Story: A Moment
Author: Deede
Disclaimer: Paramount owns them.
Notes: Requested ficlet requiring a fight, a miscommunication, and a reconciliation.


"I'm sorry. I didn't mean for things to turn out that way," he stated gruffly, earnestly, his blue eyes regarding her wistfully while he helped himself to a chair at her table, watching with gentle amusement as she whirled a spoon in a bowl of chocolate ice cream. The action and the dish were so typically Deanna, so thoroughly indigenous to the woman he had finally admitted to being in love with even after twelve years of friendship, that it gave his heart a swift jolt. Allowing him, if only for a brief second, to forget that she was currently upset with him.

She looked up at him mutely, her large dark eyes so brilliantly expressive, yet, unfathomably closed off to him. It was as if she were hiding from him, only allowing him to see what small parts of her she wanted him to see. For seconds she regarded him soundlessly, achingly still, dangerously unreceptive to the boyish charm he was used to lavishing on her. It had always worked in the past, no matter what sin he had unwittingly committed, yet his heart sunk a little when he noted that she was almost immune to it now. 'She's more than upset,' he cringed silently to himself, 'she's fuming.'

Finally she shrugged her shoulders, seemingly noncommittal, as if his apology beaded and trailed off her body like the early morning dew on a leaf. "I know you are. You always have been. And I should have been expecting this. It was almost inevitable. There is a reason we've been friends, not lovers, during our service to the Enterprise. Maybe we were wrong to cross that line."

Her words made him angry, frightfully so. He could feel the rage boil up from within him, as he stared her down indignantly. He was tired - tired of living with the guilt of leaving her alone all those years ago to pursue a career instead of marrying, back when he had been a fool enough to believe that he could ever live without her, or that a career and marriage were mutually exclusive. Yet he also knew that he had brought it on himself. That he had wounded her deeply, and profoundly, and that every now and then, her insecurity when it came to their relationship, no matter how self assured she was otherwise, came from scars that had never fully healed. To a small degree, Deanna still didn't trust him. Even after they had renewed their relationship with an even deeper love and understanding than they had before. He wished he could take away her jaded pain; he wanted to change that in her, in them.

He stared into her eyes unflinchingly, focused and resolved to settling this once and for all, determined to leave only when her fate was placed firmly at his side, where she belonged.

"You didn't stick around after Captain Picard announced Starfleet's offer to give me the Titan, and that I was considering the commission. You didn't get to hear the speech I had planned to follow with," he stated firmly, chastisingly, letting her know that he held a secret her abrupt departure an hour before had prevented her from hearing.

"I heard enough," she responded, as strong-willed as he was, as defiant, giving as well as she took. The idle thought crossed his mind that they really were incredibly well matched, before her fire drew him back into the conversation. "You got an offer to be Captain. You're considering taking the commission. And the first I had heard about this was from Picard, the same time as everyone else."

"I was going to ask you to come with me, Deanna. To marry me. There, in front of our friends, with the hope of a new future freshly laid before us." He cringed at the anger in his tone as he said this, knowing that he hadn't wanted to propose to her this way, with both of them upset, and seething. Yet he wouldn't take it back now that he had done it. No matter the setting, the end result would be the same, or at least he desperately hoped it to be: with Deanna, in his arms, pledging to spend the rest of her life by his side, the way he had always dreamed that she would. He wouldn't accept any other alternative, he couldn't. This was what he wanted.

That she was stunned was obvious, for she once again regarded him mutely, her dark eyes still dauntingly unreadable. But then a smile started to break across her face, first at the edges of her lips, then more widely, as a twinkle started to glow within her eyes - she was happy, and for that, so was he.

"Maybe I did leave a little too early," she responded demurely, her tone light. But he read everything in her words: love, excitement, acceptance - all mixed in with the playful teasing that was them; their friendship, their passion, their unparalleled understanding of each other.

"Yes, but I can forgive you if…" he let his voice trail off as he leaned towards her over the small table, his lips just inches away from hers, his eyes still holding her gaze.

"If what?" she asked softly, seductively - slightly daring, slightly anxious.

"If you'll agree to be my wife as well as my best friend, my imzadi," he finished, leaning closer still, only a whisper away from a caress.

He saw the tears collect in her eyes, but didn't fear them for he knew they were expressive of joy, hers and his. He had waited for this moment for so long, had anticipated it more than one heart should be capable of anticipating anything, and he soaked it all in with the patience of a man who had long been starving for this kind of feeling, with her.

"The Titan, huh? I don't know, that would be a step down from the federation's flagship," she whispered teasingly, the breath of her words tickling his lips.

"Yet another reason you should have stayed to hear me ask you in front of our friends, at least then our good Captain could have given you a reprimand for being coy," he responded, blue eyes dancing while they roamed over the precious lines and curves of her face, committing every contour to memory.

She laughed then, a soft, delightful melody that rang so softly in his ears. "I'll marry you," she said at last, promising him everything.

He could hear the wild racing of his heart, as well as feel the rush of blood flow through him in his excitement as he bridged the remainder of the gap between them, drawing her lips to his while simultaneously wondering if life could possibly get any better than it was at that moment.

He had the pledge of a lifetime with Deanna to find out.