“Data,” Geordi says, amused, “you’re stepping on my feet.”
“Am I?” He blinks for a second, catches himself and stands back just slightly – obviously he will have to go back to Beverly and ask for more instruction upon the finer points of dancing, “my apologies, I did not notice.”
“That’s alright,” perhaps he can bring Geordi with him. He does not think that the other man would mind, fond-eyed as he is every time they look upon each other, “you seem distracted tonight. Do weddings bum you out that much?”
He blinks for a second, finds himself twitching his lips fondly in response. For all that Geordi is fond-eyed when he looks upon him, he has the creeping sensation that he manages to look equally, if not more so, enamoured “...’Bum me out’? Is that a-?”
“We’re in company, Data,” Geordi reminds him, with a gentle laugh, but does not seem too annoyed. He has never known Geordi to be too annoyed, it is one of the things that he likes best about him, “it’s another slang term. It means… To be depressed, annoyed, wanting to be coiled back in your quarters with a nice drink and book of your choice.”
He frowns for a second, processing this new information. Another thing to add to his databanks, it seems like he never stops.
“It happens sometimes,” not that Geordi minds, yet again. He always appears to take his endless curiosity well, with happy interest as opposed to the barely concealed annoyance that most others manage, “it’s nothing to feel bad about, if you are. Some people just don’t like weddings. I remember, when I was five and my dad dragged me and my mum along to my aunt’s wedding…”
“It is not that,” he interrupts. And is grateful when Geordi is his usual self, shrugging off the unintentionally brusque break with only the most curious of smiles, “I was just… Thinking.”
“Thinking?” Geordi laughs softly, shakes his head. He has to confess, he has never had anybody look at him like Geordi does before – like he is the sun coming out from behind the clouds, or a cold drink at the end of a long day in the middle of summer “...Wanna discuss it?”
He frowns a little, thoughtfully. Geordi only keeps watching him fondly, making sure to avoid his feet as best he can.
“Geordi,” he offers eventually, executing a thoughtful spin that has his partner spluttering out laughter at a quite pleasing volume, “have you ever considered the tradition of marriage in any detail?”
“Marriage?” Geordi frowns for a second, then chuckles lightly and shakes his head. His expression is still ever so fond, as they move across the room – thoughtful, as if his words have meaning, but fond, “marriage in general or marriage as specifically relating to me?”
“Both would provide acceptable answers,” he offers – and experiences an oddly warm sensation in his stomach at Geordi’s expression, that one that says he would be rolling his eyes if it were at all possible, “but specifically relating to you would be preferred. I must admit to finding your unique experiences far more fascinating than general ideas.”
“You always say the sweetest things, Data,” Geordi sighs, but smiles. A tease, a casual show of affection. If he could feel properly happy, he is sure that he would feel his very happiest at that, “I… Suppose I’ve never really considered it in that much detail, before now.”
He blinks a little, frowns a little – the thought is curious to him, “you have not?”
“Nah,” Geordi laughs gently at his confusion, shakes his head at him – another fond gesture, another show of happiness. He is almost surprised at how much pleasure he gets out of reading them upon Geordi’s face, “I… Never really thought it’d happen, y’know? And, besides, I had other things to do than mope around after a frilly ceremony - bigger things to do.”
“Bigger things?” His frown grows a little, but remains curious, “is there anything ‘bigger’ to humans than the celebration of love?”
“I…” Geordi stares at him for a second, laughs gently. He feels his frown fall away at the sound, banished to elsewhere in a way that should confuse him all the further but that instead leaves him warm and almost happy, “you always do ask the hard questions, Data. Love is great, I think we both know that now, but it’s not enough to build a life on.”
“I cannot experience love,” he offers, still smiling in that way he cannot quite control.
…Geordi only arches a fond eyebrow at him.
“It is not in my programming,” he insists, but remains almost smiling – for it is very hard not to almost smile, when Geordi is in his arms and looking so very fond “…But, if you will look at me like that, I admit that the closest I have ever come to such a strange and unfamiliar emotion is in your presence, Geordi.”
“Love you too, Data,” Geordi grins easily, and smiles at the involuntary quirk of his lips – the little twitch that he can never quite contain around Geordi, “why are you even asking about marriage in the first place?”
“You are trying to divert the subject,” he chides gently, and listens to Geordi’s gently rumbled chuckle with a certain amount of pleasure, “do you have no further opinions on the subject of marriage as relating to you? Or the subject of love as relating to you? Or the subject of building a life on love-“
“Please stop before you go into a rock song,” Geordi only snorts over him, and then lets out an actual bark of laughter at the wrinkle of his forehead – one loud enough to have the other couples on the floor looking over and shaking their heads fondly, “I’m just not sure how much longer I can philosophize for. You do it so much better than me, after all, always have.”
“You are flattering me, that is another tactic to divert my attention,” he offers calmly, and takes another bark of laughter as a reward – a shining trophy that he wishes to cradle close to his chest, “are my opinions on marriage entirely relevant?”
“Are my opinions on marriage entirely relevant?”
“In my judgement, yes,” he offers – and then takes in Geordi’s expression, the fond exasperation that covers so many deeper emotions underneath. He still is not entirely sure how to deal with them – but he is incapable of fear, and so chooses the path of optimism instead “…Although, I will admit that we should have established the parameters of relevancy before the start of this discussion. That may have been my fault.”
“If I’ve told you once, I’ve told you a thousand times: humans don’t generally set out parameters in most conversations,” Geordi shakes his head, but still fondly. The deep emotions remain, and he finds himself revelling in them in a way that he never really thought possible, “I should’ve known that my reactions would be more interesting to you. They always have been.”
“Just as I should have known that my reactions would be more interesting to you than your own. They also always have been, after all,” he regards Geordi thoughtfully for a moment, fondly. He is not sure what love is, but he was not lying when he said that the closest thing to it was being in Geordi’s arms, “my apologies, if they are needed.”
“They aren’t, but…” Geordi laughs again, shakes his head again. The warmth that spreads through him at the sight continues to puzzle him in the best possible way, “ah, I’m sorry too. Honestly, I just haven’t thought about it that much.”
“But you are not against the idea?” He asks, without thinking. And is so surprised by the fact that he immediately keeps going, immediately starts to analyse the sudden jump in his circuitry, “my apologies, again. I did not mean to push in any-“
“Data, it’s fine,” Geordi is still smiling at him, though, so his almost nerves calm as much as possible at that. He does not look angry, or scared – just thoughtful, considering in a way that makes him feel oddly important, “I don’t think I am, no. Marriage is a big thing, and deserves a lot of thought, but with the right person…”
Their eyes meet, hold in a way that brings the old warmth flooding back.
“…Yeah, I’d probably be cool with it.”
“’Cool’,” he repeats, ever so thoughtfully, and then smiles to show Geordi that he does not have to go on and explain, “I suppose, to answer your earlier attempt at distraction… That yes, that is my viewpoint on marriage also. It is a big commitment, and deserves much consideration. So that when you find the right person-“
“You know it’s right for both of you,” Geordi offers thoughtfully, and smiles at him, “yeah.”
“Yes,” he repeats himself, and offers a slightly smaller version in return.
“…You aren’t going to start asking me for my opinion on finding the right person now, are you?”
“Oh, Geordi,” he only laughs in reply – knowing that there is far more to be said, but so much time to say it. Knowing that his right person is in his arms, and that he will never let go now that they have found each other. Knowing, knowing… “Despite what you may think, I am rarely that unsubtle.”
That he can step on Geordi’s feet as much as he likes, and Geordi will still be there in the morning. And that is a bond far more important than a little piece of paper, and an awkward celebration where all the crew can watch them waltz.