It was Christmas morning and Bloomington was covered with snow. The Janeway's farm-house was silent except for the light cracking noise that the wood made in the old fireplace.
Gretchen, who laid awake in the bed she shared with her husband, decided to get up. She grabbed her robe and put it on while walking down the stairs. Before she arrived to the kitchen, the smell of coffee surprised her. She walked in and turned up the light. She got startled when she saw her daughter standing in front of the window.
"Katie! What are you doing here, in the dark? It's early."
Kathryn turned her head to look at her mother and smiled.
"I couldn't sleep and it's snowing. I was just enjoying the view."
"Are you alright?" Gretchen asked, stroking her hair.
"I am." Kathryn answered, smiling, before kissing her mother's cheek. "Merry Christmas, Ma."
"Merry Christmas, honey."
Kathryn refilled her cup and poured some coffee for her mother before they sat down on the kitchen's table, one in front of the other.
"You look sad." Gretchen said after observing her daughter.
"I'm fine, Ma. Stop worrying."
"Something is bothering you, Katie."
"Mom, stop it, please."
Gretchen wasn't convinced but decided to forget de issue. Kathryn, uncomfortable with her mother's stare at her, changed the topic of their conversation.
"Who's coming to lunch?"
"Too much people." Gretchen laughed. "Your grandmother, your two aunts and your uncle with their loved ones, your cousins and the kids."
"What's that? Fifteen people?"
"Sometimes I think that you're a bit crazy, Ma." Kathryn said, grinning at her mother.
A squeal and a loud laughter alerted them that the rest of the family was awake. Edward entered the kitchen carrying a giggling Phoebe on his back.
"Merry Christmas!!!" They both shouted.
Edward dropped Phoebe, carefully. He went to kiss good morning his wife while his youngest daughter embraced Kathryn in a crushing hug.
"Merry Christmas, dorkface!" Phoebe shouted, again.
"Merry Christmas, idiot!" Kathryn replied with equal enthusiasm.
"You have to call each other names, even at Christmas?" Edward said to them. His daughters only laughed.
Phoebe released her sister and ran to her mother. Edward used the opportunity to hug his oldest daughter and to kiss her cheek.
"Merry Christmas, Goldenbird."
"Merry Christmas, Daddy."
The tension between father and daughter, present on those last months, seemed to have vanished.
"Well! Now that everybody's awake, let's make some breakfast!"
After an amazing Christmas breakfast, they went to the living room to open their presents. The big tree shone under the day light while a lot of carefully wrapped boxed laid under it. Phoebe squealed in delight with the expensive and large set of paints that her sister gave her and almost died when her parents showed her the newly reformed barn that contained an small studio for her to paint. Kathryn received a wonderful painting of them made by Phoebe and a new computer. Edward and Gretchen also opened their gifts.
After they cleaned the room, both sisters sat down on the couch while their parents went upstairs. They returned with a big box wrapped in bright red paper. They left it on the coffee table and sat down on one of the armchairs. Kathryn and Phoebe looked at them, intrigued.
"Here's your last gift. Be careful!"
Phoebe unwrapped it and Kathryn opened the box. Startled, she jumped back when something moved inside. Her parents laughed at her. She looked again and picked the little puppy that was inside. Phoebe, quickly, moved to pet the dog's head.
"I thought you didn't want more dogs at home, Ma." Phoebe said.
"I know, but your father convinced me."
"She's lovely!" Kathryn exclaimed. "Thank you!"
"You're welcome, dear."
At mid-morning, Gretchen was busy in the kitchen preparing the family meal while her daughters played with their new puppy. Phoebe got up from the floor and stared down at her sister.
"Kathryn, for God' sake, go and call him! I can't stand your sad loving eyes anymore!" Phoebe exclaimed, exasperated.
"What are you talking about?" Kathryn asked looking up to see her.
"You look miserable."
"Thank you very much."
"Call him, I'll take the munchkin here to the kitchen with me."
Kathryn got up from the floor and went to her room to make the call. Phoebe picked the puppy up and went to the kitchen.
"Hi darling. Where's your sister?"
"Is she alright? She seemed sad."
"She's calling Will. I think she misses him."
Gretchen didn't reply to her daughter, her head had too many thoughts on it to keep with the conversation. Phoebe looked at her mother, amused.
"Ma?" Phoebe asked.
"Can you keep an eye on this? I'll be right back."
Kathryn sat on her bed with her new computer in her lap, waiting for somebody to answer her call. A woman, in her late forties, appeared on the screen. Kathryn, suddenly, sat straight on the bed and placed a timid smile on her face.
"Good morning. I'm Kathryn Janeway."
"Oh! Good morning, dear! And Merry Christmas!"
"Thank you, ma'am. Merry Christmas."
"What can I do for you?"
"I'd like to speak with Will, if he's available."
"Of course! Wait a minute while I get him."
In less than thirty seconds the sleepy face of her boyfriend filled the screen.
"Kitty-Kat! What a surprise! Merry Christmas, love."
"Merry Christmas. I just wanted to see you for a few minutes. I miss you." She said, cheerless.
"I miss you too, a lot. Why don't you come over? We were about to have some breakfast."
"I can't. My family is coming over for lunch."
"Go." A voice said from Kathryn's door.
Kathryn's head turned at warp speed to look at the person standing there.
"Mom! Where you eavesdropping?" Kathryn asked angrily.
"It wasn't my intention."
"Wait a minute, Big Guy." Kathryn said before leaving the computer on her bed while she got up and went to her mother.
"Go spend some time with him and be back for lunch."
"Are you sure? I thought that you didn't like him." She said, whispering so Will could not hear her.
"I don't, but neither I like the sad face I've been seeing all morning. Go before I change my mind!"
"Thank you, Ma!!!"
Kathryn hugged her briefly and returned to her call.
"I'll be there in half an hour."
"Perfect! I'll pick you up at the transport station. See you in a few minutes."
"I can't wait. I love you, Big Guy."
"I love you too, Kitty-Kat!"
Kathryn arrived at Anchorage's transport station and saw Will waiting for her. Quickly, she jumped down the platform and threw herself into his arms. Will caught her and kissed her waiting lips.
"Hi!" Kathryn said, shy.
"Hi." Will kissed her again before taking her hand and walking out the station. "Ready to meet my family?"
"My parents and my grandparents. Nothing to worry about. They already love you."
They got into the hovercar and after fifteen minutes, they parked in front of Will's house. They got off and walked, hand in hand, to the front door. Kathryn was nervous so Will stopped before entering the house.
"Easy for you to say."
"They won't be worse than your father." He said, grinning.
Kathryn punched him in the arm but laughed too. She gave him a quick peck on the lips and smiled.
Will opened the door and they both entered before he closed it again. They left their coats, gloves and hat at the entrance hall and went to the living room.
"We're here!" Will yelled as they approached the room.
"We know! There's no need to yell, William." An elderly feminine voice said.
"Sorry, Grandma!" He yelled again.
They arrived to the room. Will's grandmother was shaking her head in amusement while his grandfather smiled. Will's father was sitting on an old armchair and her mother sat, in front of them, on a chair. Everybody stood up when they saw them. His parents approached the young couple.
"Mom, Dad, she's Kathryn Janeway, my girlfriend. Kitty-Kat, my father Kyle and my mother, Betty."
"Pleased to meet you, Mr. and Mrs. Riker."
"Us too. But call us Kyle and Betty, honey. We're not that old." Will's mother said.
"I'll keep that in mind." Kathryn answered, smiling shyly.
Will took her hand again and went to the oldest couple.
"Kathryn, my grandma Silvia and my grandpa John."
"Pleased to meet you, dear." Silvia said while shaking Kathryn's hand.
"Ah! Call me Silvia, honey, or Grandma if you want!"
"She's prettier than you made us believe, Will." John said.
Kathryn blushed while Will laughed and kissed her cheek. Betty approached them and put her hand on Kathryn's shoulder, giving her a light comforting squeeze.
"Would you like some coffee, Kathryn?" Betty asked.
"It would be lovely, thanks."
"How do you like it?"
"A girl after my own heart." Silvia said.
"Will, why don't you show her the rest of the house while I make a pot?"
The young couple left the main room and went to make the tour. Will showed her the rest of the house, leaving his room for the last stop. They arrived and Will opened the door. He let Kathryn enter first and he followed, closing the door behind him. Kathryn stood in the middle of the room, admiring it. Will put his arms around her waist. She turned to look at him and caressed his cheek. Will, seizing the opportunity, kissed her with all the passion he had. After a few seconds, Kathryn intensified it and put her arms around his head so she could stand closely to him. Their tongues played together while Will's hands traveled down Kathryn's buttocks. Their need to breath overpowered them and, slowly, they broke the kiss.
"Do we have time?" Will asked.
"I don't think so, Big Guy." Kathryn answered, laughing. "Your family is downstairs."
"I don't care." Will said before he began to kiss her neck.
"Will, I do." Will continued, as if he hadn't heard her. Still laughing, she grabbed his hands. "Will, stop!"
"Ok, ok. I'll stop."
They left their loving embrace and sat down on his bed. Will reached down his pillow and pulled out a flat green gift box with a white bow decorating its top.
"I have something for you."
He handed the box to Kathryn who, like a little girl, took it and got to work quickly to open it. Inside there was a wrapped rectangular gift, an envelope and an small box.
"What first?" Kathryn asked, excited.
"The wrapped one."
Kathryn carefully picked it up and unwrapped it. Awed, she took a look at the photo frame and at what was inside it: it was a photo of them, at the beach, looking intensely at each other with their noses nearly touching, both with big happy smiles on their faces.
"Oh! It's lovely, Will! I love it! I'll put it on my desk at home and then I'll bring it with me to the Academy."
"I'm glad you like it. Next one!" He said, clapping his hands.
Kathryn took the envelope next. Inside, there were two travel tickets, simulating old fashioned ones, for a weekend vacation on Risa. She, without thinking, jumped onto him and kissed him.
"Will! It's wonderful!! A whole weekend to ourselves in a tropical paradise!"
"It's my gain, too. I'll get to see you in a sexy bikini ... Or wearing nothing at all."
"Pig." She said, laughing.
They accommodated themselves on the bed, laying down next to the other. Kathryn took a little box from her front pocket and gave it to Will.
"Open mine." She said.
Will, excited, opened the box but was a bit surprised when he only saw two chips. Kathryn, quickly, explained it.
"The green chip is a new holoprogram, made specially for you. You told me you always wanted to be able to play your favorite movie and there weren't any holonovels about it. With help of a friend, we designed and programmed it."
"Really! It's awesome! I'm dying to try it! I'm gonna book a holosuite and we can go together! The main character has a girlfriend ..." Will said, grinning.
"The yellow one is a yearly season ticket for all the baseball games you want. It's for two persons so you can take whoever you want with you."
"I have an amazing girlfriend. Thank you, Kitty-Kat."
"Come on! Open your last one."
Kathryn picked the little box and unwrapped it before she opened its lid. Inside there was an small circular silver pendant. She took it, carefully, and looked at it. On one side there were two letters engraved, a K and a W. On the other side, there was a date: 08/20/2355.
"Our first date." Kathryn said, smiling, after reading it.
"Yes. The night I realized that I was falling in love with you. I saw the pendant and thought that it was small enough for you to wear under your uniform, if you want."
"It's perfect. Help me put it on, please."
Kathryn gave the pendant to Will and they both sat up. Kathryn pulled away her hair and Will put it around her neck before clasping it. Then, he kissed the spot just above it. Kathryn turned to look at him and claimed his lips. They fell down onto the bed and continued with the kisses, laying down with Will partially on Kathryn. They didn't hear the knock on the door, neither the person who opened it and walked into the room.
"You! Knock it off! The coffee's getting cold and we're waiting for you two."
They both stopped abruptly and looked to the person who was talking to them. Kathryn, embarrassed, hid her face on Will's neck.
"Grandma!" Will exclaimed.
"Go help your mother. I'll bring Kathryn down when she loses the blush running up her face."
Will kissed Kathryn one more time before getting up and running down the stairs. Kathryn breathed deep and got up too.
"I'm sorry." Kathryn said, shyly.
"For what, Katie? Can I call you Katie?" Silvia asked.
"Don't be sorry, dear. Young love is a wonderful thing."
"Yes, it is." Kathryn said, grinning.
"Promise me one thing." Silvia said with a serious voice.
"Yes?" Kathryn asked a bit scared.
"You'll call me if he treats you badly, so I can kick his ass."
An smile appeared on both women faces and Silvia put her arm around Kathryn's shoulders.
After a wonderful morning with the Rikers, Kathryn had to return home. Will decided to accompany her to Bloomington so he could spend more time with her. They walked from the transport station to her house and stopped at the beginning of the front path.
"Thanks for spending the morning with me. You made my day."
"You too. I had a wonderful time, Big Guy, and I loved your family."
Kathryn hid her face on Will's chest so he wouldn't be able to see the few tears that ran down her face. Will hugged her for a few seconds before he grabbed, carefully, Kathryn's chin and lifted her head. With a loving touch, he removed the tears.
"Kitty-Kat, what's wrong?" Will asked, concerned.
"I don't know! I don't wanna go inside. I want to spend the rest of the day with you."
"I'd like that, too. But your family is waiting and they want to spend some time with you too."
"Yeah, I suppose."
"I have an idea. I'll pick you up tomorrow morning and we'll spend the whole day together. What do you think?"
"We can go to South America."
"It's a date." Kathryn smiled at him. "You have a lovely smile, Kitty-Kat. I don't like to see you cry."
Kathryn rested her arms on his shoulders and stood on her tiptoes to give him a peck on the lips. Will put his hands on her waits and stood as close to her as possible. They kissed again, hungrily, until they heard a woman clearing her throat. Kathryn looked to her right and saw her grandmother staring at them.
"Today must be the day."
"Of what?" Will asked Kathryn.
"Of getting caught by our grandmothers."
They broke their embrace and the elderly woman approached them.
"Hi Grandma!" Kathryn said, cheerfully, trying to mask her embarrassment.
"Is he your boyfriend?"
"Yes. Will, meet my grandmother, Kathryn Andrews. Grandma, he's Will Riker."
"Pleased to meet you, ma'am." Will said.
"Likewise." Kathryn's grandmother answered. "Your mother told me but I couldn't believe it."
"Well, it's true." Young Kathryn said.
"He seems to be a fine young man, Katie. I don't understand why your mother ..."
"Grandma! Let's go inside." Kathryn interrupted before her grandmother could end her sentence.
Will laughed and received a light punch on his arm as a reward. Kathryn gave him a last peck on the lips before taking her grandmother's arm.
"I'll see you tomorrow, Big Guy. Love you."
"Love you too, Kitty-Kat."