Author's note:

This is one of my favorite things that I have ever written. I hope you like it.


There's a popular saying among people who have been hit by trucks: "I never saw it coming."

I've always thought that to be an interesting prospect. Nothing I'd know about, being what I am – we Q are infinitely superior beings with infinitely superior senses and can therefore see things of that nature 'coming' from miles off. Still, it's rather fun to imagine: some poor, stupid human, walking in the middle of the road, minding his own business, hears a noise, casually glances over to see what it might be and BAM! he's in a coma, laid up in a hospital bed, with his family around him discussing his life insurance policy with the doctors. Never saw it coming.

People say that it's the same with love, though I wouldn't know anything about that either. We gods transcend the pettiness of human relationships…or so I've always thought. Deep down, I can't help but wonder how much more enlightened and advanced and generally transcendental is a god who spends all his time fraternizing with the mortals he claims are so inferior. And it seems I am not the only one with these thoughts; my colleagues feel the same, referring to me as the odd Q, the strange Q, the irresponsible, incorrigible son-of-a-bitch. Some of them even go so far as to call me insane, though I wouldn't say that. Although that's the paradox of being insane, isn't it? not being able to tell if you are or not. I say I'm the sane one, and it's the rest of the universe that's off its head, but it could very well be the opposite. I don't know. I can't know. And that, I suppose, was why I was there that night, standing on the bridge of the nearly abandoned starship, the crew all down on the planet below for shore leave except for him, because he was the captain and the captain always stays with the ship.

"What are you doing here?" he asked, shifting his gaze from the viewscreen. I raised an eyebrow.

"Why does there have to be a reason? Why can't I just show up to…oh, have a drink, or talk, or whatever it is that" – I pretended to have to search for the word – "friends, is it? Friends. Whatever they do."

He sighed in exasperation. "There's always a reason with you, Q." His eyes bored into mine. "And we're not friends."

I gave him a mild look, then simply shrugged. "Of course not." I waved two glasses of wine into existence, picked one up and took a sip.

"Of course not."

That's another excuse people make, both about love and truck damage: "I was drunk." Humans blame so much on being inebriated that one would think that the moment they so much as touch a bottle they become mindless idiots without a vestige of common sense. Although this isn't terribly far from the truth, the almighty bottle can't be blamed for everything. Most people would have been just as stupid without it. And really, it doesn't matter whether we (or anyone else anywhere else, for that matter) were drunk or not during the actual experience. Because alcohol doesn't cause you to suddenly feel a completely different way than you did before – it simply brings to the surface all the controversial feelings you've kept bottled inside for so long. So the reason that Picard went from being 'not my friend' to pinning me to the wall of his cabin and crushing his lips against mine wasn't merely that at that point we'd both had far too much alcohol than was good for us. It was that he had never really lost that attraction, never really gotten over that 'love at first sight' feeling he'd had when we first met.

And I kissed him back because I hadn't either.

We went far and fast, ripping off each other's clothes (literally: I can still remember the satisfying sound the black and burgundy uniform made as it tore), our hands roaming over every inch of the other's body, more and more and faster and harder until –

BAM! we're waking up in a tangled mess on the floor, amidst the copious amounts of pillows I'd conjured up the night before, and his eyes open sleepily and he looks at me and blinks a few times, confused, and then suddenly he remembers and he closes his eyes and he says,

"Oh, shit."

And I say something snarky in reply, because that's who I am, after all, but inside I'm expressing the exact same sentiment, though of course for a different reason than Picard is. Because for him it's all about the sex, and that aspect of it…very typical of humans. Typical of most of the races capable of the act, really, but humans in particular. They seem to be obsessed with it, as if it's what keeps the universe in existence, as if it's the only important thing in life, when all it really is is another petty desire amongst billions of petty desires. Once one gets to be my age, they've done the deed so many countless times with so many countless people in so many countless forms that nothing, and I mean nothing, surprises them anymore. But Picard, having lived no more than an eyeblink in the estimations of a Q, has not been enlightened to this, nor done it one-millionth of as many times as I have, and so that's what he's going on about, how 'wrong' it is, and how he 'couldn't believe he'd done this', and how it's going to 'affect his career' (as if it's any of Starfleet's business who he shares his bed…er…floor…with).

And so, this hardly being the first time I'd sat the morning after such a night listening to someone else's neurotic rambling, I eventually tune him out, and my mind goes back to my own startling revelations. Because as I sit here, waiting patiently, wondering when, if ever, he's going to shut up, I realize that this isn't just an ordinary one-night stand. It should be, and I shouldn't care, but I do anyway, and the full force of that and what it means hits me, and my mind is frozen like the proverbial deer in the headlights, Q in the headlights of a colossal truck traveling twelve times the speed of light, coming right at me, and all I can do is stand there in the middle of the road like an idiot and claim afterwards that I never saw it coming.

It isn't the fact that he's a much lesser being than I and that it's oh-so-improper of me (a god!) to feel this way that's bothering me (although it has crossed my mind). It's something else, something I mentioned before, about his lifespan. Because in 30 or so years, Picard will be gone, and I, the immortal, will live on, forever and ever, alone. Well, not really alone, in a strictly physical sense – there's a whole universe out there, after all, and plenty of beings to play with. But he wouldn't be one of them, and as I sit here listening to him babble on I suddenly feel depressed, because a millennium from now I'll be…oh, somewhere, and I'll long for this, and I won't be able to have it. Sure, technically I can; I'm omnipotent, after all, and I could easily indefinitely prolong his lifespan or bring him back from the dead, but I doubt he'd voluntarily agree to that, and if I did it without his permission he'd just be terribly sour at me and probably wouldn't talk to me at all. I could make him talk to me, I suppose, but, you see, that's not the point. The point is that soon Picard will fade away from this life and go on to whatever happens afterward, and I'll be left to go mad, absolutely mad. Because I will, without him. I'll just…lose it ('it' being whatever sanity I have left).

And as I sit here, feeling sorry for myself, I look down at the scene as if watching from outside myself and I think,

Shut up.

Shut up with your whining.

Shut up with your 'oh, how it's going to suck a millennium or two from now.'

Because it isn't a millennium or two from now, is it? And it isn't a millennium or two ago, either. It's now, it's today, it's this very moment – and I'm here with him on the Enterprise and it's probably a beautiful morning –not that anyone can tell in space, but whatever – and the ridiculous amount of pillows we're lying on is actually quite comfortable and his face is inches from mine so I lean in and kiss him, because that's what life is: not about the past or the future but the present, the now, and the potential that the now has for being equally terrible and wonderful. And so I kiss him, and as I begin to gently push him back down I think to myself that perhaps the most important thing I've learned in all my years of omnipotence is that even infinitely superior beings can be taken by surprise, even Q can fall in love –

And even mad gods need someone to pray to, every now and then.


To whom do mad gods pray? Englishmen?

– I,Q