Fandom: The Next Generation
Word Count: 1,831
Summary: Besides, it's not like Wesley is about to let a simple problem get the best of him.
Series: Sixth in the Vanilla Twilight series.
Notes: Written for the schmoop_bingo prompt - falling in love. This is unbetad, so any mistakes are my own.
Wesley is smart. He knows that. He's always known that, even before everyone started telling him about it. So he's not used to being out of sorts or not knowing an answer. Over the past few weeks, he's learned that relationships are full of unanswered questions and things that don't always make sense.
But if life has taught him anything, it's that research is the key to solving problems. Some things aren't found in a computer database, though. He can't just ask the computer what falling in love is like - he tried that and boy did it ever not work - so he has to come at this from another angle. It seems like asking actual people might work better. Even though the thought terrifies him, Wesley makes it a point to discuss it with his friends.
Besides, it's not like Wesley is about to let a simple problem get the best of him.
"Hey Geordi," Wesley says as casually as possible, "How do you know if you're in love?" He tries to focus on the screen in front of him, as if the answer is meaningless to him. He hasn't quite gotten this whole suave thing mastered.
"Wesley, you dog," Geordi says, offering him a sly grin. "You didn't even tell me you were seeing someone." He looks mildly upset by this, and Wesley wishes he were in a situation to tell his friends about this fantastic relationship he's in.
"I didn't want to make a big deal out of it," Wesley tells him instead. He smiles back and laughs when Geordi slaps him on the shoulder.
"Must be pretty serious if you're asking about love," Geordi says.
"I guess it is," Wesley tells him. He pauses and thinks for a moment before nodding and continuing, "No, it definitely is. It's the most serious thing I've ever done." It's a little terrifying to think about Will that way, but he'd be lost without him.
"Who is she?" Geordi asks, and Wesley turns back to the view screen and does his best to brush it off.
"You wouldn't know," he says with a shrug. And then Geordi's laughing, bent in half as he snickers.
"I know everyone on this ship, Wes," he says between laughs. Wesley turns bright red and wonders when he'll figure out how to deal with stuff like this. Will doesn't make him feel awkward, but sometimes it seems like he's completely out of his league with everyone else.
When he asks his mom, she stares at him with a mix of fear and awe.
"You're too young to know," she tells him, her eyes flickering around the room, looking at everything except him.
"Mom," he says as he rolls his eyes. "I'm not a child anymore. I'm asking because I value your opinion and you're smart about these things." That is apparently the totally wrong thing to say, because it makes her scoff and look even more dazed and confused than she did when he first asked the question.
"When was the last time we had the sex talk?" she asks, still not looking at him. She's fretting so much that Wesley is about to suggest she sits down. Being a medical professional, she should know better than to let things like this stress her out. This isn't at all what he wanted to happen when he walked in here.
"Last month. I think. I have the whole thing memorized and just kind of tone it out, actually," Wesley admits with a shrug. This time she does look at him, her eyes much crazier than before.
"It's an important talk! You can't be rushing into this whole love business. You…don't grow up, ok?" she asks and pats him on the head. He's about to tell her that she's being ridiculous when she grabs him by the shoulders and studies him intensely. "Are you even seeing someone?" she asks, her voice several octaves higher than normal.
"No. I mean, maybe. I mean, I have to go," Wesley spits out before twisting out of her grip. She calls to him as he rushes out of the room, but he can't handle that anymore. Why he ever went to his mother is beyond him. if he wants the right answer, he's just going to have to ask someone who won't jump down his throat.
"I think that perhaps I am not qualified to offer advice on this matter," Data says, staring at Wesley with as much confusion as his features can muster. He's doing that weird head tilt thing that he picked up a while back. He thinks it makes him appear more human, so Wesley will never tell him it makes him look like a yellow-eyed cat. Wesley just thanks him and changes the subject, not sure why he ever thought this would be a good idea.
By the time Wesley heads to Ten Forward to seek out Guinan, he's judging himself for not thinking of her first. She's been through so much and just has to know how these things work. Guinan is every bit a genius about things like feelings and relationships as he is about the ship's computer system. This whole ordeal is making him entirely out of sorts.
"Oh Wesley," Guinan says, smiling warmly at him after he asks her opinion. "I can be here when you want to talk about it and I can offer you all the advice in the world, but the only person who can decide if you are truly in love is you. No one can make that call for you."
"But I'm just so unsure," Wesley admits, frowning. He lays his head down on the bar and does his best not to feel as horrible as he does. Who knew dating would be so much trouble? It's not like he wants to stop being with Will if he isn't in love, he just needs something quantifiable that he can measure his feelings against.
"That's the thing about being in love, nothing is set in stone," Guinan says, drawling out the words. He looks up at her, hopeful for the first time since he started this ridiculous quest for knowledge. "When you're sure, you will just know. Don't rush it."
"It's not rushed, though," Wesley say quickly, "it's just…perfect. I've never felt this way before about anyone. It isn't always the easiest thing, but we both work at it and I think we're fantastic together. There's just all this added stress because we haven't said anything to anyone about it yet, and I'm starting to worry that it will all fall apart if love isn't a part of it. And god knows I can't ask him yet." Wesley stops his ramble and looks at Guinan, full of panic. He hadn't admitted to possibly being in love with a man to anyone yet.
"Don't stress out on my account, honey. I see a lot in here. I don't get many surprises. Half the time, I think I know people are dating before they know it. And that said, you have something special going on," she tells him before reaching out to pat his arm. Wesley just nods at her, unable to speak for the moment. He feels like he's on an adrenaline high with nothing to fight or run from.
Though honestly, the fact that someone else knows is kind of reassuring.
Wesley is at his wits' end and decides to ask the Captain.
He can't even begin to describe what a mistake that is. Captain Picard looks at him for a second, totally composed and proper, before a look of sheer panic overtakes his features. He mumbles something about women and kids on his damn ship and flaps his hands around while Wesley backs out of his ready room.
The last thing he hears before the doors slide shut is the Captain paging his mother.
After two days full of awkward conversations and misplaced guidance, Wesley is about to call it quits. He'll just wait for Will to mention the L word - as he's taken to calling it in his head - and make a decision on the fly as to whether he feels the same or not. The only downside of this is that if Will doesn't ever say something, he may never know. Rather than worry about it, he decides to get on with his life.
That's why he's here, curled up against Will's side on the couch in his quarters. Will is going over reports again, and for once Wesley is finished with his work. There's music on in the background, something jazzy and wordless, but Wesley is more than content to just sit here and listen to Will's steady breathing. He feels his eyes flutter shut, and realizes he's about to fade into sleep when Will shakes him, nudging him with his shoulder.
"I almost forgot!" Will says brightly before setting his PADD down on the table next to them. He crosses the room and fumbles through the pile of junk on his desk before grabbing a data chip and heading back to the couch. Will hands it to Wesley, who reaches out to take it, confusion spreading across his features.
“What is it?” he asks as he turns the chip over in his hand.
“It’s the atmospheric readings from that asteroid belt we passed through a couple days ago. You mentioned wanting to get a closer look at everything, but being too busy to spend time with it while we were in the area. Everything we collected should be there. I figured you’d want to look through it when you have more time,” Will says, waving his hand as if it’s no big deal.
Only it’s totally a big deal.
Wesley looks down at the plastic chip in his hand and grins over at Will. “I said that completely in passing and you picked up on it and went through the hassle of getting this for me?” Wesley asks, his smile widening by the second. “I love you,” he says, not even thinking as the words tumble past his lips.
“I love you, too, Wes,” Will says quickly before tugging Wesley into his lap and claiming his mouth in a searing kiss.
The data chip falls to the couch, forgotten for the moment. When Wesley finds it the next morning, he wonders if this is how most people find out they’re in love; moment by moment.