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.

Dream On

by Djinn



They are light years apart. He sleeps on Earth, in a bed that's not his own, with a partner he picked up for the night. On the ship he had to be careful, couldn't sleep with his own crew, couldn't cause a diplomatic incident by sleeping with the wrong alien. He's making up for lost time. Lost connections.


She sleeps in her bed in her quarters on the ship, Raffi pushed close against her, spooning her, the way she does now that they reconciled, now that they're serving together.


Raffi's lying too close, if she's honest. Seven imagines a different dynamic, when she was his first officer, even if that dynamic never could have existed.


He remembers when he had a partner, even if she was just his first officer, never his lover—not that he didn't think of her as one, not that it wasn't a favorite fantasy of his.


They are light years apart.


And yet.


He didn't enjoy this night's partner the way he has the others.


She wasn't sure she would fall asleep, Raffi holds on so tightly.


This disaffection creates dissonance and out of that is born a place, just for them.


She is the first to arrive. At first, she thinks she's dreaming of Unimatrix Zero. She used to do that after its destruction.


But she's naked and everyone in Unimatrix Zero was clothed—at least when interacting with the larger group. She imagines those who went off alone removed clothing at times.


She hears a quick indrawn breath and turns. Shaw is standing near her. He sees her and rubs his beard, the way he does when he's thinking. "Hans—Seven?"


It's been a while since he last saw her, since she saved him with some of her nanoprobes, since he was assigned to Earth and she was given his renamed ship.


She nods. He looks so much better than when she last saw him, when Ohk was unsure if the nanoprobes would work, when even though they did, he lay gray and barely breathing on the biobed. He was transferred away to Starfleet Medical and she hasn't seen him since. "Captain," she says and it comes out way too huskily.


He's staring at her, eyes drinking in her body—he did not do her justice in his fantasies—and he says, "I think under the au naturel circumstances, you should call me Liam."


She tries it out. "Liam." It feels good to call him that finally. He smiles as if it feels good to hear it from her.


"Where are we?" And then he looks down and frowns deeply—not just because he sees skin and no clothing, but because the sight of her is apparently highly arousing to him and there is no fucking way to hide that from her. "And why are we naked?"


"I sleep in the nude."


"Yeah, me too. But dreams usually provide garments." He turns, making a slow circle. "God damn this place is gorgeous."


She can feel the place changing the longer they are in it, trees shifting subtly to the kind both of them would want to see.


Unlike Unimatrix Zero, it appears this place answers only to them. She suddenly smells tuberose and jasmine, hears the crash of the sea in the distance.


"It's ours." She does not mean to say that out loud and he turns to her with a question in his eyes. "I mean..."


"That was pretty self explanatory." He walks over to her, staring down at her—taking in the flushed cheeks, the dilated pupils, the erect nipples. If he touched her more intimately, he knows she'd be wet. "But what is it?"


"Does it matter?" She moves closer. Her captain has never stared at her this way—so helplessly, so intently. With so much lust in her eyes. She knows he wouldn't do that at any other time—he's a good man, a kind man, a man who respects others.


But this isn't a place he needs to be so cautious. Not when they arrived naked.


"I've missed you," she whispers and finds it to be the truth, not just a convenient opener to what she wants.


He reaches out, tracing the implants he has always wanted to touch, turning her to examine the ones on other parts of her body—less accessible places normally. "I've missed you too. I never said thank you for saving me."


"I assumed it was because you didn't like the way I saved you." She knows being even the slightest bit Borg will bother him.


"No, it was because..."He pulls her closer. "I didn't want to be a fool, the man who loves someone who will never love him back. But here we are—in this place where no one else seems to be. Conveniently ready for each other." He runs his hand over her breast and she moans. "Are we here because you want it or because I do?"


"Does it matter? I think we both want it." She sinks to the ground, pulling him with her. As he enters her, she throws back her head and moans.


This is better than she imagined.


She has no idea if this is how it felt with Axum, but she thinks not. She didn't serve in real life with him, didn't fight with him and sit at his side. He didn't die in her arms.


She didn't bring him back to life. She allowed him to be lost to her when Unimatrix Zero was destroyed. For Liam, she couldn't even blow a turbo lift.


The orgasm, when it comes, is colored by the desperate feeling of having lost him, by old resentment, by days of working side by side, sitting next to him, shared smiles when things went right.


She claws at him and feels him going too.


"Fuck," he whispers, his lips soft on her neck, near her ear. He has never felt this close to a partner—never felt safer letting his guard down. "If I'd known it would be this good, all my rules would have gone out an airlock."


"You've thought of this?"


He nods.


Before she can tell him she used to think of him that way too—and that she also did not do it justice in her fantasies—her alarm goes off, pulling her back to reality.




Seven startles awake, slapping at the alarm. Raffi likes old school devices, so they never set the alarm on the computer.


But today she hits it so hard she breaks something, can hear it crack.


"Way to go." Raffi sounds off and she turns and looks at her. "You weren't exactly quiet. I hope that was me you were dreaming about?"


She should lie—she knows this. But it's not in her nature, and she's horrible at it when she tries.


Raffi's face falls. "Who?"


"It was just a dream."




This is why they broke up the first time. Is it necessary to share everything? Must she give over the name of the person her mind provided her to have sex with in a dream?


Really amazing sex.


"Forget I asked. It clearly wasn't me." She gets up and leaves Seven alone in bed.


She wants to grab her padd and send Shaw a message. Was I alone in there? or some such thing, but she resists.


It felt real. It felt like Unimatrix Zero. But she isn't Borg anymore and that place is gone.


It was just a dream. Just a fantasy she often played out when she went to bed on the ship frustrated with him—but also wanting him.


She gets up and goes out to the replicator, putting her arms around Raffi and leaning in tightly, chest to her back. "I love you." It's true. She will always love her. Even if she's not sure she's in love with her anymore.




Shaw jerks awake to find—what was her name?—staring down at him.


Caroline? Carolyn? No, Carolina. Yeah, that sounds right.


"Someone had a good dream. Was it about me?" She leans down to kiss him and he lets her because he's not a total asshole, even if he did just fuck his former first officer while sleeping in her bed.


Holy shit, what a dream.


"I can make breakfast..." Her look is hopeful, like she thinks maybe this could be more than one night.


It wouldn't have been, even if he hadn't been on top of Hansen—Seven, even if he didn't know what it feels like—or thinks he does anyway—to give his former first officer pleasure and take it in equal measure.


"I have an early meeting," he says as gently as he can.


"Maybe later? Dinner?"


"It's a busy week." Code, among singles, for "This is what it is and nothing more."


He can see she gets that. He can also see she doesn't like that. He marvels, as he often does, how two people can be on such different pages when it comes to expectations.




The next night, when he wakes in the dream, he sees Seven high up on a ridge and she waves and points toward the beach.


Since she's so far away, he decides to explore. It's everything he would want from a vacation paradise and when he gets to the water, he wades in, briefly wondering if there are any dangers in whatever this place is, but then deciding it doesn't matter.


He's on his back floating when he hears her voice.


She smiles as she watches him in the water; he moves like a dolphin. He's amazingly graceful and she remembers reading once that he was on a swim team. He has the shoulders for it, the body type.


He turns onto his stomach and swims in as she wades out. They meet halfway, where she can float and he can stand, and he hikes her up onto him and they are together.


She smiles as she lies back in the water, intensifying their connection as her hair fans out like she's some kind of mermaid.


He goes slow, touching her as he moves, helping her along until she is no longer lying so sensuously but is instead wrapped around him, urging him to "Finish me, please finish me," and he kisses her as she comes, swallowing her words, her pleasure, everything he loves about her.


He swims them into shore, still connected, until he can sit and she can wrap her legs around him as she rides him, slowly, sensuously, unwilling to hasten this.


"I love you," he murmurs, not caring that he would normally not give this to her, not when they aren't together—aren't going to be together.


But this isn't real so he can. "I love you so much, Seven. Have for a while now. Other women don't compare."


"I love you too, Liam. I miss my captain."


He knows the real Seven would never say that so he just laughs and kisses her deeply. How could she love him? He used a name she hated. He was sarcastic with her at the worst times. They fought unrelentingly about, well, everything.


Except when they didn't. Except when they were alone, when they anticipated the needs of the other, when they laughed at the same jokes, when they enjoyed dinner together, when they sat up in Ten Forward drinking.


He misses that so much. Not just her, but his job. He's floating right now until a position comes open. Doing this and that, giving seminars, attending training. It's a nice break after being captain but eventually he's going to go stir crazy not having something that's just his.


"Hey, pay attention," she jerks him back from wherever he's gone with a pull of his hair, nails running down his back.


"Oh, I'm here." And he gives her all his attention until he's going, and she crushes him to her as she wonders if it would have been this good if they'd done it on the ship, while they were together.


They lie, after his explosion of pleasure, in the shallow water, floating gently and being pushed around by the waves, hands joined, fingers twined.


"How's the ship?" He doesn't know why he's asking a dream version of her this, but he misses just talking with her.


And he sincerely wants to know.


"It's good. I wish they'd left it the Titan though." She means it even though she can see he doesn't believe her. She wants the records to show she succeeded him, not took over a ship all on her own. That she learned from him, became a better officer because of him, and when he left, stepped into his shoes. "How is Command?"


"Good. But..." He looks away. He can't admit this, not even to a dream version of her.




He shakes his head.


She turns him back to her, her hands firm but she doesn't hurt him. Studying him, she figures out what he's feeling now on Earth. "You're lonely?"


He nods.


Her kiss is so sweet, so gentle, that it almost breaks him apart. "I am, too, Liam. With a first officer who shares my bed and surrounded by people. I'm lonely."


He frowns. Why would his dream lover mention having a lover on the ship?


She reads his concern. "What?"


"Is this real?"


"I am unsure."


"There's an easy way to test if it is. When we wake up, we text each other. Something that we'd know only if we really are here together."


"Our hips are marked. I have the implant and you have a deep scar." She traces her finger over his scar, surprised he didn't choose to have it removed. Maybe it's from the Borg too, at Wolf 359.


He likes that idea. "Yes, one of us sends 'Marked' and the other answers 'hips.' Anything else means this is just a dream."


She pulls him to her so he can slip his arm around her, so she can rest her head on his chest and just look at him, staring deeply, in a way she generally never would—in a way he generally never would look back either.


And for the first time, these two see their lover with no bars up to keep them safe, no walls that someone will have to scale, no weapons loaded and ready to fire.


"I trust you," he murmurs and it's the greatest gift he can give her.


"I trust you too."


This time it is his alarm clock that jars them awake.




He rolls over in his bed, which he is not sharing with anyone, and texts her Marked.


A moment later Hips comes back to him, along with, I want to see you for real.


I'm conducting an advanced engineering seminar on Starbase Four in a few weeks. He sends her the schedule.


I'll be there if I can.


He smiles like a giddy fool. Whatever is happening to them, it's amazing. He feels sated in a way he normally doesn't, loved in a way he gave up knowing.


But he should be cautious. So they're lovers in a dream? Dreams are idealized states. They may not work in real life.


Although he desperately wants them to.




Seven puts the padd down and sees Raffi standing in the bathroom doorway watching her.


"You have a certain smile on your face. I used to see it. I don't anymore."


She wants to lie, to comfort, to tell her to just give it time.


But she also doesn't want to do that.


She lets a sigh be her answer. And Raffi turns away and heads to the replicator.


This is when Seven would normally sidle up behind her, lock her arms around her, kiss her neck, tell her how glad she is that she's on the ship.


She is glad of that. But the rest...?


She does follow her out though. "If there were someone else, would you want to know?"


It takes a long time before Raffi nods. Then she turns and faces her. "Who is she?"




"Oh." She frowns. "On the ship?"


She shakes her head.


"You haven't been off the ship."


"He used to be on the ship." She doesn't look away. "I think...I think I've felt this way for a long time."


"I had you first."


"He had me last." And that is certainly true. She just made love to him, even if they weren't strictly speaking awake.


Raffi looks more confused and hurt than angry. "I'll get my things later, if that's okay with you?"


"Of course. And Raffi, I really am sorry."


"No, you're not. You've already moved on. Or you wouldn't be telling me this. You've once again made a unilateral decision that we're over."


"Hurting you is the last thing I want. I depend on you. I picked you for my first officer because of how well we work together. The rest was just..."




"I was going to say a bonus."


"Some bonus. And fucking Shaw? That is who we're talking about, right?"


She nods.


"If I live to be a hundred, Seven, I will never understand you."




While it's true that Alpha shift is timed to Starfleet Command's core hours, the missions once out in space don't always sync with that schedule. Local times sometimes dictate that she must sleep earlier or later than usual, be up while she might otherwise be sleeping, she's used to it after the years being his first officer.


But it means their dream place lies empty. And she isn't used to that even if it's still a new thing, still a mystery how it even exists. She doesn't enjoy being alone there.


He has tried to get to it, content to enjoy paradise alone even if she's on a different sleep schedule. But he can't find it unless she gets there first.


It would appear the place is tied to her, not him. He wonders if he will still have access to it if she ever tires of him.


Not that he would want to be there without knowing she was his. Quite the opposite in fact.


It is only paradise because she is his.




It's been a week of regular schedules—a week of wonderful sex and talking and just discovering their place together. She is packing for Starbase Four—she's actually taking a week of leave after never taking any while she was first officer—when her terminal cheeps with his tone.


She hurries to it and frowns deeply when she sees that he appears to be in a medical bed, wearing a hospital gown. "What happened, Liam?"


"I passed out while I was walking to the shuttle to Starbase Four. I'm still on Earth." He pulls his padd back so she can take in the readings.


All his vitals are way off.


"Did you catch something? A virus?"


"They said it looks like I've gone too many days without sleep."


She isn't sure what to say. Unimatrix Zero was refreshing for her—and their dream place continues to be. But...is it hurting him?




"This is my fault." Then she glares at him. "Only this is your fault too. Why didn't you tell me you were tired? That you were possibly going without sleep to be with me?"


"Because I feel great when I come out of our place, after being with you. I feel energized. I didn't know."


"I was packing for Starbase Four. Now it seems I'm packing for Earth." She checks the shuttle schedule—Earth is closer and there's a flight leaving around the same time as her original one. "I'll be there shortly. I have a friend who might be able to help us figure this out—how to avoid this in the future."


"They're keeping me overnight with a late discharge tomorrow. This is where you'll find me."


"Fine. I'll see you soon."




Now that he knows he's exhausted, Shaw gives up fighting and sleeps despite the constant influx of nurses, the noise of intercoms and people talking in the hallways.


The dream place never appears, and he is worried that Seven is not sleeping on the shuttle on purpose, to allow him to rest.


This can't be the future for them, not when it's been so good being together.




Seven meets the Doctor outside Starfleet Medical.


"I've read Captain Shaw's record. Yours is more of a mystery." He studies her and asks gently, "Were you reassimilated during the Borg invasion?"


"I was not. But—" But the Queen had tried to reach her—it was how she knew it was the Borg. "Since we last spoke, a lot has happened."


"So it would seem."


She fills him in on the time with Picard, how in the alternate universe she never had been assimilated, how she was then saved from death by Agnes.


"Ah, by a reassimilation of a sort."


"I guess. Although there's never been any other effect. And I missed Raffi terribly when we first separated. Wouldn't I have created this place for her if I could have?"


"Well, she doesn't have your nanoprobes swimming around her bloodstream, does she?"


"She doesn't."


"I think that's the difference."


She looks down. She did this to Liam.


The Doctor gently lifts her chin, forcing her to look at him. "I think there is another difference. I've seen you when you are interested in someone. How you express happiness. The way you looked when you talked about Shaw is unlike any expression I've seen you wear."


"I love him," she whispers. "But if I'm hurting him..."


"I will help you, Seven. And that's good because there's no one who knows more about your physiology than I do. Or possibly Borg physiology in general. Which I assume is why I'm here."


"That and I know I can trust you to do what's right. For him, I mean. Not just for me."


He smiles gently at her. "I will."




Shaw's sitting up in bed reading when Seven walks in. He hadn't thought seeing her for real after so many dream nights with her would feel so different—so good—but it does.


His smile is huge and he can't dial it back—not that he wants to.


"My friend is waiting outside. I wanted—I wanted this moment just for me."


He holds out a hand to her and she takes it, letting him pull her in until she is sitting on the bed, until she is half lying on him, until he is kissing her.


It should feel strange, kissing his former first officer for the first time in actual person, but it doesn't. It feels just like in the dream place.


It feels like heaven.


Until alarms go off and a nurse rushes in, glaring at them when she sees what's happening. "You two knocked a monitor out of whack."


Shaw just laughs and won't let Seven go. "Turn them all off. I want some time with my girlfriend." He makes a face. "Can I call you that?"


"Yes," she says, as she goes back to kissing him.


"You are both way too old to act this juvenile."


He and Seven both ignore the nurse. She finally threatens them with bodily harm if they set off any more alarms and leaves.


"Hi," he says when they finally ease away from each other.


"Hi." Her smile is luminous, her eyes sparkling. "I've missed you so much. I would not have predicted that."


"Yeah, no shit." He grins when she laughs. "I was a pain in your ass. And vice versa."


"Yes, yes we were. Let me go get my friend. He's not the most patient person, which is ironic given what he is." She lets him go and hurries to the door, waving someone in.


He recognizes the Starfleet EMH. Only this one is wearing a mobile emitter and has a different air about him than any he's ever interacted with. "You're the EMH from Voyager."


"No flies on you. Please, you may refer to me as the Doctor. I answer to Doctor or, if you must, Doc."


"Okay." He feels confused as the Doctor scans Seven rather than him. "You do know I'm the patient, right?"


"Yes, the fact that you're in the biobed was my first clue. I'm scanning her to compare her current readings to the last baseline I have for her, just after we came home."


"Why do we care about Sev—" He remembers back to the day of the invasion, how Seven had been in clear pain, how she had known it was the Borg. "Oh. Shit."


"Your nanoprobes are substantially different than they were before, Seven. The influence of the duality of the Agnes queen, no doubt. Assimilated and yet not."


"Wait, am I a Borg now?" He doesn't feel Borg.


"A Borg would thrive in the dream state Seven has created for you both. As she is clearly thriving." He turns to Shaw and begins to scan. "I can tell you had an infusion of nanoprobes but only because I am looking for them. I don't think they would even show up on a routine scan."


"Oh. Okay. Whew."


"Not exactly. Every time you are in the dream world, while Seven is basically regenerating, you are skipping sleep."


"But I feel great when I come out."


"Yes, dopamine, oxytocin, other love chemicals are no doubt in play. But you are, in essence, starving your body of sleep. You simply cannot go there every night."


"But I don't choose to go there." He looks at Seven. "Do you?"


"No. I sleep and I'm there." She narrows her eyes. "But this didn't start right away. It's been months since I saved his life. And the dream world just...happened one night."


"What were you both doing that night?"


"I was with Raffi, in bed, sleeping." She looks down.


"Seven, spill." Shaw shares a look with the doctor. "She's holding something back."


"Yes, well, she'll tell us in time. What were you doing, Captain?"


"I was with a woman. A woman who, now that I'm thinking about it, I may have picked because she looked a little like Seven." He doesn't feel great about that and turns to see what she thinks but she seems lost in thought. "She wasn't anything like Seven though."


She finally meets his eyes. "I was thinking that I missed you. As I fell asleep."


He gives her a tender smile; he doesn't hate that they were on the same page. Then he looks at the Doctor. "I can't get there without her being there first. I've tried. Thinking of her extra hard before bed, working out so I'm really exhausted. It doesn't work."


"Seven, can you get there without him?"


She nods.


"You mentioned working out and you do seem quite fit, Captain Shaw."


"Uh, thanks?"


"That requires discipline. A schedule you follow at the gym."


He nods, not really seeing where this is going.


"I have a hypothesis and possibly a plan. I'd like to reconvene once you're discharged, Captain, and after the two of you have had a few nights together—ones where you both sleep at the same time in the same bed."


Seven actually blushes and Shaw finds that utterly charming. "Can you get me out of here now so we can start that sleeping—or whatever—in the same bed thing?"


"I'm afraid not. Discharge is at seventeen hundred hours. But I'm sure Seven will keep you company here until then."He pats Shaw on the shoulder and then leaves them alone.


"Get back on this bed," he tells her in the asshole voice he used to use to annoy her. But he's grinning as he does it.


She just laughs and he scoots over so there's room for her if they both lie on their sides. She's over the covers so the nurse won't have a shit-fit if she comes to check on them.


"This is different," she says, touching his face so lightly it makes him shiver.


"I like it." And it is different now that he's really analyzing it. Feels more...real, which makes sense since it is more real.


"I'm sorry about this, though. It never occurred to me you weren't sleeping." She gives him a betrayed look. "You must have felt tired at some point? Why didn't you tell me?"


"I was truly enjoying myself for the first time since I left the ship—left you. In what universe was I going to tell you that I was a little tired? When you had a lover on board the ship who no doubt wasn't?"


"She and I aren't...that anymore. Not since you and I figured out this was really happening." She yawns widely.


"You were deliberately not sleeping on the shuttle, weren't you?"


She nods. "I didn't want to draw you in."


"Well, go to sleep now. I don't mind." He kisses her gently, comparing how having the real-world version of her feels in his arms. Liking how it feels.


Not that the dream world version of her isn't also nice. But this...this is heaven.


Her eyes are closing and he stops talking, watching her fall asleep in his arms—loving how much trust she has in him since he knows sleep doesn't always come easily to her.


He falls asleep too, even though he doesn't mean to.


The nurse wakes them hours later for his discharge and he grins at Seven. They were both asleep—and they'd stayed safely sleeping in the real world.


While they were physically touching at any rate.




Seven follows him into his apartment, loving that he's holding her hand as they walk, that he keeps looking over at her and smiling in a way he rarely did on the ship. Like he's won some great prize.


She knows she's smiling the same way.


As the door closes behind them, he stops in the middle of the apartment and points to different spots as he says, "Okay, the tour. Kitchen here, dining room, living room, powder room, guest room and bath, master room and bath."


"I would like to be in your bed."


"What an amazing coincidence. I would like you to be there too." He grins as he pushes her backwards into the room, until the back of her legs hit his bed and she sits and falls onto it. He tugs off her boots, then his own, and they crawl further up the bed, lying next to each other, face to face.


She gently runs her fingers over his cheek, then trails them over his lips. "I didn't expect to miss you this much."


"I know. I kind of thought it would be a relief—for both of us, I mean. We argued so much."


"Maybe we argued because we really wanted to be having sex. Also you can be a dick."


He laughs. "And you can't?"


She shrugs and leans in, gently kissing him, licking his top lip lightly and she can tell what it's doing to him. He rolls her to her back, deepens the kiss, and begins to take off her clothing.


She pulls his off and they are lying as they do in the dream place, naked and open and she moans as he kisses down her belly.


He's just as good at this in the real world as he is in the place she made for them. So many sensations buffet her, not all of them physical. She's been in love before; but she's never needed someone the way she feels she does him.


She doesn't have time to analyze further because he's added fingers to the mix and she's gone, arching into him, crying out. As she comes down, he kisses his way up her body, running his hands lightly everywhere, touching down so sweetly.


When he gets to her face, he says, "Whoa, Seven, are you all right?" Then he gently wipes her face and she realizes she's crying.


She reaches up to confirm there are actually tears. "I just...feel so much with you."


"You haven't cried in the dream place."


"Well, this is better. Obviously." She dashes away the tears.


"Hey, don't get mad. I love that you're moved. Unless you were crying 'cause I suck at giving you a happy. Then I'm not so thrilled."


She laughs and pulls him to her, wrapping her legs around him, pulling him into her almost without his help in the matter.


"God damn, you're a lot stronger in real life." He nips her ear. "Or you've been going easy on me in there."


"Both are possible." She makes him stop for a moment. "You are bigger in real life."


"Or it's been a while since you've done guys, right?"


She nods.


"Your dream body adjusts immediately. Your physical body maybe not." He moves more gently. "Maybe if you'd let me do this instead of trying to pull me in yourself...?"


"Shut up." But she's laughing because he's right. "I just want you so much."


"Music to my ears." He kisses her lips, her cheek, then down to her breasts, sucking harder than he does in the dream place—and she likes it. She likes how immediate it feels to be underneath him, to have him pressing in, filling her.


"Fuck, do not move. This feels so good and I don't want to come yet."


"There are no alarms, right? To wake us up?"




She squeezes as hard as she can, tightening and relaxing, milking him, and he's gone, pumping into her as she laughs and says, "Make it last next time. Just enjoy this."


He collapses on top of her and she rubs his back as he says, "I love you."


"I love you too."




He wakes, curled around Seven, her hair soft against his face. He feels refreshed, the way he used to do after sleep.


So if they're together physically, they don't seem to need the dream place. He's starting to piece together what the doctor might have in mind for them. How to work this so being with her doesn't end up killing him—or causing him to make a stupid mistake.


"Mmmm." She comes awake gently, stroking his arm where he's holding her.


He kisses her shoulder and she laughs throatily, the sexiest sound imaginable—actually he's not sure that back then, when they served together, he could imagine her making this sound at all, let alone for him.


She rolls so she's facing him, slips her leg over his hip and reaches down, finding him more than ready, and he adjusts so he can give her what she clearly wants, pushing gently as she moves closer. He moans but keeps his eyes open, watching her the same way she's watching him. He's never been so focused on a lover as he is with her. Never had one seem to want to see him as much as she does.


He reaches between them, finding the spot he's learned is her favorite, then moving just around it, teasing her, his smile growing as she begins to breathe harder, to moan and move against him harder and harder.


She's squeezing him—a master of multitasking and holy fuck does she have another hand down there? He quits teasing her, plays her for real, trying to time it so they come together—usually not something he cares about, but he feels like they are both ready.


And they are, both gasping, then crying out, bodies pumping against each other, only breaking their gaze when the pleasure gets too much and they have to close their eyes to ride it out.


"Fucccckkkkkk." He lies back, breathing hard.


"I see your fuccckkkkk and raise you a holy shit." She is smiling so freely, so clearly happy.


He wishes he could have seen that expression more when they served together. "I wish I'd been nicer to you, Seven."


Her expression changes to one of forgiveness, to one of acceptance. "Even though you hurt me, I always felt safe with you. It's a dichotomy I don't entirely understand."


"Even though you defied me, I always felt I could count on you. Until..." He looks away but she pulls him back.


"Until I fucked that up by helping Picard?"


He nods. "But you brought me back to life so..."


"If I had it to do over again, I'd try to get you on the same page when it came to helping him."


"I never would have been." He strokes her hair back. "What happened happened. And it brought us this. You in my bed. And you in my head when you're not in my bed."


"But me in your head could really hurt you." She looks miserable so he pushes her to her back.


"Stop that. We both want this. We were both lonely for each other. Because no matter how fucking dysfunctional we were at times, we were something...strong. Something real. And I have loved you for a very long time. I just may not have been fully aware of that."


"I couldn't blow the lift because it was you on it. I would have if it had been anyone else."


"Even Raffi?"




"Even Picard?"


"Stop it." She's laughing. "It was extra hard to contemplate doing it when it was you, okay?"


"You weren't going to blow that fucking lift." He's laughing now. "You're like Kirk. You always think there there's some winnable scenario."


"I lost T'Veen." She gets very still. "Are you going to hate me if I tell you that it haunts me more that I consider that better than losing you than that I lost her?"


"No. If you'd been on that lift..." He looks away. "I don't know if I'd have been able to blow it either."


They sit with that for a few minutes and he strokes her skin, getting to know all the ways she feels under his fingers.


"Vadic said something, when I jumped onto the bridge with Jack. That it was fitting that I stayed to witness whatever she was going to do to him. I think...I think she thought I would be retaken. She didn't know about Agnes. That I was already reassimilated to some extent. I think I would have turned against you too."


He can see this is bothering her more than that statement should imply. "What is it? You can tell me."


"Jack said the queen was...basically destroyed. Misshapen and sort of melted. I knew the queen. She took pride in her appearance. In how regal she was—how terrifying it was to have her implacable resolve hidden in Borg beauty." She swallows visibly. "What if she'd taken my body the way the queen took Agnes's? What if I was intended to be the host for the new queen?"


He isn't sure what to say. Except: "It didn't happen. And it's ironic that being Borg saved you from being the new queen, if that's what was supposed to happen."


"And really it's moot. She would have taken someone else. She had her pick of young ones, after all."


"Maybe she didn't want a young one though. If she's a mother." He nuzzles her and whispers, "I can see why she'd want you. The way La Forge and Mura and Esmar look up to you, it would have been a natural fit. I'm glad she didn't get you." He pulls her in because she seems sincerely shaken and she holds him tightly. "Is something else bothering you?"


"You died in my arms, Liam."


"I know. It was a good place to die. I was at peace knowing you would carry on."


She pulls away enough to kiss him gently. "I couldn't carry on if you weren't in the world somewhere."


"Yes, you could have. You're so strong."


"So are you. But you died."


"Well that's because that kind of situation isn't my strong suit. Also I'm sort of a shit shot."


She laughs. "You really are." Her stomach rumbles. 'I'm sorry, I'm not usually this hungry."


"Well, you earned it, missy." He grins when she rolls her eyes. "Let's make breakfast then. What do you want to do after breakfast?"


"I don't care. As long as it's with you."


"Let's just walk around. Holding hands. Doing whatever."


She nods. "That sounds really good."




If anyone had told her she would be walking around San Francisco with Liam Shaw's arm around her, she would have laughed in their face.


But here she is, walking around the city, his arm loosely around her, laughing, occasionally pressing kisses on her lips or cheek or forehead.


He's so affectionate, yet still...himself. Still so sarcastic it makes her laugh, swearing like he gets paid by the expletive, arguing with her when he doesn't agree.


But so damn sweet it's making her heart melt more than it already did this morning when she cried after he went down on her.


She has never, ever cried after an orgasm.


She lifts her face to him to see what he'll do and he kisses her as if they've been doing this all their lives.


Then he starts to laugh and says, "Let's get coffee" as he drags her into a place with a set of triple doors like some weird Terran airlock.


But she understands once they get inside. "Cats."


"Oh yeah. It's a cat cafe." He lets her go and heads straight for a bunch of kittens.


"I'll get your coffee."


"Cappuccino," he says as he sits and is instantly overrun with kittens.


Well, they have good taste. She turns and sees a rather large fluffy white cat sitting on the counter—is that hygienic?—and staring at her. "Two cappuccinos," she tells the person behind the counter as the cat paws at her.


"He wants you to lean down so he can get on your shoulder."


"Why would I want him on my shoulder?"


"This is less about what you want and more about what he wants. Don't worry, I'll bring your coffees over. Simon's a pretty selective cat, so if he wants to be on your shoulder—oh and he only likes the left side—let's indulge him, okay?"


She rolls her eyes but she leans down and is rewarded by a not insignificantly heavy cat hanging over her left shoulder. "I'm not sure this is a good idea." She tries to take him off and claws dig into her back. "On the other hand..." She goes to join Liam and sits gingerly, afraid of disturbing Simon and getting more of his claws in her. "So this is a cat."


"And these are baby cats." He's laughing as the kittens play with his beard. "That is a gorgeous cat you have slung over your shoulder."


"His name is Simon. He does not like to be moved."


The server brings their coffees over and gives Simon a pat. "Anything else?"


"Nope, we're good." Liam ignores his drink and gently removes a kitten who is trying to climb his leg. "At this age, they can't jump. They climb everywhere."


"I will keep this one then." She sips her coffee, ready to put it down if the cat moves, but he seems content on her shoulder. She has to admit the purring sound is very soothing.


"How's Katargo working out?" he asks, a funny look on his face.


"Is he a friend of yours?"


"He is so not."


"Horribly." She sighs just thinking about her chief engineer. "I don't trust him with our ship."


"It's not my ship anymore. Remember, they even renamed it."


She lifts an eyebrow. "It'll always be your ship."


He smiles gently. "I wouldn't have picked him for you. But they didn't ask me so..."


"He's retiring in a few months. Turns out he didn't give a shit about what leaving short of tour might do to me or the crew, he just wanted to go out having been chief engineer on the Enterprise."


"That sucks. Although now maybe you can get someone good."


She doesn't look at him, willing him to come up with what she's thinking on his own.


"Do you have someone in mind?" His voice has changed and she smiles. "I mean...it's the flagship. Chief engineer on the flagship can be a captain."


She meets his eyes. "Are you looking for a new position?"


"A new one? I don't have one now—I'm sort of floating. I'd like to actually be responsible for something. I mean it was a nice change of pace for a while but..."


"You're bored?"


"I'm so fucking bored."


"I do happen to know B'Elanna Torres. As well as the head of Fleet Ops."


He grins. "Your old captain."


She nods. "Can I make some calls, see if I can work this?"


"Yes. Yes, you can. But I won't get my hopes up. Plenty of other engineers who would give anything to be on that ship. And, uh, I don't want the position if it means I can't have you." He looks very somber.


"I was with Raffi. I'll be with you, if I want."


"It's kind of against regs."


"It's part of the new book I'm writing. Remember, the one you said would be great. Turns out you might be one of the protagonists."


"Oh, sure, use my own words against me." But he's grinning as he peels kittens off his legs and finally takes a sip of his coffee. "Do you want me to take him off you? You seem really stiff."


"I don't want to disturb him. Also his purring is pleasing." She takes another sip of coffee. "Today is a good day, Liam."


"It really, really is."




He can't believe how fast Seven has gotten his assignment done. As soon as Katargo is gone, he'll be in. B'Elanna actually seemed sort of thrilled that he was willing to go back to the ship.


"I know there's a 'been there, done that' element to this for you, Shaw. But we really need someone who understands the synthesis of engineering styles happening on that ship. I won't forget the sacrifice you're making."


Yes, such a sacrifice to be on the ship he loves doing the job he loves best serving under the woman he loves.


The chime rings and he gets up and let's the Doctor in, then they go into the living room where Seven is reading through work comms.


"Have you visited the dream place while you were together physically?" the Doctor asks. Wow, no preambles with this guy.


"No," Seven says, pushing her padds away.


"Nope. No sign of it."


"As I suspected." He smiles as if he had something to do with them not having to meet in their dreams. "A pity that can't be our solution."


"Actually it can. Liam will be on the ship. But not for a few months."


"Oh, how did this come about?" He seems to think about it. "Ah, an Admiral we both know."


She nods.


"Well, then you will only need to use the solution I've got for you while you wait and for when you are not in physical proximity. Although it is possible that now that you are together, once you are on the ship, geographic proximity may take the place of actually touching to keep the dream space at bay. Also, if one of you is lost, you'll have a way to find each other."


"Providing we're both asleep and the lost person knows where they hell they are." Shaw rolls his eyes.


"My, aren't you a ray of sunshine. I can see why you and Seven get on." He walks to the window and takes in the view. "As you both no doubt know, there is no current medicine to replicate the benefits—nay, the necessity—of sleep."


"Yes, we know that," Shaw says.


"So this must be a physical realignment. You need your sleep but you wish to spend time with her—wish may be the wrong word. Are compelled to. I suggest, Captain Shaw, that you go to bed earlier than you might otherwise. Time it so that you are ending the sleep cycle when Seven goes to bed. That way you can...interact and still get your much needed rest."


"And if he doesn't want to spend two thirds of the day sleeping?"


"He can keep doing what he's been doing and risk an eventual physical breakdown of the direst—I must stress that—kind. But, I believe you created the dream space because you were intensely lonely for each other. I am not sure you are at that level now. It may well be that the dream space will only appear when you reach that level of loneliness again. I would appreciate if you could let me know if it is a constant presence or intermittent."


"So you can write a paper about us?" Seven asks, a warning note in her voice.


Shaw's heard that note. Every time he called her Hansen.


The Doctor clearly has heard it too. "Of course not. Out of professional interest."


"Yes, we'll let you know," Shaw says, so she won't have to bend.


The Doctor is staring at Seven. "Oh, you're going to let him speak for you."


"Of course."


"Well, my goodness, you two really are solid, aren't you? I never thought I'd see the day, Seven of Nine, when you...trusted to that extent." He turned to look at Shaw. "Does she speak for you?"


"Seems like."


"Fascinating." He grins and walks to the door. "Have a lovely leave, you two, and perhaps I'll see you in the stars."


And then he is gone and Shaw gets up to make them lunch while she goes back to work. "Do you dance, Seven?"


"Not generally."


"Can you dance?"


"Yes." She gets up and walks to the kitchen counter. "Did you want to go dancing?"


He nods. "We're going to have to play it somewhat cool on the ship, right?"


"Are we?"


"Look, if they saw you with Raffi and now me... It's not necessarily a look you want."


"Raffi and I were discreet when it came to that part of our relationship. Probably because we were also tentative when it came to that part of our relationship. It didn't last before; it might not again."




"So, in time, I want us to be a couple. Publicly. I get it if you don't want to rush into it. Let the crew think they're watching us fall in love." She grins. "Although I think the bridge crew probably already know."


"Yeah, I think they do."


The light over her head is turning her hair into spun gold and he says, "Are you hungry right this minute?"


"Are you saying you wish to deprive me of food in order to have sex?"


"I love how you know me." He puts the food back into the chiller.


It can wait.


They can't.