Anonymous prompt: Picard has some kind of weird alien (but harmless) flue and Q /tries/ to help :D
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Jean-Luc Picard pulled the too-thin covers over his chest and held them between his clenched fists. No matter how high he set the temperature he still shivered and shuddered under the sheets. His quarters were dark and quiet. At the end of his shift, he had been too tired to do anything but throw himself onto his bed in his uniform and try to sleep the sickness away.
He had consulted Beverly of course, but she had shrugged apologetically and told him that there was nothing she could do about it. The illness he had contracted from the Jarada during their last visit aboard the Enterprise was virtually unknown to Federation doctors – although Beverly was positive it was harmless. He had tried to ignore the queasiness and piercing headaches for most of the day, but a good captain had to know when to stop, and Picard had already reached the point where his body was begging him to stop.
So all he had to do now was endure the headaches and nausea and the odd, itchy green pimples that had grown all over his back and shoulders. Nobody knew exactly how long it would last, but Beverly had reassured him: his body was strong enough to fight away the flue in less than two days.
But there was one more thing he had to endure: something not entirely unpredictable, not entirely undesirable, but definitely and completely unwarranted. That something – or rather, someone – was now sprawled across Jean-Luc’s sofa in the far corner of his quarters.
“What do you want, Q?” Jean-Luc croaked, annoyed, struggling to keep his eyes open.
“Why do you always assume that I want something from you? Believe me, mon capitaine, there is nothing you can offer me that I don’t already have,” Q answered, flipping his hand and inspecting his fingernails with false indifference.
“Then go away,” Picard said, turning away from the entity and pulling the covers over his head, “I’m too tired to play your little games.”
There was a long, uncomfortable silence, interrupted only by the ship’s low humming and the captain’s ragged breathing. It was so uncharacteristic for Q to stay quiet for this long that Jean-Luc found himself wondering if he had said something wrong. Then he felt the mattress sink under the weight of another body positioning itself next to him on the bed, and he turned to find Q sitting cross-legged beside him.
“Look, we can do this the hard way or the easy way,” the entity said quite seriously, although his eyes gleamed with amusement.
“And which way means you leave in less than five minutes?” Jean-Luc snapped.
“The easy way.”
“Then that one.”
“It also means that I cure you with a snap of my fingers,” Q added, holding his fingers up in a prelude to snapping them.
Picard groaned. “You knew I’d never let you do that.”
“Yes,” Q smiled, “The hard way it is, then?”
Picard buried his head under his pillow. “I’m going to pretend you aren’t here,” he mumbled.
“Really, Jean-Luc, I don’t know what your problem is. I’m here to help – you could be on the bridge, commanding your ship, in less than five minutes.”
“The problem is,” Picard pulled his head out from under the pillow, “I don’t need your help. I didn’t ask for it, and I don’t want it. Let me suffer in peace.”
Q tilted his head to the side. “I like the expression ‘rock headed’. It applies to you so well.”
“Sod off,” Jean-Luc retorted.
Q snapped his fingers and the too-cold too-dark quarters were replaced by a warm white room. The light wasn’t blinding, but soft and relaxing. The bed didn’t seem to change, but Picard immediately noticed that he was now dressed in loose beige pajamas. Q was wearing a white shirt and black trousers and was presently standing next to the bed, holding a fuming bowl and pushing it into Picard’s hands.
“What –?” Jean-Luc asked, pausing to cough and regain his breath, “What is this?”
“The best Edosian soup you will ever taste,” Q replied, wriggling his eyebrows.
“Not this,” Jean-Luc said, as he took the bowl and placed it carefully in his lap. “This,” he added, with a gesture that covered the whole room.
“You’re being terribly picky, Johnny. But I can change the venue if this isn’t to your liking –”
“Why are you doing this?” Jean-Luc frowned.
“I just want to help, you ungrateful little troll-like creature.”
There was that silence again, heavy and awkward and unnatural. Q seemed to be at a loss for words – or was he faking it? Jean-Luc couldn’t tell. The entity’s eyes were impenetrable, but his mouth hung open, as if the words just wouldn’t leave it.
“A Q doesn’t need to justify his actions,” he shrugged, “I don’t know why, and neither should you.”
Jean-Luc simply couldn’t come up with an explanation to Q’s behavior. The entity was usually the master of deception, but right now his lies were transparent and his acting was bad. Picard suddenly felt uneasy, lying there in his pajamas with a bowl of soup in his lap. Maybe Q wanted him to know he was uncomfortable answering that question? That would certainly explain his unusual awkwardness. Maybe this wasn’t a game after all – maybe Q really wanted to help… Something told Picard that this was important, that he had grasped something essential about Q, something that had been there all along and yet had escaped him.
“Did you do all this for me?” Jean-Luc said, setting the soup aside and sitting up.
The entity was avoiding eye-contact. This new, vulnerable Q was strangely endearing. Picard watched him, more and more certain of the incredible truth behind the too-obvious lies.
“Q,” Jean-Luc whispered softly, “did you do this for me?”
A large smile painted the entity’s human face as he looked the captain straight in the eyes. “Now you know,” he said enigmatically. With a snap of his fingers he was gone, and Jean-Luc was back in his quarters.
Q’s voice rang in the empty air, though his corporeal form had disappeared, “It was about time. I thought your tiny brain would never figure this one out.”
The entity’s snarky tone held genuine affection, and Jean-Luc stayed up late that night wondering how he had never noticed it before.
Q loved him. And he felt that he could get used to it.
witchtrek prompt: q likes nail polish?
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“Why won’t you trust me?” Q whined. His hands were crossed behind his back and his mouth was curved into a childish pout.
“Should I answer chronologically or alphabetically?” Jean-Luc said half-jokingly, and was met with a fierce omnipotent scowl. “I just don’t like surprises,” he added, shrugging.
“You won’t regret it,” Q insisted, keeping his hands safely in place, behind his back.
Jean-Luc raised a suspicious eyebrow. “You haven’t tried to seduce me into this yet. Actually, you’re being uncharacteristically gallant about it.”
Q tried to look hurt. “You wound me, Johnny. I like to think that I’m always a perfect gentleman.”
Jean-Luc scoffed. “Indeed!”
“Yes, a perfect gentleman. And that’s why you’re going to be a good boy and close your eyes so I can surprise you.”
“This is ridiculous –”
“Close your eyes, Jean-Luc,” Q purred languidly, his eyelids fluttering over an entirely alien gleam in his human irises – a gleam Jean-Luc couldn’t resist.
The man sighed heavily. “Alright,” he groaned, “but if this is some sort of practical joke –”
“Relax,” Q chuckled, “I told you – you won’t regret it.”
“Alright,” Jean-Luc said again, eyeing his partner uneasily before doing as he had been told and closing his eyes.
There was a slight pause then he felt Q’s warm hands slipping into his. He waited as the entity kissed the knuckles of each hand, lips soft and tender and loving. Jean-Luc smiled to himself – he could never get used to Q being gratuitously affectionate.
“Can I open my eyes now?” he asked, curiosity tinting his voice.
“Go ahead,” Q whispered back.
Jean-Luc opened his eyes. The first thing he saw was Q’s gleaming gaze, staring at him expectantly. He looked down at his hands and surely enough, there was the surprise: his fingernails were painted a beautiful deep blue. He gaped at them, fascinated with their impossibly smooth surface. And then – just as he was about to look back up at his partner – a star flickered across his middle and index fingers. A shooting star, glimmering fleetingly on the tips of his fingers. Soon, it was raining stars over the dark blueness of his fingernails, and Jean-Luc couldn’t help but laugh gleefully at how utterly pretty the whole thing was.
“It’s beautiful,” he gasped, watching as a purple nebula formed on the flat surface of his thumb’s fingernail.
“Told you,” Q said proudly, although he couldn’t keep the delight out of his voice.
The entity held out his hands for Jean-Luc, and the captain took them into his. Q’s fingernails were painted a light blue, almost white in its immaculate brightness, and over it, little gray snowflakes were falling. They were even slightly cold to the touch, leaving Jean-Luc with the impression of real snow dropping soundlessly onto his lover’s hands.
“Now close your eyes again,” Q said, and Jean-Luc complied immediately.
“Another surprise?” he asked, and the next thing he knew, he was being kissed.
He pulled away just slightly, just enough to whisper, “I think I can get used to surprises,” and then nothing really mattered except Q’s lips on his.
Chapter 3: Snowing on Paris
It’s snowing on Paris.
Steady, slow, languid – the snowflakes fall like kisses onto the milk-white skin of the Earth. They dance around the Eiffel Tower and down onto the Champs-Elysées, and they swirl over bistros and empty restaurant terraces. Resting his chin on his hands, Jean-Luc Picard watches it all through the secret window in a little downtown building. The window is shaped like a giant ‘Q’.
He’s been staying here for the past three days. In this lovely, bright apartment, at the center of the City of Love – Jean-Luc Picard has been living in perfect harmony with everything around him. It makes him smile to think of it. He knows the bliss is temporary, and this gentle winter vacation was never meant to last. He’ll soon grow tired of peace and quiet, and then he’ll go running back to his Starship.
But for now, he’s sprawled naked on a large white bed, looking down at the large white city, holding a glass of white wine.
And a pair of very skilled hands is massaging his back.
“You know, Q, I could get used to this,” he whispers. There’s some sort of giddy playfulness in his voice that he hasn’t heard in quite a while.
“To what, mon capitaine?” Q drawls, “the landscape, the exquisite wine, or my mind melting massages?”
Jean-Luc laughs. “I meant the silence, but I suppose that was too good to last.”
Q gives him a light pinch on the backside, and Jean-Luc laughs again.
The snow keeps falling over the lazy city, and the clock on the side of the bed says it’s ten in the morning. Q continues his massage – very skilled indeed, those hands! – and Jean-Luc continues to watch Paris unfold in front of him, telling him all its secrets.
“I hope it snows some more tonight,” he says dreamily, “I want to watch the snowflakes from the Scaré-Coeur – I want to see them flicker over the lights.”
Q’s hands slowly slide down Jean-Luc’s back as he leans in and covers the human’s body with his own. “That can be arranged,” he smiles onto Picard’s skin, and then kisses him on the back of the neck.
Jean-Luc places his wineglass on the bedside table. He twists on the bed to face Q, and once they’re cheek-to-cheek, they smile at each other. It’s truly like a dance, a slow, sensual dance. Limbs intertwined, they press their bodies together. Q’s skin is soft. Q’s eyes are deep. Q’s lips taste like eternity.
“Everything is frozen outside,” Jean-Luc whispers.
“Yes,” Q whispers back, kissing the captain’s neck.
“Everything – even Time itself,” Jean-Luc adds tentatively.
Q nibbles on Jean-Luc’s ear. “Mm-hmm.”
“You froze time!” Picard exclaims, and he’s not angry, not really, although he wishes he were. To tell the truth, he’s actually… touched. Q thought of this not as a vacation, but as… a little piece of eternity.
Q looks up and into Jean-Luc’s eyes. “Oh come now, Johnny. We were enjoying ourselves. Can’t that be enough for once?”
And although this is usually a great way to start an argument, for once Jean-Luc agrees. “You’re right. It won’t do anyone any harm…”
“It won’t. And frankly I wouldn’t care if it did,” Q pretends to pout.
“You’re despicable,” Jean-Luc smiles fondly.
“I know,” Q bites his lower lip, “now… where were we?”
It’s snowing over Paris. And under a thousand dancing snowflakes, Jean-Luc Picard and Q will keep on dancing… today… tonight….
And a thousand years more.
Anonymous: an idea: in an effort to balance qs need for attention (unstoppable force)
and picards obligation to his job (unmoveable object), they eventually come to an
agreement and spend a decent amount of time most night cuddled up on a couch
while picard does paperwork/files reports/etc
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The captain’s ready room was quiet; the stars flickering through the small window in the corner; the vastness of space reflected in the aquarium. Jean-Luc scratched the back of his head and yawned.
“That’s the third time now,” Q said, placing his chin on Jean-Luc’s shoulder. “Maybe you should put that PADD down and –”
“Sois patient, mon chaton,” Jean-Luc smiled, picking his stylus up off the couch, where he had momentarily discarded it. “Only seven more.”
Q slipped his arms around Jean-Luc’s waist and pulled him right against his chest. “Seven more what? Minutes?” he whispered, his lips brushing the human’s ear.
“Seven more reports,” Jean-Luc answered, turning his head to the side – just enough to place a small kiss on Q’s cheek.
He was ridiculously comfortable, half-lying down, with Q’s long legs stretched out on either side of him… Doing paperwork had never been more pleasant. But patience wasn’t Q’s forte. Jean-Luc didn’t need to turn around to know that the entity was making a face.
“I’m bored,” Q whined. He wrapped one arm across Jean-Luc’s shoulders in a tight embrace and added, “Let me write those papers for you. I’ll do it in a nanosecond, and then we can put this couch to better use…”
“We had an agreement, Q,” Jean-Luc protested, although he couldn’t help leaning into his partner’s embrace.
Q’s hand slid down Jean-Luc’s chest and came to rest on his thigh. “I know,” he said, uncharacteristically reasonable, “Take your time, mon Loulou.”
This certainly was new. Never predictable, never obvious – Q was capricious by nature, and Jean-Luc was excessively fond of the unforeseeable.
“That’s it? No tricks, no games? You’re not going to… persuade me?” Jean-Luc asked, the corners of his lips twitching upwards.
“Not this time,” Q laughed, “But don’t get used to it.”
What happens when an unstoppable force meets an immovable object? They cuddle on the couch in the captain’s ready room until one of them falls asleep, PADD in hand, and the other gently carries him to bed.