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Questions and Answers

by Catherine Ellis

Rating : Any age
Disclaimer : Paramount owns Star Trek. I'm just playing with their toys for my own amusement.

Summary and Prologue: This is another of those missing scenes stories. We know the event happened just before the start of the TNG book "Greater than the Sum". That book gave us only the briefest outline, thus leaving the details of the scene to our own imaginations. Well this is what I've imagined ...

The scenery was beautiful, just the sight of it raised her spirits let alone the breeze and the sound of the waves. Picard seemed equally elated, at least he was when they first beamed down. Whatever had been praying on his mind recently was doing it again. Beverly sighed. She was grateful to him for arranging this time off, but irritated he couldn't forget his job for 30 minutes.

Snapping at him wouldn't help. She'd have to be patient, as usual.

"You're very quiet, Jean-Luc. Is something the matter?"

He squeezed her hand and gave her a quick smile, thankful that she had caught his mood.

"You're right, of course, there is something."

"... which is ...?"

It was several seconds before he replied.

"I'm considering an action I've never taken before ... and I'm uncertain how to go about it."

Despite being his lover, Beverly accepted there times when couldn't tell her everything. Rather than resent these professional restrictions she had instead turned it into a private game; one in which she had to elicit sufficient information to help and he to keep her ignorant of the key facts.

Today she opened with, "Is it something you could rehearse in the holodeck?"

He laughed immediately.

"Good try," he beamed, "but the reaction of the other party is not something I can program."

"So it's a diplomatic mission?"

"You could put it like that." He chose his next words carefully. "There's a proposal I'd like to make, but I'm not sure how it will be received."

"Can someone else sound out the other party for you?"

Picard smothered a wry smile.

"In some cultures that would be acceptable. And if Deanna was here, I might be tempted to ask for her help. As it is, any other intermediary is likely to the relationship and lead to accusations of cowardice on my part."

Beverly was intrigued.

"So what's the drawback with just voicing your proposal straight out?"

He looked her oddly, as if trying to assess if she was joking.

"The drawback? ... There's a risk my offer might offend her."

Her! Crusher froze and held his gaze.

Was 'that!' what he was talking about?

It was her turn to go silent. What to do ... ?

Should she make it easy for him by answering before he even asked?

But what if marriage wasn't his topic? Should she risk that error? Or would he bolt if she proposed?

Damn it! Damn it!

Hadn't she been the one to take the last big step by returning to the Enterprise? Wasn't it was his turn to make the next move? Show me you're not a coward, Captain!

She calmed her breathing and resumed her analysis.

"Tricky, I see your problem." - She treaded carefully - "You'll just have to use your own judgement and decide if the potential gain is worth the risk."

He took a deep breath. Studied her face, then dived in.

"Beverly ... would you do me the honour of becoming my wife?"

Her pause seemed to last forever.

"Jean-Luc, why did you think the question might offend me?"

"Beverly?" Of all the responses he'd prepared himself for, this wasn't one.

"Please Jean-Luc, I need to know?"

He looked away.
Was that fear, she'd glimpsed?

She held his chin and forced him to face her.

"Tell me?" She ordered.

"The role of your husband ..." He stammered.

" ... go on .... "

"... it might be one you want to reserve ... for Jack."

Her finger ran down his neck. For a man of such natural authority he could be surprisingly insecure.

"Jack was my first husband, nothing will ever change that. You will never ever be second best."

"That was a 'Yes'," she continued, " in case you hadn't realised."

His chest heaved as he started breathing again.

"Thank you." He whispered as his smiling mouth reached hers.

The kiss that started gently soon became passionate. Jack Crusher's ghost had at last been banished from his thoughts. Beverly was his woman now. His and nobody else's.


For over a day Picard wallowed in his new found joy before a fresh fear found its way into his half-conscious thoughts. Would he be able to keep her? Would she divorce him just as she had in that other time-line?

If only he could remember how he'd come to lose her.

The end.
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