by Suz email@example.com
Disclaimer - Paramount owns them, boo hiss.
This is my long overdue response to the 1001 challenge to write a Janeway Birthday piece. This is not my original idea - that one is still being worked on. This is just something that popped into my mind today. And don't ask me *what* I was on at the time...
"Neelix, is this absolutely necessary?" Kathryn huffed even as the Talaxian placed the scarf over her eyes and tied it in place. Tugging it a few times to make sure it was secure, Neelix stepped away, satisfied with his work.
"Of course it is Captain! It would hardly be a surprise if you could see what was coming, now would it?"
Kathryn stumbled about a bit in her quarters. "You know, you really didn't have to do anything for my Birthday..."
"Oh come on Captain," she heard Tom Paris' voice say "it's only once a year." Then, leaning in so only she could hear: "Besides, you know how much Neelix loves this. Do it for him."
Resigned, she sighed. "Alright," she muttered, before forcing a smile. "Well then, shall we go gentlemen?"
Both of them grabbed an arm each and led her out of her quarters, while Kathryn tried to form a map in her mind of where they were headed. By her calculations they should be just about-
That was definitely the sound of a turbolift door opening.
Everyone bundled inside and Kathryn paid close attention to what their destination was going to be. If they said what deck they were headed to at least she'd have some idea...
Neelix spoke. "Holodeck one." Immediately realising his mistake he yelled "Computer belay that order! Deck six, I mean. Deck six." He laughed nervously.
"Oh nice save..." Tom commented.
Unsurprisingly, the journey to their destination from the turbolift after it stopped moving was extremely short. Just next door, in fact. Neelix's mistake and the very obvious sound of the holodeck doors opening kind of gave the game away. Still, she had no idea what to expect *in* the holodeck.
She definitely hadn't expected the sound of someone screaming.
Her first instinct was to dive to one side and call for security, but being held between Tom and Neelix stopped that from happening. It turned out to be quite the blessing as she would have humiliated herself.
The men moved away, letting go of her arms, and Neelix reached up to undo the scarf and pull it off.
Well...there was Chakotay, B'Elanna, The Doctor, Tuvok, Seven, Harry, Tom and Neelix...and a very large cake in the shape of a coffee cup.
But behind them...two members of her crew were flying through the air.
"What is that?" she asked, pointing at the contraption.
"I *knew* you hadn't been on one!" Tom grinned, then sat on the edge of the...thing...and pulled off his shoes and socks.
Facing the Ensign, Neelix placed his hands over his stomach and smiled knowingly. He turned back towards the Captain. "According to Tom, this is a common object to have at a Birthday party."
"Yeah, for children maybe," B'Elanna stated, wondering if it would be rude to try a slice of the cake before the Captain.
"Oh not at all!" The Doctor insisted, beaming. "It's excellent exercise! It'll really get your blood pumping."
"I'll say it does!" Tom exclaimed, standing up. "Come on, Captain. You have to try it."
Kathryn held up her hands. "Wait a minute. Just what *is* that thing?"
They all left the honours to Tuvok. "That *thing*...is a bouncy castle."
Tuvok nodded. "I had much the same reaction."
"Oh you're just party poopers the lot of you," Tom insisted, before clambering onto the castle and quickly joining Nicoletti and O'Donnell by bouncing up and down. "Come on Harry!"
Kim certainly didn't need any further encouragement. Quickly pulling off his shoes, soon he was bouncing with the best of them.
Chakotay watched in amusement as Tom and Harry bounced like old pros. "Something tells me they've had too much practise at this."
"Well..." Neelix began "we *have* been planning this for sometime. Someone had to test the program." As Chakotay nodded, Neelix smiled at the Captain. "Well Captain...are you going to have a go?"
"Umm...maybe later Neelix." She smiled very quickly, hoping to change the subject. "Yum, that cake looks nice." Grabbing the knife next to the cake she began slicing.
Chakotay appeared next to her. "You're not being very subtle."
"It's not quite what I was expecting," she admitted, grinning.
"You're going to go on it though, aren't you? They've been planning this for months."
She paused her slicing for a moment. "I suppose I should for a little while. Just for a little while." she emphasised.
Nodding and smiling, he held out a plate. "A word to the wise - I wouldn't advise eating any cake until after you bounce."
"Good point," she thanked, wincing at the imagery. Then an idea struck... "But there are certain people I don't want to see bouncing...Neelix! Would you like some cake?"
As the Talaxian hurried over, B'Elanna folded her arms over her chest and smirked at Seven. "Well Seven, are you going to have a go?"
The ex-Borg considered her reply. "I fail to see the point of such activities."
"Fun, Seven." B'Elanna responded.
Seven matched B'Elanna's icy stare with one of her own. "I see. And are you planning to participate?"
"No." she admitted, despite not wanting to.
"I thought not."
"Well what about you Tuvok?" B'Elanna asked, quickly turning away from the other woman. "Are you going to join in?"
"Hey Harry - I bet you can't do *this*!!!"
As Tuvok observed the actions taking place on the bouncy castle, he rose an eyebrow. "I do not believe that jumping up and down on a large piece of plastic while screaming constitutes dignified behaviour for a Starfleet officer."
"Why that's just what *I* was going to say," The Doctor butted in, grinning. "In fact," he stated dramatically "I think it would be a terrific idea if we all stand here and ignore our friends. No, wait! Even better - let's belittle them! What more could a Captain ask for on her Birthday?"
They all stared at him.
B'Elanna spoke. "You know, maybe I should try it out for a little while. Tom'll bug me about it forever if I don't."
"I will join you," Seven agreed, nearly smiling at the Doctor as they left.
Soon it was just the Doctor and Tuvok studying each other.
The Doctor cracked first. "Please, Tuvok. Have one bounce just for the Captains Birthday."
"I do not 'bounce'-"
"Ensign Kim, please be more aware of where you place your hands."
"Woah, Seven! I'm sorry! That was a *complete* accident!"
"B'Elanna take it easy, okay? You don't need to go at it so hard to begin with. You're not used to it."
"Tom, if you use the word 'hard' one more time I swear I'll-"
Tuvok resumed speaking. "-and I believe I may be putting myself in danger if I decided to."
"Nonsense," The Doctor insisted. "The holodeck safeties are on. And heaven knows they certainly go off-line often enough but we've got someone in Engineering keeping a constant eye on things. Now...I am ordering you to bounce. As your Doctor I am giving you an order."
"You can hardly argue with that," Kathryn commented as she, Chakotay and Neelix joined them. "He does outrank us in that little way."
"Why thank you Captain," The Doctor grinned, happy to have such a show of support. "I trust you'll be taking part?"
"Of course," she agreed. "Although I wish I'd known. I would have worn a sports bra." she told them, half-joking.
"Well Kathryn, I'd be happy to replicate one for you."
She screwed her nose up at him. "Why thank you, Mr Chakotay. But I think I'm just fine."
Grinning, he grabbed her arm. "Well then...shall we?"
Sighing, she eyed the bouncy castle dubiously. "Okay okay. But only five minutes. Not a moment longer."
"Sure." he replied, and led her over to the edge of the bouncy castle where they sat to take off their shoes. A few moments later they were balancing unsteadily on the rubbery material. "You know," he admitted "I've never actually done this before."
"Good," she answered, trying to decide if holding onto him for balance would look like a come on. "We'll be virgins together."
"Not for much longer!" Tom yelled, and everyone on the bouncy castle laughed dirtily as Kathryn and Chakotay started to bounce together, slowly.
On the sidelines The Doctor, Tuvok and Neelix watched.
"If anyone needs a sports bra it's Seven." The Doctor commented.
"Indeed." Tuvok answered.
Neelix merely shoved another piece of cake into his mouth.
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