Heart of The Mind

Heart of The Mind

Status: Finished

Genre: Fan Fiction

Details

Status: Finished

Genre: Fan Fiction

Summary

Picard enters into a relationship with another woman. Crusher and the woman are stricken with illness and Picard's new lover discovers some unsettling facts.

Summary

Picard enters into a relationship with another woman. Crusher and the woman are stricken with illness and Picard's new lover discovers some unsettling facts.

Chapter1 (v.1) - Heart of The Mind

Author Chapter Note

Picard enters into a relationship with another woman. Crusher and the woman are stricken with illness and Picard's new lover discovers some unsettling facts.

Chapter Content - ver.1

Submitted: January 18, 2012

Reads: 510

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Chapter Content - ver.1

Submitted: January 18, 2012

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Heart of The Mind.

Lieutenant Commander Estelle Maguire watched her opponent with careful intensity. She knew he was making allowances for her inferior ability, but today she was determined to show him she could learn…learn and improve.

He was lithe, devastatingly quick and well acquainted with both his experience and his exceptional ability, yet she still felt he had a weakness. All she had to do was find it, while avoiding the point of his deadly foil. Through the grille of her helmet she watched him as he waited patiently, perfectly balanced on the balls of his feet, his step light and sure. Her palm sweated, her forearm feeling the strain of the prolonged bout. His head lifted a fraction and, before she could consider what it meant, he thrust forward, his foil flashing as he sought to defeat her weakening defence. Once, twice, and again he struck, his blade whipping about with the lethal accuracy of a striking snake.

She back-pedalled, strenuously trying to deflect his attack, her feet dancing across the strip. Knowing she was approaching the end of the run, she suddenly lunged at him, thinking with bloody-minded determination that she might as well go down fighting. The point of his weapon hit her firmly in the middle of her chest, the blade bowing under the pressure.

Coming to attention, the combatants saluted each other and removed their masks. Panting, Estelle shook her head ruefully.

“You have me at a disadvantage Captain…I am obviously outclassed…again”

Gesturing to the bench, the Captain slowly removed his gloves. Picking up his towel, he wiped his sweating face and carefully laid his foil against the seat.

“I don’t agree Commander. You scored two hits today and both your defence and attack show a marked improvement.”

The woman sat and stretched out her legs in front of her, placing her hands behind her and leaning back.

“I think perhaps that you may be humouring me.”

Sitting beside her, the Captain lifted and hefted his sword before running the blade through a lightly oiled rag.

“Not at all. How long have we been doing this…two months? You have made great leaps in your technique…you no longer drop your wrist…you’re more attuned to my strategies…in fact I would go as far as to say you have risen several levels in a remarkably short time.”

Estelle chuckled, dabbing at her face and neck with her towel.

“Thank you Sir, your kind words are much appreciated, even if a little…gilded.”

She watched as he also chuckled, once again finding herself admiring him. She was very attracted to him, had been for some time. She had first noticed him when she came aboard at Starbase eight. He’d welcomed all the new arrivals and she was immediately drawn to him…to his classical features, his dark intelligent eyes and his unmistakeable air of authority. Once assigned to her new quarters, she took no time in looking up his service record. She knew of him of course…who didn’t?…his exploits were legendary. Gaining a posting to the Enterprise, Starfleet’s Flagship was the culmination of all her dreams. Finding the celebrated Captain Jean-Luc Picard both handsome and potently attractive was a very welcome bonus.

She already knew most of the highlights of his illustrious career. What she searched for were the little things, the minutiae that made a person unique. When she spotted his penchant for fencing she was delighted, being a keen, but largely inexperienced adherent.

She had bided her time, her post as head of microbiology putting her under the direct command of the ship’s Chief Medical Officer, Doctor Beverly Crusher.

She soon noticed that the Captain paid his CMO regular visits and she quickly surmised they had some sort of relationship going. Their friendly banter, the demonstrative touching, albeit covert…all pointed to a hint of something more.

It took her eight weeks to gather the courage, but one afternoon, as the Captain was leaving Sickbay, she screwed up her nerve and approached him.

“Captain Picard?”

He stopped and turned his head, his eyebrows slightly raised.

“Yes Commander...?”

“Maguire Captain, Estelle Maguire.”

He smiled and her heart missed a beat.

“Of course. How can I help you?”

Clearing her suddenly constricted throat, Estelle took a large breath.

“I um…I heard you like to fence Sir. So do I.”

He turned his body to face her and his smile broadened.

“Indeed? Well that’s welcome news! I have been lacking a suitable partner for some time now. What level have you achieved?”

Feeling the blush rising, the Commander tried to steady herself.

“Come on! You’re thirty-seven years old, not some puerile adolescent.”

“Oh I’m not nearly as good as you Captain, but I do enjoy it and I’ve been looking for someone to help me improve.”

His dark hazel eyes appraised her as she stood, trying not to show her nervousness. He seemed to come to a decision.

“Very well Commander Maguire, I’ll let you know when I’m free and we’ll see if our schedules coincide.”

Breathing a surreptitious sigh of relief, Estelle grinned at her Captain.

“Thank you Captain, I look forward to it.”

He nodded his dismissal, the smile remaining.

As she turned and walked away from him, Captain Picard watched her go, a thoughtful expression on his face, his mind already seeking to find the required spare time.

From inside her office Beverly Crusher watched the exchange with interest, a slight frown marring her beautiful face.

 

 

 

 

 

 

“So Commander, where did you begin your exploration of fencing?”

Estelle sighed and pursed her lips.

“Actually Captain I sort of fell into it.”

His eyebrows rose, a ghost of a smile on his lips.

“Oh?”

“Yes. My elder brother fenced and he was always pestering me to join him. I resisted of course…that was until I found that Gary Ravenscroft was his partner.”

The Captain’s smile grew, a look of amused understanding creeping across his face.

“Ah.”

Estelle sighed, her face growing wistful.

“I was hopelessly in love with him…he of course was completely unaware of me. The day I turned up at the studio…in full fencing regalia…he laughed outright. I was devastated but my brother came to my rescue and convinced me to not only stay, but to have a go. No one was more surprised than me to find that I actually enjoyed it.”

“How old were you?”

“Oh about thirteen.”

The Captain stood slowly and began his cooling down exercises. Lunging forward, he stretched his legs one at a time then stood and twisted his body left and right. Estelle lowered her head and watched avidly through her fringe of long honey brown hair. The white fencing costume fitted him snugly, the fabric clearly displaying his well-muscled body. As he bent to touch his toes, the Commander swallowed and took a deep breath.

“How about you Captain? Where did you start?”

He placed his hands in the small of his back and arched, grimacing and closing his eyes.

“Well Commander it was a long time ago in primary school. My village school offered it within the curriculum and, as my elder brother failed miserably at it I, naturally, was eager to try it. Like you I found I enjoyed it and have continued for most of my life.”

Estelle laughed and shook her head.

“I don’t believe it. We both owe our elder brothers quite a bit don’t we?”

His eyes crinkled as he grinned, enchanting the watching woman. Struck with a surge of courage, Estelle lifted her head and looked him in the eye.

“Captain may I ask a favour of you?”

His eyes sharpened, but a faint smile remained.

“You may ask.”

“Sir…when we’re off duty…would you call me Estelle?”

His gaze never left her face and he was silent so long Estelle feared she had overstepped her bounds. She was about to apologise when he spoke softly.

“Very well…Estelle…but only if you will do something for me.”

Surprise registered in her face, both at his request and the gentle tone of his mellifluous voice.

“Of course Captain…anything.”

“Have dinner with me.”

Her look of shock must have concerned him.

“Commander…Estelle…I hope you don’t think it inappropriate, it’s just that…”

Estelle stood quickly and found a warm smile.

“No Captain…not at all. I would be delighted. When?”

Sighing, Jean-Luc gazed into her eyes and squared his shoulders.

“Would tonight, at twenty hundred hours…in my quarters be acceptable?”

Her head spinning and her heart pounding, Estelle heard her voice and marvelled at how calm she sounded.

“That sounds fine Captain. Uniform or civvies?”

He cocked his head, his eyes twinkling.

“I think we can dispense with formality Estelle. Civilian clothing will be sufficient.”

With a happy grin on her face, Estelle nodded, trying desperately to contain her excitement.

“All right Captain…I’ll see you at twenty hundred…and thank you Sir.”

She bent and picked up her towel and foil. Walking to the doors she was aware of his gaze on her back and swished her hips in response. As the doors closed on her retreating form, Jean-Luc grinned and shook his head, well aware of what she’d done…and admiring her all the more.

His attraction to her had been slowly growing, their time together on the Holodeck fencing a welcome and desired event for him. He had found his thoughts returning to her on a regular basis and smiled as he recalled her feistiness and determination as she worked to overcome her nervousness in his company.

The Captain was well aware of the effect he had on his crew. Those that didn’t know him well held him in awe, the younger members of his crew often reduced to trembling if he addressed them. He sighed and shook his head. He had very few close friends and of those select few only Beverly Crusher could say that she was closest. They had known each other for thirty years and had helped one another through some very traumatic events in their lives. They were best friends, and although Jean-Luc wished fervently that they could’ve taken their relationship to an intimate level, he was content to abide by Beverly’s wishes to keep their bond platonic. He loved her…had done for more years than he cared to admit, but he would never endanger their precious friendship by pursuing something Beverly didn’t want.

Deep in thought, he gently placed his foil in its case, closed and latched the lid and took it by its handle. Lifting his head he said quietly,

“Computer end programme and save.”

The studio disappeared to be replaced by the black and gold grid in the cavernous room. Jean-Luc strode to the doors, his mind occupied with thoughts of the upcoming dinner.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The door annunciator chirruped and Jean-Luc looked up from his task of finishing the table setting. He strode to the centre of the living area and said quietly,

“Come.”

The doors parted and Estelle tried to keep from staring. He was dressed in dark blue trousers, a white silk shirt and black shoes. Handsome didn’t adequately describe him, he was devastatingly attractive and it was all she could do to remember to breathe. He stepped closer to the door and ran his appreciative eyes over her. Softly he said,

“Estelle you look lovely. Do come in.”

Her ivory dress was demure and yet managed to accentuate her long legs and curvaceous figure. It scooped slightly in the front and ended just above the knee. Her matching shoes had low heels with an open toe. They stood closely and her eyes drifted closed momentarily as she smelled his subtle aftershave. His voice startled her back to the present.

“Would you like a glass of wine before we eat? I happen to have some authentic red…as a matter of fact, I’m well acquainted with the family that produces it.”

Smiling brightly, Estelle allowed him to lead her to the sofa.

“That would be lovely Captain.”

He turned suddenly bringing her to an abrupt halt too close to him for her to think clearly.

“Estelle I think it only fair that I reciprocate.”

She frowned slightly and took a small backward step.

“Sir?”

He smiled and shook his head.

“It’s Jean-Luc actually.”

A slight blush followed her small gasp.

“I…I’m…ok.”

Nodding decisively Jean-Luc gestured to the sofa and they both sat. Entranced, Estelle watched as he poured the drinks and smiled when he raised his glass in a toast.

“To friendship.”

She nodded and quietly repeated his declaration. Clinking glasses they sipped the wine, her look of surprised delight pleasing him inordinately.

“Cap…Jean-Luc this is wonderful! What is it?”

“It’s a merlot blend…”

She chuckled, shaking her head.

“I know that…who makes it?”

Grinning he lifted the bottle and, with a flourish, presented it to her. As she read the label she laughed outright.

“I don’t believe it! This is your family’s vineyard?”

He nodded, his pride evident on his face.

“Indeed. My family has produced quality wines for many centuries.”

Letting her eyes drift from the bottle to his face, she said softly,

“But not you.”

With a firm shake of his head he sighed.

“No. I knew from a very early age that I was destined not to follow that path. Even as a small boy I understood I belonged amongst the stars. I’m afraid a life on Earth tied to the land was never going to satisfy me.”

“How did your family take that?”

He sighed again, his eyes growing distant.

“Not very well. My father and brother were particularly disdainful of my choices, although my mother gave me her unqualified support.”

It was Estelle’s turn to sigh. Nodding she gently placed the bottle on the low table.

“Yes, thank the Gods for mothers. My family couldn’t understand my desire to join Starfleet. For generations my family has worked in economics. Both my parents, my older and younger brother…it was bad enough when I became a microbiologist, but to leave Arrus Prime? They thought I’d lost my mind. Had it not been for my mother’s unconditional love…”

His hand on her arm stilled her tongue and the look of compassion in his eyes nearly broke her defences.

“Enough about our families. How did you know you were drinking a merlot blend?”

Her smile crept back and she absently brushed her hair behind her ear. The action stirred something in his mind, but it skittered away as she spoke.

“Oh I like my wine. You may be interested to know I have one or two bottles of my own, though nothing as fine as this.”

His eyes twinkled as a grin spread across his face.

“I see. Well then perhaps next time you can supply the drinks.”

His playfulness heightened her interest in him and she found herself relaxing. They chatted amicably as they drank, Estelle delighted that he was so comfortable in her company. After two glasses he rose gracefully and extended his hand, helping her to her feet. He escorted her to the table and, with gentlemanly good manners, seated her before retrieving their meal from the replicator.

Dining sumptuously on venison and roast vegetables, dessert was a light lemon sorbet. The conversation roamed over many subjects, Jean-Luc suitably impressed by his obviously brilliant and forthright companion. Together they cleared the table, sending the remains and dirty dishes into the recycler.

With another bottle of wine opened, they settled once again on the sofa, nursing their glasses.

“Tell me Estelle, what do you have in mind for your career?”

She sighed and rested her head on the sofa.

“At the moment I’m content to stay put. This posting was a dream come true…you’ve no idea how hard I worked…”

He smiled gently and interrupted.

“Oh but I do. I make it a habit of only taking the best for this ship. I read your service history when you were recommended.”

Blushing slightly, she chuckled.

“I read yours too.”

His eyebrows arched, his eyes gazing into hers.

“Indeed?”

“Uh huh. That’s how I knew you fenced.”

He was silent a while, digesting that admission. Her question roused him.

“Do you like music Jean-Luc?”

He smiled widely and nodded.

“Oh yes! I enjoy a wide variety of music.”

“Do you have a favourite composer?”

He frowned somewhat as he thought.

“There are so many…and it depends on one’s mood…however Mozart would have to be very high on the list.”

“Mmm yes. He’s one of my favourites too. How about Strauss? Do you like the waltzes?”

“Of course. How could I not like them, they’re beautiful.”

With a look of request, she asked silently. He nodded.

“Computer play “The Blue Danube”.”

The gentle strains swelled throughout the room and both people sighed. With more boldness than she thought she possessed, she reached for his hand. He took it without comment and they closed their eyes, letting the music transport them. After some time, Estelle whispered,

“Do you dance Jean-Luc?”

Silently he stood and pulled her to her feet. He led her to the centre of the room and took her into his arms. The music infiltrated their senses and they moved as one, deftly waltzing around the room. Too soon the refrain ended, but before Estelle could pull away, Jean-Luc requested a slow number, a female singer crooning in heartfelt verses. He moved with such grace and restrained power that Estelle was unable to resist his pull. Resting her face against his cheek, she moved closer and wound her hands around his neck. His hands splayed across her back and his eyes drifted closed as they swayed together, the tension slowly building. Towards the end of the song, Jean-Luc lifted his head and used his hand to raise her face. Staring intently into her eyes, he slowly closed the gap between them until his lips brushed hers. The sensation made her gasp and she gently pulled his head down to her, seeking his mouth. The kiss was tentative at first, but when she opened her lips and allowed him entry it soon became deeply passionate. He pulled her body against his, eliminating any space between them. The feel of her breasts against his chest spurred him on, increasing his ardour and deepening the kiss.

When they parted they were both slightly dizzy. Estelle ran her fingers lightly over his face and caressed his lips.

Trembling she whispered,

“My God Jean-Luc…”

He smiled, also whispering.

“My sentiments exactly.”

She took a shaky breath and rested her brow on his chin.

“Is this going a bit fast?”

He tightened his embrace and rumbled,

“I won’t do anything you’re not entirely comfortable with.”

Closing her eyes and trying unsuccessfully to quell her raging desire, Estelle whispered,

“Then I’d better call it a night.”

He held her a moment longer before reluctantly releasing her.

“I’ll walk you to your quarters.”

Shaking her head, she frowned.

“That’s not necessary…I can…”

He put his fingers under her chin and raised her face to his.

“It would be my pleasure.”

He kissed her softly then stood back, offering his arm.

“Shall we?”

 

 

 

 

 

They arrived at her quarters two decks below his. Pausing at the door, he released her arm and quietly requested to accompany her inside. She was curious and nodded thoughtfully, her desire simmering unabated just under the surface.

The doors closed behind them and he took her in his arms.

“I wanted to kiss you goodnight and tell you what a wonderful evening I’ve had. Unfortunately that’s not something the Captain can do in the corridor.”

Estelle smiled and sighed.

“I understand, I’ve had a wonderful time too Jean-Luc. Thank you.”

He leaned in and kissed her softly. His hands sliding up and down her back and she stepped closer, her senses reeling. The considerable desire, only barely held in check bubbled to the surface and she moaned into his mouth as she moulded her body to his. He tightened his embrace and kissed her savagely, ravaging the inside of her mouth.

With light headed giddiness she pulled away and stared at him, her passion heightened at the evidence of his inflamed desire sparkling in his dark eyes.

“Oh God…I want you…now…quickly…”

Pulling at the closure of his shirt and plucking at his pants, she panted and moaned.

He gently pushed her the short distance to the wall and pressed her against it. His mouth descended to her neck, biting and nuzzling as his hands ran up her thighs, taking her dress with them.

“Yes! Quickly Jean-Luc…please…”

Finding her panties, he pulled them down and she assisted him in casting them aside. He used one hand to undo his trousers and pushed them and his briefs out of the way.  He bit her shoulder and she gasped as his fingers entered her, testing her readiness. Finding her saturated he withdrew his hand and slid his fingers over her thighs. She understood and gripped his shoulders as he suddenly lifted her, encouraging her to wrap her legs around his hips. He entered her with one hard thrust and she cried out, whimpering as he gently bit her earlobe.

She clung to him desperately, mindless with sexual need.

“Please…please…now…do it now…quickly!”

Gripping her buttocks, Jean-Luc began to thrust hard and fast. Bracing his legs, he accentuated his power by lifting and lowering her in time with his piston-like plunges. Estelle lifted her head, straining against the wall, involuntary cries escaping from her throat. Jean-Luc’s soft grunting added to her sensual feast and she quickly neared her release.

“Yes…more…more!”

The Captain leaned forward and bit her neck as three particularly hard thrusts pushed her over the edge. She cried out in inarticulate ecstasy completely unaware of her partner’s own climax. Jean-Luc pushed himself deeply inside her as she clenched around him and spasmed as he pulsed, tightly held within her heat.

 

 

 

 

As her breathing began to calm she became aware of his slight trembling. His head rested on her shoulder as he panted, still holding her off the floor. She turned her head and kissed his neck causing him to raise his head and smile ruefully. He blinked slowly and sighed, whispering,

“I haven’t done that in quite a while.”

Estelle grinned wickedly, her eyes sparkling.

“What…had sex?”

Shaking his head and chuckling quietly, he responded,

“No wench…I usually confine such activities to a comfortable bed, however my partner seemed to be in somewhat of a hurry.”

She sighed and shifted in his arms causing him to slip from her. She gasped softly, her body still hyper sensitive. He kissed her tenderly and slowly set her on her feet, holding her within his arms. Her whisper tickled his ear.

“Jean-Luc…can you stay?”

He released her and made himself comfortable with his clothes, considering her question. She waited breathlessly, fearing that he would leave. His gentle smile allayed her worry.

“Yes, but I will have to leave very early. I have a breakfast appointment I don’t want to break.”

Her tawny eyes glittered with happiness and she wound her arms around his chest, nuzzling into his neck.

“Why don’t we have a shower and go to bed?”

Jean-Luc lazily kissed her temple and sighed.

“Now that’s a splendid idea.”

 

 

 

 

 

Later, comfortably lying naked in each other’s arms in bed, Estelle couldn’t contain a quiet giggle. Rousing himself from a lethargic stupor, the Captain growled.

“What?”

Running her fingers through his chest hair she asked playfully,

“So tell me…how long has it been?”

There was a moment’s silence before he rumbled, feigning irritation,

“Since what?”

“Since you’ve had any.”

He grunted and sniffed, debating whether or not to tell her the truth.

“Come on…fess up.”

“A long time. Too long actually.”

She stilled and swallowed, screwing up her courage.

“Oh. I kinda thought you and Doctor Crusher…”

He closed his eyes, willing the spike of anger to subside.

“No, we’re very good friends…nothing more.”

Silence greeted that offering and he was relieved when she seemed to drop the subject.

She sighed and burrowed closer to him.

“It’s been ages for me too. If it’s not the job, it’s a scarcity of suitable partners.”

He grunted again, not bothering to elaborate on the difficulties of a man in his position pursuing a relationship with a fellow crewmember.

Her hand slowly trailed down his torso and dallied in the thickening growth of pubic hair at the base of his penis. He sighed and started to tell her that it would be some time before he could make love again when he suddenly realised he was rapidly beginning to harden. Estelle rose up on her elbow as her hand gently squeezed and caressed him.

“Why don’t we take a more leisurely approach time this time? We’ve got all night.”

His response was a lingering passionate kiss.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Beverly entered his quarters, her nose detecting the delicious aroma of fresh croissants and hot coffee. The breakfast table had been set and she appreciated the effort he went to, always providing an assortment of preserves and creamy butter. His attention to the small details always charmed her, knowing as she did that he did it for her only. She watched as he retrieved the coffee pot but frowned when he looked up and she noticed how haggard he looked.

“Jean-Luc did you get any sleep last night?”

He flushed slightly and cleared his throat.

“Sit Beverly, the croissants will get cold.”

Somewhat annoyed that he’d deflected her enquiry, she nonetheless took a pastry and pulled it apart, buttering it and taking her time in choosing a preserve. He wasn’t fooled for a minute. He knew all to well she wouldn’t let the matter drop. Sure enough…

“It’s not nightmares again is it? You know Deanna…”

He held up his hand and shook his head.

“No Beverly it’s not nightmares. I was busy that’s all.”

The Doctor frowned, pausing the coffee cup en route to her mouth.

“Busy? What kept you so busy that you didn’t get any sleep?”

He sighed exasperatedly and shook his head.

“I didn’t say I didn’t get any sleep. I managed a few hours this morning.”

Placing the cup firmly in its saucer, Beverly frowned at her best friend.

“A few hours aren’t enough Jean-Luc! You look terrible.”

His eyes hardened and he had to make a concerted effort not to snap.

“Be that as it may, I assure you I’m fine. Now, can we just eat breakfast without all this adversarial chit chat?”

Beverly’s mouth snapped shut and she recognised his effort to rein in his anger. Never comfortable with her overly conscientious interest in his health, she knew if she pursued this he would withdraw completely and she would be shut out. To that end, she mustered a smile and changed the subject. Half an hour later they reported for duty.

 

 

 

 

Three days later the senior staff were assembled at the conference table in the forward observation lounge. Estelle was there too in her capacity as head microbiologist. Their next mission involved a mysterious sickness ravaging a distant system. The planetary medical facilities had been unable to halt the illness and it was decimating the populace. If not stopped soon, millions could die.

Under strict containment protocols, samples of the suspect virus had been sent via high-speed shuttle, the Enterprise’s departure delayed as she delivered much needed supplies to an isolated mining colony near the Neutral Zone. Now free, she was surging through space at warp eight point five, permission to exceed warp five given by Starfleet Command.

Jean-Luc savagely suppressed his personal interest in Estelle and addressed his CMO.

“Have you had any success with the virus Doctor Crusher?”

Beverly grimaced and cast a look at Estelle. Shaking her head she answered,

“Not yet Captain…it’s a bloody nightmare. Every time we think we’ve nailed it, it slips by and continues to grow. Nothing we’ve done so far seems to slow it down.”

Estelle leaned forward, her hands clenched upon the tabletop.

“Captain Picard this virus is insidiously potent. Once it enters the body it attaches itself to any number of cells, it’s quite indiscriminate, and proceeds to ravage the host. Depending on what it attacks first, lungs, heart, liver…any one of the internal organs can be affected, the patient dies from a variety of failures. We can’t isolate it or destroy it…yet.”

Commander Will Riker, second in command, sat up, his blue eyes piercing.

“What about the crew? How safe is the ship?”

Beverly sighed and shrugged.

“As long as we observe level five containment protocols there will be no problem…but, God forbid, if so much as one microbe got out, this ship would become a floating graveyard in a very short time.”

The Captain frowned, his intelligent eyes clouding with worry.

“How will you handle going down to the planet?”

Estelle spoke up.

“Full containment suits Sir, followed by complete decontamination on our return.”

There was silence for a while before Jean-Luc spoke again.

“How long do you envisage staying dirtside?”

Beverly’s voice was rock steady.

“As long as it takes.”

“And how many will go?”

The women shared a look and both sighed. Beverly responded.

“I would say seven all told, plus a hefty load of equipment.” She looked at Jean-Luc earnestly and took a large breath. “ We have a request Captain.”

He raised his eyebrows but remained silent.

“We want Data to come with us.”

Lieutenant Commander Data was the only android in Starfleet. His remarkable abilities made him an ideal away team specialist, that coupled with his immunity to organic viruses, afforded his superiors a wonderful opportunity to use him as a diagnostic tool. Nothing could compute as fast, or possess his wealth of knowledge. He was, in short, unique.

Jean-Luc mulled over the request. The only problem with Data was that there was only one of him. Taking him from the ship could endanger the mission. The Captain had to weigh how best to utilise this excellent resource. Coming to his decision, he nodded.

“Very well Doctor. Mr.Data download everything available on Harakk II, including the initial outbreak and report to my Ready Room when you’re finished. Doctor Crusher, Commander Maguire, prepare a report on what you need, containing a list of wanted crew, and have it to me as soon as you can. Number One, how long until we reach Harakk II?”

Will turned to his Captain, his voice slightly apologetic.

“A little over four days Captain.”

“Damn. Very well, if there’s nothing else?”

No one responded so he pushed himself back from the table.

“Dismissed.”

As everyone rose from their seats, Jean-Luc said quietly,

“Commander Maguire…a moment please?”

Estelle nodded and stood by the sloping windows, her attention focussed on her lover. As the officers filed out, Counsellor Deanna Troi cast a glance at her Captain, a slight frown on her face. The empathic Betazoid frowned deeper as she felt the distinct suppression of the Captain’s emotions. Knowing he was aware of her scrutiny, she sighed and paused as she left the room, her obsidian eyes searching Jean-Luc’s face. When he studiously ignored her she had no option but to take her leave.

Once the Counsellor had left, Jean-Luc let out a breath and relaxed. Coming around the end of the table, he faced Estelle. His quiet deep voice sent a thrill down her spine.

“I’m sorry we’ve not seen each other lately…I’ve been quite busy with this mission.”

She smiled tenderly and clasped her hands behind her back, the only thing she could think of to resist the urge to run her hands over his chest.

“That’s ok I’ve been flat out too. What about tonight? Maybe we could get together for dinner?”

He sighed and looked deeply into her eyes.

“It would have to be quite late. I’m expecting an update from Command and it’s not due until oh one thirty hours.”

Her smile caught him by surprise as it reminded him of the way Beverly smiled when she was indulging him in something. It was just an upward curl of one side of her mouth that, coupled with the amused glint in her eyes, made his heart miss a beat. She saw his expression and asked,

“What?”

Gathering himself quickly, Jean-Luc cleared his throat.

“Oh nothing…my mind just wandered momentarily.”

Frowning now, Estelle decided to let it pass. Nodding she pursed her lips.

“I know what you mean…I’ve been doing that a lot lately. Now concerning dinner, actually it sounds about right. I won’t be finished until midnight or later so how about you come to my quarters when you’re ready and I’ll supply the food?”

He smiled tiredly and cocked his head.

“I may not be very good company.”

Estelle grinned and leaned forward.

“I’ll take whatever I can get.”

His smile widened and he nodded.

“Very well I’ll see you tonight…or tomorrow morning as it were.”

She straightened and nodded, seeking his dismissal. He nodded his acquiescence and she left.

 

 

 

 

Jean-Luc strode onto the Bridge and felt the eyes of his Counsellor on him as he took his seat in the Command chair. He stayed only long enough to ascertain the readiness of his ship before rising to his feet and addressing his First Officer.

“You have the Bridge Number One, I’ll be in the Ready Room.”

Will rose and nodded to his Commanding Officer.

“Aye Sir.”

Once ensconced in his inner sanctum, he slowly began to count, his face impassive as he strove to contain his irritation. Within minutes the door chimed. Taking a large breath and expelling if forcibly, the Captain withdrew into a calm, almost glacial mindset.

“Come.”

Deanna walked in, already aware of his attempts to shut her out. Standing before his desk she frowned.

“Captain?”

He looked up, his eyes blank, his face unreadable.

“Yes Counsellor?”

Deanna sighed exasperatedly and sat herself in the chair facing the desk.

“It won’t work Captain. You may be able to block me from sensing your emotions, but the very fact that you’re doing it tells me something is troubling you.”

Placing his hands palm down on the desktop, Jean-Luc kept his voice quiet, although Deanna could plainly hear the subdued irritation in it.

“Counsellor there are times when I simply require privacy. This is one of those times.”

Deanna smiled and shook her head.

“Captain you are the most private person I know! Surely you realise my concern is for your wellbeing? For you to react to me this way…well it piques my curiosity.”

He cocked one eyebrow, but kept his command visage in place, his voice now deadly quiet.

“Indeed Counsellor? Do you refer to professional curiosity, or is it more a case of nosiness?”

Taken aback by his cold anger, Deanna steeled her defences.

“I think you know me better than that Captain.”

Relenting slightly, Jean-Luc allowed himself to relax a little.

“My apologies Deanna, that was uncalled for. However I maintain I seek only privacy.”

Deanna stood and nodded.

“Very well Captain I will take this no further, but if I feel anything untoward I expect you to be more cooperative with me.”

Jean-Luc nodded once, immensely relieved that she was willing to let the matter rest. He was not willing to discuss his burgeoning relationship with Estelle with Deanna or anyone else. Not until he was more sure of it himself.

“Agreed…and thank you.”

Hearing his dismissal, Deanna mustered an encouraging smile and left, deep in thought.

Jean-Luc turned his chair and stood, finding his feet carrying him to the viewport. As he contemplated the stars he yet again asked himself what he thought he was doing getting involved with a member of his crew.

“It cannot work!”

He admonished.

“What if it compromises my ability to command?”

His thoughts drifted to Beverly, as they often did and he sneered as he recalled her rejection of his suggestion of intimacy.

“Beverly wasn’t willing to try…what makes me think Estelle will be able to continue with me when I have to place her in danger?”

He closed his eyes and rested his weary head against the cold glass.

“Oh God what was I thinking?”

 

 

 

 

True to his word it was very early in the ship’s morning when he arrived at Estelle’s quarters. Pressing the annunciator, he half expected her to be asleep. He was cautiously surprised when she called,

“Come in.”

He stepped into the room, uncomfortably reminded of what they had done the last time he was there. She noticed his hesitation but mistook it for tiredness.

“You poor thing you must be exhausted. Here, come and sit, dinner’s ready.”

Giving himself a mental shake, Jean-Luc took the offered seat and concentrated on his companion.

“This looks interesting. What is it?”

Estelle smiled shyly and shrugged.

“It’s a native dish from home, I hope you don’t mind. I’ve programmed a couple of things into the replicator.”

Smelling the dish appreciatively, Jean-Luc suddenly realised he was hungry.

“Not at all, in fact I enjoy trying new food.”

Encouraged, Estelle dished out the food and sat, surreptitiously watching as her lover ate his meal, fascinated by his gracefulness and economy of movement. Feeling the protracted silence was becoming oppressive, the Commander tried to engage her guest in conversation.

“So did you receive your communiqué?”

Jean-Luc chewed thoughtfully, nodding.

“Yes and it was as lengthy as I feared. Sometimes I think admirals have nothing better to do than vex Captains with verbose reports.”

Estelle chuckled and wiped her mouth with her serviette.

“I know what you mean. I’ve been the victim of a long winded admiral before…God help me!”

That brought a soft chuckle from the man and she sighed in happiness. She cleared away the dishes and placed a light dessert in front of him. To his silent enquiry she answered,

“It’s sort of like a fruit mousse. I think you’ll find it quite refreshing.”

Picking up his spoon, he tasted the dish and smiled with satisfaction.

“You like?”

He nodded and swallowed another spoonful.

“Yes although it’s quite unlike any fruit I’ve ever tasted before.”

They finished their meal and retired to the sofa. Her quarters being much smaller than the Captain’s, Estelle had less furniture. They sat together in companionable silence for a while, until Jean-Luc sighed.

“What?”

“Nothing just tired. Where is the wine you told me about?”

Grinning wickedly, Estelle leaned over and kissed him softly.

“In the bedroom.”

As she sat back she brushed her hair back and laid her free arm along the sofa whilst crossing her long legs. Jean-Luc’s breath caught as he remembered Beverly doing exactly the same thing. In fact she’d done it so many times it was etched indelibly into his memory. Caught in the memory, he struggled to regain his equilibrium.

Estelle, her desire rising, missed his panicked expression and continued in attempting to seduce him.

“Why don’t we retire to my bed and I’ll show my best vintage?”

Jean-Luc’s head bowed and she finally saw his reluctance.

“Jean-Luc? What is it?”

Shaking his head, he couldn’t look at her eyes.

“It’s nothing really…I’m just tired.”

She reached for him, gripping his hands and trying to see under his brow.

“Then let me help you relax…I can…”

Suddenly standing, he withdrew his hands.

“No…look I think it would be better if I went to my own quarters. I’m sorry Estelle…I did warn you I wouldn’t be very good company tonight.”

She watched as he shut himself off from her and marvelled at how easily he did it. Rising, she attempted to place her hand on his shoulder and was dismayed when he stepped out of her reach.

“All right Jean-Luc…maybe tomorrow then?”

He nodded and muttered,

“Goodnight.”

She was still standing staring at the closed doors ten minutes after he’d left.

 

 

 

 

 

Jean-Luc didn’t sleep well. He tossed and turned and what sleep he did get was inhabited by disturbing dreams. He was awake when the alarm sounded and his grumbled order for it to cease was evidence of his tiredness. He showered, shaved and dressed, his mind wrestling with the problem of what to do about Estelle. He wanted her, of that there was no doubt, but did he love her? Could he afford to find out? He was still mulling in dark thought when the door annunciator sounded. Glowering he slammed down the PADD he was trying to study and said curtly,

“Who the hell is it?”

Beverly’s tentative voice caused him to grimace with contrition.

“Jean-Luc? What’s wrong…can I come in?”

He stood and strode to the door, pressing the release. Upon seeing her concerned face, he dredged up a wan smile.

“I’m sorry Beverly I was somewhat engrossed. Please…come in.”

Casting a suspicious look at her friend, Beverly entered to see that breakfast was nowhere to be seen. Jean-Luc brushed past her and began setting the table, slightly nervous when she joined him to help. Together they built their familiar repast and were soon eating, although Beverly’s scrutiny was beginning to irritate him. He remained silent however knowing full well that she would broach the subject of her concern in her own time. It happened over coffee.

“So…you’re still not sleeping?”

The Captain sighed and closed his eyes momentarily.

“Beverly…”

She held up her hand, her voice taking on a hard edge.

“Stow it Captain! You’ve been burning the candle at both ends for a while now and it’s time you stopped. For God’s sake Jean-Luc…when was the last time you forgot our breakfast?”

He began to mount a defence, a protest forming, but she beat him to it.

“Uh uh Captain I don’t want to hear it. As your CMO I’m going to issue an order, one that I will enforce. You are to stop work today at seventeen thirty hours, return to your quarters and eat a decent meal. You may relax for a while, but I want you in bed by twenty thirty. No later, and if you don’t get a good night’s sleep, I expect you to tell me tomorrow morning. Is that clear?”

He summoned his best glare, a move completely wasted on Beverly. They regarded each other in silence, the battle of wills almost palpable. With as much dignity as he could muster, Jean-Luc wiped his mouth and placed his serviette on the table. Standing he afforded Beverly an aloof glance before softly clearing his throat.

“Very well Doctor. I will see you tomorrow.”

Understanding both his reluctant acceptance and her dismissal, Beverly rose and turned to leave. She hesitated and turned back to catch a very uncharacteristic look of sadness on Jean-Luc’s face. With compassion she quietly called his name.

“Jean-Luc.”

His face immediately conformed into his Captain’s mask, making Beverly sigh.

She smiled tenderly at him and held eye contact until he capitulated and smiled in return. Feeling better, she left.

Jean-Luc sat heavily in his seat and angrily brushed at the crumbs.

“Fuck!”

 

 

 

 

 

 

That morning, when Estelle reported for duty, she was hard pressed to keep her mind on her work. What had changed between them? Had she come on too strong? Why did he seek to shut her out so completely? And why the hell wouldn’t he talk to her about what was obviously troubling him?

She knew instinctively that he was not the kind of man to treat relationships in a cavalier manner. For him to make love to her showed that he had feelings for her, but how deep did those feelings go? Estelle sighed expansively. In truth she wasn’t looking for a love affair. She simply couldn’t afford the time and effort needed to sustain such a relationship. What she wanted was an interesting partner, good times and good sex. She needed to talk to him and soon. To that end she resolved to see him in his quarters that evening.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jean-Luc’s day was tedious. Endless reports on the ship’s preparation for the upcoming mission landed on his desk with monotonous regularity. He would never admit it to Beverly, but when seventeen thirty showed on his computer he was only too glad to stab it off and stand to stretch his stiffened muscles.

Striding out onto the Bridge, he informed Will,

“I’m going off duty Number One. Don’t hesitate to call me if you need to.”

“Aye Sir.”

As the Captain left, Will stroked his beard and leaned close to Deanna.

“When was the last time he knocked off early with a mission on the boards?”

The Counsellor shook her head, worry creasing her brow.

“I can’t recall Will.”

The big man sighed and caught her eyes.

“Is he all right?”

Deanna’s hesitation heightened his concern.

“He’s troubled about something, but he’s doing his utmost to block me…and he’s damn good at it.”

Will’s quiet chuckle irritated the Betazoid. He had long been amused at the subtle confrontations between the Counsellor and the Captain. He was reminded of the story about the great rock being slowly eroded by gently dripping water. The analogy pleased him and his smile widened.

“You know Deanna…”

Her death glare silenced him and he straightened in his chair. Under his breath he said,

“OK, but I expect you to tell me if he needs help.”

The Counsellor made one last attempt to sense the Captain before giving up in disgust.

 

 

 

 

Although Beverly had ordered him to eat a substantial meal, Jean-Luc wasn’t particularly hungry, replicating instead a light chicken salad. Having eaten, he’d settled into his favourite chair, a book and a cup of Earl Grey tea in his hands. When the door chime sounded, he frowned.

“Come.”

Estelle stepped into his quarters and clasped her hands in front of her.

“Good evening Jean-Luc.”

Slowly placing his cup and book on the low table, the Captain got to his feet and nodded, his face an inscrutable mask.

“Good evening.”

Walking slowly, she covered the distance between them and asked,

“May I sit?”

He nodded and they both sat, an uncomfortable tension in the room. Estelle swallowed and sighed.

“Jean-Luc I think we need to talk.”

Still saying nothing, Jean-Luc nodded again and frowned. Slightly annoyed at his reticence, Estelle rubbed her palms on her thighs.

“What’s happened Jean-Luc? Why are you shutting me out?”

His eyes travelled down her face to focus on his clasped hands. Quietly, almost too softly to hear, he said,

“I don’t think I can do this.”

She moved closer and gripped his forearm.

“Explain. What is it you can’t do?”

He sighed and lifted his head.

“You and me Estelle…I don’t know if I can do it.”

“Why? Look Jean-Luc I have to be honest with you…I’m not looking for love…I don’t want violins and angels…but I do want to pursue what we have, I happen to think it’s damn good.”

Finding her eyes, he looked deeply into them and Estelle realised she was seeing relief. She smiled softly.

“You don’t love me.”

He shook his head, sighing.

“No, although I do care…quite a bit, but it’s more than that. Do you realise how hard it is for me, as Captain of this ship, to have a relationship with a crewmember?”

Estelle pursed her lips and moved closer.

“I’ve thought about it of course…I even checked the regs regarding such…liaisons, but Jean-Luc nothing need change! I don’t expect you to treat me any differently now to how you did before. Look we enjoy each other…we give each other something we both need…I don’t see why that can’t continue. You must know I would never put you in a position of conflict of interest…I would never compromise your command! God I’ve been in Starfleet long enough to avoid that.”

His smile was slow in appearing but that didn’t take the joy from it. He opened his arms and she came willingly, nuzzling into his neck and sighing deeply with pleasure.

The removal of their clothing was done at a leisurely pace, the ensuing foreplay languid. When they stood, naked and highly aroused, Jean-Luc took her hand and shoulder-to-shoulder they walked to his bedroom. She turned and cast him a mischievous look, her eyes sparkling and again it hit him how much like Beverly she was. Vivid images of Beverly giving him exactly that look caused a surge of unease. His step faltered and Estelle stopped and caressed him. He cursed his body for its rapid response, but the images fled in the wake of his rampant desire. She bit him hard on the junction of shoulder and neck making him growl. He pushed her gently into the bedroom and eased her onto his bed, covering her with his lean well-muscled body. She bit him again and he took her hands, spreading her arms wide and holding her down.

“Now you vixen…behave.”

He kissed her with deep passion pushing his erection against her. She arched up under him and moaned

The door chime went unnoticed the first time, in fact it was on the third ring that Jean-Luc suddenly stilled and swore. He closed his eyes and gritted his teeth.

“Stay here, it’s probably Commander Riker. I’ll be right back.”

Mewing in protest, Estelle watched appreciatively as he rose and quickly donned a robe. He then ducked into the bathroom and came out holding a towel in front of himself, hiding his obvious arousal. He walked to his door and pressed the release.

“Hello Jean-Luc…just thought I’d drop by and check on you. See if you’re following my orders.”

He almost lost his composure.

“Beverly. Ah…as you can see I’m fine.”

She deftly stepped past him and was about to bombard him with questions about his meal when she suddenly noticed the clothing on the floor. Her eyes darted to his bedroom and saw the subdued lighting. Dragging her eyes back to her friend, they widened when she spotted the bite marks on his neck. Blushing, Beverly lowered her head and muttered,

“Well I can see that you’re ok…I’ll be getting along.”

Her exit was swift and Jean-Luc scowled.

“Merde!”

 

 

 

 

Beverly marched through the corridors, head down, her face a mask of concentration. Startled crew stepped aside as she strode past, unaware of their existence.

She entered her quarters and began her preparations for bed. She changed into her nightie, sat at the mirror and brushed her hair and climbed into bed, all done without conscious thought. Lying flat on her back, her mind raced.

“He’s got a lover! My God…when did he find the time for that?  And who the hell is she?”

The agitated Doctor turned abruptly onto her side and scrunched the pillow.

“No wonder he’s been so tired…probably having sex every night! Damn him!”

With irritated fussing, she turned over.

“I wonder how long it’s been going on?…maybe I should ask Deanna, she’d know for sure…no, perhaps not…after all it’s really none of my business. Bloody hell! How could he do this to me!”

Flopping onto her back again, she hugged a pillow tightly. Sighing she closed her eyes, determined to put him from her mind. She was successful for two minutes.

“I wonder what he’s like in bed? Oh great, now I’m getting horny. For God’s sake Beverly…go to sleep!”

Again on her side, she drew her knees up and steadied her breathing.

“That’s it…calm down. God his face when I walked in…and what was that on his neck…bite marks? He did look flushed…I wonder how far they were into…oh for heaven’s sake stop it!”

She sat up suddenly and threw the pillow across the room. Aloud she muttered,

“Shit!”

Throwing back the covers, she slid out of bed and stalked to the replicator.

“Hot milk with cinnamon.”

As she sipped the toddy she realised it was Jean-Luc’s aunt Adele’s remedy for insomnia. Closing her eyes, she counted slowly to ten.

“God he’s infiltrated my entire life! Well buddy boy I’m not going to let your love life get to me. I’ll turn up tomorrow morning for breakfast and we’ll see who handles it better…you or me?”

Nodding decisively, she finished the milk and made her way back to her bed. It took a while, but she eventually found sleep.

 

 

 

 

 

His expletive drew Estelle from the bedroom.

“Who was it?”

With his back to her he barked,

“It doesn’t matter!”

Her gently amused voice carried clearly from the bedroom doorway.

“That word…was it French? What does it mean?”

Spinning on his heel, his angry tone faded into a whisper as he beheld a very beautiful, very naked woman.

“It means…shit.”

She chuckled, crooking her finger at him.

“How uncouth. Come here Jean-Luc.”

His feet carried him the required distance and her hands took the towel, carelessly tossing it onto the floor. His robe soon joined it and she frowned at seeing his flaccid state. Sighing she ran her finger over his penis.

“All my good work…”

She dropped gracefully to her knees and gently nuzzled his testicles, her hands gripping his buttocks. As the waves of pleasure surged through him his erection rapidly returned and he growled deeply when she took him into her mouth. As she sucked and slid over him, he tangled his hands in her hair and allowed his head to loll back on his neck, his mouth gaping.

When she left him he moaned and drew her to her feet. He ushered her to the bed and bade her to lie down, positioning himself beside her. He kissed her thoroughly then moved to lavish her breasts with his hot mouth. Estelle held his head, pushing him into her breasts as his hand slid down her stomach and over her thighs, encouraging her to part her legs. She obliged and he caressed her with his fingers, separating her folds and slowly entering her. Pushing her heels into the mattress, she lifted her hips and he slid another finger inside her making her moan. As was usual for her, she wanted him immediately. Gripping his shoulders she pulled until he covered her with his body and she wound her legs around his waist. Not needing any further coaxing, Jean-Luc entered her and she gasped, clinging to him and panting his name.

His thrusts were slothful. He knew she wanted more…a faster path to fulfilment, but he wasn’t to be hurried. Frustrated, she bit and scratched, begging him to speed his movements. In response he took her hands and held her down, watching her intently as he slowly stroked in and out of her. By now almost mindless with need, Estelle began to sob, her strained voice beseeching him for more, to bring her to her release. Unmoved Jean-Luc ignored her and prolonged his thrusts, pushing himself against her and grinding his hips. She shuddered and writhed, her voice now a continuous plea. Finally he gave in. Abruptly he began to thrust vigorous


© Copyright 2018 Heather Smyth. All rights reserved.

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