Disclaimer: I don't own Star Trek: The Next Generation.
'blah' means thoughts
/blah/ means telepathy
"Beverly, where are you taking me, and is the blindfold necessary?"
"Yes, Jean-Luc. The blindfold is necessary, because where I am taking you is a surprise."
Beverly led Jean-Luc Picard to transporter room six, where Miles O'Brien was waiting. She led him up onto the transporter pad and told him, "Wait here."
The doctor retreated behind the console and, after entering in a few commands, nodded at Chief O'Brien. O'Brien activated the transporter and, after a moment, de-activated the transporter.
Standing on the transporter pad was a twelve-year-old Jean-Luc Picard. The blindfold, now loose, slipped off one of his eyes. He glared at the two officers as he addressed the doctor, "Really, Beverly? Really?"
"Well, if you took shore leave like other members of this crew, I wouldn't have to take such drastic actions."
Picard untied the blindfold, revealing the hatred directed at Beverly. "Thank you, Doctor Crusher," he sneered. "Thank you for taking the decision from me." He threw the blindfold to the floor and stormed from the room.
"I knew he wouldn't react kindly to my decision, but I didn't think he would be enraged," Beverly commented.
Ro Laren was having a good day. She had finished a full day of work and was headed to Ten-Forward for a drink and perhaps a conversation with Guinan. She was wrenched from her thoughts when she caught sight of an enraged twelve-year-old Captain Picard coming in the opposite direction. She stopped in her tracks, her mind racing. 'Is the cure only temporary? Was anyone else affected or was it only Captain Picard? Should I go see Doctor Crusher to make sure?'
Just as Picard passed her, Ro was unable to stop herself. "Captain, what happened?"
Captain Picard stopped and bit out, "If you want any answers, Ensign, go talk to Doctor Crusher."
The captain stormed off, leaving Ro stunned. 'The captain was obviously incensed, but since when did he call the doctor Doctor Crusher and not Beverly?'
Knowing she wasn't going to get any answers standing in the middle of the corridor, she mentally shook herself. "Computer, where is Doctor Crusher?"
"Doctor Crusher is in Ten-Forward."
Confused slightly, Ro continued on her way to Ten-Forward. It didn't take her long to reach Ten-Forward or to find the doctor, who even though she had a cup of tea in front of her, wasn't drinking. Ro walked up to her and asked, "May I join you?"
Slightly startled, Beverly Crusher looked up. "Oh, Ro Laren. Yes, please have a seat."
Ro sat down across from the other woman. "On my way here, I met up with Captain Picard, but he was twelve again and not forthcoming with any answers. He told me to talk to Doctor Crusher." Ro paused here, noticing the doctor's flinch as she heard Picard's words (as Ro Laren quoted him). "As you can guess, I have a few questions, but before we get started, should there be anyone else that needs to be here for this conversation?"
"I think I know what your questions are, Ro, and yes, I would like Guinan to hear what happened."
"But not Keiko?"
"No, it doesn't concern her." Confusion was evident in Ro Laren's eyes at her words. The confusion stayed as Guinan was called over and invited to sit down. "As you know, Jean-Luc refused to take shore leave."
"As always," Guinan said with a smile.
"So I came up with a unique solution to this problem."
Relief flooded Ro Laren's body as realization dawned on her. 'So the cure wasn't temporary, and that's why this doesn't concern Keiko.'
"What is this unique solution?" Guinan asked somewhat suspiciously. Ro's look put her on edge. ‘What could Beverly have come up with?’
"I forced him to take leave by sending him through the transporter and removing keu vitoxic sequences in his RVN."
"He is quite upset at being twelve again," Ro added.
"He's not angry at being twelve," Guinan corrected. "He's angry at not having a choice. You took the decision of where to take the shore leave that he knew you would convince him to take."
"Oh. I couldn't come up with any other way," Beverly countered.
"Regardless of whether there was another way, the situation remains. I suggest you inform Commander Riker of the result and talk to Counselor Troi to see if she can help you find a way to defuse Jean-Luc's temper," Guinan suggested.
"I think I will."
%%% THE BRIDGE
The operation of the Enterprise was running smoothly, although Riker did wonder what was keeping the captain. Earlier that day, Beverly had requested Captain Picard's presence in Sickbay. He told Riker that he would be back shortly; that he was sure that the doctor was going to force shore leave on him. Riker suppressed a smile when he remembered what the rest of the conversation entailed. Riker suggested that he just go on shore leave, to which the captain replied, "I'm considering it, Number One. I'm considering it."
Suddenly, Troi appeared at his side with an exasperated look on her face. "Deanna, what's wrong?"
"My mother's here. Where's the captain?"
"As far as I know, still with Beverly." Riker tapped his communicator. "Riker to Picard."
"Counselor Troi to Captain Picard."
"Computer, locate Captain Picard," Riker said.
"Captain Picard is in his quarters."
The turbolift doors opened, and out walked Lwaxana Troi. "Here I am, Jean-Luc. Where is he?" She spotted Riker. "Commander, where is your captain?"
Before Riker could answer, the turbolift doors opened again, admitting Doctor Crusher. "Commander, I need to speak with you about Jean-Luc. Mrs. Troi? I didn't realize you were scheduled to come aboard."
"Don't be ridiculous, my dear. I wanted to surprise Jean-Luc. You mentioned needing to tell the commander about the captain. Please go on ahead."
"Well, he...is on shore leave and...shouldn't be disturbed." Beverly looked worried.
"How wonderful! Then, he won't have any work to distract him!" Lwaxana exclaimed.
"Mother, you heard Beverly. Captain Picard shouldn't be disturbed."
"Don't worry, Little One. I'm not one to cause disturbances."
"Commander, Counselor, I do need to speak to you privately," Beverly said, using their titles to stress the seriousness.
"Of course," Riker replied, leading Beverly to the Observational Lounge.
"Mother, I will see you later." Deanna walked towards the lounge.
/Don't worry about me, Little One. Plenty of things to entertain me on this ship./
%%% OBSERVATIONAL LOUNGE
"So, Beverly, what did you need to talk to us about?" Will Riker inquired as they sat down.
"When I said Jean-Luc was on shore leave, it's true bit it's more of a forced shore leave," Beverly answered.
"Beverly," Deanna began. "You know you don't have to be worried. Just tell us what happened."
"As you know I have been trying to get Jean-Luc to take shore leave, and this morning I came up with a unique solution. However, after I implemented my solution, Jean-Luc became enraged and as far as I know is still quite angry."
Will nodded while Deanna quickly picked up on the fact that Beverly left out what her solution was exactly. "Beverly, what was your unique solution?"
"I sent him through the transporter and removed key viroxic sequences. He's twelve-years-old again." Beverly took a breath. "So, Will, you're in command until shore leave is over, and Deanna, I need your help to find a way to calm Jean-Luc down."
"It seems a little extreme, Beverly. He was starting to consider taking shore leave. I'm sure if you had asked one more time he would have agreed," Will told her.
"I didn't know that. After five years of dealing with Jean-Luc's reluctance of taking shore leave, simply asking him never crossed my mind."
"I think if you simply sit down with the captain and explain your reasons, I believe you'll find his anger is gone."
Lwaxana made her way to the captain's quarters, thanks to the computer. She rang the door chime and called out, "Jean-Luc, let me in."
Receiving no response from within caused a frown to mar her face. She knocked against the computer panel next to the door. "Excuse me, Computer. Could let me into Captain's Quarters?"
"Authorization code required." "I don't need an authorization code. I am Lwaxana Troi, daughter of the Fifth House of Betazed, Holder of the Sacred Chalice of Rixx, and Heir to the Holy Rings of Betazed, and I demand entrance!"
"Authorization code required." %%%
Picard was sitting on his couch with a cup of Earl Grey Tea sitting in front of him. The temperature of said liquid was questionable as it had been sitting there for a while yet remained untouched. His anger had dissipated shortly after entering his quarters, but his thoughts created a maelstrom in his mind, making it hard to focus on any one thought. How long he sat there trying to organize his thoughts he didn't know.
The door chime shook him free of the swirling vortex of thoughts. He had considered answering, especially if it was Beverly. He needed to apologize to her for his outburst in the transporter room. However, the voice accompanying the chime caused him to keep quiet. Unfortunately, he knew the tenacity of Lwaxana Troi was as well known as all of her titles. This was proven true by what could only be called ranting.
Picard sighed and decided to allow her entrance. "Come."
Picard watched the Betazed Ambassador as she entered his quarters and looked around. When she looked at him, he felt her enter his mind. He allowed it, but brought up the earlier maelstrom to prevent her from gleaning anything. He felt her presence leaving his mind, and he let the vortex die down. He fought to keep the smirk off his face when he saw Lwaxana put a hand to her head briefly.
"I thought this was the Captain's Quarters. Who are you, and where is Captain Picard?"
Picard considered lying but decided against it. Lwaxana might find out about his lie. Picard sighed again and answered her questions. "I am Jean-Luc Picard. What happened is none of your concern. Sufficed to say, it's not permanent."
Lwaxana stared at the twelve-year-old in shock, but it only lasted a few seconds. She whispered his name, still in apparent shock. All of a sudden, she turned a critical eye on him as if she was sizing him up. The smile that appeared on her face unnerved him as it seemed almost predatory in nature.
"My, my, my. You are handsome. I can tell you were handsome all along, but I like you with hair. This color suits you, Jean-Luc."
Picard blushed slightly. "Thank you, Mrs. Troi. Now, please leave."
"Now, Jean-Luc, I just got here."
"I understand that. However, please leave before I call security and have them forcibly remove you from my quarters."
"Don't be ridiculous, Jean-Luc. You wouldn't do that to me," Lwaxana said sweetly.
Picard raised an eyebrow. "Oh? Wouldn't I?" Picard tapped his communicator. "Security to the Captain's Quarters."
It took several tense moments for the doors to open, revealing Worf. The Klingon only raised an eyebrow at the physical condition of his captain, but said nothing.
"Mr. Worf, please remove Mrs. Troi from my quarters."
"With pleasure." Worf grabbed Lwaxana's arm and tried to move her but she wasn't cooperating. "You will walk or I will carry you."
"You wouldn't dare." Worf picked up Lwaxana in one move. "How dare you?! I am the Betazed Ambassador, and I demand to be put down this instant, Mr. Woof!"
The door closed behind them, cutting off any reply from the resident Klingon. Picard couldn't fight the smirk that appeared on his face at the sight of Lwaxana being physically carried out of his room.
Picard only had a few moments of peace before a disembodied yet familiar voice spoke up. "This isn't your normal look."
There was a bright flash of light, and then Q appeared.
"What do you want, Q?"
"Temper, temper, mon capitn. By the way, how did this happen?"
"Beverly Crusher decided I needed shore leave, and this was her latest ploy to ensure I do." Picard was confused as to why he answered Q's question, and yet Lwaxana asked the same question and received no answers.
"How would you like to get revenge on the good doctor and fix your looks?" Q asked, interrupting Picard's musings.
"What kind of revenge?" Picard was instantly suspicious.
"Nothing permanent, I assure you and I would do nothing more than put the shoe on the other foot so to speak."
"I suppose," Picard said slowly.
Q snapped his fingers. "Done."
"Now about changing my looks?"
Q grinned. "I changed my mind. You look good like this." Q disappeared.
Picard scowled. He got tricked!
Suddenly, the door chimed, and Picard got up and opened the door. Standing there was a twelve-year-old girl with cinnamon-colored hair. It was then that Picard understood what Q had done. He and Beverly were the same age!
The two twelve-year-olds stared at each other for a few moments. Picard watched as Beverly's blue eyes colored darker as she realized she was shorter than the brunette.
"Beverly, please come in." Picard led her into his quarters and over to his mirror.
She gasped when she saw her reflection. "How'd this happen?"
"I did it, of course," a familiar disembodied voice said. The pair of twelve-year-olds turned to see Q flash in. "You two make quite the couple."
"How dare you come back here after tricking me!" Beverly looked at Picard when he said that. She was confused. When did Q come see the captain?
"Mon capitan, you should have known better. I am a trickster."
"I did not agree to anything you said," Picard denied. "Now, get out of here!"
"I will, but before I do, I wanted to tell the two of you that the doctor will return to her proper age when the captain does." Q disappeared.
Picard sighed. "We should sit down, Beverly. We have things to talk about."
The two rejuvenated officers walked to the couch. Beverly sat down, and Picard picked up and carried the now cold cup of tea to the replicator. He recycled the old cup and then put in an order. "Two teas. One Earl Grey Hot. The other one English."
He carried the two cups back to the couch, set them down on the table, and sat down next to Beverly, who took a drink before she spoke. "I apologize, Jean-Luc. I shouldn't have done something so drastic. Will told me that I should have just asked."
"Why didn't you?"
"Honestly? It didn't even cross my mind to simply ask you. After five years of me forcing you to take shore leave, a simple question would have been the last thing on my mind." Beverly took another drink. "Now, what happened with Q?"
"He dropped by after Mrs. Troi was escorted out. He had said he would change me back, but obviously, I was tricked."
"All right, but what happened with Mrs. Troi?"
"She wouldn't leave so I called security, and Mr. Worf literally carried her out." A smirk appeared on Picard's face as he remembered the incident.
Beverly grinned when she saw his smirk. "Maybe that'll teach her to leave you alone."
"I hope so, but somehow I doubt it." Picard took a sip of his tea. "Beverly, I want to apologize to you for my outburst in the transporter room. It wasn't right for me to yell at you like I did."
"Jean-Luc, do you know why I was so adamant about you taking shore leave now?"
"It's because I am taking shore leave starting after shift today. I thought we could spend some time together."
"I would like that, Beverly, so let's go to the transporter room and return to our normal ages."
"Jean-Luc, I was thinking about both of us staying this way and having fun."
"We could go to the holodeck and the Phaser Range."
"That does sound like a good time."
"Let's go, then." Beverly grabbed Picard's hand, hauled him to his feet, and led him out of his quarters.
%%% THE PHASER RANGE
Picard and Beverly entered the range, and each grabbed a phaser from their place on the wall. They stepped onto the illuminated, circular stage. The dark emptyness around them seemed endless. Picard chose the yellow half of the stage, while Beverly chose blue. Out of the darkness, flashing spheres of light of different colors appeared and moved at various speeds.
Once the pre-adolescent captain and doctor started shooting, the round didn't take long. They played so many rounds they lost count. They spent the rest of the day on the Phaser Range, not even leaving to eat.
That night, as Picard was escorting Beverly to her quarters, the young doctor spoke up. "That was fun, but let's not forget to eat tomorrow."
"Agreed." They reached Beverly's quarters as Picard addressed his companion. "Beverly, would you like to have breakfast with me?"
"I’d love to. Coffee and croissants in my quarters at 0800." Beverly entered her quarters, and the doors closed in the captain's face before Picard realized that he was tricked twice in less than twelve hours. He hadn't wanted to be seen that early by the crew. Rumors were sure to fly in the morning.
%%% 0750 -THE NEXT MORNING
Geordi La Forge was on his way to the bridge to bring his engineering update to Riker. He was just about to turn the corner when he caught sight of something or rather someone. Twelve-year-old Captain Picard was walking in the opposite direction. They locked eyes (so to speak) and Picard nodded. "Mr. La Forge."
Geordi nodded back. "Captain."
Picard could hear the unasked question. "This is only temporary, Mr. La Forge. Beverly did this to ensure I take shore leave." Picard then continued walking to Beverly's quarters. Geordi watched Captain Picard walk away, unsure if that actually had happened.
Beverly placed a pitcher of coffee on the table followed by a plate of croissants. She set down two mugs just as she heard the door chime. "Come."
Picard came in and greeted the doctor. "Good morning, Beverly."
Beverly sat down. "Good morning, Jean-Luc."
Instead of sitting across from her, Picard sat down next to the young doctor. Silence reigned as they served themselves breakfast.
"I haven't figured out what we're doing today." Beverly took a bite of a buttered croissant.
"I have a holodeck program we can enjoy. It's horseback riding, and then we can break for lunch."
"We could have a picnic," Beverly supplied, smiling. "Sounds like a plan."
They finished their breakfast soon after, and, after a quick trip back to his quarters, Picard joined Beverly outside Holodeck Two. "Computer, run program Picard Three.”
"Enter when ready."
Picard carrying his saddle and Beverly carrying a picnic basket entered the holodeck. It was a stable; not an overly large one, but definitely large enough for one or two horses. Picard set his saddle down next to Beverly and walked into the stable. After a good five minutes, he walked out, leading two horses; one white, one brown.
Each horse had a blanket, bridle, bit, and reins, but the brown one also had a saddle resting on the blanket. Holding the reins of the brown horse out for Beverly to take, Picard told her, "This is an old breed of horse called an American Quarter Horse, and it's known for its temperament, which makes it good for beginners. This one," Picard gave the reins of the white horse a shake, "is an Arabian, which, due to its hot temperament, is for more experienced riders."
"Now, snap the reins," Picard demonstrated, "and the horse will go."
After a successful start, Picard and Beverly spent several hours horseback riding. Around 1300 hours, the two pre-adolscents stopped, and Beverly set up the picnic.
While they enjoyed the food, the captain spoke up, "This is quite pleasant, Beverly."
"We could spend our entire shore leave like this," Beverly suggested.
"Don't push your luck," Picard said. "We are using the transporter tomorrow."
The picnic ended soon after, and the horseback riding resumed, though at a slower speed than before. Silence reigned as the captain and doctor were absorbed in their own thoughts.
Time passed by in a blur, and 2200 hours approached far too quickly for their tastes. Almost reluctantly, Picard and Beverly exited the holodeck. Picard escorted Beverly to her quarters. Once they reached her quarters, Picard asked, "Coffee and croissants in my quarters at 0800 hours, Beverly?"
"Of course. See you then, Jean-Luc." Beverly turned to enter her quarters, but Picard didn;t release his grip on her hand. She faced him, and, to her surprise, he kissed the back of her hand. He gave it a light squeeze before releasing it.
"Till tomorrow, Beverly." Picard walked down the corridor, leaving a slightly stunned Beverly in his wake.
%%% 0800 HOURS-THE NEXT MORNING
Beverly activated the door chime and heard Picard's voice, "Come."
The young doctor entered and, upon seeing the breakfast setup, sat next to the captain. Breakfast was actually a quiet affair. In no time, the captain and doctor were walking side-by-side to transporter room two, where Miles O'Brien was.
With only a raised eyebrow in Beverly's direction, he started keying in commands on the consol. "Phase inducers activated. Energy levels nominal."
"I'm loading the adult pattern into the buffer," Beverly said.
"Transfirsition matrix locked in. That should do it, Captain."
Picard nodded and stepped onto the transporter pad. O'Brien activated the transporter and, after a moment, de-activated it. Standing on the pad was an adult Captain Picard.
A bright white flash a la Q from beside the chief startled him. Standing next to him was an adult Doctor Crusher. She smiled at Picard, who was stepping off of the transporter pad. "Are you ready to spend the rest of our shore leave together?"
Picard smiled. "Of course."