At the Center of Things

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Star Trek TNG Fanfiction
Title: At the Center of Things
Author(s): Ruth Gifford
Date(s): 1996
Genre: slash
Fandom: Star Trek: The Next Generation
External Links: chapters are in this thread

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At the Center of Things is a Star Trek: TNG Picard/Q story by Ruth Gifford. It has the author-provided categories extreme N-17 for graphic m/m sex, BDSM. It is a sequel to His Beloved Pet.

Author's Notes

This is a sequel to "His Beloved Pet," which was written by Ruth Gifford and Atara Stein. If you haven't read that yet, stop, do not pass Go, well . . . you know the drill. HBP has been recently reposted in its entirety and it is archived in various places (the main ASC/ASCE archive, Mercutio's extremely complete AFQ Archive, and R'rain Prior's tres excellent Slash Archive)...

On to the thanks and other blather you've come to expect from me. There are several people I couldn't have written this without. One is, of course, my very own one true love, Atara Stein. As always there is a very sincere dedication, but beyond that I have to thank her for not only doing her usual thankless task of proofreading, but for one other important thing. That thing is not minding that parts of this story resembles certain aspects of our relationship. Obviously we're chicks, so that's not it, but I wouldn't have written a story about an S/M relationship *after* the initial scenes if I didn't have at least a vague idea of how things worked. As a very different Enterprise captain once said, "We learn by doing," and Atara and I have taught each other a lot of the relationship lessons I cover in this story. I owe her big time and it's a debt I'm only too happy to acknowledge. As for which of us is Q and which is P . . . both and neither.  :-)

I also have to thank my tireless beta-reader and all around pal, Jeanita Danzik. Her nagging . . . ahem encouragement, kept me at the keyboard in order to write "just one more scene." This would have been easier (no getting each other side-tracked into A/U projects, or parodies, not to mention mailing lists, eh J?) without her, but it wouldn't have been as good. In addition, she would comment on a scene and I would think, "oh yeah, good point." I should also thank the people who wrote to me and politely badgered me to work on this. You know who you are (hi Maria!) and I thank you for the encouragement. No writer lives in a vacuum, and this writer needs the occasional ego-boo.

Random thanks: To the bands, musicians, and writers of lyrics who gave me just the right words for each chapter header, and the inspiration and motivation to keep writing. To the Okudas, and everyone else connected with the Star Trek Omnipedia, which lives in my CD-ROM drive on a permanent basis. As always, to Patrick Stewart, and John deLancie for pushing the envelope as hard as they could and giving us Trek’s first slash couple that was supported by canon.

I want to issue one big caveat here. This is a love story about an ongoing relationship between two complex characters. While it *is* technically a Star Trek novel (although I can't imagine that Mr. Ordover and Co. would want to publish it), it is rather light on Trek type action and adventure. Although it sprawls across half a lifetime, it is claustrophobically concerned with Jean-Luc Picard and Q, and that means lot of time spent in the bedroom (and all the *other* places our boys get kinky—johnny’s coffee table, his desk, and so on) and inside the characters' heads. So if you want action or adventure, you're in the wrong place.

The other warning I feel compelled to give is simple. This is about two men (well not exactly, but you know what I mean) who are very much in love and who tend to show that love in extreme ways. In other words, the sex is rough and for the most part it's male/male sex. Although I look at other relationships (primarily Will Riker and Beverly Crusher, and Worf and Deanna), I don't go into the sex in those relationships for the simple reason that I want to get this finished before the millennium. Also, the letters BDSM *mean* BDSM. If you couldn't handle some of the heavier scenes in HBP, you'll want to skip a good number of the scenes here.

Technical notes. ***///*** indicates a dream or flashback. // indicates writing--usually notes or journal writing, but I also use it for reports. The section breaks in each chapter occur for technical versus artistic reasons. Having read "His Beloved Pet," you'll know that this story takes place in an A/U that branches from canon right after "All Good Things . . ." The important differences are that the events of "Generations" or "First Contact" do not occur in this timeline, Worf is not posted to DS9, and Q does not visit the Voyager for any reason whatsoever (even to prove to the studio audience that he's really het after all--not that we're bitter or anything).

And so, on with the show. The first scene takes place several hours after the end (discounting the epilogue of course) of His Beloved Pet.[1]


  1. Ruth Gifford at alt.startrek.creative, April 22, 1997