The Walker

By Felicia Ferguson

Rating: PG

Summary: Back-to-back "dates?" Inquiring minds want to know.

Keyword: Third person POV (I just love these!)

Author's note: Just a little vignette that popped into my head this morning.


It started out simply enough. It shouldn't have been a big deal, yet on the small scale, it was big.

The first invitation had been mixed in with her normal morning messages. This crewman was canceling an appointment. Another wanted to schedule one. Her mother checking up on her "Little One." You are invited to attend a performance of Mozart's minor works on the strings.

It was a simple gathering of the crew for an orchestral performance. They both enjoyed music, so, naturally, they attended the event together. They were friends after all. It shouldn't have raised any eyebrows. And it didn't -- the first time.

It was the opening of Commander Data's depiction of Henry VIII, the woodwind ensemble's break-out performance of a Vulcan symphony, and the student art exhibit featuring the works of the very talented Rajel Tamal, which piqued interest in them.

At each event, they were together. They arrived together, sat together, and left together. During the performances, their shared smiles and lingering gazes were noted and remarked upon. There wasn't anyone in attendance who didn't believe they were "together" together.

And yet, there was one who wasn't convinced.

"I really don't think so," Beverly Crusher said with a doubting shake of her head. She crossed Sickbay to read the monitors on the wall, verifying that the tricorder's readings were correct.

"Oh, come on," Alyssa Ogawa replied, trailing in the doctor's wake. "You mean to tell me that you haven't noticed that they always go to everything together?"

"They didn't attend the welcoming dinner for the Cairn together."

"That's work, I'm talking about free time. Events that go on aboard the ship. I'm telling you, they're back together."

"And if they are, what's the problem?"

"There's no problem, per se. It's just everyone's expecting some sort of announcement. They're dating, they're engaged, it doesn't matter. We all just want to know if the ship's most eligible bachelor is finally off the market."

"That's so archaic, Alyssa," Beverly replied with a disgusted look.

The nurse merely smiled. The opening of Sickbay's doors ended the conversation. It was nothing serious, but an accident on the holodeck still took precedence over idle gossip.

When the patient was discharged an hour later, Beverly sat behind her desk to log the entry. A message blinked on her terminal. "You are invited to attend…" followed by a another from Jean-Luc: "Would you like to…"

Alyssa and the rest of the crew might wonder, but Beverly knew the truth: Deanna was just like herself: a walker. Beautiful, charming, an excellent conversationalist, but above all, a friend, nothing more.

It was an interesting feeling being able to claim a man's attention for so much of the time, and yet, not the important time: the time when bedroom doors closed on the rest of the ship and they were truly together. That didn't mean there wouldn't come a time when "together" meant "together," but it also didn't mean that she had a lock on his attention either. His gaze would wander when the unknown appeared, but, inevitably, it would return to her. She was safe, a known variable that wouldn't disrupt his life and could be counted on to enliven it on occasion.

No, Beverly was certain that the status of Will and Deanna's relationship resembled her own relationship with Jean-Luc more than it differed.

But she was wrong.