Christmas with the Cranky Captain

I don't own Star Trek TNG; it is owned by Paramount.

So, the Gang was all at the End of Year- Christmassy type party in Ten Forward; Guinan, the Picards, the Crushers, Geordi, Data, Mr. Worf, Dr. Selar, and when I said everybody, I meant it. Well, Ro wasn't there, she shows up a season later.

Well, everybody's being social, happy people, well, except for Mr. Worf, who is being slightly less social, but just as happy. Cathal was hanging off Jay, who is still a cute kid despite her Borg implants. Hugh was following Jay and Cathal around, and being nearly as cute as Jay. They were all hanging out with Ensign Persy.

The tapping of a glass caught everyone's attention, eventually, and Cathal had a miniature flap out from auditory issues. Her father spoke.

"We all would like to thank every one you for coming to our Christmas day celebration. It has been a trying year, and if anyone deserves a time of relaxation, we do. However, I see we have food and gifts, respectively, so tuck in, and then we will open our presents."

The meal was excellent. Cathal was having a fried turkey wing with a side of hasperat. The spicy Bajoran dish scalded her tongue in a state of delightful bliss. One, two tears slipped from her widely opened eyes! This was delicious!

"Sure you don't want some of my hasperat? It's awesome," Cathal said to Jay.

"No thanks. I'd probably wind up using up all my iced raktajino on even a little bit."

"May I try some of your hasperat, please," Hugh requested.

"Sure!"

"I do not know why everyone complains of the spice; it is not so bad," Hugh coolly remarked.

"Wow, he didn't even cry once!"

"I do not understand this phenomenon of crying. Is it an adaptive behaviour?"

"Yup," Cathal said. "People use it to adjust themselves to a negative reality."

After the food had been removed, it was time to open gifts. Captain Picard got a kitten from Mr. Data, a type of Bat'leth from Mr. Worf, and a copy of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's full Sherlock Holmes works from Dr. Crusher, among other things. He received many declarations of support; if he needed to talk, they'd be there for him. However, the most surprising of gifts came from his own family.

After the official gift giving was over, Jay was still hanging out with Cathal. Hugh wasn't far behind, and Geordi was trailing all of them. Our favourite Captain was feeling jumpy with all the people under and above age fifteen, and decided to break the silence.

"Hugh," he started to ask. "Why do you always hang out with Cathal, but angle your attention towards me when you think I'm not looking?"

Hugh looked away. Cathal hugged him.

"He's always afraid of your rejection, Papa. He knows that you have the power over parts of his quality of life here."

They had stopped in the hallway, now.

"I sense something else, underneath it."

Hugh was actually calm, having adapted to the situation once he figured out what Cathal was up to.

"He's curious; he's always curious, especially about people with hidden emotional depth. He seeks an emotional tie with you, but understands you probably wouldn't want this."

It was true. His' emotions HAD deepened because of his experience with the Borg earlier that year.. but in the deepening, he had been sorely wounded. Could he do, or permit to have done, what would tie them both? His' own child could, and had, but he wasn't so sure of himself.

"I will leave, now, if you wish it, Captain," said Hugh, in his' highly formal, slightly stilted way of speaking.

"No. Cathal, can you do a bridging of the minds technique on us?"

"Yes, actually," the half Vulcan child said, pleased that her manipulations had paid off. She knew that both her Papa and the boy she rather liked would feel pain, but she also knew that through her own earlier life, they would gain emotional strength.

They took the plunge.

Amazingly, it ended well. The three group hugged, and Cathal frowningly held her lower face, pointer finger on her central brow ridge. She managed a weak grin.

"Glad to see you've developed that understanding; now I've a bad headache."

She and Jay went ahead into her and the Captain's quarters', where they both proceeded to fall asleep.

"I guess I shall leave you to your family, Captain," Hugh said, smilingly as Geordi finally decided to catch up.

"Actually," Captain Picard said smilingly, in the direction of the two he had come to love as his own, "You're welcome any time. My family seems to grow by the month!"

AN: I shall have to write the story where Hugh first comes on the Enterprise and how he manages to stay soon.. If you want it...