
A soft, gentle smile crossed Kathryn's face then. "Would you like to try that? Let me sing you to sleep like your mother did?" When Seven nodded, she shifted slightly. "Make yourself comfortable, Annika. Now, I'm going to warn you. I'm not the greatest singer in the world, but I'll do my best."
"I cannot ask for more," came the reply around a yawn as Seven settled into Kathryn's arms.
When she moved no more, Kathryn brushed her lips across Seven's forehead. Clearing her throat, she began to sing softly. "People say they know me, but they don't see. My heart's your future, your future is me. Angel, please don't go, I miss you when you're gone. They say I'm a silly girl, but I'm not a fool. I'm out of my mind, and it's only over you. I'm out of my mind, and it's only over you." She gazed down at Seven and found the younger woman's closed, peacefully asleep for the first time since she'd been assimilated. Once again, she kissed the pale forehead, murmuring, "Sweet dreams, Annika," then closed her eyes.