Work Header

I'm with her.

Chapter Text

Full impact. Final round to Janeway. Winner: Janeway.

Janeway collapsed in a heap on the deck and huffed out a laugh. She rolled to her feet, wiping the sweat off her forehead with the back of the hand holding her phaser, and headed towards her water bottle in the corner. 

"You almost had me that time," she said. She took a big, grateful swig, and tilted her head back while she caught her breath. "Best of five?"

She turned to look at Seven - and immediately forgot whatever she had been planning to say next. Her friend was curled on her side, one knee clutched to her chest. Her features were carefully blank, but distant, and the movement of her chest gave away her ragged breathing. 

Janeway dropped to her knees beside her in concern. She laid a reassuring hand on Seven's shoulder, and caught herself scanning their surroundings for threats as if they were on the surface of some treacherous planet and not the inactive holodeck. 

"You're hurt," she said, leaving no room for argument. As she watched, Seven took a deep breath, released it slowly, and attempted to rearrange her features into her usual calm, observant mask.

"It is inconsequential." She got to her feet, clearly trying to move normally, but she was visibly favouring one leg. 

"It doesn't look inconsequential." Janeway followed her over to their things. "You can barely put any weight on it."

Seven looked intent on brushing her off. "The impact of the disc caused me to trip and fall awkwardly, that is all."

Janeway frowned. Velocity was a physical game, and of course everything came with inherent risk, but surely with the safeties on it shouldn't be possible to cause any serious injuries? She opened her mouth to voice something to this effect, but Seven cut her off.

"I happened to fall on an old bruise. I bumped into the corner of my alcove four days ago. I am merely clumsy; it is nothing serious."

Seven was a lot of things, but clumsy certainly wasn't one of them. This line of enquiry was clearly not going to be fruitful, though, so Janeway changed tack.

"Well, where does it hurt?"

Seven paused as she was wiping the back of her neck with her towel. She gave Janeway a considering side eye, and the Captain did her best to look non-threatening and trustworthy. She must have done something right, because Seven looked away, gritted her teeth, and gestured to her right thigh, just above her knee. It was too high for her to roll up the leggings she was wearing, or Janeway would have asked. Now that she looked, it was slightly swollen compared to her other leg. She hadn't noticed before. Worry bloomed in the back of her mind – last week, on an away mission, there had been an unfortunate incident with a native lifeform protecting its nest of offspring against perceived threat. It had caught Seven with one of its claws in that exact spot. She had promised Janeway that she would get it checked out. 

"What did the Doctor say about that scratch from the other day?"

Seven was avoiding her eyes, folding her towel meticulously just to look busy. Very efficiently, of course.

"Seven –"

"It was only a scratch. Going to the doctor only to hear the same thing would have been an inefficient use of time."

A long, deep scratch, filled with alien bacteria and who knew what else, she thought.

"Well if it was then, it certainly isn't now," she said out loud. "I'd say there's a good chance it's infected."

Janeway was aware that she was standing between Seven and the door. Not the most diplomatic choice, perhaps, but the last thing she wanted was for her to weasel her way out of addressing the issue and end up with a case of sepsis. She crossed her arms and planted her feet. Seven folded her hands behind her in resignation, and finally looked at her.

"The evidence does seem to suggest that to be the case."

It was somewhat of a relief to hear her admit it. Seven was beginning to look a little cornered, so Janeway moved aside. Of course she took the first chance to glide past her and out of the holodeck, almost too fast for the door to slide out of the way in time. Janeway hurried to keep up with her long strides. All signs of her limp disappeared as soon as they were in view of potential passerby. It must have been causing her significant pain to pretend nothing was wrong. 

"Why don't we swing by sick bay now? It's bound to be quiet this time of night, it shouldn't take long to clean and dress –"

"That will not be necessary. I am perfectly capable of cleaning the wound and applying antiseptic myself."

Janeway sighed. "Don't make me order you, Seven." She winced; she hadn't meant to slip into her Captain voice quite that much. She just didn't understand why this was such an issue. Seven's clenched hands behind her back confirmed her strategic error. When she spoke, it was with cold disdain.

"Regulation 648 states that all members of the crew have the right to bodily autonomy, including the right to refuse medical treatment. I did not expect you of all people to show willingness to violate –"

"Alright." The Captain held her hands up in surrender. "It's certainly not my intention to violate your bodily autonomy. But –"

She gently reached for the other woman's elbow and turned to face her so that she could speak without chasing after her. Letting her command mask slip away, she allowed her true concern to show through on her face in the hope that it would get through to her.

"I'll admit, Seven, you've got me worried. With all the wonders of modern medical technology it's easy to feel invincible, but left untreated even a simple scratch can get very serious, very quickly."

"I am aware," she said archly.

Now that they were standing still, she was subtly leaning her weight on her left leg. 

"I just wish I could understand why you're so reluctant to ask for help with this."

Seven looked down at her, and then went back to staring forward. At least she seemed calmer now. 

"It is of a personal nature."

An Ensign walked past the end of the corridor, distracted with a PADD, but Seven followed them with her eyes until they were out of sight. 

"I would prefer not to discuss it."

Janeway nodded slowly. 

"I can respect that. I suppose it might need to be resolved at some point if it's an ongoing issue. But in the meantime... I've got a few things in a first aid kit in my quarters. Would you let me take a look at it? Or at least give you some supplies that you can use yourself?"

Janeway watched her face to see how she would react. She wasn't sure what she'd do if she refused. She supposed at some point raising the concern was all she really could do, unless she wanted to stop speaking as a friend and start speaking as a Captain. Thankfully she didn't have to, as Seven considered it for a beat and gave a curt Acceptable. Some of the tension released from Janeway's shoulders.

"Right then," she said decisively, "I believe you know where I live." 

Neither of them bothered with small-talk as they walked side by side towards the Captain's quarters. For her part, Janeway was preoccupied with thoughts of where this hang-up might stem from. Had she had some sort of traumatic experience related to medical procedures during her time with the Borg? Janeway rolled her eyes at herself – being assimilated and then forcefully un-assimilated was enough trauma for anyone. She certainly couldn't blame her for needing to set boundaries and make sure they weren't violated any more than they already had been. 

She felt a familiar twinge of guilt for the way she'd had to go against her wishes when she ripped her apart from the Collective. She nipped that thought in the bud – she had been through this umpteen times already, lying awake at night. She had done the right thing as far as she was able to with the options available to her at the time, and she would do it again if it meant she'd have Seven beside her.

But why now? There had been plenty of occasions when Seven had needed medical treatment since joining Voyager, and while it hadn't always been smooth sailing, this was the first time she had noticed her showing such reluctance towards going to the Doctor. Whatever was lurking beneath the surface, it was clearly affecting her much more than she was letting on. The fact that she was letting on at all was telling. 

Janeway sincerely hoped that she was just being over cautious about the wound in question. But even if it could be patched up with some gauze and a dab of saline, they would need to get to the bottom of this eventually. She just hoped they got there before Seven's life or limb was hanging in the balance.