Title: A Valentine For Tawney
Author: Rose
Email: buffybot76@hotmail.com
Rating: PG
Genre: Romance
Pairing: Tawney Madison/Dr. Lazarus
Disclaimer: I do not own the characters of the movie Galaxy Quest. They
belong to Dreamworks and David Howard and Robert Gordon, the writters of that wonderful screenplay.
Summary: A little GQ Valentine fic.
Feedback: Yes, please
Lieutenant Tawney Madison stalked down the passageway of the NSEA Protector that led to her living quarters. She was livid as she went, contemplating life and the unfair events leading up to this moment. Oh sure, she had graduated top of her class at the Starfleet Acadamy. Recieved high honors from all her instructor on her finals. She had even been chosen for the position of First Lieutenant aboard the Protector. She was very proud of that accomplishment... who wouldn't be? It was a fine ship, with a fine crew. And Commander Taggart was...

"Totally conceited and an absolute bastard!" Tawney bit out angrily to herself.

She and the Commander had been flirting back and forth ever since she had first stepped foot onboard the ship. For 2 years they had traded shy glances and sexual inuendos abounded. She had assumed that they were building up to something more, something solid. A relationship based on love rather than just mere physical attraction. That was what Tawney wanted. A love that was neverending and perfect and destined. But how could she believe that now after what she had just seen?

She guessed her infatuation with the handsome Commander had blinded her to his more womanizing ways. How silly of her to assume that come Valentine's Day he would declare his undying love for her. Instead, the day had come, and she had walked in on Commander Peter Quincy Taggart kissing the daylights out of a female Ensign in the Briefing Room.

"How could I be so *stupid*?" She muttered as she made it the entry panel leading to her room.

The door slid open silently and she marched inside...and beheld a most surprising sight indeed. There, sitting atop her antique 20th Century-style beurea, sat what could only be discribed as a Valentine. A square box elegantly packaged in wrappings of red, white and pink.

Stepping forward, Tawney reached out slowly and picked up the present. It had a small card attached, so she extricated it from its perch within the bow and examined the script and its text.

Tawney,

I know you were expecting a different sweetheart for Valentines, but I hope that perhaps I will do. If you wish to hear me out, meet me in the Observation Deck at 1300 hours, and all will be explained.

Your secret Valentine
Tawney's heart sped up as well as her breathing, as she looked at her watch and noticed she had only 5 minutes to get to the Observartion Deck, and it was clear on the other side of the ship. Grasping the box tightly, Tawney dashed from the room and down the passageway, hoping that she wouldn't miss her secret Valentine. As she ran, her mind began going through a list of possibilities.

Tech Sergeant Chen? No, he had Laliarie.

Lieutenant Laredo? No, he wasn't her type. Plus, she had the sneaking suspicion that he batted for the other team.

Security Chief Ingersol, or as he preferred to be called, "Roc"? Oh, goodness, no. They never got along.

Dr. Lazarus? Tawney scoffed at that idea.

The Tev'Meckian was not the type of Officer to do something like this, especially for a human. As far as Tawney knew, the Mak'Tar didn't even acknowledge the Earth custom known as Valentine's Day, so that was the end of that idea.

It seemed to take forever, but finally, out of breath as she may have been, Tawney made it to the entry panel of the Observation Deck. Inserting her access card, which hung on an intricate chain around her neck, the lndicator light on the panel changed from red to green as the panel slid open. Taking a moment to compose herself and straighten her uniform--not to mention catch her breath--Tawney walked inside the room.

As the panel slid closed behind her, the first thing Tawney noticed was that the flourescent lighting had been dimmed considerably, leaving an eerie, but surprisingly, romantic glow about the room. The next thing she noticed was the shocking spread of material that lay on the floor beneath the Observation Panel in the roof.

Looking back down, Tawney saw that there was *actual* food laid out on the red and white checkered spread. One platter held sandwiches, while another held fried chicken. There was a bowl of mashed potatoes and gravy, and even a heart shaped cake for dessert. Two glasses sat beside a bottle of vintage wine, and what looked to be a wicker basket filled with hot biscuits.

"Oh, my!" Tawney breathed.

Looking around, Tawney sensed she was not alone in the room, but could not see anyone in sight. Suddenly, the above panel slid open, displaying the vast void of space beyond the transparent shield. Inky black velvet dotted with sparkling jewel-like stars. The sight was breathtaking.

Out of nowhere it seemed, a pair of hands covered her eyes, drawing her body back against a very solid, very manly chest. A squeak of surprise emerged before Tawney could stiffle it, causing a deep, warm chuckle to vibrate against her back as it issued from the chest she was being held against.

"Guess who?" whispered the deep baritone voice that only one person on the entire ship possessed.

Surprised, Tawney broke away, turning to stare in shock at none other than Chief Advisor, Dr. Lazarus.

*No way!* Tawney thought to herself. *He couldn't possibly.... He would never.... It just CAN'T be him!*

Smiling, Lazarus stood and watched the expressions as they flitted over Tawney's face. Shock, disbelief, confusion and finally... acceptance.

"It's you." Tawney could have kicked herself at her statement of the obvious. How dense could she be. *And I thought I was intelligent*, she thought bitterly to herself.

"So it would seem," Lazarus replied warmly. Glancing over her shoulder to look at the food he continued. "It would be an awful shame for all this food to go to waste. You can't imagine how hard it was to get this stuff from the last Star Port, not to mention bribing the Galley chef to prepare it correctly. So what do you say, Tawney? Care to join me for a picnic?

Mesmerized, Tawney nodded, allowing Lazarus to take her by the hand and lead her over to the spread. Together, they sank down to sit on the ground and partake of their small feast. She was still surprised that Dr. Lazarus even knew what a "picnic" was, much less how to plan one. After a few moments, in which Lazarus poured Tawney and himself a glass of wine, Tawney managed to tactfully say something.

"The food looks delicious."

Well.... maybe not as tactful as she thought. She tried again.

"You said in the card that you would explain?"

*Oh, wonderful, Madison, get straight to the point why don't you?*

Dr. Lazarus handed Tawney the glass of wine he had poured for her. After taking a deep breath, he said, "Tawney... How much do you know about the Mak'Tar and our rituals and customs?"

The question took Tawney off guard, for she had not been expecting it. Pondering a bit before answering, Tawney came to the realization that she did not know all that much about Dr. Lazarus' species. She had saw it as none of her business and, therefore, never bothered to inquire. Finally, all Tawney could do was shake her head no, indicating how unfamiliar she was with the Mak'Tar.

"Well, Tawney, you might be surprised that the Mak'Tar are not unlike Earthlings when it comes to matters of the heart."

Imitating a gesture that she had seen Lazarus use on many occasions, Tawney raised a brow to indicate her interest.

The humor of it was not lost on Lazarus and he laughed in that pleasingly deep laugh again.

"So... what matter of the heart are we discussing here?" Tawney asked.

Lazarus' expression became guarded and he looked away as he spoke, as if he were unsure of her reaction to what he was about to say.

"There is a Mak'Tar custom that is similar to what you humans call Valentine's Day. It even falls on the same time-frame, the differences being that instead of yearly, our custom is celebrated every ten years. At the time of celebration, our clan are free to seek out their Life Mates, which are revealed to us in a dream the night before the actual occasion."

Here Lazarus looked at Tawney, his dark hypnotic eyes boring into her sky-blue ones, as he continued to speak.

"I had the dream last night, and do you want to know who I saw as my Life Mate?"

Tawney had a pleasingly good idea that she already knew, but wanted to hear him say it all the same, so she nodded.

"You."

It is strange how a simple word can totally change your life forever. But that is exactly what this one did to Tawney Madison. Upon hearing it, Tawney felt it as the realization dawned.

Lazarus, not Peter, was the one with who she was meant to be with. To share her life and heart and soul. As it unfolded to her, Tawney knew that this was what she wanted. For now and forever, she wanted to be Laz's Life Mate. Looking down, she realized that she still held the gift that Laz had left in her quarters, in her hands. Without hesitation, she opened it to reveal a crystal orb that glowed an array of glorious colors. Reds, golds, blues of all different shades and hues.

"That," Lazarus indicated the orb with a nod as he spoke, "is the Mak'Tar equivalent of a 'Would you be mine?' Valentine. So the question remains, Tawney..." Here he paused as he shifted closer, taking her chin in his hand and tilting her head up to catch her eyes again. "Will...You...Be...Mine?"

Silence filled the Observation Deck as they stared at each other. One in anticipation. One in wonderment. Then...

"Yes." The word that forever changed Dr. Lazarus' life was uttered. "Oh, yes!"

Flinging herself into Lazarus' waiting arms, Tawney Madison thought that maybe she had been handed the Universe on a silver platter. And, as their lips met for the first time, she decided that she was right.
The End