Actions

Work Header

The Girl from Raven's Island

Work Text:

The rain sustained the earth which eagerly absorbed the wetness, not unlike a dehydrated person finally reaching a cool and refreshing spring. The autumn rain, pouring down this calm October day, glued the autumn leaves to the asphalt on the city sidewalks. People rushed along them, hidden under umbrellas.

Annika Hansen was one of the few outside the overwhelmingly tall office complex that did not use an umbrella. Long, blonde hair hung in wet tresses around her cheeks as she tipped her head back trying to gaze all they way to the roof.

The eighty floor building was the tallest in the city. It was built entirely of glass, there were lights on in most of the windows making it very beautiful, like a glittering jewel in the early evening.

Annika glanced at her watch. Ten minutes until the meeting that hopefully would change her future to a bright one instead of the gloomy prediction she had received at the unemployment agency yesterday.

“You have no formal education, Miss Hansen,” the stern lady, a Mrs Cobbs, had said apologetically. “Where did you attend school?”

“My parents taught me at home. They were both anthropologists and they gave me a lot of homework and I read everything very carefully. When they came home from their journeys they would give me an extensive set of tests. I passed them all.”

“But you have no grades, no diplomas?”

The dismissive tone was not encouraging.

“Where did you grow up since you didn’t attend a regular school?”

“I grew up on a small island far out in a remote area of the archipelago. My parent’s owned it and we had no neighbours. I think I should tell you that I do not have a social security number.”

“You mean you don’t exist? On paper, I mean?” The lady looked utterly shocked.

Annika nodded. This was something she had only realised recently, that you were not apart of this society if you weren’t registered in some way. Her parent’s eccentricity had not made the transfer to normal life very easy.

“I do have a birth certificate here.” She pulled up a paper from her worn leather purse. “I was born in Russia … oh, it is in Russian of course,   perhaps it is not valid? I speak Russian, by the way. But I do not have any diploma for that either.”

Annika looked apologetically at the astonished lady. Mrs Cobbs had thought hard for a moment and then asked her to come back in two days, she would make inquiry’s until then how Annika should go about confirming her citizenship.

Two days had gone by and she had not gone back to the agency. This morning she had read the classifieds while having breakfast in her modest hotel room and come upon an ad where a company seemed desperate for an interpreter. Russian, French and German was required and she spoke and wrote them all as well as Italian and Spanish. She had called the company and an assistant had given her an appointment the same day. She had made it clear that Annika had better not been exaggerating her competence.

Here she was now, standing in the rain. She was uneasy, not because she doubted her own competence, but because she had never been inside such a tall building before.

She had hardly ever left the island and now she was supposed to take an elevator to the seventy-ninth floor. A first.

She stepped in to the reception area and looked around. A man dressed in a suit was working behind a desk and she approached him.

“Are you here to see anyone?” he asked with a patronising look at her soaked appearance.

She read his nametag. G Anderson.

“Hello, G Anderson, I am expected in five minutes for a job interview on the seventy-ninth floor. Can you direct me to the elevators?” she asked politely.

He looked apprehensively at her, asked about her name and turned around to use the phone. He hung up after a couple of cropped sentences and then showed her where to find the elevators.

The elevator was large and made virtually no sound. There was a mirror and she noticed that the rain had completely soaked her coat. Her hair was a mess, but that was not why she was here. They would be interested in her interpreting skills, nothing else.

Beginning to feel a little claustrophobic she flinched when there was a sudden chime alerting her that she had reached her destination. The doors opened and with a sigh of relief she stepped out.

A middle aged woman was sitting at yet another reception desk and also asked about her name and why she was there.

When Annika stated her purpose the woman’s attitude shifted considerably and she almost dragged the tall blonde with her to a door furthest away in the corridor.

“Here, Miss Hansen, please take a seat and I will let Ms Janeway know you are here. My name is Martha Sander, I am Ms Janeway’s assistant,” she explained quickly.

Annika nodded but looked hesitatingly at the expensive leather couch and then down at her wet clothes.

Martha Sander followed her gaze and got a worried expression on her face.

“Dear child, I didn’t notice that you were so soaked to the skin. I’ll bring you a towel. Perhaps you better use one of these chairs instead.”

She hurried off, leaving Annika standing in the luxurious conference room.

My first conference room, she thought and shook her head. Her first elevator, and now her first view of such magnificent proportions. She tentatively approached the window and looked out over the city. The street lamps were being lit as she watched and she could even see the tiny headlights from the cars way down there.

“Annika Hansen?”

A throaty voice was heard from the door and she pivoted, taken by surprise.

“Yes.”

The woman in the doorway was small and compact with auburn, shoulder length hair. She was dressed in a narrow black skirt stopping just above her knees and a white silk blouse. She regarded Annika with even blue-grey eyes. Of course she was the image of elegance and had a authoritative presence that didn’t escape the younger woman.

“My goodness, did you swim to get here?”

Annika shook her head in denial.

“Not quite. It is raining and I do not own any umbrella.”

This made the other woman walk a couple of steps closer to her and study her closer. Apparently there were something highly suspicious about not having an umbrella.

“Here is a towel for you … Oh, Kathryn, you are here already? Miss Hansen is soaked to the skin from the rain so I thought I’d offer her a towel.”

Martha Sander handed her a terrycloth towel and asked to take her coat. Annika removed her coat and gratefully accepted the towel. She began drying her hair briskly as she turned to Kathryn Janeway again.

“Yes?”

Janeway frowned and asked her to take a seat while pulling out one for herself.

Annika nodded politely and sat down on a chair at the conference table. She found this energetic woman intrigued her. She looked about forty years old and certainly moved and talked like someone who is very self-confident.

“Did you bring your diplomas and list of qualifications? Oh, and I need to see your references a couple of years back,” Janeway asked.

“List of qualifications? No, I am sorry, I do not have one of those. I regret I do not have any references either,” she added apologetically.

The older woman looked surprised at first and then rose angrily from her chair.

“Is this a joke? I have not as much as fifteen minutes to waist …”

“But I meet your demands,” Annika interrupted. “I give you my word.”

Janeway stared at her.

“Your word?”

“Yes, I speak and write Russian, German and French. I also speak and write Italian and Spanish. And English, of course.”

“Of course. You speak and write six languages without any diplomas?”

The auburn haired woman was scornful now, Annika realised.

“My parents taught me. I admit that I am lacking when it comes to writing in Spanish, the rest comes more naturally. Try me.”

She had finished drying her hair while talking. Now she was sitting there with all that blonde hair like a cloud around her face. She probably looked entirely unprofessional and stood no chance to get the job. But she would keep trying, she had to chance it.

“Madame Janeway,” she spoke in fluent French. “I am qualified even if I do not have the formal education you require. Give me a chance and I will prove it to you.”

She was proud that she had managed to ask without sounding like she was begging. But that was really what she was doing, she reluctantly admitted to herself.

Kathryn Janeway suddenly approached Annika’s chair and leaned in above her, making her tip her head back to be able to look in to the other woman’s eyes.

“I need an interpreter in two days, one who is multilingual and not one agency could produce one unless they sent me their entire staff. I have not had one qualified applicant except you. A girl who says she can do it. No diplomas and no formal qualifications in sight.” She slammed a fist in to the conference table, making Annika jump.

She looked down at the small fist and then patted it reassuringly.

“You do not have to look any further. I am available. Give me instructions, I learn very quickly. I am used to familiarising myself with things on my own . It is possible that I am not used to interacting with a lot of people at once, but I do not stick the knife in my mouth when I eat, nor do I spit on the floor or curse. My mother also did her best to teach me how to converse when she had the time.”

Janeway frowned again.

“How old are you?”

“Twenty-six.”

“Where have you been all your life if you are not used to being around people, as you put it?”

From her face, she seemed to fear that Annika had been in jail or something.

“I have been at home, on Raven’s Island.”

“Where?”

“Raven’s Island, my parent’s island far out in the archipelago. I left there a week ago. It is really a different existence in this city.”

“How long have you lived on that island?”

“All my life. Well, almost. I was born in Russia and we came to the island when I was six months old. I grew up there, have lived there all my life. I have of course spent time with my parent’s friends that came to stay on occasion but mostly it was just my parents and me. We also travelled to other remote areas by boat sometimes.”

Janeway sat down again. She was apparently having problems keeping up with Annika’s story.

“Your parents were hermits? Is that why you talk so precisely without any contractions?”

“No, they were not hermits; they had many friends that visited frequently. I was however home alone for long periods of time from when I was sixteen and chose not to accompany my parents when they left the island to work or travel.”

The older woman sighed and rolled her eyes, apparently not knowing what to think.

“Annika …” she began.

“I prefer if you call me Seven,” Annika said gently.

“Excuse me? Seven? What kind of name is that?”

Annika smiled faintly.

“I was born July 7 on my parents seventh anniversary. My father always called me Seven, I prefer it.”

Janeway nodded, now looking decidedly dazed.

“May I call you Kathryn?” Seven asked bashfully. “I am not used to calling anyone Ms or Mr. I called my parents by their first names, as well.”

The older woman nodded absentmindedly and then shook her out of her reverie.

“This is crazy. But I will let you try this. I will need you to interpret for me in two days. A delegation from a large corporation in Moscow are coming here and I need a interpreter to make the whole process smooth and successful. The participants speak some English but there can be no margin for errors. Do you think you can handle technical translations?”

“Yes, I think so. It is one of my favourite subjects, technology. We had access to both a satellite dish and the Internet on Raven’s Island, I am not oblivious of the world,” the tall blonde said with a hint of a smile gracing her full lips.

She couldn’t disguise her shivering anymore. She was chilled to the bone from the wet clothes, despite the well-heated room. Hoping it would not be noticed she huddled a little in her chair, inconspicuously rubbing her arms.

Of course nothing would escape those observant, even eyes.

“Are you alright? Are you cold? Damn, of course you are. Why didn’t you tell me?”

“It is not your fault nor your responsibility that I do not own an umbrella,” Seven protested and blushed faintly.

Janeway got up and summoned her assistant, asking her to bring some coffee. She then went in to a nearby room and returned shortly with a large, soft blanket.

“Get out of those wet clothes and wrap this around yourself.” This was obviously an order.

“Here?” Seven blushed again.

This formidable woman must think I am like a naïve child, she thought. Does she expect me to undress in front of her? The thought made her shiver even more.

As if she could read the younger woman’s mind, Janeway flashed a lopsided smile and headed towards the door.

“Martha will bring us some coffee. I’ll see you in a little while.”

She left, leaving the blonde feeling a bit awkward.

It was nevertheless wonderful to get out of the sticky, icy cold denim shirt. The jeans were stiff and difficult to remove but eventually she sat there in her underwear, wrapped in the blanket. Martha brought the coffee and fussed over the messed up clothes she had tried to fold and then put on the floor, not knowing what to do with them.

“I’ll take these, Miss Hansen,” she said and picked them up.

“Call me Seven, please,” Seven suggested.

Martha glanced at her and smiled.

“Seven, that’s an unusual name?”

“My parents were Scandinavian and had a rather special sense of humour, I suppose.”

“I see. Well, you must call me Martha, then.”

Martha disappeared with her clothes and not really worrying how she would get them back, Seven sipped her coffee which was strong and black. The money she had found in her father’s desk would not last much longer and she had been forced to pay a large deposit at the somewhat shady hotel she was staying at, probably because she had no identification. 

She had not eaten since breakfast and now she was close to exhaustion.

It looked like it would be a while until Kathryn came back. Surely there could be no harm done if she just rested her head on the table a little. Just for a little while. She closed her eyes, leaning in to the crook of her elbow. It felt so good just to rest a little.

Without realising it she fell asleep.

*****

The floor swayed. No, the bed swayed.

“Wake up. Come on now. You can’t sleep here.”

Seven opened her eyes, disoriented by the dimly lit room she was in. Bent over her, gently shaking her shoulder stood Kathryn Janeway, holding a mug of coffee in her left hand.

Noticing the younger woman’s confused look she smiled.

“So, you are awake now?” she said in that husky voice of hers.

Awake was not the correct term, Seven decided, feeling very numb and dizzy. She was hungry but hoped Kathryn didn’t hear her growling stomach.

“We are alone now,” Janeway said and emptied her mug. “I am sorry I was gone so long. I told Martha I would let you spend the night in my guestroom. She has put your clothes in my washing machine, they should be ready for the tumbler by now. Come with me.”

Seven stood up and momentarily lost her grip on the blanket. It slid to the floor leaving her standing there in her white cotton underwear. Before she found her bearings and could instruct her muscles to pick it up, Janeway had bent down and grabbed it.

“You are tired, aren’t you? Here, let me help you.” She wrapped the blanket around the taller woman, holding it together in front of her. “Here, can you hold on to that now?”

Seven complied and followed Janeway barefoot, someone had taken care of her shoes, it seemed.

They walked along the corridor, now as dimly lit as the rest of the office rooms. The reached an elevator, smaller than the one Seven had ridden up in.

“This will take us up one floor, to my apartment,” Janeway explained.

Seven nodded and was secretly happy that the ride was going to be short. Her stomach did strange somersaults and she felt her knees beginning to buckle.

The elevator door opened and they stepped in to a huge living room that breathed elegance and money. Soft oriental carpets, expensive leather couches, a grand piano with candelabras on. Paintings from different eras, no doubt originals.

Janeway showed her to the kitchen and pointed at a chair at the white table. There Seven sat thinking how strange it felt to watch Kathryn Janeway, head of this multimillion dollar corporation, making sandwiches for a stranger, a woman she just met and knew virtually nothing about.

She worked quickly and efficiently. Seven couldn’t take her eyes off her. She was small but looked powerful. Her hair was auburn with red highlights that glistened in the lamplight. She had a stubborn cheek, an elegant nose and the most piercing blue-grey eyes. Her complexion was fair, dusted with little freckles which Seven found endearing.

“How old are you?” Seven blurted out. She had a way of being very direct, some of her parent’s friends had found that unnerving.

Janeway turned around, cocking an eyebrow in surprise.

“Forty-four.” She focused back on the sandwiches. When she was ready when placed the plate before Seven and gestured to her to eat.

The younger woman devoured three sandwiches almost without taking a breath in between and greedily drank the glass of orange juice that also was placed before her.

“Thank you,” she said when she was finished. “Are my clothes dry now, do you think?”

Janeway didn’t answer but looked intently at her.

“Your hair is blonde,” she said, something indefinable tingeing her voice.

“Yes.”

“Like gold.”

“It is?” Seven asked with a hint of a smile.

Janeway extended an arm across the table and touched a lock of hair that hung next to her ear with her hand.. Then she hastily pulled her it back. “I am sorry, that was uncalled for.” Her mouth became a thin red line.

“Oh, that is alright. You may touch my hair if you want to.”

Janeway’s eyebrows almost flew off her face and she had to smile.

“You better be more careful, my dear. You can get more than you asked for if you are too careless with such favours. Haven’t you mother warned you about being too naïve?”

“No. She told me to be direct and forthcoming. There is nothing to be gained by dissemble oneself.” She calmly met the older woman’s gaze.

“You talk about your mother in past tense. Is she dead?”

“Both my parents are dead. My mother has been dead for a year and my father died three months ago.”

“I’m sorry, that must have been very hard for you. Did you spend these last three months alone on your island?”

“Yes. But I wasn’t alone really. I am used to being by myself. It is however very strange for me to see so many people at once, here in the city. It can be quite unsettling.”

“Being here with me, then? Do I make you nervous?” Janeway asked dryly.

Seven shook her head in denial.

“No. I am so grateful that you are letting me try to interpret for you. I will need to find a place to stay too. The hotel where I am staying is too expensive for me and it is also very loud.”

“It’s loud? What hotel is that?”

“It is called The Mystique Inn.”

Janeway closed her eyes, looking exasperated.

“That is hardly a hotel suitable for a young woman. What in the world made you choose that?”

“The cabdriver told me it was cheap. The cheapest, in fact, although I am not certain about his frame of reference.”

“I would think so.” Janeway sounded annoyed.

Seven frowned, concerned. “Could you recommend some place I could rent a furnished room or small apartment? I don’t know how much you will pay me, so it can’t be too expensive.”

The older woman looked enigmatically at her.

“You can stay in my guestroom for now, until you find something you like. It is a lovely room and I am not home until late evenings mostly, so you will have your privacy.”

“You are so kind to me,” Seven said gratefully and put her hand on Janeway’s. “It will be wonderful to not have to stay at that hotel. I do not know what goes on there during the nights but there is a lot of shouting and slamming in doors.”

Janeway cleared her throat and smiled a little.

“You can be very charming, in a naïve sort of way.”

“I am no such thing. Should I go and collect my clothes and put them in the dryer? I do not wish to monopolise your time like this.”

Janeway nodded and they left the kitchen.

*****

Janeway opened the door to the guestroom and showed the younger woman inside.

“I hope you will find everything you need in the adjoining bathroom,” she said. “There is always a spare toothbrush as well as shampoo and soap. You have a TV and VCR over there, I have cable so you should be able to find something you like.”

She realised she was babbling and made herself shut up. The statuesque blonde next to her looked dutifully impressed and seemed to like the room.

“Thank you,” Seven said. “You are being very gracious to me. You will not be sorry that you gave me a chance, I will not disappoint you.”

Janeway didn’t answer right away but studied the young woman closely. She was tall, she must be six at least feet. Her direct way and unusually precise way of talking contradicted her innocent aura. She had nothing of the slang that people generally used quite liberally.

Perhaps this unusual combination would be how she would find her way in a strange place, so unlike what she had called home most of her life? That and her language skills, if they even were half of what she claimed.

The blonde now cocked her head to the right and looked wonderingly at her.

“Do you think you will be able to relax and get some rest?” she asked her.

“It is a nice room, I am sure I will be fine.”

“Don’t hesitate to knock on my door, it is the second one to the left,” Janeway said harshly, embarrassed that she had been caught staring.

“Thank you. You will not be sorry,” Seven said again with that hint of a smile, that seemed to be all she ever managed when it came to smiles.

Janeway pressed her lips together and then left the room, saying goodnight. Outside she rubbed her forehead wearily. This woman was a godsend when it came to the translations that was going to take place, but otherwise she could prove to be nothing but trouble.

She had just left the room and was heading for her own bedroom when the soft, calm voice of her new guest called her.

“Kathryn? I do not know how to operate the shower. It is nothing like the one I have on Raven’s Island.”

Seven certainly looked embarrassed and Janeway had to stifle a grin.

“I will show you then. It is a thermostat that regulates the heat automatically. It can be a bit tricky if you’ve never used one before.”

She accompanied the younger woman in to the bathroom.

“Perhaps you should take a bath instead, you were so chilled to the bone earlier. We don’t want you to come down with a cold, you know?”

Seven regarded her evenly.

“Of course, Kathryn, if that is what you think is best. I do want to keep my job.”

Janeway was still not used to Seven calling her Kathryn, the name rolling off the blonde’s tongue like music. She couldn’t even pinpoint the exact moment when she had given Seven permission to use it, but she realised she must have.

“It is operated the same way,” she said and showed how to run the faucets. Soon the tub was filled and Janeway asked if she wanted the jets on. Seven declined and said she only wanted to submerge herself in to the steaming water.

She dropped the blanket and before the older woman had time to divert her eyes or react she had unhooked her bra and was getting rid of her panties.

“Seven!” Janeway exclaimed.

“Yes?” The other woman looked curiously at her and she knew she was blushing.

“I am sorry, I thought since you did not mind when I accidentally dropped the blanket earlier, you would not … forgive me,” the younger woman said and grabbed the closest towel to cover her naked body with.

“No, no … it is alright Seven. I just … You surprised me, that’s all. I realise you are somewhat of a free spirit, but you should be careful whomyou trust.”

Seven frowned.

“Are you saying I can’t trust you, Kathryn?”

Janeway sighed.

“No, I’m not. You can trust me, but you are a beautiful woman and the way you were brought up has not exactly prepared you for how devious some people can be.”

“I told you earlier that I am by no means as naïve as you seem to think,” Seven said darkly.

“Maybe not. But you still undressed in front of me without any concern that I might interpret that the wrong way,” Janeway insisted.

“Can you explain that to me? In what way could you misinterpret that?”

Janeway wanted to scream. You walked right in to that one, didn’t you, Katie, she thought.

She cleared her throat and tried not to stare at the gloriously tousled blonde standing so close to her in only a towel.

“If I was not honest, if I had set out to seduce you without you knowing it, such an action could have given me the idea that you were … approachable.”

“You mean … ‘easy’?”

“Yes, sort of.”

“So, there could be a chance, although a remote one, that you would consider seducing me?” Seven tried to understand, cocking her left eyebrow.

Janeway gave an exasperated sigh. The young woman was closer to the truth than she would ever admit but she was also very wrong. Kathryn Janeway was not a person to take advantage of people of misuse her position in any way. She worked strictly by the book, was fair but also very demanding as an executive and head of the large corporation.

“No, Seven. I would never do that. But there are those who would and you have to be careful, that is all I am saying.”

“Do you really think I am beautiful?”

That seemed safe enough to answer, still she tried to sound casual.

“Yes, of course, you are very beautiful.”

Seven regarded her warmly and extended her free hand and gently brushed it along Janeway’s jaw line, absolutely shocking the older woman.

“I find you very beautiful also, Kathryn.”

Janeway closed her eyes briefly, trying to remember to breath.

“I hope you enjoy your bath. Sleep well, Seven,” she managed and then quickly left the bathroom.

*****

Somebody was knocking really hard. Was it her new loud neighbours putting up pictures or was it someone at the door? Seven got up and realised that she had fallen asleep on top of the bed spread last night, still wrapped in the blanket. She was naked underneath, having rinsed her underwear under the faucet last night.

Carefully clinging to the blanket she opened the door.

Outside stood Kathryn Janeway, looking at her in frustration. Dressed in the black skirt from yesterday and a blue satin blouse, she looked very elegant and she was obviously trying hard to not speak before she had herself under control, she looked like she would have liked to yell at the discreetly yawning blonde.

“What time is it?” Seven asked drowsily.

“It is way past nine, young lady. I was expecting you over an hour ago. We have some things to deal with today before we can go over the documents that is being negotiated. I took a look at your clothes as I took them out of the dryer, they won’t do. You look like a ruffled teenager in them.” Janeway put her hands on her hips and glared at her.

“I do not,” Seven huffed, “they are normal clothes.”

“Normal teenage clothes,” the older woman emphasised. “You must sleep like a log, I knocked five times. Why did you lock the door?”

“I did not lock my door the first night in the hotel. Two men came in while I was sleeping. The manager said that one always locks the door in the city.”

Janeway paled.

“They didn’t hurt you, did they?”

Seven shook her head. “No. I showed them out. Obviously they had mistaken my room for theirs.”

The other woman covered her eyes with an unsteady hand for a couple of seconds before taking a deep breath.

“Well, put your teenage clothes on, eat something and meet me by the elevator in half an hour. We have things to take care of.” Obviously that was an order. She turned around and left Seven standing in the guestroom, her clothes in her arms.

Kathryn had really sounded irritable.

*****

They had ridden Janeway’s private elevator all the way down to the garage where the elegant woman had guided Seven to her car, a low, red sports car. She had driven to The Mystique Inn without talking much, just asking for directions.

Now she pulled up at the sordid entrance.

“Go in, get your things and then check out,” Janeway ordered.

She would not want to be seen in this kind of establishment, Seven figured and obeyed. It all went very quickly, her few belongings didn’t take up much space, just the backpack that she tossed over her shoulder. The desk clerk gave her back some of her deposit with a grumpy look on his face and then she was back at the car.

“Is that all?” Janeway asked, glancing at the back pack Seven tossed in the backseat.

“Yes, I didn’t bring much. Most of our … my things, are still at the house on the island.”

“So you are keeping your heritage?” the older woman asked, showing more interest.

“Yes. My parents owned it all. It is costing me very little to keep it. I think I would make a lot of money if I sold it but I love it out there. I have to have somewhere to go if I do not … do not like it here, in case I do not fit in.”

Janeway nodded and to Seven’s surprise she put a gentle hand around her neck, stroking along the plain braid.

She glanced at the auburn haired woman but her blank face didn’t reveal anything. She started the car and drove, lost in thought, through the busy streets. Then all of a sudden she pulled over and parked.

“Come,” Janeway said briefly and got out of the car. Seven followed her, wondering where they were going. Janeway strode briskly along the sidewalk but the tall blonde had no problem keeping up with her.

They stopped outside a women’s clothes store, an expensive one as far as Seven could guess.

Janeway held up the door.

“This is where I buy my clothes,” she explained bluntly. “You need some things to wear at the office and some evening wear, to look the part, so to speak.”

Seven looked astonished. Was she implying that she would buy clothes for her?

“No.”

Janeway did a double take and then looked grimly at her.

“What do you mean – no?”

“You will not buy clothes for me.”

“Don’t you want the job?”

“Yes, of course I do. But I do not want you to buy clothes for me. It is – degrading.”

“Degrading? My dear, if you had worked for me in a factory and I had provided your overalls, that wouldn’t be degrading, would it? This is the same thing.” She was looking annoyed again.

Seven hesitated. When she put it like that … But it felt wrong. It was not the same.

“Do you propose to pick them out for me?” she asked slowly.

This made Janeway smile for some unfathomable reason.

“If you think I intend to come in to the changing booth with you, you need not be afraid,” she teased. “I will leave it all to you and Sarah, who owns the boutique.”

Seven gave it some more thought while Janeway impatiently tapped her right foot.

“Alright,” the tall blonde surrendered. “If this is what you want.”

Janeway looked pleased and guided her through the door where they were greeted by the owner.

Janeway explained that Seven would need two sets of clothes for the office and two sets of eveningwear for official entertainment.

The woman smiled and waved at Seven to follow here. Seven sighed, chewing indecisively on her lower lip, but then followed the older woman, albeit grudgingly. What choice did she have is she wanted to keep the job?

*****

The small trunk was full of bags and packages when they returned to the underground garage. Janeway helped her carry all her new things to the elevator an in to the apartment. There she informed Seven that she was working through lunch in her office and that Seven could take the rest of the morning off and then she asked the young woman to join her in her office at three o’clock, after the coffee break.

Seven unpacked her clothes with mixed feelings. They were beautiful, no doubt the prettiest clothes she had ever had. A plum coloured jacket with a short matching skirt and an ivory silk blouse to go with it. Jade green trousers and a matching jacket to be worn with a white cotton tank top. For official entertainment purposes the lady in the boutique had insisted she should pick a short, sleeveless black dress and a long blue, dress in whirling chiffon with long sleeves. On top of everything else, she got three pairs of shoes and lingerie that Seven thought was redundant; she had enough underwear. Janeway had gone back on her word of not interfering with the purchases by picking out a coat and an umbrella. A large white umbrella.

Seven had smiled when she saw the umbrella, even laughed. Smiles and laughter still did not come easy to her. She had grown up alone on the island, for long periods of time and laugher and smiles had not been her parents most obvious characteristic either. But when she saw the umbrella she couldn’t help but smile.

Janeway had stared at her, almost dumbfounded.

Seven made an omelette in the kitchen, ate it and carefully did the dishes. Then she dressed in the plum suit and put her hair up in an austere bun that she figured would go well within the office environment. She didn’t own any make up and none of them had thought to buy any so she would have to do as she was, au naturel naturel.

Glancing at the old grandfather clock she noticed the time and not wanting to be late again she decided to leave early.

Not used to the high heeled pumps she staggered a little on her way to the elevator, but she quickly learned to put all her weight on her heels. Nervously she headed for Kathryn’s office. Would she notice the difference in her appearance?

*****

Martha’s reaction was amusing.

“Seven! Dear child, what a transformation, I almost didn’t recognise you!” She nearly clapped her hands in delight.

Seven smiled a little nervously and pivoted.

“Do I look alright? Kathryn thinks it is important that I ‘look the part’.”

Martha stared at her.

“Alright? That is hardly the right word. You look amazing. If I hadn’t known it was you, I would not had believed it. You look wonderful and most certainly the part.”

“Seven?” a voice inquired behind her.

The blonde turned around to meet Janeway’s sceptical glance.

“Yes. I am here, new and, according to Martha, improved.” She nervously clasped her hands behind her.

The older woman stared at her for an extended time without saying anything. Finally, Seven ended up feeling very uncomfortable and diverted her eyes, staring stubbornly at her new shoes.

“Come with me to the apartment,” Janeway barked. “I left some of the most important papers there and you need to browse through them.”

Seven entered the elevator just behind the smaller woman.

“I am sorry that you were disappointed,” she said quietly as the lift ascended. “I suppose I must look ridiculous in these clothes, they are really not for somebody like me, are they?” She couldn’t look at her employer, she was too mortified.

Suddenly Janeway was standing very close to her, tipping her head up with her small hand under her chin.

“You are beautiful,” she smiled wistfully. “I was just so surprised, that’s all. I had no idea you could look so stunning. I mean, I knew you were beautiful, but not that you could walk in and look like you owned the place.”

Seven blinked and she was so relieved that tears formed in her eyes and ran in abundance down her alabaster cheeks.

Janeway flinched, looking appalled.

“Why are you crying? Have I upset you? Damn … I keep doing that to you, don’t I?”

The elevator reached the apartment and she pulled the younger woman out of it and in to her arms. Seven was amazed to feel the small body of the other woman pressing close to her own. She could smell Janeway’s perfume and also a faint scent that seemed to be her very own. She smelled heavenly.

Janeway mumbled something inaudible against Seven’s shoulder and she lowered her head to try to catch the muffled words. The movement accidentally made her lips brush against Janeway’s cheek, close to her mouth. They both became rigid and Janeway’s grasp on the tall blonde hardened.

“Kathryn?” Seven whispered anxiously when the older woman didn’t move.

Janeway turned her head and caught her lips. Determinedly she kissed her, soft to begin with but then with a continuously growing pressure. Seven’s mouth opened up, being in the arms of this woman was so overwhelming to her senses and she wanted to taste her so badly. The blonde’s tongue acted on its own volition, moving past those thin, red lips that became so luscious when Kathryn smiled. The older woman’s moan of surprise made her light-headed and she clung to her, afraid that she might fall otherwise, or worse, lose touch with that seductive mouth.

Kathryn’s tongue was now burrowing in to Seven’s mouth relentlessly. The kiss was sensuous, erotic and like nothing she had ever experienced before. Nothing she had ever felt could have prepared her for the piercing need she was sensing now.

“Seven,” the other woman moaned in to her mouth.

There was no way she could answer, her thoughts and her voice was not obeying her at all. She wanted to devour Kathryn, drink her, there were no room for anything else than the feeling of this remarkable woman in her tumbling world.

The small hands on her back pressed her closer to the compact form in her arms. Her full breasts pressed against smaller ones, her hands shyly caressed the older woman’s back.

Now Kathryn was nudging her to move, motioning her to go to the closest piece of furniture in her apartment, her large desk in her study just to the right of the elevator.

There she pushed the taller woman down, making her sit on the edge of the desk, placing herself between her long legs. This pushed the short skirt even further up her thighs, but Seven didn’t mind. All she could think of was the other woman’s lips on hers and then they way tracing down her neck, placing open mouth kisses there.

Then all of a sudden Kathryn broke the embrace and took a step back. She stood there, lips a little swollen from their kisses.

Seven felt dazed, here eyes half lidded and her lips buzzing and only wanting to re-capture Kathryn’s.

“I am sorry, Seven,” Kathryn said in a strained voice.

Now she was composing herself as the executive, the elegant woman of the world she usually was and Seven knew she had to stop this.

“Kathryn, don’t apologise. They were such wonderful kisses.”

The executive glared at her, frustrated and obviously embarrassed.

“You could probably successfully sue me for sexual harassment,” she stated, pressing her lips together.

The blonde stared at her in disbelief. What was she talking about?

“Surely you must mean the other way around?” she asked huskily.

It was Kathryn’s turn to look astonished.

“Well, to be honest, it was I who initiated the kiss by placing my lips on your cheek, correct?”

Growling, the older woman grabbed Seven by the shoulders.

“Are you for real? Or are you making fun of me?”

“I am just me. And I have never made fun of anybody in my life.” She sat on the edge of the large desk, back ramrod and her bright blue eyes looking intently in to Kathryn’s.

“Oh, my goodness … I have to believe you. I have to,” the petite woman prayed and wrapped her arms around Seven again. Her lips found the younger woman’s and then traced her smooth neck and at the same time her small hands found their way to caress her back under the plum jacket.

Seven leaned helplessly in to Kathryn. Her emotions were rampant again, so unexpected, so sweet. It was irresistible to hold her and to be held like this, to feel the softness of this woman, with such larger than life aura, to feel Kathryn’s harsh self-control let go and listen to her throaty, excited voice mumble inarticulately against her skin.

“Undress me,” Seven begged breathlessly. “I need to feel you against me.”

“This is crazy, Seven. You are my employee … this is not right …” But in spite her words of right and wrong, Kathryn kept kissing her.

Seven’s clothes started to feel confining, unless she was rid of them her hot skin would self ignite and set them on fire, she was sure. Eagerly she unbuttoned the jacket and the blouse and pulled them off. Her ample breasts were held in place by the skimpy lace bra, a purchase she had thought unnecessary when suggested by the lady in the boutique. But the way Kathryn looked at her, perhaps she had been mistaken.

Seven now managed to get her hands between them and started to unbutton Kathryn’s jacket as well.

As if she now first realised that Seven was half naked Kathryn flinched and tried to push her away.

“Seven!”

“You want this, you want me, you know you do …” the younger woman moaned, pulled her back and kissed her neck.

To pretend or to fake anything was not in her nature. She was unaccustomed to passion and the physical aspects of love, she had lived a far to protected and extraordinary life for that. All she knew was that they were attracted to, and burned, for each other, that they had an opportunity to act on it, why shouldn’t they?

“Oh, I want to, alright,” Kathryn whispered fiercely and grabbed her by the shoulders. “But do you know what you want? Do you know what you are getting yourself in to? It is not just a question of scratching an itch here. What I take, I keep.”

Her husky voice made Seven shiver with a mix of pleasure and fear. This woman was commanding, rigid, warm, wonderful … She, herself was blinded by desire, had never felt anything like it.

“’Scratching an itch?’ I confess I have never heard that euphemism,” the young woman smiled faintly.

Then she surprised Kathryn by taking a step back, shimmying out of her skirt and divesting herself of her underwear just as swiftly. There she was, gloriously naked, statuesque, standing there looking wonderfully vulnerable in front of the other, still fully dressed, woman.

Shuddering, she sat down on the edge of the desk again, leaning back a little, resting on her hands. Kathryn regarded her, seemingly speechless.

Seven again reached for the buttons in Kathryn’s blouse. She willed her fingers not to tremble and one by one unbuttoned them. The older woman was wearing a white lace bra and Seven let her fingertips gently brush the soft skin above it.

Kathryn grabbed her wrists, her face slightly distorted with controlled desire.

“Calm down,” she growled in that throaty, sexy voice. She pressed the younger woman’s shoulders back, nudging her to lie down on the desk. She shifted her hands, took a firm hold of Seven’s legs under her knees and raised them, separating them at the same time and by doing so exposing the blonde to her greedy eyes.

She kept watching the luscious body belonging to the shivering young woman who was lying there, looking back at her so trustingly.

Kathryn parted Seven’s thighs even more and bent down between them to kiss the flat stomach. She let her lips trail down to the golden curls below it, causing the younger woman to shudder and inhale audibly.

“You are exquisite,” Kathryn murmured against the damp curls. “Like a Greek marble statue.”

Her lips closed on that little sensitive nubbin that held so much pleasure. A hot tongue flicked over it, teased the wet, desirable folds, lapped at her so eagerly but yet so slowly, Seven could not avoid moaning in abandon. Undulating against Kathryn’s mouth she felt her insides melt and all because of where those lips were concentrating their efforts.

At that moment Kathryn rose and caught her lips. Tasting herself on that skilled mouth was another erotic experience that made her head spin. Seven whimpered in to the kiss, she needed to touch, to caress this impressive, relentless woman who didn’t entirely seem to understand that they would simply have to make love. Kathryn was trying in her way to protect her, to not use her. But Seven was too far gone in to this pleasure, these new feelings of loving desire … she was burning for her.

“Let me take care of you. Let me caress you the way you did me. I am so close now, I am on fire …” Seven’s rich voice made any qualms Kathryn had crumble.

She allowed the tall blonde undress her. Standing there only in her black pumps and skin toned stay-ups, the auburn haired woman closed her eyes, being caressed by Seven all over her fragile body.

Only when Seven knelt before her, wanting to give in return what had been bestowed on her earlier, did she stop her.

“No! You don’t have to. Seven, please …”

Seven smiled up at her. Kathryn apparently didn’t understand, couldn’t comprehend her desire to give as well as take. Perhaps she still thought that the younger woman was a naïve child from Raven’s Island, an unwritten sheet. In some ways that was true, but her feelings were mature enough and she was hardly a child.

Agonisingly slow, she placed a trail of kisses along the older woman’s quivering thighs. The scent emanating from the skin under her lips was intoxicating, making her pant in expectation. She cupped the small cheeks of Kathryn’s bottom, massaged them gently while nuzzling the auburn patch of hair before her.

Inhaling again, she found she liked the sweet, musky scent and wanted nothing more than to taste it as well. She probed the engorged lips with her tongue, relishing in the flavour and in the sobbing sounds Kathryn made as she buried her hands in Seven’s hair, freeing it from the hairpins. Finding the little bundle of nerves she licked it, caressed it over and over with her tongue. This caused strange sounds to emerge from Kathryn’s throat, sounding almost like words of warning.

Abruptly Kathryn pushed the blonde away and grabbed her by the hand, dragging her behind her to a room that turned out to be her bedroom. The queen size bed was covered with a blue quilt and without any further wavering or trepidation, the older woman crawled on to it, tugging at Seven to join her.

The young woman needed no persuasion but happily embraced the petite executive and basked in the feeling of their bodies aligning themselves. Soft skin against even softer skin was making them both moan as they kissed feverishly, examining each other’s mouths endlessly. Their tongues danced together, retracted and met again, causing them to tremble against each other.

Seven started her descent down Kathryn’s body, placing open mouth kisses and licking, savouring that smooth skin and by doing so causing the other woman to moan out loud and arch her back to increase the pressure of the touch.

Finally settling between Kathryn’s parted legs, parting them even wider as she wanted not only to touch and taste her but also to look at the older woman like she had looked at her when she lay on the desk.

 

Janeway watched the tousled blonde as she inspected her most private parts with avid interest. She could hardly believe that she was on her back in her own bed with this gorgeous woman kneeling over her in an almost predatory way.

She knew this was wrong, it had to be wrong for her to be in bed with this extraordinary young woman, who also was dependent on her for her livelihood. No doubt she was setting herself up for the risk of being sued, of being hurt, but how could she refuse those blue eyes? And not to mention those full lips that currently was hovering over her most sensitive body parts.

Janeway moaned when those lips closed over her bundle of nerves, gently sucking them in to a very hot mouth. She arched against Seven, needing her touch to be much harder, much rougher, needed to be devoured because now she was on fire.

The younger woman seemed to understand and sucked harder and brought one hand between them to carefully penetrate the slick folds and enter the woman beneath her with two fingers.

“Yes … yes, Seven, go inside … I need you to fill me.”

The blonde complied willingly, making Janeway cry out from the pleasure that surged through her. She was undulating now, didn’t even try to restrain herself, she was getting closer to that wonderful precipice she knew was there, waiting.

Seven intensified her attack on her senses and Janeway was somewhere amazed at her own responsiveness, of the trust she showed this wonderful creature in her bed.

She had felt it instantaneously, the attraction, the anticipation of interacting with her. And now she was closing in on that precipice, she was on the edge, swaying …

Seven added a third finger and began to thrust harder in to her while she pressed harder at the small nodule between her full lips. This sent Janeway crashing, falling and screaming, over the edge in to the abyss beneath her. The convulsions started out violent and it took a full two minutes for them to cease altogether and all the time she was safely being rocked in the tall blonde’s arms.

“Kathryn,” she mumbled against the damp temple and held the small woman close. “I am here, do not worry. I will not let you fall.”

The strange words made perfect sense to Janeway who was indeed dizzy from the experience. She clung to Seven, never wanting to let go of her.

“This is madness,” Janeway managed hoarsely. “I have never been so taken off guard in my entire life. I wanted you so much, I still want you, but I am afraid,” she admitted dismally.

Seven hugged her closer.

“I am aware of your apprehension, Kathryn. Only time will prove me right when I say it is thoroughly uncalled for. I will not use this against you and I am sincere in how I feel. I may come from unusual circumstances but I know what I feel.”

Janeway considered this and couldn’t trust the young woman as much as she would want to, she was after all more seasoned and for all that mattered, my cynical in the ways of the world. But she had to admit, logic dictated that since Seven was not, she was probably as truthful as she claimed.

“I don’t think I have much choice, darling,” she said and caressed the long smooth back of her lover. “I don’t think I can let you go.”

Seven smiled, a wide, atypical smile that sent thrills of happiness down Janeway’s spine.

“I do not want you to let me go either,” the blonde said happily. “I am where I want to be.”

Janeway cocked an eyebrow and smiled back.

“I think I owe you one.”

Seven frowned, confused. “You do? One what?”

Janeway lowered her head and took one plump, pink nipple in her mouth, sucked at it for a couple of seconds and then let it go, watching the expression of naked desire on the younger woman’s face.

“I think you know what I mean?”

“Oh … I think I do,” Seven managed. “But you do not owe me anything. It pleased me to please you.”

“Aha, so you mean we can go back to work now and you would be able to concentrate?” Janeway teased and loved the crimson appearing on Seven’s cheeks.

“No, I do not think I would be able to concentrate very well,” the young woman admitted ruefully. “I would probably just keep staring at you, wanting you to touch me and wanting to touch you back.”

“Then I better do just that,” Janeway said huskily and began to devour the bountiful breast closest to her.

The relentless sucking sent shudders through Seven’s body, making the blonde arch against her hot mouth. Janeway smiled against the pliant skin and let her left hand encircle the other breast, pinching that nipple to a taunt point, not wanting it to feel left out. The nipple in her mouth stiffened and she couldn’t help but grace her teeth against it and then comfort the small pain with the tip of her tongue.

Seven moaned again, dug her fingers in to the auburn hair of the woman half on top of her. Janeway relished in their mutual passion, feeling her own desire begin again. Not wanting to put if off any longer, no matter how she loved arousing this beautiful woman, she slid further down the bed and nudged Seven’s legs apart.

Seeing the vulnerable folds glistening there, damp from arousal and intoxicatingly lovely, she pounced on them but then became much more gentle, sensing that Seven was not ready for the more direct approach.

She nuzzled the damp curls and carefully lapped at the moist lips, carefully spreading them to reach the source of all this wetness. She then found the hot, quivering little ridge at the top and once she started flicking her tongue over it, Seven’s body began to convulse.

Recognising the signs, Janeway carefully inserted one finger in to the other woman’s opening, rubbing against the slick inner wall. This was the final straw, Seven jolted and then cried out, coming in shuddering tremors over and over. She was grasping for Janeway who reluctantly left the area she was caressing to hold the whimpering girl tight.

“There now, I’m here,” she cooed, unaware that she sounded just like Seven had earlier. “Shh … don’t cry now.”

But tears of joy and too many emotions at once ran down the blonde’s face and she burrowed it against Janeway’s neck, sobbing her name over and over.

“Please, do not send me away, Kathryn. Do not make me go back to the island.”

Janeway stiffened a little. What did she mean? Did she think that this would be a single experience, a sort of one night stand albeit in the middle of the afternoon? Surely Seven realised the impact she had on her and how the feelings surged through Janeway from just looking at her?

Then she understood that her own stand-offish attitude earlier probably had made an even greater impression.

“Seven, I don’t know what will happen, but I can only repeat what I said earlier, ‘what I take, I keep’. I realise that we met under circumstances that was taking me off guard and overwhelming to me. To us both, I should say. But there is no way that I can let you go now. I … I need you.”

She cringed at the admittance, but it was the truth, ever since she laid eyes on this goddess, listened to her voice, sensed her gentle soul, she had not been able to think of anyone or anything else. Even the Russian contract seemed less important although it was vital to the company’s survival.

Seven raised her head and looked down at her with a watery smile.

“You will not make me stay away? You will not claim that you used me against your better judgement and then try to protect me by not seeing me?”

Janeway rolled her eyes at her own insensitivity. She sure could be pretty dense sometimes.

“No, I won’t. The only way I could let you go is if you want to leave.”

Strong arms enfolded her, hugged her close while a very happy blonde nuzzled her collarbone and then her neck.

“I will never leave you.”

Janeway smiled wistfully. She was not altogether convinced but for now all she could think was that she had the affection and perhaps even love of this beautiful creature. How could she refuse her? She was falling in love, more and more as the minutes ticked by. How else could she explain the feelings that filled her chest like a sunrise?

“I may hold you to that promise,” she teased and hugged Seven back.

“I am not lying.”

“I didn’t say you were.”

“With such a statement you implied that I would change my mind.”

“I take it back.”

“Good.”

There was a silence and then Janeway started to shift. “We need to get back to work, darling. We still have those papers to go through and too little time to begin with. You are far too distracting, you know.”

Seven smiled, it was that atypical huge smile again, taking Janeway’s breath away.

“But on the other hand if you smile at me like that …”

She decided quickly that the papers could wait another half hour.

*****

The meeting was almost over. Five days of rewarding but tough negotiations were over and the Russian’s were enchanted and delighted to hear their native tongue spoken so fluently and correctly. The elegant, statuesque woman had performed very professionally. She had interpreted for hours at a time without wavering. There were a few occasions when she had actually corrected their own Russian born interpreter, making them shift uncomfortably in their chairs. Kathryn Janeway had smiled indulgently at the blonde, of course realising she had the upper hand in the trade off.

The Russian’s would have loved for Miss Hansen to join them in participating the city nightlife, doing some more translating, but apparently Kathryn Janeway’s policy was a strict eight hour workday for her staff and also to never mix business with pleasure, except for one evening of official entertaining in her apartment on the top floor.

Miss Hansen had co-hosted the party and although she politely had declined every offer to go out for drinks or to dance, she had been most gracious about it. Kathryn Janeway had kept a close eye on her employee.

The stunning interpreter had now translated the last thank you and farewell speech and took her seat to the left of her boss. The youngest Russian tried to catch her eyes across the u-shaped table but was unsuccessful.

To his surprise he then saw the interpreter kick off a shoe and then her foot approached Kathryn Janeway’s leg and gently rubbed against it. The charismatic executive clenched her teeth and managed not to flinch, glaring at her employee. She in turn had the ultimate expression of angelic innocence on her face but did not remove her foot. This made her boss abruptly rise to her feet and end the meeting.

Then she turned to the younger woman and hissed;

“In my office, Miss Hansen. Now.”

The young Russian felt sorry for Miss Hansen, no doubt she would be on the receiving end of a serious reprimand, he thought, and for an action he would not have minded at all himself.

 *****

It was quiet in Kathryn Janeway’s office. Well, almost quiet. Sometimes there would be a soft mumble, a sigh or a gasp when the executive, by passionately kissing the interpreter, gave her employee a most definitely longed for reprimand.

*****