by A. Magiluna Stormwriter

"they say temptation will destroy our love
the neverending hunger
but i fear i have nothing to give
i have so much to lose here in this lonely place
tangled up in our embrace
there's nothing i'd like better than to fall"
-S. McLachlan, "Fear"

"Yesss...oh yes! Oh god, don't stop!"

She felt the desire spiral down, tighter, tighter, within her belly. her long limbs wrapped tightly about his hips, pulling him deeper into her. A cry escaped her lips as his teeth raked across her breasts, leaving his mark, temporary on her flesh, indelible on her heart. His hips pounding into her, cleaving her in two. Hot panting breath warming the flesh surrounding her captured nipple. then his desperately cried "I love you, Bev" as he surged deeply within her.

He never suspected her silent tears were anything but happy as he fell into the deep sleep of sated lust.

**4 weeks later**

"Bev? You okay?" The gently rumbling voice brought her from her reverie.

"I'm fine, Jean-Luc. Where's Jack?" She wouldn't look at him. Jack's best friend. What was he to her? A good friend, just like Walker was. But Walker didn't make her feel -- *Stop it!* she silently berated herself, blocking out the mental images of his muscles arms, strong chest, sensuous lips. *At least, not anymore.*

"Hey, Bev! How's my favorite redhead?"

She looked up hesitantly, smiling at Walker. Her oldest friend of the three. He'd introduced her to both Jack and Jean-Luc. Been her first lover at the Academy. Held a special place in her heart. "Hi, Walker. Have you seen--?"

"Bev, my love, I'm home!" came Jack's delightful baritone as he walked into the living room of their campus apartment. He wrapped his arms around her, swung her around once, then set her feet on the floor again, kissing her passionately. then he turned to see his friends. "Hi Walker, Johnny. Bev, honey, is dinner ready? I'm starved!"

She gave him an exasperated look. "Jack, it's *your* turn tonight. have you forgotten *again*?" This elicited a chuckle from the other two men. The usual argument over dinner -- and Jack always 'forgot' his nights. Beverly knew he did it just to tease, get a rise out of her. And to make his deal....

"Love, if you make dinner tonight, I'll do it tomorrow night," he promised. She knew full well he'd break that promise, he always did. "And to make up for it, I'll treate you to a romantic evening, just the two of us, after we've fed and kicked out these deadbeats here."

"Deadbeats?" Walker asked, looking around. "I see no deadbeats."

"Look in the mirror, old friend," Jean-Luc replied, a small smile tugging at his lips. "I do believe the young pup here is referring to us."

"Yep," Jack replied, grinning. "You two need girlfriends or something. My Bev here has made an honest man of me."

"Oh, Jack, stop it," she replied, playfully batting at him, like she always did. but she didn't miss the looks from Jean-Luc and Walker. "They'll find the right woman for them, just give them a little time," she continued, going into the kitchen.

"Thank you, Bev," Walker called out. "Now I know why I've loved you all these years."

She laughed softly, emerging with a bottle of white wine from the Picard family vineyards and three glasses. She handed the bottle to Jean-Luc to open, as always. "Would you do the honors?"

He smiled and accepted the bottle, then frowned. "Only three glasses?"

"I'm not drinking tonight," she said softly. At the trio of curious glances, she smiled self-consciously, then turned to the kitchen again. "Jack? Would you help me? Dinner's been done and in stasis for a few hours now."

He followed her into the kitchen, quietly watched her. Finally spoke. "What's going on, Bev? You've never refused a glass of Johnny's wine."

Beverly sighed softly, turned to face him. She took his hands in hers, stared deeply into his eyes. "There's a very good reason I'm not drinking the wine tonight, Jack." She kissed each of his palms lightly, then placed them against her stomach, tears welling in her eyes. "I'm pregnant, Jack."

His startled, joyful shout brought the other two running into the room to witness Jack swinging Beverly in a circle. When he finally put her down, he turned to his friends, triumphantly crowed, "I'm gonna be a daddy!"

Walker and Jean-Luc congratulated the couple, embracing Beverly, enthusiastically shaking Jack's hand. But she knew them well enough to see the hidden questions in their eyes.

**25 years later**

"Happy birthday, Wes," Beverly whispered toward the stars. It had been four years since she'd last seen her son, since he'd accepted his destiny as a Traveler.

"Penny," came the soft baritone from behind her.

Quickly, she dropped the photo back in the box of memories where it belonged. "Just thinking of Wesley," she replied softly, smiling at her companion.

Jean-Luc picked up the picture, stared at it in astonishment. "Mon dieu, were we ever really that young?" he murmured, staring at the photograph.

"Do you remember it?"

"How could I forget? That was taken the night you announced you were pregnant with Wes." Beverly looked away then, at the mention of that night. Jean-Luc gently crooked a finger under her chin, returned her face to his. "No matter what happened between us back then, I was very happy for you and Jack. Wes is an incredible young man, Bev, you should be proud."

"I am."

He watched her for a moment, then stood. "You've got a lot on your mind that only you can work through, so I'll leave you for now. If you need anything, you know where I am."

She nodded, gratefully accepted the gentle kiss he placed on her cheek, then watched him leave. Her eyes returned to the picture he'd placed in her hands again. Tears filled her eyes at the memories of the three men surrounding her in the photograph.

One who was called "Father" by the boy in his early years....

One who became a father to the boy in his later years....

And the one known as Uncle, but the only one she knew in her heart could be called "Father."