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The Great Escape
"I do not understand...." began Seven, unsure what she was looking at, and even less sure why it should be prompting such laughter from Harry Kim.
"Some of Tom's 20th Century favourites can be rather obscure..." agreed Kathryn, thoroughly entertained with what she was watching, although taking care to conceal her mirth behind an appropriately 'Captain-esque' humoured interest expression: Starfleet Captains couldn't laugh hysterically, it was what they had first officers and Security Chiefs for....or Harry Kim.
"I mean, I do not understand the object of Lieutenant Paris' activity, nor why it is creating such noisy responses from Ensign Kim..." elaborated Seven, glancing towards Kathryn with something akin to Borg exasperation at the obviously relaxed Captain's inability to understand the ex-Borg's confusion.
"It's creating such a noisy response from Ensign Kim because he is trying to guess that Tom is miming the title of 'The Great Escape' which is a classic 20th century movie..." began Kathryn, throwing her right hand behind her head as she slumped into a more comfortable position on her ready room couch, at least, it would be more comfortable if Seven would shuffle a few inches closer so that Kathryn could use her as a back rest.
"For what purpose?" If the stubbornly pedantic and literal question hadn't been accompanied by the sudden and most welcome feeling of Seven's arm, which had previously been a decorous few inches from Kathryn's body, now resting between Kathryn's back and the couch, Kathryn might have been tempted to issue some sharp retort to her lover. Instead, as Kathryn relaxed into the discrete touch her lover provided, she found herself attempting to explain the concept of their current entertainment.
"The game, as you well know Seven," It was only the proximity of her Senior Staff that stopped Kathryn from calling Seven 'darling', "...is called Charades. The purpose is for someone to mime, using a combination of their imagination and some accepted gestures, the title of a book, movie or holovid or, if you're playing as a student at the Academy, a senior Professor or Admiral, with everyone else trying to guess. Tom is now miming his movie title, and Harry is trying to guess it..."
"But you already know it?"
"So why don't you call it out as Mr Kim is attempting to do?" asked Seven, managing to refrain from pointing out that Kathryn's delayed calling was highly inefficient. Whilst she still ranked efficiency and effectiveness as the most important priorities, Seven had, with Kathryn's expert and most willing guidance, discovered that 'fun' could be very engaging and thoroughly worth pursuing in all it's glorious inefficiency, especially if it involved Kathryn and a day off....
"Because I don't want to win..." Even as Kathryn began to try explaining to Seven that she didn't want to win because she didn't wish to embarrass herself in front of the Senior Staff - sometimes, it just wasn't Captainly - Seven was moving away from Kathryn before announcing in her normal, clear voice.
"It is 'The Great Escape'," prompting looks of shock from all the Senior Staff, Kathryn included.
"How'd you guess Seven?" asked Harry, being the first to find his tongue.
"Mr Paris is a most effective exponent of this game..." observed Seven, enjoying seeing Tom's proud reaction, which only turned to confusion as Kathryn, picking up on the subtle inflection of her lover's phrasing, picked up the true meaning and started to try not to laugh: unfortunately, she failed.
"Captain?" Tom was confused, only to be enlightened by Tuvok of all people.
"I believe Seven was referring to your unusually well developed skills at mimicry and impersonation...." There was no mistaking the true meaning behind Tuvok's words - he was acknowledging the time Tom spent in the holodeck pretending to be Captain Proton, much to the amusement and despair (it depended whether she remembered having to 'be' Queen Arachnia) of Captain Janeway.
"Ah..." Unwilling to dwell on the insult, this being the Senior Staff Christmas Party after all, Tom refocused his attentions to Seven's correct guess, "...you do know what the penalty is for guessing correctly, right Seven?"
"I do not..." The implant drooped microscopically as Seven frowned in thought, before continuing, "...but explain and I will comply," she declared, absolutely convinced that Kathryn would not permit any penalties which were dangerous or harmful.
"You sure Seven?" Despite his youthful exuberance and sense of fun, Tom was fundamentally a nice guy who didn't like to hurt people, especially when, as in Seven's case, she didn't understand the rules of the game. The twin glares he was currently suffering from Captain Janeway and B'Elanna of course had nothing to do with his desire to suddenly be chivalrous and gentlemanly....
"Explain this 'penalty' Mr Paris..." If Seven's voice automatically slipped into the same phrasing and tone as 'Resistance is Futile' and 'You will be assimilated', everyone had the good grace not to comment.
"You're up next..."
"Here, acting out something for us to guess...." Tom trailed off as he realised Seven had retreated into deep thought, before suddenly getting to her feet and striding to stand next to the helmsman.
"I do not know the gesture for my 'charade', but I believe you will be able to guess, if I understand how this game is played by Cadets correctly..." began Seven, before making the inter-galactic symbol for three words. Pausing for a moment, deliberately not looking at Kathryn, Seven deliberately slouched, shifted her weight onto her right leg, took a half step forwards with her left foot, before reaching behind her head and very swiftly releasing her hair before re-pinning it in a different style, although the effect from the front was sufficiently unchanged to be noticed by anyone other than Kathryn. Satisfied with her posture and hairstyle, Seven brought her right hand to her hip before pinching the bridge of her nose with her left hand and pivoting slowly on the heel of her left boot, revealing...
"THE BUN OF STEEL!" shouted Tom excitedly, only to suddenly choke on his shout as he realised what he said...
"Care to repeat that Ensign Paris?" asked Kathryn archly, in a tone that sounded far worse than her sparkling eyes suggested. Still, it would do Tom good to stew for a second.
"Uh, would it help if I said that was the nickname the junior staff had for your hairstyle back when we first arrived here?" asked Tom, wondering what he'd said that prompted his Captain's too rarely heard peal of laughter.
"Infinitely Tom, am I right B'Elanna?" asked the Captain, deliberately ignoring Seven before she asked an awkward question.
"Indeed Captain..." growled B'Elanna, glaring at her husband, who had come dangerously close to the wrong end of her not so ceremonial batleth...
"I am not imitating a small cake-like object made of metal Mr Paris..." interrupted Seven, suddenly feeling confused and left out.
"My apologies Seven, I should have explained my answer more formally...you were 'doing' the Captain?"
"You are correct Mr Paris...but I wish to change the penalty..." Seven's determined comment stopped Tom in his seat as he waited to hear what Seven's suggestion would be, "...I think the Captain is next..."
"Seven..." warned Kathryn, suddenly not liking the way her staff were looking expectantly at her....
"You did tell me it was 'The Great Escape' Kathryn..." teased Seven, inadvertently using her lover's given name, much to the interest of everyone except Tuvok.
"Seven..." Despite her tone, Seven could see that her lover's resistance to participation was beginning to crumble.
"Or would you prefer to explain to me what else 'Bun of Steel' could mean?" Even if her staff weren't astute enough at reading Seven's somewhat restrained body language, Kathryn was convinced that, based on her blushes, Tom's knowing smirk and Harry's grin, that everyone had just put two and two together and made four...
"Maybe I will play..." conceded Kathryn finally, stepping over her youngest officers who were sprawled out across the deck before pausing and announcing (Captain's privilege excluded her from making the little gesture), "...it's a movie...." before demonstrating, with the surprised but enthusiastic assistance from Seven.
"WoooHoooo...." wolf-whistled Tom, only to be abruptly shut up by his wife.
"Some Like It Hot?" suggested Harry nervously, thinking his Captain was suitably distracted at present not to bust him down to crewman as she expertly extracted Seven's hair pins.
"It's A Wonderful Life?" offered Chakotay, grinning at seeing his friend and Captain finally relax in front of her closest staff.
"Isn't it?" agreed a now grinning Kathryn, ending the kiss she'd initiated with a very content Seven and settling back into her lover's embrace, before raising a glass she'd somehow managed not to drop and suggesting,
"A toast...to an amazing journey, with new discoveries made at every turn...to having a wonderful life, despite the strangest of circumstances..." To her immense pride and also relief, Kathryn was rewarded with her Senior Staff all scrabbling to their feet, including Neelix who, up until this point, had been looking slightly confused, and, as one, raising their glasses...it was indeed, on this Christmas night, light years from the Alpha Quadrant, time to rejoice and celebrate having, A Wonderful Life.....
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