Title: Statements of Intention.
Fandom: Star Trek Voyager.
Summary: Seven seeks B'Elanna's help in declaring her affections for Chakotay, with unexpected consequences.
Rated PG-13, but contains angst.
Warning: This story contains homosexual attraction between women. If this offends you, stop now.
Disclaimer: No profit is intended in the writing of this story. Star Trek: Voyager and its characters are the property of Paramount and Viacom. The enclosed quotation is from a sonnet by Dante Alighieri in "La Vita Nuova".
Feedback: Archiving is welcome, but please try and contact me first. Thanks to Meagan for her beta work.
When the door slid open, B'Elanna was surprised to find it was Seven of Nine standing there. The former drone had never visited her quarters before.
Seven noted how Lieutenant Torres instinctively folded her arms across her chest. A defensive gesture - the subconscious reaction to an intrusion on her territory by a possibly hostile threat. Perhaps she should have discussed this with the Klingon at work, but Seven disliked mixing work time with personal matters. This situation had already detracted from her efficiency enough.
"Lieutenant Torres, I require your__" Seven began curtly, then to B'Elanna's surprise she stopped and continued in a softer tone. "I would like to request your assistance in a personal matter."
B'Elanna's first instinct was caution, yet she knew just how much it must have cost the arrogant Borg to admit she needed help from anyone, let alone her. "All right," she said quietly. "Come in. Keep your voice down, I don't want to wake Miral."
It was dark in the Paris quarters, the lights on half-power. On a desk a computer's screensaver endlessly repeated patterns from 'Fractal Calculus in Motion' by the Vulcan artist S'Vel.
"Are you working, Lieutenant?" asked Seven, her artificial eye automatically compensating for the reduced light. "I can return at another time."
"Just busywork. Sit down and tell me__"
"I prefer to remain standing," Seven interrupted. She realised her error immediately as B'Elanna's nostrils flared. "But...I shall take a seat," she added quickly, sitting on the sofa. "Thank you for__" She had been going to thank the lieutenant for her assistance, but stopped just in time. B'Elanna had not agreed to do anything yet. This would not do. She was acting inefficiently, making mistakes. The latter realisation did not improve things.
B'Elanna took a deep breath, turned and walked over to the replicator. "Rocassa juice, two cups." Two drinking vessels materialised and B'Elanna carried them back to Seven, shoving one in front of her face.
"I do not require liquid sup__"
"Shut up and drink."
Seven put her hands around the cup, feeling its heat. She took a measured sip of the beverage, her enhanced sensors detecting the presence of relaxants; she realised what B'Elanna was trying to do. "Thank you."
"Now start again."
Seven stared down into the brown liquid. "I am experiencing a romantic attraction towards an individual."
B'Elanna didn't say anything, knowing Seven would get to the point soon enough.
"Commander Chakotay," Seven blurted out.
B'Elanna stared at the young woman, feeling the kick of unidentified emotions in her gut. "That's...a surprise." She knew of course that Seven was bound to form an attachment at some time. Much as she locked up her emotions, the Borg had revealed enough over the past four years for everyone to realise that they did exist. B'Elanna would have guessed the Doctor, the Captain or even Tuvok, but..."Chakotay?"
"Yes," replied Seven, in a voice that echoed her own disbelief. She raised her head and looked directly at B'Elanna. "It's true we have not interacted well in the past, but it appears that love works independently of rationality."
"Are you sure it's love?"
"I am certain of nothing," Seven said bitterly. "I experience the need to be in Chakotay's presence, attraction to the thought of copulating with him. These things I understand from my studies of human mating. My emotions are more difficult to define. I experience strong feelings, yet I'm uncertain as to the correct labeling of each one. They are confusing, contradictory. I have difficulty...adapting." The last was like a confession. It wasn't often that Seven admitted weakness.
"I would normally discuss this matter with the Doctor, or Captain Janeway," Seven went on. "But there are complications."
"In that the Captain is attracted to Chakotay, and the Doctor...is attracted to you."
The surprise was clear on Seven's face.
"Tom told me."
"The Doctor is aware of my physical attraction to the Commander, never-the-less I do not wish to further injure his feelings. Besides, I am uncertain as to his practical experience in this area."
"As opposed to what our EMH thinks he knows. Well if you want my advice Seven, from my own practical experience, just tell Chakotay how you feel."
"That is my intention." The Borg felt irritated that Torres believed she hadn't thought of something so obvious. "I require your assistance in stating my affections."
B'Elanna stared at her and Seven realised she had to clarify. "I need to 'declare my love' and I am uncertain what to say. I understand that among humanoid species poetry and prose are used as a vehicle of expression, especially for individuals who believe they are not articulate enough with their feelings."
"Why come to me?"
"You are familiar with romance, in your long association with Lieutenant Paris. You are a hybrid of two cultures in which the expression of emotion has literally become 'an art form'. And you are not attracted to either Commander Chakotay or myself."
B'Elanna suddenly remembered the fantasy the Botha had plunged her into six years ago in his attempt to take over Voyager. She and Chakotay, making love. B'Elanna pushed the errant memory aside. She'd made her choice with Tom. It was too late to start having jealous thoughts. "Sure, Seven. But there must be plenty of love poems in the database."
"They were written for other individuals. I am unique."
That arrogance would normally have got on B'Elanna's nerves; in fact it did, but this time she just said, "Ohh-Kay."
She placed her cup on the table and sat down on the bed. Across the room in the cot, Miral stirred slightly. "Alright. You have to state exactly what it is you're feeling, and what you admire about the person you're attracted to."
"Commander Chakotay has shown physical and emotional courage. He must have learned control of his emotions as he has made frequent reference to being an 'angry warrior' in the past, yet now he is at peace with himself. Despite our acrimony, he has been willing to assist me without question when my life is in danger."
"I find his features physically appealing."
"How? What exactly do you like about his features?"
"His face and size gives me the impression of strength of character." Seven frowned. "This is irrational. Physical features bear no resemblance to an individual's personality."
"Never mind that, this isn't T'Hain's Dictates of Poetics. In what way does he look strong?"
"Strength is implied in the expanse of his torso region, the defined line created by his jawbone, the width of his forearms and the large size of his genitalia."
B'Elanna's mouth dropped open, not quite believing what she'd just heard. Her hand flew to her face...and she fell backwards onto the bed, howling with uncontrollable laughter.
"OH-MY-GOD!" cried B'Elanna, clutching her sides and rolling around on the sheets in hysterics.
"I do not see what is so amusing!" snapped Seven, a flush of red creeping across her face. When the Klingon's laughter didn't abate, she turned and stormed out of the room.
"Oh damn!" muttered B'Elanna, leaping off the bed in pursuit.
She caught up with Seven as the Borg strode down the corridor toward the turbolift.
"Come on Seven, it was funny."
Seven didn't slow her pace. "If you are unable to take this seriously I will seek assistance elsewhere." She stabbed the turbolift controls with an index finger. The lift must have been on their level because the doors opened immediately.
B'Elanna jumped in front of her, her hands gripping the tall woman lightly by the shoulders. "I'm sorry! I'm sorry. Let's try again. Please?"
The Borg stared at her for a long moment.
"You will not laugh at me again?"
"I wasn't laughing at you, it's just...I could just imagine you walking up to Chakotay in the middle of a crowded messhall and declaring that you love him because he has a large penis."
A slight smile played around Seven's lips. "You think he would be displeased by such a statement?"
"Probably not. But he'd never live it down. How do you, uhh, know anyway?"
"I used the Doctor's medical records to create a holographic representation of Commander Chakotay. It was accurate as to its physical dimensions."
"Come on," said B'Elanna, tugging at Seven's shoulder. "We'd better continue this in the privacy of my quarters. If word got around about what our first officer is packing in his uniform trousers, you might suddenly have a lot of competition."
* * * *
"But when we got there," said B'Elanna, chasing a lump of meat around her plate with an eating pick. "There were NO ships at all, they'd just dumped us on this 1.2g planet where it rained thirty-two hours a day and I turned to Chakotay and said, 'Well how the hell are we supposed to train without any ships?!'"
"Chakotay just points off into the rain where there's the hulk of a Ferengi cargo hauler sunk half into the mud I mean, it couldn't even get off the ground! So here we all are, Seska, Hogan, and I, running around the engine room playing at space battles like a bunch of children. We even used toy holographic projectors to simulate live screens and battle damage. That crashed ship was so radioactive we had to be injected with Hyronalin twice a day. Jonas kept throwing up all the time, I had a constant headache, and there was this Romulan instructor, a real petaQ called Velka; she kept riding me because I was half-Klingon__"
"Romulans?" queried Seven. She was lying on her stomach on the bed, her legs bent at the knees like she'd seen Naomi Wildman do. The Borg prodded at Neelix's latest concoction with her wooden pick, neatly impaling each chunk on the sharp tip and popping it into her mouth. The occasional look of distaste that appeared showed that taste was not completely irrelevant.
Miral was playing on the bed next to her. She'd finally managed to unravel Seven's hair from its tight pleat and was now trying to entangle the strands in her ocular implant. Seven bore the indignity with resigned exasperation.
A padd lay on the table, side by side with a single replicated rose, its stem bound by a blue ribbon etched with tiny ancient Native American ideographs.
"Yeah, we were actually in Romulan space – well, in the Neutral Zone anyway. They were all supposed to be 'volunteers' helping us in our struggle against Starfleet treachery and the evil Cardassians, yeah right. Tal Shiar, the lot of them. Anyway, one day we'd been doing warp core ejection drills for five hours straight and Velka said something to me, I forget what, but I just turned around and flattened her, drove my palm right into her smug little face! Well the Romulans weren't going to take THAT lying down. That night I got a call to come to the main dome and they were waiting for me, Velka and fifteen of the bastards. Said it was time for my Day of Ascension. So they all started laying into me, laughing about how as a Klingon I must be enjoying it, then all of a sudden they just stopped. I looked up with blood pouring down my face and there was Chakotay and the others, every single one of them. He says, 'If you fight one of us, you fight us all.'"
"What happened then?"
B'Elanna shrugged. "Then we beat the hell out of them." She stuck the blunt end of her pick between her teeth and chewed thoughtfully. The young engineer had carefully segregated all the pieces of leola root to one side of the plate, surrounding them with a defensive barrier made out of Talaxian spices. "Mmm, I've got an idea! Why not try a limerick? How about this? – I call it 'Love on New Earth'."
There once was a man from the Maquis,
Who had a very big 'tepee'.
When he showed it to Janeway,
She still said "No way,"
"I'd rather study this monkey!"
B'Elanna collapsed in a fit of giggles, popping another piece of food into her mouth. The immediate change in her expression led Seven to conclude that B'Elanna had accidentally swallowed a chunk of leola root.
Seven gave a disapproving frown that didn't quite reach her sapphire eyes. "I doubt Chakotay would find that amusing, B'Elanna."
"Well OK then, how about..."
Resistance is futile
When I see your bright smile
To assimilate you into my Collective
Is my current objective . . .
B'Elanna scowled. "Damn, I can't think of a last line."
"It is irrelevant," said Seven. She gently extracted herself from Miral's grasp and sat up. "The declaration of love we have is satisfactory."
"Then let's do a dry run." B'Elanna ran a hand through her tangled hair. Kahless, how long had they been working on this? "State your intentions, present him with the rose, and while he's gasping over it all..." She grinned. "Give him a big sloppy kiss on his mush."
Seven raised a metallic eyebrow, took a deep breath, then smiled.
"Ugh! No replicated smiles. If you're nervous, don't hide it. He'll know your emotions are genuine. Chakotay's an understanding guy."
Seven started again.
Our first encounter was full of fear, hatred, suspicion
The realisation of my love was sudden, unpredictable, passionate . . .
B'Elanna didn't pay any attention to the words, after hours of argument with the Borg she already knew them off by heart. She concentrated on how they were said, the passion of the newly discovered feelings in Seven's voice, the slight catch as she stumbled over the more emotional connotations. 'It's all 'irrelevant' anyway,' B'Elanna mused. 'Stunning blue eyes, a personality that doesn't take no for an answer, and a body to die for; Chakotay doesn't stand a chance.'
Coming to a breathless end, Seven of Nine presented B'Elanna with the rose.
B'Elanna smiled in approval. "That was beautiful, Seven. You're going to__"
Seven pressed her lips against B'Elanna's.
Time stopped for an instant; B'Elanna couldn't think, could not comprehend what was happening. Abruptly the two of them sprang apart from each other, feeling shock at what they'd done; other emotions too, that neither wanted to face.
"Thank you for your assistance Lieutenant Torres," Seven stammered and she turned and fled through the door. B'Elanna stared, frozen in place for a second, then tore after her.
She was halfway down the corridor when she heard Miral begin to cry.
"Parkhest!" B'Elanna swore, looking back at her quarters, then at the turbolift doors that were closing on Seven. There was a second as their gazes locked. She would remember the expression of incomprehension and anguish on Seven's face for a long time. Then the doors shut them off from each other.
Earlier Seven had shown B'Elanna a sonnet from 'The New Life', a book Captain Janeway had given her. The Borg had thought it relevant to her situation. It was all B'Elanna could think of now.
The first three hours of night were almost spent
The time that every star shines down on us
When Love appeared to me so suddenly
That I still shudder at the memory.
Joyous Love seemed to me, the while he held
My heart within his hands, and in his arms
My lady lay asleep wrapped in a veil.
He woke her then and trembling and obedient
She ate that burning heart out of his hand;
Weeping I saw him then depart from me.
"I'm coming Miral," B'Elanna Torres said quietly. She turned and walked back to her room.
She'd made her choice. It was too late to change anything now.