In Another Life
Summary: Harry tells Seven one of his most treasured memories while they live another.
Characters: Kim, Seven
Disclaimer: Paramount/CBS own all rights to the Voyager universe and its characters, which I am borrowing without permission or intent to profit.
Notes: Written for #fictober2018 Day 18 prompt: “You should have seen it.” Episode addition to Demon.
While this doesn’t precisely align with Helen8462’s fic Quicksilver, it was definitely inspired by a line in it (“The relationship we’ve built is real … We ignited it, lying in that field looking at the stars on Della V“), so this is for her.
We should meet in another life, we should meet in air, me and you.
- Sylvia Plath
She smiles more, these days.
The changes in her came on gradually. She started wearing her hair a little looser, trying out different styles. Her speech patterns altered, the cadence of her voice softening, even the expressions she used became more colloquial. And beyond the physical changes, beyond the tangible, Seven is different. Impulsive, still, but not in the wilful, childlike manner she had at first. Now her actions are guided by an instinct for kindness. For humanity.
When Tom realised why, he used to tease me without mercy, sly cracks about assimilation tubules and one-track minds, but I didn’t care. It’s hard to get upset about a bit of friendly mocking when you’re so happy. Eventually he let me be, and like the good guy he is, he made sure Seven knew she was welcome in our tight-knit little cadre. Even B'Elanna warmed to her. Eventually.
Shore leave on Della V comes at the perfect time. Seven has just consented to approach Captain Janeway and request shared quarters for us; it’s a big step, and one she’s resisted for months now. She claims she finds no logic in monogamy, but I guess I’ve worn her down.
We’re celebrating tonight. Our five-day stop on the uninhabited Della V is ostensibly for routine maintenance, but it’s no coincidence that the planet’s eastern hemisphere offers a long coastline of white sand beaches and lush tropical foliage, or that the planet’s atmosphere is charged with magnetic particles that promise a spectacular light show.
We’ll have bonfires and picnics and go hiking across the plains, and we’ll lie on solid ground among the sounds of night creatures, breathing the thick scents of earth and of air that’s alive.
She points out my error when I tell her this, hovering impatiently as she finishes her shift in astrometrics; she says air cannot be alive, and atmospheric phenomena are irrelevant. But I don’t need to see the twitch of her lips to know she’s teasing me.
And when we beam to the surface an hour after sunset to find the aurora already lighting up the sky, Seven fumbles for my hand and clasps it tightly, her eyes wide with wonder.
“I saw something like this once,” I murmur to her, later, when we’ve had our fill of each other for the time being and she lies with her head pillowed on my chest. “It was a particle shower on Sirius IX, just as the second sun was setting, and the polarisation of the atmosphere made the entire sky light up in red and gold sparks. It looked like a million fireflies dancing in a sea of lava. You should have seen it.”
She smiles faintly, shifting position in my arms. “A fanciful description, but effective.”
“Is that your way of saying you can picture it in your mind’s eye?”
“Perhaps.” Seven’s smile widens. “Or perhaps I simply recall a similar phenomenon from my time in the Collective.”
I laugh, as I’m supposed to, but my amusement dies as a stray memory that can’t be mine bleeds into the image of Sirius I hold in my mind: a rocky wasteland, painted in crimsons and golds, the air alive and shimmering, and a pool of silver at my feet.
“Harry?” Seven is watching my face, her expression concerned. “Are you ill?”
The silver metal framing her left eye seems to melt and coalesce, and I blink rapidly and shake my head to clear it. When I look again the optical illusion is gone.
“I’m fine,” I assure her, pulling her close again. “Couldn’t be better.”
She settles back onto my chest, and as my fingers drift over the smooth expanse of her back, I know I’ll treasure the memory of this moment for the rest of my life.