Three is a Magic Number
Note of What Has Gone Before: As part of her continuing attempt to understand her humanity, Seven of Nine constructed an elaborate holodeck fantasy postulating her life as a regular member of the crew. Within the simulation, she fell in love with Commander Chakotay. As her obsession grew, so did recurring headaches, culminating in a physical breakdown. The Doctor discovered the existence of a Borg fail safe device in her cortical node, designed to keep drones from experiencing intense emotions. Seven deleted her simulation, and began to distance herself from her crew mates again.
"Gravimetric array, my ass," I muttered for the dozenth time. After an hour of trying to read Chakotay's final damage report on Voyager's adventure in the weapons testing range, I tossed the padd aside.
I found that I was muttering lately -- a lot. That worried me. My mother used to mutter when she was really annoyed. I didn't like the thought of becoming my mother. Not that I didn't love my mother, but it just wasn't something that I relished happening. The muttering, I suppose, was to work out the situation and my irritation with it in my own head before I spoke out loud. This was an especially delicate situation. Speaking to the wrong person at the wrong time would be an absolute disaster.
I was astonished by the entire series of events for a number of reasons. First and foremost, no one informed me of the entirety of what had transpired. I had to piece things together like I had no right to know. Yes, there was an issue of patient doctor privilege. And there are some good reasons that this should be considered. But when privilege is weighed against the outrageous behavior of a crewmen in a critical position while the ship is in grave danger, there is no question that I should have been informed fully and immediately. And I strongly suspect that if it had been anyone other than Seven, the Doctor would have concurred. Then there are Seven's lies of omission on top of all the other lies. She should have trusted to come talk to me about these experiments as the Mistress if not as her Captain. I was very annoyed at that. And I was hurt as well.
Of course, Barrows told me everything about the holoprogram. She took no pleasure in it. She was, in fact, annoyed with Seven as well.
"She must have been completely off her bean to think she could lock me out of any program in this system," Barrows muttered. "Barring me only made me more curious."
Barrows took the predictable stance that all of this subterfuge could be corrected with copious applications of the flogger. And she saw something darker in Seven's behavior as well. "It may not have begun with this kind of elaborate fantasy, but I seem to recall that dear Susan was very curious about your relationship with Mark."
I thought she was overreacting. But there was a glimmer of truth to what she was saying. And it bothered me deeply that Seven kept this hidden from me.
"I did not lecture you then. I will not now," Barrows said. And I heard in her tone the imperious Mistress who had trained me. "You already know that you cannot let this situation go on without intervention. You have fought too hard for him and too hard for her to end up alone."
"Yes, Mistress," I had replied.
"That's my Kathryn. Keep me informed."
Thus, I was muttering. I had to decide on which tact to take. If I exploded at Seven, she would shut down entirely. Then there was Chakotay. I didn't know how to even tell him about any of this.
It was Seven herself who gave me the missing pieces of the puzzle as well as my starting point when she asked to see me late one night. I hadn't even settled back into my sofa with my wine when she launched into her reason for visiting.
"I wish to be released from service to the Mistress," she said.
I felt my brow and my ire rising. "Why?"
She stumbled then. "I thought it was customary for a submissive to be released from service if requested."
"It's customary, but not written in stone," I replied. "Especially not in the Delta Quadrant. Why?"
She blushed but straightened her posture further. "My behavior for the past few days has been outrageous and inexcusable. I don't believe I deserve to serve the Mistress."
"I see. Well, that is not something that you can decide, Dear One," I replied mildly. "You have obviously been through quite a trauma. I don't think you've given yourself enough time to put all of this into perspective."
"You don't understand... the Doctor thinks that... I can't..."
That got my attention. "What does the Doctor think, Seven? And why is he involved in this sort of decision now?"
She was very agitated at this point though trying to hold onto her composure. "I really am not comfortable discussing this. I would like to be released."
"No, I don't believe you do," I said quietly. "I will give you some time to rest and come to terms with whatever it is you went through. Then we will talk once again. I think you should go regenerate."
She glared at me, but nodded her head and left.
The Doctor. Well, that told me where to begin. I decided to get a good night rest and confront the Doctor in the morning. This would likely be a contentious meeting and I wanted to be on my best behavior.
And those lovely intentions lasted for all of five minutes. Zimmerman must be a truly irritating human being. His response to my inquiry about why Seven was suddenly eschewing all of her interpersonal relationships did not even attempt to be civil.
"Frankly Captain, I don't see that it's any of your business," he said indignantly.
"I see. Well, let's look at this from my position, Doctor. I have a valuable crewmen in a critical position on staff engaged in behavior that ultimately endangered the ship. She is acting in an uncharacteristic manner," I said. "I find that she may be a danger to herself and a further danger to the crew. If you won't provide me with assistance, I am relieving her of duty until I have an explanation that assures me that this isn't the case."
"That is outrageous, Captain!"
"Is it? If it were Tom Paris or Mr. Tuvok, behaving in this manner, wouldn't you be alarmed?" I demanded.
The Doctor sputtered. "I don't believe that she is a danger to anyone."
"How do you know? She is obviously very unhappy," I replied. "And she'd pushing away anyone that might be able to give her some comfort. That's a recipe for psychosis, Doctor."
"It's not psychological, Captain," he said impatiently. "It's physical."
"Physical," I said dubiously.
He handed me a padd with the most put upon sigh I've heard any human make. "It's all there."
I read the report of the 'fail safe' in Seven's cortical node. It was a plausible deduction, but there were some major flaws to it. I found myself amazed at the Doctor's lack of creative analysis. Interesting how he took the solution that kept Seven isolated from close relationships.
"Doctor, this is a very fascinating theory, but it fails to take into account a number of things."
His tone clearly dripped disdain for my own analytical abilities. Pa Zimmerman apparently never met a Captain who came from Star Fleet Science.
"Seven has not been free of emotions in her tenure on this ship. Am I to believe that the loss of One; her ordeal with the escaped drones; finding out her parent's culpability in her assimilation ; Her extended isolation crossing the nebula; the pressure to return to the Borg Queen to save this ship; or loving Axum so much that she risked her life in Unimatrix Zero for one last goodbye can compare to some fantasy dating in a Holodeck for levels of emotion?" I asked. "If this 'fail safe' was there, why didn't it activate during any of those other instances?"
"I... I found the device... it is some sort of inhibitor... I can't explain why it hadn't before..."
"Perhaps, the device is designed to work when connected to the hive," I said. "Perhaps, it was a very specific combination of traumas that set it off this time."
"As you say though, this activity was benign."
"On the surface. But she was neglecting her duties and she was with Chakotay."
"Yes, that surprised me," the Doctor said. There was an edge to his tone. "The Mistress' lover."
I ignored his tone. "And the Captain's man. That would make anyone guilty. And Seven tends to amplify feelings. So she feels driven to pursue this fantasy while feeling more and more guilty."
"She shorted herself out," the Doctor said.
"Then I give her reason to wrap herself in cotton and isolate herself from everything," he said in disgust. "Captain, I feel my motives may not have been entirely above reproach."
"Really?" I asked dryly.
He became indignant once again. "You must admit that yours aren't objective either. You want to keep her in that Circle."
"That is certainly none of your business," I snapped. "But however you disapprove of my lifestyle, I would never let it interfere with my decisions concerning the welfare of this crew."
"As I have," he admitted. "Point taken. What are you planning to do?"
"I'm going to give her a few days to calm down," I said. "Then I'm going to present her with the alternate theory to her condition. I want you to back me up on these possibilities."
"Yes, Captain," he nodded.
"It is the least I can do considering."
I resisted the strong impulse to agree with him choosing instead to focus on my own plans.
Meanwhile, there were other events in motion. I received this log
entry from Mister Kim later the same day.
Kim's Personal Log:
I'm submitting my accounts of the last weeks in the hopes that the Mistress could offer me some clarity on those events. I am confused. I'm happy but very confused.
B'Elanna had come to terms with her baby, but the pregnancy still had an a powerful impact on her personality. For the most part, Tom was not enjoying it. She was fulfilling her duties amicably enough, but I believe that was because the Captain was looking for any undue tensions there. But as for home, I don't think the Tal Shiar could invent the torture that she was putting Tom through every day.
The poor guy couldn't seem to do anything right. At first, I thought he was exaggerating. Whenever I saw B'Elanna she seemed as professional as she always was. But then there was an impromptu lunch we had at their place a couple of weeks ago. It was that time we were going through those gas giants and had to do double shifts. None of us wanted to fight for a table in the Mess, so we thought a little quiet lunch was just the thing. There was lunch alright, but it was anything but quiet. First, she couldn't think of what she wanted to eat. Nothing appealed to her. All of Tom's suggestions seemed to get on her nerves.
While they were arguing about food, I whipped up my famous stir-fry with the sweet rice that B'Elanna liked. She picked at it at first, but soon grew quiet as she ate. Tom threw me such a look of gratitude that it made me want to cry. While they ate, I made her a pot of herbal tea from my stash of dried herbs. She went to work happy. Tom looked better rested for days afterward.
I realized that perhaps the best way to help Tom was not to get him away from B'Elanna, but to help her feel better. She was a dominatrix after all. I knew how to serve. The Mistress had trained me well. The problem would be to get her to accept it. Lieutenant Torres did not like to feel weak. I had to be careful. To that end, I made sure to run into her as our shifts ended. I knew that Tom was working until late covering for the other helmsman. She was walking slowly. The weight of the day was on her. She was trying hard to use her hand to support the small of her back.
"Hey, B'Elanna," I said as I eased up on her. "Up for some company?"
She smiled and shook her head. "I'm not the best of hostesses lately."
"No even the company of the First One?"
She chuckled. "I'm even less up for that."
"Really," I smiled. "A woman not up for her hair being washed, her back rubbed and her tummy well filled?"
She smiled at me quizzically. "Really?"
"You are worthy of service," I said. "And you're my friend... I come with great references."
Finally, she relented. By the time Tom got home, I had fed and pampered her until she was almost asleep. I fed Tom as well then returned to my quarters.
I only had to suggest coming over one more time. After that, B'Elanna asked me. It was never direct but every other day or so, she would make sure to run into me at some point during the day. Then she would say, 'so how about some more of that tea? Or can I expect you for dinner?' I enjoyed her company. I always have, and I knew that I was helping Tom out as well. Eventually, she started talking to me about her and Tom.
"I've been so hostile to him," she admitted during a foot rub. "And it's because I feel guilty."
"I can't make love to him, Harry," she sighed. "He says he's okay with the occasional hand or blow job, but he forgets that I remember how hard we played. I know what he wants and needs. And he's been so nice about it."
"That makes you feel worse," I said.
"Oh, yeah. I hate feeling that way. So I become super bitch," she said. "Maybe if I'm awful enough, he won't want me."
"You know better than that," I smiled.
She was looking at me then. Suddenly, it was though a light had gone off in her brain.
"What?" I asked.
"You could help him," she said. "You could give him what he needs."
"B'Elanna, I don't know..."
"You know you'd love to," she scoffed. "We do it in the Circle all the time."
"I know, but this would feel different. Like I was intervening between you two somehow," I said.
"It wouldn't be that way at all," she said. "You would be a part of us."
I stumbled into silence. That was partly because I honestly didn't know what to say and partly because the idea appealed to me. B'Elanna could see that in my eyes. She smiled at me. "I know you want him. I know he wants you. What's the harm?"
"But... how would we go about this?"
"Would you mind if I were present?"
I don't think I've been more surprised since Seven first asked if I wanted to copulate. I recall blinking at her several times.
"I can't participate, but I'd love to watch. It'll make Tom feel less guilty," she said with a mirthfulness that reminded me of the Mistress.
I sighed in resignation.
"That's my Starfleet."
The date was set up for 1900 the next night. I wanted to let the Mistress know, but I hardly believed that it was really going to happen. Working my duty shift was not easy that day. My mind kept drifting to what I should wear or how and when to make a move. All the while, I bored holes into the back of Tom's head. I wondered if he would turn down the offer. He had been skittish about us having sex unless the Mistress insisted. Ever since we'd been locked up together during the 'Maquis' uprising, I think he's been worried about taking advantage of me. Though I had never thought of making love with Tom that way. Whenever he touched me was wonderful. Each time is etched in my memory. I hoped I could make him see that.
Dinner went well. I brought a good beer for Tom and me. Camomile tea was for B'Elanna. Tom had prepared a simple meal. We talked and laughed like we did years ago. It was a really good time for every one.
"That was a great meal," B'Elanna said.
"Glad you liked it," Tom smiled.
"How's your shoulder, by the way?"
"It's okay... just a little stiff."
"What happened to your shoulder?" I asked.
"I pulled it a little working on the Delta Flyer."
"And didn't let the Doctor treat it," B'Elanna quipped.
"Who needs the lecture?" Tom sighed.
I found my opening. It was over used, but I didn't think my favorite pilot would notice. "Let me give you a massage."
"Great idea," B'Elanna said rolling her eyes at me behind Tom's back. I shrugged. "I'll clean up the dishes. You can use the bed."
"What???" Tom sputtered.
"It doesn't help if you're on that couch. Go on to the bed," she laughed. "And don't be shy. Take the shirt off."
I went to the bedroom. I whipped up some massage oil at the replicator. Tom was on the bed and shirtless as he was instructed.
"I'm going to call Tuvok to scan for aliens," he quipped.
"We're not aliens," I chuckled. "Just relax and enjoy."
Tom sighed at my touch. His muscles were in a knot along his right shoulder blade. I gently worked it out then moved to massage the rest of his back. The sighs became more frequent. Then, they turned into moans. I deliberately hit a very sensitive spot at the curve of his spine. Tom gasped then turn toward me.
"What the hell are you doing, Harry?" He hissed. "What will B'Elanna do?"
"She will tell Harry to kiss you and put you out of your misery," she said.
My hands had not left his body. I absently stroked along his shoulders as Tom stared incredulously at his wife.
"You've been wonderful, Tom. But I know what you need," she said softly. "The Mistress said that such needs cannot be ignored."
Tom looked back at me. There was lust in his eyes.
"Do you want him, Tom?" B'Elanna asked.
"Oh, yes," he replied closing his eyes briefly then flashed again toward mine.
"I want you to have him," she said in a silken voice. "I'm sure Harry doesn't mind."
I smiled at him brushing a thumb over his lip. "No, I don't mind at all."
"This may be a giant hoax, but I don't care," he murmured as he leveraged off the bed to set his mouth against mine.
He moaned into that hot kiss. His tongue explored my mouth as though he never had while his hands pulled at my clothes. B'Elanna pulled off my shoes making Tom chuckle against my throat. Soon, I was the one naked and on my back. It had been a long, long time since we'd made love, but he remembered how to work my body into a frenzy. I vaguely remember B'Elanna watching, but for the most part I was lost in the sensation of Tom's skillful hands and knowing mouth.
"Harry... gods I have missed your skin..."
I could only moan in response, because he had his cock in my mouth at that point. When I came, it was hard and I was rendered brainless. In that blissed out state, I felt Tom opening me with slick urgent fingers -- probably from the massage oil. Then, he was thrusting in me.
"You are so hot..." he rasped in my ear. Tom rode me hard. I loved the sound of him in pleasure. It made me hard all over again, but I was helpless to do anything about it. All I had the presence of mind to do was hold on and push back. He knew how to take care of me though, even while he was taking what he needed. Tom began to stroke me in counter rhythm to his deep thrusts. Then we were coming. I loved how he could take me out of myself like that. I loved the weight of him after he crushed me to the bed afterward.
It had been amazing. And it got even better. B'Elanna gently cleaned us up then helped me dress once I had control over my limbs.
"I know why the Mistress loves watching you," she said kissing my temple as I stood to leave. "You just become this beautiful, sensual animal."
I blushed at that. Tom sat up then. He was utterly mussed and befuddled. "Thanks, Harry. You're a real pal."
"Anytime, Tom," I laughed.
B'Elanna hugged me for a long moment at the door. "You are a wonderful man, Harry Kim. We love you."
"I love you guys, too," I whispered.
I felt great for days afterward. I still spent time pampering B'Elanna. And I was enjoying Tom's smoldering consideration. I'm sure the Mistress noticed the increasing heat between us. I was leaving my shifts with an erection almost everyday. Just when I thought that the situation couldn't get more intense, there was the dinner invitation.
The event is a blur to me now. All I really remember is that there
was a proposal to make me a regular part of their intimate lives. While
that was more than I had dreamed of having, I was afraid. How could this
work? What would happen when the baby was born? Loving Tom and being with
B'Elanna could easily become a habit. I don't know what I would do if
I had to give that up. After hours of agonizing, I decided that I needed
advice. Thus, I am sending this log to the Mistress.
Captain's Personal Log:
Harry Kim continued to astonish me. He had guilessly maneuvered himself into a position that the most deft of seducers would have difficulty pulling off. Still, I worried for him. Harry was completely vulnerable to them and I did not trust the mercurial nature of the couple's whims any more than Kim did. I decided that my own little dinner party was in order.
They were suspicious when they noticed that the party did not include Seven or Chakotay. Then, there was the fidgeting of Mr. Kim.
"Before you all burst, there is nothing wrong," I began. "The Mistress is in no way angry or offended. I am here purely as a facilitator."
"Oh." B'Elanna said. "Harry, is this about our... proposal?"
"Harry is concerned that this arrangement could end with the birth of the baby or our return to Earth or after you have a tiff," I said before he could respond. "He's already attached to you both. To lose you after even more intimacy would crush him."
Tom looked startled. "Oh, Harry... we wouldn't do that to you. We've thought about this for a while. We are happy, B'Elanna and I but everything seems to work better with you. And I know that you're happier with us."
Harry swallowed hard, lowered his eyes and blushed. "Yes, I am."
"You know I've said it would come to a triad," Tom continued. "You finally wore us down."
"Mistress," Harry murmured. "What do you think about this?"
I sighed. "Dear Ones, you know I loathe commenting on such personal matters as this, but if you insist..."
"I'd like to know," B'Elanna said.
"I think that Harry is the best thing for you two," I said. "He's a lot like ketchup."
"The condiment?" Tom asked.
"Yes, ketchup is believed by some to have natural mellowing agents to smooth out life's rough spots and keep couples from strangling each other... like Harry," I said. "Go and enjoy yourselves, but be careful of one another. And be discreet. I doubt that the crew is ready for a triad."
There were sighs of relief and a chorus of 'yes, Mistress.' Once
they were gone, my attention returned to my own potential threesome.
It was time to bring Seven out of self imposed exile.
I invited Seven to dinner as that seemed to be the meal of choice for forming triads. I did my best with the meal, but it turned out as they often do. Hopefully, she would return to cooking in self defense as Chakotay had. She was much more self-possessed when she arrived. The desperation that was in her eyes when she asked to be released from service was gone. I think more than anything else, the regeneration cycles helped center my beautiful Borg. She was as relaxed as Seven gets.
Since she was only embracing facts, not emotions, I began with the facts. First, I let her know that I knew everything that the Doctor knew and everything that went on during all those hours on the Holodeck. I also let her know that she would have to answer for my displeasure over her failure to disclose those facts. Then, I recounted her emotional history on Voyager. Her reactions were much the same as the Doctor's.
"I had not considered any of those incidents," she admitted. "I have felt many very strong emotions in recent years."
"You have been through things, Seven, that would put many in a hospital," I said quietly. "You are one of the strongest individuals I've ever met."
"But the fact remains, Captain," she said. "I had a problem with my cortical node. There must be an explanation."
"Let's explore that," I said over the salad. "Why did you choose Chakotay?"
Her cheeks flushed immediately. She finished chewing her mouthful and swallowed. "I didn't mean to..."
"Seven," I said quietly. "Don't make assumptions about how I feel about the choice. Let's just look at the reasons for it right now."
She studied my eyes looking for evidence of anger, I suppose. Then she took a long deep breath.
"I have found Commander Chakotay to be an attractive and compelling man," she said. "Since the night that I had... problems after my meal with the Doctor, I wondered about the possibility you raised in offering me to him."
"Go on," I said continuing to gnaw on my salad. How could I have made the salad tough?
Her confidence was growing. "From your records and the official logs, I found him more and more compelling. Also, there are your own feelings for him. How could this man have won your heart when you were pursued by..."
"Locutus and Q," I sighed.
"Yes," she said pushing the salad plate away. We both approached the main course with great trepidation. "I wondered if there was any sort of scenario where he would no longer see me as a Borg but as a woman."
"Thus, you had your implants removed, put on a uniform and let out your hair."
The meat was not much more tender than the salad. Seven looked stricken when she took a bite.
I sighed. "Go on."
"I found myself more and more attracted to him, but I felt conflicted," she said. "I was almost obsessed with a man who is deeply involved with someone I care for. I was afraid you would think that I wanted to betray you. I am aware of how much pain the end of your engagement caused. Hurting you was not something I intended. And I was afraid that Commander Chakotay would find out and think I violated him with this fantasy. I was neglecting my duty and lying about it."
"All very powerful emotions," I said. "Obsession, guilt, fear..."
"And I couldn't seem to stop the behavior," she said. "I have never felt that out of control."
"And that's a feeling you really can't abide by," I said. "Seven, no one is strong enough to shoulder all that emotional turmoil at once and not expect to have problems. And all of those problems were unnecessary."
I smiled at her. "Yes, Seven. Quite unnecessary. If you were afraid to approach me, anyone in the Circle could have told you this."
"I don't understand."
"Seven, why most couples who profess the feelings the Commander and I have for each other are monogamous, this doesn't have to be the case," I began. "My relationship with Mark was a triad. I couldn't have Chakotay and the Circle if he wasn't open to sharing my affections."
"I realized that, but my interest was..."
"More than sexual," I supplied.
"So was my triad. We all loved each other," I said preferring to focus on the positives of that relationship at that moment. "And you wouldn't have a chance with Chakotay if your interest weren't anything but serious. He doesn't give his heart lightly."
"And he would be interested in me?"
I chuckled. "Well, he certainly knows you're a woman. And though he had reservations about you, because of his own experiences with the Collective, Chakotay has come to respect and admire you. He thinks you have a wonderful sense of humor."
She blushed profusely. "And would you be willing to share his affections?"
"I would only with you, Seven," I said. "I adore my Dear Ones and always will, but my feelings for you could become very deep and enduring. I could share him with someone that made me feel that way."
Seven's eyes well up. "How could you still want me intimately involved with you and Chakotay after what I've done."
I rose from my seat and went to hug her where she sat. I petted her hair as she nuzzled against me. "Seven," I murmured. "Forgiveness is a part of caring for someone. I know you didn't want to hurt me. I can tell by the way you shorted yourself out that you care deeply about how I feel."
"And you believe it will be safe to pursue this relationship?" She sniffed.
"I wouldn't suggest it otherwise," I said tilting her face up. He face was flushed. Her eyes were full of anticipation. "Let's give it a try."
I kissed that lush mouth until she moaned. Dinner tasted better through a Seven filter. When I released her, she was breathing faster. Her pupils were dilated.
"See? No short."
She nodded. "What will happen now?"
I went back to my chair, pushed my mostly uneaten meal away and took up my glass of wine. "I'd love to take you to my bed and give you a proper test drive, then leave you naked for Chakotay to find," I said chuckling at Seven's startled gasp. "But we have to move in an orderly fashion."
She looked at me balefully.
"Seven, relax. After certain conditions are met, I will arrange an evening with Chakotay," I said. "For the sake of the evening, I think you should cook."
"I concur," she replied drily. The was mirth back in her eyes. "What are these conditions?"
"While I am satisfied that you have suffered enough for these transgressions, Barrows has another opinion," I said. "Your actions against me were an affront to her. She will want a certain amount of penance."
"I understand," she said. "I will present myself at her convenience."
"That's my Dear One,' I smiled. "As for the Commander, I will speak to him later tonight. I'm certain he'll want this meeting as soon as Barrows is satisfied. And in the future, please remember that there are much more pleasant ways to ease your guilt where I am concerned."
"And while I believe that this 'fail safe' cannot be triggered easily,
I do think it would be prudent if you and Icheb research the device and
see if there is a less invasive way around it."
Mistress Barrows was very pleased at my leaving Seven's penance to her. She promised to be reasonable and to send me an account. I knew that Barrows would keep her word. Bluster as she would, there was a weak spot in her for Seven. With that under way, I turned my attention to my popular First Officer.
Chakotay was shocked at the events swirling around him while on the test range. He stared at the record of the holoprogram without blinking even once. Even when it finished playing, he stared at the blank screen as if he couldn't comprehend what he had seen.
"Am I to understand that all during that life threatening crisis, Seven was in the Holodeck..."
"Mooning over you, yes," I murmured.
Chakotay sat back on the sofa. He reached over and pulled my legs across his lap and absently rubbed my feet.
"And these feelings for me and you caused her to short out?"
"Hmmm, hmmm," I murmured.
"Hey... you're some dish," I replied tracing along his jaw.
He turned to kiss my palm. "What do you want to do about it?"
"The question is, what do you want to do about it?" I said. "You know how I feel about Seven and about triads."
"Even after Mark and Susan."
I shrugged. "Susan was always week and needy. And Mark always guilty. Seven is stronger than both of them. And you won't leave me."
He titled my chin up. "Only if I'm in a box."
He kissed me gently. When he pulled back, his eyes were full of mirth. "So let me get this straight. You and me and she..."
"That's right... we three will be..."
"Simultaneously... hmmm," he said with a wicked smile. "I am moved by this on so many levels."
"Really? You'll have to show me."
"Oh, I will," he chuckled. "For weeks to come. What I want to know is how will this work?"
"It's like any other courtship," I said. "We'll meet for dinner and do a lot of talking. Then we'd have to both date her separately. In a triad, each bond must be formed separately if the relationship is even possible."
"But we would spend time together? The three of us?" He asked with an arched brow.
"Yes, swine. We will."
He grew quiet for a moment shaking his head incredulously. "She has almost every man on the ship drooling in her wake..."
"And a number of women and two holoprograms," I added.
"Yet she's interested in me," he said. "I'm flattered. Deeply."
"You should be," I said stroking his jaw. "But she is a lucky woman if you return her feelings."
Chakotay pulled me the rest of the way into his lap. "Seven and I are both lucky, Kathryn. If this means we get you."
I was the one who got lucky that night. Being the object of lust really inspired the Commander.
He managed to bare all the areas of interest then maneuver me so that I was straddling his lap and impaled by his cock without moving or completely undressing.
I was exasperated even when he was licking and sucking my nipples and lazily thrusting up into me.
"I... don't know... how impressed... Seven will be," I gasped. "When you can't even bother to get undressed to make love."
Chakotay responded with a more forceful thrust while sucking on
my left nipple. I was rendered speechless for a moment. I noticed a sly
look in his eyes when they met mine. He is such and arrogant bastard, I thought.
But at that moment, he shifted position and really started pumping into
me. As the first wave of pleasure rocked me, I conceded that some arrogance
is justified. From then on my brain lost the ability for coherent thought.
Seven does penance very well. She responded to Barrow's summons the very next day and presented herself flawlessly. Barrows, who was very pleased at my decision to allow her to punish my favorite Borg, dressed in her most formal attire -- leather corset, long leather skirt and boots. And The Mistress was at her most imperious in her bearing. The expression on her face was stern as she walked about her naked and kneeling subject.
Seven was made to recite her transgressions. She did this in a quiet, solemn voice. There was deep regret in her tone during the confession. I could see that Mistress Barrows was moved, but it did not stop her from shackling Seven face down and spread eagle on the bed. The implement of choice was Barrow's most supple suede flogger. It was a diabolical weapon. It felt so soft to the touch, but in the right hands, each stroke radiates layer upon layer of heat until it feels like every inch of skin will ignite and burn off the bones. I relived my own experiences as Seven skin was flogged to bright red and Seven was gasping and moaning under the onslaught. I couldn't tell if the moaning was from discomfort or lust. I knew Barrows wouldn't care.
What the Mistress wanted was tears. She got that from Seven. Eventually, she broke and sobbed into the pillow. Barrows tossed aside the flogger and released the shackles.
"There there, Seven," Barrows crooned. She climbed onto the mattress and took the trembling woman into her arms and rocked her while stroking her hair. "Do you feel better?"
"Yes... I do... I would like to have an orgasm," she sniffed nuzzling against Barrows.
"Don't we all?" Barrows quipped. "But you won't today. It's part of the penance."
They were silent for a while. Seven was lulled by the rocking and Barrow's gentle petting.
"Permission to speak, Mistress," Seven said quietly.
"Go ahead, pet."
"I wouldn't deliberately hurt the Mistress or the Captain," she said.
"I believe you, my dear," Barrows said. "But you must be more careful. She has said that you can come to her with any question or problem. You must believe her. It will save you a lot of anguish."
Barrows held Seven a little longer then helped her dress and sent
her off to regenerate.
I received a message from her the next day requesting a dinner date for later in the week. She probably would have scheduled one for sooner, but she required time to plan the meal. Chakotay and I accepted. I was nervous and excited in the interim. The Commander was a little more antsy than ususal during his shift and distracted when off duty. It was unclear as to whether or not Seven was nervous. I hardly heard from her save for reports. Neelix informed me that she had taken over the kitchen in the off hours but couldn't find out what she was working on.
In the interim, I was observing the other triad. Mr. Kim looked happy. He was almost slap happy. Mr. Paris often stole glances at the ensign. There was evidence of love bites at the very tops of their collars. It wasn't obvious. I only noticed because I was looking for it. The boys hadn't looked this blissful since they discovered they could make each other come. And B'Elanna was happy as well. She told me that Harry was helping her sleep and eat better with his pampering while his attentions to Tom had diminished her guilt. I was pleased for them and hopeful for myself.
Seven took over my living area while I dressed. I could smell wonderful things that involved garlic and spices. And there were wonderful sounds as well. Seven had chosen some very nice pieces of music and she was humming while she worked. I hadn't seen what she was wearing. She didn't arrive until I was in the shower. I chose Chakotay's favorite little black dress along with the first pair of shoes he made for me. My beautiful Borg took my breath away in the crimson dress from the holoprogram. She wore her hair in the same fashion as well. It seemed that she was ready to trust me.
"You look absolutely stunning, Seven."
"Thank you, Captain."
I shook my head slowly as I approached her. "Not captain tonight. Call me Kathryn."
She smiled shyly. "Thank you, Kathryn. You look lovely as well."
The doorbell rang. I was startled. "Either that's someone unexpected or Chakotay's dramatically improved his manners," I quipped. "I wonder who he's trying to impress."
Seven had to suppress a smile when the Commander breezed in at my summons. He was carrying flowers and two bottles of wine.
"Good evening, ladies," he smiled. Without further word, he swept me into his arms and kissed me briefly but tenderly. "You know how much I love that dress."
His gaze was that kind of intensity that made my heart go pitter patter. When he turned it on Seven, I thought she'd melt into a puddle on the spot.
"And speaking of dresses, you look lovely, Seven," he said.
She slushed slightly. "So do you... I mean, thank you, Commander."
"Chakotay, please. And this is for you," he said with a big smile handing her the wine. "I was unsure of red or white, so I brought both."
"They are fine selections," Seven said. "Thank you. I will open the red and allow it to breathe. We can have it with the appetizers."
"And these are for you," he murmured to me handing me the flowers.
We were off to a very fine start. And dinner only improved the evening. Seven had made a salmon perfectly baked in puff pastry with steamed asparagus and a delicately flavored rice for the main course. It was preceded by the most delicate salad I had ever tasted and followed by a chocolate souffle that was better than some nights of sex I've had. The wine matched perfectly. I thanked our chef profusely.
"You really have a taste for fine wine, Chakotay," I said. "Which is surprising in one who doesn't really imbibe."
"I have an easily trained palate," he replied.
"I concur. You are gifted with wines," Seven said. "I could not have chosen better."
"Don't flatter him too much, Seven. He'll looking into becoming a sommelier or even a vintner," I said drily.
"Very funny, Kathryn," Chakotay replied drily. "And I discovered that the soil would be too hard to replicate."
I rolled my eyes. Seven smirked.
We adjourned to the sofas for a lovely cup of coffee for me and tea for Chakotay. The conversation was very easy. We talked a little about the ship and that lead to some exchanges of wry observations about crew foibles. Chakotay didn't make her laugh, but he came close with one of his drier observations about Harry Kim. And Seven told a surprisingly amusing tale about Icheb's long distance crush on a yeoman who worked as a clerk at Starfleet Academy. Despite the absence of paddles and chains, I had to call the evening a resounding success.
At a lull in the conversation, I thought it was time to move to the question at hand. "Well, Seven, would you like to proceed with us?"
She lowered her eyes and nodded. "If you both are willing."
I looked at Chakotay who was gazing at Seven with the most affectionate stare. He looked at me for a long moment. "I'm willing," he said.
"As am I," I replied.
"How do we proceed?" Seven asked.
"We will each spend time with you," I said. "We should move at a pace that is comfortable for everyone. And we should be very discreet. I don't want to confuse the crew."
"And we should all spend time together," Chakotay chimed in.
I gave him a sidelong glace that Seven didn't notice. "Yes, of course. But we should take our time there as well. These relationships work better if no one feels pressured."
"Understood," Seven said rising. "I had a lovely time, but I am feeling fatigued. I should go."
I nodded at her. She was not quite telling the truth. I believed she was more horny than tired, but I allowed her a graceful exit.
"Thank you for dinner," I said rising from my seat. I moved close to give her a light kiss on the lips and a brief hug.
Her eyes were twinkling happily when they met mine. "My pleasure, Kathryn."
Chakotay was by the door. He cupped her chin with one hand while wrapping the other arm around her waist. He kissed her cheek gently then hugged her against him. She gasped in his embrace and even collapsed against him for a moment. He released her with a final squeeze.
"Goodnight, Seven," he said. "Call me when you're ready."
"Goodnight, Chakotay," she murmured. "I will."
We were both staring at the door after she left.
"Did she come when I hugged her?" he asked.
"Yes. I believe she did," I replied.
We looked at each other for a long moment. Then we both smiled.
"This is going to be fun," I said.
56: Just Rewards