Today is #BevCrusherDay. 13 October is Beverly Crusher’s birthday, so what better way to celebrate than writing a short fic or two about our favourite doctor? This will be cross posted to Ao3 and my personal blog, and Tweeted on both AnnaOnTheMoon and Gates_Daily.. It’s also Flufftober, so if you follow me on Archive of Our Own, you’ll find a daily fluffy piece about our favourite couple!
Title: Balfour [BevCrusherDay]
Fandom: Star Trek The Next Generation
Pairing: Beverly Crusher/Jean-Luc Picard
Summary: Jean-Luc helps Beverly recover from her ordeal with Ronin
Disclaimer: I don’t own TNG, Beverly or Jean-Luc. I don’t work for Paramount, CBS, PocketBooks, Simon & Shuster…etc, etc. I’m just a fan! I also ask for forgiveness from Gates McFadden and Sir Patrick Stewart for using (abusing?) their characters.
Captain’s log, supplemental. Commander La Forge and Mister Data have recovered from their exposure to the anaphasic energy, but I’m afraid Doctor Crusher’s recovery will be of a more personal nature. – Sub Rosa, Star Trek TNG episode 7×14
Jean-Luc pressed the chime outside Beverly’s quarters and waited for the door to slide open. Beverly was surrounded by her boxes with a frustrated look on her face. Jean-Luc walked into the room and surveyed the crates. “Can I help?”
“Ugh. Yes. What was I thinking packing everything? And leaving? I mean I just…threw away everything. My career…my friends…you….” Jean-Luc enveloped Beverly in his arms and rubbed her back. “You weren’t in control. I’m just glad I never transmitted your resignation. I knew something was off.”
“I wish I had known,” Beverly grumbled. She rested her head against Jean-Luc’s shoulder. “You came to take me out to dinner and here I am blubbering to you…I’m sorry.”
“There’s nothing to be sorry for. You were taken advantage of by an alien. It’s natural for you to need comfort from your friends.”
“Not my Captain?” Beverly raised her eyebrows at Jean-Luc. He shook his head. “No, tonight I’m not your captain. I’m just Jean-Luc.”
“Well then, just Jean-Luc, what are our plans for dinner?” Jean-Luc reached down and took her hands in his. “Well, I thought we might go on a stroll along the Danube.”
“Sounds lovely. Just let me change first.” She gently kissed Jean-Luc’s cheek and disappeared into her bedroom. Jean-Luc peered into one of the open crates, and seeing the jumble of books inside, he decided to help her by putting the books back on her shelf. He didn’t know if she had a particular way of organising them, but at least it would get them out of the crate and she could arrange them later.
At the bottom of the crate, Jean-Luc pulled out a picture frame with a photo of Beverly, Jack, Walker, and him taken over twenty years ago. He studied the picture and grinned, remembering the day well. They had gone camping together at Balfour Lake and they had spent the day splashing in the lake before Walker set up the camera to take a timed photo of the four of them. In fact, picture Beverly was sporting a deep sunburn on her chest, and Jean-Luc remembered Beverly complaining about how much she had wished she had thought to pack a dermol regenerator that weekend.
He placed the photo on a shelf as Beverly emerged from her room. “Unpacking for me? Thanks.” Her eyes fell on the photo. “One of my favourite memories of all of us together. I think shortly after, Walker was transferred away, wasn’t he?” Jean-Luc nodded. “And then it became the three of us.”
“The three musketeers.” Jean-Luc grinned and his grin faded as he looked at the photo and he gently ran a finger down Jack’s image. “And then, there were two.”
“Mm. But at least we have each other.” Jean-Luc reflected on her words and made a snap decision.
“Change of plans. Want to go camping at Balfour for old time’s sake?” Beverly glanced down at their clothing. “Well, we’re a little overdressed for camping, don’t you think? And can we really use the holodeck all night long?”
“Course we can. I’m the Captain. Meet me at Holodeck 4J in…an hour?” Beverly nodded. “Any gear?”
“I’ll take care of that.” Beverly grinned. “See you then, Johnny.”
“In an hour, Bevvy.”
Beverly laughed as she approached the holodeck doors. Jean-Luc was wearing hiking boots and zip-off trousers with his shirt, and he had a bucket hat perched on his head. On his back, he had a frame backpack, and he was holding another in his hand. He passed one of the backpacks to Beverly and she shrugged it on. “Wow, really going for the experience, aren’t you? I just thought you would program our campsite into the holodeck program.”
“No, I thought we would enjoy the hike…is that ok? We can alter the program if you want.”
“We’ll see. It’s been twenty years since I carried all my gear like this.”
“It’ll be good for you. We’re going soft serving on a galaxy-class ship.” Beverly poked his stomach, which was still as firm as it had been twenty years ago. “Soft? Who you calling soft?” He chuckled. “Maybe soft was the wrong word.”
“I take you point though. That training we did for Celtris Three nearly killed me…” she trailed off. “I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to bring that up.”
“It’s alright. I…I did what I did to keep you safe. That was all that mattered to me.” Beverly wiped a tear from her eyes and she adjusted the straps on her pack. They were treading towards their feelings again, and she still wasn’t sure if she was ready. She had patted herself on the back for managing to keep her feelings hidden when they had been attached to each other’s thoughts, but the more she thought about it, maybe it would have been better if she had just admitted her feelings. He knew. He had to know.
“Computer, open doors.” The holodeck doors slid open and Beverly felt like she was immediately in the woods surrounding the lakefront. She inhaled deeply and the air smelled crisp. Full of pine trees, mountain flora, and that heady scent she associated with bodies of water. “Which direction?”
“Pick one.” Beverly headed off on a trail to her left and turned back to talk to Jean-Luc. “And, you’re sure there’s nothing you need to do tomorrow morning?”
“Nothing that I couldn’t hand over to Commander Riker.” Beverly snorted. “Do I want to know what you told him?”
“I told him I would be on the holodeck with you all night.” Beverly raised an eyebrow. “Was that wrong? I am on the holodeck with you.”
“Yes, but…Jean-Luc, when you say things like that, people might think….” Jean-Luc reached for her hand and clasped it in his. “Think what?”
“Oh, never mind. I suppose the scuttlebutt would be nothing new…what about Sickbay?”
“Well, technically you’re still on the leave I put you on when you tried to resign, so it’s still in the hands of Doctors Hill and Selar.” Beverly pursed her lips. “I see.”
“Beverly, stop.” She abruptly stopped and Jean-Luc tugged on her hand so she was facing him. “Something’s wrong…talk to me?” She sighed. “Sometimes…I wish we still had those psi wave implants.” Jean-Luc grinned. “You sure about that?”
“Well…alright, maybe not all the time. I mean, when I was with…that…thing….I’m not sure I’d have wanted you to feel…what I was feeling.” She blushed. He grinned. “I take your point, but maybe if you could have felt what I…” he trailed off, embarrassed.
“Yes?” He shook his head. “Later. Let’s get to our campsite first.” Beverly gave him a wry grin, but took off down the trail. “I don’t think it’s far, at least, not if we started where I think we started . Do we have a map or a compass?” Jean-Luc patted the hip belt on his pack. “Do you want it?” She nodded and Jean-Luc passed her the compass. “Of course, this only really helps if I know what direction the lake is in….”
“Should be northwest of where we entered the holodeck. I didn’t program a long walk for us.”
“So, you know exactly where we should go?” He nodded. “Well then, why don’t you lead?”
“I thought it would be more fun this way.” Beverly rolled her eyes and stood to one side and swept her arm out in an ‘after you’ pose. “Lead me to our camp site.”
Jean-Luc led her to a small clearing, nearly identical to the campsite they had used twenty-odd years ago, and the same site she and Jack had taken Wesley to when he was three. She and Wesley had been back a few times after Jack passed away, but they hadn’t gone camping since he was 12.
“Just like I remember it.” Jean-Luc nodded . “I haven’t been here in years – the real one, I mean. You?” Beverly shook her head. “Not since Wes was about twelve. It was around that time when he became too cool to go camping with his mother.” She frowned.
“Ah, yes. I remember what it was like to be twelve.”
“Do you,” she asked with a smirk. Jean-Luc shook his head. “Right then. There should be a tent in one of these packs. Shall we get it set up?”
“Just one?” Beverly raised her eyebrows. “Well…I can have the holodeck provide a second one if you’d prefer. I’m sorry. I wasn’t…I wasn’t really thinking, was I?”
“No, no, it’s fine. We all shared a single tent twenty years ago. Why would you think to get two when it’s just the two of us?” Jean-Luc chuckled. “And Jack rolled over and cuddled me instead of you.” Beverly snorted. “Walker and I couldn’t stop laughing. Especially when Jack went to cop a feel and got a very interesting surprise…” Jean-Luc blushed. “Don’t remind me.”
“From what I recall, you seemed to like it,” she smirked. “Beverly! I was sleeping. Someone touched me, of course I was going to react!”
“Hmm. Did you think it was me?”
“I don’t remember.” Beverly snorted again. “You’re lying. Oh, for the psi implants. Remember, I’ve seen your dreams!” She giggled with glee. Jean-Luc sighed. “I am never going to live that one down, am I?” Beverly leaned over and kissed his nose. “Nope!”
Jean-Luc just shook his head. He was grateful for her playfulness though. Perhaps she was beginning to heal if she was acting more like herself. He laid out the tent poles and studied them. Beverly leaned over and passed him a sheet of instructions. “Thanks. I think this is a two-person job.”
They struggled to get the tent together after a breeze blew away the instruction sheet, causing Beverly to laugh. “Think you programmed that weather in a little too well.”
“We’re almost done. Now, I think we just need to peg in these guy ropes so the tent doesn’t collapse when we go inside. I can do that, if you could unroll the bedrolls?”
“Thank goodness for self inflating mattresses.” Beverly tugged the packs into the tent and unhooked the rolls from the bottom of each bag. After unrolling and pressing the inflate button, Beverly was left with deciding where to place each bed. She remembered you didn’t want to be touching the side of the tent while you slept or you’d get covered in condensation, which would in turn make you cold. But placing the beds in the middle…did she give them a small berth between or place them touching?
When they had slept on KesPrytt, they had started out sleeping side-by-side with their backs touching until Beverly had complained and Jean-Luc had told her to use his shoulder for a pillow. She grinned, remembering how he had gingerly wrapped an arm around her and she had fallen asleep listening to the steady beat of his artificial heart until his dream woke her up. She placed the beds side-by-side and zipped the two sleeping bags together to form a double sleeping bag. If Jean-Luc had programmed the night cycle as accurate as the day cycle, they would want to share their warmth as Beverly hadn’t seen any heating devices in either packs.
Beverly listened to Jean-Luc hammer the pegs into the ground as she looked through her pack. She pulled out both a bikini and a one-piece and laughed, despite also thinking it was thoughtful of Jean-Luc to pack both for her. She called out, “I’m going to change now.”
“Alright, I won’t peek.” She laughed. “Shall I put on a shadow show for you?”
“It’s not dark enough for that yet. Maybe tonight.” Laughing, she finished changing and poked her head out of the tent. “I’ve got my suit on now. Your turn.” She crawled out of the tent and Jean-Luc’s mouth went dry. “Uhh….”
“What? You picked this.” Jean-Luc rubbed the back of his neck. “Yes…well…I wasn’t sure…what you wanted…uhh…you look…nice. Really nice.” Jean-Luc licked his lips and Beverly grinned. “Go change. I want to take a dip in the lake.”
“Sure. Just let me get the fire going first so we have something to warm us up when we’re done.”
Beverly walked into the water up to her ankles and shivered. “I forgot how cold the lake was.”
“We’re halfway up a mountain, what did you expect?”
“True,” Beverly dipped her hand in and splashed Jean-Luc, cold water hitting his chest. “Hey!”
“Cold, isn’t it?” She smirked. Jean-Luc wandered over to her and lifted her up in his arms. “Jean-Luc…put me down! You’re going to drop me and I’m going to hit my head on the rocks. Put me down!” Jean-Luc grunted. “You’re not that heavy.” He carried her until the water was hitting his chest and then he unceremoniously dropped her in. She came up sputtering. “Why you!” She reached for his shoulders and pushed down on him until he was under water. He came up laughing. “I deserved that.”
“Yep.” Beverly swam away from him then, performing perfect strokes towards the centre of the lake where a small wooden platform was. She turned around and swam back towards him. “I love swimming in lakes. So much more fun than doing laps in the swimming pool.”
“True, but the pool is heated.”
“Can’t fault you there.” Beverly crossed her arms over her chest, conscious of her nipples puckering in the cold. “Aren’t you going to swim?”
“I quite enjoy watching you. But yes, I think I’ll do a few ‘laps’ myself.” The two friends swam together, trying hard not to turn it into a competition, but they couldn’t help themselves and started racing each other. When they finished, Jean-Luc laughed. “That was fun. I feel younger.” They headed for the shore and Beverly shivered in the air. “Stay here, I’ll bring a towel closer.”
“Thanks.” Jean-Luc glanced at her before turning his back and groaning. Why was it so hard for them to be in a relationship with each other? What he really wanted to do was to sweep her into his arms and kiss her, but instead he pulled towels out of their packs and tied one around his waist before heading towards the shore with a towel for Beverly.
Beverly watched him walk away and grinned. He really did have a nice looking backside. He brought a towel to the shore, and she wrapped it around herself under her armpits and wrung out her hair. “Ugh, my hair is going to be so tangled after this.”
“I packed a brush.” Beverly raised her eyebrows. “I’m surprised.”
“Ha. Ha. Let’s pick on the bald man.” Beverly lightly ran her hand over his head and he closed his eyes. “I like my men bald.” She kissed the top of his head. “I’m going to go change into some dry clothing. What’s for dinner?”
“Fire should be going nice by now. I put a few potatoes and some corn on the cob in there before I joined you, they should be cooked by now. I did cheat slightly. I planned for steak to be delivered right about now.” A transporter beam activated and two large plates arrived, filled with steak fillets and salad, along with two glasses of wine, the rest of the bottle, and two pots of chocolate mousse. Jean-Luc shook his head.
“Guinan. I only asked her to beam in steak for our dinner.” Beverly reached for one of the glasses and took a sip. “Your vineyard, I think.”
She turned and went into their tent and rummaged for something comfortable to wear. Fortunately, Jean-Luc had packed her a pair of sweatpants and a camisole, but she grinned and dug though his pack until she found one of his soft shirts and pulled it on instead. She emerged carrying a brush, and Jean-Luc merely raised his eyebrows and shook his head as he went to have his turn at changing.
Beverly was running the brush through her hair in front of the fire, trying desperately to detangle it. One thing she had forgotten was how tangled her hair would get swimming. Usually, she would just take a shower and wash it, but unless she wanted to ask the holodeck for a shower or wanted to leave, she was stuck with trying to detangle it. Jean-Luc came out and took the brush from her hand. “Let me.”
“Mm. Thanks. I was just thinking that if we weren’t camping, I would just take a shower and wash my hair to detangle it.”
“Do you want a shower? It’s not like we can’t ask the holodeck for one.”
“Hmm, but that would be cheating.” Jean-Luc grinned as he ran the brush through her hair. “I suppose, but then we also could have a toilet instead of the latrine block.”
“Alright, you’ve convinced me.”
“Computer, create bathroom complete with shower, toilet, running water and appropriate toiletries.” A large bathtub with a shower appeared alongside a toilet and a sink.
“Your shower, Milady.” Jean-Luc bowed and Beverly laughed. “Nice bathroom. Who programmed a tub that big? You could easily fit two…or more people in there….Computer, what file did you get this bathroom from?”
“Riker-62” Beverly and Jean-Luc both burst out into laughter. “Figures.” Beverly eyed the bathroom. “Walls. It needs walls. Computer, place walls around the bathroom and a door.”
Walls appeared and Jean-Luc pretended to pout. Beverly laughed and pecked his lips. “Be out in ten. Just need to wash my hair.”
Jean-Luc was trying very hard not to think about his best friend naked on the other side of the holographic wall when he heard the shower start. Instead, he made himself useful and spread a blanket out close to the fire for them to sit on while they ate. Beverly emerged and shook out her hair. “Thanks. That helps.” She sank down onto the blanket and Jean-Luc sat behind her to brush her hair. “It’s alright, I detangled it in the shower.”
“Hmm, I know. But let me do this for you.”
“Well, I won’t say no. I do enjoy having my hair brushed.”
The two sat in silence as Jean-Luc gently ran the brush through her hair. When he was done, he sat playing with her hair, running it through his fingers as it dried in the heat from the fire. Beverly finally spoke up. “I don’t know what possessed me,” she paused and started again. “No, I do know what possessed me. I don’t understand why though. Was I just vulnerable or susceptible?”
“Did the implants we had a few months ago do any lasting damage?”
“No, I examined you myself and looked over my scans. Once they were removed, we both returned to normal. I mean, you stopped hearing my thoughts, right?”
“Regretfully. I found I almost liked having you in my head.” Beverly laughed. “Sure, occasionally, but would you have wanted me in there constantly? Could you imagine?” Jean-Luc grinned. “Suppose not. Still, it’s good to know there was no lasting damage, though I still wouldn’t have minded a connection to you.” Beverly turned around to face Jean-Luc. “We’re always connected, Jean-Luc.”
“I suppose you’re right.” He leaned forward and placed a gentle kiss on her forehead. “Are you hungry? We don’t want the steak to go cold.”
“Mm, yes. And we don’t want that wine to go to waste.” Jean-Luc turned off the stasis field keeping their dinner warm, grateful for small technological advances. In the morning, he would have breakfast beamed to the campsite, too.
They ate together, exchanging the occasional friendly barb and when they were done Jean-Luc put their plates to one side and lounged back on the blanket and pulled Beverly against him. Beverly threaded their fingers together and tried to find the words she wanted to say to him. He was her best friend…and more. So much more. She took a deep breath.
“I don’t think I ever thanked you.”
“Coming after me. Rescuing me.” Jean-Luc grinned into the twilight. “Beverly, you don’t need rescuing. You’re quite capable of taking care of yourself.”
“Clearly not! I let a ghost…” she shuddered. Jean-Luc rubbed her arm with his free hand. “I know you’ve been talking to Counsellor Troi, but if you need to talk…I’m here.”
“I told you about Nana’s journals, right?”
“Hmm. Yes. You expressed interest in hoping you had a thirty-year-old lover when you were one hundred.” She laughed. “Nah, I like my men older.”
“Do you know I can’t light candles anymore in my quarters?”
“I had wondered. I noticed last night at dinner you were eyeing the candles on the table suspiciously.”
“I keep waiting for a green mist to come out of it and possess me.”
“No, that won’t happen,” he brushed a stray hair off her cheek and leaned over to kiss it gently. “I won’t let it.”
“Ah, but you can’t be with me all the time.” He grinned at her in the firelight. “No, but I can make sure I’m with you if a candle is lit.”
“You’ll have to come over the next time I take a bath then. I like to light candles when I bathe.” Jean-Luc groaned. “You would have to bring up being naked.” She laughed. “You and I…”
“We’ve been through so much together. And I think that’s why I was so afraid. I was afraid we would lose this,” she said raising their joined hands. “And I don’t want to lose my best friend.”
“You wouldn’t,” he spoke so softly she barely heard him. “I suppose…maybe that’s why things happened with Ronin. I suppose I was looking for someone who….”
“Wasn’t me?” She nodded. “Like, if I could have a romance with someone else, then you and I would just continue to tick on the way we have been…that’s silly, isn’t it?”
“No. I understand. I don’t ever want to let go of you, either. I never stopped to think what would happen if we didn’t work out. I just assumed we would and we would continue to be us.”
Beverly suddenly turned her head and kissed him. “I’m sorry. I’m so sorry.”
“What are you sorry for?”
“I’m sorry that I’m so afraid of taking that next step with you.”
“It’s alright. I think our relationship is pretty good the way it is. But if you ever want to be more….you just say the word.”
“You might get a girlfriend.” Jean-Luc scoffed. “Doubtful.”
“Hmm. There was Nella…and Vash…oh, and Kamala…and I can’t forget Philippa and Jenice.”
“Phil and Jenice were a long time ago. Jenice was before I even met you. Kamala was never a girlfriend, she just imprinted on me because I treated her well. Vash…I’m not sure I have an excuse. I’ll blame that one on Riker and his Horga’hn. And Nella….well, quite simply, my love, she wasn’t you. So no. I can’t say that a girlfriend would get in your way. What about you? Planning on dating anyone?” Beverly shook her head.
“No. Not after…well, I really haven’t had much luck, have I? I dated a man who wound up being a symbiot who hopped bodies, a man who turned into light, and then a man who turned out to be a ghost….I think I’ll stick with you.” Jean-Luc leaned over and kissed her. “I was hoping you’d say that.” She twined their fingers back together. “But is it alright if we don’t define this quite yet?”
“Of course. We have all the time in the world.” He leaned over and kissed her again.
Beverly shivered . Twilight had turned to darkness, and Jean-Luc really had done a good job programming in accurate weather. “Cold?”
“Just a little.”
“We could move the conversation to our sleeping bags.” Beverly turned and grinned at Jean-Luc. “About that. I, ah, zipped the sleeping bags together.” Jean-Luc raised his eyebrows and she smacked his chest. “Not for that! I just thought we could…share warmth.”
“Sounds like a plan. Do you need to change for bed?”
“Not unless you want your shirt back.”
“Tempting just to see what you would do, but no. You can keep it.” He turned on a small lantern so they could see to get into the tent and their their joined sleeping bags. Jean-Luc turned off the lantern and pulled Beverly against him. He kissed the top of her head.
“I think, I could get used to this.” Beverly smiled and wrapped an arm across his chest. She tilted her head up and gave him a chaste kiss on the lips. “Me too. Goodnight, Jean-Luc.”
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