DISCLAIMER: The Star Trek characters are the property of Paramount Studios, Inc and Viacom. The story contents are the creation and property of Djinn and are copyright (c) 2023 by Djinn. This story is Rated R.

Broken Silence

by Djinn





Shaw stood with a bunch of other newly minted commodores, waiting for someone to tell them why the hell they were on this Evasion/Survival Training moon like a bunch of raw recruits. He had a backpack full of supplies and a thousand expletives locked and loaded for whoever had come up with this lame idea.


Seven stood with a group of other new captains, waiting for someone to explain why they were on the same survival training moon she'd had to navigate during her officer training course. They'd given her a backpack of supplies and she stood patiently—someone would eventually explain this, even if standing around waiting was a monumental waste of time.


Shaw saw Jean-fucking-Luc Picard step out onto the raised platform. What the everloving fuck?


"Hello, everyone," he said, as if they were in the auditorium getting ready to hear tales from his time as an overrated legend. "As you know, the plan to link Starfleet vessels into one uber-fleet was, well, misguided. Admiral Janeway and I have been tasked to come up with a different configuration for our fleet. Based on our own experiences, we are implementing cells."


As in cells like they were fucking terrorists? Great, just fucking great. Shaw heard other sighs—he wasn't the only one not happy to be here.


"We are going back to commodores actually being fleet captains. Commodores who will live on ships they don't technically command. We've spent a lot of time reading through logs of both commodores and captains who experienced this and have noted the issues this situation raises. We believe this training experience will go a long way to building an excellent rapport between the Command rep and the commanding officer."


Shaw closed his eyes—he should have fucking retired. Settled down in Chicago. Gotten a cat and a dog and maybe a girlfriend who could turn into a fiancée and then a wife. Been close to his family.


But no. He'd stayed. He blamed the fucking Borg nanoprobes Seven and Ohk had injected him with to bring him back to life. He would blame them to his dying day, which ironically had already happened.


He would not blame it on his stupid, irrational desire to see Seven again—for longer than a quick nod in the halls at command.


Not when she pretty much looked at him like a cornered fox and scurried away.


Fuck Seven.


Seven felt a surge of relief as Janeway stepped onto the raised platform and explained the new fleet configuration. She thought it sounded like an elegant synthesis of early Starfleet and Borg with a little Maquis thrown in. As she nodded, she saw Janeway look her way and smile.


It was not the easy smile of so many missions, of so many days together on Voyager but rather the one that she gave when she was up to something.


Seven started to worry.


"So for this training," Janeway said with a gentle laugh, "every commodore/captain team will be beamed to a location equidistant from the finish line and you will have equally difficult terrain to master. For the first day, until the official rest period is called, you will not be able to talk to your commodore and they won't be able to talk to you. The only reason you can break the silence is to ask for help or to alert your commodore to danger. But you will lose points which will translate to a distance penalty."


Picard looked grim. "If you break the rules and speak before the first rest period, you will be disqualified. Lest anyone think this is a more appealing prospect than the actual training, if you are disqualified, you will be required to attend Starfleet's two-week Contracts Training Seminar and sit in the front row."


Groans sounded. If you weren't an actual contracts professional, that class was deathly boring. Especially in the front row where you couldn't get away with pretending to listen while actually doing something else.


"Once the first rest period is called, you will be free to speak. An alarm will establish the start of second day. Anyone who attempts to get a head start will be disqualified. You will not be told your progress relative to the other teams until just before the second day's session begins. The idea is to see how well you think on your feet come day two, and we also want you to use your rest period for rest, not scheming how to catch up or maintain a lead if you happen to be in that position."


Seven thought this sounded reasonable.


"Are there any questions?"


One captain raised his hand. "Who's in charge?"


Janeway gave him the grin that had irritated more than one alien in the Delta Quadrant. "Exactly. Any other questions? Very well, find the sign with your team number on it, and wait for transport to your starting point. You will be allowed five minutes for introductions to your commodore if you don't already know them. Good luck, everyone."


Seven found the sign for team seventeen and took a deep breath. Then she felt the familiar tingle of the transporter whisking her away.



And then...


Shaw turned to see who he was paired with. It shouldn't have been a shock given who was running this; it really, really shouldn't have been.


But it still was.


"No," Seven said as she stared at Shaw in what was clearly dismay.


"Fuck no," he said, glaring at her. He'd gotten his wish—time with her—but she was still looking like anywhere but here would be preferable. If he was so fucking horrible, why had she felt the need to bring him back from the goddamned dead?


Why would she do that? Just like when the lieutenant picked him for the escape pod. All he could think was "Why?"


"We figured you two might need a little extra encouragement." Picard's voice, way too amused, sounded on their commbadges.


"You know I fucking hate you, right?" Shaw glared everywhere just in case they were capturing video.


"Yes, yes, Liam, I know. And you are well within your rights to feel that way. But how was it you put it, Kathryn?"


"We double dog dare you two to win this thing."


"You never said what the winner gets," Seven said.


"We sure didn't, did we?" Janeway laughed in a mean way.


"Also silence starts now. Good luck, you two." Picard laughed far more gently. "You'll need it."


Shaw didn't wait for Seven. He set off at a brisk walk and a moment later felt her grab his arm and spin him around, lifting her hands in a clear "What are you doing?" kind of way while also scowling.


He pointed up to the sky, where a laser created an arrow. As signs went, it was pretty much unmissable and the Seven of Nine he'd known wouldn't have missed it.


She looked immediately pissed off—but at herself, as if thinking the same thing.


He jerked free of her hand and hiked on. It was uphill and he frankly didn't really care all that much if she was following him.


Why the fuck would they put him on her ship? Which used to be his ship. The ship he fucking died on. This would never work.


She suddenly plowed past him, almost knocking him aside, as she hurried up the hill. He let her go.


Fuck her. Just...fuck her.




Seven couldn't stand the thought of him on her ship, not when he looked at her like she was the enemy, like she was worse than an enemy. Like she was some kind of stain that really should be cleaned up but in the meantime he'd just ignore.


She tried to leave him in her dust, but it turned out he was in way better shape than she'd thought. She kept a few steps ahead of him but couldn't gain more than that.


And then she heard him slip, heard the hiss of a cut-off word and turned to see he'd sliced his palm on a rock he'd been using to navigate up a steep part.


He indicated she should keep going, but blood was starting to well—she was going to lose if her partner fell to his death because of a bloody grip—so she pointed at his pack and then gestured to his palm.


He dug through the pack then looked at her, anger clear as he gestured at her pack.


She went through it, found the regenerator, and went to help him. Instead he held his unharmed hand out for the regenerator. Before she could think better of it, she slapped his hand out of the way and pulled his injured palm to her, working the regenerator as quickly as she could since he was snapping his fingers right next to her ear for her to hurry.


If she just pushed him off the hill, would it be worth it? She kind of thought it might.


She finished, wiped off his hand with a rag soaked with a little of her water, and then headed back up.


He didn't even mouth "Thank you." What a fucking dick.




Shaw could feel the climb in his calves and thighs and was breathing hard when they finally crested the hill and found themselves on level ground for the first time since they'd started.


He'd seen Seven drinking regularly from her canteen. Until an hour or so ago, when she'd stopped, no doubt because she was out of water. He'd conserved his better, but then again she'd used some of hers to clean his hand.


He needed to find them water. He scanned the area, which was almost as arid as what they'd climbed, but then saw a stand of bushes growing in a line. He drummed on his canteen until she turned around and held his hand in a clear "Wait," signal, then pointed to the bushes. Jogging slowly to try to work out the knots in his legs from climbing, he found a small creek running between two rows of the bushes.


He waved her over and began to fill up his canteen, drinking his fill and then refilling it. She did the same.


The water tasted amazing.


As she knelt by the water, he enjoyed the way her face was flushed from exertion, the way her hair shone in the sun like rose gold, the contented sigh as she drank. He used to catalog things like that about her.


He used to let himself imagine a future where he was off the ship and she wasn't. Where he wasn't her boss and that was something she found interesting. Where he told her how he felt and she told him she felt the same thing back.


He'd quit thinking about any of those things after Picard. Well, and he'd quit thinking about anything at all when he died.


Until she'd brought him back. And then promptly disappeared. He'd expected her, while he was at Starfleet Medical. He'd expected her to come and then she hadn't. He'd been hurt and whenever Ohk had come, he'd given her an earful of vitriol about Seven and her fucking nanoprobes to hide how disappointed he was.


And once he was discharged, he'd gone to the VOQ until he could figure out where he wanted to live. He was still there.


He wasn't hard to find. She just hadn't wanted to find him.




After hours of walking, with him not paying any attention to her other than to occasionally turn to see if she was still behind him since the hard ground had given way to lush grass that muffled her steps, Seven heard the alarm go off for the rest period.


An automated voice started a thirty minute countdown to let them find a suitable place to bed down for the night. The voice made it clear that if they did not have their tent up by the end of that time, they would be disqualified. Once their tent was up, they could not go more than ten meters from it without being disqualified.


It also made it clear they could now talk.


She'd be damned if she would be the first to break the silence though so she scouted the area and pointed to a spot under some trees.


He shook his head and mimed drinking—clearly he wasn't going to talk either.




Then he pointed in the other direction where she saw a small creek meandering. Normally there would be herbivores and other prey animals coming to drink there at night—and predators there to hunt them. But this world was devoid of natural fauna other than birds and some insects, which is why Starfleet used it for these training exercises.


She knew they had meals in their packs, but water had to be refilled and he was right that they needed the stream. She disagreed however that they would not be within ten meters if they took her option, but she was too tired to fight so she nodded and followed him to the creek. If she was wrong, which there was a non-zero chance of, she knew it was more important to have water close by than shade at night or a tree trunk to lean against.


Even if her legs were shaking from the climb, even if she'd like something solid supporting her—it sure wouldn't be him. Support seemed a long way away when he wouldn't even meet her eyes.


They put the tent up together, then he held his hand out and pointed to her canteen, taking it to fill it, while she dug out the meals from their packs. The alarm sounded and she listened to the silence around them, broken only by the tinkling sounds of the tiny stream.


She didn't like this silence, but he was the ranking officer. And he was the one filled with nanoprobes he'd neither asked for nor wanted. He'd been glaring at her like she was Vadic since she'd brought him back. Except of course when he was unconscious at Starfleet Medical. She'd stopped to check on him repeatedly but he'd never been awake. And then she'd been needed elsewhere and Ohk had told her he was really mad about being resurrected.


She hadn't been able to face him. So she'd just stayed away.


But fuck him for being mad—for thinking it was such a horrible thing that she hadn't wanted to go on without him.


If he'd felt half of what she felt for him...


But clearly he hadn't. Clearly she'd been the only one feeling what she felt. She wasn't used to that. She wanted and was wanted in return. For him to turn his back on her...


But she'd betrayed him—over and over for Picard. And it was just possible he would never forgive her for that. She took her canteen from him without looking up.


The silence was becoming oppressive and she wanted nothing more than to run, exactly ten meters and one millimeter. The bare minimum to get them disqualified. A statement that she'd rather sit in that godawful contracts class again than sit here with him.


But she didn't. Instead she took her boots and socks off and crawled through the grass to the stream, where she sat with her back to him, soaking her feet.


She heard him clicking his fingers at her to get her attention. What could possibly be so important?


Finally she turned around and he tossed her the canteen and mimed drinking. Like she wasn't smart enough to drink when she was thirsty? Then she realized it was his canteen and he wanted her to refill it.


So she did and tossed it back at him way harder than necessary. He glared at her and she knew she should glare back so he saw the strong Seven, but instead she stupidly let him see how much this was hurting her. Let him see the broken Seven, which would move him not one goddamned bit because he was a heartless dick who didn't deserve her nanoprobes.


Who didn't deserve her love.


She turned around before he could see the tears starting. Of all the things she hated about being human, tears were at the top. Such visible evidence of an individual's vulnerability.


She heard him coming toward her, moving slowly, and she expected he would finally break his silence in order to issue a reprimand. She tensed, but he just pulled his boots and socks off and sat next to her, then eased his feet into the water as if any sudden movement might startle her.


She made an inadvertent snuffling sound, and he looked over at her, his frown one she'd never seen—and she thought she'd cataloged them all. She turned away, but he reached for her face, his touch on her gentle as he turned her back to look at him.


She swallowed hard—the movement visible, and she hated that almost as much as tears, hated giving him that much power.


He moved his hands to either side of her face, using his thumbs to gently—so very gently—wipe her tears away.


She gave up trying to hide what she felt, let the tears come, let him see every bit of the misery she'd carried since that first dinner with Picard and Riker, when she'd chosen the right side for the wrong reasons. She tried to show him she was sorry.


That he hadn't deserved her going around him.


That up to then they had worked well, she had enjoyed serving with him.


She had more than enjoyed it—she'd...loved it. She loved him.


He just kept wiping her tears away until she laid her hands over his.


His expression changed, his look so tentative that she had to reach out, to touch his face, to stroke lightly down his cheeks, to stare at his lips, to let her own part just enough so he'd know how much...


How much she wanted him. Had wanted him. For so long.


He pushed her down and followed her, their feet still in the water as he kissed along the side of her face, on the implant then over to her eye, to the larger implant, he eased her left hand off his and kissed her palm, then turned her hand to kiss each finger over the exoskeleton.


He was kissing the Borg parts of her first and that meant everything.


She pulled his shirt off, moving down from his collarbone to the place he'd been shot, licking and kissing gently. The wound that had been under this skin should have taken him away from her, but she'd brought him back.


She would always bring him back if it was in her power.


He pulled her shirt off, then her pants, then everything else on both of them, until they lay naked under the stars, on this lush grass with the sound of the creek near them.


There was still enough light to see, to make out that his body was beautiful, that he wanted her, that he liked what he saw when he looked at her.


"Seven," he finally breathed more than said, and the fact that the first word spoken was her preferred name meant everything too.


"Liam," she breathed back, pushing him to his back, crawling on top of him and kissing him the way she'd always wanted to. "I'm sorry."


"I'm sorry, too."


"I came to the hospital to check on you. You were always sleeping. Then Ohk said you were really mad and I was afraid. I stopped coming."


"It's okay. I'm not mad anymore."


And then they stopped talking and went back to kissing, to touching, to sucking and grasping and thrusting. They were as quiet as they could be, kissing the other to swallow the sounds of orgasms, of places found that were ticklish or sensitive in more pleasant ways.


They finally lay, sated and exhausted, and he reached over and pulled the canteens and the food to them and they fed each other between kisses, and didn't care whose canteen they were drinking out of, and eventually they fell asleep naked, curled together a meter away from their tent, under the glorious stars they would soon be traveling among.


Together. He would be on her ship.


They would be together on her ship.


The alarm woke them, and a moment later they heard, "You are currently in eleventh place. You are .8 kilometers behind the leading team. Do not begin until the next alarm sounds. You have ten minutes to pack up your camp. Leave nothing behind or you will lose points in the form of distance penalties. Good luck."


They filled their canteens, packed up their things, and got dressed.


He pulled her into his arms, kissing her deeply, then said in the tone she had come to love, his sarcastic, "fuck them all" voice, "Let's win this thing, Captain Seven."


"Yes, let's, Commodore Shaw."




The ground was more even than the day before since they were traversing high plateau, and they covered it in an easy lope for hours, trying to make up time. Finally they came to the edge of the plateau, and Shaw could see some of the other teams converging on the same place—the way down the mountain and to the finish line visible just a few meters beyond the bottom of the path. Some teams were so far ahead they were already taking the path down.


"We need to speed up," Seven said, changing the lope to a faster run, and he thanked God he didn't just work on strength but also cardio, as he kept up with her. They reached the edge and she was about to go down the trail, when he said, "Wait."


She stopped on a dime and turned to him. "Why?"


He ran along the side with her behind him, assessing the terrain. "Nothing but long switchbacks with tight angles and those are thorn bushes in between so you have to stay on the path. This is not designed for speed."


"So why are we wasting time up here talking?"


"Because there's a faster way." He walked her to the scree slide that lay just to the edge of the switchbacks. "This is here for a reason."


"It's a 45 degree angle of loose rock."


"You ever run down a sand dune?"




"You make it in one piece?"


"Yes, but, Liam, that's not sand."


"I know. Which makes it even more fun. I may have been a bit of a thrill seeker right after Wolf 359." And this, sadly, was a lot less risky than many of the things he'd done back then.


He turned to her and put his hands on her shoulder. "It's easy if you let it be. And you're so fucking graceful, I know you can let it be. You want to hit the rocks with your heels down, don't be afraid to fly over stuff when you jump, you'll have the speed. Lean back as you run but not too much or you'll go down. When you feel off balance, use your arms to correct. And follow me—don't try to pass. I'll break trail, you just do what I do. Can you do that? Can you follow me?"


She nodded but then looked down the trail again and sighed in what sounded like fear. "And you called me the reckless one?"


"Seven, we are seriously behind. But they can't run full speed on that switchback course—it's designed to slow you down. We will be down this mountain in ten minutes top if we run the scree."


"Or we'll be injured or worse." She seemed to be assessing the terrain. "It's got some flatter parts, though, doesn't it?"


"Yes. And those are where you find your balance again if you're out of control." He tipped her chin up so she she had to look at him. "The way I'm out of control in love with you and have been for ages."


"But you don't want to correct that, right?"


"I sure as shit don't."


Another team jogged by and one of them yelled out, "Yeah, right. In your dreams, fools."


"I fucking hate that guy."


"Who is he?"


"No clue. Just hate him on principle." He looked down at her. "Oh and I don't want to hide us. There is an us, right?"


She slugged him gently. "Yes, there's an us. I didn't fuck you in utter silence for there not to be an us."


"Well, I didn't want to assume one incredible night meant you and I were together. But I was really hoping we were."


"We are. Dipshit."


He ignored the burn since it was said with such affection. "So if you want to run the scree, you tell me yes by kissing me. If not or if you don't want to risk being open when we're together, just lead us to the slow route and we'll lose but we'll finish safely."


"We'll finish the race safely but what about us?"


He considered what it had felt like wanting her and not being able to tell her. Knowing things might have gone differently with Picard if they'd been on the same page from the beginning, working from a relationship of trust, not anger and resentment. He didn't want to go back to that. "I hate to say this, but I don't think there is an us if we're not in the open."


She started to smile and he thought it was the most beautiful of all the smiles she'd ever given him. "But the rules..."


He laughed and it was such a spontaneous sound it made her laugh too. "I don't care. And since when have you given a flying fuck about the rules?"


She pulled him to her and kissed him hard—but fast. "Okay, go—before I change my mind."


"About the relationship?"


"No, I'm fine with that—fuck the rules. About hurtling down a cliff like we're mountain goats when in fact we are people. Possibly very stupid ones."


"Got it." And just like that he was leaping. It had been a long while since he'd been scree running, but he felt his body remembering, muscle memory making his heels dig in, his arms correct when he overbalanced. He was leaning back just enough to keep from pitching forward head over heels but not so far that he'd end up sitting down.


The speed was intoxicating.


And then there was the feeling of flying when he saw a bad patch of larger rocks and course-corrected by leaping to the side, using speed and gravity to take him over to the smaller pebbles.


He could hear her behind him, and at first she sounded like she might be in trouble, but then...he could feel it. When she found the rhythm. When she too began to fly, not just jump.


He knew there were people ahead of them on the regular trail but he didn't care. He gave himself over to the feeling—to just this once doing something because he wanted to, because it might be the way to win and not the smartest way, not the by-the-book way.


"Hard ground coming up," he yelled as they rapidly approached the bottom. "It's going to feel like metal if you hit it wrong, so try to land lightly."


"Got it." She sounded good, like she was having fun, and when he hit the ground and kept going, he heard her behind him doing the same. She caught up with him in a few steps.


"Holy shit, Liam. I want to do that again."


He laughed. "Told you. Did I say I love you last night?"


"You did not."


"I love you."


"I love you too. Race you." She pointed to the finish line, which was only a few meters off and the team that had been in first was almost there—but they weren't running on sheer adrenaline—and also the first taste of what had to be an epic fucking love story—the way they were.


They passed them at the last possible moment and broke the ribbon.


He pulled her into his arms and kissed her in full view of every fucking person there and she kissed him back.


"What the hell do we win?" he asked, when they finally pulled away and turned to Janeway and Picard, who had walked up to them and were waiting rather patiently for two such legends.


"The right to do that in front of us now and in the future and not be courtmartialed for fraternization." Janeway said with a laugh.


"I thought I noticed some sparks between you two," Picard said gently. "And she did bring you back to life."


"And I'm not in her chain of command."


"Well...?" Picard made a "Maybe so, maybe not" kind of expression.


Janeway scoffed. "You can believe that, Shaw, if it makes Seven happy."


"It makes me so happy."


"Well, then that's resolved." Janeway gave her the kind of smile that showed how many years and missions they'd been through. The kind of smile Shaw sometimes saw on Seven's face directed at him—or he had before Picard.


Picard laid a hand on his arm. "I've never said thank you for all you did. And in that I have been most remiss." He leaned in. "Also, please, for the love of God, do not show Jack how to run scree that way."


"Can't promise that, Admiral," Seven said with a laugh. "So much fun. Especially when you have someone to follow." Her smile at Shaw was luminous.


He knew his back was equally brilliant. "Well, you're a natural, clearly. I'd happily follow you down the next one."


"Oh, my God, I'm going to be sick." Janeway made a disgusted face. "Could you two go back to being at odds?"


"Nope," he said with a grin.


"What he said," Seven said, pulling him back and kissing him again.


"Do we get anything for second?" asked one of the members of the team they'd beaten, barely getting the words out as they tried to catch their breath—they'd had zero momentum when they hit the flat and obviously had to work way harder than Shaw and Seven had to get their sprint on.


"The knowledge that sometimes the safe way is not the fastest. And two days of R&R on the Earth resort of your choice for almost winning but for these two crazy people." Janeway smiled at them.


"Do we have to go together?" the other member of the team asked. "We're not expected to kiss like that, right?"


"You're really not."


Shaw put his arm around Seven's shoulders and led her back to the scree field. They looked up it. It looked terrifying from this vantage point.


"We did that," Seven murmured as she twined her fingers with his.


"Yes, yes we did." Then he frowned. "How come second place gets a trip but we don't?"


"Because we got each other?"


"Yeah but we could have each other on a trip." He was about to pull her back to Janeway and Picard when she stopped him.


"Liam, let it go. We won. We could just as easily have crashed and burned."


"True. Okay fine, but I think we're being shortchanged."


"They're letting us break rules you would have defended before and you're pissed? You've clearly been hanging around me for too long."


"Yeah, no shit." He couldn't help himself; he needed to be holding her so he pulled her back to him. "It's all I want to do: hang around with you."


"Yeah?" She kissed him gently.


"Would I lie about something like that?"


"No, I really don't think you would."