Deanna Troi was relaxing in her quarters reading the reports from the latest incident the Enterprise crew had encountered. Captain Picard and Dr Crusher have been safely back on board for two days now. The implants were removed from their necks with no noticeable negative affect. The Kes were indeed denied entrance into the Federation and will not be allowed to reapply until Kesprytt is unified under one common governing body.
The Counselor paused in her reading to take a sip of her tea just as the chime on her door sounded. "Come." Her door slide open revealing the tall slender figure of her best friend. "Hey Bev," she greeted her with a smile, "what's up?"
Beverly steeped through the doorway and Deanna motioned for her to have a seat in the chair opposite form her. "Nothing, I just wanted to stop by and say hi, see how you were, what you were up to."
Sensing that her friend wanted to talk but was a little nervous and anxious about doing so, Troi decided to let her friend come around to it when she was ready. "I'm just reading the reports about Kesprytt." At the mention of the latest mission, Deanna felt a distinct spike in Beverly's anxiety, and her suspicions were confirmed. Something more happened down on that planet than the official reports suggested. Troi put a hand over Beverly's and gave her a reassuring smile as she asked, "Do you want anything to drink while we talk about what happened?"
The doctor let out a shaky breath and nodded. "Lemon tea would be lovely, thanks."
After retrieving the steaming cup from the replicator, Deanna handed Beverly her tea and sat back down on the couch. Pulling her feet up under her, she drank her tea and patiently waited for Beverly to begin. The two women sat in a comfortable silence before Crusher finally let out an audible sigh and set down her mug.
"You really do make it impossible for people not to open up to you." She said with a wane smile that didn't reach her eyes.
The Counselor smiled back over her cup and shrugged her shoulders. "I didn't do a thing."
Beverly picked up her tea and took a sip before she began. "Since you've read the reports I assume that you are aware that Jean-Luc and I had electronic devises implanted in us during our imprisonment, and that because of these devices we were unable to be separated by more than a few feet and we were able to hear one another's thoughts." Deanna nodded so she continued. "What the official report doesn't say is how it felt to be in that situation and what the two of us ended up inadvertently revealing to one another."
An intense sadness washed over Beverly. "What happened?"
"He's in love with me." Her words were barely above a whisper and her eyes brimmed with unshed tears. "He's in love with me and I don't know what to do." She swiped at the stubborn tear that had made its way down her cheek.
"Do you love him?"
"I think so." She sighed, looking her friend in the eye. "But it's not that simple."
"Believe me, I know."
"It had been easy for me to push my feelings aside in order to preserve our friendship. Well, not exactly easy, but it had been possible. Now that I know, and he knows…" She concluded her thought with a wave of her hand.
"Now that those feelings have been brought to the surface, it is more difficult for you to deny their existence."
"Have you talked to him about this?"
"The topic came up over diner the other night."
Beverly took a sip of her tea and considered her words before she spoke. "And Jean-Luc made it very clear that he would be willing to explore these feelings, see where they could take us."
Sensing her hesitation, Troi gently urged her friend to continue. "But?"
"But I'm not ready for something like that right now. I love him, I do. I'm just at a point in my life where an intense emotional relationship has no place."
Deanna raised an eyebrow. "Intense?"
A small smile spread across Beverly's features. "I couldn't sleep one night while we were down on the planet so I ended up eavesdropping on his dreams." Her fair skin slowly turned a bright shade of crimson. She cleared her throat and quickly changed the subject. "I don't understand how Betazeds stay sane with everyone else's thoughts rattling around in their heads. I have a new respect for the mental discipline of your people."
"You learn how to filter all that stuff out and just concentrate on what you want to hear. It's very much like listening to one conversation in a crowded room." She sat her mug down and knitted her brow thoughtfully. "Strange how I always talk about Bezazoid abilities like I actually possess them."
"Really? I hadn't noticed. Do you know why you do that?"
Letting out a deep sigh, Deanna leaned back and tried to decide where to begin. "After my father died, Mother raised me in the Betazoid traditions and my other half, my human half, was pushed aside and forgotten. This arrangement worked out fine until I reached adolescence. When all of my friends were developing and learning how to control their telepathic powers, it was realized that the poor little half-ling would never be able to be a full telepath. I suddenly became an outcast amongst my peers. Only my closest friends stayed beside me."
"So do you have any telepathic ability other than with your mother?"
Deanna nodded. "After many years of hard work and a lot of frustration, I was able to send and receive thoughts from short distances. The thoughts have to be directed towards me and they usually have to come from a fairly adept telepath. It is easiest for me to send thoughts to people that I am emotionally close to, but with a lot of concentration and a little luck I can send to most Betazoids, as long as they are aware that I am trying to send to them. However, I am not able to pick up on random thoughts of people. I can't just get inside people's heads and listen in." A slow smile lightened up her features. "Well, except for one person."
Beverly mirrored the smile of her friend. "Fascinating. I had always wondered about that, but since it wasn't mentioned in your medical file, I figured it was none of my business."
She shook her head adamantly, her loose dark curls falling around her face. She took the doctors hand. "Bev, you're my closest and dearest friend. You can ask me anything."
Her eyebrow shot up. "Anything?"
A worried look crossed Deanna's face and she hesitantly nodded her head. "Anything. Although I am not guaranteeing that I will answer." The smile returned.
Beverly sat back and sipped her tea thoughtfully, considering her options. She finally settled on a question and leaned forward again. "The one who's thoughts you are able to pick up on," Deanna nodded slowly so she continued. "Who is he?"
Unsuccessfully fighting back a blush, she painted on her best poker face and replied evenly, "How do you know that it's a 'he'?"
The doctor was able to stifle her first giggle, but the next one made it through. "I knew it. You two are not fooling anyone." She put up her hand to silence Deanna's protest. "It's obvious that you two are in love. Even if you hadn't told me flat out, I still would have figured that much out. There's something more going on, isn't there?"
Deanna's blush grew deeper and a small smile touched her lips. "Will and I are…" She looked to her hands in her lap, searching for the right word, finally settling on, "bonded."
"Like how you were to be bonded to Wyatt?" Deanna sensed Beverly's confusion.
Shaking her head, she attempted to clarify. "My bond with Will goes beyond all of that. We are Imzadi." She paused, struggling for words. "It's not an easy concept to verbalize. The closest analogy I've been able to come up with is soul mates, but that description only describes a small part of the bond."
"Wow." Leaning forward, Beverly placed her chin in her hand. "So, can you two communicate telepathically because of this bond?"
"Because of the current state of our relationship, it is a bit more difficult, but yes, we can. Of course it is more difficult for Will to send a thought to me, especially when he is out of practice. There are times when I have been able to pick up on a stray thought or two."
"There have been times on the bridge, in a briefing, or even at a poker game when I swore the two of you were having complete conversations without uttering a word."
Deanna's eyes filled with sadness. "There are occasions where we've exchanged a thought or two, but not very often - at least not anymore." She quickly wiped a tear from her cheek and reached for her tea.
"I don't know how you two do it." At the look of surprise on the counselor's face Beverly let out a sigh of frustration. "Being so intimately attached to Jean-Luc was like a drug. I became so addicted to it in such a short time. You two have the ability to have that sort of intimacy all of the time, yet you are able to just remain friends. I truly admire your self control."
"It's not easy. Believe me. There have been times where it took all of my strength not to just throw it all away and tear his clothes off." The two women fell into a fit of laughter.
After they calmed down, the two women sat in silence drinking their tea. When a delightfully mischievous smile spread across Beverly's face Deanna couldn't help but become slightly alarmed. "What is it?"
"Oh nothing." She tried to look innocent, but her rouse was ruined when she let a small giggle slip out.
"Bev, out with it."
"I was just thinking," her grin widened, "that since you two can get into each other's heads," she paused dramatically, "the sex must be incredible!"
"You are terrible Bev!" Deanna tossed a couch pillow in Crusher's general direction and the pair was once again overtaken by laughter.
"Well, is it?"
"If you must know…"
"Yes, I must."
Beverly leaned forward in anticipation as Troi took a long drink of her tea before leaning forward and answering in a voice barely above a whisper. "Incredible doesn't even begin to give it justice."
"Remind me again why you two are just friends."
A sigh escaped her lips. "Sometimes I forget myself, but we are both at a point in our live where an intense emotional and physical relationship has no place."
"We are all in the same boat together."
"In time I know Will and I will get up the nerve to jump ship. Until then," she shrugged.
"Happy sailing." Beverly raised her mug in a mock toast and Deanna followed suit. A small smile tugged at the corners of her lips.