Captain Jean-Luc Picard opened the doors to his quarters and walked in. Placing a stack of PADDS on his desktop, he slowly let his eyes adjust to the starlight that was the only accompaniment to otherwise dark quarters. Walking in a bit more he stopped when his knees bumped into the coffee table, sending a couple of stray PADDS shift. Bending over the silent form asleep on the couch, he lent down and gently kissed the auburn curls of his wife.
Beverly Picard stirred for a moment before falling back asleep, as Jean-Luc repositioned her Nana's afghan over her silent form. Reach over her chest he gently picked up the sleep bundle nestled on her mother's stomach, careful not to wake Beverly before gently cradling her to his chest.
Little Elizabeth Renee Picard opened one eye to see who was holding her before quickly falling back asleep in the warmth of her blanket. At only one month old, anyone could see the resemblance of her with her mother, a tiny tuff of auburn adorned her head and her crystal blue eyes were a mirror image of her mothers. The only difference in appearance from her mother was the tiny dimple on her left cheek, a perfect twin to her father's.
Jean-Luc smiled at his precious bundle before turning back to his sleeping wife.
Beverly looked so peaceful in her sleep, all her worries and fears just a memory. She hadn't gone back to work yet but Jean-Luc was sure there wouldn't be any hesitation when he offered her back on duty.
Due to complications of her having Elizabeth at an older age, she'd been off duty since her 5th month, ordered to bed rest and no stress. She had complained then, but Jean-Luc knew she wouldn't trade Lizzie for the world.
She was still a bit sore from labour, which had progressed easily until the last hour where she had passed out from exhaustion and pain. Elizabeth was a small baby barely weighing anything but Beverly's body had protested throughout the whole labour, barely giving her enough strength.
After she had collapsed Dr. Selar had immediately order a C-section and Elizabeth came screaming into the world.
The first couple of hours had been the most terrifying of his life. Beverly had lost consciousness and had begun haemorrhaging; Elizabeth had been whisked away as they fought to save Beverly's life.
Never had he seen so much dedication of staff for their boss, the medical crew barely stopped to breathe as they fought to save their bosses life. 2 hours later she was stable and sleeping, Jean-Luc not only got to see her but his daughter as well.
Though Beverly had been in so much pain, he knew she though that their daughter was definitely worth all of it, walking through those doors to see his wife nursing their daughter made everything fall together so easily, everything in this world was compete.
Though he couldn't bear to let them go, he had consented to letting Beverly go with Deanna to Betazed for a couple of weeks to heal and recuperate in quiet away from the hustle and bustle of a Starship. He'd unfortunately been unable to join them along with Will, since both of them had a ship to run, but Jean-Luc had made sure that weekly communications happened, even if he was swamped in reports.
He smiled every time he saw her on the screen, her face glowing and her hair no longer limp but bright and colour fully. With the mischievous look in her eyes coming back, he didn't envy anyone on Betazoid for having both Deanna and Beverly together alone without supervision.
He was awakened from his thoughts as Elizabeth began to fuss, waving her tiny fists around in the air, her eyes demanding.
"Shhhh ma belle" he quietly calmed her down, looking over at his wife as she slept peacefully. "Mama's sleeping, so you'll just have to wait for a little while"
Lizzie looked up at him with an annoyed look before beginning to fuss again clearly not pleased about having to wait for her meal.
Jean-Luc slowly walked over to the bedroom away from his sleeping wife, quieting his daughter once again as he walked through the bedroom door and over to the window that ran the length of their bedroom.
"Shhhh ma belle" he repeated, rocking her in his arms
Lizzie calmed down a bit, but Jean-Luc recognized the look in her eyes that she gave him that she was clearly not pleased with this arrangement. It was a look Beverly had given him a lot in the past 10 months.
Lizzie looked over her father's arms towards the stars that shone through the viewport, her little mind working through the possibilities. Jean-Luc laughed quietly at her curiosity. Having been only on a ship for about 24 hours before leaving for Betazed, she barely got to see the stars outside.
After staring out the window for a couple of minutes, Lizzie began to whimper slightly as her hunger began to take over. She was hungry and she wanted her mummy.
"Lizzie shhh" said Jean-Luc trying to calm her down, but Lizzie was tired of waiting and began to whimper louder.
"Jean-Luc" came a quiet voice behind him
Jean-Luc turned around and smiled at his wife, who stood sleepily by the door, rubbing the sleep out of her eyes, her hair dishevelled.
"Beverly" he said smiling as he walked over to her.
His wife smiled at him, kissing him on the cheek. Gently taking Lizzie, Beverly sat down on the bed and repositioned her daughter in her arms. Undoing the strap of her nightgown she lifted the infant to her breast and helped her find her meal.
Lizzie happy she was getting what she wanted, quietened down and happily filled her stomach.
Jean-Luc switched on the lights of their bedroom, diming them slightly to given the room a bathed orange glow illuminating his wife's hair. Walking over to the bed, he rearranged the bed clothes, discarded uniforms picked up and in the cleaner. Sitting down he leaned over and properly kissed her wife.
"Hello" he said breaking it off
"Hi" she smiled, kissing him again "I see that the quarters survived the past 4 week of bachelorhood"
"Don't worry about cleaning up, I'll do it" he looked down at his daughter "look after our little Angel and make sure she's feed" standing up, he began cleaning their quarters replacing books on shelves, clothes in the recycler and placing used tea cups in the dispenser. Cleaning off the dining table, he placed more discarded PADDS on his desk and replaced the clear plastic cover over the glass table.
Turning around he smiled at his wife who had stopped nursing their daughter, standing at the entryway of her bedroom. Having been burped and cleaned Lizzie had fallen back asleep, warm in her mother's arms with her stomach full.
Placing two plates of fettuccini on the table from the replicator, Jean-Luc stepped over his daughter's playmate, wrapping his arms around the slender form of his wife, kissing her temple.
"Thank you" he whispered in her ear.
"For what?" she murmured turning to him, her blue eyes sparkling in the dim light of the bedroom.
"For you, for our daughter, for loving me" he said
Beverly turned in his arms and kissed his lips softly, stopping she rested her head on the crook of his shoulder.
Jean-Luc bent his head slightly and gently nuzzled her cheek before lifting her face up with his hand, seeing the silent tears in her eyes he wiped them away, keep her chin raised so she couldn't duck away.
"Beverly?" he asked as more tears feel from her eyes
"The away mission on Vega V" came her quiet voice "you dismissed Will and went down to the planet" tears flowed freely down her face "You stepped in front of Ambassador Lin when they attempted assassination on her, you suffered serious phaser burns to your chest, and your heart had to be replaced" she turned around cradling Lizzie close to her chest. "We couldn't get any information about you, Lwaxanna tried everything but we couldn't get anything, we couldn't contact the Enterprise"
Jean-Luc walked towards her and gently rested his hand on her shoulder "Hey I'm fine now" he said quietly
"Jean-Luc, you voluntarily stood in front of her, you could have died" she turned her head away from him "Jean-Luc I can't be another Starfleet widow"
Her shoulder tensed under his hand, pulling away, she walked over to the window "I don't want to be a single parent again"
Jean-Luc wrapped his arms around her waist and gently held their daughter together "I promise to be careful Cherie"
"It's only your word Jean-Luc" she said looking down at her daughter in her arms, brushing a sole tear off Lizzie's cheek.
Jean-Luc rested his head on her shoulder and kissed the crook of her neck. They stood in silence watching the stars drift past. Beverly looked down the little girl in her arms and back up at her husband as he watched the stars roll past the windows.
"I'm going to put her down" said Beverly quietly untangling herself from his arms.
"I'll do it" said Jean-Luc taking Lizzie from her "You go have dinner"
Beverly nodded and watched him as he entered their bedroom. Jean-Luc looked down at the little girl in his arms as he placed in the wooden bassinet at the end of the bed.
Lizzie moved slightly to get comfortable before quieting down; Jean-Luc covered her small body before leaning down and kissed her forehead. "Sweet dreams ma belle"
Exiting the bedroom he smiled at his wife who was sitting at the dinner table, slowly twirling the pasta around her fork. She looked up and gave him a quizzical look as she noticed his look.
"What are you smiling at?" she asked cocking her head to one side
"You" he answered simply heading over to her.
Resting his hands on her shoulders, he gently began massaging the tense knots away from her neck and shoulders.
Beverly leaded back in her chair and contently purred as he hands worked magic on her tense muscles. Picard smiled at her response and began to work lower as he completely eradicated knots and tense muscles through her back.
Stopping he chuckled as Beverly made a sound of protest before sitting up in her chair and looked up at him with a slight frown "You stopped"
"I thought you may like to relocate to the couch, its more comfortable" said Jean-Luc holding out his hand.
Taking it Beverly stood up and let him lead her over the waiting couch. Sitting down first Jean-Luc pulled her down onto his lap as he stretched his legs out to the end and let her readjust herself so her head rested on his chest and her legs lay intertwined with his.
"Comfortable?" he asked as she snuggled down in his arms.
"Mmmm" said Beverly
Jean-Luc looked over to the coffee table and picked up his 'Complete Works of Shakespeare' he rested it over Beverly's body and began reading one Beverly's favourite Shakespeare works 'Othello'.
Beverly content to listen to his voice and heartbeat, slowly drifted off to sleep in his arms, comforted by the great works of Shakespeare.