"Parallels"

Star Trek: The Next Generation

Rating: T

Pairings: Data/OC

Summary: Data is caught up in a world of two parallels but will he be able to figure out which one is real?

-x-x-x-x-

Geordi patted Data's back as they took their seats in Ten Forward. His anxiety showing in his demeanor toward his friends new found ability.

"So Data, tell me what it's like to experience dreams now?"

The android wearily met his friend's eyes. "I am afraid that I have disabled the dream sequence."

Shocked, Geordi pushed on. "But why Data, it's just another step closer to you evolving. It's nothing to be afraid of."

"I am incapable of experiencing fear, Geordi."

The engineer rolled his eyes at the androids stoic remark. "I don't know Data. You're breaking the laws of sentience everyday. Just a few weeks ago you couldn't even sleep, let alone dream. Now look at you!"

Data's eyes left Geordi's for a moment, staring blankly at his hands folded neatly upon the glass table.

"Wait a second." Geordi repeatedly began snapping his fingers as the thought hit him, his body leaning in closely over the table as he whispered. "Data, have you had a nightmare? Is that why you discontinued the program?"

The androids yellow piercing eyes snapped back up to meet Geordi's visor.

"Nightmare - " Data quietly repeated the word to himself, as his eyes darted from left to right, accessing the proper information. "Ah, an unpleasant dream that can cause a strong negative emotional response from the mind, typically fear or horror, but also despair, anxiety and great sadness. Correct?"

"Yes, Data but you failed to answer the question."

Again, the android was evasive. "It is not a nightmare."

The engineer almost leaped out of his seat from the android's folly. "So you have seen something in your dreams, haven't you?"

Data cocked his head to the side in a mechanical, perplexing way. "It is not what I have seen but who I am seeing."

"Okay, I'm afraid I can't help you if you keep deflecting, Data."

The android remained silent.

Geordi shrugged his shoulders at one last desperate attempt to draw the secret out of him. "So who is it?"

Data narrowed his eyes in a way that unpleasantly reminded Geordi of his twin brother, Lore. Was the android silently warning him to back off?

"I can not disclose that information, Geordi."

The man exhaled loudly, annoyed at his best friends secrecy over the subject as he slouched back in his chair.

"Why not?"

"Because the person who is currently reoccurring in my dreams." The android paused a moment, cautiously choosing his next words. "I made a promise to never divulge what we shared between one another."

Geordi threw his hands up in the air, obviously frustrated. "Alright, maybe you can tell me what the dream is about without letting me know whom it's about."

Data still remained guarded. "That is not possible due to that nature of the dreams."

Despite the visor blocking the view of his eyes, Data could still see his friend's eyebrows rising in astonishment.

"You're having illicit dreams of someone?" Geordi asked in disbelief. "Wow, Data and here I thought you were a gentleman."

The android ignored the discerning looks from patrons at other tables, his brows furrowed in anger as he dangerously tapped his index finger against the glass table. "This conversation is over!" He gritted through his teeth.

Immediately, the android was out of his seat and making his way out into the corridor, leaving his best friend completely stunned.

Data waited patiently for the turbo-lift as he heard Geordi approach him from behind.

"I'm sorry, Data." The android turned to face the man whom was considerably still unnerved by that past event. Geordi pointed back at Ten Forward. "But what was that?"

The doors to the turbo-lift swooshed open and Data quickly stepped in, his friend following close behind.

"Damn it Data, are you going to tell me what's going on with you or am I going to have to inform the Captain of your erratic behavior?"

Data's head turned to glare into Geordi's eyes. "I am functioning within normal parameters." He lied.

"The hell you are! You've defied all the laws of physics within the past five minutes. You're dreaming and with those dream's you're experiencing lust, anger, deception and anxiety. All emotions that are exempt from your programming – you're acting more human by the minute, Data!"

Data moved to press a button on the console and immediately the turbo-lift halted its descent. The fear that was evident within Geordi's eyes disconcerted him.

"I do not know what is wrong with me." The android pleaded. "I had come to the conclusion that if I discontinued the dream sequence that the malfunctions would stop but unfortunately that is not the case." He paused a moment and for the first time Geordi could see in his friend the one emotion he never expected to see – distress. "Please, help me. In my dreams I can taste and feel sensations, emotions. I can still smell her scent, it haunts me. She is haunting me. My dreams are somehow incorporating themselves into my reality. I can not stop them."

Geordi's features changed from that of fear to sympathy. He leaned forward, grabbing Data and pulling him into a tight embrace, as he patted him hard on his back. "Come on, let's go to engineering and see if we can't find out what's going on." He leaned back, taking note of another amazing feat the android was now accomplishing – tears! He was crying; how his friend had no idea but what he did know was this, he would get to the bottom of it all. Something was causing his friend to malfunction. Maybe it was another hidden program that Dr. Soong had installed to make itself known once Data reached another level of consciousness. Whatever it was, he would find it. "Come on Data, let's go."

-x-x-x-x-x-

Author's Notes: Sorry for not updating Within the Confines of Time, I plan to update soon! I've had this fanfic over-riding my brain right now, so I finally gave in and wrote the first chapter to it. It's a bit dark and suspense filled but I think it just might work. I hope you guys enjoy it.