Author: scifiromance PM
Naomi and Icheb do some matchmaking in the run up to Voyager's Christmas party, with the help of some strategically placed mistletoe... C/7Rated: Fiction K - English - Romance - Seven of Nine & Chakotay - Words: 2,927 - Reviews: 6 - Favs: 6 - Follows: 1 - Published: 12-22-11 - Status: Complete - id: 7661810
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
A/n: Here is another Christmas fic, a one-shot this time. This story is set after "Natural Law" but before "Homestead". Thanks for all the lovely reviews for "A Voyager Nativity", it will be completed by Christmas Eve, I promise! I hope you like this story too! :D Thanks to Jedi Master Misty Sman-Esay for supporting this idea
"A Christmas party? Are you sure that's a good idea Neelix?" Captain Kathryn Janeway asked the Talaxian carefully as she studied his enthusiastic face. "I'm not against it in principle of course, but we've always avoided celebrating too fiercely in previous years, just because of homesickness…" She trailed off, her mind's eye overwhelmed with nostalgic images of home; friends, family and lovers.
Neelix waited patiently for her wandering gaze to return to his face before replying in a voice warm with understanding and sympathy. "I know this is a significant time of year for our human crewmembers Captain, when the pain of separation must be at its worst, but that's why I think a…gathering of some sort would be good for the crew. It'll show what a big support network we all have among the crew, we're family."
The Captain smiled at what she saw as the undisputable truth in that statement, although it always filled her with relief when other people voiced the though. "I certainly like to think so Neelix, and if you think a party will make everyone's festive season a little brighter, then…" She paused, glancing at Chakotay, who sat beside Neelix but had yet to interfere, for support. "What do you think of the idea Chakotay? Could the shift rota be adapted to work around a party?"
"Definitely Captain, I could arrange it so that everyone gets at least a couple of hours in the Mess Hall each." Chakotay answered her second question with a smile, "I for one think a party is a great idea. It's been a hard year, what with the Equinox, Unimatrix Zero…" He stopped the list as Janeway and Neelix both flinched involuntarily at the bad memories, "I think we need to keep a tight hold of the traditions which bind us all together in times like this."
The Captain grinned in agreement, glad to have some backup for a decision Starfleet probably wouldn't have approved of, it wasn't protocol to hold such celebrations on board ship, but she had flaunted too many regulations by now to feel more than a passing twinge of guilt as she hoisted her coffee cup in the air in a gesture of confirmation, "Well then gentlemen, it seems it's time to start replicating mince pies and eggnog!"
"Aww Seven, why won't you come?" Naomi Wildman asked Seven of Nine in a disappointed tone they both leaned over the same Astrometrics console. "It's Voyager's first ever official Christmas party, Neelix even said he'd let me help with the decorations."
Seven gave the girl a wan but fond smile. "I'm sure that you and Mr Neelix will decorate this vessel to perfection, but I see no need to attend. I have no knowledge of Christmas."
Naomi's face fell slightly in understanding, "Oh, I suppose the Borg never deemed it relevant, right?"
"You are correct, they did not." Seven answered solemnly.
Naomi's frown deepened for a moment as she was faced with this obstacle to her friend's attendance, but her eyes lit up as she saw a ray of hope. "But you have to remember Christmas with your parents, don't you? This party will be almost as good as that."
Seven swallowed hard, a shudder of suppressed grief momentarily passing over her body. "Yes…" She agreed with difficulty as she fought to compose herself, "I'm sure it will be Naomi."
Naomi, although young, knew her friend well enough to know that she'd hit a nerve and quickly hugged Seven around the waist in apology and sympathy before turning with hopeful eyes to Icheb, who was standing at the other console, silently observing the conversation. "You'll come, won't you Icheb?"
Icheb shifted awkwardly, "I am as ill-informed about Christmas as Seven is Naomi…" He began to excuse himself while avoiding her entreating eyes.
"You like learning about new things." Naomi pointed out, not to be thwarted in her self-appointed mission to get at least one of the former Borg into the Christmas spirit. "And Neelix has promised ice-cream cake, just like at my birthday."
Icheb's resolve wobbled, he had discovered a particular liking for ice-cream cake recently. "Perhaps I will attend." He reconsidered hurriedly, casting Seven a glance for permission, "If I can be released from my duties in Astrometrics that is."
"Of course you are." Seven agreed firmly, "It will be a good experience for you."
Icheb's couldn't stop his eyebrows from rising, "But not for you?"
Seven gulped, "I feel I have socialised enough for the time being." She explained defensively, thinking back to her disastrous experiment on the holodeck with a mixture of guilt and fear that she knew was visible on her face as Icheb and Naomi both looked at her strangely. "Besides, I will have plenty of work to do covering for those crewmembers that are off-duty…"
"Don't worry about that Seven; I've arranged a new rota so that everyone can get a chance to go to the party if they want to." Chakotay's soft but deep voice assured her from the doorway, making Seven jump in mortified shock and twist around to face him, blushing bright red with embarrassment.
"I did not intend to criticise your rota arrangements Commander, forgive…" She began shakily.
He held his hand up to stop her, smiling gently. "I know what you meant Seven, its okay. I'm just saying feel free to go to the party, I know everyone would be happy to see you there."
Seven lowered her gaze shyly. "I highly doubt that Commander, but thank you for saying so."
Chakotay frowned her at her, peering into her eyes. "It's the truth Seven." He murmured seriously before lightening his tone considerably, "I know I'd like to see you there. I promise we won't make you play any Christmas games or anything, just come for the company."
Seven mentally cursed her weakness at she met his eyes, feeling for a second as if she could fall into the warm, dark pools. "I…suppose I could make an effort to attend for a few minutes." She conceded, blushing again as she realised she was stammering awkwardly.
She was rewarded by his trademark dimpled smile. "That's good to hear." He replied before handing her a PADD, his manner professional once more. "Do you think you could find a way to modify these power relays? They've blown three times today and B'Elanna is ready to tear her hair out."
"I should think so." Seven responded; irrationally glad to be back on a work related topic as she snatched up a tricorder. "Icheb, do you mind remaining here until I return?" she asked her protégée quickly as she moved to accompany Chakotay.
"I'd be glad to." Icheb replied happily, earning himself a grateful nod from both Seven and Chakotay before they left Astrometrics for Engineering. He turned back to his console, intending to continue his work, but was interrupted by a gleeful giggle from Naomi. "What is it Naomi?" he asked her curiously.
"Seven has a crush on Commander Chakotay!" she exclaimed, clapping her hands in delight. "I think the Commander likes her too, that's why he convinced her to go to the Christmas party!"
Icheb looked down at the young girl in disbelief. "Naomi, you are jumping to conclusions…" He started to caution her.
"But she blushed! I've never seen Seven do that before and Chakotay kept smiling at her!" Naomi pressed insistently.
Icheb bit his lip thoughtfully, "True, they do seem to like each other's presence, but that doesn't mean…" He stopped, embarrassed on his mentor's behalf, "Even if there is some evidence for a mutual attraction, it is not our place to speculate or interfere." He reminded Naomi.
Suitably chastened, Naomi agreed quietly, "I know." Still hopeful though, she glanced up at Icheb questioningly, "But you would interfere if you could, to make Seven happy?"
"Yes, but…" Icheb started, caught out again. "Naomi, I wish to stop this line of conversation."
"Okay…" Naomi said reluctantly, but was instantly cheered by a new arrival in Astrometrics. "Neelix!"
Neelix beamed at her in greeting as he dropped an obviously heavy bag on the floor. "What happened to helping me decorate Naomi?" he asked teasingly.
"I'm sorry Neelix; I got distracted by trying to get Seven and Icheb to come to the party." Naomi explained.
"Oh, and were you successful?" Neelix asked, eyes twinkling affectionately down at his goddaughter.
"I was with Icheb. It was Commander Chakotay who convinced Seven." Naomi replied with a pleased grin.
Neelix chuckled. "The Commander convinced her, huh?" he said knowingly, making Naomi giggle and Icheb sigh as he looked in the bag curiously.
"A plant?" he queried in bemusement, holding up a small bunch of leaves and berries for Neelix and Naomi to see. "What is the significance of this decoration?"
"Ahh, mistletoe." Neelix remarked with a gleam in his eye, "That plant is the focal point of a human tradition, apparently if a couple stand under it, they're obligated to kiss! Romantic, eh?"
"Yes…" Icheb muttered, warily putting the mistletoe back in the bag.
"Are you ready to get decorating Naomi?" Neelix asked eagerly as the little girl continued to hover, now playing with her own bit of mistletoe.
"Give me a minute Neelix; I want to ask Icheb something." She replied distractedly.
"Okay, I'll get started on the corridors." Neelix said, happily heading back out into the corridor with his bag of decorations, minus one bit of mistletoe.
Icheb caught Naomi's mischievous look as she eyed the mistletoe. "Naomi, I don't think…"
"Don't you like the Commander Icheb?" Naomi probed, hurt that he wouldn't go along with her train of thought.
"Of course I do!" Icheb retorted indignantly before pausing to think of it further. He did like the Commander for himself, and more importantly trusted him in relation to Seven. Unlike some crewmen, who looked at Seven with a mixture of dismissal and disturbing lust, Icheb knew Chakotay valued Seven as an individual. "Oh, alright!" he conceded, taking the offered bit of mistletoe and hanging it above Seven's console as Naomi looked on with a satisfied grin. "Don't get your hopes up though Naomi, I highly doubt anything will happen."
Seven froze as she entered the Mess Hall, overwhelmed by the laughing pockets of people and the ostentatious nature of the decorations. Red, gold, green, white, sparkling, fake snow covered, every facet of Christmas decoration she knew of was represented somewhere in the room. Scanning the room for a quiet corner to spend her prescribed time here until she could leave, her eyes fell on the frowning face of B'Elanna Torres, who sat at a nearby table with her head resting heavily in her arms. Concern prickled her enough to approach the half Klingon, "Are you alright Lieutenant?"
B'Elanna jumped slightly at her voice and then smiled sheepishly. "I'm fine Seven, I'm just a little tired for all this cloying festivity…" She patted her abdomen, swollen by the fully developed baby within. She sighed wryly as Neelix swept by carrying a tray laden with drinks. "That and I'm craving a cocktail like mad." She admitted, pointing out her husband Tom, who was dancing avidly on the makeshift dance floor, with an affectionate laugh. "How am I supposed to watch that without a drink?"
Seven narrowed her eyes in disbelief as she watched Tom dance. "I can offer no solution about the dancing…" This comment made B'Elanna chortle, "But I'm sure a cocktail could be replicated without synthehol in it."
B'Elanna smiled at her, surprised by her courtesy. "Don't worry about it Seven…"
"Yeah, she's in good hands Seven." Tom agreed as he reached the table, having stopped dancing. "Come and give me a dance beautiful." He coaxed B'Elanna, who laughed in defeat and followed him on the dance floor.
Seven silently watched them depart with a flicker of envy, she'd never be close to a person like that, but it quickly faded as her eyes fell on the glorious Christmas tree in the centre of the room. Its lights gave off a soft glow which bounced off the bright baubles and enhanced the tinsel's glitter, it was truly beautiful. Yet Seven wasn't thinking of that as she looked at it, old, tattered memories had transported her to the Bridge of the Raven, where a similar tree had taken up one corner in those last months of her childhood. It had been considerably less elegant, having been decorated under the direction of her five year old self, but she had loved it, had thought it just as beautiful as the real Scandinavian pines they'd had in previous years at home, much to her parents' relief as they watched her delight and set out the presents underneath. Her Papa's laugh from when he'd lifted her up to place the star on top still rang in her ears; she could feel his warm arms around her still as if he were right there beside her and not languishing in some Cube…"
"Seven? Are you alright?" Seven was jolted back to the present by the Commander's worried voice beside her.
"I…" She choked out as she frantically blinked back the tears which had formed in her eyes. "I am uncertain…" She whispered, "Excuse me…" With that, she turned and fled the Mess Hall.
A few minutes later, she forced herself upright from her crouched position over her Astrometrics console, taking a deep breath in as she struggled to compose herself. Why had she allowed herself to get so lost in those memories which had an inevitable macabre edge to them? They were irrelevant, that life was irrelevant and yet she'd allowed it to influence her actions… With a groan of frustration, she hit her fist hard against the console, after which she heard an intake of breath behind her. "Commander!" she choked out in shock as she turned sharply to again see him in the doorway, watching her with pained eyes. "What are you doing here?" she asked, more angrily than she intended.
He took a cautious step forward into the room. "You left the party pretty suddenly; I wanted to check you were okay." He said softly.
Seven pursed her lips but couldn't stop herself from sniffing brokenly. "I'm fine."
He only shook his head gently in reply to that and walked forward until he stood just in front of her. "What happened?" he asked, his eyes carefully searching hers.
Seven sighed heavily, "It is irrelevant…" She began, stopping when she saw his disapproving expression and instead taking a deep breath, "I was…overwhelmed with thoughts…memories of my parents." She admitted in an ashamed whisper.
Chakotay squeezed her arm, proud of her courage to make such a confession. "That's natural Seven, I think of my family a lot this time of year too."
"It's different for you, you knew your family. You respect them in the way you live and remember, but I…"
"Have a lot less than most of us to hold on to." Chakotay reminded her, "That's why it's okay if you're upset sometimes, no one would argue that your situation is fair."
"I know, but I feel…guilty when I remember pleasant things about them." Seven admitted without looking at him.
Chakotay's brow furrowed, "Why?"
"Because I've changed so much, and I've forgotten so much. That would upset them." Seven answered resolutely.
"I think it would upset your parents more if you weren't able to draw comfort from thoughts of them, don't you think?" Chakotay told her gently.
Seven heaved another deep breath. "Probably. Those memories did make me feel…loved, I just missed them suddenly, I rarely feel like that." She met his understanding smile and returned it weakly, "Thank you for talking to me Commander."
"No problem." Chakotay said warmly, suddenly spotting the mistletoe above them and giving her a lingering peck on the cheek, "Merry Christmas." Seven was very aware of the heat rising to the place where he'd kissed her and just stared at him silently for a few seconds before he sheepishly pointed out the mistletoe. "Mistletoe. It's traditional to kiss whoever is underneath it with you at Christmas."
"I see…" Seven mumbled shakily, her gaze flickering from his face to the mistletoe then back again before she impulsively kissed him on the lips. She instinctively stepped into his hold and deepened the kiss as he wrapped an arm tight around her, whispering shyly as they broke apart for air, "Merry Christmas Chakotay."
It only took a split second decisive glance between them to keep them rooted to spot, embracing under the mistletoe.
A/n: PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE REVIEW! :D