Jean-Luc looked up at the hand on his shoulder to see his son standing there. As Wes sat down, the older man's shoulders began to shake again, the tears starting anew. Wes held the man close, letting him cry, and felt tears stinging his own eyes.
"She's gonna be fine, Dad. You gotta believe that," Wes finally said.
"I don't know if I can, Wesley," came the soft admittance. "Your mother has changed so much these past few months."
"I don't understand. How has she changed?"
"Papa?" Morgan whimpered, shuffling out of her bedroom. "Papa?"
"I'm right here, cherie," he replied, going to take her in his arms. "Go back to sleep, cherie."
"Ou est Mamman?"
"She's in Sickbay, cherie."
"Pourquoi? Elle travaille?"
"No, cherie, Mamman's not working," Jean-Luc said softly, a lump rising in his throat again. "She's very sick, cherie."
"No, not exactly."
"Why was there so much blood, Papa? Where did all that blood come from?" Jean-Luc's eyes sprang to his son's, and Wes realized he hadn't told his father everything. "Is Mamman okay?"
"Your mother will be fine, cherie. I'm going to get you some tomato juice, then you can go lay down again, okay?" He went and ordered the juice, added a mild sedative so the little girl could sleep. She drank down the glass and dutifully kissed both his and Wes' cheek before returning to her bedroom. As soon as he knew she was asleep, Jean-Luc turned to look at his son. "How did Morgan know about the blood?"
"She saw Mom's attempt," was Wes's almost inaudible reply. "I was going to erase her memory of it, but the Traveler wouldn't let me. He said it was destined that she was to see it, so that Mom would know and feel guilty enough not to try again. I guess I forgot to tell you that part of it. I'm sorry, Dad."
Jean-Luc sighed heavily and sank onto the couch again. "What the bloody hell is going on, Wes? I don't understand. It's been nearly six hours, and they still won't let me see her. She's my wife, damn it! And I'm the captain of this ship! Why am I not allowed to see my own wife?"
Before Wes could answer, the door chimed. He called for the entrance of the two people waiting outside. He'd wondered how long it would take for them to get here, knew that they'd had to be transported back from Betazed. *What a way to end a vacation,* he thought to himself.
Deanna immediately hugged Wes before going to sit next to Jean-Luc, take him into her arms, both crying freely. Will stood just inside the doorway, shocked, unsure what to do. Finally, he spoke, softly, hesitantly.
"We don't know, sir," Wes replied, watching his father break down further. "They haven't told us anything yet."
"When...?" Will was unable to even finish a single sentence. If he didn't say the words, maybe this would all be just a bad dream for all of them. It was a foolish hope, but he had to hope it. He still couldn't believe Beverly had done this.
"Morgan and I found her about six hours ago, right as she was..." Wes trailed off, unable to speak the words in front of his father. He looked over at the man being comforted by Deanna, who was putting up a valiant effort to be strong for the captain. At the mention of the little girl's name, Deanna looked up at him, horrified.
"Morgan saw? Is she alright? Perhaps I should check on her." She started to stand, but Jean-Luc wouldn't let go of her.
"I've given her a sedative, Deanna," he murmured, clinging tighter. "I want her to sleep, to think it all simply a nightmare."
Deanna sat back down, stared steadily into his eyes. "I need to ask you some questions, sir, questions I'm not sure you can answer. I need to find a reason for Beverly's attempt, so I can help her get past it."
"What do you need to know?" came the weary question. Deanna watched the older man sit back into the corner of the couch, trying to regain his *captain's composure.*
"Tell me what's been happening these past two weeks that I've been gone. How did your counseling sessions go with Lieutenant Randall? Did you do the things she asked? Did you work at what I asked you to?"
"We have been making progress, at least that's what Lieutenant Randall said. We've made some important discoveries along the way." He trailed off then, unwilling to continue.
"Such as?" Deanna gently prompted, letting him know she wouldn't give up that easily.
"I don't know that we should discuss this in mixed company," he said.
"If you'd like, I can leave," Will offered.
"He means me," Wes replied. "Dad learned some things about Mom and Jack that he doesn't want me to know about, but I already knew them, so it won't shock me to hear them." Jean-Luc stared at his son, stunned. "I knew it a while back. I'm not stupid, nor was I a stupid child, just as your daughter isn't stupid now. I remember what he did to Mom, but no one thought I would know what it meant at the time, or that I'd remember it. I remember it all, and I think it's time you finally admit it yourself, Dad. Announce what Jack did to the woman you love, admit that your best friend wasn't such a wonderful man. It won't hurt me if you do. It will only hurt me if you both continue to deny it."
Jean-Luc sat silently for a moment, taking this in, then took a deep breath. He motioned for Will to take a seat, then stood, pacing a bit, needing something to do. "I admit I was reticent to undergo this counseling that you'd requested, Deanna, but I went for Beverly's sake. She has changed so much since she became pregnant with Rene. In that very first session after you'd left, all hell broke loose. We began fighting about her change in attitude, accusing each other of things that we shouldn't have, calling each other liars. Finally Beverly, goaded on by my contempt, admitted for the first time how her supposedly perfect, fairytale marriage to Jack was a horrible lie, how he had beaten and raped her repeatedly during their marriage. How he'd known that Wes was my son from the start and forced her to play the dutiful wife and mother, threatening to take Wes away and kill both her and myself if she didn't comply. She lived in constant fear for nearly five years, all the while playing this role to keep the people she loved safe. Near the end of their marriage, she said Jack began to act like a true husband, and she enjoyed being married. On the eve she was going to inform him of the impending birth of their daughter, I'd contacted her with the news of Jack's death, which prompted her to lose the child two days later."
Deanna nodded, gently said, "I knew about the miscarriage, but I never would have guessed at the abuse she suffered. Obviously she loved you a great deal to withstand that for so many years, then to keep it silent to protect your friendship and the memory of your friendship with Jack. Did she tell you any more?"
"Are you talking about the miscarriages? The son and daughter whose presences she kept from me?" Deanna nodded. "She eventually told me." He sighed heavily, his shoulders slumping again. "I forgave her for all that. Granted, I was angry at first, but then I saw what had prompted her to do it in the first place and I understood her reasons."
"Did you tell her that?"
"Repeatedly. So why did she do this? We've been getting much closer, closer than we've been in many years actually. So why now?"
"I have a feeling she didn't tell you everything, Captain," Deanna said softly. All eyes focused on her now, rather than the older man. "Let me ask you this. When Beverly miscarried Rene, was your first question to her really whether or not you could see Rene's remains?" Guiltily he nodded. "And have you spoken to her of trying to have another child?"
"Actually, no, I haven't. I didn't want to approach it until she was sufficiently healed and ready to discuss it, if ever. I have two beautiful children, I need no others. I was selfish to allow her to continue with this latest pregnancy. It was too stressful for her."
"It was also her last." It came out softly, but not from Deanna. Rather, it came from Wesley.
Deanna looked at him in shock. "How did you know?"
"There are a lot of things I know, due to my Traveler status, that normally I wouldn't -- *shouldn't* -- know. This was one of them."
"I don't understand," Jean-Luc said, eyes darting back and forth between the two people.
Wes looked up at his father. "Mom can't have anymore kids. Rene was her last attempt at giving you another child. All you have are me and Morgan."
"I don't need more. I am proud of you and your sister, Wes, you have to know that."
"We do, but Mom doesn't. I think that's what caused this. She feels like she's failed you somehow by not giving you another son that survived."
"She hasn't failed me," he said, realization sinking in. "My god, this is all my fault? I've caused Beverly to do this?"
Deanna quickly stood and went to his side. "No, sir, it's not that." She paused, led him to the couch again, took a deep breath before speaking again, addressing them all. "Beverly is in a state of mental unrest. She feels that she has let down her family and friends by keeping things from them, protecting them in her own way. It was her way of coping with the many things she's had to deal with over the years, including her feelings for her two husbands. We need to let Beverly know that we aren't angry with her for this."
"How?" Will finally spoke up.
"We need to do what is known as an intervention. Now, I know that Dr. Selar will be keeping Beverly in Sickbay for the next three days, for observation. It is widely known that should a person attempt suicide, they are likely to attempt again within seventy-two hours, as they are at their most vulnerable then. What we need to do is hold this intervention in these next seventy-two hours while she is vulnerable and we can reach her, before she builds up her wall of indifference again."
"What will this intervention entail?" Wes asked. Deanna knew that he already knew the answer, that he was asking for his father's sake.
"All of us, her family and friends, will confront her about her actions. We will tell her that we love her and accept her, that we understand what she did and why she did it. We will let her know that she can't leave us, that we need her too much."
"I think we can do that," Will replied, as Jean-Luc nodded his agreement.
"And we have to let her know that Morgan saw her attempt," Wes said softly.
"Dad, we have to."
"No," Jean-Luc repeated, shaking his head. "That will just make Beverly feel guiltier, worse about herself."
"It will make her think twice about a second attempt, Dad. She loves Morgan more than anything in this world, more than you or me, because Morgan was conceived of your mutual consent and love for each other. Morgan is what she wishes I had been. Her life was made complete with Morgan's conception, because it meant she had been given a daughter for the Goddess, and she was finally able to be with you for the rest of her life. She needs to know that Morgan saw her, needs to feel the guilt of hurting her daughter. It will stop her from trying again, I can almost guarantee it."
There was silence in the room for a long moment as father and son tried to stare each other down. Finally Jean-Luc blinked, spoke. "When shall we plan this intervention?"
"Ogawa to Captain Picard."
"Yes?" he asked, suddenly fearful of the woman's voice.
"I just wanted to inform you that we've stabilized your wife. She's going to be okay now, physically. She is currently sedated, but if you would like to see her, we can wake her for you."
Jean-Luc looked at Deanna for help. He had no clue what to say. She nodded. "Yes, I would prefer that. Would you wait until I arrive in Sickbay to do it? I want to be there when she awakens."
"Of course, sir. Ogawa out."
Jean-Luc stood. "I assume you would like to be there?" he asked, looking at Deanna.
"No, sir, not at first. That is your place. When you've visited her, I will go in and talk to her. Would you like me to stay with Morgan?"
"No, I want Beverly to see both her children when she wakes up, since they were the last people she thought she would ever see again. Right, Wes?"
Wes nodded, then stood and went into the nearer bedroom, returning with his sleeping sister. "I'm sure Alyssa can wake Morgan when we get there, so that she'll be awake when Mom wakes up."
With this, they all left the Picard quarters, the Picard family heading toward Sickbay, Deanna and Will going toward their own quarters.
Slowly, Jean-Luc and Wes followed Alyssa into the isolation room to see Beverly lying on the biobed. This was the same room she'd been in when she'd miscarried. Tears filled Jean-Luc's eyes at the irony. Morgan shifted in his arms, straining to go to her mother's side. He walked to her side, Wes on the other, then nodded for Alyssa to apply the stimulant. She waited a few seconds, checking the wall monitor, then left the subdued family in peace, locking the door.
"Beverly?" Jean-Luc asked softly. "Wake up, Beverly."
She moaned softly, then her eyes fluttered open, taking a moment to focus on the faces of her family. Quickly she shut her eyes, whispering, "No, you're not here. I'm not here. This is a nightmare."
"Mamman?" Morgan whimpered. "Regardes-moi, s'il vous plait?"
That soft voice tore at Beverly's heart, forced her eyes to open against her will. She stared up at her daughter, saw the tears in the wide blue eyes, remembered what Morgan had witnessed, and felt a guilt she'd never felt before. Her arms reached out, straining to hold the girl in her arms. Jean-Luc placed the little girl in her mother's arms, watched as Beverly's eyes filled with tears while she kissed away those falling down Morgan's cheeks. "Don't cry, cherie, please don't cry."
"Pourquoi, Mamman? All the blood? Pourquoi, Mamman, pourquoi?"
"I'm sorry, cherie, I'm so sorry," Beverly cried, holding her close. "I wish you hadn't seen that. I'm sorry, Morgan. I won't scare you like that again, I promise."
**one hour later**
"Hello, Beverly," Deanna said softly as she entered the dimly lit isolation room.
Beverly moaned softly. "I don't want to see you right now, Counselor," she murmured, rolling onto her side, back to the Betazoid.
"I know you don't. But I'm not here in an official capacity. I just came to make sure my best friend is alright."
"I don't deserve your concern." It came out flat, emotionless, though Deanna sensed the fear and relief emanating from her friend. "I don't deserve anyone's concern, especially that of my family."
Deanna walked around and sat down, facing Beverly, forcing the blue eyes to meet hers. "Yes, you do. We love you, Beverly. You mean so much to us. We don't want you to leave us."
"But I tried to kill myself, Deanna. I'm a selfish, foolish woman. I don't deserve any of you. I've hurt you all far too much to ever hope to fix it. I wouldn't be surprised if you all hated me."
"We don't hate you, not at all. We're just worried about you. We need you in our lives, Beverly, don't you realize that?" She paused for a second, dramatic pause. "Besides, if you weren't here, who would I tell about my engagement?" She watched Beverly's eyes light up at that news, had meant it to do that.
Deanna nodded. "Will proposed to me just over a week ago, and I've accepted. I can't get married without my best friend to perform the handfasting."
"You want *me* to do it?"
"Of course, I do. Who else would I have do it? Nana Felisa is dead, and you are the only Howard High Priestess I know of right now. Will and I discussed all the different ceremonies we could have, but we both want you to perform a traditional handfasting, just as I did for you and the captain. Will you?"
"I'm not sure I'm up to it. Nor am I so sure that the Goddess is too pleased with me right now. I forsook so many basic tenets of my faith in my attempt...." She trailed off, closing her eyes as the tears began again.
Deanna took Beverly into her arms, comforting her friend. "The Goddess forgives you, my friend, you know that, and so do all of us. We just want you to be okay, and we are willing to do whatever it takes to make you okay again, no matter what."