Fan-fic by Asuka Jenius
all characters belong to Star Trek/Paramount; song by Jessica Simpson, written by Marsha Malamet and Liz Vidal
"did you ever love somebody so much that
the earth moved?
did you ever love somebody even though it hurt to?
did you ever love somebody; nothing else your heart could do
did you ever love somebody who never knew?"
"Beautiful! We should have brought a picnic lunch!" B'Elanna Torres was rarely inspired by such mundane things as nature, but this planet was intoxicating. The away team was surrounded by beauty not to be found anywhere in the explored universe or so B'Elanna thought at that moment. It had been a long time since the last shore leave and though the outing was technically a mission it could serve a double purpose.
"Who said we didn't?" TomParis said with a twinkle in his eyes and a smile in his voice. B'Elanna turned to find he'd lifted a wicker basket out of the delta flyer, now resting amidst the planet's abundant greenery. "One picnic lunch, prepared to my specifications by one accomadating Cook-turned-Ambassador." with a flourish he placed the basket in front of B'Elanna. Though somewhat embarassed by the display, B'Elanna laughed.
"Trust Neelix to go along with one of your crazy schemes!"
"No, no,"Tom pleaded innocence, "It was all his idea - i just pitched in to make sure we didn't end up with Neelix' cooking!" And he turned with a devilish grin to the other two members of the away team, "I think our resident talaxxian is turning into a consummate matchmaker..." Harry Kim blushed at the suggestion as Tom smiled even broader and B'Elanna struggled to keep from giggling. But the fourth member of the team was unaffected by the banter and merely raised her eyebrow at the other three.
"I do not wish to contemplate the reasons behind your conversation and I do not see the relevance of a 'picnic lunch' on this or any other planet." Seven of Nine said in her succint Borg manner.
"Aw, c'mon Seven, even you can't be unmoved by this place!" Tom urged, "It's like something out of one of Harry's fairytales." Tom gestured to the blanket B'Elanna and Harry had laid out; the two had turned to placing the food items out and chattering happily. Harry was still blushing furiously and Tom was pretty sure the beautiful Borg frowning at him was the topic at hand. Seven turned her gaze to the lunch and sighed inwardly, she saw no reason to delay their mission for this. But she supposed they did have to eat and even B'Elanna seemed happier in these surroundings.
"I will comply." She said simply and moved to sit at Harry's right. Tom smiled and moved to sit with B'elanna. The meal was almost entirely replicated, though Neelix had slipped in a few of his own touches, and was quite satisfactory. When they were done, Tom surprised them with a final course.
"Strawberries, cream and champagne - synthenol, yes, but still good." He gave them each a glass and called for a toast. "To beautiful planets and beautiful women!" He said with a wink to B'Elanna. She looked to throw her glass at him, but perhaps still affected by her surroundings joined in the toast.
"To good food and bad jokes!" Her reply was met with laughter, and Harry Kim raised his glass.
"To good company - good friends!" This was met with an all around clinking and a 'Hear, hear' from Tom and B'Elanna. But Seven remained aloof. She'd been party to toasts, though not many, and still did not comprehend the purpose. Her only hope was they would not involve her.
"What about you Seven?" Tom asked. She sighed, so much for being left out of it. Well, the Doctor would advise she should engage in these seemingly pointless activities. They were part of being human. Sometimes Seven wished she were not so human.
"To...to...irrelevant activities." She was met with more laughter than B'Elanna. Sometimes Seven wished she were not so Borg. But they did seem to appreciate the effort. That was some small consolation, at least. The merriment went on a bit longer, but even Tom could not forget they had an altogether different purpose here. In time the remains of the lunch were packed back in the basket and the four officers were outfitted for some exploration. Harry had found evidence of underground stores of deuterium and they were there to find and ore it if possible. They agreed to split up in pairs to cover more ground. Tom and B'Elanna went off east, Harry and Seven west. The plan was to meet back at the landing site in two hours.
Harry chuckled as he heard B'Elanna trying to keep her wayward lover's mind on the mission as they went off toward the trees. He and Seven would be following the river toward what appeared to be a waterfall in the hopes of finding a cavern near the waterfall. Even as he chuckled he could see Seven was listening to the pair as well. She, however, was frowning, though in concentration rather than disapproval. He shook his head. She seemed so young sometimes, so confused by the simplest things. "Let's go Seven, we don't want them to beat us to the deuterium, right?"
"I was not under the impression this was a race, Ensign. But if it is, I do not believe we are in any danger of losing." Harry laughed. She took things so literally. Seven looked at him with some question, but he simply gestured her forward. Seven paused a moment but decided to accept his odd behavior and started off, tricorder open in front of her, recording the planet's resources and tracking the ore. The two moved on in relative silence until reaching the waterfall. They stopped on the left bank of the roaring falls. Harry was held momentarily, struck by the amazing power and overwhelming beauty of the spot. The air itself was heightened with the passion of the place. Even Seven paused for a second to take in the sight. She recovered quickly, however, and turned to her companion. "There should be an opening just beneath the water. The tricorder indicates it might lead to the deuterium."
"All right, Seven! Let's go." This mission was turing into something of an adventure and Harry was caught up in his part of Explorer.
"Should we not report back to the team first?"
Harry checked the time, "Nah, we've still got half an hour. We'll just look in a little, make sure we have something worth reporting." Seven still looked dubious, "C'mon Seven, where's your sense of adventure?"
"Adventure is -"
"Irrelevant, I know. Look, Seven, isn't the Doctor always telling you to give in to fun a little?" Maybe Tom Paris was rubbing off a little too much on Harry, but he really wanted to look behind that waterfall. It was beckoning to him and he couldn't see turning his back on it. Seven had to see that! She looked from the waterfall to Harry and back again and seemed to make up her mind.
"I will go first."
"Lead on, My Lady." The sky was clear and the sun shone brightly on the lush planet as the two slipped behind the falls; neither thought to worry about the weather. But as if triggered by their passage, the sky filled with dark clouds, threatening to pour their insides down on the planet.
Tom and B'Elanna had had less sucess finding any possible pathways to the hidden ore and were thus still aboveground when they sky darkened. Fearing a thunderstorm the two decided to head back to the flyer before schedule. They were back inside the confines of the little ship before the rain really started.
"Paris to Kim, Harry can you hear me?" Tom wanted to be sure the other two were returning or at least had found shelter; it looked like a nasty storm out there.
"Kim here; what is it Tom?"
"Where are you Harry? We wanted to make sure you were safe from the storm."
"Storm? We're underground. We were just going to head back - Seven!" The communication was broken off; Tom and B'elanna heard something of a commotion over his communicator.
"Harry? Harry - what happened?" Tom asked with concern, "Harry? Dammit answer me! Is Seven all right?"
"Uh, hold on Tom. Seven are you okay?" Tom and B'Elanna waited anxiously for Harry to explain. The could hear quiet mumblings over the communicator and some movement. "Tom, Seven's been hurt. I think she's okay, but could you pick us up?" Tom peered out the windows of the delta flyer; the rain was torrential and the lightning seemed angry almost.
"Well, I'd rather wait out the storm...how badly is Seven hurt?"
"I am undamaged, Mr. Paris. The ensign is overly concerned." Well, she sounded okay to Tom's ears.
"Tom, she had a bad fall and I'd like her checked out. She could have a concussion or other hidden injuries. The tricorder was damaged, so i can't check myself." Tom turned to B'Elanna with a questioning glance. She shrugged. Tom looked outside one more time.
"Okay, Harry. We're gonna wait to see if the rain dies down, as long as Seven thinks she's okay. I'll contact Voyager, so they know the situation. You try to keep her awake and talking. If anything changes let us know right away and we'll come get you. Okay?"
"All right. Kim out."
"did you ever lay your head down on the
shoulder of a good friend
and then had to look away somehow
had to hide the way you felt from them?
have you ever prayed the day would come
you'd hear them say they feel it too?
did you ever love someone who never knew?"
Harry would rather they came to get them right away, but he understood bad weather and he could hear the thunder even down here, so it must be really bad weather. He sighed. The adventure aspect of this outing had been lost when Seven was hurt. She seemed okay, but it was a long drop...well, he'd have to trust her. In any other circumstance he would welcome being alone with Seven for an undisclosed period of time on a tropical planet. But they were underground, trapped by inclimate weather, Seven was hurt and he had to keep the one person on Voyager who spoke less than Tuvok talking.
"Well, Seven, looks like we'll be here for a while. And Tom wants you to stay awake, just in case. Um...is there anything you want to talk about?" She looked at him blankly. "Um, maybe I could help you with your lessons. Maybe we could talk about picnics and toasts...you seemed a little...well, uncomfortable..."Oh, good, Harry, make her feel worse. He sighed. This was impossible. He didn't know how to talk to her - that was the whole problem!
"Thank you, Ensign. I believe I have a proper grasp on the situations. I simply do not find them relevant."
"Oh." Okay, what now? Harry looked at a loss. Seven watched him with her unrelenting gaze, Harry started to blush again and turned away.
"Are you angry with me, Ensign?" Harry turned back.
"Of course not, Seven. I just, well, I think you've got Tuvok's Vulcan stare down pat." Harry tried to make a joke of it, but he knew it was feeble at best. Seven didn't know how to respond to that statement and the silence was growing between them. Finally, she seemed to make a decision and spoke up.
"I do have a question, Ensign. Mr. Paris remarked that Neelix was acting as a 'matchmaker'. I have heard this before, in reference to Mr. Neelix and to the Doctor. What exactly does it entail?" Oh, she would ask something like that...Harry felt himself turning red again. But it wouldn't do not to answer and she deserved full honesty.
"Well, centuries ago it was common practice on Earth to arrange marriages." He'd start with centuries ago and work up to now, maybe she'd stop him before it got too personal, "The people who arranged the marriages were called Matchmakers and it was their duty tohoule good matches. Actually, some societies still practice matchmaking, like on Vulcan and Betazaed, but I don't know much about their practices or anything." He stopped to guage her reaction. She was still gazing at him with that same rapt attention.
He seemed to be looking for a response, "Perhaps I should ask Tuvok."
"Um, no, I don't think that's a good idea. Vulcans are notoriously close-mouthed about their personal lives...actually you do have a rapport with him. Maybe he would be forthcoming with you if you asked...um..." Harry was a bit flustered, he wished he wasn't so intimidated by her. He'd built up a rapport with her too, why was he so anxious? "Anyway, since that practice has fallen out of fashion, so to speak, 'matchmaking' is simply, well, helping, i guess, two people to meet and get together. That's what you may have heard about Neelix and the Doctor."
"And today? Mr. Paris implied Mr. Neelix was 'matchmaking' with his picnic. Mr. Paris and Ms. Torres are already a couple, are they not?" She looked at him quietly, waiting. He got the feeling she knew more than she let on, but she'd never been devious. She was more, well, direct.
"Tom meant...well, he was talking about us. He and B'Elanna are certainly already a couple. I'm sure Neelix and Tom just want you to be happy. Maybe they think you'd be happy with me. But don't worry about it, it's not real matchmaking, just fun." He smiled and it was genuine. Maybe direct was the right way. He didn't feel anxious anymore. Seven was taking everything he'd said in She must be assimilating the information, Harry thought with a chuckle.
"Do you wish to make a match with me, Ensign?" Seven asked, directly again. Harry thought quietly to himself before answering. Again, she deserved all his honesty. Did he want to "make a match" with Seven? Some part of him was jumping up and down inside him yelling, "Hell Yes!" That part of him had started fantasizing the moment he'd first laid eyes on the de-Borgified Seven. But Harry knew that Seven wasn't asking if he - well, was attracted to her. He was pretty sure she knew that as well as everyone else on the ship did! Beyond the physical, what kind of a relationship did he really want with her? Harry had fallen in and out of love a dozen times in his life, and only once was it a real match. Libby, the hurt he thought would never fully heal, at least not without...he didn't want to say a replacement, that wouldn't be fair to either person...but someone new to share his life with. Harry looked up to meet Seven's gaze. She was still watching him with her infuriating directness. He started to blush again and it bothered him. He made the decision to stand up to his schoolboy intimidation and infatuation and grabbed Seven's hands in his own. She was surprised and started to pull away, but he held on and she relented. Maybe she saw the look in his eyes, the simple truthfullness he exuded. She waited.
"Seven, you're beautiful. You're probably the most beautiful woman I've ever met. And I am...very...attracted to you. And I'd like to think that in all the time we've spent together on Voyager we've gotten to be friends. At least I think of you as one of my friends, like Tom and B'Elanna...And you've become a part of the crew, you're really important to a lot of people, i hope you realize that...the Doctor and Neelix and Naomi and the Captain...I'm just one of the people who think you're special. And when I think about all that you've had to pull yourself thru, well, I think you must be one of the strongest people I know. And so...well, Seven I would consider myself very lucky to 'make a match' with you. And a lot of people would agree with me." He paused and smiled and he spoke a little softer, "But that kind of matchmaking went out of style centuries ago and for all the right reasons. It's not fair to anyone force or even gently coerce you into a situation you might not be comfortable with. So please try not to take any of it seriously. It's really all just for fun. Sometimes people, especially people who love us, like to tease." He let her hands go and sat back a little. She sat still and silent until Harry couldn't take it anymore and broke her reverie, "So, Seven, who do you want to make a match with?"
"I...do not know what to look for in a match. The Borg do not have individual relationships and all the...friends I have made on Voyager came to me." She looked so sad he wanted to kick himself for asking. Seven hardly ever looked anything other than aloof or angry, and very rarely happy...but sadness was an emotion she held as far away as possible. He was filled with the notion that he had to Do Something to cheer her up. He wished the Doctor was here, he was better at this.
"I'm sorry, Seven, I didn't mean to upset you. Your match should be someone who...stimulates you. Someone who keeps you thinking and processing. Because those are the things that are important you and that's what your match should be, okay? But that's just an example. What you want in a...match...is up to you. In general your match should be someone who makes you feel loved. Someone who you can disagree with and still love. Someone who makes you feel safe...so that even when you're alone you're not lonely because you know they love you. But those are things you look for in all your most important relationships...what sets your match aside is something you decide for yourself."
Seven took this all in and dissected each word for its full meaning. She had become a part of the crew, Harry was right about that, and she did have friends. But she almost feared apareationship that went beyond friendship and had shied away from any situation in which she might encounter one. She had decided she was incompatible with everyone on Voyager, but in truth she was afraid she might just find her match...and that was frightening. Seven didn't like to be alone, but the idea of having the kind of relationship Harry was describing scared her almost as much...or maybe more. She didn't want to become dependent on someone in that way, not when she'd had to fight so hard for her independence. Her parents had loved eachother and her so much they couldn't bear to part with eachother when they journied into the delta quadrant and look where it got her. Their relationship was a detriment to their safety and hers. She never wanted to be responsible for anything like that. Better to hold everyone at arm's length.
But then what about the relationships she had made. If she were honest with herself she would know she'd already crossed a boundry, for she knew she would be greatly affected by the loss of any of her friends. Tuvok was a steadying prescence in her life, an individual who still took the grander view of things, who strove for perfection and accepted all people, all things. Mr. Neelix was perhaps the one individual who could make her laugh when she really didn't want to. She considered Naomi Wildman to be her family, another young girl, lost in the Delta Quadrant and surrounded by dangers she couldn't imagine - but this time Seven knew how to protect her. And Naomi never saw Seven as needing to be fixed the way much of the crew did, Naomi accepted and loved Seven exactly as she was. The friendship she had with the Doctor was perhaps her closest. He started out just wanting to help her, she was a new project as well as a new friend. But the two shared much in common and they were both exploring their humanity. Seven knew the Doctor felt personally responsible for her. And there were others, Harry included. But a match? A love match? Something like family only different, more....
"and if you did
well you know i'd understand
i could, i would, more than anybody can"
"Captain Janeway." Seven finally said. Harry looked at her blankly. He had no idea what had been going thru Seven's mind, he'd assumed she'd been thinking over his words and would have more questions for him. He'd been trying to anticipate her questions so he might have some semblance of a good answer. He felt he'd already said too much but none of it was right and he wanted to do better by her. But of all the things he'd thought she might say, 'Captain Janeway' wasn't one of them. He was really at a loss for exactly what she meant. Did she mean....? Seven and the Captain? Harry blanched a little, talk about surprise competition.
"Um, I mean...uh..."Harry really had no reponse but he knew she expected one, he wished she'd just tell him if she meant what he thought she meant...
"Is that a bad choice?" Oh, okay I guess she did.
"Um, no...not really...maybe a, um, complicated choice but not a bad one. I mean the Captain's very..." Harry knew he was blushing again and worse than ever. What was he supposed to say that wouldn't get him in trouble somehow...? Seven was still looking at him, still waiting. Where was Tom? The storm had to at least be dying down...Harry willed his communicator to beep but to no avail. Well, here goes nothing. "Captain Janeway is a very attractive and very capable woman. I suppose if I thought about it she'd be a good match for you." As he said it he realized he was telling the truth. Seven got along well with Janeway and the two of them certainly kept eachother on their toes. He'd never noticed...anything...between them, but that didn't mean it wasn't there.
"What are the complications?" Oh, brother. Harry wished he was anywhere else.
"Well, uh, she's your superior officer. It's kind of an unspoken rule that captains don't, um, look Seven, if this is really something you want to pursue, well, i think you should. I'm sure Captain Janeway could explain the, uh, complications and all a lot better than I could."
"How?" Seven was taking him entirely seriously, he realized, everything he'd said she's taken to heart.
"How? Well, I don't know Seven. I guess that's something else you should really figure out for yourself. If it's something you want, you'll know what to do. Just, you know, be yourself..." She looked like she might say something else, but his communicator finally beeped and the ever-so-welcome voice of Tom Paris put an end to the conversation.
"Paris to Kim. We're just outside the waterfall. Prepare to be beamed out."
"Kim here, go ahead, Tom." We're ready, he added silently, Very ready.
"did you ever love somebody so much that
the earth moved?
did you ever love somebody even though it hurt to?
did you ever love somebody; nothing else your heart could do..."
The flyer returned safe and sound to Voyager and with the beacon Harry'd left at the waterfall, a team found the deuterium easily. The Doctor found nothing more than a few bumps and bruises on Seven of Nine, but he wanted her to rest for a day to make sure. Captain Janeway accomponied her to her alcove to make sure he was obeyed. Seven seemed unusually introspective to Janeway and she wondered what had happened to her while she was hurt and waiting to be picked up. Harry Kim had given Janeway a rather strange look when she'ometmet the shuttle, but he hadn't said anything. Oh, well, the day of rest would do her good.
The pair arrived at Seven's alcove in the cargo bay. Seven hadn't said two words since leaving sickbay, but she paused before taking her place in the alcove, "Captain?"
"Yes, Seven? Is there something you want to talk about?"
"I...I have been thinking and talking about relationships with Harry." Aha, Janeway smiled. There'd been a shipwide wager on how long it would take till those two got together. Janeway was somewhat relieved that was all that was bothering Seven. " Harry explained matchmaking to me and we discussed what makes a good match. After all the discussion I thought about the relationships I have with people on this ship. With Harry, and Tuvok and the Doctor. And with you. I have come to the conclusion that you are my match, Captain." What had she said? Janeway had been following Seven's train of thought but she'd assumed she was going to ask about Harry or perhaps tell her about some of what had happened between them. She'd helped Seven before with personal issues and...but What had she said? Oh, my God...oh, God she was still talking! " I do not intend to pursue a more personal relationship because I believe there would be complications. But I felt I should tell you. I think I should regenerate now."
"Seven, shouldn't we discuss...?" Janeway really had no idea what to say, but this wasn't something she could just let go. That Seven was thinking along these lines at all was a major step and Janeway didn't want her to be discouraged.
"There is no need, Captain. It was simply a thouight and you have told me I may disclose such thoughts to you as long as you are acting as my friend and not my Captain. Harry told me I would know what to say, and I did. I do not want anythicleaore than to have said it. I am not looking for a match. I am content with my relationships as they stand." Seven smiled and Janeway could not help but smile back. She'd approached this in a very Seven way. She was telling the truth. Janeway knew she didn't have to say anything. Seven moved to the alcove and took her place.
"Thank you, Captain." Janeway stood a moment, watching her friend, a woman she had very mixed feelings about almost from the beginning. She was right. Of anyone on the ship Seven was truly the match for Janeway and Janeway was the match for Seven. Why hadn't she seen that? Well, no matter, she wasn't looking for a match either. Janeway moved away from the alcove to leave the cargo bay. "Captain?" Janeway stopped and looked back to her match, "I love you." She sounded like a child, innocent, beautiful.
"I know, Annika. I love you." And the Captain left.
Harry Kim wasn't quite sure why he was going to the cargo bay. He'd been thrilled to escape Seven's questions and revelations, but now he felt he'd failed her. He wanted to make it up. The Doctor had said the Captain was bringing Seven to her alcove to rest - and if she'd said anything, she might need a friend...He wasn't paying any attention whatsoever to his surroundings and so he bumped right into Janeway as she exited the cargo bay."Oh! Captain - I'm so sorry...I..." Ugh, he was babbling and it was pretty clear from her expression Seven had said something and the Captain knew his involvement and oh, he was blushing again...
"At ease, Ensign." Janeway looked him up and down and tried to hide her grin, "I think she's asleep, but you can check in on her."
"Is everything...uh..." Harry stammered, he couldn't ask these things, but he had to know. He looked at Janeway hopefully and again she had to hide her laughter.
"Everything is fine, Harry. Seven's just exploring her humanity. I think you really helped her. Now, go. Captain's orders." And she stepped aside so he could pass easily. With a little bit of a salute and still blushing, he did.
Seven was asleep, or regenerating or whatever. He didn't have the heart to wake her up, not after the day she'd had. So, he just watched her for a while. She looked calm, at peace. Harry could almost see a light around her. He knew what it was, it was her light, Seven's, Annika's. Janeway was right. Everything was fine.
"did you ever love somebody like i love
like i love you"