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Summary: Kathryn isn't the *only* one who gets a surprise on her birthday.

 

Birthday Surprises

"Alright, everyone. Let's go over this to make sure we haven't forgotten anything," B'Elanna announced to the small crowd that had gathered around her table in the mess hall.

"First item...the cake," she began, looking around the room.

"It's baking now," Neelix chimed in from behind his counter. "A delicious mocha cake with cappuccino icing!"

B'Elanna cut her eyes. "No leola root?"

Neelix sighed. "No leola root...but it would have made it even more enticing!"

Chakotay contained the grin he felt. Thank goodness B'Elanna had been able to convince Neelix to leave out that particular ingredient. He began to smile as she continued going through her list. He never would have pegged B'Elanna as the one to plan a surprise party for the Captain...but, as he had recently discovered, people *can* change.

"How about the decorations and party favors?"

"They've been replicated. Seven's gonna bring Naomi and the other kids to help out with that later this afternoon," Harry reported.

"Great. And the gifts?"

"Hidden in Sickbay...where she'll never see them," the Doctor offered. "I'll beam them in once everyone starts decorating."

"Okay...Tom. You've got the music lined up, right?"

"It's all ready. Some great rock 'n roll party mixes. Real lively stuff."

"She'd prefer soft jazz," Chakotay stated absently. All eyes turned towards him...Tom's and B'Elanna's, most curiously.

"How would *you* know?" Tom retorted, feeling insulted at his taste in music.

Chakotay smirked. "If you'd ever paid attention all the times you've had to report to her Ready Room, you would know."

B'Elanna couldn't help but giggle. "He's right, Tom...change the music." She scanned over the PADD once more. "Now, for the most important item of all...Chakotay?" She glanced back in his direction. "You *will* remember to have the Captain here at 1900 hours?"

"I'll do my best," he answered, showing off his devious grin.

"You'll have to do better than that," she teased as the comm system interrupted.

"Commander Chakotay, please report to the Bridge

"Duty calls," Chakotay replied, turning to leave the mess hall. "I'll be back at 1900 with the Captain...as ordered."

"And not a word about this," she yelled, watching as he pretended to button his lips shut as the doors closed behind him. B'Elanna released an audible sigh. "Good. Now we can *really* plan this thing right."

"What's *that* supposed to mean?" Harry asked curiously.

"Chakotay couldn't keep a secret if his life depended on it," B'Elanna commented, resting her elbows on the table and shaking her head. "The Captain will be expecting this, and probably won't even come. So...if we can't get *her* to the party, then we're going to take the *party* to her."

Later that afternoon on the Bridge, Captain Kathryn Janeway stared ahead at the viewscreen, enjoying the swiftly passing stars as thoughts floated through her mind. Only a few more hours, and this day would be over. Not a word from anyone...and that was the way she liked it.

No one needed to know that it was her birthday.

The only disheartening fact was that even Chakotay had forgotten, and for that, she was truly sorry. What could she have possibly done to cause him to forget about her? Kathryn laughed to herself. What *hadn't* she done?

Chakotay sat by her side in silence, as he had all afternoon since he had been called to the Bridge. Occasionally punching a few buttons. Gazing over a few reports. Generally ignoring her. Kathryn hated to be ignored. Especially by Chakotay. That's when it dawned on her...he was deliberately trying not to speak to her because he was hiding something. And *that* was inexcusable.

Her duty shift soon ended, and still not a word out of her first officer. He quietly watched her rise from her command seat and stroll towards the turbo lift. She almost missed the sigh of relief he gave as she walked up the steps. Damn the man, she thought to herself, dying to know what could possibly be keeping him so silent. Finally, she could stand it no longer.

"Commander," Kathryn asked as she stepped onto the turbo lift. "Would you care to join me for dinner?"

A few eyebrows raised on the Bridge at her question, but not enough to warrant any concern. It was common knowledge amongst the crew that she and Chakotay occasionally shared dinner alone. Of course, she had never asked him out in the open before. But it was too late to worry about that now...Kathryn had a mission to accomplish.

"Sure...just let me know when," he finally answered, returning his gaze back to his reports.

"Right now," she declared, placing her hand on the door. "Tuvok, you have the Bridge."

Chakotay was taken back. "You mean...this instant?"

"No time like the present, Commander," she responded, waiting for him to join her.

Chakotay slowly rose from his seat and walked as calmly as possible to the lift. He knew that everyone was staring, and he could only imagine what everyone was thinking. Most likely it was nothing like what *he* was thinking as the doors slid shut and Kathryn slid her arms around his waist, quickly giving the command to halt the lift. He pulled her tightly against his body, his hands caressing her back.

"Happy Birthday, Kathryn," he whispered as he planted kisses in her hair.

"Oh, so you *did* remember!" she answered, her breathing increasing rapidly.

"How could I forget? You left a PADD by my bed this morning..." Chakotay moved his kisses down along her cheek.

"That doesn't mean anything."

"...with today's date highlighted..." he continued, brushing his lips softly against her ear.

"Your point?"

"...and the words 'Kathryn's B-day' typed in just below. Very subtle."

She gasped when his lips made contact against her neck, just below her ear. Her favorite spot for him to nibble. She knew that if they didn't stop this soon, the entire crew would know *exactly* what was going on between them. She pushed him back, needing to get back to the topic at hand...the *real* reason she had summoned him to the lift.

"So what are you hiding from me?"

Chakotay groaned. Always the persistent one, he thought. "I can't tell you. It's a secret," he stated, moving in once again to touch his lips against her skin, this time on the other side of her neck. "Besides, if I tell you there's a surprise party in the mess hall for you in about 30 minutes, you won't go," he whispered into her ear before moving down to nibble at her lobe.

"You're absolutely right. You know how I hate parties," she moaned in response to his kisses. "You don't seriously expect me to go, do you?"

"I promised B'Elanna. Besides...it *is* your birthday. You should at least make an appearance."

"I know I should...I just don't like to celebrate birthdays. They're just a reminder that I'm getting older."

"Well, if you didn't want anyone to know, why did you leave me that little reminder?"

"Because I wanted a nice present from *you*...something much more than these torturing little kisses you're giving me right now," Kathryn answered, giggling.

"Well, I *was* going to save this for after the party," Chakotay said, tracing her lips with his finger, then trailing it down the nape of her neck. He could feel her shuddering beneath his gentle touch as his hand stopped right above the fastener of her jacket. "Maybe 30 minutes will be enough time for a preview."

He quickly pulled her in for a deeper kiss and began to unfasten her jacket. His hands moved inside, cupping her breasts and brushing his thumbs over her already taunt nipples. Kathryn's mind was reeling with pleasure, but she forced herself to stop him before he went any further.

"No...not here," she managed to say, barely able to speak over her rapid heartbeat. "Let's go to my quarters. No need to start any rumors."

"Like there aren't any floating around now, after that little announcement you just made on the Bridge!"

Kathryn smiled at him as she shoved him to the opposite side of the lift and began to rearrange her clothes. Noticing that Chakotay appeared to be collected, she resumed the lift. Exiting on Deck 3, they made their way down the corridor to her quarters, walking swiftly...on opposite sides...trying to keep a respectable distance. Chakotay clenched his fists in frustration. Just a few more yards...

As soon as the doors to Kathryn's quarters hissed shut, she literally attacked him, throwing her arms around his neck and attaching her lips to his. Chakotay fell back against the wall, ferociously tugging at her uniform, wanting to remove it as quickly as possible. Her jacket filtered down to the floor, and he moved their clinging bodies so that Kathryn's back was now against the wall. Mimicking his action, she ripped his jacket and it immediately found hers on the floor.

Before their affectionate display became something much more erotic, B'Elanna ordered the lights on in the Captain's quarters. Kathryn and Chakotay both gasped in horror as they realized that they were not alone.

"SURPRISE!!"

There before Voyager's command team were several members of their crew, all wearing birthday hats, carrying party favors...and sporting large wicked grins.

"Looks like you were right, B'Elanna," Harry said, unable to contain his amusement. "Commander Chakotay really *can't* keep a secret."

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