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“Much better…” Kathryn exhaled slowly, taking a large swig of her newly acquired firewhiskey, “I thought I’d never get that cloying taste out of my mouth.”

“You have to be the only person I’ve ever met who hates butterbeer,” Chakotay chuckled.

“It literally tastes like someone melted a pound of sugar into a pound of butter,” she shook her head, sending the half of her hair not currently pulled back over her shoulder and distractingly exposing her neck, “Besides, I didn’t abandon six stacks of essays desperately in need of grading to go to Hogsmead in order to indulge in something the students can get in the Great Hall.”

“The essays will still be there when you get back, Kathryn,” he reassured her, though he wasn’t sure that was actually a comforting thought. Spirits knew he didn’t want to think about his own mountains of papers to grade.

“We agreed no teacher talk tonight, didn’t we?” she nodded.

“I recall someone telling me she was a champion wizarding chess player,” he reminded her.

“Are you asking for an ass kicking mister?” she grinned back at him, biting her lip crookedly.

“How do you know you are going to win?” he leaned in slightly across the table, “Maybe I’ll surprise you.”

“By all means,” she dared him, “Surprise me.”

The urge to take that as an invitation to lean in a little further and kiss her tempting lips are strong, but he’d only just managed to arrange for her to meet him for this little evening get together and he didn’t want to push his luck.

“I feel like we should have some sort of stakes for this wager,” he said instead, leaning back.

“It’s your funeral,” she raised an eye bow in challenge.

“Winner gets to pick the location of next week’s dinner,” he suggested, embedding the idea of this becoming a ritual into her mind.

“I hope you like goblin cuisine,” she teased.