Written by Kazz
Exclaimer; Star Trek belongs to Paramount not me.
This story is based on the episode in season 5 called Violations, in which the Enterprise encounters a telepathic alien race, the Ullians, who retrieve people's memories.
Truth Lies and Friendships
Had Jack Crusher had a premonition before he'd died? Over the years Jean-Luc had often wondered because the week before the accident, they'd been having dinner. Instead of the normal banter and ship talk, Jack had been quiet, and then he suddenly asked, 'Jean-Luc, if anything happens to me.'
Picard had raised his hand to silence him immediately. 'Like what? Winning a hand at cards?' he'd quipped, uneasy at the turn in the conversation.
'No such luck, you're too good Jean-Luc, but if something does happen, promise me you'll look after them.'
Picard massaged the back of his neck, but Jack's face came back to him, 'Jean-Luc, are you listening?'
He dismissed his friend out of hand, 'Of course I am.'
But Jack had stood and held his arm. 'Jean-Luc this is important; it's my family. Please, if anything happens to me, I'd feel better knowing you'll be there for them. I know you're not keen on children, but he'll grow.'
They laughed. It was a standing joke that Picard did not get on with children.
'And Beverly, regardless of how self-confident she appears, she'll need help, Jean-Luc, and the two of you get along well, don't you?"
Picard looked into his friend's face – did he know? 'Jack, I…'
'Jean-Luc, there is no one in the world I trust more than you.' He'd paused. 'That's why I'm asking you. They're my family.'
'Jack, I'll do my best but…' he could say no more, the younger man pulled him into a bear hug.
'I know you will, and anyhow I've no plans on going anywhere and leaving you my family.'
'Come on. I'll stand you a drink in Ten Forward.
A week later Jean-Luc was looking down at the body of his best friend and suddenly nothing made any sense.
Data and Geordi walked toward the turbo lift, "so you see…" Geordi stopped in mid sentence, and mid stride.
"Doctor." Data acknowledged the CMO but carried on walking as she drew level with them.
"Gentlemen." The Doctor walked past them. There was something different about her but Geordi couldn't quite put his finger on what it was.
Data stopped and turned, "Geordi, is something wrong?"
"Data," the engineer paused as if gathering his thoughts, "Doctor Crusher, did you notice something different about her?"
"Different?" Data fell silent as he considered the question. "No, Geordi. However, the Doctor was not wearing her lab coat. Which in itself could not be considered different, however….."
"That's it, Data," Geordi cut him off, then whistled. "And that look on her face," he whistled again, lower this time, "I wouldn't want her after my tail."
"Why would the Doctor want a tail? To my knowledge, she has never shown an indication of wanting a tail….."
Geordi replied smiling. "It's a figure of speech Data."
The two friends fell into step.
"Geordi, have you ever wanted a tail?"
The turbo lift door closed behind them, as Geordi started to laugh. "Data, forget the tail."
She shook her head. Tonight, considering where she was going and what she had to say when she got there, she doubted she would ever want to laugh again.
"Computer, location of Captain Picard."
"Captain Picard is on the bridge."
Damn. He'd gone to the bridge; when she'd set off he had been in his quarters. She changed direction and made for the bridge.
"Crusher to Picard."
"Yes, Doctor." his voice sounded uncertain and she could not blame him, given their
last meeting. But what could she say while he was on the bridge?
"Doctor?" His voice changed slightly, he was becoming irritated. "Doctor?"
The doors to the bridge opened, and Beverly stepped through. "Yes, Captain."
Picard turned, and the look on his face told her he was angry. His eyes flashed with annoyance. "Doctor Crusher, my ready room, please." Without waiting, he moved.
"Doctor," Will Riker had risen from his chair and caught her arm, "Beverly are you alright?" The concern in his voice was evident.
"No, Will, I'm not." Breaking free of his grasp, she followed the Captain's footsteps to the ready room.
Riker stood staring as the doors closed behind her.
"Commander." Worfs deep baritone, "Commander." This time his voice had the desired effect of nudging the First Officer into movement.
Dragging his eyes from the door, Riker snapped, "report," as he made his way to the centre chair.
Will wished Deanna was on the bridge; his eyes flicked toward the ready room door.
Worf saw the Commander turn his head. "Sir, shall I request the Counsellors presence on the bridge?"
"No, let her sleep." Riker turned in his chair. That was all he needed - a telepathic Klingon; the thought made him smile. Lowering his voice, he met Worf's' eyes, "I'm fine," wondering as he spoke, whose mind he was trying to put at ease, the Security chiefs or his own, and the look on Worf's face told him he'd failed to convince him either!
"Doctor, what the hell do you think you were doing? The Enterprise's comm. system it is not to be used frivolously. As well you know." His anger was evident. Taking his position behind his desk, Picard glared at his CMO.
"I apologise." Beverly had entered the room just enough to let the doors close behind her but no more.
"You are a senior member of the staff; I do not expect to have to remind you of such
regulations….." He stopped; for a normally reserved man, he suddenly felt an overwhelming surge of affection for the woman in front of him. "….again."
"You won't, Captain." Retreating behind the roles they had played for so long, Crusher stepped into the room and put herself in the 'at ease' stance in front of his desk.
The tension was palpable; Beverly's eyes were locked with his.
"Riker to Picard," the first officer's voice cutting through the silence.
"Engineering report they have repaired the replicator in Ten Forward."
"Thank you, Commander." Picard raised his eyebrows as if wondering if his First Officer had lost his senses.
"He's worried about me." Beverly spoke, as if by way of explanation, still 'at ease' yet her posture appeared to have changed a little, softened, at the sound of Will voice.
"Ah, I see." Rising from his chair, he tugged his tunic down as he replied to Riker, "Thank you..." pausing for a brief second before adding "…Will"
"Aye Sir." The relief in Riker's voice made Picard smile.
"Does the man think I'm an ogre?" Jean-Luc muttered as he took a step toward normality.
She tilted her head slightly, then moved toward the replicator but changed her mind mid stride; this wasn't the place to have this conversation. "Jean-Luc…I…"
"I know. Here's not the right place. Where?"
He knew her so well. "Your quarters. There's broken china and, by now, cold tea all over the floor." Without explaining, she made for the door. And without asking the obvious, he followed her.
The bridge crew watched as the Captain and CMO made their way to the turbolift.
"Commander, you have the bridge." Picard spoke as he crossed the floor.
"Aye, Sir." Riker's perplexed look was met by one of Deanna Troi's as the doors to the turbolift opened.
Startled to see them together the Counsellor stopped, not realising she was blocking their path. "Captain, Beverly?" she said but she sensed, what…? an overwhelming sense of 'something' from them both.
Over the years Deanna had come to realise that both the Captain and Doctor were capable of 'guarding' their innermost thoughts from her, as they were now.
"Counsellor Troi." Picard nodded and stepped forward, propelling the woman to step forward.
"Beverly?" The unspoken question from the Counsellor, 'are you alright' popped into the Doctor's mind.
"Deanna." No reply. Beverly moved to stand next to Jean-Luc, closer than she had since the 'rape.' Deanna noticed, and felt herself relax. Maybe things would be alright.
They rode in silence. Arriving at his quarters, Picard tapped in his entrance code, stepping aside to let the Doctor enter first, then following her in. Calling for fifty percent lighting as he did.
His quarters were, as always, immaculate, everything in its place and a place for everything. Just like his life, Beverly thought.
"Would you care for a drink?"
Before she could reply he passed the replicator, and walked towards a small wooden cabinet. Opening it, he lifted a bottle of wine. Real wine.
"My brother gave me this when I visited Earth…" He did not have to say 'after the Borg incident.' She knew. "He told me to drink it with friends, and I can't think of a better time than now. Or indeed a better friend to share it with." Smiling, he lifted two glasses and made his way toward her.
He stopped, waiting for her to continue.
"I can't think of anyone I'd rather be with right now." She had changed her mind; it could wait a little while.
She recognised his need to bring their friendship onto familiar ground. To banish their previous meeting from his mind, that much was obvious, at least to her. Jean-Luc was not always comfortable with the degree of openness she thrived on. But he was trying; she'd meet him half way.
They settled into the sofa, after a while he again refilled their glasses; the silence was comforting. She did not share this degree of intimacy with many people, and knew he shared it only with her. Watching his face as he relaxed pleased her. The wine was good, excellent actually. Rolling the glass between her hands, she wondered if they'd be able to survive what she had to say.
As if reading her thoughts, he put his empty glass on the table between them. "Penny for them?" he asked gently.
"Isn't that my line?" She smiled over at him, declining his offer of a refill.
Beverly placed her glass next to his. Kicking off her shoes and tucking her feet up under her, she noticed he relaxed further as she did so, taking his cue from her.
"Will you tell me what wasn't in your report?"
That's it, Jean- Luc, cut straight to the heart of the matter. Then she realised he was giving her a way of starting, where she could retain a professional distance. But she had to tell him something first, for him to understand.
"Jean-Luc, the memory Jev 'took' from me was from a long time ago. Before we were….before we were….." she struggled to find the words.
"Before we were where we are now?"
"Yes." Maybe he did understand.
"The pain was so raw, so real. No one could have made it better. Did you know there were moments I almost took my own life, so I could be with Jack? But I didn't." She paused.
"You had Wesley." He didn't judge.
She smiled the smile that always crossed her face when she though of her son. "Yes, I had Wesley; he was my reason to get through the day." She pulled her arms round her knees.
"Beverly." He reached out his hand, smiling as she placed her hand in his. He continued, "whatever else I am to you, I'm your friend."
Reassured by the fact she'd taken his hand, he moved to sit beside her. "And I miss him too."
Beverly nodded and started simply by saying, "Jean-Luc, he took me, us, to see Jack's body…" and as she voiced her terror, he held her tighter in his arms.
And as she spoke, of him, of the nightmare, telling him things she'd never say to another living soul, Beverly occasionally reached up to brush the tears from his face.
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