Title: A Sympathetic Ear
Author: Restive Nature (aka Bavite)
Disclaimer: I do not own BtVS or AtS, it belongs to Joss Whedon and Mutant Enemy. Neither do I own Star Trek: The Next Generation. That’s Gene Rodenberry’s baby.
Spoilers: Post season three of Buffy and just general for Angel. No specific time for Star Trek either.
Summary: Angel discovers that even futuristic alcohol can have its problems.
A/N- For the TtH fic for all. Pairing # 478 Angel/ Data (ST: TNG)
"What’s in this stuff?" Angel demanded, slurring his words slightly as he stared down at the plain glass tumbler. Minute amber droplets clung to the inside, sliding their way back down to the bottom as gravity worked its wonders.
"It is Synthehol Scotch," the android answered promptly. He cocked his head to the side. "That is what you ordered is it not Mr. Angel?"
Angel frowned and glared at the being across the table from him. When he’d first mysteriously arrived on this ship, the Enterprise-D, he’d believed that he’d been suffering a demented dream. But time and explanations, fumbling as they were proved to him that he really was in the future and that he really was in outer space. Even having survived years as a Master Vampire and fighting on the side of good on a Hellmouth, it took him a while to accept. Even harder was the notion that as of yet, they had no way of sending him back. But the engineers and scientist fellows were working on it.
But in sharing his story of how he’d come to be here, a strange swirly vortex, he’d also had to share exactly where he was from and what he was, since some of the ship equipment tended to go haywire when he was near. And that was how he’d come to acquire his shadow. This living dead creature fascinated Commander Data. Well, if such a term could be applied to the android. It still unnerved Angel how Data could be so unbiased, unoffended and unemotional. He’d often thought that as an Evil Vampire, he’d been heartless. But apparently even evil vampires were capable of emotion.
"It is," Angel finally responded and then upended the glass once more to catch the last droplets on his tongue. The liquid burned on his tongue and then slid down his throat smooth as silk. Just like real Scotch. "But I feel strange." The glass dropped from his hand as the haze of alcohol started to blur his sight. He did see Data’s hand shoot out, quicker than a human could, to catch the glass before it broke. He leaned forward, clumsily resting his elbows on the table they’d commandeered in the Holodeck. "Tell the truth. You added something to it, didn’t you?"
"I always tell the truth Mr. Angel," Data replied mildly. "But I did not add anything to the Synthehol." He would have continued but Angel waved his hand grandly.
"Maybe you didn’t, but someone did," he chuckled. He really was starting to get in a better mood. Now he could see why Spike drank all the time. He was most definitely forgetting the things he always remembered that he should have forgotten in the first place. What were they again? "There’s an ex-extra," he stumbled over the word, "special something in this Scotch."
"As I was going to explain,
" Data continued, not perturbed at all to have been interrupted. "The Synthehol does not contain alcohol such as you might have known it. This product does contain mild drugs that induce various feelings of happiness, mellowness and is known to reduce stress levels dependent within a personal parameter that is subject to change from entity to entity."
Angel stared uncomprehendingly at the android. Data of course noticed and attempted to explain further. "For an example, a person with the body weight of one hundred sixty pounds, it will take a longer amount of time for the alcohol to circulate through the body than it would compared to a person with the body weight of one hundred twenty pounds. Other factors must be worked in of course." He would have gone on with the explanation, but Angel waved his hand, indicating his wish for silence. Data was already formulating questions in his positronic "brain" as to why Mr. Angel had suddenly looked as if he’d been beaten over the head with, as twentieth century humans would have put it, a two by four.
Before he could ask, the ship’s captain, Picard strolled up to them, the lovely Dr. Crusher on his arm, both of them dressed in full Victorian regalia. Once Picard had learned how old Angel was, he’d been mildly consumed with recreating the Victorian setting that they now endured in Holodeck one. Until Picard had approached, Angel had been able to shut out the images of snow, carolers and swags of mistletoe and poinsettias. Both Picard and Crusher held a mug of wassail in their free hands. Picard lifted his in a polite gesture.
"Good evening Angel," he nodded to the Vampire and then at his android. "Data." The android nodded back and Picard turned back to Angel. "Are you enjoying our Christmas party?" he asked kindly. After a little time, he’d been able to deal rationally with having a Vampire on board the ship. No one needed to know that Picard hadn’t really accepted that Angel was from the past. His past, since he was human and from Earth. To Picard, and he was sure a good many other ship’s crew members, Angel was just another new form of life to study.
"Ah," Angel mumbled and then ducked his head. "As a rule, Vampires don’t exactly celebrate Christmas."
Picard glanced at Beverly Crusher, who simply smiled and shook her head. Even if Angel weren’t enjoying the Holodeck setting, many others were. And at least Angel kept Data occupied. "I wasn’t sure about that," Picard finally offered. "If you’d care to leave, please don’t feel pressured to stay."
"Uh," Angel sighed, glancing back to the glass that he’d dropped that Data had set on the table. "Maybe I’d better." He slowly stood. "In fact, maybe you’d better lock me up." Two pairs of puzzled eyes, one set of intellectually curious froze on him.
"Lock you up?" Beverly teased. "Have you been a naughty boy."
"No but darlin’ lookin’ at you, all sorts o’ naughty thoughts are a tumblin’ through my mind," Angel grinned with a leer as he took in Beverly’s low-cut bodice on her gown. The trio was stunned at the sudden change in the Vampire’s demeanor and Beverly was a little apprehensive as the fine hairs at the nape of her neck stood on end. Even though she was a doctor, she was also a Starfleet officer and she knew when danger was heading her way.
Picard took an expedient step in front of his officer and straightened up to his full height. "Perhaps you’d care to explain yourself?"
Angel quickly shook off whatever it was that had taken hold of him and gestured back to the table. "Remember my curse?" he drawled, his Irish brogue still lingering. There was a moment of silence and Picard’s brow furrowed.
"In which you were cursed by a gypsy clan for killing a favored daughter so that you would never know true happiness?" Data queried, even though he knew his information was correct. "And that if you ever were to feel true happiness, you would lose your soul and revert to your evil alter-ego Angelus?"
"Yeah," Angel scoffed. "That curse."
"But didn’t you have to…" Beverly trailed off, unsure how to phrase things.
Angel bobbled slightly on his feet as he reached behind himself for the glass that had contained the Synthehol. "At this point m’dear, I don’t think it matters whether it was sex or Scotch." The trio watched in fascination as his face rippled, morphing into his Vampire self. Though they’d seen it before, it had never accompanied a threat such as this.
"Ah," Data nodded. "His body is unable to differentiate between the endorphins produced by sexual activity and the drugs present in Synthehol that produce many similar hormone related highs."
"Yes, thank you Data," Picard snapped, watching warily as Angel was distracted by another skirt across the room. His eyes followed and focused in on the ship’s counselor, Deanna Troi. He swore softly under his breath as poor Deanna stiffened, even though her back was to them and then spun around, her mouth gaping in horror. He was sure that being an empath wasn’t such a good thing at this moment. He turned back to Data. "Mr. Data, please escort Mr. Angel to the brig and stay with him until the Synthehol is gone from his system."
"I doubt that’ll do any good," Angel taunted as he advanced a few steps. He wasn’t quite Angelus yet, but it was there at the edges. He took another step and Data’s hand latched onto his arm. He glanced down and tried to yank his hand free, but he couldn’t budge it. His gaze traveled up to Data’s face, realizing belatedly that Data really was an android. A machine that thought, or something like that. It knew tactics, battle strategy and was fully prepared to keep Angel from attacking the ship’s crew. Well, he wasn’t going to admit that he at the moment, had a taste for something other than blood. And besides, he’d never had an android before. He grinned broadly. Perhaps this night would be enjoyable after all. He went without any protest and many people breathed a sigh of relief as Vampire and android exited the Holodeck.
"Are you all right Deanna?" Will Riker, second in command asked. Deanna shuddered mildly and turned back to her companion of the evening.
"Do you remember the first time you saw me Will?" she asked in her mild accent that accentuated her darkly exotic looks. Will felt a grin spread over his face as he recalled that. The assignment on Deanna’s home world of Betazed, he’d been sent to a traditional Betazoid wedding. And as was the custom among them, everyone present was naked. Including maid of honor, Deanna Troi. Her chuckle brought him out of that memory and Will shifted slightly, suddenly glad that Victorian costumes included long coats for the gentlemen.
"Yes, I remember," he chuckled as well, knowing that even if he could hide the physical evidence, Deanna still knew. "Why do you ask?"
She looked over her shoulder again, at where the latest alien had been, Mr. Angel, the Vampire. "Well," she sighed, "as bad as your thoughts were, his are much, much worse."
"Oh really?" Will frowned. Even though he and Deanna had agreed to cool whatever relationship they might have had while they served together on the same ship, he still felt a tug of jealousy. Deanna cocked her head to the side.
"Yes," she confirmed and then smiled wistfully. "Although, I never knew one could use chains in that manner." Will was slightly surprised to see a small light of lust in her eyes. "I might have to try that sometime." She moved off, to find someone new to talk to and Will shook his head, sighing. He raised his mug of wassail to his lips, but the liquid spewed out as soon as he’d taken a mouthful as Deanna sent him the very, very naughty image that Mr. Angel had inspired.