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Beverly paced around the small space in her quarters  she shared with her husband, Jack Crusher, on board the USS Stargazer.  She and Jack had been married for almost two years, and had dated for three before they were married.  When Beverly was in her final year of Academy studies before entering Medical, her and Jack’s Best Friend, Captain Jean-Luc Picard of the Stargazer had given her permission to come aboard to complete her initial studies and once she received the rank of Ensign, she was permitted to begin her medical studies aboard the ship.  She was in the midst of  her second year of medical studies and would be transferring off the ship at its conclusion to complete her residency aboard Starbase 32.  But before she left, she and Jack wanted to ask their best friend for a very big favour. 

Jack reached out and grasped Beverly’s hand in his.  “Calm down, Bev.  It’s Jean-Luc.  He’s practically my brother. I know he won’t say no.” 

“Do you really think so?”  she hopefully asked her husband.  Jack nodded.  “Come, sit down.  Have a glass of wine while you wait.  Jean-Luc should be off his Bridge shift soon and he said he would come over after.” 

She smiled at Jack. “You’re right. But I don’t see you taking your own advice, Mister.” 

“Bev, this is kind of embarrassing.  I have to admit to my best friend that my...stuff...doesn’t work. “  Jack hung his head.

“Jack, its nothing to be embarrassed about. You didn’t know the radiation would have damaged things. Not even the doctor who examined you after knew.”

“Well.... I didn’t really think I was going to get married, let alone want to have children until I met you three years later...and by then, I had forgotten about the radiation.”

Beverly nodded.  Jack had been repairing a satellite and the entire away team had suffered from radiation poisoning.  Unfortunately for Jack, he found out shortly before he and Beverly were married that the radiation from eight years ago had affected his ability to produce viable sperm.  Beverly had poured over her medical texts and had done extensive research (and would even write a paper about the effects of radiation on fertility), but there was nothing that could be done to repair the damage.  In some situations when a male is infertile, they could extract DNA in other ways, but Jack’s sequencing was too damaged by the radiation.  Tonight, they were going to ask their best friend if he would be willing to father a child for them with Beverly. 

Beverly was nervous.  She also was attracted to her best friend and in the time that she had known him -  now spanning nearly six years -  Jean-Luc had managed to find his way into her heart, right next to her love for Jack. In fact, if truth be told, Beverly might love Jean-Luc just as much as she loved her husband.  She hoped Jean-Luc would agree to helping the couple, but she also hoped it wouldn’t make their friendship awkward. 

The chime sounded outside their quarters and Jack rushed to answer the door. “Come in, Jean-Luc.  Would you like a glass of wine? I know it’s nothing like the Chateâu, but it’s serviceable.”  Jean-Luc nodded to his friend and greeted Beverly with a kiss on the cheek. “Hello, Beverly.  I haven’t seen you in a few days.  Busy in Sickbay?” 

“I’ve been working on a special project, actually. “

“Oh?”  Jean-Luc raised his eyebrows. “I look forward to hearing all about it.” 

Jack indicated for Jean-Luc to take the seat on the sofa next to Beverly and began pacing.  “Jack, are you alright?”

“Err.....no. Not really.  Jean-Luc, do you remember when we had to repair that satellite?”  Jean-Luc nodded. “It was eight years ago, wasn’t it?  What does it have to do with anything?”

“The radiation.  It...affected me.”

“Are you ill?  Beverly, is this what you had been working on?  Do we need to get you to a base or a planet?  I’ll get you there as fast as I can. Anything for you, Jack. You know that.”

“Funny you should say that, Johnny....and I’m fine.  Well, I’m not fine, but it’s not fixable.  Uhh...Bev?”  Beverly reached out and patted Jean-Luc’s leg.  “What my husband is trying to explain to you is that the radiation exposure has left him infertile,” jean-Luc gasped. “We have been trying to figure out a way around this for the past two years so we could have a baby, but it’s not possible.  So, I’m coming to you as our best friend....Jean-Luc, would you father a child with me?” 

Jean-Luc stared open-mouthed at his two best friends.  “Uhh....”

“You...you can think about it if you want, Jean-Luc.  We’re not in a major hurry.” 

“I’m just...shocked...and honoured that you would ask me.  What would we...?  Would you and I...?”  Jean-Luc blushed.  It wasn’t that he hadn’t thought about his best friend in that way, but...she was married to his other best friend and Jean-Luc wasn’t sure if she should sleep with her, even if it was only to help create a child.

“We could do artificial insemination.”  Beverly grinned.  “But if you’d like, I can help you procure your sample!”  Jean-Luc’s blush, if possible, got deeper. 

“And the child?”

“Biologically, he or she would be your child, but the child would have Jack’s...my last name and Jack and I would raise him or her...they would call Jack their father, but we would want you to be in their life...maybe as Uncle Jean?”  Jean-Luc smiled. 

“And would you ever tell the child?”

“Only with your permission, and I think only if it became necessary.  Of course, their birth certificate would have your name on it as their father so we wouldn’t aim to keep it a secret.”

“I...see.  Beverly, Jack...” he reached out and clasped Beverly’s hand in his and reached his other hand out to clasp Jack’s.  “I’m honoured.  And...Yes.  If this is how you want to create a baby, I won’t stand in the way.  Of course I will be happy to donate my sperm to you for a child...or two...however many you want.  I don’t think I’ll ever have children of my own, so my only stipulation would be that you allow me to name this child my heir?”

Beverly squeezed Jean-Luc’s hand.  “I don’t want you to feel financially responsible for them.” 

“Jean-Luc, I would treat the child as if they were my own flesh and blood, you can count on that.” 

“I don’t doubt that, Jack. But please, let me at least provide for their future.” Jack mulled it over. Truth be told, Jean-Luc had more money that he did and if he allowed this, the child would be well provided for.  “That’s fine with me.”  Beverly nodded her consent too.  Jean-Luc gave each of his friend’s hands a squeeze.  “Right, so...when do we do this? What do I do?  Beverly?”

“Well, you’ll have to submit to an examination first.  Just to make sure there are no problems.  Then, you would give your sample and we would use it to fertilize my eggs.  We can either insert your sperm directly in me as if we had copulated, or we can combine your sperm with my eggs in a petri dish and then implant the eggs in me.  For the first method, we have to wait until my cycle says I’m ovulating.  For the second...we don’t need to wait, but we might wind up with multiple births.”

“Multiple births?”

“Twins....triplets...sometimes even quads or quints.  Because we would fertilize more than one egg and implant all the eggs in the hopes that at least one would implant itself.”

“I, ah...see.” Jean-Luc really didn’t understand biology, but he thought he would let it slide. “Which method would you prefer?”

“The first one, I think. Even if we do decide to have a second child down the road, I don’t think I want to risk the possibility of a multiple birth.  While medicine has come a long way, human bodies just aren’t designed to accommodate a large birth group.”   Jean-Luc nodded. 

“Just let me know when you want to begin.” 

“We could perform your exam tomorrow?” Jean-Luc nodded.  “Tomorrow is fine.”  Jean-Luc drained his glass and stood.  Jack stood and clapped Jean-Luc on the back.  “Thank you, Johnny.  This means so much to us.”  Beverly wrapped her arms around Jean-Luc and kissed the corner of his mouth. “Thank you,” she whispered.  Jean-Luc engulfed her in a hug and returned the kiss.  He whispered into her ear, “anything for you, Beverly. Anything.”

###

Jean-Luc had stripped to his shorts and sat nervously on the biobed in his ship’s sickbay.  Beverly entered the room. “Beverly? You’re doing the examination?”

“Is that alright with you?”

“Of course. You’re the doctor.”

“Well, almost.  But thank you for putting your trust in me.  But I thought we could also talk...I know this is going to be strange for you, having a child with me.  Are you really ok with it?”  Jean-Luc reached out his hand and gently cupped his friend’s cheek. A shiver went down Beverly’s spine at his touch, but she ignored it. “Beverly, I told you last night. I would do anything for you.  And  Jack.  You two and Walker are my family.” 

“Thank you, Jean-Luc.  You know I don’t have any family except for Nana, and I guess after this...well, we will always be family.  I don’t want you to ever feel that you’re not part of my family.”  Jean-Luc smiled.  “Right, so...what do we need to do?”

“Really, I just need to run some tests to make sure our DNA will be compatible, but since we’re both human, I don’t think that will be a problem.  Your heart doesn’t affect your testosterone, so no issues there...is there anything you think I need to know, as a doctor or as the mother of your child that you don’t want to mention in front of Jack?”

“I appreciate the discretion, Beverly, but I don’t think there’s anything.  If the child is a boy, he might develop Shalaft’s Syndrome.”

“Shalaft’s?”

“It’s an ear disorder...as far as I know, it only affects male Picards...at least, I know my Aunt Adele didn’t develop it, but father, Uncle Charles, my grandfather, and Robert and I all did.”  Beverly tapped out on her PADD. “Ah, I see. It causes extreme aural sensitivity.  Looks like a simple surgery will fix it if it develops.  I don’t think I’ll worry about that since it’s treatable.”   Jean-Luc nodded.

“When will we...?”

“I need to run some tests on myself and then I’ll let you know.  Jean-Luc, I need to be a little sensitive and ask you to refrain from sexual intercourse until we are ready....” she trailed off, noticing the grin on Jean-Luc’s face.

“Beverly, I don’t think that would be a problem.  It’s been...I’m not sure I want to admit how long it’s been since I had a willing partner.”  Beverly blushed. 

“I see.  Well, you also shouldn’t masturbate.”

Beverly!

“What?  I’m a doctor. Well, almost a doctor. I can talk about these things clinically. I understand that men need...release...if they aren’t...well...don’t do it, all right?”  She blushed again. 

“Beverly, is it hard to discuss this because it’s me you’re talking to and not a random patient?”  Beverly shook her head.  “If anything, it should be easier since you are my best friend....no, maybe you’re right and I can’t talk about you...masturbating because you are my best friend.”  She took a deep breath.  “But that’s what you’ll need to do when I’m ready to be inseminated...unless you want to have sex with me instead?”  Beverly winked at Jean-Luc and his mouth went dry. 

“Uhm...”

“I was only teasing, Jean-Luc.  I wouldn’t make you sleep with me.” 

“I don’t think it would last very long if we did,” He exchanged a knowing look with her. “I told you, it’s been several years since I...well, since I felt that way about anyone I could do something about it with.” 

“I, ah, see.”  Beverly puzzled over Jean-Luc’s strange statement but brushed it aside. “Anyway, you’re done here.  I’ll let you know when my cycle is ready. We’ll only have a few days to try.  If it doesn’t take this month, we’ll have to try again next month.”

###

Sickbay to Captain Picard.

“Picard here. Go ahead, Doctor Crusher.”

I need to see you in Sickbay as soon as possible.”

“I’ll be there right away. Picard out.”  Jean-Luc turned towards Jack who merely grinned at him. “Jack, you have the Bridge.”  Jack merely saluted at his friend.

When Jean-Luc entered Sickbay, his CMO, Doctor Greyhorse, was nowhere to be found, but Beverly was standing in the middle of the room grinning and holding a small receptacle in her hand.  “Is it?”

“It’s the right time, Jean-Luc.  I just need you to...make your deposit for me.” 

“Into that?”  He indicated the beaker in her hand.  “Yes.”

“In here?”  He looked around the empty sickbay, not really relishing the thought of masturbating where any of his crew could come in with an ailment. 

“We could go to your quarters, if you’d feel more comfortable there.”

“We?”

“Well...I’ll need to insert it right away. But I’ll stay in the living room while you...I won’t be in the room...unless,”  she spoke in a small voice, “you want me to?”

Beverly!

“For research, you understand...to go with the paper I’m writing....”

“I, ah, see.  Right, then let’s head to my quarters and see what I can do for you...”

The door slid shut behind them and Jean-Luc nervously turned towards his best friend. “I...er....well, this is awkward.” 

“It would probably help if you take off your clothing,”  Beverly said reaching for his zipper.  “I’ll help?” 

“Beverly....I thought you only wanted me to masturbate into the cup?” 

“Well, someone has to turn you on...do you not want me?  I can find you some erotica to look at or ask someone else to join you....”

“No, no. Of course I want you.  I mean...er....”  Jean-Luc blushed.  Beverly leaned up and gave Jean-Luc a kiss on his lips.  Jean-Luc’s eyes bulged out when Beverly deepened the kiss with her tongue and he pulled away.  “Beverly...I want to help you and Jack have a baby, but you’re married to Jack...I couldn’t...”

“It’s okay.  I told him I would...help you...”

“I see.”  Jean-Luc wasn’t sure he liked the idea of his best friend giving his wife permission to kiss him and help him to masturbate, but he supposed if it was to aid in the creation of his child...Jean-Luc drew Beverly into his arms.  “Can I see you naked, too?”  Beverly nodded.  Jean-Luc pushed her lab coat off of her shoulders and tugged down the zipper on her uniform while she tugged his off.  Jean-Luc wanted to reach out and touch her breasts as they were exposed, but he thought that might have been going a bit too far until Beverly slid her hands up his chest and tweaked his nipples.  Jean-Luc lowered his mouth to her breast and took her nipple into his mouth.  Beverly moaned and pushed his jumpsuit and boxers down his legs and reached for his penis.  She wrapped her fingers around it and gave it a light squeeze.  Jean-Luc moaned around her nipple.  “Oh, Beverly....”  

Beverly wanted more.  What did it matter if she slept with Jean-Luc to make a baby versus helping him to masturbate and then inseminating herself?  It’s not like she was cheating on Jack...right?  “Jean-Luc?” 

“Hmm,”  He mumbled against her nipple.

“I’ve changed my mind.”  Jean-Luc let go of her nipple with a soft pop as he straightened himself.  “You don’t want to have my baby?”

“Oh, no.  I do.  But I want you to make love to me to make it.”

“But...Jack?”

“We’re just making the baby we said we would....”  Jean-Luc swallowed. He wanted nothing more than to make love to Beverly..but was it right? He had offered to help his friends have the baby they wanted, but he hadn’t done it in order to sleep with Beverly.  He took a deep breath.  “Beverly, I didn’t agree to help you and Jack so I could have an excuse to sleep with you....but I would be lying if I told you that I didn’t want to.” 

Beverly took his hand and led him towards his bed.  She pushed him down onto the bed and finished removing his jumpsuit before she removed her own.  She laid down on the bed next to him.  “You have a choice.  You can make love to me and hope we make a baby, or you can masturbate into the little pot with me laying next to you.” 

“Beverly...I want to make love to you.”

###

Beverly and Jean-Luc never told Jack they had slept together, but the result was Beverly was pregnant, which was what they had wanted in the first place.  Jean-Luc thought it would be awkward after he and Beverly had slept together, but surprisingly, it wasn’t.  The hardest part was watching Beverly’s belly slowly start to swell with his child over the coming months and know that while the child would biologically be his,  the child would be a Crusher and not a Picard.  Jean-Luc vaguely wondered what his father would think of it if he had still been alive, and wondered what his brother would have to say.

 Wesley Robert Picard Crusher was born in July, a healthy baby by all accounts.  Jean-Luc was both delighted and shocked that Beverly had chosen to give her son his name, but Beverly explained that she wanted Wesley to have some ties to Jean-Luc.  Jean-Luc had been the third person to hold the baby after Beverly and Jack and he fell in love when the baby boy slowly opened his eyes and gazed up at Jean-Luc.

Beverly had to transfer to Starbase 32 shortly after Wesley’s birth to finish her medical training, but with Jack and Jean-Luc serving on the same ship they made sure they were frequently at the base.  When Wesley was two and a half, he had to have surgery to fix the Shalaft’s Syndrome he had inherited from Jean-Luc, but the surgery was simple and Wesley was soon babbling away to his parents and Jean-Luc again within hours of recovery. 

One thing that had shocked everyone was Wesley’s insistence of calling Jean-Luc Papa. Of course he called Jack Daddy, and Beverly was Mommy or sometimes Mama, but no one had told him Jean-Luc was his Papa.  But Wesley pointed at Jean-Luc’s nose and then his own and said “Papa nose!” when he was three, and he had continued to call Jean-Luc Papa. 

Jean-Luc enjoyed spending time with the young family, and he often wondered if he spent too much time with them and if that was why Wesley referred to him as Papa. Wesley attended nursery with a little girl whose parents were a triad, so Beverly assumed this was where Wesley had gotten the idea from.  No one discouraged it, and with the amount of affection Beverly showed towards Jean-Luc as well as Jack, she wouldn’t be surprised if people assumed they were in a triad, too.  She would be lying if she hadn’t thought about it, and she wondered how the two men in her life would take it.

She broached the subject with the men one evening after Wesley had been put to bed. 

“A triad?  I hadn’t thought about it...”  Jean-Luc looked over at Jack and saw shock registered on his face. 

“I don’t want to sleep with Jean-Luc.  No offense, Johnny.”

“None taken.”

“You don’t have to sleep with Jean-Luc.  I would.”  Jean-Luc’s eyes bulged out as Jack stood up from his seat and exclaimed “You what?!”

“You and Jean-Luc wouldn’t have to do anything with each other. I’ll marry Jean-Luc and then you’ll both be my husband  and I would sleep with both of you...individually, of course. Not together.  Unless you wanted that...” She trailed off hopefully.

Jean-Luc was ready to accept and agree, but it was obvious Jack was still apprehensive.  Jean-Luc reached out for Beverly’s hand.  “Beverly, I love you and Jack and Wesley, and I would be honoured to be part of your family in whatever capacity you decide on, but I think I will leave you and Jack to discuss this...I’ll be here, whatever the outcome.”  He kissed Beverly on the cheek before retreating to his room to leave the couple to discuss their options.

“Beverly, are you doing this so you can sleep with Jean-Luc?”

“N...no...I mean, I would sleep with him since he would be my second husband, but it’s not the reason I want to marry him too...I just think for Wesley’s sake....he already calls him Papa, and it would be good for Wes to have him around more...don’t you think?”

“Beverly, we agreed Wesley would call Jean-Luc  Uncle, not Papa.” 

“Yes, I know, but Wes obviously had other ideas.  And I think it’s a good one.” 

“Beverly...are you in love with Jean-Luc?”  Jack levelled a look at his wife.  He had his suspicions that his wife had fallen in love with his best friend, but he wanted Beverly to confirm it. 

“I...”

“Look, Bev...I love Johnny too. He’s my best friend and the biological father of my son...I’m just not sure if I want to marry him.”  Beverly looked down at her hands.  This was not going the way she intended it to. 

“I wouldn’t ask you to sleep with him...I don’t think Jean-Luc would expect you to sleep with him.  But I think we need to think about Wesley’s well-being. “

“So, you’re doing this for Wesley and not for yourself?  You know, if you want to just go sleep with Jean-Luc, go ahead.  He can be your...I don’t know. What’s the male version of mistress?”  Beverly shrugged.  “Look, let me think about it, alright?”  Beverly nodded.  Jack turned his back and retreated to Beverly’s bedroom.  “Go see Jean-Luc if you want.  I need some time to think.”

Beverly watched her husband’s back retreat into her bedroom before she walked down the corridor to Jean-Luc’s room and she let herself in.  Jean-Luc was in bed, shirtless, and reading a book.  A small pair of glasses were resting on his nose.  Beverly grinned. “I didn’t know you wore glasses.” 

“Only for reading the small text in some of these old books,”  Jean-Luc placed the book and his glasses on a side table and patted the bed next to him. “Why are you here, Beverly?”

“Jack said he needed to think.  He told me to...well, he told me to come to you.”  Beverly unzipped her uniform and tugged it off before going to Jean-Luc’s dresser and pulling out one of his shirts.  She removed her bra and Jean-Luc got a quick glance of her breasts before she pulled his shirt over her head and climbed into bed next to him.  Jean-Luc raised his eyebrows at her. “Oh, would you like to borrow a shirt to sleep in?”  Beverly grinned and rested her head on his chest.  “Just hold me?”

“Yes, dear.”

###

Jean-Luc awoke to a soft knocking on the door.  He roused Beverly and commanded the door to open.  Jack walked in and took in the sight of his wife in bed with his best friend.  She was wearing one of Jean-Luc’s shirts, so Jack was pretty sure that meant they hadn’t slept together the night before.  He took a deep breath. 

“Jean-Luc...I want you to marry my wife.”    Jean-Luc raised his eyebrows at his old friend.  “Are you proposing?”  Next to Jean-Luc, Beverly stretched  and sat up.  “So then, you think it’s a good idea?” 

Jack hung his head. “I think if it will make you happy, make Wesley happy, and make Jean-Luc happy...I will accept it.  But Jean-Luc,  I don’t want to sleep with you.  I, ah, definitely don’t swing that way.”

“Noted.” 

Beverly patted the bed on the other side of her for Jack to get in next to her and she rolled over and planted a kiss on Jack’s lips before turning back to Jean-Luc and kissing him.  “So..it’s settled then?  We’ll be in a triad?”

Jack looked over at Jean-Luc and nodded.  Jean-Luc kissed Beverly’s forehead. “If this is what you really want, Beverly, then I suppose the only thing I have to say is will you marry me?” 

Beverly laughed.  “Yes!”  She kissed Jean-Luc again with her back pressed into Jack’s chest.  The door opened again and small feet pattered across the room to the bed.  “Papa? Mama? Daddy? Sleeping party?” 

Jean-Luc swung his son up onto the bed and sat him on his stomach.  “ Yes, Wes. We’re having a sleeping party.”  And then he tickled Wesley’s stomach and the room was filled with the sweet sound of child’s laughter joined in with the laughter of the three adults as Jack tickled Beverly and Beverly tickled Jean-Luc while he was tickling Wesley.  

###

The three-way marriage was working out, much to everyone’s surprise.  As a Captain, Jean-Luc was  sometimes required to attend formal functions and he would take Beverly along as his date and Jack would stay home with Wesley.  Other times, Jack and Beverly would go out and Jean-Luc would stay behind.  The three adults would rarely go out all together as they saw no need to hire a child minder when there were three adults capable of looking after Wesley.  The Stargazer resumed its patrol of the area, and Jean-Luc and Jack maintained their separate quarters.  It was a rare occasion that found Beverly and Wesley on board the Stargazer, but when they were they stayed with Jean-Luc in the Captain’s quarters as his space was larger than Jack’s. 

Jean-Luc and Jack did not change their last names when Beverly married Jean-Luc, but Beverly changed hers and Wesley’s to Crusher-Picard, and any future children would also be Crusher-Picards.  Jean-Luc would have happily changed his name, but Beverly was against it, citing that he was too far into his career to have a name change.  She told the same to Jack, but Jack still liked to tease his best friend by using the name Crusher-Picard at every available opportunity.  When Jean-Luc married Beverly, Jack had stood on Beverly’s other side holding her hand.  In reality, Beverly now had two husbands and Jean-Luc and Jack were nothing more than best friends, but Jean-Luc and Jack liked referring to each other as ‘huband’.

###

Five-year-old Wesley bounced on the balls of his feet at the bottom of the gangway connecting the Stargazer to Starbase 32.  As soon as he saw Jean-Luc emerge, he was dashing up the gangway and throwing himself at his papa.  “Papa! Papa!”  He peered around Jean-Luc’s legs.  “Where’s Daddy?” 

“Err..he’s not here, Wes.  Where’s Mama?”  Jean-Luc sadly ruffled the boy’s hair and followed the boy’s arm as he pointed to where Beverly was waiting for him, her eyes rimmed in red from the tears she had shed.  Jean-Luc picked up his son and bounded down the ramp over to Beverly and stopped in front of her.  He wanted to kiss her and tell her everything would be okay, but Jack was dead and he honestly didn’t know if everything would be okay.  Beverly wrapped her arms around Jean-Luc and rested her head against his chest and sobbed.  Jean-Luc gently put Wesley back down so he could wrap his arms around Beverly. He held her close as his own tears fell. 

Beverly sniffed.  “Tell me what happened?” 

“Why don’t we go back to your quarters first.”  He leaned down and gave her a gentle kiss.  Beverly smiled and tucked her arm into Jean-Luc’s while Wesley held Jean-Luc’s other hand and the small family made their way to their quarters. 

“Where’s Daddy?”  Wesley asked as they entered Beverly’s quarters.  Jean-Luc knelt down in front of his son and took his hands in his . “Wesley...Daddy isn’t coming.  Daddy...Oh, my son, I’m so sorry. Daddy isn’t coming back.  Daddy...died.” 

“N-never?”

“I’m sorry, Wes.”  Tears filled Wesley’s eyes and he sobbed into his father’s neck for the other father he had in his life.  When his sobs subsided, Jean-Luc carried Wesley into his room and put him to bed.  “Papa, promise me you won’t leave forever?”

“I promise, Wes.”

Beverly was on the sofa, an untouched glass of wine in front of her. She tucked her legs under her and leaned into Jean-Luc.  “Jean-Luc, tell me what happened.” 

“Are you sure you want to know?”

“I need to know.”

“Johnny, we’re going to have to go out there and cut it off. It’s dead to us hanging there.”  Jean-Luc ran his hand through his thinning hair.  “Can’t we use a phaser on it?”  Jack shook his head. “No, it wouldn’t be precise enough. But Pug said he’d go out with me.” 

“I...ah... Jack, are you sure that’s really the safest thing for you to do?”

“Jean-Luc, we don’t have a choice.  I know it’s risky...but that’s what I signed up for.  If anything happens to me, I know Beverly and Wesley will have you.” 

“I want it known that I am not happy about this.  Especially since we won’t be able to talk to you or Pug.  But go suit up.  If we don’t hear from you in twenty minutes, I’m coming after you.”

Jean-Luc reluctantly watched as Jack and Pug donned their EVA suits and exited out the airlock.  He watched with his heart in his throat until he saw them disappear over the other side of the ship.  Ten minutes later, a loud blast rocked the ship.  Jean-Luc began to scan for his friend and when he hadn’t returned after another fifteen minutes, Jean-Luc knew something bad had happened.  He donned his own EVA suit and headed out to look for Jack and Pug.  He found Pug first, floating nearby with a look of horror on his face.  Jean-Luc tugged on Pug Joseph’s tether and floated him towards the airlock and went back to retrieve Jack. 

Jack was suspended motionless in the air.  There was a large gash across the chest of his EVA and his face was bloated and turning grey.  Jack was dead, and Jean-Luc didn’t know what had happened. 

“So...you don’t know?”

“No. All Pug would say was that it should have been him.  I’m sorry, Beverly.  I tried to keep Jack from going, but he insisted he needed to be the one to do it. Can you forgive me?”  Beverly rested her head on Jean-Luc’s shoulder.  “I know it wasn’t your fault.  The only question is...now what do we do?” 

“Do?”

“Well..about us...Wes...our plans....”  They had planned to add to their family and give Wesley a sibling later that year. In fact, Beverly had already gone off her birth control and they had been planning on trying for another baby on their next leave.   Jean-Luc smoothed down Beverly’s hair and kissed her head.  “Beverly, I love you.  I love Wesley.  And I loved Jack.  But I think the best way to carry on Jack’s legacy is for us to live.  Please don’t leave me.  We can still try for another baby if that’s what you still want.”

“I love you too, Jean-Luc. And you know I loved Jack. Will you hold me tonight?”

“Of course, my love. Anything you want.” 

The next several months were hard for Beverly, Jean-Luc, and Wesley as they mourned their husband, best friend, and father.  Wesley was terrified his papa would leave him like his daddy had, and did not want Jean-Luc to return to the Stargazer.  Truthfully, Jean-Luc didn’t want to return either and would much rather stay on the base with Beverly and Wesley.  But he couldn’t ignore his duty any more than Jack had, so with a heavy heart he bade his growing family goodbye.  

Being back on the Stargazer was hard for Jean-Luc, since everywhere he turned he saw Jack.  Even though the two had maintained separate quarters, they were usually together both on duty and off.  The tone of the crew changed, too. Jack had been the life of the party.  Jean-Luc spoke with Beverly and Wesley every day via subspace and told them both he would be back in eight months, where he was planning on taking a few months leave to be there for Beverly when she gave birth to their second child.  Little did he know, he would be returning two months sooner in a shuttle pod, having been forced to abandon his ship after it was involved in a fight with an unknown vessel.  After the long and tedious court marshall case involving the loss of his ship, and the birth of his and Beverly’s daughter, a little girl with a wisp of red hair they named Jacqueline after Jack, Jean-Luc accepted a desk job managing the Starbase.  It afforded him the time he wanted to spend with his still grieving family and gave Beverly some freedom to pursue her own career, as well.

When Jacqueline was three and Wesley eight, Beverly left for a six-month tour aboard a starship to take up a temporary position as a Junior Medical Officer.  Jean-Luc struggled to play single parent, but he supposed that was what he and Jack had made Beverly do when Wesley was younger.  He couldn’t wait until Beverly returned, and when she did, they all returned to Earth for her to take up a position at Starfleet Medical.  Jean-Luc wasn’t sure if he would ever return to the stars, but he wasn’t going to go without his family.  He knew as Captain, he would be able to bring his family if he wanted them on board, but he thought the children would be bored without other children around, and who would handle their education?

The opportunity finally arose for Jean-Luc to once again Captain a starship when he was offered the USS Enterprise.  Beverly, now a full commander in her own right, was perfectly suited to take up the position of Chief Medical Officer and there would be a school on board for ten-year-old Jackie and fifteen-year-old Wesley to attend. 

Jean-Luc and Beverly still missed Jack every day, but they were learning how to survive.