Disclaimer: Star Trek is the property of Paramount/Viacom.  This story is the property of Mzsnaz and is copyright (c) 2005 by Mzsnaz.  Rated PG.


White Flag



"That's the Watcher???  Pathetically small, isn't it?"


Sitting on the garden bench, Amanda's reverie was broken by the voice of a life form she'd hoped never to see or hear from again.  With the carefully controlled movement of someone dreading what they would see, she turned and observed the mocking personage who was standing on the stone path.


"What are you doing here?" she demanded.  "I thought I told you that I never wanted to see you again!"


"Yes, yes, I heard you the first time," he impatiently replied.  "I'm just checking on your progress.  Time is running out, you know."  He turned his back to her and gazed up at the early morning stars that still filled the brightening sky.


"What do you mean?"


The being presented himself as a human male, although he could have appeared in any form.  A malicious grin was firmly entrenched on his lips as he slowly turned toward her.


"Ah, nothing yet," he mysteriously stated.  "I really didn't think you could do it, ma Cherie.  It's just not possible.  I told you that 73 years ago, and I'm telling you again.  He will never  ...  NEVER  ...  say it."


So, that's what this is all about, she thought.  After all these years ...


"I don't expect him to," Amanda firmly said.


The man's face screwed up into a scornful mask.


"Tsk, tsk.  You're such a terrible liar," the man avowed.  "You've been corrupted by this planet, ma Cherie.  You DO expect him to, but it will never happen.  Admit it.  You have wasted your entire life with someone who will never say that he loves you."


"I haven't wasted my life," Amanda maintained.  "You know nothing about our relationship, and I would like you to leave now."  She folded her arms and, for a moment, wished that the bench wasn't backless.  She still leaned backward slightly to emphasize her resolve.


"Wasted on this sandy, miserable rock.  Completely wasted ... speaking of which, what happened to you?"  He scowled in her direction.  "You are SO old!  I had no idea when we first met that you would age so badly."


Amanda laughed.  "It's a wonder you're not married, Q!  You have such a way with the ladies."


"Married?  Me?  I'm far too intelligent for that," he dismissively sniffed.  "No, Mandy, I'm not into that form of enslavement and torture.  You are the one who's into that sort of thing.  Married to Mr. Personality all these years and still no wedding band.  How sinful."


"Vulcans don't wear wedding bands, Q.  That's a human tradition," she reminded him.


"Didn't even offer to buy you one, did he?"  He now stood next to the bench, sneering down at her.  "No white wedding for you.  Vulcans don't do that ... pitiful.  You are absolutely pitiful.  Check the mirror, ma Cherie!  You will never be what he really wants.  You will never be the perfect Vulcan wife he really desires.  Timing ... that's what you had on your side.  That's all."


"You're wrong.  Sarek and I met long before..."  She paused, angry with herself for falling into Q's trap.


He sprung.


"Oh, yes!" he triumphantly bellowed.  "Long before he really needed you.  Long before it was life or death.  Admit it!  First came your love for him, then came marriage, and then came ... surprise, surprise ...  the Vulcan sex fest known as pon farr."  He waggled his eyebrows.  "Such a pretty term for such an ugly perversion of a natural act.  I would have loved to have seen the look on your face the first time Sarek told you about that little facet of Vulcan life."


"My husband told me about it before we married, Q.  I knew about it," Amanda said, hoping to deflate some of his enormous ego.


"Everything?  He told you everything about it ... oh, that's right!"  Q slapped his hand against his leg.  "He was married before!  I guess that's why his family wasn't upset about his debauchery with a human female.  He was already spoiled goods!  I do have to say that his first wife was quite the bitch, but..."  He made a low, growling sound in his throat.  "Oh, those legs! That stunning creature was way too first-class for Mr. Personality."


Amanda stood and cast a frosty look in Q's direction.  "If you're done, I have a lot to do today that doesn't involve dealing with sharp-tongued, omnipotent beings.  Good day, Q."


"Oooooh!" he squealed as he wickedly grinned.  "Did I hit a nerve?  Are you ready to admit defeat?"


She kept walking down the path.  "Good day, Q," she repeated without turning around.


"Fine!  Be that way!  I'll go visit little boy blue."


Freezing her steps, she twirled around, fury blazing in her azure eyes.


"You leave him alone!  You promised," she adamantly declared.


"Yes, I did ... IF you cooperated."  Pretending to take an interest in his fingernails, Q shrugged.  "So far, you haven't done a thing for me.  Not one sorry, miniscule thing."


"I talk to you."


Q nearly fell over in uproarious laughter.  "TALK with me?  Wow, gosh, golly gee ... thanks for that!  You talk with me and, somehow, that's enough?  You know what I want."


They locked eyes for a moment.


"Q, I already told you," Amanda resolutely said, her tone unyielding.  "I have no influence over Sarek, and certainly can't change his mind about personal matters."


"Oh, please!  You have plenty of influence over him.  I've seen the way you have him under your thumb."  A malevolent glimmer appeared in his eyes as he continued.  "Speaking of fingers ... I must say that I'm impressed with the touchy-feely thing you do with Mr. Personality ... you know ... that whole two-finger thing.  Tres kinky."


"That's it!  Get out of my garden!"  Amanda turned back toward the house, but didn't move.  She knew that it wasn't over.


"...said God to Adam and Eve," Q joked with a chuckle.  "I already told you.  I'm not going until I hear you say it.  He doesn't love you.  Oh, he needs you, but that isn't love.  He may treat you with respect, but that isn't love.  You've always put up with his 'Vulcan' ways.  Why?"  He started toward the bench Amanda had vacated.  "Come on, Mandy, be honest.  Don't you long to hear him say those three little words just once?"


"No, I don't long to hear those words," she insisted.  "It isn't his way and I'm not interested in changing him.  You want to hear three little words?  Fine.  'Leave now, Q.'"


"Oh ... no, I think I'll stay awhile longer."  He leisurely stretched out on the nearby bench and, with the wave of a hand, produced a large, fruit-encircled glass.  Taking a loud sip, he tipped the glass toward Amanda.


"'Sex on the Beach'.  One of the very few drink concoctions humans invented that it actually tolerable.  Have you had it before?"


A sly look crossed her face as she waited for Q to take another sip.  "Well, of course I've had sex on the beach."


Sputtering as he nearly dropped the glass, Q put the glass down quickly and covered his eyes with his hands.


"Arh!  Oh, the visual!  That's just disgusting!  Too much information!"


"You asked."


"I was talking about the drink!" he roared.  "And to think that there is actually the title of 'Lady' in front of your name now!  You could have lied to me!  I'll never be able to look at Mr. Personality the same way again."  He stopped as an evil glint entered his eyes.  "You were with Mr. Personality at the time, I assume?"


"Yes, of course!" Amanda indignantly affirmed.  "Q, why are you here, anyway?  I told you 73 years ago that Sarek wasn't going to change, and he didn't.  There's your answer.  You may leave now."


The drink disappeared as Q stood directly in front of her, his tone low and menacing.


"You don't dismiss me!" he hissed as he slowly began to circle her.  "I'll leave when I feel like it, and not before.  You're the one who started all this with your 'I'm going to marry a Vulcan and live happily ever after' crap.  The entire premise was just too delicious for me to pass up.  I have been waiting for your fall ever since we first met."  Now standing face to face, he glared at her.  "He's never going to say it ... he's never going to feel it.  Say it!"


Unblinking, she stared into the furious face.


"If it means you'll leave, all right.  He doesn't love me.  There.  I said it."


Q threw up his hands as he angrily stomped away from her.  "No, no, no!  Not like that!  I want you to understand it as a fact, not just say it because I'm telling you to!"


"Then, you'll have to leave unsatisfied," the elderly woman asserted.  "He may not say it, but I do feel it.  Sarek would never admit it, but I know that he understands the concept of love even as he denies feeling it.  I love him and always will."  She smiled at the consternation she observed.  "Call it what you want to, Q.  I'm completely content and happy here.  You lose."


"Oh, no, I don't!" Q countered.  "He doesn't love you.  That was what was supposed to change, but it never did.  You lose, ma Cherie.  Not that it will matter much longer ... "


Amanda furrowed her brow and tilted her head as she observed the now pensive being before her.


"You said that time was running out.  Whose time, Q?  Mine?"  She smiled again since the expression appeared to aggravate the being before her.  "I've lived a very long life and I can honestly say that I have only a few regrets.  Those regrets have nothing to do with love, either.  I would rather have Sarek in my life than to be married to anyone else in the universe.  You lose."


"I never lose," Q fiercely argued.  "Your pathetic certainty that Mr. Personality does understand love is just a projection of your wishes.  Admit it.  You do want him to say it, and it's all the more tragic because he never will."


"Q, why are you wasting your time on this?" Amanda asked curiously.  "As an omnipotent being, I would think that you would have far more important things to do than try to convince one human female that her husband doesn't love her.  Are you that bored?"


Q smiled with only a trace of his usual smirk.  "No, I'm not bored," he said in an almost civil tone.  "I guess you did keep your part of the bargain.  You did allow me to watch your expectations crumble and die around you, just as I agreed to leave your little boy blue and this Enterprise crew alone."


"'This' Enterprise crew?" she repeated.  "What do you mean by that?"


Q now allowed the smirk to surface.  "I'm keeping my part of the deal!" he reminded her.  "Don't worry about it.  You'll be long gone by then, anyway."  Taking in a deep breath, Q exhaled and yawned.  "You're right, Mandy, this is boring.  I bid you adieu.  I will never see you again.  Miss me yet?"  He flung his right arm across his forehead in a melodramatic gesture.


Amanda sighed.  "You have to be gone before I can miss you, and no, I won't miss you."


Q straightened and pursed his lips, the brooding look enfolding him like a shroud.  "Fine.  Just remember ... you lost."  He disappeared into the now fierce daytime glow.


Collecting her thoughts, Amanda went into the refreshingly cool house.  Glancing over at the comm unit, she noted that someone had left a message.  Checking the code, she smiled and played the recorded words of her husband.


"Amanda, I shall be home in approximately 2.35 days.  The last conference meeting is scheduled for 1730 hours and it should be concluded in time for me to leave as planned.  My wife, I have missed you on this mission.  I trust that you are now 'feeling better', as you say.  You may contact me using my personal code."  A slight hesitation caused her to look at the comm unit and wonder if it had malfunctioned; but then, her husband's voice continued.  "I must leave now to complete preparations for this afternoon.  Amanda ...  T'hy'la ... I cherish thee."


The message ended, and Amanda stared up at the wall even as the tears that had suddenly welled in her eyes threatened to spill.  How he could do that to her even over a comm unit ...


Swallowing hard, she estimated the time difference and quickly punched in Sarek's code.  Selecting the audio only option, she began.


"Sarek.  Thank you for contacting me earlier.  I was ... distracted and didn't hear the chime.  Yes, I am feeling better.  Much better, in fact.  Hurry home ... I miss you so much, T'hy'la.  I love you.  I always have and I always will."


The End