Series: Star Trek: The Next Generation
Disclaimer: They, and their universe, are not mine. Really. They belong to the mighty Paramount. Not for profit, of course.
Notes: Part of the Slash Advent Calendar Challenge situated at: http://www.kardasi.com/Advent Thanks again to my super wonderful beta, Sara. Because of her this story should be at least coherent. These ::: ::: are for someone's thoughts. My second fanfic ever, written in a rush on little sleep. Beware.
BRAND NEW DAY
"A ship there is and she sails the sea,
She's loaded deep as deep can be;
But not so deep as the love I'm in,
I know not if I sink or swim."
--Anon., "The Water is Wide"
Q lay sprawled out over the warm sand. Thankfully it wasn't very coarse sand, as he was completely nude, and allowing his current form to feel the total range of sensations it was capable of. Letting his hand roam over the lovely, fit form beside him, an indulgent smile played on his lips. Idly he wondered what his companion, currently asleep next to Q, would think about the change of location upon awakening.
:::Simply gorgeous.::: The entity ran his palm over the other's backside, presented so nicely, as the sleeping one was on his stomach. :::I suppose I risk his anger pulling him away like this. But I've been behaving so well up until now.:::
The sky was nearly empty, but for the burning sun. The sea folded gently upon the shore, leaving its salty trace behind. And though there were signs of some sort of planned civilization, all was deserted. Silent, save for the waves and wind.
The dreamer woke. Rolling over gracefully, body gleaming in the fierce light. Sand clung to bare skin, accenting rather than concealing his nakedness. "Hmm. Somehow I don't imagine my bed is quite this gritty." The captain's deep baritone voice was deceptively mild.
Lost in listening to Picard speak, Q didn't allow himself to worry. Instead, he leaned forward and lightly brushed his lips across the other's mouth. "Be free for once, mon ami. Worlds won't come to an end while you relax." :::I've seen to that.::: The entity sent the meaning, though not the actual words, of the thought to Picard.
The captain barely noticed. He shivered with desire, the light kiss and nearness of his lover filling him with need. Battling with this was the nagging feeling that he ought to be at least slightly annoyed at the fact that he was brought unknowing from his bed to...wherever they were.
"Q, dare I ask?"
"As to the where, it's not important. And the why will be answered in time."
"How typical of you, Q. I would have been surprised if you had given me a straight answer."
"Oh, well, I'd hate to become too predictable. Perhaps..." And so saying, Q pulled Picard to him and began trailing kisses down the man's body. Over his chin, down his throat, across his chest...
"I don't think--" Picard was getting breathless now.
"Exactly. Don't think."
"But can't this wait until later?" The captain now bit back a moan.
"You tell me." And so saying, Q slowly dragged his tongue along the length of Picard's cock, already mostly erect. It instantly stiffened completely, the captain desperately trying to keep quiet while his hips thrust upwards involuntarily. :::Do you want this?::: Q seductively curled the thought around Picard's mind.
:::I'll take that as a yes.::: The entity again thought this at the captain, his mental voice a purr.
Picard reflexively strained to press his aching cock against that teasing mouth. Q was touching Picard with only his tongue, first swirling it around the head, then sliding it along the opening at the tip; tasting the drops of moisture there. "Are you going to continue to taunt me or are--"
The captain was startled into silence. His hands had been reaching for that dark head between his legs, but were now pined down at his sides by some unseen force. Q had also, with his all too visible hands, pressed down on Picard's hips, holding him still.
The instinctive urge to struggle disappeared as his erection was engulfed in one smooth eager motion. That perfect, wet, hot mouth, sucking strongly. The clever tongue joining in, to drive all thoughts to that one point of his body. It was too much, and not enough. He wanted to be free to touch back in some fashion. No sooner had the thought entered his mind, then several invisible 'hands' began caressing him all over. Rubbing across his face, his lips. Across his shoulders and down his sides. Caressing his chest and pinching his nipples. The experience quickly became overwhelming.
His climax was upon him. "Q!" Picard shouted as he came. Q's fingers dug into the human's hips at the declaration. The alien thrust into the rough sand, coming hard. Q then let Picard's cock fall from his mouth. Q sat back on the sand and gestured to a spot beside him. The man slowly moved to sit next to Q, leaning against him.
"That was...thank you," Picard spoke, sounding raw.
Q turned to him, the entity's face full of some strong emotion. He stared intently at Picard before speaking. "Do you realize how much I love you?"
"Yes, I think I'm beginning to."
Q blinked at him and said nothing. At that moment Picard wished rather fervently that he could read Q's mind. "And you love me," Q said. It was half statement, half question.
"Of course. Do you doubt it?"
Rather than answer, Q stood and pulled the human to his feet. "Come with me. I have things to show you before the sun sets." He paused for a second. "Ah yes. Before I do, there is a little something I need to take care of." With a snap of his fingers, they were cleaned and dressed. It wasn't the typical Starfleet uniforms they usually wore, however. Each was dressed in loose, casual clothing as fitted the climate.
"Shall we?" Q went to take Picard's hand. Apparently he didn't doubt that the captain would accompany him. It soon became equally apparent that he was wrong.
"Wait. I am not going anywhere with you until you explain this." The captain gestured out around him. "I have a feeling that things here are not what they seem. We are in a place that appears to have been molded by some sort of sentient society, yet I see no signs of these same life forms. These structures," Picard walked off the sand onto a paved path, reaching out to place his hand on a kiosk type building, "they show no sign of decay. No evidence that they have been standing unoccupied for any length of time. Additionally, I see no immediate evidence to explain the disappearance of those that must have lived here."
The captain now turned around to face the entity. "Q, what exactly is going on here?" He was frowning.
"Even when you're angry you're beautiful."
"What?" Picard was completely nonplused.
"Never mind, Jean-Luc. I will explain the discrepancies you describe. Or rather, I'll show you." With that he raised his hand and snapped. Slowly, in a manner most surreal, humanoids began to appear. It seemed almost as if they gradually poured into existence. Their forms emerged with a clamor of activity. A whirl of noise, and movement. Shifting into this reality with a vengeance.
Picard, in his surprise, unthinkingly moved out onto the path. Q quickly grabbed him and pulled him back against the wall they had been leaning on. "Careful, Jean-Luc. I won't have you getting hurt. Stay back with me and watch."
"Where are they all coming from?" Picard's voice was hushed in awe.
"There's no need to worry about them noticing us just yet. That will happen in a few minutes without them quite realizing we weren't standing here before."
"But where--" Picard's eyes were still focused on the flux of people moving into his vision.
"My dear, let me explain this simply so that we can move on to better things. You and I have now moved onto their plane of existence. We've stepped in to say hello, so to speak. This is their world as they see it. I was already planning on doing this, but in a somewhat different fashion. However-well, you forced my hand. You're usually not this impatient, Jean-Luc. I should have realized how you would react to a bit of a mystery." Q regarded him fondly and pulled him into an embrace. "Now can we go about the business of having fun?" :::You trust me here, don't you?::: This mentally directed towards Picard.
:::Yes.::: Jean-Luc not only thought it, but thought it at Q.
The entity smiled as he reached out for Jean-Luc's hand. "My, you are getting better at that all the time, mon capitaine." This time Picard happily entwined his fingers with Q. Since everything seemed stable now, they walked out into the flow of humanoid traffic. Most of the traffic seemed to be heading to or coming away from a single point. They started towards it.
Everywhere around them were people on foot, wandering leisurely or hurrying briskly somewhere else. All were dressed in the same loose, causal clothing that Picard and Q wore. With one difference. While the natives sported muted, pale swirls of color and other neutral elements; the travelers had on brighter, more vivid clothing. Picard had to smile at Q's fashion sense. No one seemed to look at them askance, however. The human had to feel grateful for that. And then Picard realized something else. He couldn't understand anyone. They were all speaking in low, musical voices with a heavy reliance on body language and hand gestures. It was a remarkable experience considering the captain was used to having universal translators taking care of everything for him.
Looking around, he decided that they must be in some sort of open air marketplace. Small 'shops' were erected at intervals, some with more of an eye toward being permanent than others. People were chatting, exchanging goods, and resting on benches provided at intervals along the paths. In between the paths were strange rocks, riddled with holes, and bits of vegetation. In some places the patches of open earth were larger, allowing for huge trees to grow up high into the sky. These were also rather unusual. They had twisted, gnarled trunks that seemed to be formed of several smaller trunks rather than a single whole. The branches were broad and reached out a good long distance. And stranger yet, appearing to grow out from these branches were thick, long root-like objects, trailing towards the ground. The whole provided adequate shade from the sun.
"What are we here for, to shop?" There was a tone of amused disbelief in Picard's voice.
"Just relax, Jean-Luc. Enjoy yourself! Shall we grab a refreshment?" Q led them to a small building which looked like its main purpose was to serve food and drink. Off to the side was a grouping of tables and chairs under more of those strange trees. There was a large open 'window' with a counter running along in front of it. It was here that people went up to place their orders and receive their food.
"Q, surely you could simply 'snap up' something. And you don't require food or drink."
"Well, I've learned that humans tend to enjoy getting things in the more usual way from time to time. And I can eat with the best of them when I feel like it. Right now I feel like sharing this experience with you." He placed his arm around Jean-Luc and guided the man to the counter.
When they got to the counter Q mentally asked him if he wanted to eat, drink, or both. Picard sent back that he was just thirsty. Then, flawlessly, in the native's tongue, Q asked for some beverages. With a nod their drinks were off being prepared. Quickly, two glasses were placed on the counter. As they took them and walked off, Picard commented, "Ah. How nice to have something that didn't come out of a replicator."
"Not bad. Rather tart," Q replied as they continued walking. They passed what looked to be a male holding an exotic creature with several other people gathered around to touch and stroke it. Further on there was a small stage with a few people performing some music in a clearing while a little group watched them from some benches in front. As Q and Picard passed by, the performers finished up and got down; only to be replaced with a group of boisterous children who jumped around and sang to applause from the adults. Q led Picard off to a side path where there were a series of small booths crowding in, winding about in such a maze that you couldn't see the end of them.
Walking along, Jean-Luc wrapped his arm around Q's back. The entity did the same, pulling his lover close. Finally beginning to relax, Jean-Luc began to enjoy looking at all the wares for offer, and the interesting interaction; the alien dynamic between the peoples of the marketplace. Stopping at one booth, a round bauble caught his eye. At first glance it looked clear. But when he really peered into it, a translucent blue glow seemed to radiate from the inside. It was fascinating. Looking up, with gestures and pointing he managed to get his point across. The store keeper nodded. Carefully he picked the thing up in his hands. It was perfectly smooth, and surprisingly heavy. Cool to the touch. Not something he expected from an object that gave off light. As he held it, the illumination seemed to increase. The light became somewhat painful if he stared directly into it.
Holding it a bit away from him, it lit up the whole area around them. The trees had kept this maze of booths fairly shaded, but now a blue glow filled the place. The shop keeper began to get excited. Gesturing, the shop keeper rapidly spoke in little bursts. Q smiled faintly and nodded, while he replied in kind. The shop keeper leaned forward and closed Picard's hands over the bauble, effectively covering it. Then with a single pat to his closed grasp, the shop keeper sent them on their way.
Naturally the captain was extremely puzzled and curious. "What was that all about? And what is this object that I am now the apparent proud owner of?"
"Well, it is rather complicated. It will definitely take me some time to explain. Yes, I think it's something best left to another day. There are still some things I want to show you before the sun sets. Which will be soon. Very soon."
"And what happens when the sun sets?"
"You'll just have to wait to find out, mon capitaine!"
"Must you always be so vague?"
"You wouldn't have me any other way, Jean-Luc."
"Indeed. You have me interested to find out, I'll grant you that, Q. Now, what do I do with this bauble?"
"Here, allow me." Q reached out and took the thing from Picard. As soon as the entity touched the object, it stopped glowing. He then placed it in a pocket of his loose clothing. "And now we'll continue on our way. Come, there is so much more! Oh, and if you wish, Jean-Luc, I can make it so that you understand them the next time you have to talk to one of them." Q turned to Picard, waiting for an answer.
But Picard shook his head. "Actually, I find that I'm rather enjoying the challenge. It's quite...refreshing."
"Of course. You know, you have amazed me several times today. I'm impressed." Q sounded extremely pleased.
"I have impressed the omnipotent being? How so?" Picard raised an eyebrow up at Q, but he was smiling.
"Shall I count the ways? Let's see. You rather graciously accepted my little trip. You've adapted quite well to your changing surroundings. Your telepathy is improving immensely. You're even starting to show enthusiasm for our jaunt. And, of course, you don't yet realize how significant the episode with the bauble is. Well, and you're just you. I couldn't possibly be attracted to anyone who wasn't interesting and didn't show promise." At this Q embraced Picard and they kissed. People walked around them, smiling indulgently.
They were both reluctant to pull away. Their mouths separated but their arms were still around each other. Q looked down at Picard and kissed him again on the forehead. Randomly he declared, "Shall I compare thee to a summer's day?" This was said in his best over-the-top manner.
Before he could say anything further--if indeed he was intending to, Picard cut him off. "Now Q, love poetry? That's not your style."
"Perhaps. But who is to say you know all there is to know about me, Jean-Luc?" He gave the captain's backside a squeeze and released him. Then they were off walking some more. They would stop to look at this or that, invited to touch whatever they wished. Picard got more adept at conversing with the locals. His gestures were smoother, and he got his point across more quickly. At various places there were booths of food. The vendors would hand out samples to the passer-by. The natives seemed especially drawn to Picard and Q's more brightly colored clothing; and would eagerly seek to offer up morsels of food. The two tried it all. Everything seemed more intense, more real. The food, even when not completely to their liking; tasted better for their surroundings, the company they kept, and, of course, for not being replicated.
Q stopped abruptly on the path. He grabbed Picard's hand and whirled off in another direction. He cut across between two booths where there was a path that Picard wouldn't even have realized was there. Moving briskly along the path, Jean-Luc suddenly understood where they were heading. "Back to the beach." He didn't realize until he said it that he'd spoken aloud.
"Brilliant deduction, Watson! You are entirely correct. Onward!"
Soon enough they were standing on the sand again. The wind had died down. The smell of the salt from the sea and the sun baked sand was over-powering. The sun itself had set. There was nothing left but a rosy glow on the horizon. "Perfect timing, mon capitaine. They'll begin in a moment." Rather than asking about what was to begin, Picard simply took Q's hand and held it. A high pitched squeal rent the air. Something shot up into the sky with a trail of smoke behind it. Then, as it reached up to the stars, it exploded with a booming crack and showered sparkles of fiery color through the air.
Picard actually laughed out loud. "What is this, Q? Old-fashioned fireworks? This is certainly an odd outing."
"Now Jean-Luc, ordinarily this would all bore me, but I'm trying to get a point across here. This is another old custom of yours, an earth holiday, that these people have in common with you. They only do this for special occasions, you know."
"And what's the special occasion?" :::And will you actually answer me?::: He wasn't really projecting this time, and Q had promised not to read his thoughts without permission, but he was thinking it rather loudly...
"I heard that. It's a celebration. Of things ending, and new beginnings."
"Today. But more significantly, what you would call a 'year'."
"Ah," Picard replied. They sat there until the last sparkles left the sky. People had gathered around them, watching the show. But as it ended, they quickly moved away. The air cooled off now that the sun had been set for many hours. Picard was feeling drowsy, and found it difficult to keep his eyes open. Q lay back on the sand, and Picard joined him; letting himself be warmed and held by the entity. "I suppose I'll miss this 'new beginning'," Picard said with a yawn.
"Oh, it's nothing, Jean-Luc. Just another brand new day."