With or Without You



Rated NC-17

E-mail:  astarte@uia.net

Pairing:  Picard/Q

Disclaimer:  The principal characters are the property of Paramount/Viacom. No copyright infringement is intended, and no financial profit is anticipated.

Summary:  Picard and Q work out some power dynamics in their relationship.

Warning:  Mild BDSM.

Note:  Sequel to "She Moves in Mysterious Ways."

Feedback encouraged and welcomed.

With or Without You
by atara
Copyright (c) 1995

My hands are tied
My body bruised, (s)he's got me with
Nothing left to win
And nothing else to lose

With or without you
With or without you
I can't live
With or without you
U2, The Joshua Tree (Island Records, 1987)

        Jean-Luc Picard strode through the corridors of his still-unfamiliar new ship, still feeling slightly disoriented, but pleased that ship and crew had acquitted themselves so well in the rescue mission on Otranto 3.  Between tending to the wounded and repairing the massive damage the comet's glancing blow had caused, it had been a grueling mission, his diplomatic skills had been sorely tested by the intransigence of the very people they had been trying to help, and he was tired.  The USS Enterprise, NCC-1701 E was now en route to Starbase 426 to repair some of the damage the planet's severely ionized atmosphere had done to some of her more delicate sensors, and he had a few days days to relax, more or less.

        As he walked toward his quarters, he brushed his fingers unthinkingly along the wall of the corridor, and his body tensed slightly as the smooth surface transmitted the sensation through his fingertips, along his nerves, and to his brain.  For the past few months he had been hyperaware of his sense of touch in a way he hadn't been since his undergraduate days at Starfleet Academy when his active and varied sex life had kept him a state of what seemed like perpetual arousal.  He couldn't help it now, though.  As he perused his battered and singed Shakespeare volume, he found himself stroking the leather binding and the pages, feeling the varied textures as if they were new to him; sitting in his Captain's chair, he felt its shape caress his back; and although he had no sexual interest in any of his crewmembers, he was acutely aware of their physical presence when they were close to him and was grateful that he had been recently taught to shield himself, at least partially, from Deanna's concerned probing.  In the shower, he stood for minutes at a time, feeling the hot water course over his body, closing his eyes to let it wash over his face or turning around to feel the hot splashes on his back and buttocks.  Toweling himself off afterward and putting on pajamas or clothes, he was acutely aware of the sensation of the fabric sliding over his skin.  Alone in his ready room, he found himself tracing figure eights on the smooth top of desk or alternately running his fingertips up and down the the fingers and palm of his other hand in an almost hypnotic rhythm.  In bed at night he felt his hands straying down his body but almost always stopped himself before reaching his groin; he knew that he couldn't possibly provide himself with the sensations he craved--and his dreams, and what dreams they were!--would be much more satisfying.

        Picard's conscious mind suddenly became aware that he was trailing his fingers along the wall as a child would, and he tried to regain his more disciplined self-image with a sharp tug on the front of his uniform.  He couldn't prevent the slight sigh that escaped him, however.  Although he was pleased at the outcome of the mission, he realized that he felt both lonely and dissatisfied and felt that way ever since leaving Starfleet Academy and taking command of his new ship.  He had been utterly spoiled during his last month and a half there, and he knew no one else could possibly take him to that peak of pure, exquisitely concentrated pleasure.  His lover hadn't done him a favor, spoiling him in that fashion for anyone else, but he wouldn't have traded the experience for anything.  Either sliding under his defenses or battering through them, his lover had alternately lured and coerced him into a delicious vulnerability and an exhilarating loss of his usual self-control.  Picard had felt utterly naked--physically, emotionally, spiritually--he had had layers and layers of self-discipline, control, and repression stripped away, and raw, tingling, and reborn, he had exulted in a freedom to be utterly, completely, openly himself in a way he had never thought possible.  How could he not miss that time?  At the same time he couldn't help distrusting and fearing that very vulnerability that had so exalted him.  In retrospect and as days passed, he began to wonder more and more just how he had allowed himself to slide so far out of his own control.  Picard had too much invested in his self-image of independence and self-sufficiency to open himself so completely up to anyone without a fight.  His inevitable surrenders had brought him a joy he could have never imagined, but looking back, he was shocked at how much of himself he had exposed to another.

        He entered his quarters, trying to put his memories of San Francisco out of his mind.  He peeled off his uniform, relaxing gratefully in a hot shower.  Feeling too exhausted to bother with pajamas, he barely toweled himself off before collapsing on top of his bed.  His eyes were beginning to drift closed when he felt a sensation he hadn't expected--a tongue lightly circling his penis, which, despite his fatigue, sprang instantly to life.  The tongue travelled a line slowly along the underside of his penis, bottom to top, then traversed several slow circles around the tip.  At this point Picard's mind registered the detail that both the tongue and the owner of it were invisible.  He chuckled slightly to himself, then reached down with both hands toward his groin, trying to make contact with his presumptuous visitor.  "Ah, ah, ah," rang a chiding voice inside his mind, and he felt both his hands being firmly pulled up above his head then pressed into the bed.  Although he could see or feel nothing holding them down, held down they were.  He then felt his legs being spread apart, then similarly immobilized.  "Damn!" he thought to himself, not so much at his helplessness, but at how utterly aroused he was by it.  Knowing that struggle was futile, he visibly relaxed the rest of his body, and he was rewarded for his surrender by the invisible tongue returning to his still-erect member and licking it more purposefully for a few moments before the entire mouth got into the act, sucking Picard's penis hard.

        He wasn't going to get off that easily, however.  As he expected, as he felt himself close to climaxing, the mouth withdrew, paused, then returned to provide only the slightest flicks of the tongue.  At the same time tiny pinpricks all over his body caused him to shiver uncontrollably; the more he shivered, the more the invisible prinpricks seemed to dart into his skin.  Barely able to process this sensation, he then felt both his nipples being rolled between a finger and thumb in an infuriatingly slow rhythm.  Picard growled in frustration, his head rolling furiously from side to side.  The light wisps of a tongue across the tip of his penis in combination with the other sensations were utterly maddening, and he felt himself sliding into that now-familiar abyss of total, naked, aching surrender.  "Do . . . you  . . . want . . . me . . . to . . . beg?" he demanded breathlessly.  No reply, as he expected.  He was going to have to do this himself.  He knew the routine.  "Please . . . " he murmured, "please . . . now!"  He writhed helplessly as the sensations continued, light enough to keep him in a state of excruciating arousal but too light to provide the release he craved.  "You . . . win," he gasped, "please . . . love . . . please!"  His tormentor was in a generous mood and soon complied, but Picard knew he would have to humiliate himself even further later.  No matter, he would get his own as well.  His lover had proved surprisingly susceptible to sexual pleasure.  As the invisible mouth sucked his penis even harder than before, Picard felt as if all his blood was surging through his veins to that one point on his body.  With a howl that made him grateful for the soundproof walls, he climaxed, his entire body rocked with the force of his orgasm.  After what seemed like minutes of delicious release, he felt the mouth slowly and gently release his penis.

        His visitor then shimmered into visible form, remarking in a silky, mocking voice that seemed both to caress and tease every nerve he owned, "It's so flattering to see you salute me so readily, mon Capitaine" (here the speaker glanced pointedly at Picard's now resting member).  "And you've been thinking about me quite a bit, haven't you?  One might think you had a sneaking fondness for yours truly."

        "Did anyone ever tell you you talk too much, Q?" muttered Picard, having recovered some of his composure and pushing his bedmate onto his back.  "Yes, of course I've missed you, damn it!  Do you have to gloat about it?"

        "Of course I do, Jean-Luc.  I wouldn't be me if I didn't."

        "True enough," returned Picard, "but I know how to stop your gloating."  He straddled Q's body and began kissing his visitor's mouth, pressing it open, and feeling his own surge of pleasure at how readily Q responded to the energetic wrestling of their tongues.  That Q could instantly drive him into a state of quivering, helpless, sexual ecstasy was not a surprise; Q was omnipotent after all, and between his powers and his mind-reading abilities, he knew exactly what was required to take Picard to the edge, suspend him on that edge as long as it suited him, then take him over the top in an explosive climax.  The surprise was how much Q appeared to crave physical contact.  Even though Picard knew he couldn't come close to matching what the entity did to him in bed, Q turned out to be a slave to his physical senses, much to his simultaneous delight and chagrin.  As he had explained to Picard, when he was in human form, he could feel exactly what a human would in the same circumstances as long as he didn't screen out any sensations, and when he was with Picard, he wanted to experience the full range of sexual responses.  Q couldn't quite get over the feeling that this was a form of slumming that really wasn't proper for a member of the Q Continuum, but since he didn't much care what his fellow Qs thought about him anyway, he decided to indulge himself in this unexpected pleasure.  His prior sexual experiences with mortals had been mere diversions, a way of studying humans by imitating their activities, and while his mortal form had experienced a certain amount of pleasure, he could take it or leave it.  But with Picard it was another matter altogether.  For the first time in his infinitely long existence he had understood the intense interpenetration of emotion and physical sensation that made human sex much more fulfilling than the playful, emotionally detached form of sex he and his fellow Qs engaged in.  This man, this human, this mortal had aroused a need in him that, against all his better judgment, he was forced to acknowledge.  Q was swept up in a genuine passion that engaged his mind, his feelings, and his adopted human body in a way that was utterly new to him, and he had determined to indulge himself as much as his own and his partner's fierce independence would allow him.

        Both of Picard's hands tightly grasped Q's hair, as the lovers' mouths clung ferociously together in an extended and ravenous kiss.  Picard only occasionally paused in his tongue's exploration of his partner's mouth to suck and close his teeth on the full lower lip that pressed between his own.  His hands began to explore the well-muscled arms, firm buttocks, and taut legs of the body beneath him, and it wasn't long before he was again fully aroused.  His fatigue had long since melted away.  As his swelling penis pressed against his partner's thigh, Q teased, "Are you just glad to see me?"

        "What do you think?" muttered Picard, pushing himself up on his arms to look Q in the eyes.

        "You seemed pretty glad not to see me before," remarked Q casually.

        "Visible, invisible, male, female, it makes no difference," snapped Picard, "you know I want you.  Do I have to tell you?"  At his he lowered his head to worry one of Q's nipples between his teeth and was satisfied at the gasp this process elicited.

        "Yes, you have to tell me," returned Q, trying to maintain control.  "I love to hear you tell me you want me."

        "Why don't I show you instead?" growled Picard.

        He moved off of Q's body and tried to flip him over, but Q decided to put up at least a show of resistance.  After a spirited and breathless bout of wrestling, Picard succeeded in forcing his partner onto his knees, as he pulled his arms behind his back.  They had a tacit agreement that Q would refrain from using his powers in such a situation.  He had discovered that he enjoyed being mastered as much as he enjoyed being on top, and he was happy to throw the occasional wrestling match.  Both he and Picard knew what was going on.  "Now, hold still!" ordered Picard as he delivered a sharp slap to Q's buttocks.  Q squirmed, laughing, and was rewarded with another, harder blow.

        "Do that again," he gasped and moaned at the stinging slap that sent little shocks into his groin.  Really, there was a crude, visceral pleasure to these physical sensations that the etherial mingling of Q sex just didn't live up to.  "What a slut to desire you are," he thought to himself, wonderingly, while arching his back like a cat.  He then relaxed his body perceptibly and said aloud, "I'm at your service, Captain.  Do with me what you will."  Picard's hands pressed outward against his inner thighs, and he willingly spread his legs further apart.  More so than any human, Q was capable of multiple perspectives, one part of his mind viewing another part of  himself and his feelings with detachment, while he indulged those feelings at the same time.  He marvelled at how eagerly he desired to be filled up, to feel Picard's penis pushing inside him.  That was not yet to be.  He felt Picard's fingers instead nimbly exploring his penis and testicles with nothing like the awkwardness of the first time they had done this.

        Q smiled to himself remembering, his mind able to concentrate on his current pleasures while recalling his memories at the same time.  After their mutual admission of a wholly unexpected degree of desire and feeling for one another, Q had initially felt that he must reassert his dominant position.  Using his powers he had worked Picard up into a frenzy of desire, creating the sensation of countless fingers, lips, and tongues arousing every bit of the surface of Picard's skin while simultaneously sending an electric ripple under the surface to stimulate every nerve ending.  Picard had begged him to stop, then even more fervently begged him to continue.  As much as Q had enjoyed letting Picard initiate him into his first experience of sex as a human female, he wanted break through all of the Captain's inhibitions and return the favor of a sexual initiation, for he knew Picard had limited his sexual experiences to women until now.  An unexpected warmth and tenderness had overcome Q when he realized that Picard really did want him; it was not merely a game for either of them.  So Q had decided, generously, to concentrate entirely on his partner's pleasure.  He had resumed his telekinetic stimulation of Picard's every nerve, while taking his erect, quivering penis into his mouth.  Picard moaned with the urgency of his need, amply rewarding Q's ministrations.

        At this point, Q had decided to find out exactly what was going on in his partner's mind, especially considering how much trouble he had gotten into by refraining from doing so before.  He was gratified to discover that the overwhelming emotion in Picard's mind was desire, and that desire was emotional as well as physical.  While Picard was experiencing a certain degree of discomfort at being with a "male" lover, it was not really a major concern.  Picard was open-minded enough to learn from his recent experiences; between making love with Q in female form and realizing the extent of his feelings for his former adversary, he had rapidly concluded that his partner's fluctuating "gender" was utterly irrelevant.  As Q had expected, a far greater cause of discomfort in Picard's mind was a rising shame at his total loss of self-control.  He had never had his defenses quite so effectively stripped away, had never descended so entirely into that abyss of self-surrender.  While his body and soul cried out for satisfaction, part of him was still struggling to regain some control, to interpose some walls, however thin, between himself and his partner so he wouldn't feel so utterly exposed.  And that was something Q had no intention of allowing; via the prism of his desire for Q, his alter-ego, his soul's double, Picard was going to have to face himself.  Q would see to that and would continue to see to that as the struggle resumed in almost every subsequent encounter.

        While Q's mind had continued to observe Picard spiralling down into an aching, exquisite, vulnerability, he had stroked, prodded, and licked his partner into a near frenzy.  Part of Picard continued to resist, to hold back, and Q dug his fingers so hard into Picard's buttocks they left bruises while his teeth closed on his penis.  The pain sent Picard over the edge of the abyss, and he howled his surrender:  "All . . . right . . . damn . . . it . . . Q . . . do . . . whatever  . . . you . . . want . . . with . . . me!"

        "No, Jean-Luc," said Q gently as he climbed off Picard's raw, trembling form.  "You take me, he offered, while positioning himself on his hands and knees.  There would be time for him to be on top, but he felt that Picard had earned this gift.  Picard sprung to his knees behind his partner, his hands running over his buttocks with a growl.  His acute desire for release had not entirely overcome his self-consciousness, and he reached between Q's legs awkwardly to grasp his penis.  He tentatively explored it with his hands, gaining confidence as Q groaned softly and sunk his teeth into the pillow.  As his finger hesitantly moved up to explore between his partner's buttocks, Q remarked breathlessly, "You . . . know . . . one . . . advantage . . . of . . . omnipotence . . . is . . . the . . . instant . . . availability . . . of . . . lubricant."

        Picard laughed, "That hadn't occurred to me."

        "Now . . . Jean . . . Luc . . . I . . . want . . . you . . .," here he paused, "to . . . fuck. . . me."  Picard had felt more than heard the word "fuck," in Q's now husky voice, jolt him into action.  He pressed his suddenly slick and lubricated penis against the narrow entrance and closed his eyes as it pushed slowly inside.  As he began to move he felt the tightness surround him, and he began moaning rhythmically, completely abandoned to this new form of ecstasy.  Nothing else existed except that overwhelming sensation concentrated in his penis; he had ceased to be aware of his hands resting on Q's hips and the buttocks with which he was rhythmically colliding.  After a deliriously intense buildup of tension, he felt his partner suddenly thrash beneath him; the movement spurred his own orgasm, and he felt a burst of liquid fire spurt out of him, then seemingly wash back through his whole body as he shuddered with the violence of his climax.  As his body's trembling began to decrease, Q slowly straightened his knees and stretched out on his stomach, so that Picard was lying on top of him.  He gripped Picard's hands snugly in his own and pressed his arms close to his side, and they remained in that position, wordlessly, for a long time.

         When Picard had slowly rolled off, Q gathered him tenderly into his arms, much more tenderly than Picard could have imagined.  Picard reached up to stroke the line of Q's cheekbone and jaw with one finger, while smiling warmly and saying, "Well, mon ami, you seem to have robbed me of my virtue now--I suppose that makes us even."

        "I've been wanting to for years," Q had said softly, then, repeating Picard's earlier sarcastic rejoinder with a genuine warmth and only the slightest touch of gentle irony, added, "I'm flattered you saved yourself for me, darling."

        Q smiled at the memory as the major part of his attention returned to Picard now firmly grasping his hips and moving inside him.  One of the advantages of omnipotence, besides the ready availability of lubrication, was that he could experience every thought, feeling, and sensation of his partner's at the same time as his own, and he couldn't resist eavesdropping, as it were, throughout Picard's second loss of virginity.  There was something indescribably delicious, if hopelessly narcissistic, about revelling in his partner's pleasure at the same time as his own, while simultaneously glorying in being the author of that pleasure.  Both entirely inside his partner's mind and and body and outside them, Q felt a triumphant satisfaction that even the most powerfully telepathic humanoid could not come close to attaining.  While part of his mind was still reflecting on his memories of Picard's first time, another part was experiencing Picard's sensations, and yet another was becoming rapidly overwhelmed by his own.  The burning twinges that shot through to his groin were beginning to make him quiver, and he felt that warm shuddering weakness in his legs that prefaced his own approaching peak.  He shifted slightly, spreading his legs and buttocks slightly farther apart, and as Picard's penis pressed deeper inside, he yelped as he came, then moments later, Picard released a strangled howl, gave a final thrust with his hips, and pushed Q flat onto his stomach, sinking his teeth into his shoulder as he collapsed on top of him.

        "Have I ever mentioned that you're an animal, Picard?" remarked Q languidly, as he inspected his shoulder.

        "On more than one occasion, if not recently," returned Picard drily as he rolled off onto his side.  "So where have you been, anyway?" he asked, trying to muster a casual tone.

        Q moved over so that he was lying on his side, immediately in front of Picard, and began idly tracing patterns on Picard's chest, back, and buttocks with one finger.  "Where have I been?  Oh, here and there, hither and yon.  Why?  Did you miss me, Johnny?"  When Picard didn't answer, Q demanded in a harder tone, "Answer me, Jean-Luc.  Did you miss me?" and pinched Picard sharply on the rear as a means of emphasis.

        God forbid he should have to go to sick bay for any reason, thought Picard to himself.  Explaining that bruise to Beverly would not be pretty.  Picard irritably knocked Q's arm away from himself and snapped, "Yes, I missed you!  Constantly!  Every free moment I have you appear in my mind.  When I'm not on duty, I'm no good for anything or anyone else.  Are you satisfied?"  Then he sat up, almost huddled against the headboard, and his voice dropped to a whisper, "Q, tell me honestly, have you brainwashed me in some way?"

        There was a sudden flash, and Q reappeared across the room pacing furiously.  He was twisting his hands together, desperately trying to stop himself from taking out his anger on Picard, and his voice shook with inarticulate rage.  "Have . . . I . . . ? . . .  How can you even ask me that?! . . .  Brainwashed you?! . . .  Can you trust me so little? . . .  Are you still so out of touch with yourself? . . .  Brainwashed you?! . . . Tell me, Captain where I got the idea that you had any potential whatsoever? . . . BRAINWASHED YOU?!"  Q threw himself into a chair and lowered his head into his hands, his fingers running manically through his hair.  "I can't stand it," he said aloud to himself.  He leapt to his feet and disappeared in a blinding burst of light.

        Picard felt the ship lurch slightly, and, glancing out the window, he saw a massive explosion in the distance.  "Q!" he demanded aloud; "we need to talk.  I'm sorry!  It was a stupid thing to say, but don't you understand I don't recognize myself these days?  It's not your fault."  His voice dropped to a whisper as he repeated, "I'm sorry."  There was no reply.  "MERDE!" exclaimed Picard, realizing he had seen the last of Q for that night.  How he was expected to sleep he didn't know, but he didn't exactly want to try to explain the cause of his sleeplessness to Beverly either in return for some sleeping medication.  As he had done for so many nights recently, but with more urgency now, he spent the night trying to figure out just what was going on between himself and Q anyway.  Never having had an omnipotent lover before, he didn't have a lot of experience to go on, but he knew that he had made a huge mistake and hoped he would be given the opportunity to make up for it.  He and Q had often squabbled before; it seemed inevitable, but Picard knew he had crossed a line.  It had been years since he had seen Q so truly angry, and even so, he had never seen him so out of control.

        "That's really brilliant, Jean-Luc," he muttered, "provoke an omnipotent being, an omnipotent being you can't seem to live without."  Berating himself for this melodramatic conception of his situation, Picard reminded himself of how much Q appeared to need him.  Being seduced by a god was one thing; having that god confess how utterly you had transformed his existence was something else again.  And he had confessed it.  In the middle of those endless delirious nights, when Picard had lain curled up and trembling in Q's arms, half-exalted and half-ashamed by his overwhelming desire for this omnipotent being to ravish him, to rivet and transfix him body and soul, at those moments, he would hear a voice speak directly to his mind, confessing an achingly intense desire for him.  And Q was just as disturbed by the intensity of his need for this mere human, Picard reflected, as he was of his vulnerability.  Picard was disgusted with himself for letting a mindless but habitual distrust get the better of him, when he knew that Q would never harm him.  It had been an especially offensive and stupid question--"have you brainwashed me in some way?"--because the very foundation of Q's power was forcing Picard to acknowledge his own hidden, repressed need and desire.  Brainwashing would be an act of brute violence on the part of a Q; Q's mastery was far more effective and subtle because he was giving Picard precisely what he most wanted.

        * * *

        Far more shaken by Picard's distrustful question than he would have believed possible, Q had fled, feeling his anger building up beyond his ability to control it.  Furious as he was, he didn't want to give Picard a genuine cause to distrust him.  He blew up a convenient asteroid with all the pyrotechnics he could muster, then, some of his anger dissipated, he draped himself on top of the saucer section of the Enterprise, put his chin in his hands, and began to struggle with, for him, the extremely difficult task of seeing himself from Picard's point of view.  He heard Picard calling him and apologizing, but decided to let him stew for the night.  The suspense would be good for him.  Q was slowly, painfully biting his own lower lip, trying to drive away the hurt of Picard's question with physical pain.  Q had never been so open with another about his feelings; even in relationships with his fellow Q, he always made a point of locking the larger portion of his feelings under an impenetrable psychic shield.  He had confessed types of feelings to Picard that he never imagined disclosing to anyone--and this was how that foolish human repaid him?

        He buried his head in his folded arms, still biting down so hard on his lip that he drew blood--obviously, he could repair the damage instantly, but he wasn't interested.  "You're such an idiot," he berated himself; "what did you expect Jean-Luc to do?  Get down on his knees and thank you for humiliating him time and again?"  He reflected on what Picard had said--that he didn't recognize himself--and reminded himself that having forced a man of Picard's reserve and control to acknowledge and face his most repressed desires, he could hardly expect such a man to be unequivocally delighted about such a development.  And after all, one of the reasons sex with Jean-Luc was so satisfying was the constant struggle.  No matter how often and how thoroughly Q had demolished Picard's defenses, the next time they met, those defenses were all solidly back in place.  Q smiled slightly, unconsciously licking the blood from his lip; perhaps entirely unintentionally Jean-Luc had found the way to keep him interested--by posing a perpetual challenge.  Q thought for a moment of returning to Picard's quarters and forcing him to apologize, but decided that leaving Picard in uncertainty for a day, worried that he had offended Q beyond any hope of reconciliation, would make his apology that much more interesting.

        Q bided his time by mentally replaying his and Picard's second night together, recalling the experience from Picard's point of view; Q took a particular delight in viewing himself from the eyes of another.  Picard had returned to his apartment as soon as he could, eating a sandwich while walking home instead of stopping for dinner.  As soon as he entered his bedroom, Q had materialized directly behind him and wordlessly wrapped his arms around him from behind.  Picard felt his clothes melt away, then trembled with desire as he felt a tongue drawing slow circles on the back of his neck and hands roaming over his stomach and chest.  He exerted conscious control to keep his body still; this time he had no intention of leaving himself so completely open to Q.  He had to hold back part of himself and try to restore something of his dignity and his sense of self.  He also knew quite well what Q had planned for him--another initiation into a new experience--and much as he wanted it, he didn't want to give Q the satisfaction of seeing him completely crumble as he had the night before.  Q instantly sensed the slight stiffening of Picard's body and instantly understood the resistance it implied.  "Excellent," he said; "you're so predictable, mon Capitaine.  This is going to be as delightful as I anticipated."  At this Q began to pull sharply on Picard's already stiff nipples while sinking his teeth into his victim's shoulder.  Picard gasped, shocked at how readily he responded to Q's painful ministrations.  He again forced himself to be still, but Q's tugging and twisting of his nipples had shot liquid bolts of lightening straight to his groin, and he was giving Q undeniable evidence of his arousal.  He felt Q's strong hands turning him around then heard that infuriatingly seductive voice saying, "My, my, the good Captain is very responsive this evening, isn't he?" while he felt one finger trace its way lightly along the underside of his penis.

        "You seem to have risen to the occasion yourself!" retorted Picard.

        "Quite true, but I have more control over it than you do.  I can keep it up as long as it takes for me to do whatever I want to do to you."

        Q's voice was one of the most tangible Picard had ever heard; the words flowed over him like honey laced with a pungent spice, stinging him while they caressed.  "Don't bother to try to come up with one of your scathingly dry retorts, Jean-Luc; I have a better use for your mouth."  Q pulled Picard into a long, slow kiss.  Picard ached to suck Q's probing tongue with ferocious abandon, but restrained himself.  Instead he twisted his own tongue around with Q's in a slow, deliberate dance, trying to ignore the sensation of Q's groin pressed against his erect penis and the corresponding sensation of Q's penis insistently pushing against him.  His nerves were acutely sensitive, however, and he felt Q's four fingerips pressed together and running up and down his spine as if in slow motion, hyperaware of each finger tip as it traversed each vertebra.  The hand then moved to a lower territory, tracing fluttering figure eights around Picard's buttocks while the lovers continued their extended kiss.  Picard was beginning to think he could handle this; despite his hypersensitivity to touch, he remained firm and in control, kissing his partner with a ostentatiously languid nonchalance.  But as a finger suddenly slipped between his buttocks, he almost lost it.  The finger felt both slick and hot; as it probed his anus with a maddeningly slow circular motion, Picard felt his legs turn to jelly, and he practically inhaled Q's tongue deeply into his mouth with an involuntary growl.  "Feels different, doesn't it, Johnny?" asked Q mockingly, having pulled his mouth away from Picard's.  Since it appeared to be a rhetorical question, Picard hadn't bothered to answer; he felt strung as tight as a violin string and was using every bit of his resistance to force himself to relax, to restore as casual a demeanor as he could muster.  Q's hot and insistent probing inside him had him teetering dangerously on the edge of utter abandon, but he was not self-disciplined for nothing.  He looked directly into Q's eyes with a slight smile, his arms lightly draped around Q's waist, his manner projecting a calm confidence.

        Q laughed dangerously, his eyes glittering, and remarked, "I really do appreciate this show of resistance, Jean-Luc.  It will make your eventual abject surrender all the more . . . piquant."  There was a sudden flash, and Picard found himself lying on his back on the bed.  Q walked slowly over to the bed, sat on the edge, then suddenly yanked Picard's arms over his head, wrists crossed, then immobilized them with a glance.  Moving down to the foot of the bed, he pushed Picard's legs wide apart so that his bent knees were raised, and his feet were rolled outward so that only the outer edges touched the bed.  Although Q was using his powers to keep Picard in this position, he could still feel the muscles beginning to strain in his calves and thighs.  It was a humiliating and uncomfortable position, made all the more humiliating with the addition of the large pillow that materialized under his buttocks which tilted his hips up at an accessible angle.

        Q stood up, lightly brushing his hands together while admiring his handiwork, and observed, "You're so beautiful when you're helpless, Johnny."

        Picard's mouth was dry, and swallowing was increasingly difficult.  He asked, in a strained whisper, "What if I asked you to stop?"

        Q was still standing, swaying slightly with his hands on his hips, as he perused Picard appraisingly.  He answered casually, "I'd stop of course. I'm not the most ethical being in the universe, I'll admit, but I'm not a rapist.  A willing and eager victim is so much more entertaining than an unwilling one; wouldn't you agree?  Do you want me to stop?"

        All he had to say was "Yes," and he knew that Q would release him instantly.  Picard swallowed again, then slowly shook his head no; he felt terribly ashamed, but at the same time, pinned down as he was, he felt remarkably free--free of responsibilities, free of his habitual reserve, free of the invisible wall his rank interposed between him and everyone he was close to--even Beverly.  He was free to concentrate on his own pleasure, on all the sensations his body could muster, but, nonethelesss, abject surrender was not in his plans.  He glared at Q defiantly as to say he would not break down.

        Q sat down near the head of the bed and ran his finger over Picard's dry lips.  "A little nervous, are we?" teased Q, and Picard felt a cool gush of water swirl through his mouth and down his parched throat.  He tried to look as relaxed as a man with his hands pulled above his head and his legs drawn up and spreadeagled could look.  Q continued to run his finger around Picard's now moist lips, then slipped the finger in his mouth.  With a show of cooperation, Picard sucked Q's finger avidly, but as soon as a slow, triumphant smile began to spread over Q's face, Picard bit down--not particularly hard, but hard enough to stand as a declaration of independence.  Q lightly slapped Picard's cheek with his fingertips, laughed, then turned his attention to Picard's already-hard nipples, circling them with an initially light touch that grew increasingly rougher.  Each rotation of Q's thumbs around his nipples seemed to send an electrical current straight to Picard's groin, and although he could not conceal the evidence of arousal that his prominent erection provided, he stifled his impulse to moan.  He knew Q wanted him to plead with him to go on, to bring him release, but he had no intention of pleading . . . yet.

        After a few minutes of this stalemate, Q disappeared in a flash to reappear, sitting cross-legged, between Picard's feet.  Picard was trying to ignore his now slightly trembling leg muscles, while Q sat quietly, not doing anything, but looking Picard up and down.  After several moments, Q began stroking Picard's inner thighs with outstretched fingertips in a circular motion.  Feeling Q's fingers so close to his quivering penis but not touching it was almost enough to elicit a groan of frustration, but Picard was not yet ready to admit defeat.  The finger that now began lightly running up and down the underside of his penis provoked a sharp gasp.  "I know what you want, Johnny, but I want you to ask for it," said Q, continuing his one-fingered teasing of his partner.  Picard remained stubbornly silent.  "All right, Captain, I'm just going to have to bring out the heavy artillery."  Like the day before, Picard felt numerous invisible tongues licking and probing every part of his body, but these tongues were rough like a cat's and seemed to send an electric tingle directly into his nerve endings wherever they grazed his skin.  The tongues drew circles on the back of his neck, behind his knees, and tightly around his nipples; they traced lines up his thighs, and along his sides, they criss-crossed his chest and back, and they danced figure eights around his buttocks all at the same time.  As soon as Picard processed this sensation, he began to feel multiple sets of teeth nipping his upper arms, shoulders, buttocks, and thighs.

        Q meanwhile made very clear he was not going to allow his victim any relief any time soon.  With one finger he continued his light stroking of Picard's penis and with another finger he teased the entrance of his anus in a maddeningly casual fashion.  The lubricated finger aimlessly circled, occasionally sliding in and out, but never with enough conviction to bring Picard to a climax.  The confluence of sensations Q was inflicting on him simply made him feel more and more intensely and achingly aroused.  His nerve endings began to smoulder, and he felt an exhilarating rush of pure desire.  He was overwhelmed by Q's power as his shields buckled and defenses crumbled; stripped of his position, his authority, his reserve, and his control, he felt raw and exposed, his entire being concentrated on a trembling, burning need.  He had reached a state of hyperwareness and lucidity, seemingly conscious of the response of each individual nerve in his body.  Despite himself, he exulted in the depth of his humiliation; there was something enticingly thrilling in being so transfigured with need and desire.  Wasn't this what he was looking for when he willingly allowed "Catherine" to seduce him in the first place, knowing it was Q all along?  To be so consumed by sensation that nothing else mattered?

        With an air of playful nonchalance, Q began using his finger to moisten the tip of Picard's penis with the glistening drops of fluid that were leaking from it, and Picard let out a strangled growl of frustration, but immediately began struggling to regain control, fixing Q with a defiant glare.  "You are the most impossibly stubborn human I have ever met!" exclaimed Q.  "You must know that I'm not going to give you what you so desperately want until you satisfy me first.  You know what I want to hear."

        "I . . . want . . . you!" hissed Picard.

        "Not good enough!" mocked Q in a singsong tone.

        "I . . . want . . . you . . . inside . . . me . . . , all . . . right?"

        "Still not good enough!" chanted Q.

        Picard growled again in frustration, as the buildup of tension really was becoming unbearable.  In a delirium of agonizing pleasure, he managed to gasp one more challenge to his tormentor:  "Has . . . anyone . . . ever . . . told . . . you  . . . what . . . an . . . ASSHOLE . . . you . . . are??!!"

        Q laughed delightedly, then clucked reproachfully, "Tsk, tsk, such language from the Captain of the Starship Enterprise" while giving Picard a perfunctory slap on his raised behind.  "I've been called that appellation on more occasions than even I can count and in more languages than you can imagine, Picard, so don't congratulate yourself on your originality.  Come on, mon Capitaine, you can't hold out forever, and let me remind you that I can.  You know what I want:  total and abject surrender," he paused, then added as afterthought, "darling."

        Picard moaned in exquisite agony; he felt himself spinning, whirling out of control.  The entire universe was concentrated in this bed, and no one else existed but himself and Q.  He was slipping away from all that was familiar, from all he usually relied on.  He stared straight into Q's eyes, and emphatically declared, "THEN . . . LET . . . ME . . . GO!"  Much to his surprise, Q released him, while simultaneously ceasing his sensory assault on his partner's body.  Picard immediately rolled over onto his hands and knees, looked back at Q, and slowly pronounced, "Q. . . I . . . want . . . you  . . . to . . . FUCK . . . me . . . GOD . . . DAMN . . . IT!!"

        "Why Captain," exclaimed Q, springing to his knees immediately behind Picard, "Why didn't you say so earlier?  My pleasure."  He then added, "Fasten your seat belt, Johnny; I'm taking you for a ride."

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