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Everyone on the USS Discovery was aware that Joann Owosekun and Keyla Detmer are dating. It wasn’t a secret. 

Well, it was a secret. Briefly. Back in the beginning when things were new and they suddenly went from friends to something more. With new things, it is best to keep it under wraps, else you might end up becoming the scuttlebutt of the week before you are ready to label things. Then the break up is even more awkward, especially on a small ship like Discovery. 

It happened at some point after jumping into the 32nd century; their relationship forged in unfamiliar space and time, growing stronger and stronger with each adversity the ship faced together. This part of the story wasn’t exactly a part of the collective memory, as how they got from roommates to girlfriends was kept close to their chests. 

(A bottle of wine and some slow dancing in the light of an unfamiliar star may have been involved in that.)

But by this point in time, Detmer and Owosekun had been dating for over a year, and it was old news. They weren’t hiding anymore; the two of them walked the halls hand in hand, had the occasional romantic dinner in the mess hall, and cuddled during movie nights, all in addition to their long-standing habit of engaging in lingering looks on the bridge.  

Despite this, Commander Michael Burnham had yet to notice. 

At first, it was expected. Flying through a wormhole into a new century was a bit of a bigger deal than the personal life of her bridge crew. Then, she was stranded for a year. Then, it was investigating the Burn… and so on.

After a while, it became an inside joke amongst the bridge crew. 

“She said what?” Tilly giggled. A bit of her drink spilt onto the table in her exuberance. The group of them had filled a large booth at the bar tucked into the corner of Starfleet headquarters, the large windows giving them a nice view of the rainforest ship. The space was cozy and filled to the brim with Discovery crew enjoying their evening off on home territory. 

“I’m so glad you two are such good ‘friends,’” Rhys said, putting air quotes over the last word.

“Oh yes look at them,” Bryce said, gesturing at how Detmer was curled up, with her legs sprawled on Owosekun’s lap, the two women basically entangled with each other despite having lots of room on their side of the booth. “Such good friends.”

“A girl can play with another girl’s hair without it being gay,” Tilly countered, then she noticed the way Owosekun was gazing at her girlfriend as she ran her fingers through Detmer’s red hair and lightly caressed the juncture between implant and hairline. “Actually no that’s super gay.” 

The entire table burst into laughter as Owosekun shrugged. 

“Maybe we’re just very good friends,” Detmer said, her own hands occupied by attempting to locate the maraschino cherry that was trapped under the ice in her Cardassian sunrise, and failing to impale the fruit with the sharp end of her tiny paper umbrella. “But seriously, I’m sure I’ve referred to Joann as my girlfriend multiple times in front of the commander.”

“‘Girlfriend’ can technically be platonic,” Nilsson said. “Maybe she thought you were referring to her as your gal pal.”

“Nothing about those two is platonic,” Linus huffed, “but perhaps her limited human vision means that she missed some of the signs.”

“I, for one, do not want to know what those signs were,” Rhys announced. “I already hear too much sharing a wall with those two.”

Detmer tried to punch him lightly on the arm, but he dodged her, raising his fists in a mock-defensive posture. 

“Not to mention that you can totally tell when they’re sending messages on their consoles,” Nilsson added. “I can hear Owo giggling all the way from my station.” 

“Don’t forget about Keyla’s blushing!” Linus said, “You wouldn’t believe the heat signature her… pale face emits.”

“Hey!” Detmer protests, her face betraying her and lighting up in a saturated flush. “No fair.”

“Friends totally look at each other like that,” Linus said with a sarcastic click. “Friends.”

Owosekun planted a kiss on her girlfriend's bright red cheek. 

“Don’t forget that jolt Discovery made that one time when Owo made an innuendo as we were escaping the space flower. I thought we were going to die!” Tilly said and the crowd burst into laughter. 

“That was the creature's tongue I swear!” Detmer said. “It was sending off a subspace riptide and you know it!”

“Yeah it was that tongue that you were thinking about, sure,” Owosekun whispered into her ear, only making things worse. 

“Why are you ganging up on me?” Detmer hissed.  

“It’s quite fun to get my macho pilot in such a state,” she replied. 

“Ew!” the group exclaimed collectively at her words, which were definitely not as quiet as she intended.  

“Anyway, Commander Burnham’s got more important things to worry about,” Owosekun argued. “She saves the entire galaxy every week.”

We save the galaxy every week, too,” Rhys said as he gestured with his glass, “and we’re still able to keep track of who’s doing who on the ship.” 

“Gen,” Bryce scolded. “Maybe it’s good that the commander doesn’t know that.”

“Speaking of-” Tilly said, leaning in to whisper. “We have to discuss whatever is going on with Saru and President T’Rina!”

No one informed the commander that evening, and if she noticed something between the two women — or saw their not-so-secret make-out session in the corner of the bar that evening — she didn’t say anything. 

“Should we tell her?” Owosekun said, laughing as she walked down the hall with her girlfriend, both a little tipsy after their festivities. 

“Hello commander,” Detmer said, pretending to stand at attention and saluting an imaginary Michael Burnam. “We would like to inform you that me and my super hot and sexy girlfriend, Joann Owosekun, and I are totally having amazing sex in our shared quarters, like, all the-”

Owosekun cut her off with a hand over her mouth. “Shush! What if someone hears?”

Detmer stuck her tongue out, forcing Owosekun to let her go. The lieutenant commander stumbled away, wiping her hands on her civvies in mock-disgust. 

“Oh come on,” Detmer said. “You know, like half of our neighbours have heard us. For future tech, these walls are thin and you’re good.”

Owosekun just rolled her eyes and walked through the doors to their quarters. 

When they had gotten to the 32nd century, they each had been offered single quarters instead of their shared room, but after all they had been through in that room, they had turned it down. When Owosekun had politely declined the offer, Captain Saru had tilted his head and suggested that if they were interested, they could be assigned a larger room for the both of them instead. They had taken this option.

This was the room that they drunkenly stumbled into. It had a large bed and an ensuite bathroom. Definitely an upgrade from their two twin beds on opposite sides of the room. Well, they had only been on opposite sides of the room for a few months before they decided to push the beds together. Back then, they enjoyed sharing a bed. As friends. Friends who cuddle and comfort each other after nightmares and friends who drunkenly kiss once in a while. Friends. 

Owosekun pushed Detmer down onto their bed, watching her red hair splay out like a halo before climbing up onto her, her knees resting on either side of Detmer’s hips. 

“You know,” Detmer said as Owosekun kissed along her jaw towards her ear. “If we get married then Michael would have to realize we’re together.”

“Keyla…” Owosekun said, pulling back to look at her. “Was that a proposal?”

“I’m just saying,” she said with a laugh and a glint in her bright blue eyes. 

Owosekun laughed in return before surging forward to kiss her deeply, the buzz of alcohol and the exhilaration that came with every touch banished thoughts of anything but the beautiful woman in the bed they shared. 

A real proposal came a few months later. It was a quiet moment with another bottle of wine and a ring that Detmer showed off the next morning at breakfast to a crowd of cheers from their friends. The two women sat beaming as their love and commitment was congratulated and celebrated by those they loved. 

By this point, the question of the commander's awareness had slipped their minds completely. 

This was how the giddy pair ended up in an officer’s meeting with a very confused Commander Michael Burnham and a crew trying to suppress their laughter. 

“Does anyone else have anything to add?” Burnham asked the group after she and Captain Saru had finished her run-down on their latest mission from Starfleet command. 

“Actually commander,” Detmer said, raising her hand slightly. “We’d like to, er, announce something.” 

“We?” she asked with a Vulcan-like quirk of her eyebrow. 

“Joann and I,” Detmer clarified. 

“I proposed to Keyla last night,” Owosekun said, and for emphasis, Detmer held up her hand revealing the shiny duratanium that was salvaged from a damaged section of the hull. Owosekun had made it herself, with a little bit of help from Jett Reno and Adira Tal in engineering, who when seeing it in the meeting, gave the fiancées a matching set of thumbs up.

“And a hearty congratulations are in order for the brides to be!” Captain Saru said, clasping his hands together in his excitement. 

“Proposed… marriage?” Burnham asked haltingly. The table burst into laughter once their suspicions were confirmed: she truly was oblivious of their relationship.

“Well I guess now she knows!” Tilly exclaimed as the confusion on Michael’s face was incredibly clear. Her mouth was open and her brows furrowed. 

“You never said anything-“ Michael stuttered, looking between Tilly and the couple with a look of betrayal on her face. Tilly shrugged, grinning at the commander's befuddlement. 

“What a beautiful couple,” Dr. Culber said with a smile. “I’m happy for both of you.”

Bryce shook his head while Nilsson grinned, knowing she had won their betting pool. Bryce began tapping at his PADD under the table, forwarding her his upcoming holosuite slots for payment. 

"So you put a ring on it. Finally," Reno said. “Don’t fuck it up, Owosekun."

Owosekun just smiled at he engineer who continued after a slight pause: "You either, Detmer.”

Keyla rested her right hand on her chest and said: "Scouts honour."

Both women were grinning in their joy but couldn’t help but laugh at the fact that after all this time, the Commander still hadn’t noticed their relationship. 

“Are you telling me that Commander Burnham didn’t know?” Saru asked with a quirk of his head and a click of his tongue. He looked over to his Number One whose head was held in her hands in mortification at the fact that everyone in the room knew but her.

“They literally live together,” Stamets said with a furrowed brow.  “Didn’t you have to oversee their couples quarters?”

“No- I,” Burnham stuttered. “I thought they were just really good friends.” 

The entire briefing room erupted into laughter.