Author's Note: This story is an unauthorized sequel to "Infatuation" by Sasha_Anu, written with permission. The original story is at http dot slash slash sasha-anu dot livejournal dot com slash 133456 dot html, and I apologize for having to write out the URL that way but we all know that fanfiction dot net strips out URLs to avoid spam. This is much, much darker than my usual Q, or my usual Picard for that matter. Slash, with elements of noncon or dubcon, you take your pick.
The Bad Guy
The crisis is finally over.
It's taken nearly a month, and fifteen of his crew are dead, twelve more injured, the Enterprise limping to a starbase with damage serious enough that LaForge can't handle it without a starbase's resources… but a war's been averted and billions of people who might have died will live. It's a win, as little as it feels like one after the grinding stress of the past month.
Picard sits in the recliner in his quarters, sipping a mug of herbal tea since even when decaffeinated Earl Grey tends to keep him awake, trying to relax. What he wants is to go to bed and sleep for a week, but he's far too tense. If he doesn't take some time to unwind, he'll toss and turn and never get to sleep tonight – he's been too long running in emergency mode, and now that he can have the sleep he's longed for all these weeks, he can't convince his body it's all right. Maybe a book. Some nice relaxing distraction, a brief calming escape before bed.
As he's trying to think what he would like to read, he feels a sense of… something. A change in the air. The hairs on the back of his neck stand up and he lifts his head, just in time to see a flare of white light in front of him.
Oh, no. Not now.
Q is applauding, slowly and sarcastically.
"I'm impressed, Picard. I didn't think you'd be able to pull it off. Of course, there's that little matter of all the dead crewpeople you could have spared if you'd actually taken my help when I offered it, but then, it's not the first time your people have died for your refusal to take my aid."
"Your 'help', Q? When have you actually ever been genuinely helpful?"
"Oh, the ingratitude of mortal man. How quickly he forgets," Q sighs theatrically. "Do you truly expect me to believe that you don't remember the time I saved you from… a broken heart?" He presses his hand to his own… which, Picard recalls from last week, he actually seems to have in this form, beating like a human's. Picard goes cold. Q could be talking about Vash… but he's not, Picard is sure. The incident he'd put down to a near-death hallucination actually happened. Which means that Q may have saved his life, and certainly helped him to overcome some of the regrets of his past.
If he'd known for certain that any of that had been real, that it had actually been Q and not his subconscious mind, maybe he wouldn't have done what he did last week. Although, maybe he would have. He'd been far too tired, far too stressed, and Q had been the last straw. He'd just snapped. Humans have limits on how much they can take. Unfortunately, it's very likely that so do the Q. "I do all that for you," Q is saying, "and this is how you repay me… by humiliating me in front of your crew?"
There is nothing Picard can say to refute that. He can apologize, grovel, beg to make amends… but he won't be sincere about it if he tries. Q had it coming.
It had happened a week ago, in the heart of the crisis. Picard had been exhausted, beyond stressed, when Q had shown up to make snide comments about Picard's inability to solve the problem himself. Perhaps if Picard had played along with his game, Q might have ended up actually helping. Perhaps he'd have made matters worse. Picard will never know, because that wasn't what he did.
Something about Q's expression – perhaps the intensity of it, the focus on him quite giving the lie to Q's pretense of being a disinterested observer – had tipped Picard off, and he'd really looked at Q. Assumed that the physiological reactions Q's human form showed really did reflect something about his body. And he had walked up to Q, and in front of his entire bridge crew had pointed out every physical reaction that gave away the sudden revelation he'd had, the fact he couldn't believe he hadn't seen before – Q wanted him. Dilated eyes, sweating palms, accelerated heartbeat… Q might pretend to supercilious superiority, but Picard had finally figured him out, he'd thought. Q had been speechless, denying nothing, the shocked expression on his face revealing better than anything he could possibly have said that everything Picard said was true.
And then Picard had taunted Q, telling him that he would never get what he wanted.
It had felt good, to finally have the upper hand over Q. He'd known there would be consequences, eventually, but in that moment he didn't care. And he'd expected that Q would retaliate right then, either with his powers or with cutting sarcasm, and he was ready for that. He hadn't been ready for what Q had actually done – which was to snarl a completely unimaginative profanity at him and disappear, his expression almost hurt. Except that Q couldn't possibly actually be hurt by anything Picard might say, so eventually Picard has managed to push that last image of Q's face out of his head.
And now Q is back. Really, the only surprising thing here is that Q actually waited until the crisis was over. Picard has been half-expecting him the whole week.
The thing Picard regrets about what he did is not that Picard the man did it to Q the person, but that Q the godlike entity will make Picard the captain pay for it and therefore it was a mind-numbingly stupid thing for the captain to have done. That's not a tactic Picard is going to take with Q. "I'm sorry if what I said offended you, because I meant every word of it but it was an utterly stupid thing to say to a being as powerful as you? Please don't blow up my ship?" No. He's not going to go there. Better to go on the attack. Use reverse psychology and shame tactics and if necessary, provoke Q into making it personal, draw his fire so he won't take it out on the ship.
"I see. So this is the part where the omnipotent being comes to make the lowly, inferior human being pay for hurting his feelings?" Picard says. "I spoke truth that you didn't want to hear, and now you've come to punish me for it. That's very mature. Very fitting for a highly advanced being. While you're at it, why don't you make me kneel before you and sing psalms of praise about your glory?"
"If I were going to make you kneel before me, I'd have better things for you to do with your mouth than sing anything," Q says, and there is no playfulness in the statement, no humor. Q's expression is hard, his eyes dark and glittering, his tone as flat and serious as Q's tone ever gets. A frisson of some emotion that Picard chooses to interpret as fear runs through him. Is that where this is going to go? He could perhaps have seen it coming, given the nature of how he humiliated Q, and it's in the direction he's been trying to focus Q – it'd be personal, harming no one on the ship but Picard himself. That does not improve his opinion of the prospect, however.
"Forgive me," Picard says. "I've known for years how petty and vicious you can be, but I never actually thought you would stoop so low as to commit rape. Perhaps I've overestimated your ethics and self-control."
"I don't think you have," Q says, stalking toward him. Picard stands up so Q cannot loom over him in the chair, and so he has room to back away if he needs to, though honestly none of that matters… Q will get the upper hand if Q wants it. But at the very least Picard can refuse to cooperate. "You see, I've actually done some research, because I was wondering, why would noble, ethical, stalwart, self-controlled Jean-Luc Picard make such a stupid mistake as to provoke me like that?"
"I snapped. It happens. I was exhausted and in no mood for dealing with you," Picard says. Not that he's in any mood for dealing with Q now, either. "And I'm tired of you interfering with my ship and our missions because of some childish crush you have on me. If I'd been less tired and stressed, I suppose I could have been more diplomatic about it, but the last time I tried to reject you diplomatically you threw us to the Borg."
"That was diplomacy, back then? And to think you're one of the Federation's top diplomats. It's a wonder that your little civilization isn't constantly at war, if that's the quality of your 'diplomacy,'" Q says. He is now directly in front of Picard, looking down at him, occupying Picard's personal space. The speed of the pump in Picard's chest responds to the adrenaline coursing through him, and sweat breaks out on his palms and forehead and the back of his neck. Funny how similar the symptoms are to those of desire. He pointed out to Q just last week how these physiological reactions of the body Q had made for himself gave him away. Which is why he's in this position now, trying to hold his ground against an angry omnipotent being.
"Except it's not, is it," Q continues. "You can deal with anyone else – the Ferengi, the Breen, Troi's harridan of a mother, the Romulans, the morons you just spent a month trying to keep from killing each other… anyone at all, and you can be diplomatic. Except with me. A being with the power to reduce you to your component atoms with a thought, de-evolve you into primordial slime, throw you into the heart of a sun and then resurrect you and do it again, but even when you think you're trying to be 'diplomatic' with me, you're insulting and arrogant. And when you're actually trying to be insulting and arrogant, you succeed oh so well. I should have offered you the power of the Q. You'd have fit in with us far better than Riker."
"You knew I would never accept."
"Are you so sure?" Q takes a step forward, and if Picard doesn't want Q to be actually pressed up against him, he has to step backward. "You see, as I was saying, I've done some research. And I think I know why you can't be diplomatic with me, and why you snapped at me, and moreover why you snapped the way you snapped. I think, in fact, that I know more about your real reasons than you do."
"Don't try to tell me that you know my motives better than I know them myself; your credibility is rather low at the moment. If you understood humans as well as you think you do, you'd have known what I was going to do before I did it."
"You forget, Picard. I'm omnipotent." Another step, forcing another step back from Picard. Picard tries to step out of Q's way, sideways. Q simply follows. "When I'm actually paying attention, I know everything. And believe me, after that little stunt you pulled last week, you have my complete attention."
And then, without warning, they are suddenly in Picard's bedroom, Picard up against the wall face first, Q's bulk pressed against his back holding him in place, Q's arms pressed against the wall on either side, caging Picard in. Picard's blood runs cold. Yes, this is where Q is going.
"I've been scrolling back through time, reviewing your dreams, mon capitaine," Q whispers in his ear. "And it's funny how very often you have dreams where we are in exactly this position… in your Ready Room, on the bridge, one time against the railing in Engineering..."
"They're called nightmares, Q. Dreams of situations that frighten or horrify the dreamer. Perhaps you should do some more thorough research." With his hands on the wall, he pushes back against Q, uselessly. Picard's not so much smaller than Q's human form that he couldn't get the leverage to get away or at least get more space if Q were actually human, but Q is an immovable object, his inertia seeming to have a much higher value than his mass would suggest, and he doesn't budge.
"Oh, they're nightmares, all right, but you don't react to them the way you do to… oh, say the dreams where your father's alive and chastising you for some decision you made, or the dreams where things go wrong and the ship blows up. Or the dreams about the Borg." Q is speaking directly in his ear, his breath warm against Picard's neck. Involuntarily Picard shivers. "They're nightmares because you wake up feeling ashamed of yourself. Because you dream, quite often, that I take you by force. And you enjoy it so much that when you wake up, you've made a mess of your sheets, like an over-hormonal teenager dreaming of his first crush."
"They're dreams," Picard says sharply. "I can't control them, and they're often ridiculous. I've also dreamed of having sex with Ambassador Troi."
Q laughs, low and menacing. "That was the wrong example, Picard. Dear Lwaxana knows you think she's hot, that's why she chases you. Poor confused telepath doesn't know quite what to do with the fact that you also think she's obsessive, clingy, and completely annoying, and you wouldn't touch her with a ten meter pole anyway even if she weren't because she's the mother of one of your senior staff." Q presses against him. Picard can feel the warmth of the entity's adopted body against his back, can feel… oh, God, is that an erection pressing up against his lower spine? His mouth is dry, his artificial heart is… well, not pounding, it doesn't pound, but whirring hard enough that he can actually feel it.
"Q, don't do this," he whispers.
"Don't do what? Don't confront you with the truth about yourself? Isn't that exactly what you did to me last week?"
"I didn't have you shoved up against a wall in a compromising position when I did it," Picard snaps.
"Au contraire, mon capitaine. You actually did. Admittedly not the same compromising position, but then pushing me up against a wall face first wouldn't really have added much weight to your argument that I wasn't going to have you." One of his caging hands drops down to wrap around Picard's chest, stroking him through the fabric of the uniform. "But that's not what you mean, is it? What you really want to say is, 'Q, don't rape me.'"
"Fine, then. Don't rape me. Please," he adds, because he thinks maybe things have gone too far for sheer bravado to work and he's going to have to humble himself. Q isn't really going to go through with it – is he? Q didn't actually allow the Borg to destroy the ship, he didn't actually make Picard live out the life of a colorless minor functionary… surely he won't do this?
"Can't rape the willing, Jeannot," Q says, using a French diminutive that Picard hasn't heard for himself since he was six. "See, I've figured it out. You want me; you've wanted me for years. But you have all sorts of reasons in your head why you shouldn't have me. Q is too dangerous. Q could threaten the ship. Q is too alien. Your duty, your ship, your crew. Yadda yadda."
"There are actually Starfleet regulations against any close liaison with you. Or, in fact, overtly encouraging your attention."
"Yeah, yeah, but you wrote those regulations, so I hardly think they'd call you on the carpet for breaking them. Besides, what would you call telling me in front of your entire bridge crew that you think I'm infatuated with you, and taunting me about it, if not 'overtly encouraging' my attention?"
"It was a mistake. I already admitted as much," Picard says, breathing hard. This is, in fact, rather disturbingly like several erotic dreams he's had… but the fact that it's real and both he and Q will have to deal with any consequences from it makes it completely different. "Is that what you want? For me to apologize? To grovel in front of you?"
"No, I want what you wanted." There's an edge in Q's voice. "I want to tell you that I know the truth, that you're not fooling me. Isn't that what you wanted to do to me?"
"You seem to be after something more than a conversation."
"Oh, yes, and you'd love that, wouldn't you." Q's whisper sends shivers down Picard's spine. "Have your cake and eat it too. You can have me, and you can freely take no responsibility for it, because I'm the bad guy. 'Oh, I couldn't possibly have resisted Q. He's omnipotent.' Get what you want without any of the guilt, blame me for all of it. And that's what you want me to do, isn't it? That's why you snapped. That's why you did your best to rip my heart out of my chest, shred it to bits and stomp on it in front of your crew. Because you were hoping that I'd punish you for it, that I'd shove you up against the wall and fuck you so hard you see stars and make you come harder than any human has come before, and you would never, ever have to admit to anyone that you wanted it, or take any responsibility for making it happen."
Picard shudders. "Your ability to completely misunderstand humans despite all your power never ceases to amaze me, Q. I don't want any of that."
"No? What about this?"
His physical hands don't move, but there is suddenly an invisible, intangible, hand-like force on the front of Picard's pants, fondling Picard's erection through the cloth. Picard gasps involuntarily. "Human men who really, sincerely do not want sex don't react like this to being threatened with it, Picard."
"It doesn't matter whether I find you desirable!" Picard snarls, anger and humiliation and fear and, yes, lust, coiling through his body. The invisible hand is still there, and he wants it, yes, he wants more, yes, the shudders that have been running through his body as Q threatens to fuck him have been as much desire as fear, but he is the captain, he's a rational man with duties to perform and he cannot do this. And he doesn't want to. Even though he does. How can he possibly explain to Q? The entity has probably never experienced conflict between physical desires and rational requirements all his life.
"Yes, you can get me hard. Very good, Q. You can evoke a purely physical reaction in my entirely human, mortal, limited body. But I am more than my body. My mind, my reason, tells me that you are all the things you said I think of Lwaxana Troi, and more. You're obnoxious, obsessive, completely annoying, think of me and all humanity as toys to be manipulated at your whim, incredibly dangerous, and range from socially inappropriate to socially inept, sometimes even sociopathic. I may desire you, but I don't want you. I don't even like you. I don't want to have sex with someone who considers me a playtoy, an experiment in human reactions to be used and discarded. And if you force me into it, regardless of whether I find the experience physically pleasurable or not, it's still rape."
"And if it's rape, then I'm the bad guy and you don't have to feel guilty about having sex with someone you don't like, who doesn't respect you. You don't even have to feel guilty about enjoying it. You've got your rationalizations all set up, don't you, Jean-Luc? It was just a physical reaction, completely beyond your control. There was nothing you could have done to stop yourself from orgasming… half a dozen times. You can't fight me and you've already disassociated yourself from any responsibility for what your body feels, so you don't have to blame yourself for any of it at all."
Q's whisper is no longer harsh, no longer hard or cruel. It's suave, seductive, liquid sex. Picard's face burns with shame and humiliation as he realizes that Q might be right. It was such a stupid thing to do, to try to hurt Q, publicly, and it felt so good to do it, and he knew at the time there would be consequences but he doesn't think he seriously thought about what they might be… but could some part of his subconscious mind have been aiming for this? Because his body wants this, wants Q to do everything he's threatened to do and he's terrified, ashamed, furious because he doesn't want this, he wants to do what his rationality wants. He has a mind, he doesn't have to make decisions with his cock, he's better than that. But God, Q's hand, so warm and electric as it explores his chest, and that nonexistent invisible hand down there on his cock, and part of him wishes desperately there were no barriers and there were no good reasons not to and he could simply ask Q to take him, and a tiny part of him shudders with lust, not terror, when he thinks of the fact that Q may pay no attention to what his rational mind wants at all…
"If I admit that you're right will you go away?" he asks hoarsely.
Q laughs. "I like the bravado, Picard, but I'm reading your mind right now. I know that isn't what you really want me to do."
"It's what I have to want you to do."
"Yes, which is why it excites you that I might ignore what you have to make yourself want in favor of what you do want."
Picard closes his eyes and bows his head as much as he can while pressed against the wall. He feels beaten. His own mind is betraying him; he can't stop Q from reading his mind and he can't stop the dark fantasies playing in the back of his brain and he can't stop Q from trying to fulfill those fantasies and he can't stop the way that knowing that fact makes the fantasies grow stronger. He can't control any of this at all.
"It's too bad for you," Q whispers, still seductive and smooth, "that you were right the first time. I'm not a rapist."
He backs off slightly and lets go of Picard, allowing him to straighten up, turn his head and look at Q in shock.
Q's smile is utterly malicious as he steps backward, allowing Picard to turn around fully to face him. "I won't be the bad guy for you, Picard. Or the dark malevolent god of your fantasies. I won't let you dodge out of responsibility so easily. You want me? You're going to have to ask." The smile turns brittle, somehow, and the faint moisture he saw in Q's eyes when he first told Q that Q could never, ever have him is back. "And after the way you've behaved toward me… you're going to have to ask nicely."
There's a flash, and he's gone.
And Picard is left alone in his quarters again, tenser than ever and hard as a rock, almost shaking with relief, and shame, and frustrated need.
He doesn't think he's likely to get to sleep tonight at all.