**the next morning**
Deanna walked into the room, smiling warmly as Bev looked up at her with a tentative smile. She sat next to the redhead, an arm around her shoulders, trying to relieve the woman's anxiety. "It'll be okay, Beverly. You have things you need to tell your family."
"But, what if they don't understand? I don't want to hurt them again."
"You can't hurt them anymore than you already have." At that, Bev's face fell, which caused Deanna to sigh. "I didn't mean it that way."
"I know," came the soft whisper, a shudder running through her body as she tried to stop the tears from falling.
Deanna took a moment, finding the right words to say what she had to. "Beverly, I've asked Sarah to continue as officiating counselor for your therapy. She and I had a long talk last night, going over your progress with her, and we decided that it would be best if you continued your actual counseling with her for a while, since I am so closely involved in this situation right now."
"I think that would be a good idea," Beverly admitted. "I must admit that it was easier for me to open up to someone objective, rather than my best friend. I'm sorry if that bothers you, Deanna."
Deanna shook her head. "It did when Sarah mentioned it last night, but the more I thought about it, I realized it's best for all of us this way. I won't feel torn between my friends when a problem arises between you. Granted, I will be following your progress with Sarah, reviewing her files, discussing strategies with her, but the main decisions regarding your sessions will rest on her shoulders."
"If Jean-Luc agrees," Bev murmured.
"If I agree to what?" came his question as he walked in.
Before Beverly could give her answer, Morgan raced into the room and practically jumped into her mother's arms. Bev's arms instinctively wrapped around the little girl, holding her close, the tears spilling down her cheeks again. "Allo, Mamman. Ca va bien?"
"Ca va tres bien, cherie, now that you're here," she replied, kissing the small cheeks soundly before holding her close again. "Did you sleep well last night, cherie?"
"No," came the soft whisper as Morgan snuggled closer.
"No? Why not, cherie? What's wrong?"
"Bad dreams." But she wouldn't continue.
"What sort of bad dreams, Morgan? Tell Mamman, cherie, and I'll chase away the nasty monsters for you."
Morgan looked at her father, as if for permission, received his nod, then looked up at her mother again. "Dreams about you, Mamman, and blood everywhere. You said you were going away to be with the Goddess, that you didn't want to be with me anymore." She stopped now, her lower lip trembling, the tears tumbling down her cheeks.
Beverly's eyes closed, pain contorting her face into a grimaced mask. Finally she forced her eyes open, pulled Morgan's face up to stare directly into the wide blue eyes so like her own. "Morgan, I want you to listen to me, okay? I'm not going to leave you, cherie, I love you. I want you with me more than anything, okay? I don't want to lose you, or your papa, or your brother. You all mean far too much to me to want to lose you."
"Then why did you do it?" Jean-Luc asked softly.
She looked up at him, saw Wes next to him. She noticed that Deanna was now gone, had left her alone with her family to settle things. Part of her was angry with her friend, but she knew it had to be done. She stretched out a hand to him, silently requesting his presence next to her. Thankfully, he joined her, pulling her into his arms as she'd done to Morgan.
"I'm sorry, Jean-Luc," she cried into his shoulder. "I'm so sorry. I don't know why I did it, I just felt I had to, that it was the only way."
"It is not the only way, Beverly," he said, sounding gruff in his fear. "I didn't marry you to lose you to something stupid like suicide. I thought we were doing so well these past two weeks, and then suddenly Wes is here, telling me you'd tried to kill yourself. I was so distraught, I didn't know what to do. I couldn't lose you, Beverly. How would I go on? You are my life, Beverly, you and our children. You represent everything I have always strived for, the perfect family, the perfect lover, the perfect love. I cannot survive without you."
Beverly pulled back to look into his eyes, now bright with unshed tears. "*That's* what frightens me, Jean-Luc. I'm afraid of letting you down, of not being what you dream of me. I've let you down so badly by what I've done, and I don't know how to fix it."
"Just live with me and love me, that's all I ask, Beverly. I don't want anything more than to have you at my side where you belong."
"But what about Rene?" It was softly asked, almost unheard.
"I am sorry if I ever led you to think that a son was more important to me than you are. No one is more important to me than you are, Cerridwen," he said, invoking her true name, showing his true feelings. The tears began to flow harder down Beverly's cheeks now.
"Do you mean it?"
He nodded. "And I know that you can no longer have children. Wesley and Deanna explained it to me yesterday." Bev looked away, guilt written plainly on her face. He pulled her face back to look into her eyes. "I am not upset about it. I have been blessed with two wonderful children, I need no more. I was selfish to think I needed another son to carry on the family name when I already have one who is more than willing." At the tug on his sleeve, he smiled and leaned down to kiss Morgan's forehead. "And I have a beautiful little girl who means the world to me. And if the Picard name ends with me, at least the Picard lineage will continue in our children." He paused a moment then. "And as far as the situation with Jack.... I just wish you'd told me sooner. I don't want you to suffer like that, now or ever. What he did to you was beyond reprehensible, and if there were some way to make him pay for it, I would do it in a heartbeat. But I think the best way to do that is to simply live happily with me, and let him rot in his grave. I know his god has dealt with him for the crimes he committed against you. Let it die with him, Beverly, and live in the present with me."
"I'm sorry I didn't tell you...about everything. I just--"
He hushed her with a finger over her lips. "It doesn't matter now, Beverly. What matters now is getting you feeling better about yourself, about our life together. I told Deanna this morning that I am willing to do whatever it takes to make our marriage work, no matter what it is. Both she and Lieutenant Randall are very happy to help us."
"I know. We have wonderful friends here, don't we?"
He nodded. "But the best part of it is that we have a second chance to be together, to make our lives as close to what we've fantasized as possible. Only this time, we'll do it the right way."
Beverly nodded, kissed him, then looked over at her son. She gave Morgan to her husband, then stood and went into Wes's open arms. "Thank you," she whispered. "Thank you for coming when you did, for finding me, for taking care of your father and sister when I couldn't."
"It's okay, Mom. As long as you're okay, I'm happy. This had to happen, so that things would work out for you both. I don't want to see this marriage ruined. You two were destined to be together. It's like Nana Felisa used to say. You can't tempt Fate, Mom, you have to accept what you've been given. You tried to tempt Fate by keeping things from Dad and by trying to take your life before it was time. You can't do that. Morgan needs you, Dad needs you, and I need to know that you're still around. I may be living in those other dimensions, but I still need my mom from time to time."
She held him closer, smiling, and gently kissed his cheek. "What did I ever do to deserve a son like you?" Then she turned to look at her husband and daughter. "A family like you?"
"You are you," came the cryptic response, tho' not from any of her family. Beverly turned to see the Traveler standing by the door.
"You? Thank you for letting my son come to me," Bev replied, smiling her gratitude.
"It was destined that he be here, just as it was destined for all of this to happen as it did. And now it is time for Wesley to return to his work."
"Already? Can't he stay just a bit longer?" The Traveler shook his head sadly. "Then can he come back for a longer visit sometime?"
"I'll come back, Mom, I promise," Wes whispered in her ear. "But there's something I need to do now, something I need to finish first. I love you."
"I love you, too," she whispered, hugging him close.
He walked over to the bed, picked Morgan up into his arms and gave her a big hug. "I'm gonna miss you, little sis."
"Me, too, Wessy."
"Will you promise me something?" She nodded. "Promise me that you'll make sure Mom and Dad are okay?" She nodded again. "And promise me that you'll always do what you feel is right, no matter what happens? I know you won't understand that now, but just remember it. Eventually you'll know what I mean."
The little girl looked at him gravely, and he *knew* she understood him already. "I promise, Wessy. You promise to take me on that trip you told me about?"
He nodded. "I promise, Morgan." He kissed her again, then set her down to look at his father. He held out his hand, but was pulled into an embrace by the older man.
"Thank you, Wesley, for everything you've done for us. I can't begin to thank you properly for finding your mother when you did."
"Like my mentor said, it was my destiny to do it. Now you have to fulfill yours with Mom. Be good to her and tell her how you feel, tell her what you told me last night, all of it. She'll understand."
"I know she will. Your mother is a remarkable woman, and she has raised a remarkable son."
"I love you, Dad."
"I love you, too, Wes. Thank you."
With one last embrace for his mother, Wes returned to the Traveler's side, then the two men disappeared, leaving the three Picards to themselves. Beverly went into the open arms of her husband, crying into his shoulder all the pent-up emotions in her.