Disclaimer: I do not own Star Trek Voyager, I do however own this plot and the original characters.
A/N: Welcome to the first chapter of my rewrite of Irrelevance. This story is the promised revision of the story I wrote many years ago and never finished, with techniques and skills I've developed further over the years. Hopefully it will make more sense, flow smoother, be longer, and be more realistic. This story begins 10 years after End Game, the last episode of Voyager. There may be some subtle and not so subtle changes, but rest assured, it is all for the greater good. Be warned, I've become very adept at writing intense situations... and I have a great fondness for tension. I hope everyone enjoys this. Shout-outs will be located at the bottom.
Please note! I decided to remove all the warnings from the "adult" chapters and give everyone a general warning now. This story has adult content and mature themes in it, so use your own discretion when reading.
Quick steps fell upon the carpeted floor of a massive room, the throngs of people rushing with excitement.
Cadet Naomi Wildman's slender fingers gripped her orders as she walked through the registration section of Starfleet Academy. She had just said her temporary goodbyes to her parents, her newly discovered father having almost bawled at how proud he was, his cranial ridges turning a dark purple with the intensity of the emotions. The memory of kissing and hugging them goodbye was fresh on her mind, but she could not allow it to overpower her. She was finally here!
Naomi could finally start her much desired education as a Starfleet Officer and become, not the assistant of the Captain, but the actual Captain of Voyager! It had been her dream since she could remember and had done everything she could to prepare herself for this moment. Naomi knew it was going to be hard work, it was going to take everything she had in her to excel in every one of her classes, to study harder than ever before, and to focus with everything she had. She couldn't allow anything to distract her from her mission.
Naomi glanced up at the vast reception area, recognizing some architecture from her beloved ship and felt a pang of loss without the comfort of her friends and family that had once formed the motley crew of Voyager. Soon, she told herself, soon she would be back and she would use it to find a way to unite each quadrant of the Milkyway. She knew it was a high ambition, but something told her that it was possible, it would take time, but she would see her old friends again. Naomi took a deep breath for courage and scaled the steps to the widely populated reception desk.
"Excuse me!" "Pardon me!" "Oh, I'm sorry! I didn't see your... third leg?" Naomi blushed in embarrassment as she navigated her way past the multitude of other students, humanoid and not so much, trying not to make enemies before even starting her first class. She felt the beginnings of panic seize her heart at the sheer amount of people around her. She had learned to deal with a lot of people when arriving on Earth, but this was a bit more than the scant one hundred forty plus from the small ship she grew up on. After ten years, it still sometimes got to her. She wouldn't let it bother her though, not today! She knew that in no time she would adapt – to take a phrase from her old mentor – and would make plenty of friends.
Releasing her breath and her frazzled nerves, she smiled at the elderly woman at the vacant spot at the desk before he and presented her data-pad. "Good morning Ma'am," she greeted politely. "My name is Naomi Wildman, nice to meet you!"
The woman took the PADD, giving the fresh green cadet a knowing smile and looked over the information, then nodded sagely back at the young woman. "Good to meet you, Cadet Wildman. We've been expecting your arrival. You will find your educational PADDs and uniforms already at your dorm. Just take the turbo lift to the third floor and head down junction C to the freshmen wing. Here is the list of your classes and where they are located," the woman informed, handing Naomi a PADD and went back to her work. Naomi smiled appreciatively and turned in the direction of the turbo lifts. She hoped that this semester was as exciting and fulfilling as her dear Captain had told her it would be.
Five years after Voyager had returned to the Alpha Quadrant, Naomi had tried to use her rapidly maturing physical and mental capacity to join Starfleet at the standard age of twelve.
Of course, her mother and father were at odds with each other when she brought this up. Samantha had been firm in her desire to keep Naomi away from Starfleet for at least another five years. In her mind, her daughter still needed to adapt to Earth, its customs, the people, and the laws before tackling such a thing, not to mention that she believed she had no business joining at such a young age. Her father, Greskrendtregk, on the other hand had nearly thrown a fit, arguing that Naomi was already at the same level as humans of her appearance, and that his kind joined the adults at a much younger age than her. Samantha had insisted that she was also part human and had to adhere to their ways while on Earth.
Suffice it to say, Naomi hadn't brought it back up until two years later, with the now Admiral Kathryn Janeway...
Three years ago...
Naomi walked into the office, the sweet smell of coffee all but smacking her in the face as soon as the door slid open. She breathed it in and smiled wistfully. "If you like I could make you some too." Naomi opened her eyes to see Kathryn giving her a fond smile.
"Thank you, Capt- oh I mean Admiral Janeway but no, that's okay, I was just reminiscing."
"Please, just Kathryn, or Kate if you're feeling brave," Kathryn winked playfully.
"How about Aunt Kathy?" Naomi grinned, remembering hearing the nickname from Icheb's stories of Q-Junior.
"Now don't start!" Kathryn tutted and circled her desk to give the girl a hug. "How is my Captain's Assistant doing these days?" she asked affectionately, pulling away to appraise the young woman. "Look at you, you're just about as tall me! You're growing up just as lovely as your mother," the older woman all but gushed.
"Thank you, Kate," Naomi blushed in embarrassment. "I'm actually here to talk about something serious, if you don't mind?"
"Of course not, have a seat," Kathryn led her to the couches and took a sip of her coffee before setting it down and giving her her complete attention.
"You know I've been trying to get into Starfleet Academy for a little while now, right?" Naomi began, wringing her hands anxiously. She might have looked like she was well into her late teenage years, but at the moment she certainly felt like her standard age. Naomi knew she had no reason to be tense about the subject around Kathryn, but it was something she had been arguing about with her parents since practically meeting her father and it was dear to her heart.
"Of course, how could I forget? Your parents were practically at war with each other in my office over it!" Kathryn laughed softly. She was of course not laughing at the fact Naomi's parents were fighting, but rather at how much the two agreed with each other but fought for their own opinions anyway for what was best for their little girl. Even so, their love for each other and for their daughter was so clear that it was amusing to see how much they wanted to give in to the others point of view. Quite the show, really.
Naomi nodded, understanding what her old Captain meant. "Well... I was wondering, actually, if I could... possibly get your blessing to join? I mean- I know fourteen is still too young for most humans but as you can see, I do not look like a typical fourteen year old. I don't feel so much like a teenager anymore either. I just..." Naomi sighed, slouching over to rub the tension from her neck. "I just don't want to be left behind, you know?"
"Naomi, sweetheart," Kathryn slid over to next the girl and put her arm comfortingly over her shoulders. "Who told you you'd be left behind? Sometimes taking it slow while yes, can be frustrating, can also open the way to new experiences and opportunity to polish skills. I know you have your heart set on joining as soon as you can, but you really shouldn't let these short years with your parents go, just like that. Take the time to get to know them better, to learn new things, hone your knowledge over all that you can before joining, that way you'll be ahead of your peers. I know you're impatient, but if you just take a deep breath to clear your mind, you'll see the logic behind it. Trust me," Kathryn smiled reassuringly.
Naomi did as advised and cleared her thoughts, trying to see Kathryn's point of view and found that yes, her words had a merit of rationality and logic. "Alright..." she sighed wearily. "I suppose I can give it a few more years." She grinned when Kathryn hugged her tighter.
"Attah-girl! I know for a fact that once you join, you'll put the Star in Starfleet and make us all proud!" The former Captain grinned.
Naomi had been so engrossed in her memory that she failed to notice where she was going after stepping out of the turbo-lift. Too late she noticed that someone was in front of her, and collided with them, causing the PADDs she was lightly holding to spill on the floor, snapping her back to the present. "Oh!" she exclaimed, reaching down to pick them up. That's when she noticed another set of hands with hers, scrambling to pic up the devices before someone in that busy hall trampled over them.
"Sorry about that! I was in such a big hurry to meet my new professors I didn't pay attention to where I was going!" The voice of a young man sounded before her.
Naomi looked up to see a young Bajoran with short black hair and beautiful silver-gray eyes smiling sheepishly. She smiled back at him and shook her head, dismissing the apology. It was her own fault for getting so lost within her memories. "No, it's not your fault, it's quite alright. What's your name? Are you new here too?" She asked him curiously.
The young man grinned in response. He stood straight with her and handed her the PADDs he had helped her pick up as he answered. "No actually, this is my second term! My name is Kav'ain. What about you? Is this yours too? Or your third term?" Kav'ain asked.
Naomi smiled knowingly and shook his offered hand. "I'm Naomi Wildman and no, I'm actually a freshmen," she told him, understanding why he would think she would be in a year or two above him.
Kav'ain scratched his head nervously. "Oh, um..."
"I'm half Ktarian, I look older than I am," she said as an explanation and shrugged. This wasn't the first time this 'issue' came up and was the biggest source of frustration growing up.
"Oh! That makes sense! I know a couple Ktarians, they're a pretty mysterious people," he nodded in understanding. "So you're part human then?"
"Yep," Naomi said, going as far as popping the 'p'. "I have a feeling this won't be the first time I explain it," she scrunched her nose playfully.
"Nah, you'll be fine!" Kav'ain laughed, his eyes sparkling with mirth. Naomi smiled, happy that she had managed to make a friend already.
"Well, in the spirit of being fine, would you mind giving me tips on any professors you know? Who's who and which professors are lenient and which aren't? You know, so I'm not totally lost and all..." Naomi asked with anticipation, leaning forward on her heels.
Kav'ain smiled and nodded. "Sure, but I'm sorry to say, I don't know a whole lot of instructors yet."
Naomi shook her head. "That's okay. Anything you can tell me would be greatly appreciated."
Kav'ain nodded. "Professor Barclay is great if you take Historical Culture, he only stutters most of the time," he grinned. Naomi smiled, remembering Barclay pretty well. He had been a huge part of getting Voyager home, after all. "Professor Markus is awesome if you take Physics, though he tends to shout a lot. Stay away from Professor Sato if you need to take Linguistics, as I hear it she comes from a long line Linguists and she sort of thinks she's entitled and all-knowing." Kav'ain rolled his eyes. "The other introductory professors are pretty okay. I'm afraid that's about all I know," Kav'ain explained.
Naomi nodded in understanding. "What about Astrometrics?"
"Professor Matthews is a pretty... well, old guy, a bit bored with his posting and a bit senile if you ask around," Kav'ain grimaced. "I don't tend to believe rumors, but I did hear from a credible source that he's kind of monotone."
Naomi sighed inwardly and reviewed her PADD. Astrometrics was her first class, she didn't want to make a bad first impression but if the professor was as boring as he sounded, she might just fall asleep! Unfortunately, the computer announced that first period classes were beginning so she was unable to properly read over her other classes and only read enough to know where her first class was located.
Naomi was happy to find her new friend running with her to the same class. They smiled at each other and dodged students as they traversed the halls. As they entered the classroom they noticed several other cadets already there and chatting away. Apparently the professor was going to be a bit late, but that made settling in all that much easier. Naomi sat down at the front, in front of Kav'ain and turned to greet the other students just as the door opened and a short, balding man in uniform walked in.
"Good morning Cadets. I'm sorry to say Professor Matthews was reassigned to another academy in the Alpha Quadrant," the man began, ignoring the relieved sighs from the students. "I would like to introduce your new Astrometrics Professor, Icheb Hansen," he announced and stepped aside for said younger man to walk in. Naomi dropped her data-pad in shock as her long-time childhood friend entered and smiled tightly at his class.
Memories flashed before her eyes of the handful of times she had seen Icheb since reaching Earth. One in particular stood out, during a small reunion party with Voyager, five years after their arrival. Naomi had been going through the party and getting hugs and kisses from all her old friends when she noticed him, dressed in a Starfleet uniform, in deep conversation with Tuvok. He had been getting advice from the Vulcan on his upcoming 5-year mission since being promoted. Naomi remembered feeling an odd sensation of warmth flood her when he turned to her and smiled. She wasn't dumb, she knew that she had developed a crush on her old tutor, she just hadn't realized how long she had considered the Brunali ex-Borg as "cute".
Seeing him now, though, more than just fond memories of growing up with him on Voyager came to mind. 'Icheb! Since when did he have a last name? ...Hansen... Hansen... that rings a bell,' Naomi frowned to herself but was distracted as he walked to the middle of the front row, giving her a spectacular view of exactly how much he'd grown since she last saw him. 'Was he always this tall? He looks so...-' she blinked, unable to place words correctly, '-...grown up!' Naomi thought, gazing in astonishment at the once slim but now apparently broad-shouldered Brunali she had been friends with ten years ago. Even during that reunion he had been lanky. No doubt his term on his first ship since Voyager had forced him to develop over the years.
'I wonder if he remembers me?' she thought, hoping in the back of her mind that he wouldn't consider her like his little sister or little friend anymore, little anything really. Naomi might have been in her late teens, but it was only in the chronological sense. In actuality, Naomi was far beyond in her 'years' though she had to relent to her mother's wishes to give herself a bit more time before she joined. In any case, Naomi hoped he would not still consider her the same as she was on Voyager. Blinking back to reality, Naomi smiled at the sound of his familiar soothing voice as he addressed the class.
Wait, soothing? What on Earth was she on? Naomi had always enjoyed the sound of his voice when he tutored her, it had a sort of rich tenor to it when he spoke in a low tone. Even when he had been in his teens his voice had been deep, specifically when he was speaking softly. Most of their lessons together had been with him sitting either in front of beside her, pointing something out or simply supervising her. When she was young, Naomi had never paid much attention to the quality of his voice, focusing rather on what he was saying, but now? For some reason, the second he spoke in that familiar soft tone, she found herself captivated by it. Naomi wasn't sure if that was a good thing or not, hoping it wouldn't serve as a distraction to her. The last thing she needed was to fail the class because she was too wrapped up listening to him!
Brushing the obviously ridiculous thought from her mind, Naomi instead focused on his words. "Good morning class," he began, looking all of his students over. "I look forward to getting to know all of you," Icheb said and glanced at the young woman with Ktarian features curiously before turning to set his instructional PADDS down. Recognition had stirred in him for a moment, but it couldn't possibly be who he though it was, could she?. 'If it is her, she's grown far more than the last time I saw her... but it couldn't be, could it?' he thought with a frustrated inward frown.
Part of him hoped it wasn't who he was thinking of, hoped it was another Ktarian or half Ktarian that popped up now and then in Starfleet, because it if it was her... that would mean he was in trouble. Something had tugged at him when he laid eyes on her elegant features. She had a certain attractive confidence, and intelligent way she carried herself, had a lithe frame, enhanced by a strong form accentuating her breathtaking figure, delicate facial features matured gracefully, not to mention strikingly silky looking red hair. It couldn't be her because he found this student entirely too alluring, and as an instructor that was bad news.
Icheb knew it wasn't ethical to focus on the attractiveness of his students, but something about her seemed to make his normally logical mind lose coherency a little. He shook the unproductive thoughts away, deciding to ignore the issue for the time being and picked the right PADD, giving the device direction to send his syllabus to the students' computers. A hand went up and he turned to the student, a young woman with dark eyes and caramel skin. Icheb regretted not studying the name charts before he started. "Yes cadet?" He asked settling for the easiest way of addressing her, resolving to learn their names later. Surely his precise and logically written introduction and expectations wouldn't be a cause for concern?
The young woman stood and smiled at her instructor. "Good morning, Sir. We were wondering… Is it true you were on Voyager?" She asked hopefully.
Ah, so it was one of those questions.
Icheb smiled at the girl patiently and nodded. "Yes, that is correct," he answered curtly.
Naomi shifted in her seat, trying to hide her surprise. Not only did Icheb smile more than she had ever seen him do so on Voyager, but he was perfectly fine telling the class – who were clearly about to explode with questions – that he was on the famous lost ship of the Federation. Would wonders ever cease?
The girl glanced at her class mates who gave her a look that let Icheb know there was more than one question. He had a feeling he knew the next question though. "Is it also true, Sir, that you were once Borg? I-I hope you don't mind me asking?" The cadet asked cautiously. "I mean- it's okay- you don't have to answer! I- we were wondering, it's just that um... I'll have a seat now..." the girl rushed to explain, flustered over her nerves and the peer pressure from her friends. Icheb set his PADD down and turned in her direction, giving her a Borg-like analytical scrutiny. The young woman squirmed under the intensity in his scrutiny and sat down with a whoosh of her uniform.
Icheb smiled apologetically before answering in a knowing manner. He knew it was cruel to subject her to his 'Borg glare' as it had become nicknamed during his time at the academy, but hopefully people wouldn't bring the subject up like this again now. Icheb didn't want to have to stop his lessons every other minute to answer irrelevant questions.
"It's quite alright Cadet. Yes, I was once part Borg, long ago, before I was rescued. Do not be afraid to speak up in my class… or let your peers pressure you to ask anything," he gave the other students a tolerant look before smiling at the poor girl reassuringly. She seemed to relax in her seat so he went on, returning to his instructional PADD and began his lesson, aware that his every move was followed by the eyes of the beautiful Ktarian girl. Icheb tried not to squirm like an adolescent, tried to pretend he had no idea who she was and didn't find her captivating.
Meanwhile, Kav'ain thought for a moment, having been mostly lost in thought after their professor confirmed having been a Borg once. He remembered hearing about Voyager and the crew who returned home. Among them was an Ensign Samantha Wildman, and she had a feeling his new friend was the Ensign's daughter. His curiosity got the best of him and he found himself tapping Naomi's shoulder. The girl turned slightly to give him her attention and a raised eyebrow. "Hey, your last name is Wildman right? As in Ensign Samantha Wildman?" The names of the Voyager crew were very well known throughout Starfleet and parts of the Federation. They had been on the minds and in the hearts of the people in the Alpha Quadrant since they disappeared.
"My mother..." Naomi answered warily, sliding further into her seat. She had been hoping to avoid making a scene, not wanting to attract too much attention to herself, but it looked like it was unavoidable.
Kav'ain all but leaned over his desk and into her personal space. "So then... you were also on Voyager?" he asked in an excited whisper. Already people around them were starting to shift in their seats and lean in a little, obviously eavesdropping.
Naomi pressed her lips together tersely. She knew if she made the wrong move, said the wrong thing, this could get out of hand, so she simply nodded, hoping her new friend wouldn't make a big scene. Oh, how wrong she was.
Kav'ain sat back in astonishment. "Really?!" he said aloud, catching the attention of people nearby... including the curiosity of the professor, who paused in his lesson. "Whoa that's so awesome! You were on Voyager too! Wow!" he exclaimed loudly as the other students muttered in surprise. Naomi ducked her head bashfully and hid her face behind her data-pad childishly. Exactly the reaction she had been hoping to avoid, is what she got. That's when Naomi noticed that the revelation also caught up with their new instructor, who gazed at her in as much surprise as she had when she first saw him walk in. She looked up into his eyes and a look of knowing and understanding passed through them. Another look flickered through his eyes for a second, but it looked like worry... that couldn't be right, could it?
Naomi relaxed from the unnerving reaction when he smiled in that familiar little friendly yet also somehow impish way he had a few times on their old ship and cleared his throat. "Alright, settle down cadets," he said aloud, trying to reign in the excited students. "I have not dismissed class yet," he commanded, his eyes lingering on Naomi's a moment longer as the students sat back down and quieted before scanning the whole room again and continuing on his lesson. The rest of the class was spent with introductions into what the tall instructor would be teaching and his high expectations. "Please refrain from bringing up the topic of the Borg or Voyager again. We have a busy schedule to adhere to this semester with little time for impertinent subjects, alright? I may not be Borg anymore, but I still expect a semblance of perfection from each of you," he finished, relieved when his students seemed to relax and laugh at his joke good-naturedly.
After the class was over, Naomi lingered in her seat, watching her classmates gather their things and leave, chatting excitedly over how interesting this semester would be for them so far. She had intended on going as well, try to find her dorm and settle in, but the temptation to reunite properly with her old tutor was overwhelming. "Naomi?" Kav'ain probed curiously, wondering why she hadn't picked her things up to leave yet.
Naomi looked over to her new friend and smiled back. "You go on ahead, I wanted to-"
"Catch up with an old friend?" Kav'ain guessed, smiling back. "I understand. I'll see you around then, Wildman," he nudged her shoulder with his in a friendly way and nodded to his new professor on his way out. When the classroom was sufficiently vacated, Naomi stood with her things and walked up to her 'old friend', watching as he glanced through his PADDS.
Icheb sensed her approach and looked up at her, caught for a second at how elegant and self-assured her shapely legs carried her, then brutally forced the inappropriate thoughts from his mind. "Naomi Wildman," he greeted her with a surprisingly toothy grin. Leave it to Icheb to make Naomi feel both nostalgic in the way he said her first and last name, making it sound like just one name, and at the same time making her feel like she had 'assimilated butterflies' with a mere, though beautifully uncharacteristic smile.
"Icheb, it is such a surprise to see you here!" she smiled back.
Risking it, but at the same time not caring what others thought, Naomi placed her things on Icheb's desk and went around it to hug him. To her seemingly endless surprise, Icheb wrapped his long arms around her immediately, no trace of his awkwardness from ten years ago left. Her cheek pressed to Icheb's chest and Naomi suddenly felt that maybe this wasn't such a good idea. True that it wasn't strange for a student to hug a favorite teacher, it was slightly different for them. The instance they hugged, it was as though their immediate surroundings faded to white and they were the only people in the universe. That wasn't right though, was it? A simple hug between old friends shouldn't feel so... intense, should it? When Naomi pulled back, she saw the same look cross his features before he covered it with a strained smile. "It is good to see you again."
"Yeah..." Naomi frowned inwardly at the weirdness that suddenly rose up around them like a fog on a humid morning. Maybe it wasn't a good idea for either of them to hug in public after all, aside from the awkward reaction they had just then, their 'reunion' could attract unwanted attention as well. Hopefully whoever was coming in the classroom would just assume they were related or something... right, because they looked so alike. Realizing they were still hugging, Naomi pulled away from him abruptly, missing the confused and slightly hurt look that flashed through his eyes as she straightened her uniform. "I hardly recognized you for a second," she began lamely. 'Well isn't this just great? The first few moments of our reunion and I'm already sounding like some dork,' she huffed inwardly, not a clue why she felt so flustered.
Icheb smiled at her kindly before speaking in a wistful sort of way. "Naomi Wildman," he repeated in a softer tone. "I..." he seemed to be at a loss for words for a second. "I did recognize you, but I thought I was imagining it," he explained.
Naomi tilted her head to the side in curiosity. "Why's that?" she questioned.
"Because I had only the memory of you as a little girl," he answered quietly. Naomi had started to feel slightly annoyed at her concern over how he saw her becoming a reality, but the look he was giving her stopped it in its tracks. His unreadable gaze on her made her squirm slightly. "I see now that time has been very gracious to you. You've grown into a radiant young woman," he complimented, unaware of how much the simple input would affect her.
Naomi stared for a second at his bold statement and then promptly felt herself blush. Naomi cleared he throat awkwardly when she realized she had been practically gaping at him without having said anything. She kicked herself for stuttering as she answered back. "Thanks... Icheb," she tucked an errant lock of hair from her braid behind her ear and glanced at the students milling about anxiously. 'What is going on here? Cool your jets, Wildman, it's just Icheb,' she told herself, willing herself to calm down and be excited at seeing her old friend again.
Assuring herself that this was first day jitters and nothing more, she looked into his warm eyes once more. "You've grown up pretty well yourself," she answered with more confidence than she felt at the moment, and felt proud of herself for doing so. "I figured out who you were pretty quick though, your Borg implants are pretty hard to miss," she sent him one of her own grins.
Icheb snapped out of his less than helpful thoughts and nodded in agreement. "Yes, while the Doctor had perfected his methods in removing a lot of my implants safely, I decided it made me unique, at least around here. So I kept them. I suppose you could say, in an ironic way, it is a representation of my individuality," he explained. Icheb noticed Naomi's hesitation and for the life of him could not figure out what was wrong with the girl. Perhaps she was simply feeling the stress over her first day at the academy, or maybe a little overwhelmed by their sudden reunion. He hoped she would tell him if there was a problem, years apart be damned, they were still friends and he still cared a great deal for her.
"Oh! So you don't need to regenerate anymore?" Naomi asked, her weird nervousness seemingly fading away in favor of her nearly endless curiosity.
"I no longer need an alcove, however, I do use a modified regulating disk fashioned to my bed to help me manage the few implants I still have," he explained, and then raised an eyebrow when he realized he had missed the sound of the computer advising the cadets to head to their next class. 'How could I have lost concentration?' he wondered idly before pointing it out to Naomi. "I believe the second classes of the day are beginning. You should go if you don't want to be late," he advised softly.
Naomi nodded and grabbed her things. "You're right!"
"Naomi..." Icheb said, catching her attention again and once again surprising her by simply calling her by her first name. She had no idea why, but it pleased her to no end, hearing her name roll off his tongue in such an endearing way. "Perhaps we could meet tomorrow morning for breakfast? If you are willing, to 'catch up' as they say?"
Naomi frowned to herself and then thought about it. She would have to wake up much earlier than she planned on tomorrow, as she was already formulating a study plan for the semester and knew she would be up late. But... wouldn't meeting with her professor give her the advantage of getting in extra help ahead of her classmates? Maybe she could make a 'tradition' of this with him? If he were up to it. After all, he had been one of her main teachers back on Voyager, and she remembered them getting along famously, so it couldn't hurt, right?
Getting excited at the prospect Naomi nearly jumped up and down. "Yeah! That sounds like a great idea!" she grinned. "Would you be open to meeting regularly? It would be so wonderful to reinforce our friendship and maybe I can even help you with some grading and you can help me with some extra work?" she suggested, hoping to appeal to his logical side.
It took Icheb less than a second to respond. "That would be acceptable," he smiled back. "There is a local cafe walking distance from the campus. Your e-mail is with the rest of the students, I'll send you directions, okay?" When Naomi nodded excitedly he gestured for her to go on. He was the one surprised this time when Naomi gave him another brief hug around his middle before running off.
Icheb had to pause when she had hugged him quickly on her retreat and inwardly shook himself of the illogical way he was behaving. He brushed the strange absence he felt as she let him go from the all-too quick embrace away and resumed looking over his PADD. Maybe he had missed her more than he thought? It had to be the explanation for his uncharacteristic emotional floundering. Funny that. Neither of them had had the chance to communicate with each other much, aside from a few letters now and then. They had been close on Voyager but had seemed to drift apart a little after.
Either way, something about this reunion told Icheb this was going to be a long semester.
End A/N: I hope everyone liked this revision so far. Anyone notice his name? I have interesting plans. If you can guess correctly whose last name he took and possibly why, I'll give you a cookie! If anyone notices ANY typos, including words missing an R, like if I wrote "he" instead of "her" (my keyboard isn't cooperating lately) please let me know! As always, your input is greatly appreciated and helps me stay focused on updates! I may take a little bit to revise the next chapter, but be patient. It will be before next week though, I promise. Cheers!