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.