Disclaimer: not mine. Rating: er... 13+ Fandom: Star Trek: The Next Generation. Character: Tasha Yar. Spoilers: Er... bits of season one.
Notes: Saw ten seconds of Skin of Whatsit the other night, and realized something I'd always wondered. Of course, as this is completely impossible due to a comment made in canon, it's an AU.

Clock Needs Sweeping by ALC Punk!

Enforced shore leave.

Tasha glared at the denizens in the bar she'd washed up in, and wondered if it were possible to get into trouble without getting it on her permanent record.

Most of them ignored her, busy with their own alcohol and problems. But then of course, it would be rather hard to find entertainment of a violent kind on Miriand'r 4. The people were steeped in rules and regulations, and they liked it that way. It made it all the more irritating that she'd been handed her orders and told to take a break.

Hah.

If her old crew could see her now--they'd mock her, probably. Tell her she was getting too soft, too easy to take.

Too friendly with people who could kill her.

They wouldn't understand.

"You know," the bartender said, her purple hat distracting Tasha from her thoughts for a minute, "They say regret is something we always have to live with."

"They're right."

A drink appeared in front of her, the colors swirling in the round globe. The bartender tapped it, and it chimed. For just a moment, Tasha found herself lost in something that was almost innocent wonder. Then the drink coalesced into something that smelled rich and fruity. She looked up, "Thank you."

The woman smiled, "I figure you deserve it, considering what's going to happen."

"What's going to happen?" Tasha frowned, then decided she didn't have time to care about enigmatic bartenders. She took a careful sip, letting the liquid roll around her tongue.

"Do they know you love them?"

"What?" Her enjoyment of the drink was being overcome with exasperation.

"Your friends, colleagues. Do they know you love them?"

Uncomfortable with the thought of emotions--much more Deanna's scope than hers--Tasha shrugged, "Probably."

A slight smile graced the bartender's lips. "But you're not sure. And when you're gone, they're not going to know for certain, either."

"When I'm gone?" Tasha snorted, her eyebrows raising in disbelief, "Look, I don't know who you are, or what you think you know, but I'm not easily killed."

"I know. They tried for years, and you never let them get a touch. Except for her, of course. Your sister."

Tasha stood and set the glass down, "You don't know me." Her tone could have frozen suns.

"No, I suppose I don't."

Her tone still cold, anger underneath it that made her shake. And something else, some niggling sense that told her this woman knew her far better than she'd ever know herself. "How much for the drink?"

"On the house." There was something wistful in the woman's eyes.

Tasha ignored it and forced herself to politely thank the bartender. Then she left, heading back to the room she'd taken. She didn't care if she'd receive a reprimand, this was the last time she bothered with shore leave. Ever.

While placing the one shirt she'd un-packed (something Deanna had picked out for her that did things she'd never thought possible) back into her carryall, Tasha suddenly wondered if maybe the bartender hadn't been right, in a way.

After all, people don't know you care if you don't tell them.

She fingered the silky material, then made a decision. Telling really wasn't her style. But after she was dead... Hey, maybe she'd go out with a bang.

That settled, she closed the case and headed for the comm unit to procure transport. She should have just enough time to catch the Enterprise, two systems over.

-f-