Once a Day
S. Y. Thompson
"What the hell happened?" Captain Kathryn Janeway of the Starship Voyager demanded roughly upon entrance into the medical bay, fighting the tears that welled in her stone gray eyes. Years of command training prevented the tears from falling, but nothing could stop her heart from hammering in her chest.
It had taken her over twenty minutes to reach sickbay from the bridge due to the extensive damage her ship had taken from the unprovoked Hirogen attack. Main power and engines were off-line, emergency forcefields were up in a multitude of places throughout the ship, and Lt. Torres had barely managed to prevent a full warp core breach. The intrepid crew had managed to repel the invaders, but not without suffering their own share of casualties. Twenty-two crewmen had been wounded, three critically, and it was one of those three that the Captain was on her way to check on.
Under normal circumstances, Captain Janeway couldn’t be pried away from her bridge with a crowbar while the vessel was being repaired and the danger of another attack imminent. But these were not normal circumstances because the crewmember she was on her way to see was Seven of Nine.
Kathryn had spent the last two years nurturing and encouraging the younger woman along her path to regaining her humanity. Somewhere along that journey she had lost her heart to the other woman, but circumstances prevented her from ever declaring her feelings to the former Borg drone. Now it looked as though she would never be able to do so.
The emergency medical hologram had contacted the captain to inform her that Seven of Nine was very near death, and that if she wished to speak with her one last time, she’d better hurry. That had been twenty minutes ago, and Kathryn had desperately been trying to reach sickbay ever since. Turbolifts were down, and she had crawled through countless Jeffrey’s tubes to reach the other woman’s side. Cursing every second that passed, she only prayed that it wasn’t too late. One look at the doctor’s face when she entered the room told her otherwise.
"Oh, no," she muttered shaking her head in agony. "Please, tell me she’s not…" she stopped unable to say the words.
With as much sympathy as the hologram was capable of, he gently said, "I’m sorry, Captain. I couldn’t save her."
Kathryn didn’t know how she made it to the young woman’s side, didn’t remember moving, but suddenly she was standing next to the blonde and gazing down into the placid features. Dirt and blood smudged the beloved face, the right shoulder of the bio-suit was torn and Kathryn could see the implant imbedded in the upper arm through the rent. Smoke still rose lazily from the plasma burns the young woman had sustained in various places on her form, and a medical gel pack had been placed over her abdomen to help retain her internal organs where they had threatened to spill out onto the deck.
Raising one hand, the heartbroken woman gently stroked a soft cheek with the back of her hand. "Seven," she muttered softly, her voice breaking on a sob with the emotions surging in her chest. This can’t be, she thought stunned. Seven can’t be dead.
Then a thought occurred to her and she swung her head toward the doctor with sudden hope lighting her eyes. "It’s not too late." She declared, surprising the photonic doc. "Seven still has enough Borg implants in her system that she can be reanimated for up to 72 hours, right?"
Immediately, the Doctor knew where she was headed and knew it wouldn’t work. He had wished the same thing himself and fought against the futility of losing her until reality had washed over his matrix. Shaking his head, he told her the bitter truth. "The injuries were too severe. I’m sorry, but it won’t work."
The captain seemed to crumple in on herself right in front of his eyes. Her shoulders slumped, and the breath went out of her while her eyes flooded with tears. He had seen the captain’s response to the death of a crewman many times, and she was always devastated, but somehow he knew this was different. This was a more intimate response, not to the death of a subordinate, but to the death of a loved one. Witnessing her pain, he did the only thing he could do under the circumstances, he moved away to treat one of the few remaining patients in order to give the proud woman a moment of privacy.
Kathryn forgot all about the others present in the medical bay, thoughts of Voyager and the Hirogen attack receded in her mind as she concentrated on the beautiful woman lying in front of her. Reaching out a trembling hand, she brushed back a lock of golden hair that had fallen over Seven’s face.
"I’m so sorry," she whispered to the younger woman, hoping that somehow in death, Seven would hear her words. "I should have told you so long ago, but at first duty got in the way, and then my own fear did. After all, how could you possibly return the love of a middle-aged, duty minded captain? But now, there’s no reason not to say it. I love you. I love you so much my darling Seven."
Grasping Seven’s fully human hand between her own, Kathryn brought it up to her face and gently placed kisses on each of the knuckles, unmindful of the moisture dripping onto the scorched bio-suit. She had always wanted to do that when Seven was alive, always been fascinated with the strong, long-fingered hands. Now she was fulfilling that fantasy, but it was a hollow victory.
She stood there for what felt like hours, before Chakotay’s pleading voice reminded her that she had a ship to run, and 142 other individuals relying on her. For a moment she was tempted to tell him to take care of the problems himself, but twenty years in Starfleet had ingrained her duty into her, no matter what personal pain was involved. Feeling like she had left a piece of her heart in sickbay, Kathryn dutifully made her way back to the bridge. It was with a sense of irony that during the time she had spent in the medical bay, the turbolifts had been restored.
Why couldn’t they have been working earlier, she wondered sadly. At least I might have had the chance to say goodbye to her.
The Hirogen were finally defeated, running from the current sector of space as rapidly as their damaged vessels could carry them. The entire bridge crew knew of Seven’s demise, and Chakotay was greatly worried for Kathryn. The devastation in her eyes, and the mechanical way she carried out her responsibilities broke his heart. He had known of her feelings for the other woman and wondered if she would ever come to terms with having lost Seven.
"Why don’t you go to your quarters and get some rest, Kathryn?" he asked leaning over his console in a low voice that only the two of them could hear.
For a moment she just looked through him before focusing, and realizing he had spoken to her. "Quarters?" she asked numbly.
"Please, Kathryn," he asked tenderly, and the softness of his voice almost broke the ice in her heart…almost. "Go rest, I can take care of things for a while." If she hadn’t been feeling so numb, she might have refused.
Kathryn slowly left the bridge and made her way to her quarters on deck three. In her mind she kept seeing Seven’s broken body lying on the biobed, and reached her private rooms feeling like she was lost in a fog. The doors to her quarters swished open and she walked in without illuminating the cabin.
Navigating in the starlight, Kathryn walked over to her sofa and sank wearily onto the cushions.
Seven is dead, she thought miserably as she gazed out into the star field. No more fights, no more velocity, no more watching her regenerate. She’s dead, and I never even told her how I feel.
The tears finally came, refusing to be denied any longer. Burying her face in her hands, Kathryn Janeway cried in long, wrenching sobs that threatened to tear her apart. She cried for the future denied the younger woman, and for her own terrible loss. She cried until she fell into a fitful sleep on the sofa cushions, too emotionally exhausted to stay awake anymore.
Her dreams were filled with Seven of Nine screaming to her for help, holding out her hands in supplication while her body was scorched with plasma burns. In her nightmares, she never moved or lifted a hand to help the younger woman.
In the darkened room of Voyager’s medical bay, Seven of Nine’s lifeless form lay on the bio-bed. Someone had respectfully covered her body with a sheet that extended up over her face. Her right arm dangled off the side of the bed, silent testament to the life that no longer surged through the slim form. The gel-pack had been removed since it was no longer needed.
Suddenly, the fingers of the right hand twitched. It was only a miniscule movement, not even detectable to the casual observer. Several minutes later, they moved again. This time the motion was stronger. Then the entire appendage surged as the arm came up to tear the sheet away from the Nordic features.
Sitting up in fear, Seven of Nine looked quickly around the room identifying it as Voyager’s morgue. Frowning in confusion, she attempted to access her eidetic memory to find out what had happened. She remembered being in engineering helping Lt. Torres during the Hirogen attack. The warp plasma tank had ruptured and she had been in the direct path of the plasma flow. From there events were sketchy, but she remembered being transported to sickbay, and a very worried EMH working on her.
She must have blacked out at that point since the next thing she remembered was the captain and the Doctor standing beside her. The Doctor had told the captain that she was dead. Seven had wanted to tell him that he was wrong, but she had been unable to move. Then she lips curled into a faint smile when she remembered the words the captain had spoken to her, not realizing that the Borg had heard every word.
The smile left her face quickly when she remembered the captain thought she was dead. She had to tell her that was not the case! Reaching up, she slapped at the place where her combadge normally resided, and discovered that the communications device had been removed. Of course! They thought she was deceased and would no longer need it.
"Computer, state the time," she rasped thickly, her throat dry and acrid.
There was no response to her inquiry, and the impatient woman heaved a sigh as she came to terms with her predicament. The computer had been instructed that she was dead. That information had been entered into ship’s logs and was irrefutable until someone updated the information. Because that was the case, the computer would ignore all of her voice commands and inquiries.
Forcing back her impatience, Seven decided that the only way to let the captain know she was alive was to tell her in person. She tried to sit up and gasped at the pain in her midsection. Ignoring the discomfort, she finally managed to sit, and took in her appearance. The bio-suit was scorched and torn, missing completely from her waist, the abdominal implant gleaming mutely in the lowered illumination.
The doctor had closed most of the wounds simply out of respect for his friend, and her nanoprobes had done the rest. But what she could see of the recent injuries brought to mind the anguish she had heard in the captain’s whispered words of love.
The captain loves me, she thought in awe. No, she corrected herself mentally, Kathryn loves me, and she is in pain.
She had never considered that the other woman could have romantic feelings toward her. While she acknowledged that many of the crew considered her aesthetically pleasing, she had never considered that the captain could be counted among them. For her own part, she had never considered a relationship with a member of the same sex. The doctor had been tutoring her in the ways of romance and the social graces, and she had understood from him that romantic partnerships among humans required a male and female pairing. Hearing the captain’s declaration had opened a whole new vista for the young woman and feelings that she had never considered before flooded her awareness.
Now she understood why the experiment in the holodeck with the Chakotay hologram had been such a disaster. She had programmed a romantic experiment based on logical assumptions of who the best male counterpart on the ship would be. Taking into account that she should choose someone intelligent, compassionate, and successful in their chosen field, she had settled on Commander Chakotay, but the results had been somewhat disappointing. The hologram had been too complacent for her tastes and after running the program a few times she had deleted it. But she had not taken love into account, and realized that was why she had failed in her previous attempt. With the knowledge that same gender pairings were not prohibited, she knew there could be only one choice for her.
And right now that person was in pain believing her dead.
Pushing the sheet off of her, she struggled to her feet and fought off a moment of dizziness, leaning against the wall to get her bearings before stumbling weakly out of the room. The lights were lowered in the corridors to indicate night watch, and Seven knew the captain should be in her quarters. Since she couldn’t inquire directly from the computer, she had no choice but to attempt to find her there before proceeding to any other logical location to find the diminutive redhead.
She didn’t quite know what she planned to say to her, but somehow she would let the captain know that she returned her feelings of affection and that they would be together.
Kathryn tossed restlessly in fitful nightmares before starting awake on the sofa in her quarters. Her uniform turtleneck and jacket were soaked through from the product of her nocturnal demons, and for a moment she didn’t know where she was. Then the horrendous events of the previous day came to her, and her eyes flooded in tears again. She had thought she had cried as much as she possibly could, but apparently not. Not bothering to fight the pain in her breast, Kathryn stood up and wandered into the ensuite with tears coursing down her face.
"Computer lights," she ordered and squinted into the sudden glare. But she didn’t order the computer to reduce the illumination, accepting the harsh glare as some sort of punishment for having failed to save the one person in the universe that she would gladly give up her own existence for.
She walked over to the sink and thrust her hands under the faucet, automatically engaging a stream of water that she cupped in both hands to bath her heated face. Her thoughts turned again to Seven and she gripped the edge of the sink, leaning her body weight on her hands and closing her eyes to remember the younger woman. She thought of playing velocity with the ex-drone, and her lips curled in a bittersweet smile as she thought of the frustration the blonde displayed each time Kathryn beat her at the demandingly physical sport.
The game between them had become a regular event, taking place at least three times a week, unless they were under attack from one of the various Delta Quadrant species. At first Kathryn had encouraged the game as a means of keeping in shape, and to help Seven embrace her humanity. After a while those reasons still existed, but a new one had developed; Kathryn took advantage of the time to watch the deadly grace of the other woman’s movements and fantasize that her disheveled appearance was caused by less innocuous activities. Those velocity games had become the source of many erotic dreams, and some of the most explosive orgasms Kathryn had ever experienced…self-induced or otherwise.
When the stream of water deactivated in the sink, Kathryn realized she had been standing there for quite some time lost in her thoughts. With a heavy sigh, she glanced up into the mirror and saw a stranger staring back. Her eyes were swollen red and bloodshot from crying, and her hair was standing up wildly about her head. The fine lines in her face seemed deeper under the intense bathroom lights, and suddenly she felt very old.
"What makes you think she could have ever been interested in you?" she asked her reflection in disgust.
Turning away, Kathryn removed her uniform and dropped it onto the floor where she stood. Normally she was very fastidious about her quarters, but right now she didn’t care about anything. She had lost Seven. Nothing else mattered.
"Computer, lights out," she said without emotion, as she walked back into her bedroom and climbed between the sheets naked.
She didn’t really expect to sleep, but knew that her crew still needed her and that she needed to rest if she were going to be worth anything at duty call. Eventually, she did fall back into a restless sleep with images of a dead Seven pointing an accusing finger at her. In her nightmares, the blonde was chasing her through an icy field and demanding Kathryn explain why she had allowed her to die. She couldn’t get away from the other woman, her feet feeling rooted to the spot, when Seven was suddenly looming over her with her smoking uniform and her assimilation tubules waving perversely in the air.
"You could have saved me, but you did not. Now, I have no choice but to punish you."
Seven of Nine passed no one on her way to the captain’s quarters, but she could see that repairs were still being made in many areas on the ship. The damage to Voyager had no doubt been extreme, and the crew had made considerable headway in shoring up the vessel. Considering the amount of damage, she was surprised to see no one, but was unaccountably thankful at the same time. Being such an immaculate person, she didn’t want anyone seeing her in her current state.
The turbolift deposited her on deck three, and she made her way down the corridor to the captain’s quarters. Taking a nervous breath, she pressed the admittance chime and waited a few moments to be invited in. When nothing happened, she pressed the button again. Again, nothing happened and she wondered if the captain was even in her quarters. The computer wouldn’t respond to her inquiry as to the captain’s whereabouts, so that left her with little choice.
She didn’t want to go to the bridge or the ready room without making sure the captain wasn’t here. Quickly overriding the entrance code on the door with Borg algorithms, she entered to find the quarters completely darkened except for the light from passing stars. Briefly, she considered that the captain was not there until she heard an unusual sound emanating from the sleeping area. She frowned as she tried to identify the sound, and a moment later it was repeated. It sounded like the whimper of an animal in pain. Kathryn is in pain, she thought rushing into the bedroom.
Kathryn flailed against the arms restraining her. The dead Seven of Nine stared at her with dark eyes, holding onto both of the smaller woman’s upper arms. For a moment Kathryn wondered if she was going to be assimilated, then she felt herself being gathered up against a soft bosom and a hand stroking tenderly through her hair.
"It is all right, Captain. I am here."
The voice sounded so vibrant, alive, and full of warmth that Kathryn was shocked into stillness. This dream was different from the others. Seven didn’t seem to be accusing her of negligence, but other dreams had started that way only to revert to more frightening visions. She waited to see what would transpire next and was astonished to feel kisses being placed on the top of her head, while a strong hand smooth her rumpled locks into place.
More than willing to go along with this particular series of images, Kathryn tipped her head back and captured the wandering mouth with her lips. A gasp of warm breath wafted over her face at the emotional impact her kiss had on the other woman. The tip of her tongue slipped out of her mouth and stroked erotically over the full lips. Seven opened her mouth to allow the tongue to invade and wrestle with her own, moaning at the sensations that flooded her body and the heat that seemed to center in her groin. Seven sensed the captain’s hunger right now, while being aware of both an increase in her heartbeat and the hurried respiration. She grabbed Kathryn and kissed her back passionately, taking control of the situation as she overpowered the smaller woman with Borg strength.
Kathryn quickly released Seven's hair from her bun and the top portion of her ruined biosuit soon followed, revealing breasts so round and firm, unlike any she had ever seen and she continued to peel the suit completely off.
Seven looked down at Kathryn as if awaiting her approval or giving her one last chance to back out but Kathryn couldn't wait any longer. She embraced Seven and reached up behind the young woman to run her fingers through the Borg's flaxen mane, burying her face against Seven's neck and smelling her hair she fought the tears rising fresh behind her eyes.
Oh God, she smells fabulous, Kathryn noted. How can a dream feel so wonderful? Then she promptly decided not to think about it and have at least this one experience that she could look back on for the rest of her life. Her hands began wandering up and down Seven's sides, barely touching her skin, until she eventually found her right breast and cupped the hardening the nipple while firmly kissing the younger woman on the neck. Opening her mouth, she sucked on the tender skin tasting flesh, acrid smoke and something that was uniquely Seven.
Seven felt as though her implants were overloading as lighting tingles of ecstasy pulsed through her body. She pushed Kathryn down onto the bed and fell on top of her, kissing her passionately. A second later, the ex-drone found herself lying on her back with a fully aroused Starfleet Captain looming over her.
Kathryn urged, "Tell me what you want."
Having no experience with human sexuality, Seven looked deep into Kathryn's eyes and answered simply, "I want you to make love to me."
Thoughts of never experiencing this wonderful intimacy with Seven flooded her mind and made Kathryn remorseful that she had suppressed her feelings, never telling the unique woman how she felt about her. Kathryn growled into Seven’s mouth before moving down to kiss her neck, sucking hard and making her shaky with desire as well before continuing to move down further.
"Oh, Captain," the younger woman gasped shakily, feeling the wine-shaded lips playing against her skin. "I desire you, Captain."
"Kathryn," Kathryn said huskily. "Kathryn, not Captain. Not here, not now."
Seven sucked in a deep breath as Kathryn bent forward to suck a rock-hard nipple into her mouth with such force that it set her afire, turning her insides to water. "Oh, Kathryn," she murmured reaching to grasp the back of the auburn hair with one hand and pulling the smaller woman tighter against her.
Lunging back up, Kathryn covered her mouth and thrust her tongue deep inside. Urging the bio-suit down over the rounded hips insistently, she pushed a hand between the strong thighs seeking the patch of wet curls and exploring the soft folds she discovered there. Firm hands grasped Kathryn’s buttocks, causing her legs to part and fall to either side of Seven’s leg. The friction against her mound caused the redhead to pull back and groan in sharp pleasure.
God, Kathryn thought, this is the most life-like dream I’ve ever had. Smell, touch, sound…everything was so real. Then it struck her, and electric blue eyes opened with a jolt. This was real! Seven was alive!
With a sob, Kathryn pulled back and stared into the enraptured face of her very much alive Astrometrics officer. "Seven?"
"It is I, Kathryn." The younger woman reassured her gently, reaching up one hand to soothe the frown from the brow.
Long arms came around her back urging Kathryn down onto her. "I believe my nanoprobes repaired the most severe of the damage." She replied planting a series of kisses from the corner of the sweet mouth to Kathryn’s ear lobe. Pulling gently on the soft skin, she sucked the lobe into her mouth and swirled her tongue over it driving Kathryn wild with desire.
Fighting her baser instincts, the smaller woman pulled back with wonder and tears filling her eyes. "I thought you were dead."
"I know, but you were mistaken. My body was simply reduced to a minimal state to allow the healing process."
The young woman glanced away as though suddenly shy, and Kathryn reached up to urge her to face her again. "What is it?" she asked encouragingly. "What’s wrong?"
"I heard what you said…that you loved me."
"Oh," Kathryn responded feeling suddenly cold. Was that the reason the young woman had suddenly shown up in her bed? Because she had heard her captain declare her feelings and she felt obligated to respond physically in some way? With her heart in her throat, Kathryn had to ask the question, she had to know. "Is that why you’re here now?"
Seven’s arms tightened on the smaller woman as she attempted to pull away. Reading the guilt and regret in Kathryn’s eyes, she knew she had misunderstood. "I am here because I heard your declaration, yes. But that is not the only reason. I came to let you know that I am alive, and to tell you that I also love you."
The magical words were enough to dispel any lingering demons, and Kathryn felt her heart soar with happiness. But since this wasn’t a dream, she still had an obligation as captain to let the doctor know that Seven was all right. "I guess we should alert sickbay before someone reports your body missing." She said teasing gently.
"Later," Seven returned. "It is the middle of the night, and I suspect that I will not be missed until morning watch."
Long fingers wandered over Janeway’s buttocks, delving into the crease and probing the softer intimate flesh within. Her breath came in a huff as she asked, "And what do you do to suggest we pass the time until then?"
Seven captured her lips briefly in a sweet kiss before responding, "Be creative."
More than willing to respond to that command Kathryn lowered her head to possess the lips that had haunted her dreams for months. Her lips immediately sought Seven's in an urgent kiss that became a deep embrace of their tongues. Seven's mouth was hot and wet and sweet against her own, and she told her so in that way lovers have of talking without words, two sighs whispering secrets, one moan calling out to another. Their breathing became heavy with excitement until Kathryn had to break away for fresh gulps of air. Only for an instant, however, as Kathryn's lips hungered for the taste of Seven's and then for the tender flesh of her throat.
In the next moment, she began a slow descent of kisses, trailing down the slope of Seven's breastbone and then onto the flat plain of her abdomen.
"Oh, Seven, I love you so much." She whispered to her passionately parting the slender legs and settling between them.
She could smell the other woman’s arousal, strong and sweet in the night and could wait no longer to taste it. Dipping her head she took one long swipe with her tongue. Starting as far down and back as she could reach, Kathryn licked between the wet folds, dipped briefly into the humid opening, and brought her tongue up to swipe over the tender knot of flesh at the apex. She felt Seven flinch and groan in response to the teasing swipe and grinned into the night.
Finally giving in to the desire that had burned her for so long, she lowered her head and began to devour the younger woman in earnest. Moving her tongue around playfully before dipping inside to taste the delicious nectar of Seven’s desire, before moving up to play against the hardened clit. After only a few moments, she could feel the younger woman tensing in her arms and knew she wasn’t far away from her first orgasm. Wanting to feel and be a part of the explosion in every way, Kathryn gently slid one elegant finger into the slick channel, feeling the walls contract and attempt to pull her even farther.
Feeling how achingly tight the other woman was and not wanting to hurt her, Kathryn was content to simply rest the digit within her, letting Seven feel the tip of it pressing insistently against her womb. Then, speeding up the stroking of her tongue, she pushed Seven toward the height of bliss, listening to the panting sounds of her breathing while allowing the taste and feel of this incredible woman to heal the hurt she had been experiencing since learning of the accident earlier.
Seven felt the pressure increasing steadily between her legs at the point where Kathryn’s tongue stroked her so expertly. The combination of heat, wetness, and the slightly raspy texture was driving her toward the edge of something momentous. Then it happened. Something seemed to burst inside her and radiate out from her center, causing massive spasms as pleasure surged through her and caused her to cry out into the night. The spasms reached a peak and began to gently abate even as Kathryn gentled her touch and brought Seven back to her.
When Kathryn moved into her arms a moment later, both of them were in tears. "Kathryn, it was so much," Seven said breathlessly, not quite understanding how to express what had just happened to her.
"I know, honey. That’s the way it should always be."
Kathryn’s hard nipples prodded insistently at Seven’s chest, and the younger woman felt desire rising sharply within her again. "I wish to make you feel that way." She said flipping them over so that she was on top.
"I wish you would." Kathryn urged with happy tears shining in her eyes.
Something suddenly occurred to Seven and she stopped her decent, looking deeply into her lover’s eyes. "Kathryn," she began, "I have heard that when one is in love, they think of their partner constantly. Have you experienced thoughts of me throughout your day?"
Not knowing where the question had come from, Kathryn Janeway nevertheless sought to answer as honestly as she could. "I only think of you once a day, Seven."
Frowning, and not understanding why that answer should disappoint her slightly Seven replied, "Oh."
Kathryn grinned, knowing she had misled the other woman with her simple answer. Reaching up a hand to direct Seven’s attention she said, "Yes, once a day…everyday…all day long."
A radiant smile covered the younger woman’s features, as she understood what Kathryn meant. Kathryn thought of her constantly, and somehow she knew that was not a recent development.
"Acceptable," she replied before leaning down to capture the lips in another soul shattering kiss.
She had been right, Seven decided. Morning watch was early enough to let everyone know that she was indeed quite alive.