Summary: Picard brings aboard his family on the newly commissioned Enterprise, reuniting with the young child he hardly knows.
Categories: Next Generation Characters: Crusher, Beverly, Crusher, Wesley, Picard, Jean-Luc
Genre: Alternate Universe, Family, Friendship, Romance
Chapters: 7 Completed: Yes
Word count: 14396 Read: 3396
Published: 23 Jan 2016 Updated: 03 Feb 2016
1. Chapter 1 by laurah2215
2. Chapter 2 by laurah2215
3. Chapter 3 by laurah2215
4. Chapter 4 by laurah2215
5. Chapter 5 by laurah2215
6. Chapter 6 by laurah2215
7. Chapter 7 by laurah2215
Smoothing his uniform, Picard straightens as three figures materialize on the transporter pad in the transporter room. Lips curling into a small smile, Picard takes in the sight of the familiar faces of two boys, a fifteen year-old in a bulky sweater, and a smaller boy of nine in a turtle neck sweater. Behind them stands a leggy redhead, their mother and the woman who had, from a distance, always owned his heart.
“Papa!” The nine year-old boy with light brown hair jumps off of the transporter pad and leaps toward Picard, his eyes wide in excitement.
Putting an arm around his son, Jean-Luc laughs heartily. “Louis! I think you’ve grown a foot! What is your mother feeding you?”
Giggling, Louis wraps his little arms around Picard’s torso as best as he can, overjoyed to see his father. “She makes me eat broccoli. I hate broccoli.”
Rolling her eyes, Beverly Crusher pads up next to Picard, shuffling a travel case in her hands. “It’s been a year, Jean-Luc. A lot’s changed.”
Extending his hand to the older boy to shake, Picard’s brows furrow. “ A year?”
Nodding stiffly, Beverly stands holding her case. “When you came to Earth to meet with Starfleet Command about taking the Enterprise.” Picard had officially been granted command of the Enterprise a year ago, and the ship had only just left Earth and started its first mission on Farpoint Station, where they had picked up Picard’s second officer, Will Riker, and Chief Medical Officer, Beverly Crusher .
Picard hardly has a chance to process that it’s been over a year since he’s seen his son before the boy is tugging at his arm.
“Papa, let’s see the ship!” Louis tugs Picard’s elbow, his face glowing in anticipation.
“Louis!” Beverly scolds, glowering at her youngest son. “We talked about this. We just got here. Don’t pester your father. He’s the commanding officer of this ship. He’s very busy.”
Still a little surprised by her admission that they hadn’t seen each other in a year, Picard turns to Beverly. “I’m sorry I couldn’t have met you all on Earth before we set out.”
Waving him off, Beverly flicks her hand. “That’s alright. My mission got delayed. These things happen. No big deal.” Beverly had been posted at Starfleet Medical for a decade, since her late husband Jack Crusher had been killed. On occasion, such as this one recently, she would be given a special away assignment. In this case, they had made arrangements for her to transfer to the Enterprise, her new full -time assignment, when the Enterprise reached Farpoint Station.
“Well, you’re here now,” replies Picard optimistically.
“Can we see the Bridge, Papa?” asks Louis hopefully, pulling Picard’s hand.
“Louis!” cries Beverly in exasperation, glaring at the boy.
Chuckling, Picard puts a hand on the boy’s head, ruffling his soft brown hair. “I think your mother would like to get settled. How about we go check out your new cabin?”
Smiling, Louis bobs his head, gripping his father’s hand.
With a knowing smile, Jean-Luc reaches over to take the travel case from Beverly’s hand. “Follow me. I’ll show you your quarters.”
Letting out a deep breath, Beverly smiles trepidatiously .
“Sir, I’ve read all the ship’s technical manuals. I’m familiar with all the mechanics, all the processes. I wondered if there’s any chance I can see the Bridge?” Hands behind his back, Wesley Crusher, Beverly’s fifteen year-old, holds his breath as he awaits a reply.
Jean-Luc, on the floor of the boys’ bedroom sorting through a couple boxes with Louis, turns around to address Wesley.
“Hey! If Wes gets to see the Bridge then I get to see the Bridge!” protests Louis, dropping the book in his hand onto the floor.
Rolling his eyes, Wesley crosses his arms. “I’m older than you, and I know what I’m doing.”
Letting out a deep exhale, Picard frowns. “Wesley, I’m afraid I can’t permit children on the Bridge. I’m sorry.”
“That’s not fair!” whines Louis, kneeling on the ground between the boxes.
“What’s not fair?” Beverly pokes her head into the boys’ room, where Picard is helping Wesley and Louis unpack and put away some of their books, toys and clothes.
Standing up, Picard shoots her a knowing smile, indicating that he is extricating himself from the conflict. “How’s it going out there?”
“Fine,” replies Beverly with a casual shrug.She has a few boxed she’d like to unpack, but Beverly is anxious to check out the ship’s Sickbay.
“”Papa,” Louis calls, glancing between the two beds along opposite walls in the small bedroom. “Where do you sleep?”
Taken aback, Picard turns to Beverly, at a loss for words.
Leaning in the door frame, Beverly crosses her arms over her chest, smiling easily. “Papa has his own quarters, sweetie.”
Confused, Louis glances between his mother and father. “But, I thought we were a family. Why aren’t we together?”
Face falling, Beverly’s heart breaks at the look of bewildered innocence on her nine year-old’s face.
“We are together, Cadet,” Jean-Luc replies warmly, kneeling on the ground next to his son. Ruffling the boy’s hair, Jean-Luc drops a kiss to his crown.
“I thought when we came on the Enterprise we were all gonna be a family,” admits Louis, hazel eyes pooling with fat tears.
“We are a family,” states Beverly, crossing the room to drop to her knees in front of Louis.
“Papa was on the old ship. He was working, so he couldn’t live with us before. But, we’re all together now!” blubbers Louis, tears rolling down his cheeks.
Wesley watches his little brother awkwardly, feeling bad,unable to even tease his brother.
Beverly draws her younger son into her lap, swiping the tears from his eyes. “Louis…”
“Hey, Cadet, dry those eyes,” orders Jean-Luc softly, squeezing Louis’ hand. “There’s nothing to be upset about. We’re all here. I’m looking forward to spending time with all of you.”
“I wanna come live with you,” pleads Louis, grasping Jean-Luc’s hand.
“Whoa!” Beverly puffs. “Excuse me…”
Forestalling her, Jean-Luc smiles in understanding, putting a hand up in defence. Looking to his son, Jean-Luc rubs the tears stains from his cheek. “That doesn’t seem right. Don’t you think you’d miss your mother and your big brother?”
Lips trembling, Louis glances up at his mother and older brother before finally returning his attention to Jean-Luc.
“I’ll tell you what…” Jean-Luc draws Louis into his arms. “You can visit me in my quarters. All the time. Not just you, Wes and your mother. I promise, we’ll all spend plenty of time together.”
Calming, Louis sniffles. “Can I sleep over?”
“We’ll see,” smiles Beverly. “Come on, you’ve got some organizing here to do.” Jumping to her feet, Beverly redirects them to the task at hand.
Slowly, Louis climbs out of Jean-Luc’s lap. Picard rises, ruffling Louis’ hair as the kids prepare to return to sorting through their boxes.
Picard follows Beverly out of the boys’ room and into the living area.
Bowing her head, Beverly sighs, running a hand through her hair.
Pausing behind her, Jean-Luc lays a hand on the small of her back. “Hey. What’s the matter?”
Jumping, Beverly whips around to face him, exhaling audibly. “Jean-Luc…”
Rubbing her shoulders, Jean-Luc locks their gazes. “Hey. You don’t seem overly thrilled to be here. What’s wrong?”
With a weary smile, Beverly shakes her head. “I am happy to be here, Jean-Luc. I wouldn’t be here if I didn’t want to be here.”
“I’ve waited a year for the Enterprise,” Jean-Luc tells her, sliding his hands down her arms. “For three years before that I was asking Starfleet for the first Galaxy class ship, a ship where I could bring my family. A ship we could call home.”
Bobbing her head, Beverly smiles lightly. “I know.”
“This is what we wanted, what we’ve waited nine years for,” exclaims Jean-Luc, taking both of her hands in his.
Genuinely smiling, Beverly nods. “I know.”
“You’re not excited?” Jean-Luc lifts a brow.
Pursing her lips, Beverly’s eyes wander to the door of the boys’ bedroom. “It’s just a lot, Jean-Luc. I’ve uprooted my kids. Louis has been waiting so long for this, to finally be close to you. He’s built it up so much in his head…We’re hardly in the door and he’s in tears.”
“Beverly,” murmurs Jean-Luc, his fingers tracing her palms. “I never want to hurt him, or Wes, or you. I just want to do what’s right.”
Letting out a long breath, Beverly frowns. “Let’s just take our time and figure out how we’re going to do this, okay?”
Nodding his agreement, Jean-Luc exhales. “Of course.”
“Mom!” Wesley rushes up to his mother in Sickbay, his face lit up.
Beverly, in the middle of a conversation with a Vulcan doctor on her staff, smiles apologetically before turning toward her oldest son.
“Mom! Did you see the Engineering? You have to go check it out!” Wes exclaims excitedly as the Vulcan doctor excuses herself.
“Oh, another time, honey. I’ll be busy getting Sickbay in order,” responds Beverly, crossing her arms over her chest.
Picard approaches them in the middle of the emergency ward, Louis clutching his hand.
“So, how was the tour?” Beverly inquires conversationally, glancing between her sons as Picard and Louis walk up to them.
“Mom, you gotta come play in the holodeck!” exclaims Louis, chewing on a piece of red liquorice.
Raising a brow, Beverly looks between Jean-Luc and her son. “Candy?”
“What? Is he allergic?” asks Jean-Luc in alarm.
Stifling her exasperation, Beverly extends her hand palm-up to Louis, motioning for him to release the candy.
Disappointed, Louis hands his mother the piece of liquorice. “Papa let me.”
Hand sticky from the candy, Beverly frowns. “We’re going to save this for after your dinner. Say ‘thank you’ for the tour and go on to our quarters and get cleaned up. I’ll be back shortly and get dinner.”
Tugging on Jean-Luc’s uniform sleeve, Louis peers up at his father. “Papa, will you have dinner with us?”
Relaxing marginally, Beverly smiles at Jean-Luc. “You’ve spent all day with them. If you want to relax, I completely understand. But, you’re welcomed to join us.”
r32;“Yes! Please, Papa!” begs Louis.
“I’d love to,” answers Jean-Luc, laying a hand on top of Louis’ head. “I’ll take them back to your quarters?”
“Thank you,” replies Beverly gratefully. “I’m just going to talk to Doctor Hill for a quick minute and then I’ll be home.”
“One more?” pleads Louis, nestled in his bed as Jean-Luc perches on the edge of the bed next to him.
“That’s an entire novel!” laughs Jean-Luc. “I think you’re stalling. Time to call it a night.” After they had had dinner, Jean-Luc, Wesley and Louis had played chess. When it was time for Louis to go to bed, Louis had asked that Jean-Luc read him a story. The boy is capable of reading short novels independently, but he had wanted his father to read to him and tuck him into bed, having had only his mother to do so in the past.
“Don’t go, Papa,” begs Louis fearfully, wrapping his small arms around Jean-Luc’s neck.
Entering the boys’ room, Beverly is surprised to observe her younger son clinging to Jean-Luc in the bed.
“Hey, it’s alright,” coos Jean-Luc, rubbing the boy’s back. “Take it easy, Cadet.”
“What’s wrong?” Beverly inquires in concern, sitting on the end of the bed.
“Don’t go,” repeats Louis, clutching Jean-Luc’s back, burying his face in his chest.
“Hey, you’re fine, Louis,” states Jean-Luc calmly, stroking his hair. “I’m right here. Just close your eyes. I’ll stay until you fall asleep.”
Apprehensive, Beverly watches in concern as Jean-Luc tucks the boy back into the bed.
Jean-Luc drops a kiss to his forehead, brushing Louis’ hair aside. “Sweet dreams, Cadet.”
Waiting until the boy has succumbed to sleep, Jean-Luc brings the blankets up to his chest and climbs off of the bed.
Beverly rises off of the bed and moves toward the door, her lips set in a tight line.
“Beverly…” Jean-Luc starts, walking up to her as she pauses in the doorway.
Crossing her arms over her chest, Beverly fixes him with a pointed stare. “This was a bad idea.”
Raising a brow, Jean-Luc’s lips part, incredulous. “What?”
Tears welling in her eyes, Beverly is exhausted, confused and scared. “I shouldn’t have come. We were fine, Jean-Luc. We had a perfectly fine life. And now Louis is all hurt and confused!”
Eyes wide, Jean-Luc’s jaw drops staring at her in disbelief. “You’re blaming me? Beverly, I’m trying to be a father. No, I’m not perfect. But, you haven’t let me be one the past nine years!”
Flushing hot, Beverly’s eyes sting with tears. “I’ve raised those boys single-handedly, Jean-Luc…”
“Because you wanted to,” Jean-Luc reminds her quietly. “Because you were ashamed that after Jack died we fell into bed, and Louis happened.”
Tears dribbling down her cheeks, Beverly stammers. “That’s not true!”
“Well, I am proud of my son,” spits Jean-Luc, grasping her arm as he passes through the door. “You may have had a nice life before you got here. But, your son didn’t know his father. I’m here to rectify that. I hope you are, too.”
Whimpering, Beverly swallows hard as Jean-Luc slips out into the living area. r32;r32;
Glancing up over his computer monitor at the sound of the door chime, Picard beckons the caller into his Ready Room. “Come.”
The Ready Room door slides open and a small boy enters hesitantly, stringing his hands.
Somewhat alarmed, Picard leans forward in his chair at his desk. “Louis, what are you doing here?”
Chewing his lip, Louis trepidatiously pads forward to the desk. “Mom said you were working.”
“I am working,” replies Picard, appraising the boy concernedly. “I just finished a conference. What’s wrong?” r32;
“Nothing,” answers Louis quietly, standing in front of the desk.
Exhaling audibly, Picard stands out of his chair and circumnavigates the desk. “I’m afraid I must return to the Bridge shortly. You mustn’t be here, Louis.”
Dejected, Louis climbs into the visitor chair in front of the desk as his father perches on the edge of the desk in front of him. “You said we were gonna spend time together.”
“We will,” Picard assures the boy, reaching for his hand. “I just have to work. This is a new ship, new crew…”
Sighing, Louis bows his head. “Alright.”
They’re interrupted by the sound of the door chime, and Picard glances toward the door and invites the caller in. “Come.”
Beverly enters the Ready Room, hands on her hips. Crossing the room, she fixes her youngest son with a no-nonsense glare. “Mr. Picard, what are you doing here?”
Looking sombrely at his mother, Louis shrugs his shoulders. “I came to see Papa.”
Pointing her finger at the boy, Beverly pauses next to the visitor chair. “You were supposed to meet your brother after school.”
Glancing between Beverly and the boy, Picard intervenes. “Louis, where are you supposed to be now?”
Frowning, Louis looks guiltily at his father. “I was meeting Wes after class and then we were supposed to go to our quarters.”
Gesturing to Beverly, Picard’s face is set neutrally. “Apologize to your mother. Then, march yourself back to your cabin.”
Nodding obediently, Louis climbs out of the chair. “Yes, sir.” Louis steps over to his mother and offers a short hug. “I’m sorry, Mom.”
Patting his head, Beverly softens. “Go on, Wes is waiting for you at home. Go home and do your home work.”
Louis exits silently, leaving Beverly and Picard alone in the Ready Room.
“I’m sorry he bothered you,” apologizes Beverly, running a hand through her hair, slightly exasperated.
Waving her off, Picard stands off of his desk, coming to stand in front of Beverly. “There’s no need to apologize. He’s no bother.”
“He so desperately wants to see you,” explains Beverly, racking her own brain, trying to conceive a way to make her son happy and balance the delicate relationships involved.
“We’ll work it out,” promises Picard. “Maybe we should devise a schedule? I can take him some evenings and days when I’m off duty?”
Eyes widening, Beverly blanches. “I’m not splitting custody of my son!”
Softening, Jean-Luc reaches for her hand. “Beverly, he’s my son, too.”
Meeting his gaze, Beverly is at a loss for words, unable to vocalize a rebuttal.
“I don’t want to split custody of Louis,” clarifies Jean-Luc, holding her hand. “If we’re going to make this work we have to do this together, as a united front.”
Nodding, Beverly concedes. “You’re right.”
“Right now, Louis is confused and needs direction. The two of us need to get on the same page so we can present a joint effort. I would like to spend more time with all of you, get to know both of the boys,” Jean-Luc tells her earnestly. “I do think we ought to set aside the time for that to happen. We need to show Louis that we are a family. Maybe he’ll settle in better if he sees that we’re making that effort.”
Nodding her agreement, Beverly exhales. “Yes. That’s a good idea.”
“Why don’t you bring the boys over to my quarters tonight after your shift?” suggests Picard. “I’ll get dinner.”
Smiling lightly, Beverly bobs her head. “Sure.”
* * *
“Jean-Luc, watch them!” cries Beverly, gesturing to the boys in the living area as she carries their empty mugs to the recycler.
Chuckling, Picard observes Wesley and Louis playfully engaging in a fencing duel with his old epees. Jean-Luc had brought his old swords out to show the boys, and the boys had wanted to witness a little demonstration. Picard had taught them the “en guard” pose and a strike and block position. Beverly hadn’t been overly thrilled to see the boys fencing without the proper protective gear.
Shaking her head, Beverly deposits the mugs and follows Picard into the living area, where the boys are play duelling without any equipment or protection.
“Alright, boys. That’s enough,” Jean-Luc tells them good-naturedly, happy to see the boys getting use out of his swords. “Now, bow to your opponent and shake hands.” Jean-Luc lowers himself onto the sofa, content to watch the boys.
Giggling, the boys follow through with Picard’s instructions of the accepted etiquette. Wesley lays his epee up against the wall beside the sofa.
Louis carries his sword over to his father. “Papa, can you teach me to fence?”
“Sure, Cadet,” Picard answers with a proud smile. “How about you and Wes hang onto those epees? We’ll practice in the gym.”
“Excuse me?” Beverly interjects, raising a brow to Picard as she slips onto the sofa beside him.
“Under my supervision,” amends Picard for Beverly’s sake. “With proper safety equipment.”
Relenting, Beverly nearly smiles. “Fine. But, the swords stay here.”
Smiling, Picard nods to the boys. “Will you two pack the epees away for now?”
Wes retrieves the sword and motions for Louis to follow him through to the spare room Picard has used to store some books, artifacts and assorted personal items.
Picard turns to Beverly on the sofa. “I saw the invitation for that symposium next month.”
Frowning, Beverly shakes her head. “Yeah. It’s too bad. I’ve been going with a delegation from Medical for probably five or six years now. Well, there will be other opportunities.”
“I was going to suggest you take a delegation and go,” Picard offers, a relaxed smile on his lips. “I know how much you enjoy it.”
“I can’t,” argues Beverly. “That’s very kind, Jean-Luc. But, we’re just getting established in Sickbay. And, I really can’t leave the boys for that long. It’s not the right time to be taking off for a week.”
“I can watch the boys,” offers Jean-Luc casually.
Incredulous, Beverly almost scoffs. “You’d look after the boys?”
Shrugging, Jean-Luc leans toward Beverly. “Sure.”
Letting out a long breath, Beverly tries to stifle her amusement. “Ahh…no.”
Reaching for her hand, Jean-Luc grows earnest. “Beverly, Louis has been asking if he can sleep over here. He wants to do more things together. It would be a good opportunity for me to bond with them.”
Considering his request, Beverly is torn, staring into his hopeful eyes. “I don’t know, Jean-Luc. You've never had the responsibility of caring for children before.”
“Because you haven’t let me,” Jean-Luc reminds her painfully. “Beverly, for nine years you’ve kept me at arm’s length from my son! How am I supposed to know how to parent when you haven’t let me be a father to my own son?”
In the kitchen, Wesley puts a hand on his little brother’s shoulder. Having just stepped into the room, they had overheard the conversation.
Startled, Beverly glances over to the kitchen, where Louis has begun to tremble, tears welling in his eyes. “Louis!”
“What?” Sobbing, Louis stares in shock and disbelief at his mother. “I thought Papa was posted on the old ship! I thought he was working!”
Beverly jumps off of the sofa, dashing across the room to Louis standing in the kitchen area. “Louis…”
“You lied!” Louis accuses, tears rolling down his cheeks as Beverly approaches him. “You kept Papa away.”
“That’s not true,” retorts Beverly, dropping to her knees in front of Louis, taking his little hands in hers.
Louis retracts his hands, sobbing. “Go away. I don’t want you. I want Papa.”
Mouth agape, Beverly’s heart shatters.
Picard immediately steps forward into the kitchen, refereeing between Beverly and the boy. “That is most certainly not true.”
Sniffling, Louis stares in bewilderment at his father, his face blotchy and red.
Laying a hand both comfortingly and authoritatively on his son’s shoulder, Picard gazes into the boy’s eyes, the hazel eyes he had inherited from Picard. “Firstly, you do not ever speak to your mother like that. Secondly, Louis, your mother did not keep us apart. Not at all. I regret that I couldn’t be around more frequently. It deeply pains me that I hardly got to see you. It was my service. Starfleet had me posted half way across the quadrant. It was very difficult for me to get back to Earth to see you. I am sorry.”
Surprised by Picard’s confession to the boy, Beverly turns to her son, awaiting his reaction.
Blinking rapidly, Louis glances quickly between his mother and father. “But, Mom said…”
Jean-Luc cups Louis’ cheek, smiling gently. “We didn’t like that we were apart for so long, that I could only visit when I had long shore leaves. So, many years ago I approached Starfleet about transferring, about getting a commission where I could be with my family. Finally, after a long struggle and wait, we’re all here on the Enterprise. I’m looking forward to spending more time with all of you.”
Sighing, Louis looks to his mother. “Starfleet is stupid.”
Rolling her eyes, Beverly admonishes her son. “Don’t talk like that, Louis.”
“Well, seems that service got Wes’ father killed, and it kept Papa from being part of our family until now,” Louis points out flatly. “Maybe Starfleet isn’t so great.”
“Louis,” cries Beverly, reaching for her son’s little hand. “Please…”
Earnest, Picard tilts his son’s chin up with his index finger and thumb, looking directly into the boy’s eyes. “You are entitled to your feelings. However, I do hope you change your opinion. I am proud of the work I do, this vessel, the crew. I hope some day you can come to understand that there is a higher purpose.”
Bowing his head, Louis frowns. All he understands is that his father chose his career over him. “Maybe.”
Letting out a deep exhale, Picard ruffles the boy’s hair. “It’s getting late. Wesley, will you take your brother home?”
Slightly stunned trying to interpret everything going on between his mother, Picard and his younger brother, Wesley nods his acquiescence. “Sure.”
“I’ll call tomorrow,” Picard promises his son, leading the children to the cabin entrance. “Perhaps I can help you with that school assignment you were telling us about?”
“Okay,” replies Louis quietly as they reach the door.
“Goodnight, Cadet,” Jean-Luc says softly, a warm smile on his face.
Louis embraces Picard lightly, a slightly apprehensive look on his face. “Papa, would it be okay if you didn’t call me ‘Cadet’? I…don’t really like it.”
Slightly taken aback, Picard bobs his head. “Uh….of course.”
“Thanks,” smiles Louis, hugging his father soundly.
Beverly, standing behind Picard, crosses her arms over her chest. “Go on home. I’ll be there in a minute.”
Wes opens the door and guides his younger brother out into the corridor.
Once the children have exited the cabin, Picard closes the door behind them, turning to face Beverly.
Sighing in relief, Beverly steps up to Picard. “Thank you. Thank you for…covering for me.”
Grimacing, Picard stands tall. “There’s no need for the boys to be privy to any drama. And, it was mostly all true. Besides, I told you, I’d like to be a united front.”
Putting a hand on his arm, Beverly smiles gratefully. “Thank you. How about I take a delegation to the symposium next month? You can look after the boys. It’ll give you a chance to bond, and it’ll give you real insight to what this whole parenting thing really is, day in and day out.”
Nodding his agreement, Jean-Luc smiles lightly. “That sounds good.”
Swallowing hard, Beverly looks at him seriously. “Jean-Luc, I really do want you to be a father to Louis. I wouldn’t be here if I didn’t want to make this work.”
“I know that,” smiles Jean-Luc assuredly, putting his hands on her shoulders.
“It’s just….not easy,” confesses Beverly, blinking the tears forming in her eyes. “Basically, for fifteen years I’ve been a single parent. But, I do want to do this…together.”
“I’m glad to hear that.” Leaning in, Jean-Luc cups her cheek, absorbing the wake of her tears with his thumb.
Taking a steadying breath, Beverly rests her forehead against his. “I…uh…I should get home.”
Brushing his lips fleetingly over hers, Jean-Luc retracts his hand. “Very well. I’ll see you tomorrow morning. Shall I come by tomorrow evening and help Louis with his homework?”
Bobbing her head, Beverly steps to the door. “Thank you, Jean-Luc. Have a good night.”
“Goodnight,” calls Jean-Luc softly as Beverly slips out of the door to his quarters.
Striding down the corridor, Beverly is exhausted. She is relieved and glad that Jean-Luc is so cooperative and understanding. He had handled Louis’ outburst well, and he had stood by her and demonstrated solidarity. She can see that he’s committed to building a family here on the Enterprise, and he’s eager to assume a parental role. However, she is concerned about her youngest son. Louis now believes that Starfleet is responsible for keeping him and his father apart, putting Picard in a position where he could rarely see his child. Wesley doesn’t harbour ill will toward the Starfleet organization or Picard individually for what happened to Jack Crusher. In fact, Wesley’s dream is to become a decorated officer. Will Louis blame Starfleet for his estrangement from his father? Will he come to resent the organization and authority? Beverly certainly doesn’t want to see that happen, especially when she knows that Picard’s distance from Louis for the first nine years of the child’s life was actually Beverly’s own choice.
At the sound of the door chime, Picard glances up from the PADD in his hands and beckons the caller in. “Come.”
Louis, in his pyjamas, is curled up on the sofa, his side against Picard’s arm as he watches Picard scrolling through old digital photographs on the PADD.
Weary after a long trip, Beverly drags her feet through her cabin entrance, smiling weakly at the sight of her youngest son and Picard curled up on the sofa in the living area. “Hey.”
“Welcome home!” Picard greets enthusiastically, shifting Louis in order to get up to greet Beverly. Beverly had been gone from the ship for a week attending a medical symposium with a few members of her staff. Picard had stayed in Beverly’s quarters to take care of the children in her absence.
Motioning for Picard to stay put, Beverly drops her travel case by the door and crosses the room. “I’ve missed you!”
“Of course,” jests Picard. “But, what about Louis?”
Stopping dead in her tracks in front of the sofa, Beverly’s eyes dilate, surveying Louis. “What happened to your arm?”
Lifting his left arm, Louis grins at the small cast over his wrist. “This?”
Eyes wide, Beverly slips onto the sofa beside Louis, taking his arm in her lap to inspect. “What happened?”
“I fell in the holodeck,” confesses Louis, his smile vanishes.
Assessing his wrist, Beverly’s lips form a tight line.
“We were rock climbing,” admits Picard, an arm on Louis’ back. “I’m terribly sorry, Beverly.”
“Without a harness? Without the safeties?” Beverly asks incredulously, bringing her hand up to rub Louis’ shoulder.
Shaking his head, Picard rolls his eyes. “Certainly not. I secured his harness. The fail safes were in place.One of the clips in his harness broke and he fell. It never should have happened. I had La Forge run diagnostics on the holodeck. There was a malfunction in the safety protocol. It’s now been fixed.”
Exhaling, Beverly tries to calm her rattled nerves, rubbing her son’s shoulder.
“It’s okay, Mom!” giggles Louis. “It didn’t even hurt that bad. I hardly even cried.”
Smiling in relief at her youngest son, Beverly leans down and kisses his crown. “I’m glad you’re alright.” Taking a steadying breath, Beverly looks to Picard. “A fractured wrist?”
Nodding, Picard pats the boy’s back. “Yes. Doctor Selar set his wrist. She said he’ll have it immobilized for a month and he should heal quickly and completely. It just happened two days ago.”
Beverly presses her lips to Louis’ temple. “You’ll be good as new in no time, sweetie.”
“It’s not so bad,” shrugs Louis. “Wes lets me pick the games we play, and yesterday Papa stayed home and we built a model naval ship. It was fun.”
Beverly smiles at Picard. “Sounds like Papa had it all under control.”
“I asked Riker to take my shift yesterday,” explains Picard. “So I could stay home with Louis. He was doing quite well, so I sent him back to school this morning and I returned to my shift.”
“Thank you,” murmurs Beverly sincerely, smiling genuinely.
“Of course,” replies Picard easily.
“Mom, Papa was showing me old family photos. He said next time we’re on Earth he’ll take me to the vineyard in La Barre!” Louis points to the PADD in Picard’s hand, his eyes dancing with excitement.
“That sounds fun, honey,” Beverly replies with a light smile, her hand on his head. “It’s awfully late, though. Go get cleaned up for bed. After would you like to finish the novel we started before I left?”
Torn, Louis glances between his mother and father, realizing that his mother has returned, and that his father will have to return to his own quarters. “I don’t want Papa to go.”
Jean-Luc glances to Beverly uncertainly, unsure how she’ll react.
Lips turning into a small smile, Beverly raises a brow. “Well, it’s late, and you’re already here. You can stay if you’d like.”
A small smile curling in the corner of his lips, Jean-Luc nods. “Very well.”
“Good!” exclaims Louis gleefully. “Then you both get to read my story!”
Chuckling, Beverly strokes his cheek. “Go brush your teeth. We’ll be in in a minute.”
Grinning, Jean-Luc watches as Louis disappears, dashing across the room.
Laying a hand on Jean-Luc’s knee, Beverly inches closer to him on the sofa. “So, you were a real Mr. Mom this week, huh?”
Smirking, Jean-Luc covers her hand with his own. “Indeed. You’re not upset I broke your child?”
Laughing good-naturedly, Beverly waves her wrist. “He’s a nine year-old boy. Accidents happen. What’s important is how you handled it.” Glancing down at their conjoined fingers on his knee, Beverly’s lips curl into a smile. “And, it looks like you were a real pro.”
“Well, I’m learning this whole parenting thing,” jests Picard light-heartedly.
“You’re a very good father, Jean-Luc,” murmurs Beverly, staring into his eyes earnestly.
Jean-Luc blinks in consternation as Beverly’s blue eyes cloud with tears. He squeezes her hand, cradling her face with his other hand. “What’s the matter.”
“I think I’ve made a terrible mistake,” confesses Beverly, swallowing a hard lump in her throat.
Staring at her in bemusement, Jean-Luc strokes her cheek with his thumb. “What’s wrong?”
“Papa!” Comes Louis’ light voice from the boys’ bedroom. “Mom! I’m all ready for my story now.”
Trembling slightly, Beverly bites her lip. “Let’s go….read to our son.”
Jean-Luc steps off of the sofa, guiding Beverly up. “You’re alright?”
Nodding, Beverly grasps Jean-Luc’s hand tightly, a little shaken. “Yeah. We can chat later.”
With Louis fast asleep and Wesley reading at his desk in the bedroom, they leave the boys in the bedroom and close the door behind them.
Picard immediately reaches for Beverly’s hand, looking at her concernedly. “Beverly, what’s wrong?”
Looking to the closed bedroom door, Beverly winces. “I was wrong, Jean-Luc. I never should have kept you from Louis. You’re a wonderful father. And the two of you have missed out on so much over nine years.”
“But, why did you?” asks Jean-Luc curiously. “You didn’t think I was competent? You thought I’d be a horrible father?”
Tears welling in her eyes, Beverly grimaces. “No. Because I knew you’d be an amazing one.”
“What?” Jean-Luc shakes his head, at a loss.
A choked sob escaping her lips, tears cascade down Beverly’s cheeks. “When Wesley was little, Jack was on the Stargazer with you, and it’s not like he was around much to help. But, after I lost Jack, I really became a single mom. I knew it’d be up to me to raise Wesley. And it hurt, losing Jack. I lost the only man I had ever loved, and I was lonely. I had to start my life over, alone. And Wesley had to learn that his father wasn’t ever coming home, that his father would only live on as a memory, a legacy. And that killed me.”
Sympathizing, Jean-Luc puts an arm around Beverly’s shoulder and gently leads her across the room to the sofa. “Of course, Beverly. That’s perfectly understandable.”
Curling her legs underneath her, Beverly accepts the arm Jean-Luc wraps around her back as he nestles in beside her on the sofa. “When I found out I was pregnant with Louis, all I could think is that I couldn’t go through that again, not for me, and not for Wesley and this new baby.”
“But, I wanted to be together, Beverly,” protests Jean-Luc, entirely bewildered. “I wanted to transfer somewhere we could be together and raise a family.”
“I know!” cries Beverly, her tears rolling down her red cheeks. “But, I was terrified. I didn’t want to let you in! I didn’t want to love you, only to lose you. I didn’t want you to get close to Wes, only to have him lose another father. And I didn’t want to give Louis a father, only to have him leave. I figured I was better off being independent and raising them on my own, so they wouldn’t know the heart break and disappointment we had to go through when Jack died.”
“Beverly…”sighs Jean-Luc, bringing his hand to touch her cheek, absorbing the wake of her tears.
“But, I was wrong,” cries Beverly, grasping his arm. “God, Jean-Luc, I was so foolish. You are a fantastic father, and you and Louis have missed a decade of a relationship.”
“Beverly, it’s alright,” Jean-Luc assures her, stroking her cheek.
Sobbing, Beverly shakes her head. “No. I can’t fix this.”
Jean-Luc drops his hands to her waist and pulls her to his chest. “Relax, my dear. The important thing is that we’re here now. We’re moving forward.”
Beverly lays her forehead against his, heart beating profusely against her chest, bracing her hands on his shoulders. “Jean-Luc, I’m so sorry. You’ve been so patient.”
Jean-Luc brushes his lips over hers. “I’m here for Louis, and Wesley. And you, my love.”
Smiling softly, Beverly caresses his cheek, grazing his lips with hers. “You think you still want this?”
Chuckling, Jean-Luc grips her hips. “Cherie, I think I’m already in.”
Laughing lightly, Beverly starts to calm, realizing that maybe she has finally seen the light.
Jean-Luc captures her lips, one hand caressing the top of her thigh. Hand on his cheek, Beverly reciprocates, shifting into his lap. As he brings a hand up to bury in her hair, Beverly sighs in delight, thrilling at the feeling of his fingers, the taste of his tongue. It had been so long, and for once it feels good to give in to what she wants. As his tongues traces a hot path behind her ear and down her neck, Jean-Luc fumbles for the zipper of her uniform.
Groaning in reluctance, Beverly grips his shoulders. “Jean-Luc…Jean-Luc, we mustn’t.”
Pulling back, Jean-Luc smirks. “I was of the understanding I was spending the night?”
Grinning, Beverly leans back in, pecking his lips. “You can take the sofa, Papa.”
Letting out an exaggerated sigh, Jean-Luc rolls his eyes. “Very well.”
Giggling, Beverly massages his shoulders. “I’ve had a long trip. I think it’d be nice to unwind with a drink.”
“That sounds great,” agrees Jean-Luc. “I’ll go fix us a drink.”
Beverly watches Jean-Luc cross to the kitchen, her mind reeling. Everything has changed.
“”Read the last book! It’ll all become clear with the Elder wand and Harry’s…”trailing off, Louis pauses in the kitchen, catching sight of his parents curled up on the sofa in the living room. It appears they had fallen asleep fully-dressed in their uniforms, wrapped in a blanket, and each other’s arms.
Face set in a scowl, Wes nudges Louis. “Go get dressed. I can get us some breakfast in a few minutes.”
Shaking his brother off, Louis, in his pyjamas and socks, pads over to the sofa, intrigued and amused. “Mom? Papa?”
Beverly jumps, startled awaked from her position lying on top of Jean-Luc on the sofa. “Louis?”
Giggling, Louis peers down as Beverly rights herself.
Grunting, Picard rouses roughly, Beverly shifting on top of him. “Wha…”
“Why didn’t you sleep in your bed?” Louis asks in a giggle, as Picard sits up, stretching his stiff muscles.
Blushing, Beverly pushes aside the blanket. “I guess we fell asleep.”
“”Comfy sofa,” supplies Picard playfully, stretching his arms.
Rolling her eyes, Beverly tries not to smile at Picard.
“Come on!” urges Louis, gesturing with his uninjured hand. “It’s time for breakfast. Can we have waffles?”
Beverly stands off of the sofa and puts her hand on Louis’ head. “I’ll get you some porridge.”
“Papa let me have waffles,” Louis points out, as Beverly guides him over to the kitchen.
Tossing a look at Picard over her shoulder, Beverly moves to the replicator. “He did, did he?”
Following her over to the replicator, Picard shrugs. “The boy broke his wrist. It was the least I could do.”
Wesley observes silently as his mother and Louis’ father set about preparing breakfast, interpreting their words and body language. He knows it’s all changing. He just doesn’t know what’s happening.
* * PAGE BREAK
“Don’t give me those eyes,” giggles Beverly, her arms around Jean-Luc’s neck as they stand at her cabin door.
Sighing dramatically, Jean-Luc caresses her hips between his hands, a tiny smirk playing in the corner of his lips. “Just a little night cap?”
Picard had joined Beverly and the boys for dinner after their shift, and after dinner he had helped Wes with a science project before reading Louis a story before bed. With Louis fast asleep and Wes finishing his homework, Beverly and Jean-Luc had been attempting to part for several minutes, standing at the cabin entrance.
“The boys are right here,” reiterates Beverly regretfully, rubbing his neck.
“Come to my quarters?” suggest Picard hopefully.
Grinning against Jean-Luc’s lips, Beverly lays her forehead against his. “I think we could arrange that.”
“Tomorrow then?” Jean-Luc confirms hopefully.
“Tomorrow,” promises Beverly, sealing it with a kiss. “I’ll drop in after I put Louis to bed.”
“Perfect.” Jean-Luc kisses her back before backing toward the door. “Goodnight, cherie.”
Waving, Beverly watches as Jean-Luc disappears into the corridor.
“Mom?” Wesley stands behind his mother, observing her looking at the closed cabin door.
Startled, Beverly whips around, hand on her chest. “Wesley!”
“You and Captain Picard?” asks Wesley, confused. He had watched from the kitchen as the captain, his brother’s father, had kissed their mother goodnight and exited.
Alarmed, Beverly exhales, her heart palpitating wildly. “Wesley….”
“Is this why we transferred to the Enterprise? You wanted to be with Louis’ father?” Wesley asks, trying to put all the pieces together.
Shaking her head, Beverly reaches for her older son’s arm. “No, sweetie. It’s…complicated.”
“Mom, why didn’t you say something? Shouldn’t Louis know?” Thoroughly dumbfounded, Wesley has a hard time trying to make sense of these relationships.
“Sweetheart, it’s not simple,” explains Beverly. “We came here so that we all could be together. I did want Jean-Luc and Louis to have a relationship. But, what’s happening now between Jean-Luc and I is so new. I don’t know how to define it.”
Pursing his lips, Wesley crosses his arms over his chest. “Well, be careful, Mom. Louis is really happy to have his dad in his life, and it would be horrible if anything happened to change that.”
Suddenly feeling chastised and warned, Beverly stiffens, taking Wesley’s words to heart.
“And, I don’t want to see you hurt,” adds Wesley quietly.
Silent, Beverly can’t find the words to articulate a response.
Jean-Luc opens the door hurriedly, eagerly anticipating his visitor.
With a forlorn smile, Beverly enters Picard’s quarters. “I’m sorry.”
“What’s wrong?” Jean-Luc inquires concernedly, closing the door behind her. Beverly, in her uniform, appears tense and pensive. He had expected her to come over after she had put Louis to bed, anticipating that she would be in a relaxed and pleasant mood.
“I can’t stay,” Beverly informs him ruefully.
“What happened?” Jean-Luc asks, taking her hand.
Grimacing, Beverly’s face is plagued in conflict. “I think we’re moving too fast.”
“Too fast?” Jean-Luc raises a brow. “Beverly, we’ve waited a decade to be together. Glaciers move quicker.”
“What about the boys? What if it doesn’t work out and they’re hurt?” proposes Beverly, a hard lump in her throat.
Smiling gently, Jean-Luc brings her hand to his lips and kisses her knuckles. “And what if it does work out, and it’s wonderful? And the boys have a father to guide and nurture them, and you have a partner to help raise them? And you have someone who will show you every single day just how much he loves you?”
Hands trembling, Beverly bites her lip, attempting in vain to contain her tears.
Jean-Luc weaves a hand in her hair, drawing her close to him. “It’s okay to be scared. Opening up involves risk. But, I promise you, you will only ever know love and contentment and adoration. You must let us work together.”
Closing her eyes, Beverly whimpers, laying her forehead against his. “Yes. I want to.”
“Mom?” Beverly’s communicator badge chirps and Wesley’s voice, frantic, comes through the comm link. “Where are you?”
Alarmed, Beverly’ eyes dilate as she taps the comm badge on her uniform. “Honey, what’s wrong?”
“Louis is puking,” relays Wes in a panic. “Can you get back here?”
Lips parted, Beverly shares a queasy look with Picard. “I’ll be right there, sweetie.”
* *PAGE BREAK
“I’m sorry I puked all over the bed,” apologizes Louis, pale as Picard tucks him into the bed in the corner of the boys’ room.
Beverly had settled the little boy’s stomach and changed his linen, while Picard had fetched clean pyjamas and helped Louis into fresh pyjamas.
“Oh, honey. It’s just an accident.” Beverly perches on the edge of the bed next to Picard. “Lay down. You’ll be asleep in no time.”
“You think it was the pain medicine?” Picard asks Beverly as she bends to kiss Louis’ forehead.
Beverly brushes Louis’ hair back as he settles into his pillow. “I gave him an anti-inflammatory for his wrist. I’ve never given it to him before. It really didn’t sit well.”
“Well, he’s just fine now,” Jean-Luc smiles gratefully, standing off of the bed.
Beverly follows Jean-Luc, leaving her now contentedly dozing son in bed.
“How is he?” Wes asks, as Picard and his mother emerge into the kitchen.
“He’s fine, sweetie,” Beverly relays as Wes sets his glass of water on the counter. “Just gave him something to settle his stomach. He should sleep the rest of the night.”
“Okay. Well, I’m going to go read for a bit,” Wes tells them.
“Goodnight, honey.” Beverly puts a hand on Wesley’s shoulder and kisses his cheek.
“Night, Mom. Goodnight, sir.” Wesley nods to Picard, taking a step back toward his bedroom.
“Wesley, you should call me Jean-Luc,” suggest Picard with a relaxed smile.
Somewhat uncomfortable, Wesley nods.
Putting a hand on the small of Beverly’s back, Jean-Luc bobs his head. “Goodnight.”
“Night.” Wesley retreats to his room, leaving Picard and his mother in solitude.
Turning around, Beverly raises a brow. “Dropping the formalities, are we?”
“I want Wesley to be comfortable,” admits Jean-Luc, sliding his around her back. “I can’t replace Jack, but I do want to be his friend.”
Beverly pecks his lips, slipping her arms around his torso. “Thank you.”
Jean-Luc returns the kiss vigorously, gripping her hips. Beverly melts into his embrace, lost in the sensation as their tongues duet. Grabbing at his back, Beverly rubs her pelvis against his. Groaning, Jean-Luc breaks off, panting.
Resting her forehead against his, Beverly’s heart pounds against her chest, her cheeks aflame. “You wanna stay for a little nightcap?”
Grinning wildly, Jean-Luc runs his hands down her sides. “You’re certain? We’re not moving too quickly?”
Playfully smirking, Beverly grasps his hand and tugs him toward her bedroom. “Be very quiet.”
Filled with anticipation, Jean-Luc follows her lead into the bedroom.
Giggling, Beverly falls backward onto the bed, as Jean-Luc bends down to cover her lips with his own, gently lowering his body over hers on the bed. Jean-Luc brushes her hair back with one hand, affording a better angle to deepen the kiss.
Their tongues dancing, Beverly draws him closer, hand trailing down his chest, then further down to ghost over his erection.
Briefly breaking off, Jean-Luc pants, his pupils dark with desire. "I love you.”
Beverly's eyes pool with tears, a warm sensation blossoming in her stomach. Resting her forehead against his, Beverly grazes her lips over his. "I love you.”
Jean-Luc crushes her lips with his, fervently kissing her. His leg glides against hers, Jean-Luc’s hands on her chest. He briefly kneads her breast with his hand,
before sliding his hands up to her neck, reaching for the zipper on the collar of her uniform and pecking her lips. Reciprocating as he slips the uniform slowly down her sides, Beverly slides out of the garment. Tossing the garment onto
the floor, Jean-Luc watches Beverly toe out of her socks. His eyes roaming over her form, Jean-Luc hastily doffs his own uniform. Beverly helps him, sitting up and tugging his briefs down quickly. Throwing aside his briefs, Jean-Luc manoeuvres Beverly onto her back on top of the sheets, peppering her neck in hot, wet kisses.
Beverly, glides her hands across the smooth muscles and soft hair of his chest, sighing his name breathily. Kissing him gingerly, Beverly pulses with desire and nerves simultaneously. "Jean-Luc…it's been…a very long time.”
Jean-Luc kisses her nose, cradling her face between his hands. “I love you, cherie. You are perfect.”
Trembling, Beverly inhales deeply. She reminds herself that Jean-Luc is here and he loves her and he is not leaving. She’s allowed to feel good. She’s allowed to be happy. She’s allowed to want to be happy.
Turning his attention to divesting Beverly of her bra, Jean-Luc slips the garment off her shoulders. Lowering his mouth to one nipple , Jean-Luc sucks forcefully until Beverly cries out in pleasure.
Jean-Luc alternately sucks and nibbles her neck, grateful Beverly has relaxed and is eager. He slides his hands down her hips, slipping her panties down and
Hissing into his ear, Beverly wraps her bare legs around his, caressing his inner thigh. Jean-Luc groans, gripping her hip, his fingers teasing around the entrance to her core.
"Lower," pleads Beverly desperately, startled by her own vocalizations.
Blazing a hot trail across her neck and collarbones until she's whimpering, Jean-Luc smirks in satisfaction when she scratches at his hip. He's beyond thrilled to see her so passionate, so enthralled in the moment. He makes her moan continuously into his neck when he flicks his fingers fleetingly across
her clit. And when he circles his fingers in a slow, agonizing rhythm, Jean-Luc has Beverly writhing beneath him. Arching her hips to his hand, Beverly
grasps for his cock, her cheeks ablaze and growing wetter by the moment.
A guttural grunt escaping his throat, Jean-Luc struggles to maintain composure as Beverly stroke him harder. Descending his mouth to her breast,
Jean-Luc sucks and licks until Beverly is trembling beneath him.
"Jean-Luc." Whimpering, Beverly clutches at his back. The one and only time they had been together, after Jack’s memorial service, they had been plagued with guilt and remorse. Rushed, hurried, desperate, their union had been passionate and quick. In contrast, tonight with Jean-Luc is tender and intimate, and Beverly is simply overcome with the sheer emotion of it all. ”I want you.”
Jean-Luc caresses her stomach, his hand warm and strong. “I need you so much.”
As Jean-Luc positions himself above her, the ache for him is dizzying. Covering his hands with her own, Beverly eases him in slowly. The fullness of having him inside her depths is intense and Beverly moans aloud.
Jean-Luc grazes his lips over hers, hazel eyes darkened in desire. The sheer intensity of the moment is driving both of them close to the brink so rapidly. "Cherie, are you alright?”
Beverly grins, pecking his chin. "I'm just fine.” Sighing in contentment, Beverly rocks her hips against his, relaxing into the rhythm. “You’re wonderful.”
Sucking her bottom lip, Jean-Luc’s strong fingertips grasp her hips. Kissing his jawline, Beverly tastes the salt on his skin. Jean-Luc maintains a slow rhythm, concentrating, trying to prolong the contact. By contrast, Beverly, consumed in the moment, wants desperately to find a hard, fast pace, gyrating her hips to his.
"Easy, dear," urges Jean-Luc, his hot breath caressing her ear.
Tingling, Beverly pulses with need, orgasm threatening far too quickly. It had been so long, ten years since she and Jean-Luc had been together, and she’s unravelling so quickly. But, she knows it won't be what it could be if she comes now. She desperately wants to prolong their union, to be joined together with Jean-Luc when they surrender. Closing her eyes, Beverly takes in the feel of his
chest against hers and the exquisite feel of his hands threading through her locks. Mewling, Beverly grinds her pelvis against his, Jean-Luc thrusting up to meet her. His finger circles around for her clit , Jean-Luc’s eyes darkened in lust, but Beverly protests, stilling his hand. “Please, Jean-Luc. No…”
Kissing her cheek, Jean-Luc forestalls her. "Let go, my love. It’s alright.” Sucking a taught nipple between his lips, Jean-Luc thrusts into her in measured strokes.
Beverly cries softly, digging her fingertips in along spine. Accelerating his rhythm, Jean-Luc sends her spirally over the edge. Finally surrendering, Beverly's climax is a trembling, slow shudder . Beverly writhes and sighs into his neck, clutching his backside. “Jean-Luc…"
Ragged breathing, Jean-Luc's own orgasm ripples through him. Stiffening, Jean-Luc grunts her name into her ear as he pumps within her. Both entirely spent, they regain their breath together.
Stroking down his back, Beverly exhales, trembling beneath him, hardly able to fathom what has transpired. Unable to contain the hot tears welling in her eyes, Beverly is overwhelmed.
Jean-Luc notices the tear stains on her cheeks and her slight shaking, and brings a hand to dry her cheek. “Cherie, what’s wrong? Did I hurt you?”
Hand on his neck, Beverly smiles against his cheek. “No, my love. Of course not. You were wonderful. I’m perfect. Just a little…overwhelmed. A lot to take in.”
Jean-Luc presses his lips to her cheek. “That’s alright, my dear. We’ve got time to figure it all out. I love you.”
“I love you.” Exhausted, Beverly’s eyes flutter closed, lost in the sensation of him inside her, his warm hands on her damp skin, and his love blanketing her.
Gradually rousing, Beverly is aware of a hand rubbing circles on her bare back. Opening her eyes, Beverly’s face is nestled between Jean-Luc neck and shoulder, his other hand toying in her hair. Warm and content, Beverly sighs into his neck.
“Morning, cherie.” Jean-Luc feathers a kiss to her temple, one hand massaging her lower back, the other weaving through her slightly tangled locks.
Suddenly fully conscious, Beverly is alarmed, drawing back. “Jean-Luc!”
Chuckling in a low rumble, Jean-Luc holds her close. “It’s okay, dear.”
“We fell asleep!” Beverly bolts upright, tossing aside the bed sheets. She glances at the chronometer and checks the time, and she can hear the boys’ animated voices from the other room.
Sitting upright, Jean-Luc puts a hand on her shoulder. “They’re fine. Sounds like Wes was getting some cereal for Louis.”
Eyes as wide as saucers, Beverly looks at him in a panic. “How are we supposed to explain this?”
Grinning, Jean-Luc rubs her shoulder. “Relax. It’ll be fine.”
Groaning, a frustrated sighs escapes her lips. “Jean-Luc…”
Jean-Luc takes her face between his hands and drops a tender kiss to her nose. “Let’s get dressed and go have breakfast with our children, shall we?”
Softening, Beverly’s face falls into a smile, wrapping her arms around his neck. “Sure.”
Beverly emerges from her bedroom clad in her nightgown and robe, Picard a step behind her in his uniform, and they find the boys at the kitchen table eating a breakfast of cold cereal and orange juice.
“Morning, Mo…Papa?” Louis’s eyes widen when he spots his father entering the kitchen behind his mother.
“How are you feeling this morning, Junior?” Picard inquires, lowering himself onto a chair at the table beside Louis.
Dumbfounded, Louis sets his spoon in his bowl of cereal. “Uh…fine.”
Busying herself ordering coffee at the replicator, Beverly can feel the boys’ eyes on her.
“Did you sleep with Mommy?” Louis asks directly, innocently.
Wesley chokes on his cereal, staring at Picard expectantly.
Smiling cooly, Jean-Luc nods to his son. “I thought it would be a good idea to spend the night here, in case you were sick again. We were worried about you.”
Seemingly satisfied with that answer, Louis shrugs. “Okay.”
Mouth agape, Wes whips around, looking to his mother bringing Picard a cup of coffee.
Beverly smiles down at him, squeezing his hand and mouthing, “Thank you.”
Accepting the proffered mug, Picard smiles gratefully to Beverly. “Thank you.”
“What would you like for breakfast?” asks Beverly quietly.
“Whatever you’d like,” replies Picard easily.
Beverly walks behind Louis and plants a kiss to his head. “Finish your breakfast, sweetie. We’ve got to get moving.”
“I’ve never had counselling before. I’m sorry, Deanna.” Beverly perches on the sofa in Troi’s office, nervously stringing her hands.
With a relaxed smile, Troi leans back against the sofa cushions. “Don’t look at this as counselling. You’re seeking some input from a friend. I’m here to lend an ear.”
Exhaling deeply, Beverly nods appreciatively. “Okay.”
“I can sense that you’re going through some big changes personally, “ Troi starts, attempting to open up the conversation for Beverly. “Transferring to the Enterprise wasn’t just a big move professionally, but it a very personal move for you and the family.”
Bobbing her head, Beverly takes the opening Troi had provided. “Yeah. Jean-Luc had wanted to command the Enterprise so that we could serve together and he could have a relationship with Louis.”
“This was the first chance he had to transfer somewhere where he could be close to his son?” Troi asks conversationally.
“No,” admits Beverly honestly. “When I told him I was pregnant with Louis he wanted us both to serve where we could be together and raise the boys as a family.”
“You didn’t want that?” surmises Troi.
“I was scared,” confesses Beverly. “I had just lost my husband, and I didn’t want to suffer that again. Not for me, or for Wes or for the new baby.”
Empathizing, Troi nods. “So, you kept Captain Picard at a distance. From you, from Wesley, and from his son.”
Swallowing the lump in her throat, Beverly bobs her head, feeling hot tears pool in her eyes. “I was wrong, Deanna. Jean-Luc is a fantastic father, to both of the boys. And now we’ve missed out on ten years I can never give them back.”
“You can’t dwell on that,” Troi tells her, putting a hand on her knee. “All you can do is focus on the future you want to build together. You and the captain are becoming quite close now?”
Smiling guiltily, Beverly nods. “I don’t know how to tell the boys. I…I was hoping you might…have some advice.”
Grinning, Deanna is overjoyed for her friend. “Beverly, Louis is ecstatic just to have his father as a regular presence in his life. He would like nothing more than to see his parents united.”
Unable to contain her own grin, Beverly relaxes into the sofa cushions. “You’re right. But, I do want do the right thing by them.”
“It would benefit Louis and Wesley to see two people who love each other and love them,” suggests Deanna. “Just take your time. They’ll all be fine.”
Reflecting on Deanna’s words, Beverly hopes that her friend is right.
“I have a night shift on the Bridge tomorrow. It’ll be quite quiet. How would you boys like to sit in and observe for an hour or two?” Picard swallows a bite of his beef stew, at his kitchen table with Wesley and Louis. Beverly had advised him than an emergency surgery would require her attention past her scheduled duty shift, so Picard had offered to have the boys over to his quarters for dinner.
Dropping his fork on his plate, Louis claps his hands animatedly. “Yes! Can we?”
Chortling, Picard nods, lifting a forkful of carrot and onions to his lips. “I already ran it by your mother.”
Wesley, more reserved, looks between his brother and the captain. “You’re going to let us come on the Bridge?”
“You can come with me at the start of my shift and your mother will drop by later and pick you up. It will be late,” adds Picard.
“Awesome!” exclaims Louis.
Picard smiles as he leisurely eats his dinner, glad that his son is anticipating the trip to Bridge. Louis had not been overly interested in Starfleet or ship operations recently, the boy perceiving the Starfleet organization as being the reason he and his father had been apart for his entire life. Picard is relieved that the boy is once again showing some interest in the Enterprise.
“Get some sleep, Junior. We’ve got a big day ahead of us tomorrow.” Standing off of the small bed, Picard ruffles Louis’ hair.
Beverly puts her hand on Jean-Luc’s shoulder, watching as the boy settles into his pillow.
“Hey, Papa? Would it be okay if you called me ‘Cadet’, like you always did?” Hesitant, Louis looks at his father hopefully.
Smiling warmly, Jean-Luc turns off the lamp on the nightstand. “Of course, Cadet. Goodnight.”
“Sweet dreams, honey.” Hand on Jean-Luc’s arm, Beverly leads Picard out of the room.
“Well, I’m glad to see his attitude is changing,” Picard admits to Beverly, closing the door to the boys’ bedroom behind them.
“He’s so excited to observe you on the Bridge,” Beverly lightly laughs, snaking her arms around his waist.
“You know what I think it is?” Picard slips his arms around her waist, drawing her in closer. “I think he’s more secure now. I think he recognizes that we’re here now, and I’m not going anywhere. He’s not resentful of Starfleet or my work.”
“He wants to be just like you.” Beverly drops a tender kiss to his lips.
They’re interrupted when Wesley approaches them in the corridor, a PADD clutched in his hands.
Startled, Beverly jumps out of Picard’s embrace.
“I’m going to go read for a bit,” Wesley relays, moving to the bedroom door. “If the captain is sleeping over again tonight I’ll put my ear plugs in. The walls are pretty thin.”
Blushing crimson, Beverly’s eyes widen in shock. “Wesley Crusher!”
As Wesley breaks into an enormous grin, Picard laughs in amusement, putting his arm around Beverly’s back.
Giggling, Wesley is in hysterics.
“Beverly, come on,” Jean-Luc ribs. “We have to be able to have a sense of humour about these things.”
Letting out an exasperated sigh, a tiny smile escapes Beverly’s lips. “Wesley, I’m sorry.”
Shrugging, Wes smiles casually. “Hey. It’s totally fine. I just think you need to be honest with Louis about what’s going.”
Growing serious, Beverly looks to Jean-Luc. “I think we’re just worried about too much too soon.”
Jean-Luc looks at Wesley earnestly. “How do you feel about all of this?”
Considering the question, Wesley purses his lips. “I guess I was a bit worried at first. I just didn’t want to see Louis hurt, or Mom. But, I know you both just want what’s best for him. And, it looks to me like you’re happy together. I don’t see anything wrong with that.”
“We are happy together,” Jean-Luc tells the teen. “But, it’s not just about Louis, Wesley. We’re always here for you, too. I hope that we can be friends.”
Nodding, Wes smiles lightly. “Yeah. I’d like that.”
“Enjoy your book,” Picard nods.
Wesley opens the door to the bedroom and turns to go inside.
“Goodnight, sweetheart,” calls Beverly softly.
“And I sat in the captain’s chair, Mom!” Louis relays animatedly, bolt upright in his bed as Beverly perches on the edge of the bed, tucking him in.
“I saw that,” Beverly acknowledges, pushing him gently by the shoulder to lie down on his back.
“And Papa showed me the control panel and how the buttons work,” Louis tells her. “And I got to see all the stations and sit at the Helm and Operations!”
“I know,” Beverly plays along, a weary smile on her face. Drawing the blankets up to his chest, she bends to kiss his crown. “But, it’s extremely late, honey. Time to close your eyes.”
Wesley, lying in his bed on the opposite side of the room, watches as his mother patiently tries to calm his younger brother down.
“Mom?” Louis sits back up. “I’m going to be just like Papa when I grow up. I’m going to command the Enterprise.”
Touched, Beverly cups her youngest son’s cheek. “If you study in school and work hard, the sky’s the limit.”
“I’m going to be a star ship captain, just like Papa,” states Louis firmly.
Beverly guides Louis back to lie on his back in the bed and adjusts the blankets around his chest. “Okay, Cadet. But, your Bridge duty is over. Bed time.”
Giggling, Louis is higher than a kite. “Okay. Mom?”
Refraining from sighing, Beverly brushes Louis’ hair back. “Yes, sweetie?”
“I think Papa should live here with us,” proclaims Louis directly.
Beverly strokes the boy’s cheek, smiling warmly. “Maybe some day, honey.”
Yawning, Louis’ eyes grow heavy.
“Goodnight, sweetheart. I love you.” Beverly drops a kiss to his cheek.
“Love you,” murmurs Louis, finally growing drowsy.
Beverly crosses the room to Wesley’s bed and bends down to kiss her older son’s forehead. “Goodnight, honey.”
“Night, Mom.” Wesley replies.
“Would you like a drink, something to eat?” Beverly draws circular patterns across Jean-Luc’s chest, half beside and half on top of him with her legs intertwined with his on top of the bedsheets.
Caressing her backside, Jean-Luc nuzzles her neck. “No, thank you. Please, don’t move. Don’t ever move. I want you like this, always.”
Grinning into his chest, Beverly trails her hand down his abs. “Well, how about we stay right here for tonight?”
Tilting back, Jean-Luc regards her seriously. “You don’t want me to leave?”
“I see no reason for you to rush off,” teases Beverly playfully, her hand ghosting over the sensitive skin below his naval. “Sleep with me. We’re both off tomorrow. Have breakfast with us. We can take the boys to the holodeck, do that mountain bike program you were telling them about.”
Jean-Luc kisses behind her ear, his hands stroking her thighs. “Sounds perfect.”
“Mmmm,” Beverly moans as Jean-Luc nibbles her neck, her body gearing up for round two.
“You know…”Jean-Luc trails a path of hot kisses along her collarbones. “I could stay here regularly.”
“Regularly?” Beverly watches Jean-Luc kiss between her breast, his hands massaging her backside.
“Yes,” whispers Jean-Luc into her chest. “How about every night?”
Dropping the playful banter, Beverly reaches for his head, drawing him up.
Bracing himself with one hand, Jean-Luc gazes into her eyes seriously. “I’d like to move in. I want to live together, raise the boys together. I’ve wanted to for ten years. We should be a family.”
Bobbing her head, Beverly slips her hands around his neck. “Yes.”
Capturing her lips, Jean-Luc kisses her deeply, aligning their hips. Beverly reciprocates, straddling his waist.
Grunting his approval, Jean-Luc buries his hands in her hair and enters her slowly.
Sighing in utter contentment, Beverly lays her hands on his shoulders and rocks her hips, in absolute bliss.
“He’s higher than a kite,” Beverly laughs, standing at a table with Deanna slicing the remainder of the chocolate birthday cake and placing it onto small plates.
Looking across Ten Forward to the corner of the room, Deanna finds a group gathered. Louis and a few friends from school, along with Wes, are watching Picard explain the difference between fencing swords. Picard had given Louis new fencing gear for his birthday. Louis, three of his friends, Wesley and Picard had spent an hour playing a game of laser tag in the gym for Louis’ tenth birthday. After the boys’ game had finished, they had come to Ten Forward for dinner and cake.
“It looks like he’s had a wonderful party, Beverly. You did a great job,” comments Deanna, helping Beverly clean up the table.
Giggling, Beverly gestures to the back corner. “No, not Louis. Jean-Luc.”
Laughing, Deanna agrees. “Yes. It looks like the captain is enjoying himself, too.”
Light smile on her face, Beverly watches Picard talking to the young boys, every one of them hanging on his every word. The entire party had been Picard’s conception, him wanting to throw his son a fun birthday party. Picard had been upset that he had never been around to celebrate a birthday with Louis. So, Beverly had let him take the reigns, organizing a little celebration that Louis would like.
“He absolutely crashed.” Laughing, Jean-Luc climbs into bed next to Beverly, turning off the light on the table next to the bed.
Beverly, in a satin nightgown, curls up to Jean-Luc, head on his shoulder and hand on his chest. “That’s called a sugar coma.”
Chuckling, Jean-Luc wraps an arm around her waist, settling in. “I reckon so.”
“It was a great party, Jean-Luc. You were wonderful with all the kids.” Beverly rubs circles across his chest.
Pensive, Jean-Luc toys with the silky material of her nightgown. “Beverly, he’s ten years-old and this is the first birthday I’ve spent with my son.”
“I know,” whispers Beverly ruefully.
“Beverly…”Jean-Luc kisses her hair, his hand caressing her stomach. “I want to have a baby.”
Surprised, Beverly’s eyes dilate, and she turns to look into his eyes in the dimly lit room. “Jean-Luc, I am sorry. I’m sorry I kept you and Louis apart for ten years. I can never give you back the lost time, and it kills me.”
Shaking his head, Jean-Luc cradles the side of her face. “No, cherie. I don’t want a do-over. I want to have a baby with you, to experience it all from the beginning.”
Grinning in disbelief, Beverly looks at him in awe. “I would love that.”
Capturing her lips in a long, deep kiss, Jean-Luc slips her nightgown up and over her hips. Briefly breaking contact, Beverly discards her gown over the side of the bed. Jean-Luc hitches his thumbs down her panties and slides them down and off her long legs. Straddling his waist, Beverly bends low, bracing her hands on his chest.
“It’s important we get in plenty of practice.” Jean-Luc poises himself at her entrance.
Moaning as he enters her in a sure stroke, Beverly begins to gyrate her hips, thoroughly pleased with how the day is ending. “Yes. We need tons of practice.”
Jean-Luc buries his hands in her hair, finding a steady rhythm. “I love you.”
“I love you,” echoes Beverly. She drops a kiss to his neck before shifting onto her knees to alter the angle. Focusing on the sensations, Beverly realizes she couldn’t be happier.
“But, it’s not fair!” Louis protests as Jean-Luc tucks him into bed. “Wes gets to fly the shuttles.”
“Your brother is six years older than you, Louis. When you’re older I’ll teach you how to fly a shuttle.” Jean-Luc drops a kiss to the boy’s crown, standing off of the bed.
Pouting, Louis sighs. “It’s still not fair.”
Letting out an exasperated sigh, Beverly stands with her hands on her hips, shaking her head. “Enough, Louis. Stop whining. It’s time for bed.”
Wesley glances up from his PADD from his spot in bed where he’s reading, surprised at his mother’s tone.
At her youngest son’s startled look, Beverly hangs her head in a frustrated sigh. “I’m sorry. Mommy’s tired.” Beverly bends down and kisses Louis’ cheek. “Goodnight.”
“Night, Mommy,” murmurs Louis, confused as Beverly slips out of the room, half-heartedly waving goodnight to Wesley.
Beverly pauses in the kitchen, gripping the counter, taking a steadying breath. Closing her eyes, a hard lump forms in her throat and hot tears burn the backs of her eyes.
“Beverly?” Hand on her lower back, Jean-Luc appraises Beverly in consternation. “What’s wrong?”
Sniffling, Beverly bows her head, her hands holding the counter. “I’m sorry, Jean-Luc.”
“It’s not like you to be short with the boys,” Jean-Luc points out, turning her in his arms. Beverly had essentially been a single mother for fifteen years and has the patient of a saint.
Blood-shot, weary eyes look into his as Beverly shakes in his arms. “I’m sorry.”
“Whatever is wrong, cherie?” Jean-Luc cups the side of her face as her tears begin to fall.
Biting her lip, Beverly tries to articulate what she knows she has to tell him. “I spoke with Doctor Tanner. My test results came in.”
Face falling, Jean-Luc searches her watery eyes. “Why didn’t you tell me? I would have joined your conference.”
“She called me, I was between patients. I didn’t have the opportunity to call you,” explains Beverly.
Judging the distraught look on her face, Jean-Luc anticipates Beverly’s conference with her obstetrician specialist didn’t yield positive results. “What did she say?”
Fresh, hot tears cascade down Beverly’s cheeks, her lips trembling. “She was right. Jean-Luc, we’re not going to have a baby.”
As the blow hits him with blunt force, Jean-Luc automatically envelopes Beverly’s sobbing form into his arms, absolutely dumbfounded.
“I’m so sorry, Jean-Luc,” chokes Beverly into his neck. “I…I”
Bringing a hand up to weave in her hair, Jean-Luc kisses her tear-stained cheek, gentle and slow. “It’s okay, cherie.”
“It’s not okay,” blubbers Beverly, absolutely crushed, but somewhat relieved to have finally told her husband the devastating news.
Drawing back, Jean-Luc gazes into her eyes seriously. “My love, I am heart broken. I would have loved nothing more than to grow our family. But, Beverly, don’t ever apologize. We mustn’t dwell on this. We have two happy, healthy wonderful sons that give us infinite joy.”
Reflecting on his words, Beverly sniffles, bracing one hand on his chest. “You’re right.”
Jean-Luc peppers kisses to her forehead. “We must be grateful for what we do have. I feel like I couldn’t be more blessed to have a beautiful, loving wife and two intelligent, caring sons. My family is…the best gift I could ever ask for.”
Exhaling deeply, Beverly presses her damp cheek to his. “You’re right, Jean-Luc. Thank you. I love you.” Closing her eyes, Beverly savours the feel of his warm, strong hands on her back, recognizing the truth in her husband’s words. Jean-Luc opts to focus on the positive and count their blessings, and she will do the same.
“I love you,” echoes Jean-Luc, titling her face to kiss her tenderly on the lips.
* * PAGE BREAK
“Mom?” Louis finds his mother on the sofa in the living room, in casual civilian attire, but reading reports from Sickbay on a PADD.
“Yes, sweetie?” Glancing up, Beverly sets her PADD on her lap to focus her attention on her eleven year-old.
“Ummm…I tried playing Candyland with Shoshana. She didn’t do anything. Mom, she doesn’t talk!”
Smiling patiently, Beverly bobs her head. “She’s mute, sweetheart. She doesn’t speak.”
“But, why?” asks Louis in frustration, tossing his hands up.
Frowning, Beverly straightens. “We don’t know, honey. She hasn’t spoken since the authorities found her on the colony on Dolvan III. I’ve had special doctors examine her and there’s no medical explanation. It’s probably psychological. That’s why Counselor Troi is going to work closely with her.”
Pursing his lips, Louis briefly glances over to the doorway of his bedroom, where a tiny three year-old girl with curly black hair and wide black eyes stands anxiously in the doorway. “You couldn’t have gotten a normal kid?”
Fixing her son with a warning glare, Beverly shakes her head. “If I ever hear you speak like that I’ll be selling you to a Ferengi. Got it, Mister?”
Smiling, Louis nods. “Okay.”
Keeping her voice low, Beverly addresses his question. “Shoshana lost her family when the colony was destroyed. She needed a family that would take care of her, love her. We’re her family now. It’s important we be patient as she adjusts to her new life here on the Enterprise with us.”
“Yeah. I’ll be patient,” agrees Louis as the cabin door opens.
Picard enters the cabin, scanning the room. Smiling, he walks toward Louis and Beverly.
“Hi, dear,” greets Beverly warmly, rising off of the sofa to meet Jean-Luc in a hug.
Jean-Luc pecks her cheek, grateful to be home with his family.
“How was your shift?” Beverly asks, hand on his cheek.
“Oh, fine,” replies Jean-Luc lightly, dropping a hand to her waist. “How’s everything here?”
Feeling a tiny hand tugging at his uniform around his elbow, Jean-Luc peers down at a set of piercing, wide black eyes gazing up at him expectantly. Smiling down at his newly adopted daughter, Jean-Luc crouches down to the ground,putting an arm around the toddler’s back. “Hello, Shoshana. How was your day? Did you have fun with Mommy?”
Nodding tentatively, the three year-old Betazoid girl climbs into Jean-Luc’s arms.
“What did you do today? asks Jean-Luc, already realizing he won’t receive a vocal reply from the small girl.
Picard and Beverly had made the decision to adopt a child after learning that they wouldn’t be able to naturally have any more children of their own. Picard had said that he would be perfectly content with the family they have, but they had decided they wanted to bring a child that needed a family into their home to love and nurture as their own. They had met Shoshana, a rescued toddler from a colony on Dolvan III, and had instantly recognized that they had found their daughter. The Betazoid two year-old had been living with a maternal grandfather, a Starfleet officer, on the colony, when the colony was attacked and the officer was killed. Unable to locate any kin on the neighbouring planets, Betazed or Earth, she had been taken in to custody by Starfleet and taken to Earth. Beverly had immediately wanted to adopt her and bring her home with them on the Enterprise, but it had taken several trips to Earth in order to properly go through the entire adoption process. Now, after an excruciatingly long wait, they’ve finally brought Shoshana home. It is a huge adjustment for the entire family, especially the eleven and seventeen year-old boys, but Beverly couldn’t be more thrilled.
Shoshana holds up a small plush black horse that Picard had given her when they had visited her on Earth, holding it to his chest.
Lowering herself to the ground next to Jean-Luc, Beverly smiles gently. “We’re going to have dinner soon, sweetie. But, if you eat your dinner, maybe Papa will take you to the holodeck and show you the horses in his riding program?”
Lips curling into a smile, Shoshana bobs her head, curling into Jean-Luc.
Agreeing, Jean-Luc strokes the girl’s head. “Sounds good. You in, Cadet?”
Frowning, Louis shakes his head. “Nah. I’d rather go fencing.”
Chuckling, Picard bobs his head. “Tomorrow, Cadet.” Picard begins to realize that it will be quite demanding having three children. Of course, Wesley is self-sufficient, ready to head off to the Academy. And Louis is quite independent. However, both of his sons still need him and Beverly. And, now they have a three year-old daughter who is sure to demand a considerable amount of their attention.
“Come on, honey,” urges Beverly to Louis, rising to her feet. “You can help me get dinner ready. Wes should be home soon.”
Sighing, Beverly’s hands fall to Jean-Luc’s head, trailing a hot trail of wet kisses down her torso as he slips her nightgown up her abdomen. Her head nestled on her pillow as she lies atop the bedsheets, Beverly is thoroughly content after a long, tiring day.
Fingers slipping between her panties, Jean-Luc is interrupted by the sound of a faint knock at the door.
Startled, Beverly jumps upright, her nightgown falling into place.
Groaning, Jean-Luc sits on his knees in his boxers, fixing Beverly with a disappointed look.
With a placating hand on his shoulder, Beverly calls, “Come in!”
The door opens and a tiny girl hesitantly enters the bedroom, clad in a pink nightgown (Beverly’s purchase) and clutching the toy horse between her arms.
Whipping around to share a look with Beverly, Picard’s eyes are wide in the dimly lit room. “What do we do?” Picard had never had young children, but he knows Beverly doesn’t like to have the children sleep in their bed unless they’re sick.
Rolling her eyes, Beverly slips off of the bed. “Relax, Jean-Luc.” Beverly pads across the room to the little girl standing anxiously in front of the door.
“Hey, sweetheart. What’s wrong?” Beverly kneels down, her hand on the girl’s shoulder. “Why aren’t you sleeping?”
As Jean-Luc comes up behind Beverly, Shoshana points to the bed in the centre of the room, and deciphering the girl’s meaning, Picard tosses Beverly a questioning look.
Smiling, Beverly rises to her feet and takes her daughter’s hand. “No, honey. We’re not starting that. Come on, we’ll go back to your room. We’ll tuck you back in to your bed.”
With a tiny whimper, Shoshana is led out of the master bedroom and into her own room, where the light on her bedside table is illuminated.
Beverly lays Shoshana back in her bed, pulling the blankets up to her chest. Protesting, the toddler tosses aside the bed sheets, leaping to Picard.
Jean-Luc takes his newly adopted daughter into his arms, settling on the bed. “What’s wrong, cherie?”
Grimacing, Beverly perches on the edge of the bed, putting a hand on Shoshana’s back as the toddler curls into Jean-Luc’s chest. Shoshana had instantly connected with Picard, but the girl had yet to really open up to Beverly or the boys. Deanna had assured that it would just take time, that Shoshana had been uprooted and needed time to get acquainted with her new family. “Are you scared, honey?”
In response, Shoshana buries her head in Jean-Luc’s neck, her tiny hands grasping his bare chest.
“Sweetheart, there’s no reason to be frightened,” Beverly assures her in a soothing tone, rubbing her back. “You’re safe here. This is our home on the ship. You, and Louis and Wesley and Papa and me. We’re not going anywhere. We love you.”
Sniffling, Shoshana turns her head to look cautiously at Beverly with teary eyes and pouty lips.
Jean-Luc kisses the toddler’s temple. “Come now, cherie. Lie down and close your eyes. We’ll stay here until you fall asleep.” Jean-Luc eases her back into the bed and draws the covers up to her chest.
“Is that okay?” whispers Jean-Luc nervously to Beverly as the toddler settles.
Smiling assuringly, Beverly pats her husband’s arm before bending down to drop a kiss to Shoshana’s crown.
“Close your eyes, sweetie. We have a big day tomorrow. Your first day of school. You’re going to have so much fun with the other kids. Let’s get a good sleep tonight, okay?” Beverly smoothes the girl’s black curly hair from her face.
Yawning, Shoshana nods, her eyes heavy.
“Goodnight, honey. Sweet dreams.” Beverly breathes out a sigh of relief as the girl’s big eyes close in exhaustion.
Jean-Luc relaxes as the toddler succumbs to sleep, tired and emotional. “Good?”
Nodding, Beverly stands and takes Jean-Luc’s proffered hand, letting him lead her out of the room and back to their own room.
“Beverly, what are we going to do? She’s not happy here.” Grimacing, Jean-Luc climbs onto their bed, troubled by the girl’s behaviour.
“She is happy here, Jean-Luc,” argues Beverly, sliding onto the bed beside him. “She’s just adjusting to her new life with us. It’s going to take time. It’s a lot to take in.”
“You think she’s alright?” Jean-Luc confirms, wrapping an arm around her back as they settle under the blankets.
Tucking her head between his shoulder and neck, Beverly sighs. “Deanna thinks she’s just fine, she just needs time to settle in to her new home and new family life. Jean-Luc, she is happy. I got her to eat her dinner tonight. You said she loved seeing the horses in the holodeck. She’s warming up a bit to the boys. She’s just a bit reserved, anxious. I think she’ll warm up in no time.”
Exhaling deeply, Jean-Luc rubs his hand over Beverly’s hip. “I hope so.”
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