Author: Laura Schiller
Email: Rostockgirl AT aol.com
Summary: Deputy Alexander and Deanna Durango shield Sherriff Worf from the predatory advances of the barmaid.
Disclaimers: Everything Star Trek, including Worf and Deanna Troi, belong to Paramount Pictures. No infringement is intended, no profit is made.
"I don't understand," said Deanna, her hands on the hips of her tight red leather pants. Worf agreed; the story was over, 'Deputy' Alexander duly rescued, and the Hollanders run out of town. Perhaps he should have shot them after all, he thought irritably, though it didn't seem quite honorable to kil even a hologram in cold blood.
A moment later, the answer to their perplexity came bustling around the stair landing with a rustle of petticoats. Miss Annie the barmaid, wearing Data's face, with one red rose in her hair and another at her heaving bosom, was leaning against a wooden stairpost and casting Worf a look of dewy-eyed devotion.
"Sherriff," she breathed in Data's voice. "You're as handy with a shootin' iron... as ye are with a woman's heart!"
"Computer, end program!" Worf barked, his eyes darting around the tavern like a hunted animal's. To no avail; Annie/Data came billowing down the stairs like a ship in full sail, arms outstretched, lips puckering.
She/he was about five steps away when Alexander intervened.
"I'm sorry, Miss Annie," he said. "But you can't kiss the Sherriff. He's already taken."
Only Worf's habitual poker face prevented him from showing his utter shock. Deanna's eyebrows flew up like birds, as did Annie/Data's.
"Well, I never!" she blustered. "Worf! Is that there deputy of yours playin' a trick on me?"
"Yes, Alexander," said Worf through gritted teeth. "What is the meaning of this?"
Alexander smiled, looking as innocent as a Klingon child can look. "See, Miss Annie, I'm not just Worf's deputy. I'm his son. And Mrs. Durango here is like my mother."
The barmaid's red mouth fell open, then snapped shut. She took one look at Worf and Deanna, the gunslinger team standing side by side in their Stetsons, kerchiefs and spurred boots, and took out a lacy handkerchief to dab her eyes.
"So that's how ya got him to thank me for that telegraph machine, ya li'l viper!" she snarled at Deanna. "The times I risked my life fer that man, and never a word outta him... well, Mister Durango, yer a cad and no mistake!" She slapped him hard; being less sentitive to pain than a human, hardly felt it. "Ya oughtta told me you was married, and I'd never have wasted mah time on that peach cobbler! And you!" She rounded viciously on Deanna. "Comin' here, puttin' on airs – 'mysterious stranger', mah foot! Dressin' like a man in them skintight pants and that pistol! It ain't right! You gonna come to a reeal bad end, missus! As bad as them floozies down at the corner!"
She stormed away, the wooden stairs creaking beneath her weight.
Worf's shoulders slumped with relief. Deanna glowered in the direction of the stairs, all sympathy lost. Alexander smothered a triumphant giggle with one hand.
Slowly coming back to himself, Worf dropped a heavy hand on Alexander's shoulder.
"What have I told you about lying?" he asked.
"I wasn't lying! I am your son, aren't I? And I didn't say Mrs. Durango, uh, Counselor Troi is my mother. I said she's like my mother. Because she is. She's always nice to me, and she listens, and she makes rules but not too strict ones. And to you she's like a wife because you make such a great team. Like when you rescued me just now. And she's pretty too, don't you think, Father? Don't you think she's pretty? 'Cause I do."
During Alexander's explanation, Deanna had been struggling to keep a straight face and not burst out laughing; she didn't want to offend the boy, or his father. But at the last sentence, she couldn't help it; she threw back her head and laughed, a musical sound which echoed throughout the empty tavern.
"Oh, my!" she said, in her natural accent. "Thank you, Alexander. You're not turning into a matchmaker, are you? It seems my mother's been rubbing off on you."
"During our next family counseling session," Worf remarked, "We must explain to you the differences between adult – relationships." Damn it, that had not come out the way he'd intended! "Deanna and I make a 'great team', as you call it, because we are crewmates. We have been trained by Starfleet to cooperate with others. Also, our skills and character traits complement each other. That does not mean... that is, I never considered... She is... "
Catching sight of Deanna's warm black eyes looking steadily up at him, Worf found himself stumbling over his words. Most of the thoughts on his mind at the moment would probably be wrong to say, especially in front of the child.
She is so fragile. I never considered making love to her, because I am afraid to hurt her. She deserves someone more suitable, someone of her own kind...
Still, on the other hand, she was perhaps not quite as fragile as he'd thought. She was certainly fearless in a shooting match.
"Since when do you call the Counselor 'Deanna'?" asked Alexander. "And you didn't answer my question."
"Yes," he said gruffly, unable to look Deanna in the eye, "I do find her … pleasant to look at." Thanking whatever gods there be that his dark skin made blushes harder to see. A warrior does not blush.
"I'll take that as a compliment, Lieutenant." Deanna's voice was teasing, but were her cheeks slightly redder than usual? "Now," clasping her hands in a let's-take-action sort of way, "I think we've been in here long enough, don't you, gentlemen? Computer, end program."
However, the empty tavern, with its scent of wood shavings, tobacco and beer, the bottles on the shelf behind the counter, and the swinging doors, remained exactly what it was.
Worf cursed in Klingon. Deanna shot him a look of mild reproach, gesturing with her head in the child's direction. Alexander, however, didn't seem to have heard. His face lit up.
"I have an idea!" he said. "I mean – it's not my idea, it was Mr. Barclay's. The story has to end with either a hug or a kiss, he said that makes it much more satisfying! So since I know you don't wanna kiss Data, Father, I guess... you... "
Worf's expression was positively thunderous. Alexander, thinking the look was directed at him rather than Mr. Barclay, fell suddenly silent.
"I'm going to have a little talk with Mr. Barclay... " Deanna patted the rifle at her belt with a Durango-esque flourish, and Worf's frown relaxed into subtle amusement.
He was not amused, however, when Deanna stood up on tiptoe, placed one hand on his broad shoulder, and dropped the lightest of kisses on his cheek. It was as if a rose petal had brushed his skin.
He was stunned.
"There," she murmured, smiling, close enough for him to see the sparkle of her lipgloss. "That should do the trick, pardner."
And, surely enough, the tavern melted away into the black-and-yellow hologrid.