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"Where are you headed?" Chakotay asked with a grin, knowing full well what her destination was.
Glancing over her shoulder at him, Kathryn quickly resumed her view of the corridor in front of her as she continued her journey. "To the mess hall," She replied with a small smile.
Catching up with her he matched her speed, walking on her left side. "Ah, I see. What for?"
She mock-glared at him. "Very funny Chakotay. You know perfectly well what I'm-"
Kathryn stopped speaking as they entered the mess hall and discovered the lights were on. That was a little unusual. It was the middle of the night shift, no one was in the mess hall...and the lights were on.
Stepping in they let the door close behind them. Looking about, Kathryn soon gave up and marched to the kitchen. Within seconds the loud noises of pans being thrown about could be heard. Leaning against the opposite side of the counter, Chakotay casually peered over the edge. "Any luck?"
She appeared almost instantly, standing in front of him. "No." Frowning, she turned away again. "He *must* have some coffee in here..."
Chuckling, Chakotay moved away from the counter and approached the replicator.
When she heard his order she snapped back up again in less than a second.
Grinning, Chakotay walked towards a table...and noticed something. Blinking a few times he carefully sat down. "Kathryn, why don't you come and join me? My treat." He lifted the mug of coffee meaningfully.
"Are you sure?" Kathryn asked, even as she arrived at the table and took the mug from his hands.
Pointing deliberately under the table, eyes wide with emphasis, he spoke. "Absolutely. Please, have a seat."
Frowning again, she nearly forgot about her coffee as she followed where he was pointing. Her own eyes widening she quickly took his advice. Smiling at him with a conspiratorial glee, she then sipped from her coffee. "Ohhh....that's heavenly."
"Glad to be of service Captain."
After more silent hand movements, she lowered her coffee to the table. On que, they both bent down and peeked under the table.
Naomi peeked back.
"Umm...hello Captain. Commander." Grinning far too brightly, she tried to look innocent.
Kathryn and Chakotay looked at each other, then back at Naomi.
"And just what are you doing under there young lady?" Kathryn asked, trying to look as stern as possible without laughing.
"Reading," She replied immediately, clasping the PADD she held to her chest.
"Reading what?" Chakotay enquired carefully.
Naomi's gaze moved repeatedly between the Captain and Commander. "The dictionary."
Reaching out, Kathryn held her hand towards Naomi. "Let me see, Ms Wildman." Clearly she wouldn't be hiding under the table if she was just reading the dictionary.
Pouting, Naomi relinquished her PADD.
Sitting back up, Kathryn accessed the PADD and began to read. Her eyebrows rose as Chakotay matched her position. "This *is* the dictionary..."
He was equally surprised. "It is? Then why is she hiding?"
Kathryn opened her mouth to answer, but as she continued reading her mouth remained open for an entirely different reason. "Naomi Wildman..." She whispered. "Come out from under the table."
Reluctantly complying, Naomi crawled out then stood and faced her Captain with all the courage she could muster.
Arching an eyebrow towards her, Kathryn still struggled to stop herself from laughing. "Naomi Wildman..." She paused dramatically. "Have you been reading the dictionary just to look at the rude words?"
Chakotay snorted but quickly covered it up.
Naomi's gaze fell to the carpeted floor, her hands entwined behind her back. "Yes Ma'am."
Unable to stop herself any longer, Kathryn smiled, lowered the PADD to the table and spoke gently. "If you're genuinely curious about these things then you should just ask someone. You'll learn much more than hiding under tables."
Lifting her head, Naomi gaped at her. She wasn't about to question her good luck. "Yes Ma'am."
Smiling again, Kathryn chuckled. "Can you say anything apart from 'Yes Ma'am'?"
Tipping her head to one side in a scarily accurate impersonation of Seven's personal habit, Naomi pondered an answer. Apparently deciding one, she smiled. "Can I ask you?"
As Kathryn turned white, Chakotay grinned and spoke. "Of course you can Naomi. Here, take a seat."
At his invitation she sat next to him, rested her forearms on the table and clasped her hands together. "Thank you. It's just...well...I feel a little silly asking Mom and Neelix...gets too embarrassed."
"You asked Neelix?" Chakotay queried and smiled when she nodded. Well, that explained his dusky orange skin tone this morning...
Time to get started then. "So, what exactly do you want to know?"
Looking extremely relieved, Naomi smiled. "Thanks to The Doctor's Biology lessons I know how 'it' all works. But I am...I guess I don't understand some of the descriptions."
Kathryn pressed a button on the PADD. "Boobies," She read.
"It's very confusing," Naomi continued. "I'm not sure what everything means."
Kathryn Janeway forced a smile onto her face and made a mental note to throttle her First Officer at a later date. "Okay, Naomi. We'll start at the beginning. Even though you're aware of the biological processes of procreation, you may not understand why people decide to do...what they do. And if you have any specific questions about different words and sayings, you can interrupt as much as you want."
Naomi shrugged. "Okay."
Chakotay shrugged. "Okay."
Kathryn glared. Then began. "Generally, when two people are in love-"
"Very generally," Chakotay volunteered but quickly shut up.
Moving the glare from him, Kathryn smiled sweetly at Naomi. "When two people are in love, they often decide to-"
"-have sex," Naomi concluded. "I know that, but-"
Holding up a hand, Kathryn scrunched up her face in distaste. "Please, Naomi. I can't handle you saying the word 'sex'."
"What else should I use?"
"I think that 'make love' is a much nicer way of putting it. And it's usually more apt when the people involved are in love."
Smiling, Naomi shrugged happily. "Okay." After a few seconds, she began frowning. Leaning forward, she whispered towards the Captain which was really rather futile as Chakotay was right next to her. "Captain, can I ask you a personal question?"
Oh God she just knew she was going to regret this...
Kathryn's eyes met Chakotay's and she knew, silently, then anything she said would go no further. Reassured, she looked back at Naomi. "Very well."
Leaning even further forward, Naomi was nearly out of her seat. "Have you and the Commander made love?"
Instinct took over. "No, nope, absolutely not, whywouldyouask?"
She was right. She did regret this.
"Well...you said that when two people are in love they often decide to make love. As you and the Commander are in love, I just-"
"Naomi," Chakotay interrupted softly. "No one said anything about the Captain and I being in love."
Frowning and now aware that he had heard everything, she sat back in her chair. "Yes they do."
"They *all* do. Everyone!"
Muttering "Oh God...", Kathryn leant an elbow on the table and buried her face in her hand.
"Kathryn..?" Chakotay asked quietly, concerned.
Resigned, she chuckled and moved her head away from her hand. "I guess neither of us are particularly good at hiding it."
His throat went dry. "Naomi, I think you should leave now."
Getting the urgent hint she hoped down from the chair. "Okay. I'll...leave the PADD here." Turning away, she scurried towards the exit.
The doors hissed shut.
"Hiding what?" He asked.
"Oh come on, Chakotay. Are you seriously going to tell me that you're not in love with me?"
It wasn't how he ever envisioned telling her. "No. Are *you* seriously going to tell me that you're not in love with me?"
"I didn't say that," was all the answer she could give.
"So you're saying you are in love with me."
"I didn't say that either."
"Look, this isn't easy for me," She insisted. "This goes against everything I-"
His hands covered hers. "I know, I'm sorry. I'm not trying to push you...too hard." He grinned. "But...there is a way you can convince me without telling me."
She was intrigued. "And that is?"
He nodded towards her mug. "You can let your coffee go cold."
Lowering her head, Kathryn studied the mug for a full thirty seconds. Lifting her head back up, she smiled.
"You're better than hot coffee any day."
That was it. Closing his eyes he felt an overwhelming sense of warmth pass over him. Still smiling, he opened his eyes again and squeezed her hand one more time before releasing it and picking up the PADD. "So...boobies..."
Kathryn rolled her eyes. "Then again...does re-heated coffee count?"
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Suz's Voyager Fanfic