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A Little Dinner Conversation
By ralst


Seven of Nine slumped back in her chair, the mountain of food she'd consumed somehow managing to undo years of borg training in posture and deportment. "I fail to see how ingesting ones own body weight in cooked meat products and wearing paper hats is supposed to signify spiritual enlightenment."

Tom burped, the involuntary action bringing a blush to his cheeks before he saw Tuvok hide a similar expulsion behind his hand. "It's tradition."

"I realise that," Seven groaned, as she attempted to straighten her posture, before giving up and slumping further into her seat, "but traditions generally have a relevance to the occasion."

Chakotay looked up, as if to speak, but promptly fell face first into his trifle.

Harry laughed, "And I'm still an ensign?"

Kathryn slipped the bowl out from under Chakotay's head and thanked providence that she hadn't accepted a second glass of eggnog. "It's an interesting point," she addressed Seven, "and possibly has to do with the rotund gentleman portrayed in various antiques from the twentieth and twenty-first centuries."

B'Elanna snorted.

Kathryn gave her a punch-drunk glare.

"Sorry," the Klingon mumbled, making sure not to look at her commanding officer as she spoke - there was just something about seeing Kathryn decked out in a pink paper hat, with tinsel round her neck and snowmen dangling from her ears that made anything she said sound ludicrous to the younger woman.

"The captain may have a point," Seven interjected, "I have seen numerous depictions of a rounded and ruddy faced individual during my research."

There was a lengthy silence.

Seven looked around the table, noticing the weary or comatose expressions on everyone's faces. Apparently meaningful discussion was not part of the 'Christmas Experience'. "Why was the broom late to work?"

Various groans reverberated across the room.

"Because it over swept."

B'Elanna sighed, "Seven, sweetheart, what did I tell you about the jokes in those crackers?"

Four heads rose on hearing the endearment, as their Christmas malaise was put aside at the hint of potential gossip.

"That they should be recycled as toilet paper unread?"

"Correct." B'Elanna noticed Tom smirking at her. "What?"

Tom's smirk turned into a full blown grin. "Sweetheart?"

B'Elanna looked confused, then horrified, then defiant, "Yeah, so?"

It was Kathryn's turn to snort.

"What?" B'Elanna demanded.

Now it was Seven who looked confused. "Is sweetheart an inappropriate form of address for a lover?"

Tuvok's jaw dropped open, and before he could control himself he'd leant forward to make sure he didn't miss any of the details. "Lover?" Seven raised an eyebrow and Tuvok retreated back to his original position, a look of studied disinterest on his face.

Neither Tom, Kathryn or Harry were as reticent in their pursuit of gossip.

"Lovers?" Kathryn began.

"Since when?" Tom continued.

"Why didn't you tell us?" Harry whined.

B'Elanna held up a hand to forestall Seven's response, fearing what details her lover might let loose. "Yes, three months, because."

"Because what?" Harry's whine had turned so petulant that Kathryn was forced to cuff him on the back of the head.

"Because?" Kathryn smiled, her snowmen jingling as she attempted to ingratiate herself with the engineer.

Seven's eidetic memory came to B'Elanna's rescue and damnation, "Because you are a bunch of gossip mongers who love nothing more than to speculate on other people's sex lives, because you don't have the gumption to initiate ones of your own."

With a thud, B'Elanna's head hit the table.

Kathryn would have stood to glower at the engineer, but her second helping of turkey was keeping her prisoner in the chair. "Lieutenant!"

Chakotay sat straight up in his chair. "Mummy!"

"Chako..." Kathryn's voice trailed off as her second in command's head once again made contact with the tabletop. "B'Elanna?"

"I never said gumption," B'Elanna mumbled, although she refrained from mentioning her own choice of words. "I'm sorry we didn't tell you," she continued, praying that if she ignored the elephant in the corner it wouldn't turn around and poop on her head, "but we wanted time to get to know each other."

"You've known each other for five years," said Harry.

"Or do you mean 'know each other'," Tom leered.

"I could have a sex life if I wanted one," Kathryn muttered, "it's not my fault there are no eligible men on the ship."

"Shut up Tom," B'Elanna warned.

"Have you ever considered taking a female lover?" Seven asked. "The sex is extremely satisfying and they are so much prettier than men."

All eyes turned to the blonde, then switched to the beet faced engineer.

"And you wonder why I never said anything?" B'Elanna sighed.

Kathryn coughed back a laugh, and decided to refrain from tormenting her friend - for the time being. "Well, as captain, I think it's my duty to propose a toast," she lurched to her feet, cursing her third mince pie, "everyone charge their glasses."

A series of groans erupted around the table as the men, minus Chakotay, rose to their feet.

"To B'Elanna and Seven."

"B'Elanna and Seven." Four glasses rose in the air.

Colour rose to Seven's cheeks in a manner she thought very impractical. "Thank you."

B'Elanna's grin split her face as she reached across the table to take Seven's hand. "Okay, enough of the mushy stuff, lets get back to this Christmas thing."

Laughter surrounded the table as the friends continued with their dinner, their hearts cheered by more than the Christmas spirit.

The End

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