Note: This fanfic contains spoilers for "Restoration."

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Do you like the beard? he asked, stroking it.

She stared at him. Just stared at him.

Do I take that as a no?

-- Star Trek: New Frontier,

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Elizabeth didn't say anything after they left sickbay, and it made Mac a little nervous. He wasn't used to her silences. Normally she was quite chatty-- she only refused to speak to him when she was angry with him, and he didn't think she was angry now.

Maybe she was having second thoughts about their marriage. He wouldn't have blamed her, really, if she had flat-out refused his offer-- it had been rather spur of the moment. But did she regret agreeing to marry him? He glanced sidelong at her. She didn't seem unhappy or upset-- she did look a little tired, yes, but it had been a long, wearing day for both of them.

But she did keep on looking at him, though. Staring at him like she couldn't believe he was really there. He tried looking back at her and smiling, to show that he was glad that she was here with him, but she didn't meet his gaze. She just kept on staring at him. Staring at... his chin?

He scratched his beard absently and chalked it up to the age-old explanation of all things mysteriously female: Women.

Picard's showing Moke around the ship, he said, as the turbolift doors slid open and they stepped inside. I said we'd meet them at his new quarters. Deck ten.

The doors closed and the turbolift began moving. And just as Mac opened his mouth to say something further, Elizabeth turned, threw her arms around him, and kissed him.

For a moment, he stood still, frozen with surprise, his brain still trying to catch up. He was taken aback by her urgency, the raw need that seemed to fuel her kisses, but never one to question a good thing, he kissed her back.

Who needed to talk when you could make out, he wondered briefly. God, she tasted good. He pulled her close, leaning down to kiss her again.

The turbolift doors opened.

There was a moment of frenzied struggle as he tried to disentangle himself from her before someone inadvertently witnessed their embrace, but Elizabeth was faster and pushed him away. They left the turbolift: Mac trying to smooth down his uniform, Elizabeth wiping off her mouth. He glanced at her; she was smiling slightly, almost to herself. He felt relieved. But as they started down the corridor, Mac noticed that her smile wasn't the normal, pleasant Elizabeth-smile that he knew. It was... more of a smirk, actually.

he asked, even more confused than before.

Elizabeth, still smiling, met his eye for the first time since they got on the turbolift and said, You were right. I don't like the beard.

end.