Home Sweet Home
by Suz suzvoy...

Disclaimer - Yeah, they own them.

*

Let's see...

A painting here.

An object d'art there.

And that wall had to be completely redone. He refused to let it remain that
colour.

The Doctor was actually quite surprised that nothing had been done to his
quarters yet. He had walked in five minutes ago - still with the PADD the
Commander had handed him in his shocked grasp - and stared at the rather
drab walls of his quarters.

He'd expected...what? His quarters were exactly the same as everyone else's.
Well, except for the Captains. She had the privilege of five extra feet.

Whoopee.

He just expected it to look...different.

Maybe he'd expected his name to be stamped everywhere so everyone would know
it was his. His. He owned something.

He experienced a sensation he wasn't able to clarify.

Of course, he'd never be able to stamp his name over anything because he
still didn't have a name, but that wasn't the point. He'd use style,
sophistication, and his own thoughts on how to make his quarters look
'homey'. He would give his quarters a stamp all their own.

Ah, this was the life.

*

'You are cordially invited to a cabin-warming party, to celebrate the fact
that I now have a place to call home. Festivities will begin on this
Thursday evening at 1900 hours.

Deck 8, section 3, room 17.

Guests are welcome, but bear in mind the limitations of space provided in my
quarters.

No leola root.'

*

The Doctor hummed to himself, quite content to spend the next five minutes
rearranging the layout of hors d'oeuvre after hors d'oeuvre on plate after
plate. That's exactly what he did. He hadn't really replicated that much
food - he'd been reliably informed that guests often brought their own food
to contribute.

And, of course, they'd bring gifts.

He'd never received a gift before. Well, Seven had given him a tricorder,
but he'd never had to unwrap a present. He found himself looking forward to
it. In fact, he was downright excited.

Chuckling, and chattering excitedly to himself about interesting topics of
conversation, he moved away from the food and adjusted the angle of a
cushion on his sofa.

His cushion.

His sofa.

He'd never had a cushion before. He'd never wanted one before, but now that
he had one he was never getting rid of it.

Standing to his full height, he raised a finger to his chin, and scrutinised
the way the cushion was resting. Bending down, he replaced it to its former
position then happily sighed and turned away.

Speaking to the computer, he ordered the music to play and a faint romantic
theme filled the air. Stress-free. Relaxing. Yes, he wanted everyone to be
relaxed.

The door beeped.

Gasping, he snapped to attention, threw a last desperate glance around his
quarters, then picked up a plate of food and called "Yes?"

The doors opened to reveal Seven. She was holding a gift.

He almost dropped his plate. "Seven!"

"Doctor," She greeted warmly.

"Please," He smiled. "Come in. To. My. Quarters."

Amused, she nodded and stepped in and immediately waved off his offer of
food.

Lowering the plate to the table he quickly whirled to face her.

She already had the present extended to him. "I understand that it is
tradition that I should present you with a gift."

He nodded eagerly. "I understand the same."

"Would you like to wait until the others arrive?"

"That's not necessary."

"Are you absolutely certain? Perhaps they would wish to see you-"

"Seven, *really*, there's no need..." Pausing, a thought occurred to him.
"You were teasing me. You were trying to make me beg for the gift."

Her chin lifted a notch, but he could see the sparkle of humour in her eyes.
"Of course not. Please, if you are sure, take your present."

Grasping the immaculately wrapped package from her, he carefully moved until
he reached the sofa, where he sat down and studied the package intently. He
noticed that Seven sat next to him, but his gaze continued to focus on the
present.

"Doctor?" Seven queried, clearly questioning his behaviour.

Chuckling, almost nervously, he glanced at her before his gaze skittered
away. "It's just...I have no idea what to expect. Something efficient,
probably." He smiled at his own joke. "I'm not used to getting surprises,
anticipating what they could be. Will I like it? Will I hate it and be
forced to pretend that I love it? Will it clash with the colour scheme of my
quarters?"

Moving her gaze, Seven studied his quarters. "The colour scheme of your
quarters - as for all quarters aboard Voyager - appears to be beige."

Rolling his eyes, he sighed. "At the moment, yes. But that will change. I've
never been one to follow the latest trends."

"Indeed," She smile indulgently. "There is only one way to know, Doctor.
Open the gift."

His gaze fell to it once again. The wrapping paper was crisp, made sharp
noises when he moved his hands. How to open it? Slowly, methodically, so he
could save the paper and this memory of his first present? Or...

The Doctor had not known that his hands could move so quickly aside from a
medical situation. In what was probably seconds, the wrapping paper was
ripped to shreds and covered the floor, his lap, and even Seven's leg, and
his hands had latched around her gift.

Rubbing a hand over the smooth surface of the flat object, he smiled. "It's
beautiful. Thank you. Do you know I've never seen one of these?"

"A sunrise?"

He nodded. "I've seen the sun during the day, but I've never actually seen
one come up."

"The next planet we come to, we shall have to rectify that."

Enjoying her presumptuousness, he grinned. "Yes we will." Looking back at
the picture, he rubbed his hand over the frame again. "This is the first
gift I have ever received. I will always remember it." Standing, he moved
around his quarters until he found the perfect place for it; next to his
bed.

He didn't sleep, of course.

That wasn't the point.

She stood next to him, and they both studied the picture in the silence of
his bedroom.

"Why a picture?" He asked, not looking at her. "Why the sunrise?"

She turned towards him. "You are my sunshine."

He didn't know what to say. He couldn't think what to say. Fortunately he
was stopped from doing either of those when someone else beeped for entry.
"Someone's here," He told her inanely.

"Yes," Seven responded, smiling.

Turning away, he walked towards the door, wondering if Seven was just being
a friend or if it meant what he thought it meant.

Three seconds later, when Neelix barrelled into his quarters with an armful
of carefully sculpted leola root figures, he rapidly forgot about the
situation.

~FINIS