Mr.Picard

Ficlet: Let This Love Begin (Picard/Original Male Character) - Rating: PG

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- I don't know why I wrote this just now, but it seemed logical to do so. It's basically the equivalent of my Tea Earl Grey Hot ficlet, but this time we get things from Jean-Luc's perspective. -

 

 

 

Let This Love Begin

 

 

I walk into the bar, and there it is, as always: The familiar shattering of glass.

I've almost gotten used to it by now, and yet it's still oddly comforting to hear that sound.

It means he is there.

I don't know why he always seems to drop whatever he's holding in his hand whenever I enter Eleven Forward -

Wait, I do know.

It's obvious, as obvious as something can possibly be, and yet my brain refuses to acknowledge any of this unless I force it to do so.

I glance at him while I walk past the bar, and he returns the glance while his cheeks redden ever so slightly.

"Good morning, Captain," he says, pretending not to notice the shattered glass on the floor.

I ignore it as well. "Good morning, Alexander."

"The usual?"

"Yes, please."

I walk to my table in the back of the bar, sit down and activate the PADD that I've brought with me.

In that moment Ensign Timothy Harris comes through the door and I make sure I appear to be focused on the dull report in front of me, but what I'm actually doing is watching the ensign's every move while he walks up to the bar and smiles at Alexander, who returns the smile before the two of them start talking to each other.

I know they're most likely simply discussing the upcoming weekly poker game (I have my sources when it comes to gambling aboard my ship) but I can't help feeling a little unnerved by Ensign Harris' presence.

Did he have to smile like that at Alexander?

 

You're asking for trouble, Jean-Luc.

Remember what happened the last time you got romantically involved?

And the time before that.

And before that.

You're not made for this sort of thing.

 

Ensign Harris walks away from the bar, and Alexander suddenly has a steaming cup of tea in his hands (how did he do that?!) and is on his way to my table.

I brace myself for the conversation and am more than just a little embarrassed to notice that I'm far more nervous than I should be.

 

How old are you again, Jean-Luc?

 

"Here's your tea, Captain."

I look at him, hoping that my face won't reveal my completely inappropriate feelings. "Thank you, Alexander."

"You're welcome." He starts to walk away, obviously intent on leaving me alone.

"Oh, Alexander?"

He turns around. "Yes, sir?"

"Would you mind bringing me a croissant?"

 

Wait, what?

I'm not hungry!

You are now.

 

"A croissant? No problem. Anything else?"

"Just the croissant." I smile at him - not too broadly I hope - and he smiles back. "Coming right up, sir."

"Thank you very much, Alexander."

He beams at the continued mention of his name - we both know I'm the only one aboard the entire ship who calls him by his full name - and then slowly but steadily walks away.

I force myself to look back at my PADD and seem indifferent while doing so, but I have a hard time calming the storm of emotions inside me.

I want to wonder what's happening to me, but I know very well what's going on.

I'm just not prepared to face it.

Yet.

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Very interesting.  A very human reaction for Jean-Luc, and one we've not yet seen before...jealousy.  And he would be the last person to show any external sign of it as well.

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4 hours ago, Sehlat Vie said:

Very interesting.  A very human reaction for Jean-Luc, and one we've not yet seen before...jealousy.  And he would be the last person to show any external sign of it as well.

We see him jealous on several occasions on TNG, most notably when he practically throws a fit in the ready room when Q takes Vash-Means-Cow-In-French with him or when he glares at Erik Pressman when he walks up to Riker and shakes his hand in the transporter room, his face says it all. He's definitely the jealous type - as is Alex, which leads to interesting moments in the story - I'm not making anything up, haha. He doesn't tend to show it as openly though, you have to watch him very carefully but once you know him he's like an open book. But then, Alex doesn't know him well yet in that scene, which is why he misses the signs.

And yeah, he's only human, and being in love is something that confuses him still, especially when it hits like it does with Alex. ;) 

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6 hours ago, Mr.Picard said:

We see him jealous on several occasions on TNG, most notably when he practically throws a fit in the ready room when Q takes Vash-Means-Cow-In-French with him or when he glares at Erik Pressman when he walks up to Riker and shakes his hand in the transporter room, his face says it all. He's definitely the jealous type - as is Alex, which leads to interesting moments in the story - I'm not making anything up, haha. He doesn't tend to show it as openly though, you have to watch him very carefully but once you know him he's like an open book. But then, Alex doesn't know him well yet in that scene, which is why he misses the signs.

And yeah, he's only human, and being in love is something that confuses him still, especially when it hits like it does with Alex. ;) 

Well, I should've said overtly jealous. :P

But this is the beauty of writing as opposed to seeing; we the reader(s) are plugged directly into the character's emotions with no filter or interpreter (performer).  The emotion is laid bare in the words.  Jean-Luc is something of a private person emotionally, and it's nice to get this 'god's eye' view of him being all-too fallible.  :thumbsup2:

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32 minutes ago, Sehlat Vie said:

Well, I should've said overtly jealous. :P

But this is the beauty of writing as opposed to seeing; we the reader(s) are plugged directly into the character's emotions with no filter or interpreter (performer).  The emotion is laid bare in the words.  Jean-Luc is something of a private person emotionally, and it's nice to get this 'god's eye' view of him being all-too fallible.  :thumbsup2:

He's indeed not the type who acts on his jealousy in a physical way, he's the type who suffers in silence - at least when he's not in a relationship with the person he's in love with. If he's in a relationship he gets upset but pretends to have other reasons for it, and you have to either dig and dig and dig it out OR you directly confront him with the fact that he's jealous. He'll deny it at first, but his defenses will crumble shortly afterwards if you just hit him with the right arguments. It's what makes him so appealing to me - he always hides behind a wall and I enjoy tearing that wall down and then gently hug the shy and fragile man behind it.

If there's one theme I have in my writing when it comes to the Picard/Alex pairing it's to show that Jean-Luc is only human, driven by human emotions, just like everyone else. This alienates readers sometimes because they're not used to seeing "this side of Picard", and it's probably why some refuse to read my stuff since they can't read about the invincible captain like they're used to, but I feel it's necessary to show that Jean-Luc has a tender and also vulnerable side. The show hints at this side of his quite often, but people don't seem to notice it as such. I sometimes think I'm the only one who bothers with reading/sensing and then writing about Jean-Luc's inner workings and feelings. Maybe it's because I love him, I don't know.

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7 minutes ago, Mr.Picard said:

He's indeed not the type who acts on his jealousy in a physical way, he's the type who suffers in silence - at least when he's not in a relationship with the person he's in love with. If he's in a relationship he gets upset but pretends to have other reasons for it, and you have to either dig and dig and dig it out OR you directly confront him with the fact that he's jealous. He'll deny it at first, but his defenses will crumble shortly afterwards if you just hit him with the right arguments. It's what makes him so appealing to me - he always hides behind a wall and I enjoy tearing that wall down and then gently hug the shy and fragile man behind it.

If there's one theme I have in my writing when it comes to the Picard/Alex pairing it's to show that Jean-Luc is only human, driven by human emotions, just like everyone else. This alienates readers sometimes because they're not used to seeing "this side of Picard", and it's probably why some refuse to read my stuff since they can't read about the invincible captain like they're used to, but I feel it's necessary to show that Jean-Luc has a tender and also vulnerable side. The show hints at this side of his quite often, but people don't seem to notice it as such. I sometimes think I'm the only one who bothers with reading/sensing and then writing about Jean-Luc's inner workings and feelings. Maybe it's because I love him, I don't know.

I can't stand the idea of reading/watching fictional, invincible people who don't have relatable emotions; that's a statue, not a human being.   And in print, they're just plain boring.  And you're right; we've seen instances of Picard when his 'shields are down' and it is so memorable.  

I know it has many haters, but I love GEN for precisely that reason; the absolutely RAW emotion in the scene when we see him opening up to Troi really resonated with me when I first saw it (1994 was a year of profound loss for me, personally).   GEN was very therapeutic for me when I first saw it.   I also loved Picard clutching that Ressikan flute at the very end of "Inner Light."   That moment just broke my heart.  Anyone who's experienced that kind of loss knows what he's feeling.  I realize that some fans prefer the macho, rugged stereotype of a captain, but I prefer the vulnerable human being who finds his/her strength during the course of the story.    

Now, in your fic, we get to see his raw unfiltered jealousy under the mask of the dispassionate captain sitting in Eleven-Forward.   In a way, I feel it's almost like his breakdown in GEN; it feels so intimate, I almost feel like I'm eavesdropping.   We've all had that very feeling as Picard, that tingling, burning sensation of jealousy; I remember feeling it in my youth, and I'd be so embarrassed.   I felt like I'd die on the spot if any trace of it 'showed' in the real world around me.  

It's somehow reassuring to us flawed 21st century folks that even a 'perfected' 24th century human like Picard can feel it too. ;)

 

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Just now, Sehlat Vie said:

I can't stand the idea of reading/watching fictional, invincible people who don't have relatable emotions; that's a statue, not a human being.   And in print, they're just plain boring.  And you're right; we've seen instances of Picard when his 'shields are down' and it is so memorable.  

I know it has many haters, but I love GEN for precisely that reason; the absolutely RAW emotion in the scene when we see him opening up to Troi really resonated with me when I first saw it (1994 was a year of profound loss for me, personally).   GEN was very therapeutic for me when I first saw it.   I also loved Picard clutching that Ressikan flute at the very end of "Inner Light."   That moment just broke my heart.  Anyone who's experienced that kind of loss knows what he's feeling.  I realize that some fans prefer the macho, rugged stereotype of a captain, but I prefer the vulnerable human being who finds his/her strength during the course of the story.    

Now, in your fic, we get to see his raw unfiltered jealousy under the mask of the dispassionate captain sitting in Eleven-Forward.   In a way, I feel it's almost like his breakdown in GEN; it feels so intimate, I almost feel like I'm eavesdropping.   We've all had that very feeling as Picard, that tingling, burning sensation of jealousy; I remember feeling it in my youth, and I'd be so embarrassed.   I felt like I'd die on the spot if any trace of it 'showed' in the real world around me.  

It's somehow reassuring to us flawed 21st century folks that even a 'perfected' 24th century human like Picard can feel it too. ;)

 

It always baffles me when people say "Picard is not human, he's too cold" and whatnot. I'm always like "have you ever WATCHED THE SHOW?". He just doesn't SHOW his emotions as readily, but that doesn't mean he doesn't have them. Just because a person doesn't serve all their emotions on a plate doesn't mean they don't have them. Jean-Luc is very private, because he knows emotions can make a person vulnerable. And he IS vulnerable, very much so. This is something that Sir Patrick has said on several occasions as well, and HE of all people should know, he WAS Jean-Luc for seven years in a row.

And he is passionate, too - in all possible ways. He just doesn't show it too much, but once you get past his wall (which is NOT easy AT ALL) you get a very passionate man who is sometimes afraid of his own desires but will give into them if you just give him a little time to adjust. (My proudest naughty scene is still the one at the beginning of this chapter here . It was very challenging to write, but also very, very interesting and also just... right. Warning: Chapter is NSFW! NSFW!)

It is eavesdropping in a way, writing from his perspective always is, but he's so familiar to me that I have perhaps lost some hesitation to do it. I know this man so well, after so many years of loving him, and I guess this is what happens to every married couple - you get inside your significant other's head, whether you want to or not. And yes, his breakdown in Generations is very human indeed. He is not afraid to cry, this is a fact that people also tend to forget in their whole "Picard isn't human enough" misinterpretation bubble. I think this is also why he's not appealing to a younger audience - younger, new fans are all over Kirk (both interpretations) these days but Jean-Luc hardly ever gets noticed even though many do watch TNG but can't seem to grasp his character. They prefer characters who show emotions readily, and they often, for some reason, lack the ability to read between the lines and really understand Jean-Luc. They don't dislike him, but they also don't really like him - they don't know what to make of him.

Reading between the lines is a BIG thing with Jean-Luc, and also a big thing in the Picard/Alex pairing - they both rely on each other's ability to read between the lines. They almost never say "I love you" to each other directly - they don't HAVE to. They make it clear through gestures and other words. It's not something that needs to be actually SAID. My favorite scenes to write with these two are the ones in which they talk about something else entirely (like, vacation spots or something) and yet what they're actually saying is "I love you" and "I love you, too".

 

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Sim   

Nice ficlet! A short, poignant character moment. Good work!

(And yes, I see it's a nice complement to "Tea, Earl Grey, Hot".)

16 minutes ago, Mr.Picard said:

It always baffles me when people say "Picard is not human, he's too cold" and whatnot. I'm always like "have you ever WATCHED THE SHOW?". He just doesn't SHOW his emotions as readily, but that doesn't mean he doesn't have them. Just because a person doesn't serve all their emotions on a plate doesn't mean they don't have them. Jean-Luc is very private, because he knows emotions can make a person vulnerable. And he IS vulnerable, very much so. This is something that Sir Patrick has said on several occasions as well, and HE of all people should know, he WAS Jean-Luc for seven years in a row.

Yes... my impression is that Jean-Luc loves control, and not appearing vulnerable is a reason perhaps. But I think it's also empathic consideration for others: He doesn't want to burden anyone, let alone give the slightest space for misunderstanding, due to a lack of control, as in wearing emotions on the sleave. He needs an aura of professional sovereignty, in order to be there for others -- to be able to protect others, to stand in the way of harm for people. At least that's what I always thought ... his want to be in control is at least as much about others, as it is about him. He doesn't want to fail anybody, and be reliable when others need him. :)

It's this natural authority that makes others look at him for solutions, and he wants to serve humanity by always meeting this standard.

Edited by Sim

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Just now, Sim said:

Nice ficlet! A short, poignant character moment. Good work!

(And yes, I see it's a nice complement to "Tea, Earl Grey, Hot".)

Yes... my impression is that Jean-Luc loves control, and not appearing vulnerable is a reason perhaps. But I think it's also empathic consideration for others: He doesn't want to burden anyone, let alone give the slightest space for misunderstanding, due to a lack of control, as in wearing emotions on the sleave. He needs an aura of professional sovereignty, in order to be there for others -- to be able to protect others, to stand in the way of harm for people. At least that's what I always thought ... his want to be in control is at least as much about others, as it is about him. He doesn't want to fail anybody, and be reliable when others need him. :)

Thank you very much, Sim! Glad you liked the ficlet! :)

That's the professional environment interpretation of Jean-Luc's hesitation when it comes to emotions, but yes, it's accurate. He feels a great need to carry ALL the weight of the command world on his shoulders, and he has to appear stern and majestic while doing so. And yes, he is very concerned about his crew - protecting them is his prime responsibility, and he feels he can accomplish that by not appearing vulnerable. It's his style of doing things, other captains have other styles, but for him, this one works. I can always really only laugh helplessly when I hear "Picard doesn't care about his crew, he doesn't even interact with them when he's off-duty!" - just because he doesn't sit down and have drinks with them doesn't mean he doesn't care about them. He cares a GREAT deal about them, and he's ready to give his life for them at any moment, and they KNOW that. Control is another theme for him professionally indeed, something he finds difficult to let go, that's true - most notable is the scene in "Rascals" when he thinks he can just go on commanding the ship while looking like a 12 year old boy. It's a desperate reaction to the feeling that he's LOST control, by circumstances he wasn't able to control.

tl;dr: Emotional vulnerability is not something he feels he can afford as a commanding officer - what's interesting is that he feels similarly about his personal life. Vulnerability is nope for him there as well, and you need a lot of patience to get through to him. One door opens and he slams another one shut and if you're really unlucky, he also locks it. But then, I like looking for keys. ;)

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Sim   
5 minutes ago, Mr.Picard said:

Thank you very much, Sim! Glad you liked the ficlet! :)

That's the professional environment interpretation of Jean-Luc's hesitation when it comes to emotions, but yes, it's accurate. He feels a great need to carry ALL the weight of the command world on his shoulders, and he has to appear stern and majestic while doing so. And yes, he is very concerned about his crew - protecting them is his prime responsibility, and he feels he can accomplish that by not appearing vulnerable. It's his style of doing things, other captains have other styles, but for him, this one works. I can always really only laugh helplessly when I hear "Picard doesn't care about his crew, he doesn't even interact with them when he's off-duty!" - just because he doesn't sit down and have drinks with them doesn't mean he doesn't care about them. He cares a GREAT deal about them, and he's ready to give his life for them at any moment, and they KNOW that. Control is another theme for him professionally indeed, something he finds difficult to let go, that's true - most notable is the scene in "Rascals" when he thinks he can just go on commanding the ship while looking like a 12 year old boy. It's a desperate reaction to the feeling that he's LOST control, by circumstances he wasn't able to control.

tl;dr: Emotional vulnerability is not something he feels he can afford as a commanding officer - what's interesting is that he feels similarly about his personal life. Vulnerability is nope for him there as well, and you need a lot of patience to get through to him. One door opens and he slams another one shut and if you're really unlucky, he also locks it. But then, I like looking for keys. ;)

Ah, I'm comfortable not having to search for the keys, so kudos to you for doing that! :thumbup: But I'd always feel I'm in the best hands possible, if I was under his command.

He has this huge sense of responsibility -- he sees most people around him incapable of taking it, for various reasons, the most important one that they are shaken by emotions in crucial situations. So he has to take responsibility, because if he does not, nobody will or is up to it. This responsibility is a huge burden, but he has learnt loving it. He is strong, so that others can afford to be weak.

But I can imagine there is a lot of vulnerability behind this attitude. So it's amazing you have accepted the challenge of looking behind the persona on the surface - someone has to, on Jean-Luc's behalf!

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Just now, Sim said:

Ah, I'm comfortable not having to search for the keys, so kudos to you for doing that! :thumbup: But I'd always feel I'm in the best hands possible, if I was under his command.

He has this huge sense of responsibility -- he sees most people around him incapable of taking it, for various reasons, the most important one that they are shaken by emotions in crucial situations. So he has to take responsibility, because if he does not, nobody will or is up to it. This responsibility is a huge burden, but he has learnt loving it. He is strong, so that others can afford to be weak.

But I can imagine there is a lot of vulnerability behind this attitude. So it's amazing you have accepted the challenge of looking behind the persona on the surface - someone has to, on Jean-Luc's behalf!

He'd have to look for a zillion keys with me as well, so this is only fair, lol. (I'm worse than he is with all this emotional stuff. A LOT worse.) But yes, I'd feel safe under his command as well although the last thing I'd want to be is an officer. But then, I'd feel safe as the bartender, too - because you just know that the captain's got this. And if not, ah well, he's only human.

The problem with his stubbornness when it comes to control has one negative aspect, though - and that's the fact that his crew is literally unable to tell him NO MORE. Take "Lonely Among Us", for example - he behaves all weird and is clearly not himself and Riker and Crusher try to talk to him and get him to sickbay but he manages to dress them down and they crawl out of the ready room like school kids who got scolded by the principal. He has this aura of 100% authority, and his crew is unable to do something about this - it then takes a civilian to break through (see "I, Borg" and First Contact), to tell him "yo Jean-Luc, you're SO on the wrong track here, get a grip". His crew is UNABLE to do this, and this is a result of his commanding presence and of the fact that he usually has everything under control and therefore appears almost invincible to his officers. Civilians look at him from a different angle, and it's rather concerning that it's up to them to rattle his cage enough for him to realize that something's going wrong.

There is a LOT of vulnerability AND insecurity behind his commanding officer mask. I think the only person he's ever allowed to really look at it is Eline, and that ONLY because they were nowhere near the Enterprise. The others barely got glimpses, if even that. I'd gladly offer him a shoulder to lean on (but also butt-kicking if needed!) - if only I could.

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