Confessions From The Edge Chapter 7

Confessions From The Edge Chapter 7

Status: Finished

Genre: Fan Fiction

Details

Status: Finished

Genre: Fan Fiction

Summary

Same as chapter 1

Summary

Same as chapter 1

Chapter1 (v.1) - Confessions From The Edge Chapter 7

Author Chapter Note

Same as chapter 1

Chapter Content - ver.1

Submitted: July 03, 2013

Reads: 260

A A A | A A A

Chapter Content - ver.1

Submitted: July 03, 2013

A A A

A A A

 

 

Jean-Luc had only been in Beverly’s home ten minutes when the front door chimed. He briefly considered ignoring it, but in the end curiosity won him over. He went to the door and opened it. Standing under the porch was Helen, a large, covered ceramic dish in her gloved hands. To his silent enquiry she said briskly,

“I don’t know if you can cook, Jean-Luc, but I thought you might appreciate some home cooking.”

The aroma of the meal in the dish wafted to the Captain and his stomach rumbled in response. He reddened slightly and Helen chuckled.

“I’ll take that as a yes.”

Jean-Luc stepped back and gestured for her to enter. She went unerringly to the kitchen, followed by the bemused Captain.

“If you get two plates, I’ll join you. I haven’t eaten yet.”

Speaking for the first time, Jean-Luc smiled to cover his annoyance and dutifully retrieved two plates.

“This is very kind of you, Helen, but I assure you, I am fully capable of looking after myself.”

The woman smiled in a kindly fashion.

“I’m sure you are, Jean-Luc, but I just wanted Beverly to know her friend is being well cared for.”

That dissipated his annoyance. He smiled and watched as Helen ladled out two portions of beef stew with dumplings. Always the gentleman, he waited until Helen was seated before he took his own seat and they began their meal.

Sensing he was in no mood for small talk, Helen remained silent, but Jean-Luc eventually felt the quiet to be oppressive. He smiled and gesture to his meal.

“This is very good.”

Heartened by his comment, Helen nodded.

“Thank you. I have Beverly…and another Doctor to thank for it.”

That brought a frown.

“I can’t believe Beverly taught you to cook…I know for a fact she’s hopeless in the kitchen.”

Helen laughed.

“Oh I know! No, what I mean is…I had Grave’s disease. Beverly saw me through the bulk of my treatment. After she left Gault another Doctor took over my case and was able to restore my hands. If not for that, cooking, like my piano playing, would have been a thing of the past.”

Intrigued, Jean-Luc asked softly,

“You play the piano?”

Helen nodded.

“Yes. I was quite good…once.”

Smiling wistfully, Jean-Luc said softly,

“I played when I was young.”

Helen was delighted.

“Do you still play?”

His face lost its dreamy look.

“No, I gave it up a very long time ago.”

Suddenly feeling like she was on to something, Helen asked gently,

“Do you have a favourite piece?”

His smile was a warm one.

“Oh yes! Debussy’s Claire De Lune.”

Helen sat back and put her spoon beside her plate.

“I knew it! You’re the man she pined for!”

But then she frowned.

“But…she said you were dead.”

Feeling decidedly uncomfortable, Jean-Luc cleared his throat and looked over at the kettle.

“Would you like a cup of coffee before you go?”

Realising he would not be drawn, Helen shook her head.

“No, I have to be up early tomorrow, I’d best be going.”

Jean-Luc stood and put the lid back on the dish, picking it up to give back to the woman, but she shook her head.

“No, you keep it; you’ll get another couple of meals out of it.”

Jean-Luc showed her to the door, but she hesitated on the way out. Turning to Jean-Luc, her gaze was confused.

“Who are you, Jean-Luc Picard?”

He offered a slight bow and said softly,

“Thank you for a delightful meal. Good night.”

Once in her flitter, Helen spent ten minutes silently looking at the closed front door. Before she powered up and left she shook her head, whispering,

“Who the hell are you, Captain?”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In the deep recesses of her mind, the unconscious Beverly struggled restlessly with images that emerged, one after another, all of them, pictures of Jean-Luc. That he had chosen to wed another woman had hurt her deeply, but she clearly remembered how they had felt when they parted…the bitterness, the acrimony, it was little wonder that he chose to find solace in the arms of another woman. But still, it felt like a betrayal. She acknowledged that, during the time that had passed, and given the nature of her mission, she had had the time to come to terms with her feelings, finally admitting her love for the man. Why she had ever denied those feelings in the first place was a mystery to her and the tragedy of what had transpired since distressed her deeply, but knowing she had to be responsible for her actions and thereby necessitating her withdrawal, made her even more sure that she was doing the right thing. But it hurt so very much. The thought of him with another woman tortured her.

“Did he make love to her as he had always wanted to make love to me? Is he tender? Considerate?”

She snorted.

“Of course he is…he doesn’t know how not to be.”

Her thought wandered to the sex they had had. The intensity of it, the mindlessness of it and she marvelled, not for the first time at how he had managed to hide his emotions for as long as he had. She sighed silently.

“I wonder what it would be like to make love with him…to share that exquisite intimacy, the vulnerability…that profound connection.”

She sighed again, then gasped as images unbidden flashed inside her mind. The dreadful pictures of his body as he had been found. The evidence of torture…God how he must have suffered, but oddly, the serene look on his face in death.

With a surreal certainty, a moment of utter clarity, Beverly suddenly knew why he had looked that way.

“He was thinking of me.”

Guilt, so terribly familiar by now, washed over her, seeping into each and every crevice of her being. In her mind she sobbed, knowing she would never get the opportunity to assuage that guilt, knowing that she would carry it with her until the end of her days. But even that did not distress her as much as the knowledge of how much she had hurt the man she loved.

“Oh Jean-Lucam so very sorry. How could I have been so blind?”

Overwhelming sadness pervaded her mind and, in the private depths of her thoughts, she wept.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

He slept restlessly, tossing and turning as his dreams tormented him, so he wasn’t in the least bit surprised when he woke in the darkness of his room. A quick look at the bedside clock told him it was oh four twenty. Rolling onto his back, he sighed, acutely aware that he would sleep no more on this night.

As always, his thoughts were filled with Beverly, but he made a determined effort to push them aside to consider the situation…and how it would impact on T’Krel.

Jean-Luc Picard was an honourable man and in his relationship with women, at least once he matured into the responsible adult he eventually became, he had always striven to be honest and kind. If Beverly recovered and his hopes were realised, the ramifications that entailed troubled him deeply.

On one level he was aware that, as a Vulcan, T’Krel should be impervious to hurt, but he knew her well and the knowledge that he had the ability to hurt her, that she had the capacity to be hurt, troubled him deeply. He sighed, closing his eyes as the guilt soured his stomach. Using the darkness to hear his confession, he muttered softly,

“Oh dear God, if only there was some other way. I don’t want to hurt you, T’Krel. You have been wonderful; you were exactly what I needed at a very precarious time in my life. If not for you I would have languished in my depression…my command gone, my heart damaged beyond repair. You let me love you, you let me heal. I’m so sorry.”

And then another thought intruded. Jean-Luc had always been an intensely private man. For many years there had been an ever-present undercurrent of speculation about his relationship with Beverly. The standard line they both used was that they were very good friends. Close, exceptionally so, but nothing more.

The way their relationship had suddenly deteriorated did not go unnoticed, nor did Beverly’s departure from the Enterprise. Jean-Luc’s subsequent breakdown was the source of much gossip as was the speculated cause, but his engagement to T’Krel caused a furore. His crew on the Enterprise were loyal but even there the gossip mill went into overdrive. He endured the looks, the sudden silences whenever he entered a room and the subtle sense of unwanted curiosity he engendered, but he was well aware that if, by some miracle he was able to pursue a relationship with Beverly…the public scrutiny of what he felt was such an intensely private matter would be extremely intolerable.

He sighed, knowing that if his heart’s dreams came true, such scrutiny would be not only inevitable, but unavoidable. He grimaced and clenched his teeth.

“Oh God…what will Beverly make of it?”

He spent a few idle moments going through different scenarios, trying to find some way of either minimising the fallout, or somehow finding a way to be absent while the storm raged. But, of course, such cowardice was alien to him. No, he…they…would have to face the music, to do otherwise would be to break a lifetime of habit. But the knowledge of the terrible hurt he was about to inflict made him almost writhe in shame and sadness.

“If only there was some way I could make it right.”

Little did he know that in the cold darkness of space, the object of his recriminations was only a day away from re-entering his life.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Marcus surreptitiously watched Helen as she sat at Beverly’s bedside. It was fairly early, the day shift had only just begun the ward rounds and he had been surprised when Helen arrived, but once she’d explained her arrangement with Jean-Luc he smiled and gave a cheery nod. But as he went about his work he noticed that Helen was uncharacteristically pensive. From the other side of the room he caught sight of Helen talking to the comatose red head and the look of worry on the woman’s face gave him cause for concern. He ambled over and smiled with what he hoped was a confident expression.

“Her readouts were encouraging this morning.”

Helen looked up and gave a tentative smile.

“That’s good. What about the bleeding?”

His smile faded a little, but he offered a decisive nod.

“It has slowed significantly; in fact I’m no longer particularly concerned. I think by later today it will have stopped all together.”

Helen looked back at Beverly and sighed.

“So when will she wake up?”

Perching on the side of the bed, Marcus checked Beverly’s intravenous feed as he said softly,

“Well the brain tissue is healing, albeit slowly. It’s probably best she be kept in a medically induced coma for a couple of days yet. It’s in her best interest.”

They were silent for a few moments before Helen looked at Marcus and said suddenly,

“What do you think of Captain Picard?”

Somewhat taken aback, Marcus frowned.

“Ah…I’m not sure what you mean. I have heard of him or course, he has a very impressive record, but as for the man himself…”

He shrugged.

“I haven’t a clue, but he seemed…pleasant…if a little tense, but I think that was understandable, considering the circumstances.”

He watched as Helen again looked at Beverly, her concern obvious. Lowering his voice, Marcus leaned closer and said,

“Why do you ask?”

With a sigh, Helen shook her head in frustration, hissing,

“I don’t know! There’s something…I’m not entirely sure he is who he says he is.”

Confused, Marcus scratched his head.

“What do you mean? He is Captain Jean-Luc Picard, Helen, he’s very well known right throughout the Federation. He has served in Starfleet for most of his life.”

Giving an irritated snort, Helen jerked a thumb at Beverly.

“I know that, Marcus, but who is he to Beverly?”

His confusion deepening, Marcus said uncertainly,

“Her Commanding Officer?”

Helen snapped her fingers.

“That’s it! He said that, didn’t he…but I know for a fact that Beverly left his ship over a year ago…he hasn’t been her CO for ages. Why do you think he told you that?”

Growing increasingly lost in the conversation, Marcus shrugged.

“Look, Helen, it wasn’t the best of ways to meet the man. A woman he obviously cares for has been badly injured. He just used whatever leverage he could to get information about her; I don’t think he had any ulterior motive.”

Helen shrugged too.

“Possibly not, but if this is the same man I think Beverly told me about…he should be dead.”

Marcus’s eyebrows rose.

“I beg your pardon?”

Sighing with impatience, Helen elaborated.

“Beverly told me that she loved a man…an Ambassador, and that she caused his death. It’s why she left Starfleet and came to Gault.”

Now clearly nonplussed…and growing increasingly concerned for Beverly’s friend, Marcus said gently,

“Well it can’t be the same man. Captain Picard has never, to my knowledge anyway, been an Ambassador. And I think I should point out…he’s still well and truly alive.”

Giving a thoughtful look, Helen said softly,

“He was offered an Ambassadorship recently, but he turned it down.”

Keeping his patience with difficulty and growing increasingly irritated with Helen’s doggedness, he restated the obvious.

“But, Helen, Captain Picard is very much alive.”

Thumping her closed fist into her thigh she hissed.

“I know that, dammit! But I’m almost certain he’s the same man. I don’t know what’s going on, Marcus, but something’s definitely fishy  here, something I think is going to hurt Beverly and I’ll be damned if I’m going to stand idly by and let it happen!”

Over head the speakers came to life.

“Doctor Key, please report to ward nine.”

He reached into his pocket and retrieved a small device. Pushing a button on its smooth surface, he sent an acknowledgement of his page. He sighed, put the device back into his pocket and stood. Looking down at Helen he said firmly, but not unkindly,

“Let it go, Helen. It’s none of your business.”

He left the room and Helen looked back at Beverly.

“I’ll do everything I can to protect you, Beverly. I promise.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It was oh twenty two thirty when T’Krel landed her shuttle. The flight office had been closed for hours, so she had been directed to her hangar by the automated system. She exited into a slightly chilly night and sighed as she realised there was no transport into the town centre. Hefting her bag over her shoulder, she began the three kilometre walk.

Fortunately there were some people around when she finally arrived in the town. She was directed to the central records building, having been assured there was a computer she could access after hours. Suer enough, in the foyer of the building was a terminal which came to life as she spoke to it.

“I am searching for the whereabouts of Captain Jean-Luc Picard.”

There were a few seconds lapse before a softly feminine voice replied,

“Captain Jean-Luc Picard is situated at 53, The Bluff, Harbour View.”

“How far is that from this location?”

“Eight point nine kilometres.”

“Can you provide me with a hard copy of a map?”

“Yes. Printing now.”

With the map in hand, T’Krel walked back to the only bar, quickly finding someone who was willing to take her to the address.

The man who took her soon gave up on trying to make casual conversation. Answering only in monosyllables, T’Krel’s seemingly cold attitude quickly killed any attempt at social niceties. He breathed a sigh of relief as they arrived at their destination. T’Krel barely had time to thank the driver before he lifted off and flew back into the night.

Standing in the night, looking at the dark house, the Vulcan had a momentary uncharacteristic pang of nervousness. The name of the occupant of the house on the print out she held was Beverly Crusher. She sighed. This meeting was going to be awkward.

Resettling her bag on her shoulder, she strode up to the door and pressed the chime.

Jean-Luc had been sound asleep, the restlessness of the night before taking its toll. It was the third ringing of the chime that finally roused him. His heart missed a beat as he assumed it was something to do with Beverly that had him quickly donning his robe, to trot barefoot to the door, but when he opened it, there was no one there. But as he squinted into the gloom, he saw someone near the gate.

He snapped the light on and called out.

“It’s all right, I’m here.”

T’Krel froze the second she heard his unmistakable voice. She had assumed both Jean-Luc and Beverly were out for the night. She slowly turned and walked back into the light of the porch. Her superior hearing picked up Jean-Luc’s gasp.

“T’Krel?”

Stepping closer, she said softly,

“Good evening, Jean-Luc.”

Scrambling to make sense of what he was seeing, Jean-Luc stammered,

“What…what are you doing here?”

She sensed his near panic and strove to put him at ease.

“I needed to see you. We need to talk.”

They stood in silence staring at each other. One with limitless patience, the other in turmoil. T’Krel tilted her head and raised one eyebrow.

“May I come in?”

Coming to his senses and rather belatedly remembering his manners, Jean-Luc summoned a wan smile and gestured her inside.

“Of course.”

As she passed him, he took her bag.

“I’ll...ah…put your bag in the living room.”

But before he could do that, T’Krel caught his hand, bringing him to a halt.

“I understand how uncomfortable this must be for you and I’m certain Doctor Crusher would not like me to stay. Once we have talked, I will go back into town, I’m sure I can find accommodation there.”

Bowing his head, Jean-Luc said softly,

“Beverly isn’t here.”

He looked up to see confusion on the Vulcan’s face.

“She has been in a terrible accident and is in hospital. I am staying here at the behest of her close friend.”

T’Krel’s face remained impassive, but was that hope he saw in her eyes?

“I see. How is she?”

Sighing, Jean-Luc ran a hand over his stubbled jaw.

“She is in a medically induced coma to treat a subdural haematoma and associated intracranial bleeding.”

“I am sorry to hear that. What is the prognosis?”

“Guarded, but optimistic.”

Smiling for that first time, T’Krel reached for Jean-Luc’s hand and gave it what she hoped was an encouraging squeeze.

“I am pleased.”

Again they stood in an uncomfortable silence. Jean-Luc, wishing she had not turned up at his door, mustered his shattered composure and gestured to the kitchen.

“Can I make you a cup of tea?”

Her own smile somewhat weak, T’Krel nodded.

“Yes, that would be nice, thank you.”

The silence as Jean-Luc went about making the tea was oppressive, filled with unspoken words. Once they were both seated at the table, Jean-Luc took a deep breath and expelled it slowly.

“You said you wanted to talk to me.”

T’Krel nodded slowly.

“Yes.”

She surprised Jean-Luc by sighing deeply.

“I have given a lot of thought to our situation. Initially, of course, I was not concerned by this turn of events, but on introspection I have found, to my dismay, that I have been feeling…jealous.”

Jean-Luc sat back in his chair and bowed his head in to his hands, saying softly,

“I’m so sorry, T’Krel…I never intended for this to happen.”

She smiled sadly.

“I know that, Jean-Luc, and on some level I should have been ready for it. I am aware you have never lost your deep and abiding love for the Doctor, but the fact remains you are engaged to me.”

Jean-Luc’s head snapped up.

“You aren’t going to hold me to that, are you?”

T’Krel’s gaze became speculative.

“No, I am not. To do so would be utterly pointless, but I would like to make you aware of what you are so willing to throw away.”

Guilt and sadness washed over the Captain. He sighed, his eyes beseeching his fiancée.

“T’Krel, I am well aware of what you offer and I know on some level I still love you…but…”

T’Krel moved closer and lifted a hand to gently caress Jean-Luc’s scalp, something she knew he enjoyed and found both erotic and erogenous. He sighed and closed his eyes.

“T’Krel…”

Moving closer still, the Vulcan whispered,

“Let me show you how much I care for you, Jean-Luc.”

Jean-Luc was out of his seat in a shot. He pulled his robe tighter around him, his eyes blazing.

“I think you should leave.”

T’Krel rose slowly, moving closer to him.

“Why, Jean-Luc? You know you always enjoyed having sex with me.”

Not wanting to be cruel, but unable to stop the words from tumbling out, Jean-Luc spat,

“But that’s just it! It was just sex for you…not making love!”

He took a calming breath.

“T’Krel…I need more…much more.”

Confusion flashed across T’Krel’s face.

“But…you always said it was enough. I knew you wanted more…but Jean-Luc, you stated emphatically that you were satisfied with our physical relationship as it was.”

Trying to both make her see and ease her pain, Jean-Luc struggled to find the words he needed.

“T’Krel…it was. But once I knew Beverly was alive…”

Anger welled in the Vulcan and internally she marvelled at his ability to make her feel it.

“But she hurt you! She only wanted sex with you…it was the cause of your terrible break up of your relationship with her!”

Lifting his hands in exasperation, Jean-Luc bowed his head.

“I know! But once I knew she was alive…something deep inside me told me that if I could only see her…explain myself…then maybe, just maybe we could repair the damage and find the love together that I’ve always felt for her.”

He took T’Krel’s hands in his.

“T’Krel, I have to try.”

Taking her hands from his, T’Krel took a backwards step, the pain and anger in her eyes obvious.

“I will not relinquish you easily, Jean-Luc. I have invested too much in you already.”

He sighed deeply.

“T’Krel…”

She said abruptly,

“I should go.”

Snapped into a decision, Jean-Luc said gently,

“It’s very late, where will you go?”

She shrugged.

“I will return to my shuttle, I suppose.”

Shaking his head, Jean-Luc gently admonished.

“That’s over eleven kilometres away. Stay here.”

Her expression softened.

“Are you sure?”

He nodded decisively.

“Yes. Come on, I’ll show you to your room.”

They both knew there would be no sleep for either of them that night.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Helen left early as usual, but on her way to the hospital she decided to drop by Beverly’s home to see Jean-Luc. She wasn’t sure he had had the chance to talk to Marcus and she wanted to tell Jean-Luc the good news Marcus had told her about Beverly.

As she walked up the path to the front door, she once again frowned as her thoughts turned to the enigmatic Captain. She muttered as she raised her hand to press the chime,

“I wonder just who you are, Jean-Luc Picard?”

She heard the chimes and waited patiently.

Jean-Luc was in the shower, but T’Krel was already showered and was in the kitchen putting the kettle on and washing some cups when she heard the chimes. Knowing Jean-Luc wouldn’t have heard them; she left the kitchen and went to the front door, drying her wet hands on a towel.

Helen gaped when she saw the Vulcan woman. T’Krel noticed her shock, but in typical Vulcan fashion, ignored it to ask,

“May I help you?”

Finding her voice, Helen stammered,

“Ah…is Captain Picard here?”

Bowing her head, T’Krel offered a small smile.

“Yes he is. He is in the shower at the moment, but if you would like to wait, I will tell him you are here. Whom may I say is calling?”

Almost speechless at what she thought she had interrupted, the woman muttered,

“Helen Parker.”

Gesturing her inside, T’Krel said kindly,

“If you would wait here?”

Helen nodded dumbly as T’Krel went into Jean-Luc’s bedroom. She lost sight of the Vulcan, but clearly heard her call,

“Jean-Luc? There is someone here to see you.”

His reply was muffled but by T’Krel’s response, Helen guessed what he had asked when T’Krel replied,

“Helen Parker.”

Again the muffled voice, followed by T’Krel coming out of his room.

“He will be out momentarily.”

Suddenly feeling very uncomfortable, Helen lost her nerve, saying quickly,

“Ah…look I have to be somewhere. Maybe I’ll come back later.”

T’Krel frowned.

“Oh, please stay, Jean-Luc will be out soon.”

Shaking her head, Helen backed towards the door.

“No, I must go.”

She had the door open before T’Krel could say anything further. As the door slammed shut the Vulcan muttered,

“How odd.”

Jean-Luc came out, buttoning his shirt. He gave a confused look and asked,

“Where is Helen?”

T’Krel pointed to the door.

“It is most odd. She seemed to…panic. She left rather abruptly.”

Sighing and rubbing his brow, Jean-Luc muttered,

“Merde.”

The Vulcan tilted her head and moved closer to him.

“You are upset.”

Plonking down into one of the lounge chairs, Jean-Luc pensively rubbed his lower lip. Eventually he sighed again and elaborated.

“I had hoped to explain your presence here. She is a close friend of Beverly’s and she already has…suspicions…about me. This isn’t going to make matters any more…bearable.”

T’Krel went and sat opposite him.

“Does she know why you are here on Gault?”

He shook his head brusquely.

“No, I haven’t told her, but she is astute enough to make the connections herself. My behaviour has been self evident.”

“How unfortunate.”

Jean-Luc grunted.

“Yes.”

They sat in silence for a few minutes before T’Krel asked,

“Why is she suspicious of you?”

With a sigh, Jean-Luc shrugged.

“I’m not completely sure, but she knew Beverly after she’d left Starfleet. Apparently Beverly told her she had loved a man and caused his death. Now I’m not sure what all that is about, but Helen believes I am that man.”

T’Krel shook her head in confusion.

“But, Jean-Luc…you are alive.”

He sighed again.

“I know, I cannot explain her beliefs.”

The Vulcan sighed too.

“Will this be a problem?”

She had difficulty discerning his mood when he said quietly,

“I don’t know.”

He sat in quiet contemplation for a moment or two, then said softly,

“T’Krel, it would be better if you didn’t stay here.”

Irritated, but not showing it, the Vulcan inclined her head.

“Yes, I can see how my continued presence could cause undue speculation. If you will take me to the town centre, I will find accommodation.”

He smiled for the first time, his eyes warm.

“Thank you.”

They ate a quick breakfast then Jean-Luc took T’Krel to the only hotel in town. He then went to the hospital.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

He knew as he entered the building that Helen was most likely still there. It was relatively early, much earlier than he usually made his visit, but he felt he needed to explain, at least partially, why T’Krel was at Beverly’s home.

Sure enough, as he entered Beverly’s room, Helen cast him a venomous look. He sighed inwardly and summoned a smile.

“I take it you have some questions for me.”

Helen shrugged, studiously refraining from looking at him. Her silence angered Jean-Luc, but he controlled himself to say gently,

“It’s not what you think.”

Turning to look at the Captain, Helen sneered,

“Oh I think I can draw my own conclusions. That woman seemed very comfortable in Beverly’s home.”

His voice dropped to a deceptively soft timbre, a sure sign of great anger, but Helen was ignorant of it.

“T’Krel is a colleague of mine.”

Helen’s smile was cruel.

“A colleague who calls you Jean-Luc and is comfortable enough to enter your bedroom while you are in the shower.”

His eyes darkened and glittered dangerously and, for the first time, Helen realised she had managed to really anger the man.

“I am not accustomed to airing my personal business, Helen. What transpired between T’Krel and me is none of your concern, however I will tell you it does not impact on my relationship with Beverly.”

Boldly, Helen glared up Jean-Luc and hissed,

“Just what is your relationship with Beverly, Captain?”

His patience at its end, Jean-Luc all but barked,

“That is none of your business!”

On her feet remarkably quickly, Helen stood toe-to-toe with the man.

“I’m making it my business! I told you once before I would protect Beverly, she is a dear friend. Do I have to protect her from you?”

He took a deep breath and tried to calm himself.

“No, Helen, you do not. I intend no harm to Beverly…in fact I will tell you this, however I will not elaborate. I love her.”

Helen took a step backwards and looked down at the sleeping Doctor. With a sigh she said softly,

“All right, Captain, I’ll give you the benefit of the doubt, but I’m warning you. If you hurt her I will make you pay.”

Jean-Luc gave a curt nod.

“Fair enough.”

Helen soon left, leaving Jean-Luc to spend some time with the love of his life.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Later that same day, Marcus was standing beside Beverly’s bed, watching the monitors intently as they faithfully documented her slow rise to consciousness.

His eyes slid from the screens to settle on her face, his concentration making his youthful face seem severe. Beverly’s eyes fluttered then cracked open to mere slits, causing Marcus to say softly,

“Hello there, Beverly.”

Her tongue came out to wet her dry lips. Marcus turned and poured a glass of water before gently easing his hand under her head and lifting it so she could take the straw in her mouth. He didn’t need to say it, Beverly was well aware of the procedures, but habit won out.

“Easy now, just a few sips.”

He watched as she sucked and swallowed, then took the glass away. Beverly closed her eyes as Marcus quietly summoned a nurse. To Beverly he said softly,

“I know you are in pain, just hold on a minute and I will give you a hypo.”

Beverly nodded imperceptibly, then waited patiently until she felt the cold nozzle of the hypospray against her neck. It delivered its dose of analgesic and, as the insidious pain subsided she sighed and opened her eyes again, squinting slightly.

Marcus hitched his backside onto the edge of the bed and grinned down at his colleague and friend.

“You gave us a hell of a scare.”

Beverly smiled wanly, but her confusion was plain to see. She licked her lips again and mumbled,

“What happened?”

Immediately concerned, Marcus leaned forward, his voice tense as he asked,

“What do you remember?”

Beverly’s frown creased her forehead as she struggled to make the fog in her mind dissipate.

“Ah…I was at Helen’s home…we were having cake and tea.”

Sitting up, Marcus sighed.

“You have no memory of the accident?”

Growing somewhat irritated, Beverly rasped,

“What bloody accident?”

Smiling at her feistiness, Marcus took her hand and gently squeezed it.

“Take it easy Beverly, I’ll tell you what happened.”

Obviously fighting the urge to sleep, Beverly blinked rapidly and tried to focus. Marcus was well aware of what she was going through, but he also knew just how stubborn Beverly could be.

“While you were at Helen’s there was an explosion at the granary. You were summoned to help. Unfortunately, a flitter accident had tied up our emergency services and you and I were the only medical personnel to attend. When you arrived, I was concentrating on a critically injured patient, so you took it upon yourself to get into the granary to try and rescue two trapped men. Incredibly, you did get to them, but another explosion caused the header to collapse. You were badly injured in the blast, then buried under tonnes of grain. If not for the scant protection of the tangled metal you were in, you would have suffocated before we could get you out.”

She was failing fast, but her innate compassion came to the fore.

“The two men?”

With a deep sigh, Marcus said gently,

“They didn’t make it…I’m sorry, Beverly.”

Her whispered,

“Damn.” Made Marcus gently touch her cheek, causing Beverly to open her eyes. He smiled down at her.

“You need to rest.”

Offering a small shake of her head, Beverly all but growled,

“What were my injuries?”

Making her angry by patting her hand condescendingly, Marcus shook his head and said with gentle firmness,

“That can wait. I want you to rest now.”

She surprised him with her vehemence.

“I want to know my condition, Doctor, and I want to know it now!”

Taken aback and irritated by her stubbornness, Marcus gritted his teeth, although part of him was resigned to the fact that she would not give up and rest until she had the information she sought. He closed his eyes briefly and sighed, trying to dispel his irritation.

“Very well, Beverly, I will tell you, but I insist when I am finished, you will rest.”

Her small smile was a triumphant one, but she had the good grace to say softly,

“Thank you, Marcus.”

He grunted softly, trying unsuccessfully to hide his smile.

“Okay. Your most serious injury was your skull fractures and subsequent subdural haematomas. It was difficult to treat and you suffered from a troublesome intracranial bleed which we found to be very stubborn to treat. However it stopped yesterday and the surrounding tissue has responded very well to regen therapy. I would say that injury is the cause of your slight memory loss.”

Beverly could feel the slight discomfort of other injuries in her body and she sighed.

“What else?”

Marcus consulted a PADD.

“Oh um…broken ribs, lacerated liver and ruptured stomach and spleen…one kidney shattered, the other badly bruised and sundry other broken bones. Need I go on?”

Offering a rueful smile, Beverly shook her head.

“No, I think that about covers how I feel. I take it everything has been repaired?”

“Yes, you’re well on the mend. Urinating is going to be uncomfortable for a while once we remove the catheter, but with regen treatments I expect a full recovery.”

Beverly’s eyes were closed and he could tell she was fighting sleep. Her voice was just audible.

“How long here?”

He smiled and said softly,

“About a week.”

“’Kay.”

He knew she had slipped into slumber, but he glanced up at the monitor to confirm his suspicions anyway. Gently running his fingers over her brow he said softly,

“Rest, Beverly…rest and heal.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Beverly slept for some hours and became aware of her surroundings again as she felt the tell tale chill of a hypospray against her neck. She lay with her eyes closed; patiently waiting the scant seconds it took for the medication to take effect.

With the easing of her pain, she sighed gratefully and opened her eyes, blinking rapidly to focus them. A gentle voice reached her ears.

“It’s about time.”

Turning her head to the sound of the voice, Helen Parker came into view, grinning down at her friend.

Beverly smiled with delight, making Helen chuckle.

“I’ve been here an hour waiting for you to wake up. I was just about to leave.”

Beverly frowned.

“Why didn’t you wake me?”

Helen gaped, her eyes wide.

“And risk being chucked out? Oh no, Beverly. The staff here are very efficient and protective. If I had so much as raised my voice, I think I would have found myself outside in seconds.”

With a rueful smile, Beverly whispered,

“Then I’m sorry.”

Shaking her head, Helen’s face showed her compassion.

“Don’t be, my friend, you needed to rest, in fact, you still do.”

Beverly smiled her gratitude then took a deep breath and decided to change the subject.

“So…what’s been happening since the accident?”

With a shrug, Helen pulled down the corners of her mouth.

“Not much. Work has been going on to repair the granary and an assistance call has gone out to find a way to store the salvaged grain, but apart from that…it’s business as usual.”

Helen took a deep breath and tried to gauge Beverly’s mood. Deciding that she was calm, Helen bit the inside of her mouth before she said, rather off-handedly,

“There are some strangers in town.”

Knowing the colony had few frequent visitors, Beverly’s eyebrows rose.

“Really? I suppose they’ve got the town talking.”

Helen’s smile was cold.

“Indeed, especially since they’ve been staying in your home.”

That caught Beverly by surprise. She struggled to sit up, pushing at her unruly red hair. Her efforts triggered a silent alarm.

“Who are they and why are they in my home?”

One part of Helen wanted to spare Beverly any alarm, but a larger part wanted to protect her. She tried to tell herself there was no maliciousness as she said softly,

“One was Captain Jean-Luc Picard; the other was a Vulcan woman who seemed to be very well acquainted with him.”

Beverly gaped and there was absolute silence for several seconds. It was broken by the arrival of a nurse. The officious woman adopted a no-nonsense approach.

“You are required to lie quietly, Doctor Crusher. If you can’t do that, we will have to sedate you.”

Before Beverly could argue, the nurse turned to Helen.

“You have been here some time, Ms. Parker. I suggest it’s time for you to leave.”

Somewhat intimidated and a little concerned that she had harmed Beverly by her actions, Helen nodded and said quietly,

“Of course, I’ll leave immediately.”

She turned to go, but Beverly gripped her forearm, saying forcefully,

“I don’t want to see him.”

Helen tilted her head.

“Captain Picard?”

“Yes!”, Beverly hissed. She then stated formally to the nurse,

“I do not want to be visited by Captain Jean-Luc Picard. Please see that my wishes are upheld.”

The nurse bowed her head and said firmly,

“As you wish, Doctor Crusher. Now, lie quietly and rest.”

Helen looked down at Beverly and smiled with sympathy.

“I’ll talk to him, Beverly…don’t worry, he won’t bother you.”

As Helen left the hospital she told herself she wouldn’t really relish the job, but deep inside she knew she would.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Helen was waiting outside the hospital when Jean-Luc arrived. He cast her a speculative look, then dismissed her from his mind, however, she wasn’t to be so easily brushed aside. She blocked his path and looked at him defiantly.

“Captain Picard?”

He stopped and quelled a sigh of irritation. He had a burning desire to get to Beverly and this interruption was not what he wanted or needed. Her formality in the use of is rank made him respond in kind.

“Yes, Ms. Parker?”

Trying to her hide her malicious glee but not really succeeding, Helen said almost triumphantly.

“Beverly doesn’t want to see you.”

Shock registered on Jean-Luc’s face before anger at the woman’s obvious satisfaction in delivering this news came to the fore. He kept his voice low, but the angst was plain to hear.

“What the hell is that suppose to mean?”

Helen shrugged, enjoying herself immensely.

“Just what I said…Beverly has given instructions to the staff that you are not permitted to visit her.”

His eyes darkened and glittered dangerously.

“And who, may I ask, precipitated that edict?”

Again Helen shrugged.

“I’m not sure.”

Jean-Luc took a step towards the woman, making her back up.

“It wouldn’t have been you, would it Ms. Parker…telling tales?”

Bridling at his temerity, Helen’s voice grew loud with self-righteous outrage.

“If you mean by ‘telling tales’ that I informed Beverly that you and that Vulcan woman were staying in her home…and that you both seemed very…comfortable with each other…then yes, I told her.”

His anger now towering, Jean-Luc all but seethed.

“You had no right to do that, you interfering harpy! How dare you put your nose into my business?!”

Boldly refusing to be cowed, Helen hissed,

“I told you I would protect Beverly! I’m doing no more than that.”

Deciding the exchange was at an end, Jean-Luc glared at the woman and said succinctly,

“If you will excuse me, madam?”

And stalked past her to the hospital entrance. Helen grinned cruelly, shouting triumphantly,

“They won’t let you see her!”

His hands fisting as he strode purposely into the building, Jean-Luc did his best to put the vexatious woman out of his mind. However, he got no further than the front desk, where an administrative clerk’s gentle voice stopped him in his tracks.

“I’m sorry, Captain Picard, but Doctor Crusher has requested you not visit her.”

Trying to keep his dismay and anger in manageable proportions, Jean-Luc went to the desk and adopted his most urbane countenance.

“Surely there has been some mistake? Doctor Crusher is not only a valued colleague of mine, but also a very dear friend. I’m sure if you would just let me see her, this matter can be quickly resolved.”

The clerk’s face didn’t alter from polite indifference.

“I’m sorry, Captain Picard. Hospital policy is to uphold the wishes of the patients in these matters, and Doctor Crusher has clearly stated she does not want to see you.”

His urbanity slipped and he growled,

“This is utterly ridiculous!”

Turning away from the desk, he strode to the lifts, only to be stopped by two burly security men. The bigger of the two said not unkindly,

“We can do this the easy way, or the hard way. It’s up to you, Captain.”

Defeated and feeling utterly desolated, Jean-Luc held up his hands and shook his head, muttering,

“It’s all right, I’ll leave.”

The big man nodded, a sad smile on his face.

“Wise choice, Sir.”

Not knowing quite what to do, Jean-Luc exited the hospital, only to hear Helen’s snide voice as she said,

“I told you so.”

Anger flashed through the man as he took three long strides to bring him toe-to-toe with the suddenly frightened woman.

“What you have done is appalling…and utterly malicious! I will not forget this, Ms. Parker!”

He turned on his heel and stalked away. For the first time since she had embarked on this course of action, Helen realised she may have done the wrong thing.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jean-Luc had been back at Beverly’s home just over an hour before the door chimed. He considered ignoring it, but the thought that it might be news of Beverly made him stride to the door and wrench it open. A slightly startled T’Krel took a step back, saying softly,

“Jean-Luc…are you all right?”

He shook his head brusquely, saying roughly,

“No I’m not! And I don’t think you being here is a good idea.”

Knowing innately that his mood would have something to do with Beverly, T’Krel followed Jean-Luc inside the house and gently closed the door. One part of her understood his turmoil, but another part, the greater part, wanted to exercise her rights as his fiancée.

She went to him, gently taking his arm and turning him to face her.

“Jean-Luc, we have shared a great deal over this last year. Surely you can tell me what is wrong?”

The need to unburden himself overrode the inappropriateness of her being with him. He sighed, nodded and flopped into one of the lounge chairs, gesturing for T’Krel to sit with him.

She did so and slightly annoyed him by adopting her classical therapists pose. Sitting back, legs crossed, hands folded in her lap and her face inscrutable.

“Tell me.”

He ran a hand over his head and tried to calm himself.

“I went to the hospital, as usual and was met by Helen parker at the doors. She told me that Beverly had told the staff she was refusing to see me.”

He stood, pacing the room with pent up anger.

“I didn’t even know she had regained consciousness!”

He took a steadying breath.

“I went inside, but the administration clerk refused me entry, stating that Beverly had requested I not be allowed to visit her.”

He sighed with both frustration and embarrassment.

“So I tried to go up to her room anyway, only to be stopped by security.”

He flushed, his mortification clear.

“I had no other option but to leave. Of course Helen was waiting outside to gloat. When she said ‘I told you so’ it was all I could do not to hit her, I was so bloody angry. She of course, had told Beverly that she found you and me here in her home.”

In silence, T’Krel rose and went to sit on the arm of his chair. She began by massaging his tense shoulder muscles and, against his better judgement, he started to relax. She felt this and smiled to herself. How well she knew him.

When she judged he was relaxed enough, she gently lifted one hand and drew her fingers lightly over his bare scalp. It was something she knew he enjoyed, in fact to him, it was erogenous. He immediately tensed again and quickly rose to his feet, almost dislodging the woman. He spun around, glaring down at her.

“What the hell do you think you’re doing?”

With inherent grace, T’Krel stood and stepped closer to her fiancé.

“You are both tense and upset. I know how much you need sex right now, Jean-Luc and I want you to know I am available.”

His emotions in turmoil, he didn’t know whether to kiss her or strike her. Instead he gripped her shoulders in a cruelly tight grasp and gasped.

“Get out!”

Completely unfazed by his outburst, T’Krel used her superior strength to break his hold. She lifted both hands to cradle his face, pulling him down to her where she kissed him passionately. Unwillingly, he responded, appalled when his body began to react.

When one of her hands drifted down to cup his growing erection, the fog of passion lifted from his brain and he wrenched himself out of her embrace. His voice was husky and filled with self loathing as he ground out,

“No! I will not do this!”

Her face the epitome of self control, T’Krel stated matter-of-factly,

“I am your fiancée, Jean-Luc. I have a right to expect certain things from you.”

His anger had returned. He gripped her elbow, propelling her to the door.

“Well sex isn’t one of those things!”

She stopped him near the door.

“Am I to assume our engagement is at an end?”

He deflated before her eyes. Bowing his head, he sighed and whispered,

“I don’t know.”

Trying her best to remain dispassionate, T’Krel kept her voice quiet and conversational.

“So I am what…your fall back position? If Doctor Crusher rejects you, you will return to me? Is that it?”

Despite her efforts to remain clinical, Jean-Luc heard the pain in her voice and he hated himself for causing it. He looked into her eyes and tried to make her see that he still cared.

“T’Krel, I need time. I don’t want to hurt you…God, I loved you…but Beverly…”

The Vulcan held up her hand, silencing him.

“How telling, Jean-Luc. You loved me. Past tense. Has that love evaporated with the discovery of your real love, Jean-Luc? Has this past year meant nothing?”

She turned from him, facing the door so he couldn’t see her pain. In a low voice she said quietly,

“I have invested a lot of effort in you, Jean-Luc and, as Counsellor Troi has so eloquently pointed out, you filled a void I didn’t know existed within me.”

She turned back to face him and he was taken aback by the determination in her green eyes.

“I will not let you go easily, Jean-Luc.”

With that said, she left, the softly closing door a counterpoint to the utter desolation Jean-Luc felt.

 

Over the next four days Jean-Luc tried twice a day to gain entry to Beverly’s room and each time he was refused. With growing frustration, he rose on the morning of the fifth day and searched the house for an old fashioned pen and writing pad. Finding neither, he replicated what he wanted and sat at the desk in the living room, trying to compose himself so he could write what was in his heart.

It took seven attempts before he was satisfied with his efforts.

“Dearest Beverly,

I don’t know what I’ve done to make you refuse to see me, I can only surmise that what Helen Parker told you has caused you pain, but let me assure you, I am here because I love you and I desperately want to see you.

This past year has caused me more pain than I am willing to admit to. After you left I descended into a deep depression, eventually suffering a complete mental and physical breakdown, necessitating my admission into a mental health facility. Needless to say, I was relieved of command of the Enterprise for the duration of my treatment.

It was only with the help of a consummate professional who I found I could talk to, that I eventually recovered.

I regained my captaincy and found, to my surprise, that I had developed feelings for my therapist. Of course, once I was back aboard the Enterprise, Deanna took over my care.

But I missed my former therapist, so, out of loneliness, I requested she join our crew…and I admit I was delighted when she agreed.

Over a period of time, we formed a relationship. But…Beverly my love, I never stopped loving you. I had tried everything I could…called in every favour I was owed, but I couldn’t find you. As far as I knew, you might as well have been dead. So in desperation and again, loneliness, I proposed to T’Krel in the hope our marriage might assuage my pain.

The day I discovered you were indeed alive was supposed to be my wedding day. To my unending shame, I abandoned my bride and left Earth to find you. I tried to explain to T’Krel…and on some level she understood, she knew well of my undying love for you, but I hurt her and I will have to live with that shame for the rest of my life.

But, Beverly, finding you…knowing you are alive has filled me with unmitigated joy, it’s as if I have been given a new lease on life.

Please, Beverly…please allow me to see you, if only for a short while. To do so would be a balm to my tortured soul.

I love you with every fibre of my being…that will never change.

Your humble servant,

Jean-Luc.”

He put the letter in a replicated envelope and wrote Beverly’s name on the outside. Then, with determination, he left her home for the hospital.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The clerk at the desk looked up and sighed. She closed her eyes briefly, preparing the spiel she had delivered twice a day for the last four days, but before she could utter so much as one syllable, Jean-Luc held up his hand and smiled.

“May I see Doctor Marcus Key, please?”

Somewhat taken aback, the young woman had to gather her thoughts.

“Ah…Doctor Key isn’t due in for about half an hour.”

Jean-Luc cast a look at the uncomfortable looking seats in the waiting area and smiled with what he hoped was warmth.

“Then you wouldn’t mind if I waited?”

The clerk shook her head.

“Not at all, Captain, but I must warn you, if Doctor Key is called to any emergencies, he will be delayed.”

Keeping his smile in place, Jean-Luc nodded.

“I understand.”

He went to what he hoped was the best of the chairs and made himself comfortable. As it turned out, he waited almost two hours. Marcus reported to the desk and turned as the clerk pointed to the waiting Captain. The young man smiled and came over.

“Captain Picard, it’s a pleasure to meet you again.”

Smiling graciously, Jean-Luc shook the younger man’s hand.

“Thank you, Doctor Key.”

Marcus’s face sobered.

“I take it you are here about Beverly?”

Jean-Luc nodded, making Marcus sigh.

“I can only apologise for her stubbornness, Captain…I don’t know why she won’t see you.”

His smile faltered, but Jean-Luc kept his voice low and even.

“I think I know what’s wrong, Doctor.”

He reached inside his jacket and pulled out the envelope.

“It would be especially kind if you would give this to Beverly…I can assure you I doubt it will upset her.”

Marcus’s face showed his uncertainty.

“I’m not sure, Captain. I have to see to my patient’s every need and this…”

He pointed to the envelope,

“Might not be in her best interests.”

Throwing caution, and his ingrained sense of privacy to the winds, Jean-Luc looked intently into the young man’s eyes and said quietly,

“Have you ever been in love, Doctor…in love with all your heart, all your being?”

Wistfully, Marcus nodded.

“Yes I have actually, some years ago.”

“Then you will know how I feel about Beverly. Doctor Key...Marcus, I love her with that kind of intensity and this enforced separation is killing me. Please…please, just give her the envelope. I will take full responsibility for whatever repercussions result. I’m begging you.”

Humbled by the heartfelt confession, Marcus relented.

“Very well, Captain, but I can’t guarantee s


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