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Story Notes:
Canon death of a major character.

Picard sat watching the stars zip by in front of him, Enterprise moving smoothly through the cosmos.

"Computer... begin personal log." He ordered.

"Data is dead. Strictly speaking I'm not sure something that wasn't, in the biological sense at least, considered to be alive can actually die. Biology aside Data was more alive in some ways than any of us, he had an unerringly unique and wonderful view of the universe. It was oft times a secret pleasure to watch each new discovery, each new move he made to being more... human."

Picard Paused.

"He came to save me. It's ironic in a way... over the years more than one person had commented that Data was 'an emotionless machine', ironic now that he showed the ultimate act of that most turbulent emotion, love.

Data died for me... to save me... because he loved me."

Picard felt himself choke up, and forced himself to continue, he wanted this documented, he wanted people in the future to know why Data had died, why he'd given his life.

"Data and I have been involved since the incident with the Borg Queen, her attempts to bend him to her will had left a mark, he felt like he'd let the ship down, let me down... we spent a lot of time talking, I told Data something's I've never told anyone, and he did the same. I don't really know how it happened, but one day our friendly meetings on the holodecks became dates and before long he stopped going back to his own quarters at night... he was a talented lover, tender, I'd never have imagined that he would be, but he was. He was the ultimate professional in public, on duty, never once allowing our relationship to affect his work, I was glad of that, I admired it, it made it easier for me to do the same. Behind closed doors he wasn't the same person, he was attentive always, gentle, we had debates both serious and humorous, played games, listened to music, visited the holodecks, shared meals, it was refreshing, invigorating, he made me feel young again. Computer, pause log." Picard said, moving away from the window and it's star field, and over towards his bedroom, and opening the drawer of his bedside unit, he pulled out the hidden frame.

A gift from Data. Wooden. Hand Carved. It was a beautifully designed frame. Picard had taken a photo of Data that same day, and put it in the frame; he kept it hidden away most often, only bringing it out when he was alone, or when Data had been there.

Not that people didn't know about them, the senior staff - who were fairly certainly the only crew members who visited his quarters with any sort of regularity - most definitely were aware of the relationship, but still, he wanted to keep it private, keep it safe.

"Computer, resume log... On my birthday several months ago, he presented me with a beautiful hand-carved picture frame, I put a picture of him in it, one I took myself... it was a wonderful evening. Every evening with Data was wonderful. But now there will be no more evenings, no more listening to music, no more quiet meals, no more anything. Data died because he loved me... I wish I'd told him... I loved him too. Computer save log and end," Picard said.

Running fingers softly over the frame, Picard walked though his living quarters to the desk, setting the frame down in plain view for anyone who came through his quarters to see... Data was gone, but as long as Picard could manage it, he wouldn't be forgotten.

Running one finger over the glass covered face of his lover, Picard smiled gently at the face looking back. One whispered word passed through his lips.


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