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Overture

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From: Wesley Crusher

c/o USS Enterprise-E

 To: Lakeisha Warren

c/o Starfleet Academy

San Francisco, Earth 

I know we only just met a few days ago, but can I see you? 

Wes 

=/\= 

From: Lakeisha Warren

c/o Starfleet Academy

San Francisco, Earth 

To: Wesley Crusher

c/o USS Enterprise-E 

Sure. 

=/\= 

It had been two days after the Troi-Riker wedding. Wesley Crusher had been dropped off, by the Traveler, the night before the wedding. And now it was three days later and, like countless young people who’d returned to the nest after getting an education, he was a little rootless and directionless. 

“Mom?” 

“Hmm?” Beverly Crusher was engrossed in a report as they ate breakfast together, like they had thousands of times before, and not as if they had been apart for years. 

“Do you know when we’re getting to Earth?” 

“Soon. We have to pick up a new First Officer.” 

“Right.” It was so soon after Data’s sacrifice, and Will Riker had gone on to captain his own ship, the Titan. “I’ll, um, I’ll be back.” 

“Okay.” Beverly smiled to herself as Wesley departed. “Empty nest. Full nest. And so it goes.” 

=/\= 

Wes got to the Bridge, forgetting protocols. It had been so very long since he’d had to care about them. “Mister Crusher,” it was the replacement android, B-4. “Your presence is … unexpected.” 

“Uh, yeah. Captain?” 

Captain Picard looked at the young man. Things were calm but this was still neither the time nor the place. “Wesley,” he said, “perhaps we can discuss whatever is on your mind after shift.” 

“Um, yes, of course. Sorry, Captain.” Wes beat a hasty retreat out of there. He had learned plenty during his years with the Traveler. But some bits of basic human politeness and protocol, the minuet of manners, had been lost. With little else to do, he returned to his mother’s quarters and read novels until a communicator chimed. “Yes, sir. I’ll be right there.” 

=/\= 

Ten Forward was its usual lively place. He found the captain sitting alone at a small table, mug of Earl Grey tea nearby. “So, what is it you needed to discuss?” 

“When we get to Earth, I’d like to beam down to the surface, and take a day of leave, sir. If, uh, if that’s all right.” 

“Mr. Crusher,” the captain stated, “you are no longer a member of Starfleet. And while I appreciate your asking permission, you don’t truly have to, not anymore.” Picard took a sip, “Unless, of course, you wish to return to Starfleet. Do you?” 

“I, I don’t know. I don’t really know what I want to do.” 

“In some ways, I envy you.” 

Really, sir?” 

“Truly, I do. You’ve got a wealth of possibilities ahead of you. Enjoy your day on Earth.” 

“Thank you, sir!” 

=/\= 

When they got to Earth, Wesley was in the first group to beam down. He got a transport to San Francisco’s Starfleet Academy. With his credentials, he got onto campus, and into the Archer Dormitory, and the 8th floor. 

There was music coming out of a room with a closed door. It was a full-on orchestra, but there were more guitars and bass and the beat was more like a march and then it was ancient rock music and then it went back to a drummed march. A leading horn was louder, but it joined the rhythm just a little bit late. He knocked on the door. 

The music suddenly was turned down, and the door was opened. 

The girl who opened the door had kinky black hair held back by a clip, and chocolate brown eyes. She was holding a French horn. “Hi.”

“Uh, hi, Lakeisha.” 

“Oh, uh, come in.” Lakeisha put the horn down onto her desk. “I was just practicing.” 

“I remember you and the rest of the Academy band playing at Commander – I mean, Captain – Riker’s wedding.” 

“Yeah. Have horn, will travel. Uh, good flight?” 

Wes smiled. “Yeah.” There was an awkward silence. “I, um, I know this is fast.” 

“Yeah.” 

“Well, uh, can I tell you a secret?” 

“Sure.” She sat down on her bed and patted a spot next to her. 

Wes sat down. “I, um, I haven’t had a lot of relationships. And I never, ever had a long-distance one.”

“This is a relationship?” 

“Um, I, uh, I hope it will be.” 

She looked at him. “I never did the long-distance dance, either.” 

He found her hand and held it. “I don’t even know what I wanna do with my life anymore. I had thought it would be Starfleet. Now, I’m not so sure. I, I bet it’ll be something different.” 

“I’m kinda glad,” Lakeisha admitted. “I see all these people around here, and they’re all so, so driven. I mean, I like being here and all. But it’s weird. How can these people know what’ll make them happy for the rest of their lives? It’s like there’s no room for them to ever consider changing their minds.” 

“It’s hard to know what’ll make you happy, or, um, who,” Wesley said, “Or maybe it’s easy.” 

They leaned into each other and kissed, very, very tentatively. 

Maybe it’s easy.

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