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Forty Shades of Green

Posted on 28 Apr 2017 @ 2:13am by Ensign Aidan Crehan & Senior Chief Petty Officer Mila Rasputin

Mission: Shore Leave
Location: Earth, Ireland

It had been a very long time since Aidan had seen his parents. Not that they, or he, had changed much, but there were many things that they could talk about. Especially since he had Mila with him. Where his parents lived was a far cry from the cities surrounding the Academy. Clarecastle was still a quaint 'little' town in the southeastern region of Ireland. The nearby River Fergus was one Aidan's favorite places to go as well as the Cliffs of Moher. He hoped that he would get to share those two places with Mila, especially the Cliffs at sunset. It was simply magnificent.

Aidan looked out the window of the hover taxi and recognized a few of the buildings. After all, it had ninety-three years since he'd been home...things were bound to be different. He placed his hand on Mila's knee. "We are almost there, my dear."

Mila was rubbernecking out the windows of the hover taxi as it went through the quaint little town before she turned to Aidan with a look of wonder on her face. "This place is looking as if it is skipping through time," she said. "It is very beautiful. If I were to be living here, I would not wish to be leaving. How long as it been since you are last here?"

"That is why we settled here," he said. "My parents found it somewhat reminiscent of one of their favorite spots on El-Auria." That's when he chuckled a little. "Ninety-three years, Mila." He patted her knee, knowing that it was long time by most standards.

"Ninety-three...." she started, realizing that was three times longer and then some than she had been alive. She banished the thought from her mind and tutted. "You are to be ashamed of yourself, Aidan. This is beautiful place. Why would you not be wishing to visit more?"

"I have plenty of time for visiting Clarecastle and my family," he said. "Besides, I'm still young for an El-Aurian. Two hundred eight out of seven to eight hundred years and more... I'm practically in my twenties, for comparison. While we are famous for being listeners, we also like to travel the galaxy. And most of that is done in our early years. Some of my people were visiting earth close to four hundred years ago." He turned to face her. "I know it must be difficult, sweetheart. And it's something that we have only discussed once or twice. But we measure time differently from other humanoids; myself and my parents. I simply want you to be prepared for that when you meet them."

"I am understanding that," Mila said with a smile as she reached over to take one of his hands. "I was merely asking because of how beautiful this place is being. I would not be wanting to leave." She gave a slight shrug. "But then again, I left my home to explore galaxy when I was younger and you are doing same in your terms. I cannot be faulting you." Even though I have visited my home many times in past eleven years when given the chance she thought.

"Oh, I see," said Aidan. "My nerves must have the best of me. You are the first woman I have brought to meet my parents, Mila. And they will know this." The hover taxi pulled to a stop in front of an old world cottage. The Crehans kept the outside looking like that on purpose, but the inside had twenty-fourth century amenities. Well, with the exception of Brogran's personal library with real, actual, books. Aidan paid the driver and turned to his girlfriend. "This is it." He opened the door and slid out, offer her his hand.

Mila slid out of the taxi with Chow on her shoulder and looked at the cottage. "Is being place one often dreams of when a desire to escape civilization is felt," she said as she reached for his hand. Her stomach fluttered and she knew it was nerves, but she steeled herself as if she was going up against a board of inquiry led by Admirals who didn't like Yeomans. "Is very beautiful," she said as she took a deep breath. "Shall we?"

"We shall." He unloaded their bags from the taxi and, hand in hand, walked with Mila to the front door. Aidan had scarcely gotten his hand up to knock when the door flew open. "Aidan Rowan Crehan!" shouted his father. "You had your mother worried when we stopped getting messages from you. Welcome home, son!" Brogan started to wrap arms around his youngest and clap him on the back, when he noticed Mila. "Aidan...none of your messages mentioned that you were bringing a guest?"

Gweneth walked up and stood in the doorway. "A guest? Aidan brought a guest? Move over Brogan." She watched as Brogan stepped to the side and her eyes fell on a petite brunette.

He grinned. "No, they didn't, father. May I introduce you both to Mila Rasputin, my girlfriend. Mila, my parents."

A sense of dread crawled up Mila's spine and threatened to pop her head off of her shoulders before Chow reached out and brushed her hair with one paw as if to reassure her. She gave a curtsy and a smile at his parents. "It is being my pleasure to be meeting the parents of such a wonderful man," she said before she indicated Chow who sat on her shoulder. "This my...my Capuchin companion, Chow."

Brogan smiled at Mila's curtsy and elbowed his wife while Mila wasn't looking. Gweneth returned his smile and said, "Relax Mila and come inside. It's much more comfortable. Still," she said, looking at the countryside, "it's nice out." She had caught Mila's repetitive use of 'my' and presumed that she was slightly nervous. "So Chow is it? Is that because you like to eat?" Gweneth addressed Chow just as she addressed any of the animals that her husband would have had in the veterinary hospital.

Chow gave a hoot at the word 'eat' and rubbed his belly before gave a wide grin and reached out with one paw as if he wanted to shake hands.

Gweneth smiled and put her hand out to shake Chow's. "And such good manners, too!"

Mila smiled and tried to relax. "Thank you," she said as she looked around. "It is being very beautiful out and you are having a lovely home," she said but didn't move as Aidan's parents hadn't gone back inside so she could go in after them with Aidan.

Brogan eyed his son and grinned. "I'll get the bags, Aidan. You've been traveling a lot lately." Without waiting for a word of response, he picked them up and turned to go inside. "After you dear," he said to his wife.

"Brogran Crehan!" Gweneth exclaimed. "We have company!" As much as she tried to hide it, a smile still caught the corner of her mouth as she walked inside, her husband following behind.

Now Mila laughed from her belly and gave Aidan a knowing look as she walked in with him. "Now I am knowing where you are getting it, Sir Rogue," she said softly. Once inside, she looked around. "You are having home that I am only dreaming of," she said, addressing Mrs. Crehan. "It is being beautiful inside and out."

Aidan chuckled as they walked inside. "Yes indeed. Like father, like son. I just didn't expect it right away like that. And apparently, neither did my mother."

"Why thank you, Mila," said Gweneth. "We try to keep it as culturally accurate as we can. But we still have the comforts of the twenty-fourth century. Brogan's library, on the other hand, is a sight to see." She led the group to couches in the living room. "Please have a seat, Mila. Aidan and his father can take your bags to the guest room."

"Thank you," Mila said as she went to take a seat and Chow hopped off of her shoulder to the back of the couch. "Please do not be worrying about Chow. He is being very clean and friendly, not to be mentioning house broken. I would love to be seeing library. I am having a deep love of knowledge."

Gweneth looked at Chow and smiled before turning her attention back to Mila. "Thank you for the reassurance. Though it wouldn't be anything new. Aidan used to bring animals home all the time. He kept his father trying to keep them out of the house and me, trying to keep them out of everything in the house." She leaned in and spoke softly to Mila. "Brogan would not mind at all showing you his library. He like to show it off." Then she leaned back. "You called Aidan wonderful earlier. How did you two meet?"

Aidan and his father came back out after putting the bags in the room, and sat down. Brogan took his chair that he always sat in and Aidan sat down next to Mila.

Mila smiled. "We were on stop at New Risa in Gamma Quadrant and I was planning to be going alone to do some shopping," she started. "While I was waiting for shuttle, Aidan came up to me and I am asking if he would like to share shuttle with me and Chow. The next three days found us to be inseparable and we have been together ever since." She reached to take Aidan's hand. "As for him and animals, Chow is adoring him and he even watched Chow when I was falling sick with virus and visited me even after I had bad episode in sickbay. I would trust him with my life."

Aidan squeezed Mila's hand. He glanced over to his father, who smiled and slightly nodded. He knew that it wouldn't take much for his dad to like Mila. His mother, she was the one that Mila had to deal with. And she seemed to be doing a very good job.

"Ahh, very good," Gweneth said. "That sounds like our Aidan, alright. He gets his love of animals and care of people from his father. I'm afraid that he is more like his father than I'd prefer." She looked beyond Mila to Aidan and grinned.

Aidan went wide-eyed and looked at his father, who simply winked at him. He then turned his attention back to his mother and sheepishly grinned.

"As I suspected," said Gweneth. "You behave yourself and treat this beautiful young lady right. So Mila, your accent...Eastern European...Russian?"

"I am being Russian," Mila said with pride. "I was born on New Berlin on the moon and raised there until I am enlisting in Starfleet. I have spent eleven years in service and currently am Captain's Yeoman for Captain Geisler of ....the ship known as Black Hawk before it went down in battle at New Bajor. I am hoping that Aidan and I are getting same assignment, but if not, I will be resigning to join him wherever he is going."

"Oh Aidan," said Gweneth, looking past Mila again, "you have a most wonderful...young woman as a girlfriend." She knew her son well. And the look on his face betrayed the thoughts in his mind. Aidan didn't know. And as any mother would, she continued, "But enough about ships and assignments and the like. Brogan, Mila would like to see your library."

That made the man sit forward in his seat. "Well then, let's go. Aidan, bring your obviously intelligent girlfriend with you. You know the way." With that, he headed off.

Aidan shook the surprise off until they could have some time alone. "Come, my love. You have asked and now you shall have more than you expect."

Mila stood up with a smile and headed after Mister Crehan. when she saw the library, her eyes went wide. "This is being amazing," she said as she went over to browse the titles, her mind committing them all to memory even as she silently read them. "I have rarely seen collections like this," she said quietly as if raising her voice would disturb the stories each book held. "Are they all original?"

"Many of them are," said Brogan. "Some are reprints from decades later, but even then, they are old. This wall over here," he pointed, "contains the readable copies of some of them in the collection. Mr. Kenah, the El-Aurian who owns the bookstore, and I will sometimes trade these to read. I once said that Aidan had read all of them. But I've added some since he left." He eyed Aidan and smiled. "If you should see one, or two, you would like to read, you may take them with you when you leave, Mila."

She shook her head. "Nyet, I could not," she said. "They are being far too valuable to be taking into space. I have lost many things when ship is going down, but I would not wish to be losing something that is not belonging to me. I would never be able to be replacing such. I appreciate your offer, Mister Crehan, but I could not. However, while I am here and Aidan is not taking all my time by being himself, I would love to read one or two."

"Then that is acceptable. You may help yourself." Brogan paused a second and looked at his son. "By being himself? Does he distract you?"

"He is being very wonderful man with lifetimes of knowledge," Mila started. "He is kind, he is funny, he is thoughtful, intelligent and does not treat others unfairly. He have never looked down at me for being human and has never treated me with anything other than respect and love. He is the man that I have spent my life looking for and I would do anything for him."

Aidan caught the look from his dad. He had seen it many, many times and knew exactly what the 'dad look' was and what it meant. He quietly exited his father's library. The only thing was, he expected it the other way around. His dad was usually the more easy-going of the two. He fully expected his mother to be the one talking to Mila as it had been her when his sisters, Keelie and Deirdre, brought boys home. Normally, he would be worried, but not with Mila.

"I am glad to hear that," said Brogan, after Aidan had slipped out. "Have you found a title that you would like to read while you're here?" He asked.

When Aidan left the room, Mila took a breath; this was the moment like Aidan had had with her Father and now it was her on the grill with his father. She turned to look at him with nothing but honesty in her eyes. "Da," she said after a moment. "But is not story that you are having in library. I am interested in story of Aidan and Mila and how you are to be viewing it."

"Please, have a seat," he said, gesturing to one of the chairs. "My son spoke of you in his messages, which we have finally received. But not to the extent that I would have liked. I cannot give an opinion on merely Cliff Notes. I must know more of the story of Mila and Aidan first. Tell more of it."

She sat down and gathered her thoughts. "It is being the story of every woman who has ever loved a man," she said. "He is being my knight in shining armor, my rogue who knows when the time to be a gentleman is having its own time and place. He is saying I am his muse when he is painting picture of me as gift. I am deeply in love with your son, Mister Crehan and I would sooner give up what I love than be without him, in so far as my career is concerned. There is so much more to tell than mere Cliff notes as you are calling them, but the chapters are still being written. I am open book to anything you are wishing to know if I am able to paint image for you."

Brogan had taken a seat after Mila had. He listened and nodded as she spoke. Gentleman and Rogue...Gweneth was right, their son was more like him than they thought. But that was okay. Aidan was becoming his own man out there in the galaxy and it was beginning to appear that he had a great girlfriend to help him along. "Very good. I like to hear that you are deeply in love with him. How far will that love go, Mila? I know that Aidan, like other El-Aurians, have had a touch of difficulty when it come to relationships. Granted there are those El-Aurians who have given the rest of of us a bad reputation, but I'm certain you know what I speak of. Have you and Aidan talked about the age difference, to use a human term."

"Da, we have talked about such things and I am being aware that when I am old and grey, he will still be looking as he does now," Mila said slowly. "I am accepting that fact because of the fact that I am loving him. I am knowing my own mortality as I am knowing his. But...I am saying this from experience, Mister Crehan; life in space is being very difficult and mortality can be greatly shortened in a moment. When Captain Geisler is telling me that chance is likely that ship would be going down, Aidan is first person I am thinking of and first person I am warning to get to shuttles. I love him and he is loving me. Age is not important between us."

"His mother and I were reminded about mortality regarding space and starships when he joined the Academy. Our sister ship exploded and then the Lakul, which took a portion of the Enterprise-B with it. Gweneth and I are aware of mortality in space. But it does me good to hear that age is not important between you. And that you will stay by his side as you age. I know my son. And I know that he will stay by you through that as well. Has he shared any of his memories of El-Auria with you yet?"

"He is telling me about his pet and a bit about his youth, but that was mainly to be doing with his travels since then," she told him. "Even though that is not about El-Auria. I understand that it is being difficult subject to be talking about. I cannot imagine losing my world and when he is being ready, I am certain that he will be telling me more."

"I'm sure he will, Mila," said Brogan. "But the fact that he has already shared some personal memories of our home world means that he has opened up to you more than anyone else. Outside of family and other El-Aurians, that is. And that makes me most comfortable of all. I truly believes that Aidan love you and that you love him and that you both have the others best interests in mind. I couldn't ask for anything better for my son. Thank you, Mila."

"There is no reason to be thanking me," she said. "His love is all I am needing and I am having that in spades. He risked his life when I was having hallucinations that he was being ex-boyfriend and I was threatening to kill him with laser scalpel. His only concern was me being safe and he was staying with me before and after, and I am forever grateful that he did not leave me then."

Brogan smiled. It seemed that Aidan had found someone genuine to share a life with. "I appreciate that, Mila. It does me good to hear you say all of those things. I can tell that you love Aidan and I can't wait to hear more of what you two have been through. We love our histories." He smiled and stood. "Welcome to the Crehan house, Mila. Please, make yourself at home."

"Thank you, Mister Crehan," Mila said with a bright smile. "I would be more than happy to be telling you of our adventures. Our first was being on New Risa when he is wishing to teach me shuttle surfing." She giggled and glanced around and began to tell the tale.

Aidan's father started laughing near the end. "That was always one of his favorite things to do. He didn't get to do it often, though. But I'm glad that you two enjoyed yourselves. Are you ready to join the others and see what manner of mischief we can get ourselves into?"

"We shall," she said agreeably. "If you are wishing, I would also love to be helping to make dinner. I am also promising to not suggest anything Russian. It has been pointed out to me recently that I am feeding everyone Russian while on mission to explore new cultures and would love to try some of the cuisine from your culture."

Brogan chuckled. "I don't think Gweneth would mind at all. She's the cook in the family. Personally, I burn water. So she doesn't let me anywhere near the kitchen." He walked out of his library and stepped to the side to allow Mila to exit. "And she would be more than happy to share some cuisine with you. Not just from out culture, though; we could share foods from the other cultures that we visited in the Delta Quadrant. Before the Borg invaded, that is. We traveled the Quadrant before the children came along."

"Then I shall be asking her," Mila said. "I am imagining that she is to be grilling Aidan's ears about me by now. If I am knowing him as I do, he is having nothing but good things to be saying. I would love to be trying cuisine from the Delta Quadrant. Except something which is being called Leola Root; I am hearing it is very vile even if it can be used in everything."

"Oh I am certain that she is," he said. He patted her on the shoulder. "Then you on your way to knowing him very well. And don't worry about the Leola Root. We have no use for that at all. Gweneth likes her dishes to be enjoyed." Brogan cleared his throat as they entered the living room. "Mila here would like to help with dinner, Gweneth."

She turned to look at her husband. "Is this alright with you? Do you approve?" she asked. Of course Gweneth was speaking with a double meaning in mind. And she knew that her husband would pick up on it.

"I do," he said. "I approve whole-heartedly. Let the young woman help you if she wishes. Unless of course, you want me to help." He added that last bit with a grin.

Gweneth eyed her husband. "You just can't help yourself when we have company, can you?" She teasingly wagged her index finger at him. "You stay out of this kitchen, Brogan Crehan. Mila and I will take care of it." She looked at her son's girlfriend and smiled. "Are you ready?"

Mila laughed softly at the two older Crehan's and went over to Aidan. "Are they always being like this?" she asked him with a smile. "I had very enjoyable talk with your Father. He is being very nice man."

Aidan chuckled. "I'm glad to hear you had a good talk. And yes dear, they are. Mom and Dad have always been...playful." He looked at her and smiled right before planting a kiss on her lips. "And as you said, now you know where I get it."

She returned the kiss with a bright smile and winked at him. "Indeed I do," she said. "I will return shortly, Sir Rogue," she promised as she headed for the kitchen.

"Missus Crehan, I am ready to be learning how to be making something excellent!"

"Very good," said Gweneth. "I like enthusiasm. On the menu for tonight is one of Aidan's favorite meals." She turned and eyed the slender brunette and smiled. "Karavian spun casserole made with Sefa noodles and sliced Kapkap melon."

"I have never been having pleasure of trying any of these," Mila said. "But I have been told that I am very good cook and I am never forgetting once I am knowing something, so with your pleasure, I will be learning how to be making these for Aidan to be giving him taste of home when he is not."

She smiled. "I am certain that you will enjoy them just as much as Aidan does." She walked to a cabinet and removed some pots. "So, a good cook with a perfect memory...are you sure that there isn't a small part of El-Aurian in there somewhere?" She smiled at the young woman who sharing her kitchen. "And that is very thoughtful of you, by the way."

"Nyet," she said with a smile while thinking that she did technically have some El-Aurian in her from time to time, but wisely chose not to say anything. "I am having eidetic memory," she explained. "I would be doing anything for Aidan, Missus Crehan and if I am able to help him get taste of home, it is being worth it to learn from you."

"Ah, well then this should be easy for you to pick up then. The sefa noodles are in that cabinet," she said, pointing and sliding a pot towards Mila. "Set them to boiling while I prepare the other things. And Aidan likes his pasta cooked al dente." She turned to remove the other ingredients from their various homes in cabinets and the refrigeration unit. "So tell me, how does my Aidan treat you?"

Mila went to the indicated cabinet to get the noodles out and hoped that she had the right ones that looked like noodles and brought them back. She took the pot to fill with water and put it on the stove to boil and looked at his mother. "He is calling me his Princess," she said with a shy smile. "He has treated me like lady since the first day we are meeting and being more of a gentleman every day." Except for the times he is being Sir Rogue, she reminded herself. "I have never met a man such as him and he is being my knight in shining armor when I am down just as I am being there for him. I may not have even portion of age that he is having, but it is being nothing to stand in way of the love that we are having for each other."

Gweneth sighed as she listened to Mila's description. It brought back memories of the time she and Brogran began dating. As she chopped up the vegetables, she responded, "I'm not here to question you, I'm here to get to know you. Brogan has already taken care of the questioning. And I trust his judgement. But it is good to hear how much Aidan loves you. He is just like his father, a genuine charmer to the core." She put what she chopped into another pot for parboiling before putting them into the casserole.

She checked the noodles and stirred them before she looked back at the older woman. "It is being a bit difficult for me and I am apologizing," she said. "I have been in very few relationships and have never had pleasure of meeting any parents before you and Mister Crehan. I am just a simple woman who was doing her best until I am meeting Aidan. Now I am finding that I am living instead of merely existing. It has opened my eyes to many things and I am in Aidan's debt. I know that without him, the universe would be darker place."

"That's quiet alright. There's no need to apologize," she said, putting some more vegetables into the pot. "You and Aidan are on equal ground in that respect." She paused to turn and face the petite Russian. "You are the first young woman that he has progressed this far in a relationship with, the first one he has brought home. His father and I are happy that you two found one another that day." She turned back around to finish chopping. "To live, as opposed to merely existing, is the greatest adventure."

"I am agreeing with you completely," Mila said almost excitedly. "I have served for eleven years in Starfleet and seen many worlds and new species, but until I am meeting Aidan, I am not truly knowing what adventure is meaning. It is one thing to be going out and doing such, but is another to be sharing it with someone. With Aidan, he is having experience in many things, but still, he is opening my eyes to even more."

"I'm glad that Aidan has an opportunity to share them with you." She put the rest of the vegetables in the pot of boiling water and increased the heat more. She turned around around and face Mila. The short El-Aurian remembered the young woman in front of her had mentioned Aidan being her rogue when the time was right. "It has been a while since we've seen Aidan. Does he still do that bit where he pretends to be a perfect gentleman and let you walk out the door first?" Gweneth eyed the brunette as she waited for an answer.

Now Mila gave a laugh. "Da," she said. "How are you to be knowing this?" Then again, with the way she had seen Aidan's Dad, she had a really good feeling that the old El-Aurian woman knew exactly what Aidan would likely do based on what her husband had likely done. She gave the noodles a stir and winked as she did so, but wondered how his Mother would react to that.

"I thought so. I've seen the looks his father has given to him over the years. And this..." She moved a little closer. "We had just finished a meal at a nice restaurant and were leaving. A young woman and her family were also heading out at the same time. Aidan opened the door and nodded to the family. They went out before us...a mother knows, my dear, a mother knows." Gweneth then caught the wink and grinned. "I see you know from experience. So let me tell you, the longer you spend with him, the more interesting it will get. If he is anything like his father."

"Shame on him!" Mila giggled. "Indeed, he is being rogue, but I am minding my p's and q's and am learning his tricks. I am having tricks for him as well." She paused and gave the noodles another stir before looking back at the other woman. "I am having serious question, Missus Crehan, but answer may be very difficult. I am just wishing to understand him a bit more, but...when the Lakul is being in Nexxus...how is it affecting you and your family?"

"You are correct. It's a very difficult question, young one. Not many people ask anymore." Gweneth's mind went back. "Some describe it as being wrapped in a joy blanket. I would say it was more than joy. More than being wrapped in it. It weaved it's way in and out of us. It became a part of us, and we became a part of it. And when we were ripped away from it...a part of us was left there. Some part that we will never get back. It's no wonder that Tolian Soran, and others like him, wasted their lives trying to get back. Is it a place that we miss? Yes. Everything you've ever wanted and never had is there. But it's not real. This is real. Brogran is real. Aidan is real. You are real." She smiled and checked the vegetables. Turning them off, she let the water stop boiling. "Thank you for wanting to understanding us and him better, Mila."

"Is being part of you, he and your husband, though," Mila said after she listened quietly. She knew it hadn't been easy on the El-Aurian woman and couldn't imagine what it was like. "I am wanting to understand that part of Aidan so we will be closer. It is very hard, but I am thinking it is only like a dream that is vanishing when you are waking. No matter how good it is being, reality is always waking you up. I now know more than before and I am being blessed to have chance to be speaking with you about it. Thank you, Missus Crehan."

"It is part of us, yes." She walked over to her son's girlfriend and put her arm around her shoulders. "A dream is perfect way to describe it. Perhaps he will tell you his thoughts of it. Or maybe what he experienced in the Nexus. It was different for each of us. And please, call me Gweneth." She pulled at Mila's shoulders before releasing her. "Now let's finish this dinner, shall we?"

Mila returned the hug and smiled. "I am thanking you, Gweneth," she said. "You are being an amazing woman with an amazing son. I am having feeling that we will be growing closer now and I am appreciating the welcome into your home, kitchen and life." She released the woman and turned off the noodles before she looked back. "Now what are we to be doing?"

"You're welcome, Mila. Now, you can drain the noodles and I'll get the meat out," she said. "It's reminiscent of Earth duck, but not as greasy. Once the noodles are drained, spread them in this dish." She pulled out an old casserole dish and set it on the counter. "Then you can start cutting the kapkap melon and removing the melon part from the rind. I'll go ahead and prepare the sauce mixture."

Mila drained the noodles and spread them in the dish, then reached for a knife to start cutting the rind off of the melon. "I am looking forward to it," she said. "Before we are having to leave, I am having some recipes for you as well." She said with a smile before she started slicing the melon.

"Oh?" Gweneth said. She arranged the meat on top of the sefa noodles and began gathering the ingredients and seasonings for the sauce. "And what might those be? I'm always interested in new recipes. Things do tend to repeat themselves after a few hundred years." She giggled and went back to putting everything in the saucepan.

"If you are getting me PADD, I will write them down for you," she said. "I am thinking you would really like Koleti. Is equivalent of Russian meatballs that are breaded and deep fried. There is also stroganoff, Zharkoe which is Russian Beef Stew, Pelmeni dumplings and many others. Aidan is liking everything I have made for him so far."

"I can have a PADD for you after we put this in the oven," she said. "Then you can put it all in there. They sound delicious, by the way. And thank you." She spoke in a quieter tone. "Mila, there isn't much that that boy won't eat. Or in the very least, try. I'm glad that he enjoys you're cooking. Has he tried to cook for you, yet?" Gweneth moved to turn on the oven for preheating.

"He is making Russian dish for me once or twice," Mila told her. "He is being good cook, but I am used to cooking all the time. I am making dishes for Captain and my sestra, Joey, and no one is having complaints, so that is inspiring me to make more for them. Is a good chef who is happy to please the ones who appreciate their food."

"Well," she said, "then that is one trait that he didn't inherit from his father. And I'm very pleased to hear it. I have tried to teach him a few things in regards to cooking, but he never tried them at home." She ladled the sauce over the meat and sefa noodles until it was covered, but not swimming in it. After replacing the ladle, she turned to Mila. "But maybe he didn't have the right motivation until now."

"Oh?" Mila asked, curious. "I am being hesitant to ask him, but has he never had someone special enough to wish to learn? The way I am seeing him, he is the most generous man that I am ever meeting in every way. He even took up painting on our former ship and painted a picture of me."

The oven alerted Gweneth that it was ready and she put the Kavarian casserole in. "He has had several young women show interest over the years. For various reasons. But, no, he hasn't found someone special enough to learn or try. I suspect that his generosity, and love, has been stored for many decades. He has chosen you, Mila, as the recipient."

"He has told me that when women are learning that he is El-Aurian, they do not stick around long," she said. "That is being shame because he is a very kind, loving man and I am honored that he is choosing me. I do not care that he is much older and will live much longer, I will stay with him through everything until my body is giving up on me."

"He's correct," she said. "Though he doesn't talk much about them, they're still a painful memory. I agree with you that it is a shame. Brogran and I thought that mentality would have disappeared a long time ago in this sector. But it does me good to hear that you are not like that. As I'm sure it does Aidan. He's a special man, Mila. And I believe that you already know that."

"If I am having my way, he will be forgetting all of them and only be having eyes for me," Mila said. "I have met the perfect man, the perfect Knight and the perfect Rogue. He is perfect in every way, Gweneth and I congratulate you and your husband on raising him to be good man."

Gweneth smiled. She liked that. Aidan deserved a girlfriend that would take his mind away from the other failed prospects. "Thank you," she said, smiling. "However, I must disagree with you. I already have met the perfect man, Knight, and Rogue. But I understand what you're talking about, dear."

"Then that is where he is getting perfection from," Mila said with a smile. "I will not be disagreeing with you and I am knowing you are very lucky woman just as I am being lucky to have found Aidan. If it were not for him, I would be wandering galaxy for the sake of wandering. We spent time on Risa and it was so wonderful that I could imagine settling down there with him."

"You could? Well, Risa is a beautiful planet." That fact that she said she could imagine settling down with Aidan made Gweneth smile. "It was the first planet his visited when he left home. He contacted us many times while he was there. I think he rather enjoyed being away from home for the first time. Where did he take you on Risa?"

Mila smiled as she remembered their trip. "He is taking me to subterraneum gardens," she said. "Then we are going and having picnic at place on hill in park he is remembering. Before we left, we planted two more trees there for us when we are returning one day. It was very beautiful and I am to be remembering it forever. Have you been to many worlds, Gweneth?"

"Oh yes, I've heard of those gardens," she said. "Along with the picnic and tree planting, and I'm sure much more, it sounds like you two had a wonderful time. As for me, I have been to worlds in our own Delta Quadrant. Before the Borg ravaged too many of them, that is. Long before your Janeway named the planet, we visited New Earth. Rakosa V, Talax, Banea, and Enara Prime were others. We visited several in the Gamma Quadrant before that."

"I bet that was some vacation," Mila said. "I have been in Alpha, Beta and Gamma, but never Delta Quadrant. I was almost being assigned there, but a former Captain pulled strings and got me assigned to Gamma Quadrant, which is where I am meeting Aidan." She gave a wistful smile. "I am hoping that he and I are able to one day visit these planets as tourists and not on one mission or another."

Gweneth nodded. "Yes, it was a wonderful vacation. And if you have been to all of those quadrants already, then you are well traveled indeed." She saw Mila smile. "I hope that you both can, as well. You really love him, don't you Mila? I can see it on your face and I've heard it in your words."

"Da, I do," Mila said. "He is the only man that I will ever look at again in that way. He is everything I have said and more, and he is loving me. What more do I need?"

The oven beeped and Gweneth shut it off. "You have it. His love." Before removing the casserole, she walked over to Mila and hugged her. "You have it. Now, shall we get this Kavarian casserole and kapkap melon out to our two hungry men?"

"We shall," she agreed as she returned the hug and reached for the melon slices. "It is smelling very wonderful and I am eager to try it. I am betting that you are amazing cook as you are amazing woman."

"Try the food first, honey. Then you can compliment." Gweneth laughed as she led Mila out of the kitchen and into the dining room.

"I am trusting my nose for now," Mila said as she followed her and smiled when she saw the men sitting near each other in apparent conversation. "Dinner is now being served," she said as she set the melon slices on the table.

Gweneth put the main dish down and looked around the table. "You mean you didn't even set the table this entire time, Brogan?" She gave him a look that said she was only mildly frustrated.

"Oh, I'm sorry my dear. Come Aidan, we have slacked in our duties," said Brogan. He quickly got up and ushered his son to the nearby cabinet. He removed his wife's best dishes that she had picked up sometime in the last eighty years and eyed his son. Brogan smiled he watched Aidan remove and open the chest from below.

Brogan took care of the plates and placemats while Aidan removed the real silver utensils and cloth napkins. He went behind his father and properly placed everything out. When it was finished, he made his way back to Mila and placed a soft kiss on her lips. "Only the best for my best," he said.

Mila gave Aidan a kiss after the table was set. "Your mother is being amazing woman," she said softly. "I am now allowed to be calling her by her first name. Shall we be seated, my love?" she asked him as she gestured at the table.

"But of course," he said, as he pulled her chair out for her. He glanced up and saw his father do the same for his mother. Aidan smiled. "Comfortable my love."

"Thank you," Mila said demurely as she settled into the seat and waited for the others to be seated. She didn't know their customs, and with it being their house, she waited for Gweneth or Brogan to say something before the meal or to serve it.

Aidan sat down and looked up at his father. He slipped a hand to Mila's knee and patted it.

Brogan looked at the meal and said, "I see we have one of Aidan's favorites. Good." He looked to his wife and grinned. "How did she do?" he asked. Brogan could tell simply by the look on his wife's face.

"Excellent!" he exclaimed. "The first young lady that our son has brought home has helped cook a fine meal for us..."

Gweneth interrupted. "Will you just serve it before it gets cold, please? I think we are all hungry here." She looked up at her husband and smiled.

Brogan winked at Gweneth and started serving the Kavarian casserole. He put a smaller portion on his wife's plate and looked at Mila. "I will not dare to presume on a guest, Mila. How much would you like?"

"A small portion will be fine, Mister Crehan," Mila said. "I would not wish to stuff myself so quickly when that melon is looking so good."

He nodded and began to serve a small portion when Aidan spoke up. "Dad...guest?" He looked at him inquisitively.

Brogan stopped in mid-serve as he realized what he had just said. "Oh. Oh my, I'm so sorry. You are not a guest, Mila. Not by any stretch of the word. You are our son's girlfriend. That is close enough to family for me." He finished serving Mila and then Aidan and then himself. Once he sat down, he said, "Please, enjoy." He picked up his knife and fork and cut one of the pieces of meat into several pieces.

Mila laughed it off. "In my family, the first time someone is at our home, they are being guest. After that, they are being family and they are to be getting things themselves," she said with a chuckle. "But I am thanking you." She cut into the meat and took a small bite, savoring it as she chewed. "I am being right," she said. "You are wonderful cook, Gweneth. I am now very eager to be getting this recipe."

"I will get it for you, Mila," she said. "That one and more if you wish." She put some of the noodles on her fork and savored every flavor. "Perfect, Mila, simply perfect."

Aidan leaned over. "You have won their hearts. But I am not surprised. You have won mine."

 

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