First Date: Popping the Question

Title: First Date: Popping the Question 1/1
Author: DebC
Rating: PG-PG13
Keywords: D/P Relationship potential, UST
Disclaimers: Declan and Peggy belong to the creative minds of Carl Binder, Peter O'Fallon, Lions Gate and PAX. I thank them from the bottom of my heart for giving the world such wonderful characters.

Dedicated to Ash. She knows why. J

"First Date: Popping the Question"

Declan Dunn fidgeted as he wrapped up his lecture. He was giving his students a list of things to review for the final exam, but his mind was on something else. Some * one * else, he mentally corrected himself as he glanced at the clock... for the third time. She said she'd be there at three sharp and it was almost--

"Are you alright, professor Dunn?" a young male voice called out in inquiry. Just then, Declan caught the familiar form of Peggy Fowler shadowing the window outside the classroom door.

"Ummm... yeah, Warren." His voice raised an octave, partially in embarrassment and partially in relief. "I'm fine. Just got distracted is all." He looked down at his sloppily written notes. "Where were we?"

"*We* were on chapter twelve," Warren replied, a smirk on his face. "*You* were looking at Dr. Fowler."

Several people chuckled, and Declan felt himself begin to blush.

"Right... chapter twelve." He paused, unable to decipher his own handwriting. Just then, the clock struck three. Some students in the front row started to fidget too. "Review chapters twelve through twenty-five on your own and I'll see you at the final."


"So..." Declan began nervously once they got to his office. He shuffled some papers on his desk, looking away from Peggy.

"Declan?" Peggy spoke, concern clear in her voice. He looked up from the papers he wasn't really reading anyway. "Is something wrong?"

"No... no, why do you ask?" Declan lied. He'd been anxious to seen Peggy Fowler all day, but now that she was actually there-standing in front of him in that reddish-orange blouse and black blazer, her warm brown eye gazing intently at him-and he couldn't bring himself to carry out his previous plans.

First of all, if he did, and she said no, what would it do to their friendship? He'd already lost Peggy once in his life; it would break his heart to lose her again.

"Oh, look! Here it is!" he exclaimed suddenly, grabbing a newspaper off his desk. Pointing to a headline, he said. "I wanted to show you this." He pushed the paper to her.

"Miraculous Infant Survives Night in Snow Bank," Peggy read. "Declan, is this the only reason you called me over here?"

He didn't answer at first, as he was too lost in his own thoughts.

What if she says yes? An equally terrified-although terrified for a different reason-part of his mind responded. Oh, it wasn't as if he hadn't thought about what it would be like... he'd thought about it all the time back in college, before she disappeared from his life completely.

Not so completely, Declan reminded himself. Glancing up, her watched her as she studied the newspaper article, her head bent, dark curls covering her hair like a curtain of wavy silk.

Clenching his fists slightly to keep from reaching out and touching those curls, he realized that he'd never actually stopped thinking about it-thinking about her. And he wasn't going to unless he just came out and asked her.

"Peggy..." he began, his mind finally made up.

"Yes?" she asked, looking up from the newspaper and pushing a tendril of hair away from her eyes.

"I was-"

That was as far as he got before the office door pushed open and Miranda stepped inside. Behind her, Warren hovered in the doorway.

"Miranda!" exclaimed Declan, surprised and slightly relieved by his assistant's near-perfect timing. "Hi!"

"Hi," came Miranda's deadpan response. "You forgot to get your mail from the faculty lounge again," she said. Miranda held out a stack of papers, some envelopes and one brown package. "I think it's that book on ancient mysticism you ordered," she added.

"Oh... oh! Yeah!" Declan said a little too excitedly as he took them from her.

Miranda looked at her friend and then at Peggy. "Was I interrupting something?" she asked. Warren snickered.

"No, not all," covered Declan. Another lie, but he couldn't just come out and say it, now could he.

"O-kay." Miranda said in turn.

"Yeah, okay... well, then I guess I'll see you tomorrow, right?" he asked.

"Yeah. Bye." Miranda said as she turned to leave.

As she closed the door, Declan heard Warren whisper "he's acting stranger than normal, don't you think?"

"Yes, I do," Peggy answered in Miranda's place. "Declan, what is with you today?"

It's now or never, Declan thought to himself. A lump of indecision rose in his throat and he swallowed hard to force it down. His palms were sweaty, he realized... about the same time he realized his hands were still clenched, only this time clutching desperately to the mail Miranda had brought as a drowning man would a life preserver.

Taking a deep breath, he set the mail on a corner of the cluttered desk and turned back to face his friend. All the while, he was wondering if she would still be friend after he'd had his say.

"Is something on your mind, Declan?" Peggy asked, slipping into what he jokingly referred to as 'Dr. Peggy' mode.

"Yeah, actually, there is," he admitted.

"Would you care to--?"

"Yes, I would," Declan answered her unfinished sentence for her. "This has been eating me up ever since I found out who you were, Peggy. Before that even."

"What has been eating you up? I'm afraid I don't understand."

"I like you, Peggy," he said at last.

"I... I like you to," she replied.

"No... " Declan sighed. This was not going right. "I mean, I * like* you, like you. And I was wondering... well... I was wondering what would happen if I asked you out on a date?"

Peggy's mouth opened slightly in surprise. "Are... you asking?"

"Yes," came Declan's hopeful response.

to be continued in "Giving an Answer."