Interregnum

A moment between The Best of Both Worlds and Family

He had been very ill, that much Jean-Luc understood.

He couldn't remember, which was probably a blessing, considering the intensity of the convulsion that had just now thrust him into a semblance of consciousness.

Eyes closed, he tried to gather his wits, focusing on what he realised were the familiar sounds and smells of his ship's Sickbay.

Somewhere - not far he knew - was Beverly. The soft scent of her was in the air.

She never wore perfume on duty, aware of its potentially deleterious affect on patients, but her presence carried with it a fragrance absolutely unique to her, or so he had always thought.

Grimacing against the surprisingly sharp pain of another spasm, the captain chanced opening his eyes and squinted against the subdued lighting.

It shouldn't have hurt, but it did. Everything did.

"Doctor?"

Recognising the querying voice as Counselor Troi's, Jean-Luc briefly wondered why she was there but it was such an effort to concentrate so he let it go.

It was challenging to try to keep his eyes open and he closed them again; the darkness providing some measure of relief.

And then Beverly was with him; her warm fingers gently brushing his forehead, before coming to rest against the side of his face. Jean-Luc sighed in gratitude and leant further into the comfort of her hand. He felt the softness of her lips as she kissed him gently on the cheek.

He didn't understand why that should make him cry.

"You're going to be fine, Jean-Luc."

Beverly's voice seemed uncharacteristically strained and tight to his ears.

"I'm going to give you something now to ease the pain. You need to sleep some more."

With the hiss of the hypospray, his psyche drifted into oblivion, and in his mind's eye flashed the horror of capture and violation; that hideous creature cupping his chin, her lips grazing the grey husk of what had once been his face.

And he understood.