Coffee and Atonement
Kathryn watched Seven as she slept and was tempted to reach out her hand and trace the profile of Sevenís face, but stopped herself. Instead, she lay back gently so as not to wake her lover... lover. It was such a strange concept for the Captain to accept. Her chest tightened with panic. How had this happened? How had she let this happen? She wasn't gay - her recent desire for Michael OíSullivan had been proof enough of that.
And yet, here she was, in the arms of Seven.
She breathed in Seven's scent and smiled instinctively. The fragrance made her feel safe, made her feelÖ happy. She gazed up at the ex-Borg's face. What was it about this woman that intoxicated her so? She could never think clearly when Seven was around, which Kathryn found disarming. No one had distracted her this much before. No one had come close.
Seven stirred despite Kathryn's stillness. She opened her eyes while the Captain quickly closed hers. Janeway never knew how to react in the mornings; she wanted to be comfortable, like Seven, but her attempts always seemed to end in awkwardness. Seven gently placed a kiss on her Captainís forehead, stroking the auburn hair that covered the pillow beside her. A shiver ran down Kathrynís spine and her eyes opened involuntarily.
Seven smiled down at her. "Morning, sleepy head," she greeted warmly.
"Morning," Kathryn replied, still unaccustomed to Sevenís terms of endearment.
As Seven slipped out of bed to prepare breakfast, Kathryn diverted her eyes. Seven always slept in the nude, while Kathryn had taken to wearing an over-sized shirt to bed. Seven had said nothing, but the expression on her face the first night Janeway had worn it spoke volumes. Kathryn had wanted to fling the shirt to the other side of the room at the time, but knew that when she awoke the next morning she would be self-conscious. The ex-drone was fully aware of the reason for the shirt and although it had hurt her feelings, she understood Kathryn's need for it. Upon entering this relationship, she knew the pitfalls and knew it would take Kathryn time to accept them.
Janeway lay motionless, her mind racing. After six years in the Delta Quadrant, Kathryn was tired of being alone, but was her relationship with Seven the solution? It had certainly opened a whole new door to narrow minds and being distanced from the crew. Seven found it difficult enough to get by on Voyager, most of the crew still distrusted her, how would she cope when the others started accusing the captain of playing favourites? Once their relationship was public knowledge, the crew might misinterpret every decision she made in relation to Seven and the ex-drone would be the one to suffer. Kathryn couldnít do that to someone she loved.
Seven walked back into the bedroom, a dressing gown wrapped around her shapely figure. She sat on the edge of the bed; the dressing gown was much appreciated by the captain.
"What do you wish to consume - toast? Fruit? Cereal?"
"Coffee will be fine," Kathryn reassured her.
"Ok." Seven smiled and kissed the tip of Kathryn's nose before disappearing into the other room.
Kathryn sat up and swung her legs out of the bed. She still hadnít got used to the idea of Seven having her own quarters, but it was far more comfortable than Cargo Bay Two and afforded them more privacy. Theyíd had a few close calls of crewmembers walking in on them in the throws of passion, if it hadnít been so awful, Janeway would have found it amusing.
She sauntered into the other room and sat at the table, which had been carefully arranged. A single red rose decorated the centre of the table and two places had been set, even though Janeway never ate here.
Seven turned and put a cup of coffee in front of the dark haired woman, who looked surprised at the speed with which it had been made.
"I already prepared it Ė it is all you ever have in the mornings," the ex-drone answered Kathryn's quizzical look, her tone devoid of emotion.
Kathryn felt sick; she had behaved appallingly towards Seven since this whole thing had begun. She was always rushing out of Sevenís quarters in the mornings under a cloud of shame, when the only real embarrassment was her own conduct.
Her thoughts were interrupted by Seven's anxious inquiry.
"Is there something wrong? Have I made it insufficiently? Black with no sugar - correct?!"
Kathryn looked up at Seven's fretful expression and her heart broke. Here was this wonderful, beautiful woman worrying about how she took her coffee.
Before the Captain had a chance to answer, Seven had grabbed the coffee cup and put into the replicatorís recycling bin. She then lifted the coffeepot she had simulated especially and placed that into the recycling bin.
Kathryn was alarmed by the abruptness of Seven's actions. "What are you doing?!" she cried.
"I am replicating you another cup of coffee," came the clear-cut reply.
Seven had her back to the Captain and so did not see the look of guilt that consumed Kathryn's charming features. Janeway felt her world turn upside down and blur. Seven was trying so hard to please her, and what was she doing to make it easier?
Kathryn stood and moved over to Seven, whose face was still turned away from her. She placed a hand on Seven's shoulder. At first, the ex-drone resisted Kathryn's touch, almost flinching from it, but Janeway was determined. The blonde turned to face Kathryn, tears stained her face and Kathryn ached at the sight.
"Seven..." her voice was silky soft.
Seven wiped her eyes with the back of her hand and smiled shyly, "I am malfunctioning," she referred to the tears, "I wanted everything to be perfect... and I thought that if I made the coffee correctly - then you would..." She stopped suddenly.
"Then everything between us would be perfect?" Kathryn finished.
"I'm sorry, the captain apologised, "this is all my fault... I'm so sorry. The coffee was perfect... you're perfect..." Kathryn took Seven's hands in her own and smiled appreciatively at her.
Seven loved these odd little moments. When Kathryn brushed her off while they were on duty, or left her feeling unwanted and undesirable, she would patiently wait for one of these moments, and then everything would be better.
Kathryn shifted her weight; Seven released Janewayís hands, thinking the move had been a sign that their physical contact had lasted too long. She returned to replicating the coffee, leaving Kathryn disorientated at this quick withdrawal. Was the ex-Borg tiring of her insecurities? Was Seven bored with her ambiguity? Hell, she was bored with it. Janeway gave herself a mental shakedown. She needed to become better at this, and she needed to start now. Seven settled the fresh cup of coffee on the table, Kathryn stepped forwards, backing the blonde against a bulkhead; she was barely two inches from Seven.
Pinned firmly against the wall by the heat radiating from Kathrynís body, Seven felt her stomach tingle with anticipation and her mouth went dry. Kathryn had not been one for spontaneity, especially in the daytime. In fact, as far as Seven could remember, she had been the one to make all the first moves... except that one night when she had met Kathryn on the holodeck and confessed her true feelings.
Janeway leaned forwards, her body pressing lightly against the ex-drone. Seven felt the delicious contours and curves of Kathrynís delicate human frame and she stopped breathing.
Kathryn's pulse accelerated and her breath consisted of short intakes - being this close to Seven always had that affect on her. Janeway ran her hands up Sevenís thighs, following their outline to the blondeís hips. Her hands then travelled across Sevenís slender waist, caressing the ex-droneís ribcage that trembled under her touch, gently across her breasts and up towards her hair. Kathryn encircled the blondeís neck and pulled Seven's face to hers, their lips met in an explosion of passion. Seven felt the warmth of Kathryn's body searing into her and wanted to tear the shirt off her back, but resisted the urge - it would ruin whatever was occurring within Kathryn. Instead, she allowed the smaller woman to set the pace.
Seven brought her hands up to rest on Kathryn's back, and drew deeper into the kiss. Janeway, having never really let Seven touch her in the light of day, felt her rigidness at the possibility dissolve. Maybe that was it, she was still in denial about her feelings for Seven. As long as she kept her sexual activities with Seven to evenings only, she could pretend they weren't a part of her life. They were part of the mysteries of the night, kept in shadows. But now, here in this moment, she could not deny herself any longer. She was in love with a woman. This woman.
Kathryn drew back slowly. Seven had her eyes closed and massaged her lips together, as if savouring the taste of Kathryn's lips. She then gazed down into the Captain's bright eyes; Janeway beamed up at her.
"I would like some buttered toast for breakfast, please," Kathryn said quietly.
Grinning, Seven asked, "with coffee?"
Kathryn laughed, "with coffee." She tenderly kissed Sevenís lips, then twirled around and headed in the direction of the bedroom.
"Where are you going?" Seven called after her.
Kathryn turned in the doorway. "Back to bed," she replied as she raised her arms and slipped out of the shirt that concealed her body, letting it drop to the floor, before returning to their bed.
Seven smiled broadly, she was suddenly filled with optimism - perhaps this could work after all.