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Q-Hog Day

by Catherine Ellis

Rating :17+
Disclaimer : Paramount owns Star Trek. I'm just playing with their toys for my own amusement.

Summary Q once gave Picard the chance to relive his past, what would happen if he gave Beverly a similar opportunity?

Chapter 1

"Shapely aren't they?"

Q's sudden appearance made Beverley jump.

"What do you want Q?" She asked wearily, as the lift doors closed.

"Nothing, I was merely sharing your appreciation of the captain's perfect buttocks."

Beverly blushed. She had been watching that part of his anatomy as he walked away from her.

"Such a pity", Q sighed. "Aren't you ever tempted to give them the kind of examination they obviously deserve?"

Intense embarrassment left Crusher speechless. Had Q been listening in on all her sexual fantasies about Picard?

"I'm sure if Troi was here," he continued, " she would be telling you how dangerous it is to suppress your feelings."

Beverley recovered her composure enough to ignore him, but a Q would never give up that easily.

"Can't take the risk can you?" he went on, "Too afraid that if you gave in to your desires then it might be the end of your friendship... Doesn't sound like much of a friendship to me if it can't be used to satisfy a little lust once in a while."

The doctor clenched her fists and bit her tongue.

"Sure you wouldn't like a little help?"

"No!" she snapped.

Q sniffed, feigning hurt. "Jean-Luc wouldn't turn me down. He's come to see the benefits of what I can give him. Got it!" Q clicked his fingers theatrically. "Picard got to relive his past, why shouldn't you relive your future. I'll arrange it so you can live tomorrow twice. "

"Q, I refuse to be involved in any game of yours that might change the timeline."

"How tedious you Starfleet people, all rules and directives. Aren't you tempted by a day without consequences? You'll remember everything that happens, but the others won't." He leant forward to peer into her face."Isn't there something you'd like do? Some boringly noble act like performing a medical procedure you wouldn't normally risk? Or perhaps something a little more self-indulgent? Seeing if you could seduce your captain? ... Though if you're looking for stamina, I think Data would be a more reliable partner."


"Just trying to stimulate your imagination. It's done now any way, you're going to live tomorrow twice whether you like it or not. If you're too scared to use the opportunity then report sick and spend the day in bed. Byeee."

Q vanished just as the lift doors opened.

"Is something the matter Doctor?" Data asked as he stepped in.

"No ... thank you." Beverley stared at the doors, she didn't want her subconscious flirting with the suggestion Q had just made.

Chapter 2

During the rest of the day Beverly came across four people who'd decided to do something different with their lives. Was it always like this but she hadn't noticed or was Q deliberately provoking her? At lunch time she invited Troi to join her, but in the event couldn't bring herself to talk.

"Beverly, that's the fifth time you've moved that bit of cake around your plate. If you don't want it, I do."

"Sorry Deanna, my mind is elsewhere."

"Obviously." She took the cake. "You know ..." her friend treaded gently, " .. the emotions I'm sensing from you are the same as I sense from Will when he's going through one of his periodic bouts of wondering if he ought to accept his own ship."

Beverley laughed, "In that case I know exactly how he feels. Is it better to stay in your current comfortable place or to risk destroying it for the chance of something better?"

Deanna didn't need telling what she was talking about.

"Only you can make that judgement, but remember there is another possibility."

"And that is?"

"That you might lose your current comfortable place even if you don't act."

Troi was right, if she waited too long, what was to stop some new Vash or Nella establishing a permanent position in Jean-Luc's life. What would happen to their friendship then?

As the day wore on Q's offer became more and more appealing. She only wished she had asked for longer. After all those years of restraining their mutual attraction could she actually tempt Jean-Luc to let go his inhibitions within 24 hours? Maybe she could give herself more time if she started the ball rolling today?

Sickbay was infuriatingly busy for the rest of her shift, it wasn't until 20:00 that she was free of her medical duties and able to track down Picard. The ship's computer told her he was in his quarters.

"Come!" he called out.

The moment she entered she knew it was the wrong time. He was seated at his desk surrounded by PADDs. That 'I hate paper-work' look was upon his face.

"I'm sorry Jean-Luc, you're obviously busy. I'll see you tomorrow."

She turned to leave.

"Beverley! Wait!" Picard stood up. "Actually I could do with an interruption. At least tell me why you came?"

"It was nothing..."

His expression said he didn't believe her.

She smiled at his detection, " ... it's just that ... I've done nothing but work for days now. I need something different to look forward to. I came to ask if you'd like to join me on the holodeck tomorrow. We could ... not be CMOs and Captains for a while."

Picard beamed. "A wonderful idea, and just the incentive I need to get these reports finished tonight. Shall we say 18:00? After our shifts end?"

The timing was later than she'd have liked, but otherwise she was pleased. "I'll bring some real food so we can make an evening of it." she offered. "You pick the program."

As she left his quarters she regretted her last words. What if he chose something inappropriate, such as some early 20th century flying program? How could she seduce him in a bi-plane?

She needn't have worried. As Picard watched her disappear through his door, his thoughts turned to whether a little harmless flirtation would be acceptable between an off-duty captain and CMO?

Chapter 3

06:30 for the first time.

Could she trust Q to keep his word? Would she really live the day twice and be the only one to remember?

Stepping out of the shower, she jumped and grabbed a towel. Q was leaning against the wall watching.

"And shuns to have her graces spied" He quoted.

"What are you doing Q?"

"Ask your captain, I'm sure he knows the poem."

"I meant why are playing Peeping Tom."

"Just curious to see what's in store for Jean-Luc tonight ...assuming he has the sense to pick the right program. By the way, I think you forgot to tell him he wasn't to invite anyone else."

Surely he would realise she meant just the two of them!

"Q, you do intend to keep your promise, don't you?"

He clutched his chest. "It wounds me that you could doubt my word. Only you will remember 'this' today. At midnight it will start all over again. What you chose to do with it is up to you. Blow up the ship if that takes your fancy."

He vanished, leaving Beverly to dress in private. Just as she was putting on her boots the intercom sounded.

"Picard to Dr Crusher."

"Here Captain."

"I was just wondering if you were joining me for breakfast today? We could sort out a few things about this evening ... assuming you still want to go to the holodeck."

Picard looked more animated than usual.

"Did you finish your reports?" she asked.

"Yes thank you. Not my greatest bit of writing, but adequate for the purpose."

"Adequate? It's not like you to settle for second best."

"I know, but perhaps seeking perfection in one task means neglecting another. Maybe I'm changing my priorities in my old age."

Beverly smiled and raised her glass of orange juice. "In which case 'Here's to your new priorities'."

Picard raised his in response, and they held each other's eye for a little longer than usual.

"Have you chosen a holodeck program?" she asked, while breaking open a croissant.

"I thought we could use Dixon Hill."

Beverly managed to hide her disappointment. "Do you want to solve a mystery?"

"No. I just thought you might enjoy spending an evening as a character in mid 20th century San Francisco. " He looked down at his plate while he casually continued, "You certainly looked the part last time you were there."

When he looked up again he found her staring at him.

"I'd like that." She replied, equally casually; though her pulse was quickening with eager anticipation.

"Bridge to Captain Picard."

Jean-Luc sighed. "Yes Number One."

"Admiral Nechayev wants to speak to you urgently, security level one."


"Shall I tell her that?" Riker joked.

"You'd better route her call to my quarters."

He looked across at Beverly who was already preparing to leave, taking her croissant with her.

"I'm sorry, I have to ...

" .. No need to apologise. I'll call you around lunch time."

Picard seemed on the point of seeing her to the door when the buzzer sounded on his computer screen.

"You'd better answer it, if you're not prompt she'll have you writing 40 reports as a punishment."

Crusher muttered her own curses as she walked away. It had all been going so well until the Admiral's call. It was almost as if Jean-Luc had the same ambitions for the evening as she did.

Chapter 4

13:00 First time.

She'd heard nothing from him all morning. At 13:00 she went to the bridge in hope of finding out what was going on.

"Have you seen the Captain?", she asked Riker.

"Only in passing. He and Deanna are trying to help Starfleet find a solution to a dispute that's flared up between the two planets in the Grindor system. There's a risk it may turn into war at any moment. We've been told to be on standby to retrieve our away-teams and jump to warp 9 at 15 minutes notice."

"Then I'd better have the medical team ready for large scale casualties."

She was already on her way to the turbo lift when Troi and Picard emerged from the Ready Room."

"Any success, Sir?" Will asked.

"Not yet," he replied, "we just felt in need of a walk." On seeing Beverly he changed his mind, "On second thoughts, I think I'll have something to eat, you have the bridge Number One."

Will and Deanna exchanged amused glances as their colleagues disappeared into the lift.

"I'm sorry about this Beverly, Nechayev needs my input because I'm more familiar with Grindorian history than her other advisors. I may need to be on call all night."

"Shall I cancel our holodeck session."

He stared at her a for several seconds. "No, damn it, we've had so little free time recently. Let's assume it's still on."

She smiled back at him just as the lift reached her deck. When the doors opened someone was waiting to come in. On her way out Beverly stepped closer than necessary to Picard and let her hand 'accidentally' brush his. "Till tonight then," she whispered without looking back.

14:00 First time.

Had that been the right strategy? Flirting with him before the evening? It might help to put him in the mood, but being Picard it might also make him fearful that things could get out of hand. She had to risk it though, wasn't that what today was all about? Trying out new possibilities without having to bother about the long term consequences?

15:00 First time.

Beverly spent the afternoon oscillating between anticipating their visit to the holodeck and resigning herself to the possibility it would all be cancelled. During one of her more optimistic periods she excused herself briefly from Sickbay and went to the holodeck. There she checked out certain details of Dixon Hill's office and made a few minor amendments to the program in case they came in handy.

16:00 First time.

Jean-Luc's brief message saying "Dispute sorted, SF definitely on!" arrived at her work-station no more that four seconds before Nurse Ogowa put her head around the door.

"Dr Crusher, I think you had better come."

"What is it?"

"Ensign Hrykio is reacting badly to her regular treatment."

For 12 weeks the Favovian had been receiving transfusions to rectify a genetic disorder. It was a unique treatment Beverly had devised herself. On the three previous occasions the treatment had gone well.

What was different about today? And WHY did it have to be now!

"Have you halted the transfusion?"

"Yes Doctor."

Crusher rushed to the treatment room; an answer was needed quickly both for her patient's sake and for her own.

17:30 First time.

She still had not found the cause. Hrykio's condition had been stabilised, but without an explanation for her adverse reaction the treatment would have to stop. That would have long term consequences for her life expectancy. This medical problem wasn't Q's scenario in which she could risk some unorthodox operation to save the day, the solution lay in painstaking examination of the evidence.

Beverly was in the middle of reassuring her patient when she noticed Picard enter Sickbay.

"Ogowa, please can you explain to the Captain why I'll be late for our meeting at 18:00."

She returned to questioning Hrykio about what she had been doing and where she had been during the last 3 weeks. When she looked up again, Ogowa had just finished her explanation.

Jean-Luc looked across at her and held her gaze a moment, then he shrugged his shoulders and mouthed "Another time" before turning and leaving the room.

19:04 First time.

The dull thud of an explosion vibrated through Sickbay setting off a yellow-alert automatically.

Beverly tapped her comm badge.

"Crusher to bridge, we felt an explosion. Is anyone hurt?"

"Hold on," Riker replied. Five seconds later he got back to her. "No casualties, just an experiment with the main impulse engine that went slightly wrong."

"Whose bright idea was that?" She asked.

"Mine." The voice sounded somewhat sheepish. It belonged to Picard. "I was trying out an idea, it didn't quite go to plan. I think I had better volunteer to help with the repairs. Mr La Forge is none too pleased with me. How about you? Any progress with your patient?"

"Not yet, I'm just about to talk to her friends. Maybe one of them can remember something unusual she's done recently."

21:50 First time.

Crusher watched unseen as Picard, La Forge and Data made the final repairs to the engine.

"Captain," Geordie asked, " do you want to have the honour of starting her up?"

"You mean, do I want to take the blame if she still doesn't work!"

"Something like that," he joked.

As Picard went to the control panel he spotted Beverly.

"How long have you been there?"

"About 10 minutes. Is it going to work this time?"

"Let's hope so, my reputation as a competent captain is at stake."

He beckoned her closer while he waited for Data and La Forge to finish.

"Have you discovered what's wrong with Ensign Hrykio?", he asked quietly.

"Simple ... she's pregnant. I'd never come across a pregnant Favovian before and didn't know what signs to look for. All I needed to do was adjust the transfusion formula to take account of the hormones her body now needs."

"Why didn't she tell you she was pregnant?"

"Too embarrassed to admit what she had been up to. Whereas her boyfriend was only too proud to tell me all about it. Apparently fertility rates amongst Favovian males are only 25%."

This was clearly more detail than Picard felt comfortable with knowing. He looked relieved when Geordie signalled for him to switch on.

"Here goes." The engine started normally. "So far so good. The critical point with my modification comes when we reach full impulse. I'll increase speed slowly."

"What gave you the idea for the modification?" She asked.

"It's not really my idea, it's one the Moriack thought up. Their civilisation died out 3,000 years ago. I came across a record of their technology more than 10 years ago. They were a pre-warp society which probably explains why our engineers haven't paid much attention to their systems. What caught my imagination was the fusion engines they used to drive their starships. They were very like our impulse system but much more efficient. Half Impulse, " he called to Data, "how is the flow rate?"

"Well within safety parameters."

"In that case I'll continue."

"So what went wrong earlier?" she asked casually.

"I hadn't realised the modification required the polarity to be reversed. As the modification has never been tried or simulated before there was no theoretical information available to predict the results."

Beverly memorised all this information so she could find a way to tell him 'tomorrow' when he tried again.

"Data," he called out, "We're approaching the critical velocity, please check the containment field. 0.8, 0.9, full impulse."

They all held their breaths. Nothing untoward happened, the engine was running smoothly.

"Energy consumption is levelling at 432.6." Geordie reported. "That's amazing Sir, it's 6.3% below normal."

"Remarkable indeed." Even Data seemed impressed. "Does not such an achievement justify a celebration?"

"Yes Data..."

Beverly's heart sank.

" ... but not tonight. Mr La Forge, do you need my presence any longer?"

The engineer had the sense to say 'no'.

Out in the corridor Jean-Luc and Beverly eyed each other surreptitiously, trying to assess the other's mood.

"It's been a long day." he remarked, "Are you tired?"

"No." Beverly replied, emphatically. "How about you?"

"Never felt better." A flirtatious smile flickered briefly across his face.

"You know...", she began slowly, "... the holodeck is still available. If we went now we'd have nearly two hours. Astrophysics need the power supply at midnight."

"Do you still have that supper you promised me?"

Just then several crewmen approached them along the corridor. Beverly saw his manner change to that of Starfleet Captain.

"Shall we say ten minutes then Doctor?"

"As you wish Sir."

They left hurriedly in different directions.

Maybe he preferred it that way - their entering the holodeck separately. Was it so they would not be seen together in costume? Or was it to make a more distinct divide between real life and the holodeck play-acting they were about to perform? Either way Beverly wasn't going to let it bother her. Barring any more interruptions she still had 1 hour 48 minutes to seduce him. That being so was a long supper a good idea? She opened the old fashioned picnic basket she'd prepared and removed two of the courses.

After dressing quickly she looked at herself in the mirror. The tight skirt certainly did it's job but would slow her walking. Using her command officer access codes she transported herself directly to holodeck 3.

Chapter 5

It was night time on the holodeck. Picard was in his Dixon Hill suit and leaning against the bonnet of his car. When Beverly materialised she could see his pleasure at her outfit. It was the same one she'd worn when he'd been stupid enough to invite Data and Whelan to the Dixon Hill program as well.

"Mr Hill."

"Miss Jones." His eyes ran an appreciative scan over her figure. "Let me take your basket, I've picked somewhere for us to eat."

"Not far I hope."

"Wait and see."

He opened the passenger door for her and took advantage of the view of her legs that occurred as she manoeuvred herself into the car.

"I hope you know how to pilot one of these things? I have no desire to experience a 20th Century hospital or another police station."

"It's 'drive'." he corrected her. "And don't worry, I've double checked that the safety protocols are working properly this time."

Three blocks later he parked the car near a dockside.

"The ocean going ships pass this point. I thought we could watch a few sail by while we ate."

Just then a ship's horn sounded.

"See, over there," he pointed, "That'll be the Queen Mary. She's due to leave in 5 minutes."

Beverly leant over and kissed him on the cheek. "Perfect."

'Bench' style front seats offered possibilities of intimacy that later designs would make almost impossible. With a bench the passenger could position themselves well away from the driver or so close to him that their thighs touched. Beverly was careful not to place the basket between them, instead she put it on her right, thus forcing herself to move closer towards him. As she passed him food and poured their drinks she found further opportunities to edge nearer.

The gap between them remained however. At the next breeze she feigned a shiver.

"Are you cold? Shall I shut the windows?" he asked.

"No, I like the sound of the ships."

At last he took the hint!

"Then move up closer, perhaps I can warm you."

He placed his right arm round her shoulders. Beverly closed the gap, positioning herself so that their thighs were now pressed together. The natural place to put her left hand was now to rest it on his right thigh.

Picard jumped slightly at her touch. Neither of them said a word, both sat staring at the next ship that drifted by, but both were concentrating on the almost imperceptible movements of her finger.

When the ship had past Beverly broke the silence. "You once promised to show me your office, Mr Hill. Is it far from here?"

In the outer office she opened a window to better enjoy the sights and sounds of the city. Below, across the street, music was playing loudly from a bar. She leaned out further to get abetter look.

Picard watched from a few paces away. He was in danger of developing an unhealthy fixation with that skirt.

"Come and join me." Beverly invited.

The size of the window frame forced him to stand close. Once again their hips were touching.

"Beautiful isn't it?"

Picard agreed without knowing to what she was referring. Her body was swaying gently in time with the music, causing him to sway with her. The tune came to an end and was replaced by something slower. She stood up and turned to him. Next thing he knew they were dancing. He was holding her close, his face was in her hair, their bodies were gently rubbing against one another as they moved.

Beverly couldn't help but notice his physical reaction to their closeness. When the music came to an end she heard him swallow hard.

"Do you want to show me your inner office?" she asked innocently.

Picard hesitated. "I'm not sure I dare. I'm not sure I could control myself."

The time was 23:19. They had come so far. She wasn't going to let him back out now.

"Then what if I take command?" she whispered in his ear. "Can you obey orders?"


She led him into the other room and shut the door. Picard stood where he was, waiting for her to make the running. Taking hold of his tie she pulled him to her, then kissed him on the mouth. The kiss wasn't hard but it was more sensuous than anything they'd exchanged before. Picard's lips aped her movements, his hands instinctively moved to her hips.

"No!" She pulled away from him. "Did I say you could touch?"

He dropped his hands. "Sorry Ma'am".

"That's better ..." She slipped his jacket off and started to remove his tie, " ... but I'm not certain you can be trusted."

She drew the tie away from his collar and still standing in front of him ran her fingers down his arms and placed his hands together behind his back. There she hesitated to see if he objected; their faces were inches apart. Picard gave a smile that she took as consent. Quickly and expertly she bound his wrists with the tie. Then guiding him slowly backwards she made him stand against the wall.

Picard's face was a picture of excited anticipation.

Staring him in the eye she removed the belt from his trousers, then threaded it around each upper arm and behind his back before buckling it firmly closed. With his wrists already tide Jean-Luc couldn't guess the purpose of this latest restraint; not until she reached her arms around behind him again and hitched the belt over a clothes hook. His body shuddered at the thrill of being so completely at her mercy. Whatever happened now would be entirely of her choosing.

Chapter 6

06:30 Second time.

Beverly woke with a start and turned off her alarm.

Was it 6:30 already? Her body felt tired and her right hip unusually stiff.

"Oh No!" She quickly checked the date with the computer and was relieved to find Q had kept his word.

In the bathroom she examined herself in the mirror. Had that really been her on the holodeck? Had she, Beverly Crusher, really tied up the captain, removed all his clothes, performed her own striptease, then caressed him to the point of distraction before finally allowing him to penetrate her?

And very satisfying it had been too. She blushed at the memory. There weren't many women of her - or any age - who were flexible enough to perform what she'd achieved, and standing up too. Things had got a little rushed towards the end. It had been so close to midnight that they had finally reached their climax that they had both still been in the throes of post coital bliss when time had jumped back 24 hours.

Despite the pleasurable result doubts began to form in her mind as she showered. Had she used the day wisely? It had certainly satisfied one of her long held fantasies - one that had started when she had listened in to one of Picard's dreams on Kes-Prytt. Since then, in private moments, she'd developed the dream, filling in the details until it resembled yesterday's events. Such fantasies were things she never expected to experience. Her husband had been rather 'conservative' when it came to bedroom activities, appeared somewhat shocked if she strayed into anything he considered 'racy'. Since his death her other sexual partners had been few and brief. She had never reached the stage where she'd felt able to invite them into her fantasy realm.

Her behaviour on the holodeck would never have happened had it not been for Q's offer. For all she knew Jean-Luc shared Jack's view on sex - that activities like that should only be indulged in with strangers who one never expected to meet again.

"Damn." Maybe it would have been better to use the day practicing developing their relationship, letting him know she was willing to be intimate, convincing him it wouldn't undermine his ability to function as captain. It was too late for regrets though. What was done, was done. If she was going to try to change her relationship with Picard then she would need to succeed on the first attempt."

The intercom sounded as she was putting on her boots.

"Picard to Crusher."

"Yes Captain."

"I was just wondering if you were going to join me for breakfast. We could sort out a few details for this evening - assuming our holodeck session is still on."

Of course! For him their appointment was tonight. Remembering what day it was for everyone else was going to be harder than she realised.

Picard seemed more animated than usual, though not quite as she'd remembered from before.

"Did you finish your reports?"

"Yes thank you; at least adequately enough for the purpose."

His words weren't quite the same - though why should they be? This 'today' she was experiencing existed in it's own timeline.

"It's not like you to settle for second best?"

"Being a perfectionist on one task often means neglecting another. Perhaps I'm beginning to realise that 'at last'."

Beverly raised her glass of orange juice. "Then here's to the wisdom that comes with age."

Picard's glass clinked hers.

Was the look he gave her more meaningful than before?

She broke their gaze and reached for a croissant.

"Have you picked a holodeck program for tonight?"

"I think you should choose."

She looked up, surprised. This wasn't a turn of events she'd prepared for. Only one program came to mind.

"How about your Dixon Hill program?"

It was his turn to be surprised.

"Do you want to solve a mystery?"

"No, I just thought it would be fun to spend an evening in 20th century San Francisco for a change."

"True." he agreed.

"Does your Dixon Hill character have an apartment?" she asked, "perhaps we could have supper there and then go out on the town?"

Before he could answer Riker's voice interrupted them.

Here comes Nechayev. Beverly thought to herself.

"Go ahead Number One."

"Message from Admiral Nechayev. Your suggestion has worked wonders. She's recommending you for a diplomatic award."

"Please tell her 'thank you, but it was just a lucky guess'."

"What was that all about?" Beverly asked, feeling more than a little unsettled.

"A dispute started yesterday between two planets in the Grindor system. Neither side trusted each other enough to believe in negotiation. I happened to remember reading that the Inner Grindor planet held many ancient relics that the Outer planet valued greatly. I suggested to Starfleet that they propose to the Inners that they hand over some of the relics as an opening gesture of good faith. It seems to have worked."

"When did this idea come to you?"

"In the early hours of this morning. Just as I was going to bed." he took sip of coffee. "Don't you ever get ideas that seem to appear out of the blue?"

Beverly stared at him. A horrible possibility had occurred to her. "Strange you should say that," she replied," I had one this morning. "I have this Favovian patient and for no reason I decide to have Ogowa check ..."

Picard finished her sentence," ... if she is pregnant."

Both stared at one another in stunned silence.

"You remember yesterday!" They both spoke in unison.

Beverly let out an "Oh No!" and covered her face.

"Q!" Picard bellowed. "Show yourself!"

The omnipotent being appeared immediately.

"You called mon Capitaine?" he looked from one to the other. "What's the matter? Trouble in paradise?"

"You promised only I would remember." Beverly snapped.

"No." Q corrected her. "I promised only 'you' would remember. Is it my fault that your language uses the same form for the singular and plural forms?"

"You tricked us." Picard fumed.

Beverly couldn't stand it. She got up quickly and left despite Jean-Luc's urgent request that she should stay. When she had gone, Picard thumped the table in frustration.

"I must say," Q said sitting down and helping himself to breakfast," that I was amazed at what the pair of you got up to. Who would have thought your lady friend was quite so 'inventive'. That striptease! And I thought tying your ankles to the radiator pipe and the cupboard leg with her stockings was a particularly imaginative touch."

"Q! Stop it!" Even the thought of what Beverly had done to him was causing arousal. He pinched his arm and tried to calculate several decimal points of pi in an effort to calm down. A disturbing thought crossed his mind.

"Q, did you alter our behaviour at all."

"Not in the slightest. Everything that happened was of your own volition. Tut Tut, Captain. Nearly blowing up your own ship. What would Starfleet say."

Picard ran a hand over his head.

"Do something useful for a change, bring her back here."

"She won't like it ... but if you insist."

He clicked his fingers and Beverly appeared instantly. He was right about her not being pleased. As she opened her mouth to shout at him, Q pointed to Picard. " Don't blame me, it was his idea."

She headed for the door once more; this time Picard caught her arm and held her back.

She turned on him, eyes blazing.

Q rubbed his hands with glee. "Ooo! Do tell me? Will there be fisty-cuffs?"

"Get out of here you meddlesome child!" Picard yelled.

"Are you sure? You might need my help?"

Picard glared at him.

"I'm going, I'm going."

He vanished.

It took Picard several deep breaths to calm his rage. He had almost forgotten he was still holding Beverly's arm.

"Captain, let me go!"

"All right," he obeyed, "but before you leave please tell me why you can't bear to be here." She'd reached the door. "What have I done to offend you? "

She halted but didn't look at him.

"It's not you."

He edged closer and spoke softly. "Then what is it? Beverly? " She was shaking; he held out his hand. "We're friends aren't we? Good friends. Can't we talk about this?" He reached out further and gently took her hand in his. She didn't resist but didn't react either.

"What is it?" he asked again. "You can tell me. ... Was yesterday a One-Off? Would you prefer not to be intimate with me again?" Still silence. "You can say if that's the case. I've already had the thought."

"No... that's not it." She squeezed his hand tightly.

"What then?" As he waited for a reply an idea occurred to him. "Are you embarrassed by what happened?"

"Yes." She whispered. "I don't want you to think less of me."

"Less? ... Less?" With his other hand he reached out, took hold of her chin and turned her head towards him. "Beverly, look at me."

She slowly raised her eyes.

"Why would I think less of someone whose ... whose generosity and inventiveness has given me the most pleasurable and erotic experience of my life?"

The colour rose in her cheeks, but also the twitch of a smile.

"Really?" she asked.

"Definitely. I only wish I knew how to repay you."

"You already have."

Jean-Luc's chest heaved and he swallowed. 'Thank you' he mouthed.

A few seconds later he let go her chin but squeezed her hand again. Then lightening the mood, "I don't know about you but I'm hungry. Shall we finish breakfast?"

While they ate in silence both thought over the previous day, trying to remember all they had said and done.

"You know," Beverly announced after a while, " I should have guessed Q made you the same offer. Your experimenting with the impulse drive was too risky, you wouldn't normally do such a thing unless the ship was in danger and that was the only solution."

"Well spotted." he laughed, "by the way, I only tried out that modification because I thought we had lost our chance of an evening together."

"And our evening was more important than improving the impulse drive?" she mocked him.

"Yes." he assured her seriously.

Beverly looked at him, then said, "Would I be prying if I asked what you were hoping for during our time together?"

He took his time replying.

"A while ago I asked you if we could 'explore our feelings for each other'. I was hoping to find a way of asking you again but without risk of hurting our friendship should you say 'No'."

"I didn't give you much chance to ask did I?"


"By the way, I think you should interpret my behaviour yesterday as a 'Yes'."

Jean-Luc laughed and beamed. Reaching out across the table he took her hand again.

"We both know what occurred last night, but am I allowed to ask what you were hoping for?"

She seemed reluctant to answer.


"You see ... ", she started nervously, "when it comes to sex you and I have always been so cautious with one another, never wanting to risk taking any step that might jeopardise our friendship or our professional relationship. Yesterday ... I just wanted to take the risk for once. I'll admit it, I set out with the intention of seducing you. I hope you don't feel used."

Picard gave her a wicked grin.

"If I remember correctly I was a more than willing subject of your seduction."

They both relaxed, took sips of their coffee and smiled at one another.

"You know," he continued, "I should also have guessed something was going on when you found that novel use for my tie. At the time I was far too interested in you continuing to do what you were doing than to analyse 'why' they were happening."

"Sickbay to Dr Crusher."

"Damn." She tapped her comm badge. "Crusher here."

"I've completed that test you requested. It turned out positive. As the patient is already here should I begin her regular treatment?"

"No, we'll need to make some adjustments first. I'll be with you soon."

"I'm sorry," she said to Picard.

"No need to apologise. If you started neglecting your patients then I 'would' start thinking less of you. Besides we have our appointment tonight, remember?"

With the table cleared they made there way to the door. Just before it opened Picard stopped. Might she have misunderstood? Might she think I want to restrict this new found intimacy to play acting on the holodeck?

"Beverly ... one more thing .. should you ever ..."


"... feel the inclination to arrive 'before' breakfast - even if only for the warmth of another human body - then you are more than welcome."

"Noted." She joked.

As they walked to the turbo lift their proximity was a little closer than usual.

"Deck one." Picard ordered.

"Deck eight."

The lift began to move.

"Halt!" Beverly suddenly requested.

Picard stood patiently, waiting to hear the reason. Did she too feel the need for clarification?

"That invitation you just made?"

"Yes." He answered.

"Does it still stand even if Vash is aboard?"

Picard was more than surprised; he hadn't realised how threatened she felt by his earlier relationship.

"Even then," he assured her. "For as long as you want."

"In that case, Captain, I intend to make use of the privilege.... Frequently."

They smiled and faced the doors.

Picard gave the front of his jacket a vigorous tug and stood slightly taller than usual.

"Continue," they both commanded together.

The end.


The poem Q quotes from is by Edmund Waller (1606 - 1687)

GO, lovely Rose!

Tell her, that wastes her time and me,

That now she knows,

When I resemble her to thee,

How sweet and fair she seems to be.

Tell her that's young

And shuns to have her graces spied,

That hadst thou sprung

In deserts, where no men abide,

Thou must have uncommended died.

Small is the worth

Of beauty from the light retired:

Bid her come forth,

Suffer herself to be desired,

And not blush so to be admired.

Then die! that she

The common fate of all things rare

May read in thee:

How small a part of time they share

They are so wondrous sweet and fair!

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