"Sooo, is this your idea of solving problems?"
Picard kept on staring at the cave wall, completely ignoring the entity sitting beside him. To be honest, the mission didn't go according to plan at all, they were supposed to make a deal with the high council of the planet they currently were on, so the Federations ships could safely pass through their flying space. Well, nothing worked out and now both of them were stuck on an ice planet, in a cave, without any communication with the Enterprise which was just fantastic.
Q huffed when the captain didn't answer any of his questions and turned to look at the same wall, slightly shivering which didn't go unnoticed by Picard. Thinking about it, he didn't feel cold at all and that was strange, he glanced at Q who at some point pulled his legs up towards his chest, his lips were a light shade of blue, the captain frowned "Are you cold?" the entity looked at him and snickered "Me? Cold? Please, Jean-Luc, I'm immortal."
"Yes, but since the accident, you are becoming slightly weaker and both of us know it. And while we are at it, if you are cold why don't I feel a slight temperature difference?" Q looked back at the wall and kept quiet, full-on shivering. Picard breathed in" Q, what did you do " the entity curled up even more in an attempt to keep as much warmth as he could," Maybe I gave you some of my power so what." he mumbled. The captain's eyes widened" How much is some?" Q rolled his eyes" Enough so you won't die here."
" And what about you? " the alien stayed silent" Q, what about you? " Picard gritted out, fully turning to him and watching with furrowed brow at the shivering entity who didn't want to meet his eyes, "I may get a little cold but I will be fine and besides that, better me than you." the captain breathed in sharply "Better you than me?! Are you stupid! You are already on the weak side with your powers, plus the planet's atmosphere is somehow messing with them so you are even weaker than usual AND you give me the little speck of it that you currently have to keep me alive and warm! Are you actually mortal right now?! " Q was looking in a completely different direction in an attempt to ignore the fuming captain, which Picard didn't allow at all. He grabbed the entity's face in his hands and forced him to meet his eyes," Answer me Q, are you mortal? "
" Maybe a little. " Picard wasn't satisfied " 'Maybe a little?" Q grimaced and closed his eyes "Okay yes, I'm mortal but not like, fully. Kinda like superhuman if that makes sense. Means I can stay alive a little longer in those conditions than a normal human." the captain let his hands fall from Q's face, who shivered at the loss of the warm hands on his skin," You can die..." the human whispered," How do I give it back?" the entity shook his head squinting his eyes at him," what? "
" You heard me, how do I give you back your powers." Q shook his head harder this time "No, absolutely no-"
"No, Q, listen to me-"
"I'm not listening to stupid people, Jean-Luc-"
"Oh, as if you are not one of those people-"
"Oh, fuck off-"
"Shut up and tell me how to do it!"
"Why won't you let me help you-!"
"BECAUSE YOU ARE MORE IMPORTANT!"
The captain quieted down and looked with shock at the hard breathing entity with wide eyes noting that he was no longer shivering and there was a blue hue on the edges of his face and his fingertips, "Q-" he reached out but the alien recoiled from him "No, stop it, I'm fine!" he choked out, Picard observed as the tears that spilled over immediately froze on his cheeks. For the second time, he forcefully pulled Q towards himself so he could wrap his arms around the alien in an attempt to warm him up a little.
"You are not fine, you idiot," he whispered, running his hand up and down the entity's back, feeling how cold Q really was. He kept that up for a while when he noticed how the alien's breathing was slowing down, he looked at his face and saw that Q's eyes were barely open," Q." Picard said loud and firm. One of his hands came up to cup the entity's face, when he didn't get any reaction he lightly slapped his cheek and demanded "Keep your eyes open, stay awake you understand?"
Q huffed but opened his eyes further "You aren't my mother, stop ordering me around." he mumbled, resting his head against the captain's shoulder. He needed to keep the alien talking so he wouldn't go out on him "You had a mother?" he asked hugging him tighter to his chest while fumbling with his combadge in an attempt to try and contact his ship. He felt Q nod against his shoulder, "Of course I had a mother. We didn't just pop out of nowhere, at least some of us didn't." his voice was getting softer and with a quick glance for confirmation, the captain saw that his eyes were completely closed. "Hey, don't-" he gave him a few rough tugs until he opened them again, they weren't opened fully and were slightly unfocused but it was better than the alternative.
"What was your mother like?" Q curled himself up toward the heat of the captain's body "Wha'?" the entity furrowed his brow and gazed at the entrance of the cave unseeing, "Your mother, what was she like" Picard continued to try and communicate with the Enterprise but all he got was static, Q hummed "Well she was, nice I guess. She didn't ignore me at least." he mused, "I'm kinda tired, Jean-Luc. Think I will rest for a while." the captain let the combadge fall from his hand "What? No, no, no, no you can't. Come on tell me about her more. Did she hug you as a child? Did you even had bodies..." Picard tugged him even closer to himself, trying to somehow use Q's power but didn't know-how. All he could think about was how cold the entity was, how still and quiet, so still and barely breathing. The captain could feel tears starting to form in his eyes.
" Did you know that stars have feelings?" Q's words were slurring together, shifting his head towards Picard "What?" the captain whispered back holding the alien tightly who suddenly looked so small "They have feelings, and they are so sad. They whisper to you when you are close enough, talk about how lonely they are." Picard couldn't hold back his tears and bowed his head as they rolled down his face "I don't know what you are saying." he says, his tone soft. Q frowns, "They twinkle in and out of existence."
"You are not making any sense." the captain says through the tears. Q frowns, trying to look him in the eyes with his unfocused gaze but his vision swam, he blinked his eyes and let them close. Picard jostles him "Q"
"Are you tired?" Q asks his words smushing into one long word. The entity looks around confused "Where even are we?" the captain pulled his face back towards his chest with his hand. When he was sure Q would stay still he reached out to pick up the discarded combadge and continued to try and contact the ship, stopping every once and a while to wipe his tears away." We can go back home if you want, it's cold here. I can get us there let me just-" the entity sloppily snapped his fingers, when nothing happened he frowned and let his hand fall back down on his stomach "Hmm, weird. It always worked, Continuum is angry with me again." Q slurred blinking sluggishly, he looked confused again "Did you turn up the temperature Jean-Luc?" Picard looked down at him frowning "What?" the entity tugged on the frozen uniform he was wearing "It's hot in there, too warmmm" Q mumbled trying to get himself out of the offending clothes, "No, you will freeze even faster, stop-" it was easy for the captain to overpower the already weak alien, after a few seconds Q stopped to try and free himself once his limited strength runner out. He slumped against the human with his eyes barely open, "Q?" Picard slapped his cheek gently "Hey, please don't" the entity's eyes slowly blinked close and the captain could feel his body going slack in his arms.
"Q, please don't do this, you have to wake up." no matter what Picard did, the alien didn't wake up, his body was ice cold, his breath and heartbeat barely detectable “You can’t do this,” Picard begged, burying his face in the frozen curls "You can’t. You’re the—” the captain cut himself off, then muttered, “You—I love you. I love you, Q, you can’t go, you can’t.” he whispered ignoring the sound of static in the background" You weren't supposed to die, not like this, never. " Picard took in a few harsh breaths.
" You can’t make me love you and just die. You can't. Stupid idiot, it wasn't supposed to be you. You can't. No, no-" he was cut off by a static-filled voice
"Captain Picard, it's Data-"
He glanced at Q with his tear-filled eyes before quickly grabbing the combadge and cutting Data off, "Two to beam up, now!"
In a matter of seconds he felt the familiar feeling of the transporter room, he glanced up to see Riker and Data staring at him and Q, he unconsciously pulled the freezing entity closer to himself "What are you waiting for!? Get us to sickbay immediately!" the two scrambled to comply the order.
"I hope you know that the only reason why I'm not slapping the hell out of you is the fact that you are lying in sickbay and Beverly would have my head." Picard said from his position on the chair beside the bed Q was in, "As always, you are overreacting dear. I'm completely fine." the entity spread his arms wide open like it would prove that he was alright. The captain only narrowed his eyes and crossed his arms, "You died in my arms." Q rolled his eyes crossing his own arms "You are overdramatic, I didn't die-"
"I felt your heart stop Q." Picard growled out, which shut Q up as he stared at the captain "I felt you stop breathing, I felt you slowly get colder and colder and I couldn't do anything because you were stupid enough to give me the only thing that would keep you alive-" the entity snapped at him "And what, I was supposed to let YOU freeze?"
"I would have been alright, I have been human for my whole life. I know how to handle cold way more than you." Jean-Luc argued, curling his hands into fists. Q huffed "Like hell, you would have been alright." he muttered looking at the wall beside him. "
"And what did you mean by 'better me than you? Like your life is worth less than mine." the entity smiled sadly at him "Because it is." he whispered. Picard looked at him in disbelief "What are you talking about? Of course, it's not-"
"Oh but it is, dear Jean-Luc. I'm a part of the now-extinct species. I'm weak now, not enough power to help you in any major way, and not enough skill to actually do anything without my powers, let's face it Jean-Luc, I'm useless so I'm expendable. On the other side, you are far from it, you have the skills and knowledge to do so much more good to this universe. It was an easy decision. "
Suddenly, Q was pulled into a hug he barely registered Picard's words through his surprise" You are not expendable or useless or anything like that for that matter. I don't want to hear you say that ever again, understand?" he felt the entity nod against his shoulder," Good, I love you, you idiot. " he muttered into Q's hair. "Love you too" he heard the muffled voice say.
They stayed like that for a few minutes before Picard pulled away and while holding Q by the shoulders he looked him in the eyes "Just so you know, once you are fully healed you won't be able to escape the slap going your way even by teleporting." Q groaned.