"Within The Confines of Time"

Chapter 22 ~ "Big Trouble in a Small Way"

Rated R for some mild language...So if your under age DON'T READ!

-x-x-x-x-

Data began scanning over an open photon torpedo, while the Lieutenant is installing a small canister inside the central chamber of the torpedo.

Data briefly monitors the new changes with a small digital instrument.

The android raised his head as the petite blonde finally spoke, breaking the silence between them.

"Sometimes in the summer we went on cookouts... just my little brother and me, and mother...She was hopeless without a replicator. But we didn't care."

Data slightly cocked his head to the side, intrigued. "Children often do not develop a discerning palette until well beyond adolescence."

"It's wasn't that. It just felt... so good to be together... as a family. We didn't have much of that after my father died... so those times were really special." The officer paused a moment. "I wish we were back there now... you and I..."

Still oblivious, Data continued the conversation. "The unidirectional nature of the time continuum makes that an unlikely possibility."

The beautiful lieutenant laughed out loud. "That's one thing I've always loved about you. You make me laugh." Again she paused, holding her gaze to his questioning look. "You know, maybe I've been with the wrong men. Why couldn't they be like you, Data? You've got everything."

Data's eyes widened at the revelation being offered to him. This beautiful, young woman was coming on to him. He quickly tried to deflect her advances. "That is not true. Although I have human feelings, you do realize that I am involved with Lieutenant Yar. And although I consider you a close friend there is one thing that I do not have that you require!"

Jenna raised her eyebrows slightly in question.

"I am not free to fulfill those needs. I am suddenly inclined to remind you that I am..." He stopped, suddenly searching his memory banks for the right word. "Happily engaged to Tasha!" He proudly announced the foreign words aloud. "I love her!"

Ignoring his statement she slowly reached out, taking his hand in a friendly fashion. "But Data you've given me more than any of those other men. You've encouraged me when I was down, you've listened to all my ramblings about Jeff and I, consistently reminding me of how bad he was for me. No one could have been kinder to me...those are the things that matter..."

"Yes but I was merely fulfilling my duty as your friend, Jenna, not that of a lover."

Jenna smiled with a tiny glint in her eye. She slowly bent down over the torpedo and made one last adjustment.

"Well, I think that's it." She relied and then with formality in her voice. "With your permission, Commander, I'll be going."

Data looked up once again, straightening his posture. "Permission granted."

But before he could lower his head back down a soft, small hand pressed under his chin as she placed friendly kiss to the side of his cheek. Afterwards, Jenna pulled back a short distance.

"I don't know if you're aware of it... but you're very handsome...and I'll leave you with this one question, Commander. How can you truly know that Tasha is the one for you if she is the only woman you have ever dated? Perhaps you need to throw some variety into the mix before deciding on one woman entirely!"

She slowly leaned in to kiss him again, this time longer and on the lips.

Silently Data reprimanded himself for not making his love for Tasha more clear and cursed the inactive state of his programming the moment Tasha walked in...

Immediately panic set in as Tasha turned and stormed out, obviously distraught by the scene she had just walked in on. Data quickly jerked back, as if the softness of Jenna's lips had burned him in some way.

And in all honesty it had, this petite blonde had stung him where it would hurt the most. Now he was at the mercy of another blonde who was twice as deadly and pregnant! This would surely be his demise Data thought as he ran after her.

He could hear the smile in Jenna's voice vaguely in the distance.

"See you tomorrow, Commander!"

-x-x-x-x-

Data hastily walked into their cabin only to find Tasha shoving her clothes into an overnight bag.

He hesitated a moment before speaking and then decided to risk the chance. "Do you not believe this is a little premature?"

Tasha's movements immediately stilled, as her eyes widened in agitation. "I believe premature would be an engaged man being led astray by his dick, wouldn't you?" She accused.

Data briefly looked down to his crotch, perplexed by her statement. He paused a moment, trying to inquire the proper meaning of her words. "Ah, you are implying that I wish to be unfaithful to you with Lieutenant D'Sora, am I correct?"

Tasha rolled her eyes in anger. "I'm not implying it Data, I saw it!"

Data softly nodded his head from side to side. "What you saw was a lapse in my programming not a return of affection."

"Oh, don't patronize me Data, I know what I saw...I may be pregnant but I'm not stupid!"

Again, Data softly whispered. "I apologize...It was not my intent to entail that you are inferior by any means...in fact you are quite the opposite!" Slowly he took a step forward but quickly halted the moment Tasha raised a cautionary finger.

"Don't!" She warned.

"Tasha you are in no condition to be this upset, please..." He paused a moment, overwhelmed by the situation at hand. "I can explain!"

Quickly she grabbed her bag as she turned to face him. "If you didn't want me this upset then maybe you shouldn't go around kissing other women, Data!"

She began to walk past him as his hand softly reached around her arm, stopping her from leaving. "Tasha...please do not do this!" He pleaded. "I know what you saw was disconcerting but I can clarify the situation if you will allow me too."

Tasha stood silent for a moment, her mind going over his proposition, as well as replaying the kiss she just witnessed. Her anger from the latter won out.

"I don't want to hear anything you have to say...I saw all I needed to see, Data!" She added with tears in her eyes.

She brazenly jerked her arm from his grasp as she made her way into their living room. But Data was too quick as he made his way in front of the door, blocking her exit.

Desperation filled his voice. "I do not know exactly how to process these emotions, I am still learning. You have to understand!"

Tasha's voice softened. "I do, Data...I do." And then it immediately hardened in its tone. "You chose her!"

Data slammed the back of his hand against the doors, startling Tasha. "I choose you! It has always been you! Why do you question that? I froze!...There, I admit it..." He shrugged his shoulders, abashed from the revelation. "I am capable of running computational speeds up to sixty trillion operations per second and due to the nature of my emotions, I stalled...In that one moment my emotions rendered me helpless. I did not know how to react."

Tasha glared at him, her eyes spoke volumes. "How about saying no!"

Data continued to argue back. "I reminded Lieutenant D'Sora that I was not available."

Tasha continued to stare at him, her thoughts running rampant only to give way to one thought. "Data how do you know that you really love me?"

He slightly cocked his head to the side, perplexed by the question.

"I mean there are thousands of women out there who would love to have you now that you are capable of loving them back...why choose me?" She took a moment and then added. "Are you even certain that you love me?"

Without hesitation, he answered. "Yes!"

"How do you know?" Data slightly cringed at the doubt in her voice.

But again he did not miss a beat. "Because the moment Q gifted me with these emotions I was overwhelmed with fear, anxiety, caution and a sense of danger. I was at a loss as to what he had done to me or how to process it. But as soon as I learned of your circumstances, all of those emotions dissipated. I did not waver at the prospect of what harm could befall me on Romulus..." He shrugged his shoulders from the disclosure, one that had just hit him like a ton of bricks. "I know now it was because my love for you compelled me past all of my fears... all because I desired you that much!"

Tears began streaming down Tasha's face. "I wish I could believe you...I just think it's best if you make sure before we continue further into this relationship."

"My mind was made up three years ago!" He disputed.

"Dammit Data I'm giving you a chance to be free so you can discover what you really want." She wildly waved her hand in between them. "Free from this..."

"I do not wish to be free from you." Data whispered.

Tasha rolled her eyes in exasperation breaking his heart in three swift words. "Marriage is off!"

Data held her eyes to him, silently pleading for her to understand before slowly stepping aside to allow her the exit she so desired.

As the doors closed behind her, Data held back the tears as he laid his head against the doors.

When suddenly he heard someone clapping directly behind him.

"Well, I'd say you screwed that one up, Pinocchio!"

Data turned swiftly to face the immortal god as he pointed at him accusingly.

"You...you can fix this!" Data admitted.

Q smirked and shrugged his shoulders in delight at the android's recognition of his powers.

"I could...but that wouldn't be as fun."

"So I save your life while in return you are entertained by mine, right?"

Ignoring the observation, Q egged him on. "Whew! She's really pissed!" He began stalking around their living quarters."I must say that's a new record."

Data raised an eyebrow in question.

"Within a time frame of two months you were an unemotional android turned very emotional human..." The immortal paused taking a breath and then continued. "Turned back to an emotional android who got the girl." He quickly cupped his hand to his mouth as he whispered. "Not to mention knocking her up, not with one but two babies on the way and then making out with some unknown, might I add hot chick in the torpedo bay..."Again he took another deep breath. "Only to have your pregnant, not just girlfriend but fiancé walk in and bust you right in the middle of your lip fest and then run after her like some poor, sulking schoolboy..." Another deep breath before continuing his ramblings. "Only to get dumped after pouring your heart out to her!" Q looked to the ceiling to recollect, then nodded his head in affirmation. "Yep, that's a record! Congratulations Data, your the new ass hole of the Federation."

-x-x-x-x-

Author's Notes...As you may have noticed some of the dialogue to "In Theory" does not belong to me and I did not write it. It belongs to the writer's of TNG so don't sue me for merely borrowing it to mess up the perfect rhythm of Data/Tasha's life. I had to throw some discord in there some how...Anyways, I hope you guys liked it...If so, leave a review please...I've been pretty sick with my heart and I haven't been able to update like I would have liked too. So reviews would really be good for the soul right now...Thanks everybody!