You can be in my dream if I can be in yours…Bob Dylan
It was late, well past midnight, the corridors were quiet, gamma shift held the bridge but most other departments were silent. The last sector of space they traversed had left them feeling a bit battered and on the lookout for a place to catch a bit of leave time. They hadn’t found a suitable planet yet and the Captain had eased up on the crew shifts for the next week. The Captain herself had yet to ease up and in fact had just replicated an ill advised mug of coffee. She strode from the replicator to her favorite chair. She should be sleeping. She had tried. She had failed. This was the next best option.
The coffee was hot and Janeway placed it carefully on the end table as she picked up the hardcover book next to it. It was an ancient collection of stories from Earth’s history. Kathryn didn’t read Greek so it was in translation but the original verse form remained. Kathryn loved poetry. It might have even predated her love of the stars. The stars were another form of poetry, she mused as she opened the musty book. The foxed edges reminded Kathryn of a long forgotten school trip to a museum of the twentieth century. The rare books room there had smelled the same.
This story was older than that though. Kathryn had finished with the Iliad the night before and the sound of swords in the sun still rang in her head. Thousands of years separated them but the sounds of hand to hand battle were the same. It was onto the tales of brave Ulysses now. She’d been looking forward to reaching this point of the story. She hadn’t read it since she was at the academy but she remembered it well enough. Ten years Odysseus struggled to reach home. Ten years. She wished. It had already been nearly seven and they were still quadrants away.
The book was heavy and she propped it against her legs for support. She reached for the coffee as she began to read. Wine dark sea. That made her want to switch to wine but it hadn’t helped earlier. In fact it probably had brought on the strange dream that had driven her back to wakefulness. She couldn’t remember the dream but the feeling of guilty desire clung to her still. She hoped the words of a poet would soothe her to more restful sleep.
Sometime later, the chime on her door buzzed and jolted Kathryn awake. Before she could respond, Seven of Nine strode through the once sealed door. Kathryn stood in her shock, dropping the heavy book from her lap. Seven closed the distance between them quickly and before Kathryn could react, Seven’s lips were upon her own.
Kathryn moved to stop it but the connection was not at all what she expected. Klaxons blared in her brain and still she did not break the kiss. Seven’s lips were soft but forceful as her tongue tangled around Kathryn’s. The temptation was too much for the good captain as she began to return the kiss as her hands reached around Seven’s back. The biosuiting was rough beneath her fingers and though it was temperature regulated, Kathryn could feel the heat of Seven’s skin overwhelming the controls.
Dizzy with the sudden force of desire, Kathryn felt Seven’s hands reach for her in kind. Her fingers, human and Borg alike found the soft fabric of Kathryn’s silken nightie and began to trace the lines of Kathryn’s flesh beneath the flimsy material. The Captain shuddered in her arms as her own hands strained against the impenetrable suit. As their touches grew more desperate, Kathryn began to steer them towards the long couch but Seven had other ideas.
Kathryn felt herself swept from the floor as Seven broke their torrid kiss. With little effort and fewer steps, Seven strode through into bedroom. She placed Kathryn on the bed before reaching around her own neck and releasing the suit clasp. A moment later, Seven stood gloriously naked in the half light of the bedroom. Kathryn felt herself gawking as Seven stared back at her. Then she all but leapt at the bed, covering Kathryn’s mouth with another searing kiss.
A klaxon began to blare. The noise was overwhelming. Then the lights went out. The Captain moved to leap up but missed the ground. There was no ground though and she felt herself suddenly falling. She cried out for Seven but no sound escaped her lips.
Kathryn awoke in her armchair as her morning alarm blared across her quarters. She blinked into the artificial brightness before jumping up and looking around for Seven. All she saw was a cold mug of coffee and her book splayed open on the floor. There was no sign of Seven. No sign of anyone. Taking a deep breath, Kathryn tried to quell the rising panic as it coupled with a now familiar guilt. She’d been dreaming of Seven. That’s what had lead her to reading in the first place. All that had followed had been a dream. Not real. And yet Kathryn’s cheeks were flushed and hot. A twisting guilt roiled in her gut at the thought of Seven. Not real and still so wrong. She had no right to think of Seven like that.
Stiff and aching, Kathryn headed for the ensuite to get cleaned up and start her day. She winced beneath the hot needling spray of her hydroshower. Her neck had taken the brunt of her night in the chair and she rolled it back and forth to loosen it. Images flashed unbidden as Kathryn hurriedly scrubbed herself before adding shampoo to her hands. She lathered her hair and rinsed it. Then she added just a bit of conditioner and smoothed that through. It was easier now that her hair was shorter. She didn’t miss that about the long hair though she still used far too much shampoo and conditioner.
Head clearer, Kathryn stepped out into the steamy bathroom and began the process of getting ready. Any thoughts of Seven or dreaming had successfully been shoved to the back burner and that’s where they would stay.
It was dark in Cargo Bay Two but Seven could see. There was no one there, just the hum of the warp drive and green glow of her alcove. Something had interrupted her regeneration cycle but at first glance, there was nothing apparent. Seven stepped off the dais. That is when she heard it. A human sinus rhythm. A human heartbeat. It was familiar.
Seven turned and as she did she spied a ripple of movement. From the green tinted shadows stepped the Captain. Seven froze as Janeway walked silently towards her, her steely slate eyes bore into Seven and Seven found she could not look away. In a flash, Janeway’s lips had found her own and the kiss quickly moved from light to darkly deep. Seven hadn’t been kissed much in her actual life but even across her Borg memories, this kiss was different. It had its own resonance, pinging off her every nerve. It bound them immediately together, two oppositely charged particles drawn together by sheer magnetism. The Captain’s tongue tangled with her own, possessively exploring with a breathless urgency. Seven felt a hand wrap around the nape of her neck and pull her still closer to the still uniformed redhead. Seven wrapped her arms around the layers of clothing. Her hands clutched at Janeway’s back as heat seemed to rise in waves between them.
The Captain’s aggressiveness continued as she squirmed out of the red jacket without breaking the kiss. Slowly she was inching Seven backwards as well. Now down to the grey turtleneck and Seven began to tug as well. Down to the tank top and the attention seemed to shift back to Seven and her seamless suiting.
Seven’s lower back collided with the console opposite her alcove. The green light spilled all around them as Seven released the hidden clasp on her wrist. At once the suit lost its cohesion and for a long moment, Kathryn Janeway fell back gasping. With a flick of her wrist, her own pants dropped and she was nearly as naked as Seven. The gawking was cut short as the desire to touch far exceeded the desire to look. Kathryn’s hands were fast but Seven’s were faster. If the older woman had expected to automatically be in control than she had miscalculated. Seven pulled her closer, slotting her bare leg between the Captain’s molten thighs.
Slowly Kathryn began to grind her hips as Seven’s lips found hers once more. They moved in tandem, practiced motions happening for the first time. Seven gasped as Kathryn’s teeth scraped over a nipple. Sparks of sharpened desire sliced her nerves and she felt herself cry out but no sound came from her lips. Suddenly the deck went dark, pitch black and Seven blinked blindly, her Borg optics useless. She reached to hold tighter to the Captain but she was no longer there and Seven felt herself fall forward. The deck was not there though and Seven felt wind whip her face as she plummeted into nothingness.
“Regeneration cycle complete.”
The alcove hissed as Seven stepped forward, breaking the tenuous electric connection. The lights in the bay shone brightly on their daytime settings. Seven blinked as she looked around. She sensed no one present but after last night, she had her doubts.
Last night. Seven shook her head, unsure what she had just experienced. Dreaming was still new to her and though it was akin to Unimatrix Zero it was not the same. She was sure her regeneration cycle had been interrupted but looking at the diagnostics showed nothing. Not a blip.
An M-class planet was located about ten light years from their course. The Captain ordered the course corrections to bring them closer. She also ordered all of the long range sensor data as it was compiled. Then she stalked into her ready room leaving the bridge to Tuvok. Ordinarily they would have made a more cautious approach but she had a good feeling about this system from the scant reports she’d seen so far. Still it was not like her to be quite so rash. The severe lack of sleep the last two nights was likely catching up to her. There was a tension that refused to leave her shoulders and her head ached.
The replicator was blissfully nonjudgmental as it wordlessly produced a decently hot mug of coffee. Janeway carried it to her desk before opening the the top padd on the stack of reports. She yawned as she looked down at what appeared to be this week’s inventory of their food supply. While it could be improved, she noted, they weren’t in bad shape. Turning to Engineering it seemed there were a few pressing repairs that would require Voyager to remain in stable orbit. They’d be easier to make on the ground but the Captain was still cautious when it came to that. Voyager was much more powerful from space. She could be maneuvered atmospherically but it was a bit unwieldy and much to risk.
The Captain’s head continued to ache even as the coffee began to pulse through her bloodstream. Flashes of her dreams bit her waking mind and she shook her head to clear them. The dreams were wholly inappropriate and they embarrassed her immensely. She’d tried to keep her mind from it but the moment she relaxed, in they snuck. As a result, she’d been avoiding Seven the last couple days.
The next report in the stack was the medical log. The Doctor was long winded enough in person but his reports always read longer. Her eyes skimmed over recent vaccinations, minor injuries to the crew, the majority suffered on the holodeck. She was nearly to the end before her eyes caught a sentence of interest.
“Consultation with Seven of Nine regarding the nature of dreaming. Her cortical node shows erratic regeneration cycles and further tests are required for a diagnosis to be possible. Likely nothing to fear but an ounce of prevention!”
The Captain felt a tightness growing as she questioned why Seven hadn’t come to her. That she went to the Doctor was concerning as well. Ever since her cortical node had failed, The Captain was overly cautious when it came to Seven’s health. Knowing Seven hadn’t sought her advice stung. She wanted to know more. She wanted to hail the Doctor or go flying down to Sick Bay and demand to know what was wrong with Seven. She stopped herself though. She knew it should be Seven she should be asking, not the Doctor. She had no right to invade Seven’s privacy like that. She would be horrified if anyone inquired after her own dreams and Seven would be no different. Hell, she still felt guilty about the brief glimpses she’d seen of the Doctor’s own fantasies and that was ages ago now. No, she would have to go to Seven first or be satiated by her own ignorance.
“Computer, locate Seven of Nine,” she commanded as she felt a knot twisting in her abdomen.
“Seven of Nine is in the Astrometrics Lab,” the computer voice responded with no inflection.
The Captain took a long swallow of her coffee as she considered her options. Technically Seven was off duty but she was not logged as such. She didn’t really want to confront Seven. The thought actually terrified her. Irrational as it might be, she couldn’t get past the feeling of sentience the dreams had held.
She was terrified, too, of falling asleep. She had been considering seeing the Doctor about getting a sedative hypospray. She’d avoided it and with it his ridiculous questioning but the situation had clearly grown more dire. She could do that and at the same time check in about his status report. That wasn’t prying, it was just being responsible.
Seven was dissatisfied with the Doctor’s diagnosis. This was not a singular experience for her but it never failed to exasperate her hardline logic. The Doctor had just said that they were merely vivid dreams. To be fair, Seven hadn’t given him much to work with as she had left out almost every detail. Still there was something that wasn’t dreaming that was happening. She hadn’t pressed the issue with him and had left with more questions than she’d had when she arrived. Seven had an urge to find the Captain, to ask her what it could mean. Her feet began to carry her in the direction of the bridge. In the turbolift, Seven began to reconsider. She could not ask the Captain. She could not look at the Captain without remembering what had not been.
Instead Seven turned to her work and set about running scan after scan to help find Voyager some respite. She had no desire to take any leave time but it was clear that the Captain and the crew did. The Captain had been looking especially unwell these last few days and Seven used her concern to push harder. The closer they drew to the system, the more scans Seven ran until finally the Captain gave them approval to beam down to the planet.
Seven would have preferred to hand those padds directly to the Captain but instead she gave them to Tuvok. Seven was still unsure about these conflicting emotions. The one commonality was a single catalyst, the Captain. Seven was unsure how to proceed. From everything she’d assimilated, Starfleet Protocols were vague and not a single one in over a century dealt with a voyage of such length. Back then they were cowboys still and crew regulations were much laxer. Anyone that had courage to be exploring the outer reaches of the galaxy back then tended to be a bit odd in some ways. But even back then, the Captain was forbidden from dating their subordinates. There was little room to adapt.
Seven was disheartened. She knew she was not a formal member of Starfleet but she was very much a part of her crew. It was a mere technicality. The Captain was rigid when it came to breaking protocol but she seemed at points willing to bend them under the correct circumstances. Seven was unsure that this could be one. It was a lot to risk and for what? Seven was also unsure of that.
The hypospray had worked but not well. The Captain had managed a few hours of dreamless sleep but then, not long before waking, the dream began anew. She woke in the same disoriented state, her every nerve alight. Her heart pounded as she fought to steady her breathing. She half expected to see Seven in bed next to her but as she turned she saw nothing but the twisted sheets. There was something too real about the dreams. They were different, more like a holographic simulation than any dream. The Captain thought back to another incident when they had encountered an alien species that existed primarily in dreams. That had ended in the crew eventually appearing in the same dream and it was precisely that memory that kept her distant from Seven. It was an irrational fear with no evidence. How could Seven possibly know what she was dreaming?
When she had inquired about the Doctor’s report, the EMH had merely replied that Seven had reported some vivid dreaming but there was nothing in his scans to cause concern. The Captain had not mentioned her own dreams to the EMH. That was the last thing she needed. Instead she had just demanded the sedative and he had complied. He hoped she would try and get some extra rest during the upcoming leave time but he knew better than to voice that opinion.
Shore leave was proceeding. The planet was uninhabited the away team had confirmed. There were temperate climate along the equatorial regions and a section just on the the southern side showed promise. There were broad grasslands and vast shorelines. Tiny blue capped mountains surrounded it to the far south and to the north an orange tinted ocean stretched past the horizon. The chemical compositions were similar but just slightly off from the composition of Earth. The atmosphere was breathable, the water drinkable. It seemed a perfect spot for a quick rest.
The Captain was weighing the possibility of setting Voyager down on the surface. B’elanna had been at her for days it seemed but she still couldn’t justify the risk. As benign as this planet seemed, the Captain’s hackles were still raised. She decided to keep Voyager in a low orbit for the time being. Most of the repairs could be made in the air but B’elanna grumbled just the same.
So far it had been an uneventful sojourn though the Captain didn’t want to jinx things by thinking that. Instead she turned her eyes to the crew rotations for the next ten days. Nearly everyone had requested leave time, everyone but Seven and herself. Even the EMH had put in for a two day pass and Chakotay had accommodated him. They were running skeleton shifts everywhere but engineering and Voyager herself felt eerily quiet at the absence of about a third of the crew.
Seven’s dreams had continued but after her futile conversation with the Doctor, she chose to keep that to herself. In part it was the erotic nature of the dreams that inspired a newfound sense of privacy in Seven. Before they’d begun, Seven had thought little of the open nature of the cargo bay. It sufficed and it was compatible with her regeneration unit. Seven was aware when other individuals were present in the bay whether she was regenerating or not. It had been a bit hurtful in the beginning as the crew did not respect her privacy nor did they realize she could hear them while she was regenerating. Seven tolerated the derisive comments and the leers for only one reason. Another visitor came to see her, always alone and at odd hours of the night. Sometimes she spoke, thinking like the crew, that Seven was asleep and couldn’t hear her. She never said much but Seven remembered every word. So Seven kept mum about the jerks to maintain the façade for her Captain. Lately though the Captain had stopped appearing.
Now Seven thought about the possibility of asking for her own quarters. Certainly she’d earned her place, proper quarters were not too much to ask. She could approach the Captain about that, that was safe. Seven had noticed that Janeway had left herself off the leave rotation. That meant she was lurking around her ready room at this hour. It was tempting to just head right there. It only took three point eight minutes to get there from Astrometrics but Seven held back. She should make a formal request. She could control her written words better than her vocal ones especially where the Captain was concerned.
Seven’s shift was nearly over and she decided to retreat to the Cargo Bay. The mechanical white noise was soothing to her and she wondered if crew quarters might be too quiet. She had noticed the hum of the warp core present in the Captain’s quarters, perhaps that was true of the others as well. The Starfleet requisition form was awkward and clumsy and Seven wondered what backward ensign might of designed. Certainly no one fit for assimilation. To be fair, the form was really designed for transfers within a voyage. Many of the questions pertained to shared bunks and fellow crew mates and Seven had no reply for any. Gazing at the form, Seven realized that it was assumed the crewman already had quarters aboard the vessel. She persevered, filling the form with only relevant answers. She had not considered the possibility of a roommate and the thought had almost made her reconsider. It was not likely most of the crew would want to bunk with her either but Seven hoped the Captain could infer her preference. She pressed send on the holographic display before she could change her mind.
The Captain was poring over old logs when the request from Seven chimed. Blinking she looked at the standard Starfleet form and noticed Seven had left a fair amount of it blank. Clearly Seven was not considering the possibility of a roommate as almost every blank pertained to that. She’d have to see Seven about it she sighed as she walked to her replicator for yet another cup of coffee.
She had been rereading her own logs from the incident with the sleeping aliens. It had been a harrowing encounter though most of it had occurred only in her mind. She was drawn back to the waking dreams, the consciousness she’d experienced. According to Chakotay it was possible to employ that technique under less artificial circumstances. A part of her wanted to ask her first officer more about the technique but reason stayed her. He would inevitably be curious as to why she was asking. The Captain could certainly evade the question but then why bother asking. No, her shame over the nightly escapades was far too great to share any part. Besides, just thinking on it a second made her cheeks flush scarlet, a dead giveaway that her first officer would never overlook. So she was on her own for this. Maybe if she could control herself in the dream, they would stop.
The Captain began to look through methods she might employ, many of them derived from the aboriginal peoples of ancient Australia. Some were of North American descent and it was those that resembled Chakotay’s method. There were varying directions. Some required a spirit guide, others required poultices of herbs, some even called on the dreamer to ingest a combination of hallucinogens. The simplest called for an almost Vulcan style of meditation and that was the method the Captain thought might work for her. She was no shaman, she was not even particularly spiritual. As a scientist it was challenging at best. These dreams were making her nuts though and she needed them to stop. She’d just have to practice until she mastered it.
For the time being, she went back to Seven’s request. It shamed her a bit that Seven had even made it. Seven had more than earned her place aboard Voyager and that included proper quarters. The cargo bay was always meant to be temporary and the lack of privacy was bothersome at best. Seven hadn’t seemed to mind but clearly that had changed. She wondered why that might be? What had brought this sudden request? Was there more she had missed in her avoidance of Seven? As captain, she tried to remain above the line of scuttlebutt. Some gossip inevitably reached her but it was seldom much and often extremely exaggerated by the time it got to her. Surely she would have heard if Seven had gotten involved with someone?
The thought stabbed at her guts and she winced at the phantom pain. Surely she would have heard. Though it would certainly explain some things as well. The Captain knew she had no claim on Seven, no right to this rippling pulse of jealousy. Still, her heart pounded as she tried to think of any other reason Seven might make such a request.
This was ridiculous, she thought to herself as she gulped at her still steaming coffee. Seven has a right to have a life. And there’s nothing you can do there, nothing. Then why do I feel so guilty?
For a moment, the Captain regretted not having a proper counselor on board but given her previous experience, she’d avoid them anyway. They couldn’t change the regulations anymore than she could. That was moot anyway. There was no way Seven could possibly reciprocate, possibly be ready for an adult relationship. She’d been assimilated as a child, she’d not gone through any proper adolescence, and the Captain could never take advantage of that. Besides, that still assumed Seven might even be attracted to her which was still up for debate. No, the whole thing was a cauldron of disaster and the sooner she stopped having the dreams the better. Until then, she would find some proper quarters for Seven.
The Cargo Bay was dark, only the emergency lighting buzzed and the dark haze obscured the edges of the cargo containers. The familiar green glow was missing and panic surged through the Captain as she rushed towards the place Seven’s alcove should be. There was no alcove, no green light, no Seven. The Captain called out, her voice echoing off the cargo containers and through the cavernous bay. There was no answer.
Seven stood in the corridor facing the Captain’s quarters. She had been standing there, stock still, for fourteen point three nine minutes. She had come here with the intention of checking the status of her housing request. As she had approached the door, it had seemed to shrink away from her. Seven searched for some kind of force field, anything that would hinder her in such a way. She could detect no aliens nor any devices but still she could not reach the door. Panic rose up in her and unaccustomed to it, she called out for her Captain but no voice left her lips.
Decks below, the Captain heard Seven’s hail and she began to move on instinct. Something was not right. She bolted out of the bay and into a turbolift but as the doors opened, it was not deck three that she saw. Stretched out before her was a wide open prairie. There was nothing to see but the high blue grass as it swayed in an invisible breeze. A bright sky hung up above, the purples and yellows making it clear this was not Earth. Seven’s voice caught on the wind, high and clear, and the Captain could not help but seek it out.
The deck disappeared beneath Seven’s feet and before she could react, she felt herself plummeting. There was nothing to grab a hold of, nothing to reach for, just the black void of nothingness. Seven heard herself scream this time and her voice echoed and reverberated the single word she had uttered.
The Captain had never heard Seven call her by her first name. Now it reached her ears and made her heart pound harder. This was a dream she realized with a start. She still had to find Seven. She leapt from the lift onto the unknown terrain and with a pop, the doors disappeared behind her. There was no way back, the only way out was through whatever this was.
“Control it Seven!” She heard herself yell as scanned the vast field for any sign of the blonde.
Seven heard the command. Was this a dream? That mattered little as Seven focused her mind on the Captain’s voice. With a pop, she felt solid ground suddenly beneath her feet. She opened her eyes without realizing she’d ever closed them. Captain Janeway stood before her, her mouth was hanging slightly agape.
“This is a dream?” Seven’s eyes met Kathryn’s as a blush rose over the smaller woman’s face.
“It would seem that way,” she squirmed as Seven continued to hold her eye contact.
“And the others?” Seven’s eyes glowed with a cold fire.
“Others?” Kathryn squeaked.
Klaxons broke the air and as they did the darkness returned. Kathryn reached for Seven but felt only the air as it rushed by her fingertips.
Kathryn woke in her bed. She hailed Seven before her reason could reach her half-asleep mind.
Moments later her door chimed. Suddenly Kathryn doubted her own wakefulness. This was too similar, she thought as she leapt to her feet just as the door slid open to reveal Seven, as composed as ever.
“Are we awake?” She asked as she strode quickly into the room as Kathryn stared once more. She’d pulled the robe of her bathrobe tighter around herself.
“I believe we are,” Kathryn managed as her mind raced through possibilities. “But these are not normal dreams.”
“I suspected as much,” came Seven’s formal reply. The faint flush of her normally pale cheeks did not go unnoticed. “Do you have a hypothesis?”
“Not as such,” the Captain replied as she finally broke her eyes away from Seven and began to move towards the replicator. “I fear we may have missed something about this planet. Can I get you anything?”
Seven had not moved from the space just in front of the door. Her eyes remained fixed on Janeway while disjointed images sprang unwarranted across her mind’s eye. She had been here in the dreams. It had not been like this. In the dreams, they did not speak. Blinking away the thought Seven sighed quietly before replying.
“Vulcan spice tea. Please.”
The Captain raised her eyebrow, surprised at the rare request. She complied though and replicated a mug before ordering up her own coffee. She gathered both mugs and set them on the counter forcing Seven to move from her rigid spot. As she pushed the mug towards Seven, their fingers brushed against each other. The contact lasted only a second but it shot a bolt of recognition reverberating through both of them. Their eyes met. Desire swept over the Captain and she inhaled sharply as she tried to move past the barrage. She turned to her coffee instead and took a scalding first sip. Wincing, she forced her mind back to the problem at hand.
“I’ve checked in with Chakotay on the surface and he said everything appeared normal. I still think we must have missed something.”
“I can run further scans from Astrometrics,” Seven sipped at her tea. She wanted desperately to ask more about the dreams, the other dreams. It was quickly becoming clear that they had been a mutual experience. This did not seem to be the right time however.
“It stands to reason that others would also be having strange dreams but the Doctor mentioned nothing when I spoke to him. Why would it target just the two of us?” She leaned forward on the counter and looked up at Seven once more.
“I do not know. Perhaps it is not coming from the surface,” Seven continued to puzzle. She disliked when the Captain asked questions she could not answer.
“Well that’s where we start. I’ll come with you to Astrometrics, just let me get changed first.” Just like that the flush returned. She quickly looked down at the flimsy layers of silk and felt Seven’s eyes follow her own. Hot-cheeked and flustered, Kathryn closed her eyes as she tried to summon any shred of her command presence. With a Herculean effort, she forced the inappropriate thoughts from her mind and she gulped at the dregs of her coffee. Then, sputtering, she lit off for her bedroom without a look back at Seven.
There was a strangled scream from the bedroom and Seven ran towards it without thinking. As she crossed the threshold, she was thrown forward with such force she thought she lost consciousness. As she blinked, she realized she was hanging, floating in space. But she could breathe. She was not frozen. This must still be a dream. Then where was the Captain? Seven fought the lack of gravity and began to move slowly through the darkness. She called out for her Captain, for Kathryn, for anyone. There was no answer.
Kathryn reached for her turtleneck but as she pulled it over her head, she emerged in another bedroom altogether. Bright sunlight streamed through the windows and she blinked into the familiar haze. She hadn’t seen it in many years now. It looked just the same. Kathryn crossed the floor of her childhood bedroom to look out of the wood framed windows. It looked like early fall, the last of the harvest. She half expected to hear her mother calling when she remembered Seven. Where was she? Was Voyager in trouble? Were they?
Seven closed her eyes and focused on Kathryn Janeway. She pictured the petite redhead, her perfectly coiffed hair, her broad-shouldered stance, her eyes that smoldered, often unreadable to Seven. Seven thought of her delicate sinus rhythm, the patter of her heartbeat as she drew close to Seven, of her scent, part amber, part saline, part something Seven recognized but could never name. When she opened her eyes, it was no longer dark. A farmhouse stretched up before her. Inside she knew she would find the Captain.
“Will you?” A voice Seven did not recognize asked from behind the low hedge surrounding the wraparound porch. A woman looking a bit like the Captain slowly appeared before Seven.
“Kathryn is hard to find,” the woman said. “She is even harder to catch.”
Before Seven could ask anything, the mysterious woman vanished as quickly as she had appeared. Seven moved towards the front door but as she approached the porch, she was once again thrown backwards. A force blocked her entrance. She scanned for devices but this was a dream.
Kathryn tried to leave her room in search of Seven but the doorknob would not turn. Panic surged through her and she threw her shoulder into the wooden door. She found herself thrown backwards onto the single bed. Dazed, she looked up into the face of her sister Phoebe. Kathryn scrambled off the bed as she reached for a phaser that she didn’t have.
“Who are you?” She demanded. “You only look like my sister. What is all this?”
“You have trespassed into our space,” the alien replied, it’s voice eerily similar to her sister.
“We scanned, we saw nothing. It was not intentional,” she wasn’t sure whether she should be falling back on diplomacy or forward on aggression. She didn’t seem to have much control in this dreamscape, so she decided to talk first.
“You misunderstand. It is your deception that has trespassed against us. Your crew below is safe. It is you we require.”
“And what deception have I committed?” The Captain demanded as her temper rose.
“You misunderstand,” the voice said once more. The form of Phoebe began to shift and as it lost its shape, it began to glow. “We are not corporeal by nature. We are astrally projected beings. We bid you no harm. This includes that which you do to yourself.”
Now Kathryn Janeway was confused. Her mind swam as she stared at the the pulsing ball of violet and silver light. She was dreaming. Or was she?
“You have lost your way.”
“Well yes,” she scoffed, unable to bite back her sarcasm.
“You have forgotten.”
“Who are you! Why should you care?” The frustration had gotten the better of the good captain and Kathryn’s anger spilled into her command voice.
“You must remember.” A white hot heat suffused her entire body and for a moment she thought she might burn up on the spot. Images rained down on her and Kathryn looked through the web to see the whole scope of her life. Everything was tied together.
Then with a blinding flash, the alien disappeared and with it the pulsing mirage of memory.
“Seven!” She screamed. Nothing else made sense.
“Regeneration cycle incomplete.”
Seven blinked back to life. Her cortical node might be aware of her surroundings when she regenerated but that was not the same as being truly conscious. Seven’s mind was flooded with images from what must have been a dream? Was she even awake now? Captain Janeway’s voice called her name before Seven could answer these questions. Asleep or awake, Janeway needed her and Seven sprinted from the dais and out of the cargo bay.
The Captain’s Quarters were sealed but it only took Seven four point nine seconds to override the command. She rushed through the door as her eyes swept for any sign of her captain. Seeing nothing, hearing less, Seven continued forward until she reached the bedroom. The door was open. The Captain was asleep.
“Seven,” she mouthed almost soundlessly as began to stir.
Seven froze. She shouldn’t have come. It was just a dream. Maybe she could just back—
“C-captain,” Seven stammered as her throat seemed to close around her vocal chords.
“You heard me? You were there?” Kathryn Janeway leapt to her feet. She didn’t seem bothered to be dressed only in flimsy silk this time.
Seven nodded mutely. She could not quite tell what was happening but she fully expected to be thrown out any moment.
“You know?” This was not the voice of her Captain.
As Seven nodded once more, Kathryn closed the last distance between them. Her lips met Seven’s suddenly, forcefully, as if she’d done it a thousand times before. Seven’s mouth was warm and sweet, inviting her further and Kathryn wrapped her arms around Seven’s neck puller her closer still.
“I wanted to tell you,” Seven gasped when they finally broke apart. “But— you’re the Captain.”
“Last I checked,” Kathryn smiled wryly.
“Nothing. Just me. I had to remember a captain must be more than a sum of her parts,” she paused as her eyes caught Seven’s once more. “I haven’t been honest with you, or myself for that matter. I’ve had feelings for you for some time now. I did my best to staunch them. Block them out. I avoided you like a coward.”
“Because of the dreams?”
“Because of all of it. But you’ve known all along haven’t you?”
“I only know I care for you more than any other. I do not wish to cause you distress.”
Seven’s face seemed to glow in the low light of the bedroom.
“I don’t want to unduly influence you,” was the nearly terse reply. Kathryn couldn’t quite keep the apprehension from her voice.
“That is moot,” Seven startled Kathryn with her sudden syntax. Before the gaping redhead could reply, Seven’s lips found hers once more.
Kathryn felt Seven’s lips, her tongue, her long fingers as they stretched across her back. Her mind drifted to what the alien had really said or more accurately imparted. Getting home was one thing but the journey was what she was living. She needed all of her strength as both Captain and Kathryn to get them all through. Kathryn needed to remember how to be brave with her heart. She’d kept it secret, kept it safe for a long time now but Seven made her question why. Seven made it past the sword and shield, made it past the muscle and the sinew, made it through the material world to where Kathryn had hidden, not for just the seven years of their voyage but for nearly a decade before it had ever started. Kathryn had tried every denial.
Seven terrified her because she felt like home. The Captain feared Kathryn would lose her edge to that creature comfort. That’s not how it worked though and whether from the alien or her own subconscious, she finally realized it. She would deal with Starfleet. She would get them back to Earth. Seven would not be denied and finally Kathryn would not deny her.
“Call me Kathryn,” she rasped as Seven maneuvered them to the edge of the bed. They toppled towards its unmade surface, their limbs entwined as they grasped desperately at each other. For a long moment Kathryn feared she might still be dreaming.
“Chakotay to the Captain,” her comm badge croaked from somewhere on the bedroom floor. This was surely not a dream. She’d never dream of Chakotay, not if she could help it.
The Captain slid reluctantly from Seven’s grasp and groped through the clothing strewn across the floor. Normally she was fastidious with her quarters but the dreams had affected more than her sleep cycle. Her fingers felt the cold, hard edge of the badge.
“Janeway here,” her voice commanded back.
“Just wanted to see if you changed your mind about taking the day off?”
Kathryn checked the time before replying. To her awe if was already after 0600 hours and her eyes slid up to Seven’s half clothed form languishing on her bed.
“Actually, I just might take you up on that. Please log Seven of Nine off duty as well. She deserves a break,” the Captain answered with a wink. “What’s the status on the planet? Any concerns?”
“Aside from some minor radiation burns from the twin suns, it’s been quite peaceful. The Captain might even enjoy a good day fishing.”
“Fishing! Well thank you for the recommendation. Janeway out.”
She looked at Seven, the unmade bed, then finally she looked down at herself. Shame clawed at the edges of her nerves as her old familiar guilt crept closer. This was crazy. She couldn’t really do this, her rational mind began to scream.
Seven watched as Kathryn warred with herself. She could see the hesitation, the doubt, and Seven’s heart fell. She began to move from the bed but instead of walking to the door, she walked towards the shivering redhead. Seven did not wait for an invitation before wrapping her long arms around her and holding her tight. Her eidetic memory had recorded every moment of every dream and Seven drew on that knowledge. She did not speak. Slowly she kissed Kathryn.
Kathryn hadn’t expected a kiss like that from Seven. It was gentle and hesitant but there was real fire behind it. Seven’s lips lit the spark once more and once aflame, there was no damping it. Kathryn summoned up her courage and for the first time in years, she just let go. It felt like falling. It felt like flying. She held on to Seven and let the taller woman draw her back to the bed. Desire rose up, gripping her with a hunger like she’d never known. She wanted Seven, all of Seven, every molecule. She could think of little else as Seven’s hands lifted away the thin, dusty rose, silk. Her skin thrilled in the wake of Seven’s still cool fingertips.
The plane of Seven’s stomach slid against her own. Their breasts met, smashing together as their passion grew. What had begun as slow and deliberate had quickly grown into a frenzy. Kathryn fought for control and Seven gave up none. They rocked and rolled, their fingers roaming freely over each other’s already familiar curves. Heat rose in waves between them. The sheets tangled around their sweat-slick limbs. In show of strength, Seven finally pinned Kathryn by her writhing wrists. Her mouth captured Kathryn’s in a searing kiss that loosened that grip. Kathryn only pulled Seven closer as she wrapped her own long legs around Seven’s. They began to move in tandem, Seven’s mouth on Kathryn’s breast, Kathryn’s fingers parting the damp curls and making Seven moan against her chest. They slid and shifted, they pushed each other higher and harder as their moans grew into screams. Primal energy infused Seven and she grasped with desperation at Kathryn.
Colors flashed, nebulous and fleeting as Kathryn felt Seven buck back against her. They were soaring together, weightlessly floating, their bodies woven into a single being. Seven was everywhere, everything, and for a single moment, perfection. Kathryn held on with all her might as the crescendo reached its acme. She heard a scream, a crash, then nothing but their own ragged breath.
They came to on the deck, twisted in the useless sheet. Seven stared at Kathryn, her cobalt eyes wide in the still low lighting. The smaller woman lay quite still, her eyes closed. Seven was about to worry as Kathryn’s eyes fluttered open and then squinted at Seven.
“I think I’m supposed to to ask if it was good for you?” Kathryn joked as she turned to face Seven. The deck was cold and hard beneath them but she couldn’t move, not yet.
Seven looked puzzled at the question.
“An old earth joke, admittedly not a very good one,” Kathryn explained. “I just mean that was amazing.”
“Perfection,” Seven half-mumbled. “You are perfection.”
Kathryn did not think her face could grow any hotter but Seven’s bald statement made it so.
“Oh Seven,” the emotion welled up so quickly that Kathryn could not stop it. All the weight of these last seven years, her loneliness, her heartache, it all overflowed now. Seven’s arms were a refuge Kathryn had finally allowed herself and she buried her face into Seven’s neck.
Seven only left the Captain’s Quarters under a direct order to regenerate. Sleeping had sufficed the last two nights but tonight Kathryn had insisted. The change that had begun in their dreams had completely transformed their reality. They were both still unsure as to what had really happened. There was no evidence of an alien presence and there were no other reports of altered dreams. Shore leave was ending the next day. The final night beach barbecue was set for that evening and Kathryn had insisted that they attend.
The Captain looked over the reports from the last few days. This leave had been productive for Voyager and they had managed the majority of pressing repairs. Satisfied, she added the last padd to the stack on the counter. She had also secured quarters on deck four for Seven. It was a single bunk but it was adjacent to a major power conduit large enough to accommodate her alcove. A part of her wanted Seven to just stay in her bed always but she restrained herself. She hoped Seven would like her surprise. And that she wouldn’t spend too much time there. A yawn slowly rose, twisting up her back as she tried unsuccessfully to stifle it. She needed more coffee. She thought of Seven regenerating. She thought of Seven.
The coffee was hot and strong and just it’s vapors began to invigorate her. Seven. She could have gone on pretending forever she supposed. She could have written off the dreams. And she might have but for the alien intervention. There may have been no alien but that had been no average set of dreams. It was impossible to know without other corroborating evidence. What had been revealed was her fear, her fear of Kathryn. Kathryn was vulnerable, fallible, human. Like Seven, Kathryn had long suppressed her own humanity in favor of being the perfect officer, the perfect captain. It had served its purpose, it had formed her character, and for a time it had make her stronger. It was not without a price. Kathryn paid dearly, quietly hidden, escaping only into the occasional holonovel or dream. Now it was Kathryn’s strength she needed to get them home.
It was a hard realization, one she had fought to the end. Now she could not pretend, she could not move forward as two separate entities. Like Seven, she had to embrace her own humanity and with it her own heart. She still wasn’t sure exactly what she and Seven were doing but it was clear they would be doing it together for some time to come. She would inform her senior staff and Starfleet in due time. For now, she was happy to have had the last two days with Seven.
The door chimed and the captain looked up as it slid open to reveal Seven. Dressed in a striped red shirt and flowing linen pants, Seven looked ready for the beach party barbecue. Kathryn did not.
“You lost track of the time?” Seven accused but her tone was soft as she drifted closer to the wide desk and the woman behind it. Before she could respond, Seven leaned over and kissed Kathryn lightly on the lips.
“I thought we talked about this,” Kathryn said as she arched her eyebrow.
“I am not on duty at all either are you,” Seven fired back with a smile.
“Touché,” Kathryn knew when she’d been bested. “It’ll only take me a minute to change,” she continued as she got to her feet.
Seven fought the urge to roll her eyes. Kathryn Janeway did nothing in a single minute, certainly not change attire. Seven could think of several better ways to occupy their scant free time but Kathryn had insisted they make an appearance tonight. Together.
A half hour later they emerged from the Captain’s quarters. Seven had managed to steal a kiss but not much more. Kathryn was too busy primping and fussing. The longer Kathryn messed with her hair, the more the anticipation built and with it a healthy dose of anxiety. Appearing together was a risk she was willing to take. She doubted if that many would really be surprised even as there had been rumors since Seven first joined Voyager. Still, she didn’t know and the disquiet came through in her fidgeting hands.
Seven felt nervous as well though for different reasons. She did not not expect much from the crew, even after all these years, but Kathryn did. Seven knew that if they were not accepting as a group it could be disastrous for their young relationship. Seven wanted to protect Kathryn but the Captain needed no protection, not from her crew. It was a learning process, balancing Kathryn and the Captain but Seven was adapting quickly. Still it could prove frustrating.
“Shall we?” Kathryn emerged from her bedroom dressed in a simple madras sundress. It ended just past her knees. She pulled a red shawl across her shoulders and smiled up at Seven.
Seven gaped for five point four nine seconds as she felt her heart rate increase. Just the sight of Kathryn was enough to give her momentary apoplexy.
“Yes,” she managed to say. They both moved towards the door.
“Wait,” Kathryn said, tugging lightly at Seven’s arm until she turned around to face her. “Nothing changes how I feel about you. Don’t be nervous.”
Then Kathryn pulled Seven towards her and kissed her slowly, sensuously.
“Nothing that good is ever easy. We will adapt,” was Seven’s sultry reply.
They walked to the turbolift hand in hand.
The party was in full swing by the time they transported to the surface. Torch light lit the beach and crew members meandered around the smaller bonfires laughing and dancing. The Captain began to make the rounds but before she could get far, B’elanna, deep in the Romulan Ale, stopped her. She looked from the Captain to Seven and back before smiling broadly.
“Tom!” She bellowed. “You owe me your holodeck privileges for month!”
Seven looked at Kathryn and shrugged. Neelix trotted up with drinks and hearing B’elanna, Tom trotted up as well.
“To the Captain!” He said raising his tankard. “Good luck Seven!”
Clapping and congratulations abounded after that. It didn’t take long for both Seven and Kathryn to tire of the attention. Kathryn felt fairly assured Voyager would not mutiny, at least not because Seven was now sharing her bed. They made their escape quietly, slipping away from the fanfare and leaving the crew to their revels.
Back in the Captain’s Quarters, Seven watched as Kathryn changed her clothes once more. Seven found pajamas inefficient but she did like the way they clung to the curves of Kathryn’s body. She moved closer without thinking.
“I am glad I don’t have to wait to regenerate to do this,” she said as her lips closed over Kathryn’s mouth. A tiny moan emerged as Kathryn felt her legs begin to melt beneath her.
“Me too, darling,” she whispered as she tugged Seven towards the neatly made bed. “How wonderful it is to wake and find you still here.”
They tumbled together once more. Hours later, Seven woke with a kink in shoulder. Slowly she slid her arm free and as she did, Kathryn turned, drawing closer in her sleep. Seven looked down at her peaceful face, unlined and untroubled and for a moment she felt overwhelmed. It was a privilege to see Kathryn so at ease and to be a part of that was more than Seven could truly comprehend. For now she was content to snuggle down closer to Kathryn and that is exactly what she did.