Getting what you want
by Jinny W
Disclaimer: Paramount owns everything Trek. Bow, scrape, etc. Shakespeare is way out of copyright but for interest sakes the lines quoted come from "The Two Gentlemen of Verona", Act 1, Scene 2.
Summary: Shakespeare, tofu and swimming in January. This is what happens when I try responding to a challenge when I'm on holidays. And yes, for those who've read my earlier Noodle story, this is also stolen from Real Life - these being the holidays I was waiting for so I could be in the right state to eat the noodles in question. This one's for you Cimi - and my apologies for answering this with less than my usual flair (can I blame it on the heat?). I must still owe you a good story ;)
"Can I open my eyes yet?"
"What are you doing out here that's taking so long?"
"If I wanted you to know that I wouldn't have put the blindfold on you, would I?"
"I still don't see why I need the blindfold. I would have kept my eyes shut."
"Kathryn. You've tried to peek every two minutes since I started this."
"I wouldn't have to peek if you just told me what you were doing."
"I have a feeling we've been through this before."
"I'm just curious, that's all."
"Really?" Chakotay's lips crinkled up at the edges. "I bet you were one of those kids who tried to poke all your gifts to guess what was inside them."
Chakotay uttered a short laugh at the sight of Kathryn's pouted lower lip. He walked over to where she stood, leaning in the doorway to their bedroom, looking for all the world like a petulant child.
"I couldn't even trust you to stay in there for half an hour", he chided, taking her by the arm and leading her over to the table.
"I was getting bored", she objected, as he helped her sit down.
"Okay", he said, "I'll give you a clue. Use your nose."
"My nose?" Kathryn's nose began to wrinkle, then she started to sniff the air.
"You're cooking me something," she declared.
"That's a good start. Want to narrow it down a bit?"
Kathryn's forehead puckered with concentration under her blindfold as she tried to identify the aroma.
"It's definitely savoury."
Chakotay stopped stirring and watched her. It had taken him a while to get this meal organised, but Kathryn's pained expression as she tried to guess what he was doing was making the extra effort all the more worthwhile.
"I think I'll have to give up."
"You haven't even suggested any dishes yet."
"But it doesn't really smell like anything I recognise. Except -"
He smiled and began dishing out the meal. "What?"
Kathryn took a few deep breaths. "I don't know. Just for a moment it seemed familiar, that's all."
"That's probably because it is."
Chakotay placed the two plates on the table, then moved towards Kathryn and pushed back her blindfold. She blinked at him, then at the plates.
"Crispy fried noodles!" she cried.
He beamed at her, then leaned over to gently extract the blindfold from where it had tangled in her hair. "The one and only."
"How did you learn to cook these? Where? And when?"
Chakotay threw the blindfold down on the end of the table and held up a finger. "First, taste them."
"Alright". Kathryn picked up her fork and scooped some of the noodles into her mouth. She chewed slowly, letting the food slide over her tongue as she measured the flavours against her memory. She looked up at him in amazement.
"These are perfect. Absolutely perfect."
He offered her a mock bow. "Thank you, mi'lady".
Kathryn gesticulated with her fork. "They taste just like I remember them". She began to enthusiastically cram the meal into her mouth, talking as she ate. "Where did you get the recipe?"
Chakotay sank into the chair opposite her. "I was going to wait until your birthday to cook you this, but I couldn't keep it a secret that long." He picked up his own fork and began eating, a little more decorously than Kathryn, who was energetically shovelling the noodles into her mouth.
"I contacted the restaurant that you mentioned last year, that night when you were homesick. The one in San Francisco."
Kathryn stopped eating and glanced up. "The noodle bar?"
"Uh-huh. Seeing as ours is a special case, they offered to send me the recipe."
"I don't believe it."
"Well, it's true. You're quite the celebrity."
Kathryn shook her fork in the air. "No, I mean that you went to all this trouble."
He shrugged. "You said you missed them. Besides," he went on, "'They do not love that do not show their love'."
She smiled. "That's very poetic. Where does it come from?"
"It's Shakespeare. From 'The Two Gentlemen of Verona', if I remember correctly."
Kathryn leaned over and grabbed his hand, squeezing it quickly. "Thank you."
Chakotay grinned. "I won't tell you what the play's next line is then."
She let his hand go and quickly poked out her tongue. "Oh go on. I don't think I can stand any more secrets today."
"'O, they love least that let men known their love'," he recited.
"I suppose there's some context for that contradiction."
"Probably", Chakotay admitted, "but I don't remember it."
They both ate in silence for a few more minutes.
"What's this?" Kathryn asked suddenly, holding up her fork, which now had a white cube speared onto one of its tines.
"Otherwise known as bean curd. It was in the recipe they sent me."
Kathryn shook her head vigorously. "Not in my recipe. I just used to order it with mixed vegetables." She regarded the cube suspiciously.
"It's very good for you", Chakotay insisted.
"So is leola root, according to Neelix".
"Tofu tastes better," he countered. "No, actually scratch that, it has no taste."
"No taste?" she raised an eyebrow dubiously. "That's not such a great advertisement, Chakotay. Next you'll be reciting its vitamin and mineral content and I'll be forced to dump the whole meal in your general direction."
He shook his head. "No, I mean it has no flavour of its own, but it absorbs flavour from around it."
Kathryn nibbled the corner of the cube carefully, then swallowed the rest.
"Not bad", she admitted.
"I'm not surprised", he said. "Some cultures on earth have been cooking with it for centuries. They do know what they're doing, you know."
"Sorry", she flashed him a grin. "I've just never been a fan of adventurous eating."
"I wouldn't call bean curd that adventurous", he replied. "It's not like gagh."
"You mean it isn't going to wriggle off my plate? I'm disappointed."
"I can make you worms next week if you like", he offered.
"You're too good to me".
Kathryn finished eating and put her fork down with a sigh. "That was wonderful, thank you Chakotay."
"You're welcome", he replied, putting his own fork down and glancing around the room. "Want to go for a swim?" he asked suddenly.
Kathryn frowned. "Where did that come from?"
He shrugged. "I just feel like it, that's all."
"In the middle of January? The water will be freezing."
"But you just ate", she objected.
"Then I'll walk for a bit first."
"It's too cold for that, too."
"Kathryn", he said sternly, "what's the point of us having a house right next to the beach if we aren't going to take advantage of it?"
"I didn't think it meant I was obliged to swim even when I had to crack through ice to do it," she grumbled.
"You're being overly enthusiastic," she shot back, even as she stood up and pushed back her chair.
"Come for a walk with me, Kath", he said, tugging on her hand. "Please?"
Kathryn sighed. "I guess I couldn't ever resist you in the end, could I?"
Chakotay led her out of the door, still firmly holding her hand. "Nope", he said.
As he closed the door behind them Kathryn took a deep breath, the taste of salt tickling her throat while the winter wind snapped at her loosely flowing hair.
"In the end", she said, looking towards the expanse of ocean that greeted them, "we both got exactly what we wanted."
"Even the noodles", he commented, lacing his fingers tightly through hers.
"Even the noodles", she echoed, as she led him down the path to the beach. "So I guess it must be a perfect ending then".
Chakotay flashed her a smile. "Something like that", he said.
~ Jinny's stories ~ feed the author ~