Chapter Five

Lisa was so happy that Data was alive that she didn’t care that they’d basically abandoned her in the Science Lab. Smiling, she walked out of the room with Jamie on her shoulders. She’d made a decision the moment he was reactivated; a very important one that would potentially change their relationship forever. She only had to wait for the mission to be completed and for him to have a free moment for her to discuss it with him.

They went back to their quarters and Lisa called up the ship’s log to update herself on the situation. Data and the others had been gone for about nine days and they intended to destroy the aliens’ habitat down on Devidia II. However, Captain Picard was still stranded in the nineteenth century. She couldn’t even offer to go back and get him as she could not time travel with a passenger.

Lisa yawned; it wasn’t as if she’d been awake for those nine days – on the contrary, since getting up this morning she really had only been up for perhaps around eight or ten hours – but the combination of adrenaline and riding an emotional rollercoaster was draining to her. She needed a nap, but she couldn’t do that just yet. She needed to talk to Data today. After asking the computer to inform her when Data went back to his quarters, she went to the replicator for coffee.

She realized as she was sipping her beverage that Samuel Clemens was still on the ship. He, too, would have to be returned in order to not cause a distortion of history. After all, the disappearance of one of the greatest literary figures of Earth was something that never happened.

She found out from the log that Dr. Crusher was researching the ophidian in order to find out how to activate it and open the portal between the nineteenth century and the twenty-fourth and that the message the Captain had left in Data’s head was a little more elaborate than “hold your fire”. Something about needing to destroy not the area on Devidia II but the actual alien habitat that was phased there; outfitting the photon torpedoes’ phase discriminators was needed. Since it would take a little time, that would make it possible to get the Captain back home.

Clemens had to be the man for the job since the portal would be unstable and could only bring one forward and take one back. She supposed that the commotion she was sensing was everyone modifying the torpedoes and anticipating Picard’s return. It was touch-and-go for a little while, but, in the end, everything worked out just fine. The aliens’ habitat was destroyed, everyone who should be in the nineteenth century was safely there, everyone who should be in the twenty-fourth was here, Data was alive and well head and all and Samuel Clemens would go on to write the books he became so famous for.

Now there was only one thing left to do and she left her quarters the moment the computer informed her that Data had returned to his, leaving Jamie behind and politely asking him not give his own commentary and distract her. Once she got there, she stood outside the door, fidgeting uneasily. She took a deep breath and pressed the chime button, waiting to be granted access. When the doors opened, she peeked inside and found him working at his desk. He’d changed out of his period clothes and was back in his uniform.

“Hi,” she said lamely as she came fully into the room. “Um…can I visit for a while?”

Data nodded. “Of course. Would you care to sit down?” He watched her as she sat in the seat he was indicating and frowned slightly. “You appear to be anxious.”

She blinked. “How can you tell?”

“Your body language suggests apprehension, concern, or unease. Your wings are twitching.” She eyed the appendages at her sides. Only an android could have seen the nervous tics; she was just glad she wasn’t scared enough to turn them white. “What is wrong?” he asked.

“Nothing.” Beat. “Well, not really.” Lisa took a deep breath, folding her hands in her lap. “It’s just…this whole thing with your head under San Francisco got me thinking. The possibility of you d-dying…” She winced, then sighed. “Four years ago, after your hearing, I told you something.”

It didn’t take him long to recall the memory. “You informed me that you held romantic feelings for me.”

“Right. And those feelings haven’t changed, which is why, if you had to die, I wasn’t going to let you die alone. That’s why I used my own time travel abilities to find you in the past.” She stared at her hands. “It’s unreliable…that’s why I overshot my destination, but…” She looked up. “Data, seeing your bodiless head in Engineering and then your headless body on Devidia II…” She clutched her fists over her hearts. “…it hurt. I began to shut down…until Geordi said he was going to try reattaching the head.”

She stood up and started pacing around the room. “The moment you were reactivated, I made a decision.” She faced him. “Four years ago I told you that I was perfectly content with just being your friend and I was…until now.”

Data blinked and looked about as concerned as an android could. “You wish to end our friendship?”

“No!” she said quickly. “No, nothing like that. I wanted to ask you…I mean I hoped…” She gathered her courage and decided to just come out with it. “I want to expand our relationship. Take it to the next level as people used to say. Be more than just friends.” She walked around his desk to stand directly beside him. “I want us to…be together.”

He frowned slightly, processing what she was saying, then raised his eyebrows. “You wish to establish a romantic affiliation with me.” It was a statement, not a question.

“Yes. Look, I know you can’t return my feelings but I just don’t care. I just want to be with you.” She resumed her pacing, rambling now, wanting to get everything out into the open as fast as possible before she lost her nerve. “I want to come over whenever you’re off duty. And I don’t need you to make any extra programs like you did for Jenna. If I’m over and you want to paint, you can paint. Maybe I’ll join you or maybe I’ll sit and read. You want to go play poker with the senior staff? I’ll…er…well, I can’t join the game because it’d be unfair so I’ll…I don’t know, talk to Spot or something. If I want to do something with you, I’ll tell you. If you want to do something with me, you tell me. If you want to go play Sherlock Holmes on the holodeck with Geordi, maybe I’ll come with you or maybe I’ll…” She made wide gestures with her hands as if trying to grab the right words out of the air. “…take a nap.” She threw her hands up in the air. “I don’t know. All I know is that I want to be with you.” She stopped pacing and looked the android in the eye, spreading her hands, defeated. “Just…” Out of anything more elaborate, she shrugged and sighed, resorting to just pure, blunt honesty. “I love you. Please.”

Data was silent as he analyzed her emotional babbling and she waited, hands clasped behind her back and staring at the floor. The wait was slightly maddening as she couldn’t read his mind nor did he have any feelings for her to sense. She was totally in the dark while he decided what was to become of their relationship.

Finally, after what seemed like hours, he finally looked at her. “I believe there would be great benefits in…expanding our relationship as you say.” He gave her the closest approximation to a smile that he could manage.

His smile, naturally, was only him emulating human behavior. Lisa’s smile, however, was absolutely genuine. She threw her arms around his neck and hugged him. “Thank you!” she said, kissing his cheek. She released him after a moment. “I’ll see you later.” She got up and started to head for the door.

“Lisa, wait…” Data said. When she turned toward him, she saw his head tilted in confusion. “I thought you wished to be here with me.”

She smiled. “I do. But I’ve had a very emotionally trying day. After all, I almost lost the man I love.” She went up to him and kissed him again, this time on the lips. There was no pop and no link, of course, but it didn’t matter. She was happy. “I’m going to go take a nap. I’ll see you later.”

He nodded. “Goodnight, Lisa.”

“Goodnight, Data. I love you.”

Another nod, another interpretation of a smile. “I know.”

Beaming, she walked out of his quarters and, with a new skip in her step, a grin on her face and her hearts very much lighter, she went to her room to dream sweet dreams.

The End

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