"You never warned me about Betazed winters," Kate whined as she tromped through the snow.
"You never thought to ask. Or to research what the other seasons were like on my homeworld. Did you just assume that everything was temperate and mild?" Lwaxana teased in reply before leaning in and pressing her lips against Kate's cheek. It was colder than she had expected, and a small sound of concern slipped from her lips before she tweaked her lover's cutely red nose.
"Something like that, yes. I mean, you get married in the nude! That would suggest, to me, that you live somewhere decently warm year-round. Who in their right mind prances down the aisle in nothing more than the skin they were born in when it's snowing outside?"
Lwaxana let out a soft giggle as she shook her head. "It's not like we walk around outside with our clothes off, we generally arrive at the venue in an outfit. It's just an archaic tradition that signals to your partner that you're entrusting them to provide for you, since you are coming to them naked and vulnerable."
Kate nodded a little as she shivered, and Lwaxana could read in her thoughts that she was bearing with this just for her sake. Giving her lover an indulgent smile, Lwaxana leaned in and kissed her fully, enclosing Kate in her arms and holding her close. "What was that for?"
"To hopefully warm you a little until we get back to the house. Ian wanted to show us his snowmen, after all, and you don't want to disappoint my son, do you?"
The sigh that tore from Kate's lips told Lwaxana that she had played the right card, and she gave her an innocent smile as Kate shook her head. "No, I would do anything for Ian, and well you know that! I should have Mister Homm make gagh for supper."
She wrinkled her nose in disgust and shook her head furiously, the curls of her wig smacking against her cheeks. "I still don't know how you can stand that awful Klingon food, Katie. Did Mister Woof brainwash you into liking them?"
Kate's laugh tore through the quiet of the woods, and she flushed deeply as she pulled away from her partner and stalked off along the path, feeling embarrassed by Kate's reaction. It didn't take long for her to hear the loud crunch of feet in the snow and then Kate was closing her hand around Lwaxana's shoulder, stopping her. "I didn't mean to upset you, darling, but the look on your face was too adorable not to laugh. And yes, Klingon food is definitely an acquired taste, though Worf did not have to brainwash me to get me to eat it."
Lwaxana arched an eyebrow as she tilted her head to one side. "I suppose that I'll have to take your word on that. But please, do not try to cajole me to try any more. It's hard enough to keep my food down at some ambassadorial functions."
"I suppose that I could do that." Kate winked at her, and Lwaxana smiled a little as she read the love and care in the thoughts running through Kate's head. "Now, where is this magical spot where Ian made his snowmen?"
"Just a little bit farther." Lwaxana held out her hand expectantly, and then Kate was taking hold of it, threading their fingers together as they continued their walk. She tried not to feel so nervous, but there was something about the coming moment that filled her heart with trepidation. Ever since the end of the war, she hadn't known where to turn to for support, and then Kate had strolled into her life, looking to help heal the physical wounds left on the people of Betazed, and in the process, had stolen Lwaxana's heart. And it had been a whirlwind seven months, spent mostly over long distance. This was the first time they had been together in seven weeks, and while it coincided with both the Terran Christmas holiday season, as well as a major Betazed holiday, she hoped that the celebratory nature of Kate's arrival wouldn't lead to her completely foregoing her impulsive, rash, need to make things a little more permanent between them.
And then, they were stepping into the clearing, and Ian looked at them, an expectant smile on his lips. She could read the happy thoughts radiating off his mind, his shielding not able to work with that much excitement thrumming in his body. "Mama! Kate! Look, I made all of us!"
He gestured widely to the snowmen, and Lwaxana frowned a little to see that he had used one of her best wigs to adorn the snow representation of her. "These are quite good, Ian," Kate said as she stepped forward to look closer at Lwaxana's figure. "Maybe you'll grow up to be an artist."
"Maybe," he replied before winking at Lwaxana. "Mama, I lost one of my mittens. I'm going to go look for it!"
"Be careful, Ian," she replied as she stepped forward to wrap her arm around Kate's waist, holding her close as Ian scampered from view. "These really are quite good," she murmured as she rested her head on Kate's shoulder.
"They are. But why am I holding the Sacred Chalice of Rixx?"
Lwaxana swallowed a little as she stepped away from Kate and reached into the pocket of her cape. The velveteen box was still there, weighing it down, and she took a deep breath as she slipped it out, holding it towards Kate as she stared down at the snow. "I, I…"
"You're not one to stumble for words, darling," Kate said lowly as she took hold of the box and opened it. A small gasp of delight slipped from her lips and Lwaxana felt a joyful smile spread across her lips as she allowed her gaze to travel up Kate's body until she was looking into her eyes. There was a light there that shone so brightly, and Lwaxana felt herself fall in love all over again. "What's this?"
"Having you here on Betazed has made me realise something about our relationship. I will miss you terribly when you leave here once more, when you head back to Starfleet, and while I know that I can't be selfish, a part of me wants that. I want to hold you here. So, I'm giving you the next closest thing. This was my mother's necklace, my father gave it to her when he declared his intent to ask for her hand in marriage."
"You want to marry me?"
None of the hesitation that Lwaxana had expected to be in Kate's voice was there, and she dared to smile, truly smile, at her lover as she nodded. "Ian was kind, and agreed to have a traditional Betazed wedding. This time, since I'm asking you, I'd like to go the Terran route. If you'll want that. I know that you had three previous marriages…"
Before she could finish her words, Kate was closing the distance between them, wrapping her free arm around Lwaxana's waist as she sought out her lips for a fierce, passionate, kiss. "You couldn't just give me a ring?" she teased.
"You're a doctor, you use your hands every day, and I know that you would never wear a ring for fear of spreading infection. So, I gave you the one thing I knew you would keep close to your heart, and that would be this necklace. I can't put it on, it's too cold out here, but I am so glad that you want to be mine."
"I just can't wait to see the look on Jean Luc's face when he comes to the wedding. Though I wish I could be a fly on a wall to see his expression when he gets the announcement."
Lwaxana laughed as she hooked her arm with Kate's before plucking the Sacred Chalice of Rixx from her snowman's hand. "If wishes were fishes, darling…"
"Beggars would eat," she finished as they started back to the house. The walk back was lovely, as if spring had suddenly bloomed in the middle of the frozen land. But maybe that was merely the overwhelming feeling of joy that had blossomed in her heart the moment Kate agreed to be a more permanent fixture in her life. From the thoughts she could read from Kate, her lover was feeling the same way, and she sighed a little as she rested her head against Kate's shoulder as they walked. "I love you," she murmured as they paused at the front door.
"I love you, too. Every bit of you, including your cute red nose." Leaning in, Kate kissed said nose, even as Lwaxana laughed once more. "Now, let's head up to bed, and you can put my necklace on me before we warm each other up."
"I do so like the way you think, Katie." They shared a giggle as Mister Homm opened the door, giving Lwaxana a baleful look. "Not a word nor a thought from you, Mister Homm. She said yes, and that's all that matters. We'll have to prepare for the wedding, after all." He only nodded and moved out of their way, allowing them to head upstairs to the bedroom unimpeded. It looked like her snowy evening had turned out exactly as she had hoped.