The Borg And The Beautiful
by Suz

Disclaimer - Mighty Paramount (double cough) own the names, and the ship. That is all. *

They had recently copulated; of that Seven of Nine was absolutely certain.

During their time together as a couple, Seven had studied Lieutenants Paris and Torres frequently, curious as to what was so 'special' about a romantic relationship. She had frequently observed the signs of the physical aspects of their relationship, and she was witnessing those signs in the Captain and Commander at the moment. They were certainly not as obvious as they had been between the Lieutenants, but there was no doubt that they were there. The Captain and Commander were obviously trying to keep their relationship as quiet as possible.

Seven did not know how to react. Seven did not know what her reaction was, or should be.

All she knew was that she was sitting at a table in the mess hall by herself, holding a fork that was midway to her mouth, staring at her senior officers.

The Commander had told Seven that he believed copulation was something she was not ready for. She had been curious - at the time and still was - as to his reasoning, but he had been too tired to explain what he described as something that 'could complicate their relationship'. True, she had never copulated before, but she was well acquainted with the process, having assimilated a large amount of data on the subject.

It was only then that she realised her fork was still hovering in mid-air and that she should do something with it. There were two choices at her disposal; allow the fork to continue its journey to her mouth where upon she could ingest the portion of food, or, she could lower the fork back to her plate.

She quickly chose the latter course of action, pushing the tray away slightly after she had lowered the fork. Her stomach seemed to be producing uneasy sensations - the cause of which were unknown. Perhaps a visit to the Doctor would confirm that indeed there was a minor malfunction with her biological systems.

Nodding to herself, she picked up the tray and began to return it to Neelix, when she saw someone sitting at a table by himself.

She had not observed that individual in the room earlier. She wondered why she had not noticed his entrance.

Since his rapid departure from the Sandrines holoprogramme twelve days ago, she had not yet enquired as to his reasoning for leaving so quickly. She had seen him, briefly, when on duty, but he had not spoken to her at all.

With a new purpose in mind, she redirected her feet to his table and - without invitation - sat opposite him, placing her own tray down next to his.

The last time she had sat opposite him in the mess hall, he had been mutilating his meal with a fork. His behaviour had not altered by a great degree. He was currently in the middle of stabbing a carrot repeatedly with the sharp prongs of his fork. This time, however, there did seem to be a greater deal of maliciousness to the act. While before he had merely appeared depressed, he now appeared to be enjoying the destruction of the orange-coloured vegetable.

Lieutenant Paris did not react when she sat opposite him. He did not look up, continuing his mission by creating even more holes in the already desecrated carrot.

When he eventually looked up, it was only to glance at the Captain and Commander before returning his gaze to his plate.

Seven's intention of questioning him as to his behaviour in Sandrines altered. Instead, she decided to voice an opinion of which she was almost certain he shared.

"They have copulated."

When he said nothing, she added "Recently."

Lieutenant Paris winced then, at the very least moving the blankness that had settled over his face. He halted his work with the fork. "Yeah Seven, thanks. Like that mental image wasn't in my mind enough already." Looking disgusted at himself and the situation, he threw the fork down and sat up straight, finally looking at her face.

"Then you do agree with my statement."

He nodded impatiently. "Yes, I do. The evidence is sitting ten feet away."

Nodding, she tried to glance at them subtly. Through her observations of them in Sandrines she had concluded that they had not yet copulated then. While they certainly appeared close, they did not appear as close as they did now. There had been a 'something' missing. She did not know what that 'something' was and it frustrated her greatly. She disliked anything that was unspecified.

They were talking quietly; the Captains hands frequently moving, but never touching the Commander in a way that could be construed as containing amorous intent. Still...Seven knew. They were not kissing, nor were they staring at each other with what Naomi Wildman described with some disgust as 'gooey eyes'. Seven had dismissed the expression once as hyperbole, but when she had seen Ensigns Kim and Wildman together, she decided that 'gooey eyes' was indeed an appropriate description, if not particularly accurate.

Still...Seven knew.

As did Lieutenant Paris.

The Captain said something that made the Commander smile.

The uneasy sensations in her stomach returned, and it was only at that moment that she became aware of their former absence.

She met the Lieutenants gaze. "If you find if difficult to watch them together, why did you come here?"

He sighed. "Because I can't keep avoiding them, Seven. Someone's going to notice."

Seven rose her chin a little. "You seemed to be doing an efficient job of avoiding me."

Paris winced, again, and looked down. "I apologise."

"I do not enjoy being avoided." It was not particular complaint; more a statement of fact and a warning for the future.

He met her gaze once more. "I'm sorry, really. It's that moment in time I just couldn't deal with any aspect of the situation. I didn't want to be with anyone, especially you." As her eyebrow rose in a silent question, he continued. "You're a reminder. When I look at you I think..." He hesitated, but at her glare continued. "...that in a perfect Universe, you would be with him and I would be with..."

His words faded before he actually said it, but to Seven the implication was absolutely clear. "I see. Now that you have decided that avoiding them would be pointless, I trust you will no longer avoid me." It was not a question.

Paris formed a tiny grin. "Aye, Captain."

Her eyebrow rose again, but this time it was in slight acknowledgement of his joke. "Human males have a most inefficient proclivity for avoiding females when they do not wish to face a particular situation. At least, I have observed this from both you and the Commander."

That caught his interest. "Chakotay avoided you?"

Suddenly ashamed, embarrassed, exhilarated and having no idea why, she blinked repeatedly until she could wrestle her unexpected reactions under control. Once they were she regarded the Lieutenant with all the impassiveness she was capable of. "Yes. Am I to assume from these experiences that all human males are likely to act in the same manner?"

Chuckling lightly, he tried not to look at the couple located a few feet away. "Well, Seven, every man is different. But since the dawn of time," He continued dramatically "and the creation of the first human, men have always tried to woo the hearts of the women they desire. Several hundred thousand years later, and we still haven't got it right." He shrugged. "Something tells me it's not going to happen anytime soon."


Part Two

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The Borg And The Beautiful