She stands outside of the Captain's quarters, not exactly hesitating, but, it's true that she does not visit his quarters often, and rarely at night. She does not wish to disturb him. It's 2300 hrs. He truly relaxes so seldom. But this is important, and involves an obligation she must meet.. and she knows he is awake (Listeners have excellent hearing.)
At last, she reaches out and hits the button.. soft chimes sound.
"Come," he says.
The door opens and she steps through it. He lays the PADD he was reading on the table and stands up. He is still wearing his uniform pants but has changed into a soft brown sweater. He comes forward to kiss both of her cheeks in the French fashion.
"Guinan! to what do I owe this unexpected pleasure? Tea?"
"Please, "she says with a smile. "What are you reading?"
" An article on the pre-warp Boridium mining colonies on Rigel IV.. recent shards and other finds have indicated... but you didn't come here to ask me about my reading material." He takes the two replicated mugs of Earl Grey and lays them on the table with spoons and lemons. (She never drinks tea with milk.) "Please sit."
She does so, picking up one of the mugs of tea and a lemon. "I must speak with you," she says.
"Of course. You always have my ear, my friend. "
She smiles slightly at the word. He is one of the few people in the universe who at least sort of understands what she means when she uses that word. That is why, out of all the people in her long, long life, he is the one who goes beyond friendship...beyond family.
"No, it's Data;" she says.
"Mr. Data? What about him?" Picard is concerned. " Is he malfunctioning?"
"No." she says, "Not as such. I just wanted to give you.. not a warning, I don't want to use that term. Some advice? It's just... " She sighs. "Data has a.. a connection with the Harris girl and it cannot, should not be broken."
"I fail to see why there would be a .. connection. The girl has just transferred to the Enterprise. Any connection they would have would be teacher and student only. Mr. Data is the soul of propriety. I cannot imagine anything else."
"Jean-Luc, I'm here to tell you, it's going to be more than that at some point." He knows better than to ask her how she knows. She just does.
He pauses for a moment to consider his second officer. Surely his ethical programming would not allow him to take advantage of a girl Zelda's.. no, Zoe's age. "Is Data aware of this...connection?"
"Not yet," she tells him.. "and Zoe herself will think at first that what she feels is only a harmless crush."
"They don't have to worry about what I think," he says. "Her mother would never allow it. "
"Don't be so sure. I don't know her that well, and it will take some mental adjustment on her part, but Lt. Harris is wise enough to realize that she cannot stop Zoe. Young people are willful. Trust me, I have raised a LOT of them.. some of whom were easier than others. " She grins.
"You, on the other hand, could very well prevent, in an official capacity, Data from having a relationship with a girl so young, and I have come here to ask you that do not. "
"Why?" he asks, genuinely puzzled.
"Several reasons." She shrugs and takes a sip of her tea. "I owe Data our friendship, yours and mine, in an indirect way. I wouldn't deprive him of what I suspect is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. And, I believe it's best for both of them that they be allowed to see where this will go. " Her eyes are wistful. "Besides, my people are romantics.. I love love."
He is quiet for a long moment.
"I don't make a habit of interfering in the personal lives of my crew. But in this case, you are correct in thinking that I might have made an exception, due to the girl's age. However, I will take what you have said under advisement."
Suddenly, she leans forward and kisses him gently, " Jet'aime Jean-Luc." and then she is gone...