Almost Gone From The Heart

Almost Gone From The Heart

Status: Finished

Genre: Fan Fiction

Details

Status: Finished

Genre: Fan Fiction

Summary

A car trip on a distant planet ends in disaster. Crusher must help keep Picard alive.

Summary

A car trip on a distant planet ends in disaster. Crusher must help keep Picard alive.

Chapter1 (v.1) - Almost Gone From The Heart

Author Chapter Note

A car trip on a distant planet ends in disaster. Crusher must help keep Picard alive.

Chapter Content - ver.1

Submitted: January 18, 2012

Reads: 512

Comments: 1

A A A | A A A

Chapter Content - ver.1

Submitted: January 18, 2012

A A A

A A A

The dappled sunlight crept slowly across the room eventually reaching the bed, then, as if gathering itself, made the effort to rise from the floor, up the side of the bed and onto the face of the beautiful woman who had been watching it so intently. Gently, not wishing to disturb the man who slept beside her, she reached up and brushed aside a ringlet of stunning red hair. The urge to stretch, something she had been wanting to do for some time now, became too much to bear. Slowly, languidly, she raised her arms, arched her back and stretched her legs to the very toes with a delightful cat-like sensuousness that brought a growl of appreciation from her bedmate.

“I love it when you do that.”

As he spoke, his arms encircled her and he began to nuzzle her neck.

Sighing with pleasure, she turned in his embrace and looked lovingly into his eyes.

“Jean-Luc...is there anything I do that you don’t love?”

The Captain lifted his head from where it had been; placing small kisses along Beverly’s neck to her collarbone.

“Let me think...no, my love. I delight in anything...everything you do.”

Beverly allowed him to ease her onto her back.

“You know, if I were very unscrupulous, I could make you pay for that sentiment.”

Raising himself on his elbows, Jean-Luc scowled down at Beverly in mock seriousness.

“You wouldn’t dare...”

Beverly reached up and took the Captain’s face in her hands. With a wry chuckle she said,

“You ought to know better than to dare me Captain...who knows what I might do.”

A wicked grin alighted on Jean-Luc’s handsome face.

“I can think of one or two things to keep you out of mischief...like this...and this...”

As Beverly’s eyes drifted shut, she gave herself to her attentive lover as he began the foreplay she knew would culminate in joyful, satisfying bonelessness.

 

 

 

Some time later the couple were seated on the balcony of their room, enjoying a late breakfast.

“This is wonderful Jean-Luc. Look over there, on the lake; those birds are diving for food. Watch how high they dive.”

Jean-Luc glanced briefly over to the birds, but took the opportunity to watch the woman he loved so dearly.

Without looking at him Beverly said,

“Jean-Luc...you’re supposed to be looking at the birds.”

Not taking his eyes from her, Jean-Luc smiled.

“Hmmm. I think I found something eminently more interesting...and beautiful.”

“You’re incorrigible!”

Reaching for her hand, the Captain lifted it and kissed her fingers.

“Terminally.”

Laughing, Beverly shook her head.

“So, tell me...who told you about this planet?”

Sitting up straight and only just curtailing the urge to tug his shirt into place, the Captain lifted his chin.

“That would be breaking a confidence.”

Beverly narrowed her eyes and tilted her head.

“Jean-Luc, it’s not as if it’s a top secret Federation training facility...it’s a holiday planet for goodness sake!”

Rising gracefully from her chair, she rounded the table and perched herself on Jean-Luc’s lap.

“You forget...I know where you’re ticklish...”

“Now Beverly...no don’t...stop that at once...Argh!...All right! Enough...please!”

They both laughed, Beverly surprised yet again at how happy Jean-Luc had become, how easily he embraced their changed relationship and how much she loved him. When the chuckles subsided, Jean-Luc reached up and ran a gentle finger from Beverly’s eyebrow to her chin.

“You don’t fight fair.”

Beverly leaned down and kissed him tenderly.

“I have to use all my feminine wiles to break the gallant, heroic Captain.”

“That wasn’t feminine wiles, that was out and out premeditated tickling!”

Tapping him gently on the nose Beverly whispered,

“It worked didn’t it?”

Jean-Luc sighed in resignation.

“My God, brought undone by a beautiful red head who knows how to tickle...it’s a sad thing...”

“Yeah, yeah, so who was it?”

“Vash.”

That caught Beverly’s attention.

“Vash? You’re not telling me you...”

“No, of course not. She told me about this place some time ago...before you and I...you know...and I thought it would be, well, fun to spend a few weeks in the early 2000 era. You have to admit, driving the car is exhilarating and these bed and breakfast places have been wonderful. I must tell you though; I didn’t know exactly how it would be. I suppose I took a chance...do you want to go someplace else?”

Rising from Jean-Luc’s lap, Beverly poured another cup of coffee. Looking again out over the lake, she seemed to be lost in thought. Jean-Luc knew better than to interrupt, so he sat patiently waiting. Eventually she sighed and smiled.

“No my love. I’m happy here. I think anywhere would do, as long as we were together.”

Sighing with contentment Jean-Luc asked,

“So...where to today?”

Without a word, Beverly slipped inside and retrieved the map. Moving the breakfast things aside she traced their travels with her finger.

 The couple had been on Ferrid V for ten days. The planet was divided into several zones, allowing guests to experience holidays in an era of their choosing. The Ferrid system boasted seven planets, each planet modelled on a different culture. Ferrid V was Earth’s model and Jean-Luc had considered opting for a more “Dixon Hill” era, but eventually settled on the turn of the year 2000 for it’s innovation and ease. The three weeks he had arranged for them both was a surprise for Beverly. She had been working particularly hard on research lately and the Captain had also been very busy with a recent upgrade of the Enterprise’s sensor arrays, so a holiday was a heartfelt, welcome event. Jean-Luc’s only regret was not capturing Will Riker’s reaction on holovid when he told him of his intention to take leave. The Captain wondered if a new record had been created as to how fast the news took to reach Deanna Troi.

He was still smiling at the memory when he realized Beverly had spoken.

“What? Sorry ma cherie, I was thinking of something else. What did you say?”

Beverly let the glitch pass.

“Well, we’ve been following the coast from down here at Alsted, where we started, and it’s taken ten days to reach here...if we take the main highway, we can be in Bellin by nightfall...but...it would be nicer if we took the mountain road and stayed near the coast.”

Jean-Luc followed Beverly’s finger.

“So it’s what...250kms on the main highway and...320kms by the mountains. Hmmm, a long way...”

“But we could stop for a picnic...and we could call ahead to the homestead we were recommended. In fact, we could get some camping gear, just the bare minimum, and maybe camp overnight on the way...what do you think?”

There were several objections forming in the Captain’s mind, but one look at his beautiful soul mate evaporated any doubts.

“All right. I’ll go and see Mrs.Adams and inquire about the camping gear, then I’ll ring through to the Bellin bed and breakfast letting them know our plans. It shouldn’t be a problem...the season is nearly over, in fact that’s why I chose this time...no crowds.”

“My clever Captain.”

“Hmmm. Well, I’ll be back in a minute.”

Beverly moved to the balcony and sipped her cooling coffee. She cast her mind back over what happened to change everything six months ago. Everything was as it usually had been. Breakfast together in the morning, dinner together almost every night...always ending in a polite “goodnight” and a chaste kiss on the cheek. Then one night everything changed. It was about 3am when Beverly was awakened by her door announcer. As the door opened on her command, she was astounded to see a visibly upset Jean-Luc. He stepped into her quarters and cast about, trying to gain some control, ultimately failing. Suddenly he stood still, a sob escaping his heaving chest and tears streaming down his face.

“Jean-Luc! What is it...what’s wrong?”

Unable to speak, all Jean-Luc could do was shake his head. Moving to him, Beverly took his hand and led him to the sofa, taking him into her arms when they were seated. Trembling, Jean-Luc lowered his head to her shoulder and wrapped his arms about her in a desperate embrace.

“Shh, it’s all right...hush Jean-Luc...shh...”

Beverly’s door announcer chimed again, opening to her soft command, revealing a sleep tousled Deanna. To her silent enquiry Beverly very gently shook her head. Nodding in understanding, Deanna left. Jean-Luc was unaware of the exchange.

They stayed in each other’s arms for several long minutes and as Jean-Luc began to calm, Beverly again asked what had happened.

“What is it Jean-Luc...tell me what’s wrong.”

Jean-Luc released his tight grip and took a shuddering deep breath.

“Oh, Beverly...I had a dream...a dreadful nightmare...the Borg were...I couldn’t...I remembered the pain, the helplessness and, oh dear God, they took you and I couldn’t...I couldn’t stop...I...”

“Oh my poor Jean-Luc...shh... it’s over my love, it didn’t happen, I’m safe, you’re safe...it’s over now.”

Fresh tears coursed down the Captain’s face.

“Will it never stop? Will I ever go to bed again without the fear of another nightmare? It was so bad Beverly...when they took you it was worse...the worst yet and I couldn’t stop them...I offered myself...anything... so they wouldn’t hurt you, but I couldn’t...I couldn’t...”

“Shh, Jean-Luc, come here.”

Again Beverly took her friend in her arms and rocked him gently, one hand rubbing his back. After some time she leaned back and swivelled sideways, bringing them both to lie on the sofa and not long after that, Jean-Luc’s rhythmic breathing told her he had fallen into an exhausted sleep.

Beverly gently rubbed her cheek on the top of his head.

“My poor Jean-Luc,” she whispered. “It’s so unfair, my poor love.”

Beverly knew her feelings for him were changing, deepening. She had been intending to tell him that she wasn’t afraid anymore, and what had happened that night only re-enforced what she already knew about how Jean-Luc felt about her. He loved her unreservedly and it was about time she reciprocated.

Sometime later Beverly awoke and for a moment was disorientated. Quickly she realized where she was and what had happened. Turning her head she found Jean-Luc awake, quietly looking at her.

“Well, hello there. How do you feel”?

Jean-Luc frowned and momentarily lowered his eyes.

“Tired, embarrassed...I’m sorry Beverly.”

Beverly gently placed her hand on Jean-Luc’s face.

“What for? We’ve always been here for each other...I’m just so sorry it happened.”

A warm silence fell between them, each lost in their own thoughts, until Jean-Luc quietly whispered,

“Did you mean it?”

“What?”

“Beverly...you called me...”my love”. Did you mean it?”

Beverly looked deeply into Jean-Luc’s hazel eyes. She felt her mouth go dry, her heart began to pound rapidly and a flock of butterflies took flight in her stomach.

*This is it. Oh my God...give me strength.*

Taking a deep breath, Beverly steadied her nerves.

“Yes Jean-Luc...my love...I’m not afraid anymore. If you’ll have me...I...I love you...very much.”

Jean-Luc was so still, his expression closed...until his eyes began to brim with tears.

“Oh Beverly...mon Dieu ma chere...do you have any idea how long, how much, I’ve wanted to hear you say that?”

“I’ve a fair idea...”

Taking Beverly in his arms Jean-Luc kissed her gently, tasting her, again and again, each kiss growing more passionate, more urgent...he had not intended to make love to Beverly there on the sofa...his fantasies had been much more elaborate, romantic, but that’s what happened and neither of them could’ve been happier with the outcome. They were in love and deliriously happy.

 

 

 

Beverly’s coffee was cold but the smile on her face showed she didn’t care. As she turned to take her seat, Jean-Luc returned and she immediately went to him and wrapped her arms around his neck and kissed him with all the love she felt...astonishing and delighting her Captain in one fell swoop.

When the kiss ended she stood back and smiled at Jean-Luc’s heated expression.

“What was that for?”

Running one finger down his chest Beverly said huskily,

“Just letting you know how much I love you.”

“And I love you cherie...in fact, I’ve got a better way to show it...”

“Jean-Luc! You’re insatiable!...and sexy...and lusty...”

Another kiss ensued, this time initiated by Jean-Luc. They were both panting somewhat when it ended. Beverly stepped back and took a deep, calming breath.

“Jean-Luc, darling, we don’t have time for this. We have to finish packing and vacate the suite by ten o’clock.”

A deep growl was her only reply.

“Now you stop that. Go...go and finish packing.”

“All right, but I hasten to add, you started this.”

Beverly looked down Jean-Luc’s front and reddened somewhat.

“Oh my, is that the result of my handiwork? Such power I have over you...it makes me giddy with delusions of grandeur.”

They both dissolved into laughter and made their way into the suite to continue packing.

 

 

 

Putting the last of their bags and camping gear into the boot, Beverly shut the lid and joined Jean-Luc in thanking Mrs.Adams for a lovely stay.

Jean-Luc tossed the car keys to Beverly.

“Your turn today...you are qualified to drive a Starship, although your last efforts in the car were a little hair raising.”

“Not that you’d notice then!”

Jean-Luc thought of a reply, then decided not to spar with Beverly this morning. She usually won anyway; instead he sat in the car and spent a good five minutes trying, and finally succeeding in folding the map to the appropriate section.

“And you’re qualified to drive a Starship...God help us...”

Displaying mock outrage, Jean-Luc turned to his lover.

“Insubordinate wench! I’ll have you know paper maps are notoriously hard to fold. That’s why they don’t exist on the Enterprise.”

Shaking her head and lifting her chin, Beverly looked haughtily at her Captain.

“Humph! Just as well, or we’d never get anywhere.”

The Captain lowered his head and chuckled.

*She got me...again.*

“Enough! You querulous female...drive on.”

 

 

 

In the mountains two hundred kilometres to the north, the weather wasn’t as kind as that experienced by the happy couple. Heavy rain had been falling for two days and on the Murrindindi River, a natural dam had formed. Fallen trees, broken pieces of vegetation, silt and bark had jammed and interwoven at a narrowing of the river about one kilometre above a gorge over which a road bridge spanned. The river had swollen to dangerous proportions and on the same morning that Beverly and Jean-Luc left, the dam finally broke. A huge torrent of water surged down river with such strength, it tore more trees loose and rolled large boulders along with ease. As it came roaring around the bend, it smashed into the bridge pylons, making them groan with stress. The bridge was not designed to take the forces now being exerted on it. Within a few minutes, the bridge reached breaking point, the last blow coming from a boulder the size of a small car. With a sickening shriek the base of the pylons was wrenched free and carried downstream leaving the metal girders with no support. After the wave front had passed, the river began to drop, but it was too late for the bridge. For half an hour, nothing happened, then suddenly, with a loud bang, a thirty metre stretch, the last section of the bridge before solid ground on the far side, dropped ten cms, then caught, swayed a little and settled. The bridge was hanging extremely precariously...it would take very little to make it fall, perhaps just the weight of car.

 

 

 

 The lovers were having a wonderful time. They had made their way down to the ocean and motored along leisurely, stopping wherever they wanted, collecting shells and marvelling at the beautiful scenery. They had lunch in a charming seaside restaurant, dining sumptuously on localseafood. Beverly took the proffered map and frowned in thought.

“Hmmm, you’re right. If we take the inland road we will get to Bellin quicker, but I’d really like to stay as close to the coast if we can. Did you ring ahead?”

Nodding, Jean-Luc said,

“Yes. I told them we may camp along the way...we’ve got a three day leeway, so we can do as we please. If we take this road, it will take us to a headland where...see here?...there’s a lighthouse and, if I’m not mistaken, a small camping ground.”

“Brilliant Jean-Luc! It’s all rocky and cliffs along there isn’t it, and this area...national park? Do you think there’ll be anybody there? We’ve hardly seen anybody so far. Wouldn’t it be great if we had the park to ourselves? We could go skinny dipping!”

Jean-Luc groaned.

“Beverly I am *not* going skinny dipping!”

Taking her lover’s hand she purred seductively,

“I’ll make it worth it...”

The Captain shook his head and laughed softly.

“What am I to do with you?”

“Oh, I don’t know...I’m sure we could think of something...”

 Beverly stood, and using the most overtly sexual walk she could muster, sashayed her way out of the restaurant, leaving Jean-Luc gaping in her wake.

When he arrived at the car, Beverly smiled sweetly and said wryly,

“Engage, Captain?”

Laughing and taking her hand, he chuckled,

“Make it so.”

They drove for a few hours along winding mountain roads, the grasses growing high on the shoulders and the trees of both sides meeting overhead, affording a tunnel effect. Occasionally small animals darted across the road in front of the car and every so often, they would stop to enjoy the glimpses of ocean that appeared.

It was quite late in the afternoon as they rounded a bend to see the long bridge over the Murrindindi River.

“Oh, Jean-Luc look. That’s the big river on the map. What say we cross to that shoulder over the other side and see if we can get a view back up the gorge.”

Jean-Luc quickly checked the map.

“Yes that’s a good idea. From that rise we should get an uninterrupted view of the gorge and a good distance upstream.”

Beverly was slowly accelerating as the approached the middle of the bridge. They were paying little attention to the road when suddenly the car dropped down onto the defective roadway with a bang.

Beverly immediately looked at her instruments, and said loudly

“What the hell was that?”

The Captain was about to tell her to stop when the bridge lurched sideways, balanced for a mere second then dropped with sickening speed to the river gorge twenty two metres below.

The drop was silent and quick, giving the stunned passengers no time to react. As the section of bridge hit the rocky bottom of the gorge, the car bounced high in the air on an angle. It executed a complete roll at the apex of its flight and on the way down, struck an outcrop of rock, flipping it again. It finally came to rest on its side, at the base of a cliff, some ten metres from the river. After the scree and light pebbles stopped their downward journey, there was silence, save for the swiftly flowing river. The car was jammed, passenger side down, the roof stove in and a huge boulder sitting on the boot. Minutes passed in silence, then gently at first a groaning started to come from the car.

Beverly was in pain. There didn’t seem to be anywhere that didn’t hurt. Her right arm wouldn’t move and her left arm, though free, hurt like the very devil. Nevertheless, gritting her teeth and quelling the moan that nearly escaped, she lifted her left hand to her face and head. A suspicious stickiness covered her face and both eyes were closed, the left by blood, the right due to a large swelling. Feeling further up her face, she discovered a laceration at the hairline, and higher, on the top of her head, a deep cut, both injuries bleeding freely. Gingerly at first, then with more strength, Beverly tried to move; all that she achieved was a burst of pain from various parts of her body. Her legs were trapped; the dashboard had collapsed completely, pressing her legs in a vice like grip. Taking a few minutes to recover, Beverly began to work on her left eye, using saliva and fingers to clean as much blood from it as she could, a difficult job as she soon realized she was bleeding from a cut lip as well.

Eventually, she was able to open the eye and in a few moments was able to look around. She had been growing increasingly concerned about Jean-Luc’s silence, fearing he was unconscious, but she was not prepared for what she saw.

He was gone. The left side of the car was crushed, the front door missing.

“Jean-Luc!”

The call caused a sharp pain in her chest Beverly recognized as broken ribs. Heedless of the pain she called again...and again.

*Oh dear God where are you.*

She waited, alone and in pain, as darkness started to gather.

 

 

 

 

Something was definitely wrong, but he couldn’t work it out. He was dreaming...he knew that, yet somehow he was different. He was cold and everything he tried to do, hurt...a lot. It even hurt to breathe...there was a wetness in his lungs, and he was upside down, at least he thought so...it was a really weird dream.

*I don’t like this very much...I’d better wake up.*

At first, when Jean-Luc opened his eyes, he thought he’d failed. It seemed to be just as dark with his eyes open, as it was with them closed. Trying to move, he cried out in pain.

*I wasn’t dreaming...this is real. Where the hell am I...what happened?*

The pounding in his head and his congested eyes proved that he was indeed upside down. Gingerly, he tried moving his right arm. It hurt, but not too badly, and he was able to reach tentatively forward. Feeling rock, he searched for a hold that he could push against to extricate himself from his position. His left arm was jammed somehow...it hurt too much to move anyway, so when he finally found purchase for his right hand, he knew he was in for quite a struggle.

Testing at first, he began to exert more pressure, at the same time, twisting his shoulders. It was a manoeuvre he was sorry he attempted, and yet he persevered. With a burst of intense pain, he managed to wriggle backwards until he was lying over a large boulder, gasping for breath and almost sobbing with agony.

Many minutes passed until the pain became tolerable.

Jean-Luc lay quietly, trying to remember what had happened, for him to find himself in this predicament. He remembered the car and Beverly...

*My God! Beverly!*

He tried to shout her name, but it was quite impossible. He had most certainly broken some ribs, but more than that, there was an unpleasant and debilitating wetness in his lungs. He didn’t seem to be able to take a big breath, and his throat hurt to speak. As he lay there on the rock, he mentally ran a check on his body. Along with his head, arm, chest and throat, he had pain in his stomach and the left side of his back and his right ankle flared in agony when he tried to move it.

*Probably broken.*

That, coupled with a badly twisted right knee, made his right leg useless.

He had gently explored his head with his right hand and found a laceration over his right eyebrow and a rather large lump and cut at the back of his head. Now he was upright, the bleeding had slowed markedly. He was cold and in considerable pain, yet all he could think about was Beverly, and not being able to search for her in the dark, he decided to try and rest to gain some strength to look for her at first light.

 

 

 

 

The first thing Beverly thought when she awoke was that she was glad her dream was over. That was until she tried to stretch. Crying out in pain, she realized her predicament and stilled herself immediately.

*Dammit, that hurt!*

In the dim light in the car, Beverly could begin to make out how she was trapped. The right side of the car was badly battered, the left completely smashed, the front door missing. The windscreen, front and rear was missing, the side windows smashed. The car was perched nose down, and leaning down to the left, the bonnet stuck under a rock ledge, the boot, although stuck up in the air, had a large boulder on it and the roof had a large crease in it, almost touching Beverly’s head.

The dashboard had collapsed, trapping her legs; the steering wheel pressed painfully down onto her lower torso and her right arm was wedged in tightly between the door and the side of her seat, completely immobile.

Carefully taking a breath, she called for her lover.

“Jean-Luc! Jean-Luc, can you hear me?”

 

 

 

Jean-Luc was dozing. His dreams were a jumble, a mixture of pain and violent images, interspersed with visions of Beverly and the happy day they had shared on their drive. Suddenly his eyes snapped open.

“What was that?”

He lay silently, willing the sound that woke him to be repeated. Then faintly...

“Jean-Luc...Jean-Luc.”

Without think he cried out,
“Beverly!”

The blast of pain made him roll onto his side, coughing uncontrollably. Each cough brought flashes of agony, in both his back and his chest, the blood he retched up from his lungs only adding to his misery. With a huge effort, he quelled his coughing and curled on his side gasping for breath.

It took many minutes for the pain to ease enough for him to try moving again. Using his good arm, he raised himself and became as quiet as he could, listening intently.

The call came again and he turned downstream stream, in the direction of the call and squinted his eyes against the early morning sun.

Nothing. He could see nothing of Beverly or the car. The call came again. He couldn’t answer it but he knew he had to get to Beverly, her calls were getting weaker. Slowly, and with infinite care, he started to drag himself over the boulders that littered the sides of the river. Using his good arm and leg he made slow progress, stopping frequently to allow the pain to subside. After and agonizing half hour he rested, continually listening for Beverly’s call. When he had sufficiently recovered, he started moving again. Sliding around a particularly large rock, he came across a door from the car, and a little farther on, a windscreen.

*Well, it would seem I’m on the right track.*

He was eventually stopped by a jumble of boulders that were too big for him to traverse. His only option was to make his way down to the river and use the current to carry him beyond the obstruction. The going to the river was made easier by the downward slant of the terrain, and when he reached the river, he stopped to rest. The coughing that started was painful and uncontrolled. When he opened his tear filled eyes, he was worried to again find a small puddle of blood.

*Lung damage.* He thought. *I wonder how Beverly is...she must be hurt too...*

With those thoughts in his mind, he dragged himself into the cold, fast flowing river.

 It was very difficult. With only one leg and arm to guide him, he found it almost impossible to keep contact with the rocks. The haphazard boulders reached out into the river, forcing him further away from the bank. The current was pulling at him and he was tiring fast. He saw a place to exit the water and plunged his arm out to grab the rock, but his grip was weak and his hand slid from the rock, tearing his nails in the process. Trying to turn in the water, he didn’t see the tree trunk stuck out from the bank. He slammed into it with terrible force.

The agony caused him to lose consciousness. If not for his bad arm tangling in the branches and the force of the water pressing him against the tree, he would’ve been swept away and drowned.

He came to coughing and in terrible pain. Using his good arm, he extricated his damaged arm from the branch...he was unable to stop the yell of pain...and pushed across the current until he could get some purchase with his foot. Still coughing and bringing up more blood, he managed to drag himself out of the water. He lay shivering and retching, coughing until he thought he would pass out again. Eventually he quietened, though still shivering, and looked about to see how he was going to climb up from the bank. Jean-Luc knew he wouldn’t be able to hear Beverly over the noise of the rushing river and he also knew he couldn’t go on much longer. It took him nearly and hour to reach the top of the boulders, but it was worth it. He spotted the car...or what was left of it. As he began his journey across the remaining rocks, he heard Beverly calling him. Very carefully he took the biggest breath he could and called back,

“I’m coming Beverly, hang on.”

 

 

  Beverly kept drifting off to sleep. As a doctor, she knew this wasn’t good, yet she didn’t know how to stop it. It happened at the most peculiar times...as she was studying her injured right arm, and just now, in the middle of calling for Jean-Luc. She was overcome with worry for him and more than once descended into uncontrollable tears at the thought of him being injured...or worse. She knew she was subjected to the vagaries of shock, that and the head injury were making it difficult for rational thought, yet she despaired the thought of losing him. Again she felt the encroaching dizziness, and just as her eyes were closing, she heard his voice.

Suddenly awake, she listened intently.

“Beverly...”

Overcome with joy, she called with all the strength she could muster.

“Jean-Luc! Jean-Luc I’m here...in the car! Can you see it?”

She waited...and waited...then closer, but strangely quiet,

“I’m coming Beverly, hang on...”

Then he was there. He appeared on the bonnet, squeezing between the rock ledge and what was left of the windscreen.

“Oh, my God it’s good to see you Jean-Luc! Where have you been? What happened to..?”

The Captain started to cough, a wet deep wracking cough that obviously caused him great pain and only subsided when he expectorated a quantity of bright blood.

Beverly was instantly alarmed.

“Jean-Luc! You’ve lacerated a lung. How often do you bring up blood?”

Not yet able to answer the doctor, all he could do was shake his head and pant shallowly. Eventually he lifted his head and looked wearily at Beverly.

“Not that often. It’s worse when I exert myself. It sort of settles down, but it won’t stop all together.”

“No and it won’t until we get you to hospital. What other injuries do you have?”

Jean-Luc tried to sigh, but with a grimace, failed.

“Never mind about me...I take it you’re trapped in the car?”

“Jean-Luc...”

“Beverly...how are you stuck?”

With an annoyed look, Beverly told him how she was snared.

“My right arm is jammed between the door and the seat...I think it’s broken...and my legs are squashed under the dashboard. Oh, and I can’t move my head about too much...the roof’s bent.

Jean-Luc moved his chest over the sill of the windscreen.

“Do you think there’s room for me in there?”

Looking around, Beverly frowned.

“I don’t think so, Jean-Luc. The passenger seat is on its side and the car has been crushed all down the left side.

“Ok, I’ll see if I can look at the right side.”

“Jean-Luc...please, before you go, tell me about your injuries.”

A sort silence followed, then he started to speak.

“I have two cuts on my head, one over my eyebrow, the other at the back of my head...there’s also a large lump there. My throat hurts and I’ve broken some ribs, that’ll be why my lung is damaged. I have pain and tenderness in my stomach and back, my left arm is...damaged, the right knee has been badly twisted and my right ankle is broken. Apart from that...I’m fine.”

Jean-Luc’s attempt at humour failed. Beverly was appalled with what she heard.

“Jean-Luc, you shouldn’t be moving. Find a comfortable rock and sit in a reclining position, that will...”

Raising his left hand, the Captain silenced the doctor.

“Beverly, I will have a look at the right side of the car, then I will see if I can get you out.”

“But Jean-Luc, any exertion on your part may well...”

“I know Beverly. Look at it this way. Wouldn’t you be better able to help me if I could get you out?”

That got her. He was right, of course, but so was she. Exertion could cause further damage and she could tell he was already quite weak. Unable to dissuade him, she bit her tongue and let him have his way.

It only took a few minutes for the Captain to find he couldn’t get Beverly out. The right side of the car was at the edge of a five-metre drop, it was also badly damaged and he was sure he wouldn’t have been able to open the doors, so he dragged himself back to his perch on the bonnet.

“Beverly, I could go and look for a branch or something to try and lever up the dashboard, but in all honesty, I don’t think I could do it...I’m sorry.”

“It’s all right my love. Really, I’m not that banged up. I’ve got a concussion...some blood loss, but compared to you I’m in tip-top condition”

The snort that escaped from Jean-Luc caused another round of dreadful coughing, culminating in another small gout of blood.

Jean-Luc! Sit back...that’s it...lean back and get control of your breathing. That’s the way...gently, gently...yes, that’s it. No more laughing mister. Jokes are now off the menu. Ok, how do you feel now?”

Still softly puffing, Jean-Luc nodded his head, raising his left thumb in an “ok” sign.

The injured pair sat in silence for a long time. There was little to talk about and they were both too tired to indulge in small talk. As the morning wore on the temperature started to rise. It was going to be a hot day.

 

 

 

“Jean-Luc...hey, Jean-Luc...wake up.”

Rousing himself slowly, the Captain muttered,

“I am awake.”

“Good. You’re going to burn if you don’t cover yourself, especially your head.”

Jean-Lifted his head and smiled tiredly.

“And just what do you think I should use? I seem to be without my parasol.”

Beverly closed her eyes.

“Hmmm, now that paints an unusual picture. What would you have on...satin, or lace?”

Raising his eyebrows, Jean-Luc said dryly,

“I thought jokes were off the menu.”

“Well, you started it...seriously though, can you use your shirt?”

Looking down at his short-sleeved shirt, the Captain decided he could remove it without too much difficulty. Undoing the second button, he leaned forward slowly, and with his good right hand, grabbed the collar at the back and gently raised it over his head. All went well until he inadvertently moved his left arm. The sharp stab of pain made him cry out, bringing on another bout of agonizing coughing, sending a small quantity of blood over his shirt.

“Jean-Luc! What happened? Are you all right?”

After a moment or two, he replied,

“Yes. I moved my bad arm...it caught me unawares, that’s all.”

Bending as low as she could, Beverly said,

“Can you move closer, so I can see your arm?”

Moving with great care, Jean-Luc positioned himself so Beverly could study his bad arm.

“You can’t move it at all?”

“Not without very strong pain.”

“Lean forward a little more, that’s it. Oh Jean-Luc, it’s dislocated!, and judging by the swelling of your wrist, I’d lay odds it’s broken. What happened to you?”

Sitting back upright, Jean-Luc shook his head.

“I can’t remember. I was thrown free of the car, that much is certain...I ended up upside down, wedged between two large rocks, some distance up stream. By sheer luck, I heard you calling and I made my way here.”

“You were very lucky. Have you put your shirt over your head yet? Make sure you cover your shoulders too, at least you can avoid the worst of the sun.”

Jean-Luc arranged his shirt as Beverly suggested and leaned back to rest.

“What about you?”

“What do you mean?”

“Beverly, it’s going to get very hot in that car...is the sun on you?”

Hearing her sigh, Jean-Luc became concerned.

“Beverly?”

“Jean-Luc...how far is the river?”

“About ten metres, why?”

Another silence ensued, ending when Beverly said,

“I’m thirsty and we’re both going to need water before the day is out.”

“Then I’ll go and get some.”

“Wait!...wasn’t there some water with the camping gear? We could use the sleeping bags and all the other gear too!”

Getting slowly to his feet and leaning heavily on the car, Jean-Luc made his way to the boot, only to find it jammed closed under the weight of a large boulder. With his good hand he gave it a push with all the strength he could muster. The rock didn’t budge. He regained his seat with Beverly.

“No good”, he panted. “There’s a bloody great rock on the boot. I can’t move it.”

“Is there anything around that we could use to carry water?”

Looking around, Jean-Luc was about to say “no” when he spotted the hubcap.

“We may be in luck. Somehow, one of the hubcaps has stayed on. I could use that if I can get it off.”

Hopping and scooting along, the Captain took up position next to the left rear tyre. At first he tried using his fingers, already injured by the rock in the river, and when it wouldn’t budge, he tried kicking it. That proved just as ineffective. He needed something to lever the hubcap off. He thought about it for a while, asking the doctor if she could see anything in the car, and when she answered in the negative, he decided to go down to the river and search for something to do the job.

 It was a slow, painful journey, gingerly inching along on his backside, his bad arm wrapped around his chest, his bad leg held out in front. He finally reached the water and his first action was to gulp down several hands full of water. The pain in his stomach had grown slowly worse but he paid it no heed. He found what he sought; a good-sized stick with a tapered end, then he began his laborious return to the car.

Beverly heard him coming, his wheezing giving him away. She was just about to tell him to stop, when he was overtaken by a fit of coughing. Had she been able to see him, she would’ve been alarmed, for as well as coughing up more blood, he also vomited up the water...and it was bloodstained.

“Captain!...Jean-Luc! Can you hear me?”

“Yes”...a weak reply.

“Can you come here so I can see you?”

A pause...then,

“Look Beverly...I think it would be better if I just got the hubcap off and went for the water. I’m tired and I want to limit my movements. Ok?”

“But Jean-Luc I...oh all right, but you let me see you when you get back!”

Approaching the hubcap, Jean-Luc muttered to himself,

“If you know what’s good for you, you’ll just be a good little hubcap and come off first go.”

It wasn’t the first try, but on the third, Picard was gratified to hear the recalcitrant piece of metal let go its grip of the wheel hub.

Nodding in satisfaction, the Captain turned to face what would be a very uncomfortable trip to the water.

It took a long time and when he reached the river all he could do was sit against a rock and pant, trying not to cough. He had carried the hubcap on his lap, he was happy to move it...the metal had become very hot and was quite uncomfortable on his thighs. Needing to relieve himself, he scooted to the riverbank and managed to kneel. As the stream began, he groaned in pain. As he urinated, the pain in his back became almost unbearable and as he looked down, he was dismayed to find his urine was bloodstained. When he finished, he went back to his rock, retrieved the hubcap and began to wash it. Having cleaned it to his satisfaction, he filled it and, after drinking a little water, made his way to his resting place.

He was feeling dreadful. The pain from various parts of his body was now constant, sapping his strength and filling him with dread. He knew he had to keep going...in these temperatures, Beverly could easily dehydrate. She needed him and he was determined to care for her. It was quite simple...he loved her and he would die to protect her.

It took a huge effort to get back to the car, a task made all the more difficult by the water he was carrying. Twice he stopped and on the second occasion, a coughing fit almost spilled the precious cargo. When he finally arrived at the car, he had blood drying on his chin and chest.

“Can you reach the hubcap, Beverly?”

Beverly stretched out her right arm.

“Just a little more, Jean-Luc.”

Making the effort, Jean-Luc was pleased to feel Beverly take possession of the water. After she had a small drink, a silence descended as each person retreated into their own thoughts. After a while, Beverly bobbed her head down as far as she could to look at Jean-Luc. He was dozing and she was alarmed to see the blood on his face and chest. She could also see livid bruises that had formed over his left ribs and face. He was cradling his damaged arm with his good arm and Beverly winced at the sight of his grotesquely misshapen shoulder.

*Oh, Jean-Luc, my poor love...look at you.*

Silent tears slowly ran down her face as she felt the depth of her love for this man...and the terrible frustration of not being able to help him. She knew he would put her well-being above his own and she was desperately afraid it could kill him.

Her musings were interrupted by Jean-Luc’s sudden vomiting. Beverly looked on in shock as Jean-Luc clasped his stomach and brought up bloodstained water and bile. His exertions caused a fit of wet coughing, more blood spilling over his torso. He collapsed sideways and lay trembling with pain, groaning softly.

Beverly bit her lip and remained silent. It would not help to make any alarmed comments, they both knew he was seriously injured and nothing would be gained by panicking over it.

When he seemed to be a little recovered, she said softly,

“Has the pain settled?”

Still unable to speak, Jean-Luc nodded.

“See if you can sit up, it will help your breathing.”

Slowly, and with obvious pain, the Captain got himself upright and leaning back on the boulder.

“Jean-Luc...How long have you been vomiting?”

Gently panting, he replied in a roughened voice,

“That’s the second time. Why is there blood?”

“That could be coming from your damaged lung...you could be swallowing the blood and that could bring about the vomiting and if your stomach is badly bruised, that would exacerbate matters. But there’s more isn’t there.”

Nodding tiredly, Jean-Luc shifted slightly.

“When I urinate there’s terrible pain in my back...here...and the urine has blood in it.”

“You’ve damaged the kidney. If we’re lucky, it’s just bruised.”

“And if we’re not lucky?”

“Let’s not cross our bridges till we come to them eh? Jean-Luc, I know you don’t want to, but you must keep drinking. Just small amounts...even if you bring it up, at least you will be getting a little. In this temperature it’s very important.”

Jean-Luc tried to sigh and only succeeded in causing a grimace of pain.

“I know Beverly...but I don’t feel very well...I think I’ll just rest a while.”

Nodding, Beverly agreed.

“That’s probably a good idea. I’ll keep an eye on you.”

Jean-Luc closed his weary eyes and soon drifted off into a fitful doze.

 

 

 

Beverly tried yet again to free her arm and legs; the steering wheel was becoming very painful as it pressed down on her lower torso. She had wet herself, having no choice in the matter, and she was feeling absolutely miserable...in pain and desperately worried about Jean-Luc. No matter how hard she struggled, she couldn’t free herself. After checking the Captain yet again, she leaned her head back and slipped into a troubled sleep.

 

 

It was the heat that woke her. It had become stifling in the car, all the surfaces becoming too hot to touch. As she woke, she became aware of Jean-Luc’s wheezing. Ducking her head down she was shocked with what she saw.

Jean-Luc had slumped over onto his side; sweat coursing down his face and body. He was deathly pale and was struggling to breathe.

“Jean-Luc! Jean-Luc wake up!”

He didn’t stir. Beverly went from worried to frantic.

“JEAN-LUC!”

Still nothing.

*Oh my God what can I do!*

Without conscious thought, Beverly pressed the car horn. It made an odd, strangled sound, but it was loud and it did the trick. With a start, Jean-Luc opened his eyes and began coughing. When the fit passed and the ubiquitous blood had been expelled, the Captain inched himself upright and battled to regain his composure.

“What the hell was that?”

“What was what?”

“That bloody noise! It scared six months growth out of me!”

Beverly felt a twinge of annoyance.

“Scared you!? I was beside myself with fear Jean-Luc. You wouldn’t wake up. I thought...I thought you...”

“I’m sorry Beverly...I was a little startled...please, I’m sorry.”

“Let’s forget it, ok? I think we were both a little startled.”

Warm looks were exchanged, the Captain even managing a small smile.

“That could come in handy, you know.”

Frowning, Beverly asked,

“What would?”

“The horn. We could sound it every now and then...maybe some one will hear it. At least until the battery wears out.”

A smirk appeared on Beverly’s face.

“How do you know so much about these old autos?”

“Ah. Dixon Hill does his own repairs...cheaper that way. You’ve no idea how much trouble can be had when your car breaks down and you don’t know how to fix it.”

“Hmmm. Good thing the Enterprise doesn’t need servicing.”

“Hey, no jokes, remember?”

“Sorry, just slipped out. We should have some more water.”

Beverly carefully picked up the hubcap and had a few sips.

“Yuck! The water’s hot.”

She passed the vessel out to the Captain and he too took some sips of the distastefully hot water.

“How long will the water last?”

Jean-Luc looked down at the hubcap.

“We’ll need more by this afternoon. I’ll put this in the shade for now, why don’t you give the horn a press.”

The strangely odd noise reverberated around the gorge, startling some birds that had come down to the river for a drink.

“That’s enough Beverly. We’ll do it again later.”

The two friends again lapsed into a gentle silence. After a while Beverly asked,

“Jean-Luc, what happened that night?, you know, when we...”

“I had a nightmare...I told you...the Borg were hurting you and I couldn’t...I couldn’t stop them.”

“Do you have that nightmare often?”

“Often enough. I found the more I loved you, the worse the nightmares became. The worst of it was I couldn’t tell you.”

Reaching her hand out to him, Beverly said gently,

“Why?”

Taking the tips of her fingers with his, Jean-Luc managed a lopsided grin.

“I would’ve had to tell you how much I loved you.”

“You were scared?”

“Yes. After Kesprit I was determined not to push the issue. You knew how I felt, it was pointless trying to pressure you into something you didn’t want.”

They sat quietly for a while, each absorbed with their own thoughts.

“Beverly...what changed?”

“Jean-Luc, I have loved you for a long time...I think you knew that.”

The Captain nodded gently.

“It was odd in a way. There was no dramatic change...I didn’t wake up one day to find my feelings had altered overnight, but it slowly dawned on me that I was *in* love with you. There’s a difference. The more I thought about it, the more I realized the depth of my feelings for you.”

“Were you going to tell me?”

“Yes. I was working up to it. I was still afraid, but more for the unknown than for my feelings for you.”

Jean-Luc moved closer and took a firmer grip on Beverly’s hand.

“I’m so glad I came to you that night. My whole life has changed...I never knew I could be so happy...so contented. When we made love that first time...it was incredible. I had had all these romantic fantasies about how it would be to make love to you, all very contrived and sentimental, but nothing...nothing, could’ve compared to that first time. It was so...beautiful.”

Beverly closed her eyes, lost in the memory of that first time.

“I wish I could hold you Jean-Luc.”

“I know cherie...I love you.”

Beverly felt the lump form in her throat and, barely able to speak, she uttered,

“And I you, Jean-Luc.”

They stayed like that for some time, only connected by their hands, yet each sharing the same memory.

 

 

 

 

They settled down to a system of sorts. Quiet rest was interspersed with sips of water and blasts of the horn, until Jean-Luc voiced what they had both been thinking.

“We need more water.”

It was a statement of fact. Beverly knew it was useless to say otherwise.

“I wish I could go for you...please...take care.”

Jean-Luc took her proffered hand and squeezed it gently.

“Hey...I’ve got you to come back to. I’ll be careful.”

The arduous journey to the river was as difficult and painful as before. Jean-Luc found he had to rest more and more and by the time he returned, he’d suffered two coughing fits and was dangerously exhausted. With Beverly’s gentle insistence, he drank a little water and quickly sank into an uncomfortable sleep. As the sun went down, Beverly too drifted off, grateful for the falling temperature.

Sometime during the long night she was woken by the Captain vomiting and coughing. When he recovered, he answered her soft enquiry by saying he was all right. He seemed to sleep again, but Beverly couldn’t find the escape of sleep. She napped fitfully and was trying to find a more comfortable position when a noise stilled her movements. Listening intently, she heard a gruff snuffling, closer than she had first detected it.

Keeping her voice low, she called to the Captain.

“Jean-Luc!...come on my love...wake up...please...”

It was the tension in Beverly’s voice that cut through his sleep.

“What is it?”

“Listen.”

In the ensuing silence more of the snuffling was heard. There were animals nearby.

“Do you know what they are, Jean-Luc?”

It was very disconcerting talking to him in the blindness of the night. His voice was a welcome comfort.

“I’ve no idea.”

“Do you have anything... anything to protect yourself?

“I have the stick I used to pry the hubcap off.”

“Oh.”

Beverly could hear the Captain moving about.

“What are you doing?”

“The moon will come out from behind the clouds soon. I want to have a better view of the surroundings.”

Suddenly there was a sinister low growling, answered by another, and another, some metres away. There seemed to be at least three largish animals circling the car...and they didn’t sound friendly.

“I’m back. It’s better I stay here. They can only come at us from one direction, the drop on the other side is too great.”

They sat in silence for a time, listening to the noises of the animals, then abruptly, there was silence.

“Jean-Luc...”

In a blur of movement, two of the creatures rushed in and as they did, the moon broke cover.

“”Get out!”, shouted Jean-Luc, swinging the stick.

He whacked one of the assailants across the muzzle and on the return stroke, caught the other about the ears. He was satisfied with the yelp of pain, but as he swung again, he was overcome with a stab of agony from his chest. He fell backwards, the beasts taking the opportunity to rush in for the attack. One snapped at his face, while the other sank its teeth into his already broken ankle. He screamed in pain as Beverly screamed in fear... and pressed the car horn.

The combined noise shattered the night but more importantly, terrified the aggressive animals. They took flight and, as suddenly as it began, the attack was over.

Silence returned, the only sound being Jean-Luc’s groans of pain.

“Jean-Luc!...What happened...what did they do?”

“Oh God Beverly, my ankle, one bit my ankle...the bad one...Oh God it hurts!”

“Oh, Jean-Luc...I can’t help you!... Dammit! Can you put you foot through to me?”

“No point...you can’t see...”

“Wait! The interior light...”

Jean-Luc could hear Beverly scrabbling about in the car.

“I can’t reach the bloody thing! Can you? The roof is bent...it’s on the roof’s far side.”

“I’ll try.”

Jean-Luc moved slowly, lifting his body through the smashed windscreen. Balancing on his hips, he reached with his good hand and found he could just brush his fingers on the light fitting.

“Is there a switch?”

“Yes! I used it a few days ago. *Think Beverly! Which side?*... Left! It’s on the left side!”

Again stretching his arm, Jean-Luc was relieved when his questing fingers encountered the switch. Saying a silent prayer, he slid the switch. Blessedly, the light came on. Although dim, they both squinted their eyes.

“Ok, Jean-Luc, let’s see that ankle.”

It took some moments for the Captain to manoeuvre himself into position...he was rapidly losing his strength.

“Oh, God Jean-Luc...what a mess.”

Dipping her fingers into their water, she gently cleaned the gaping tears, holding his leg at the calf.

“When the sun comes up, you’ll have to go down to the river and wash it properly. The cold will help with the pain too.”

She was greeted with silence.

“Jean-Luc?”

Shading her eyes she peered into the dark. Jean-Luc was lying on his back, his good hand covering his face. She could tell by his trembling, that he was weeping.

There was nothing she could do. She couldn’t ease his pain or cure his injuries. She had never felt so wretchedly frustrated in her life. Beverly kept gently running water over the mutilated ankle until Jean-Luc regained his composure.

“It’s ok now Beverly. I need to get off my back...it hurts...everything hurts...”

“I know my love...I’m sure someone will come soon. That bridge will get their attention and they’ll find us and we’ll be rescued and in a few days we’ll be as right as rain.”

“Yes... I know...it’s just the pain...it gets too much sometimes...I’m sorry.”

“Don’t apologies Jean-Luc, it’s perfectly understandable.”

“I’d better turn off the light now.”

It took a long time for Jean-Luc to settle himself. They stayed in miserable silence until the sun came up.

Beverly could tell he’d got no sleep and neither had she. He lifted his head wearily and picked up the hubcap, tossing away the dirty water.

“I better get some water.”

Beverly wanted so much to protest; yet she couldn’t. Without water they would both perish and she couldn’t get out of the car. The overwhelming feelings of frustration returned, although she said nothing of that to Jean-Luc.

“Make sure you bathe that ankle thoroughly...it’s quite swollen.”

He didn’t reply, just moved off with painful slowness.

Although it was only ten metres to the river, the boulders made it a difficult trek. He stopped frequently, to rest, to cough and to relieve himself...painfully...before he made it to the water. He took a good fifteen minutes to remove his sandal, a very unpleasant exercise, and then hesitatingly, lowered his foot into the running river. As the cold water flowed over his hot, swollen joint, he felt light-headed with pain. It would be so easy...just lay down in the water...it would be quick...Beverly! He was jolted out of his misery by the sound of the car horn. There was no point in hurrying...it was impossible...he filled the hubcap and began his tortuous return journey. By the time he got back, Beverly was calling for him.

“I’m here, what’s wrong?”

“I saw a shadow on the rock wall over there!”
“A shadow?”

“The shadow of a person! If you look over there, you can see the shadow of the bridge. I saw a person on the bridge, near where it broke!”

“Do you think they heard the horn?”

“I don’t know...but in any case, someone will be coming to fix the bridge...won’t they?”

Jean-Luc began to feel Beverly’s excitement.

“Yes! Even if they don’t fix it, they will erect a barrier...surely?”

“You bet! And we will get their attention!”

It was a much happier couple that settled down to wait.

Towards the afternoon, Beverly remarked,

“Is it my imagination, or is it getting a little chilly. The sun has been in for hours now.”

“Hmmm? Sorry...must’ve dozed off.”

“I said, I think it’s getting cold.”

“You’re right. Mountain weather is notoriously unstable...actually, it looks as if it might rain.”

“We’ve hardly used any water...the temperature must’ve been dropping all day. You’d better put


© Copyright 2018 Heather Smyth. All rights reserved.

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