Counseling is a Man's Best Friend

By Clare Holborow


"Busy day?" The handsome bearded First Officer of the USS Enterprise NCC 1701-D asked. He had a feeling that his friend knew he was there for more than just the usual casual chats they had on a daily basis. But then, he was used to her alien perceptiveness.

"Very!" She glanced up briefly, continuing to tidy up the surface of the oval table in the centre of her office.

His blue eyes did not fail to notice how exhausted she was, and he thought for a moment that perhaps he should leave her alone.

"What's on your mind, Will?" She asked, as she finished putting everything away and sat down in her new impressive and comfortable looking counseling chair.

He sighed. Deanna knew him well. Perhaps too well for his liking. He was the kind of man who preferred to keep his innermost feelings and thoughts to himself. Deanna was the only person who could bypass the mask of jokes and easygoing facade everyone else saw. Sometimes that made him feel uneasy, but now it felt comforting. Ever since they had been given the same assignment, they had each confided in the other when they felt the need.

She was looking at him with that inquisitive gaze, which reminded him that she was waiting for him to talk. He strolled over casually and sat in the seat designated for Deanna's "Patients".

Will began to open his mouth to speak, but something stopped him. He felt uncomfortable suddenly. He frowned and looked down to the floor in the hope that he could compose his thoughts.

"Will, this conversation will be strictly between us. The computer will not be recording it, and neither will I." She prompted gently.

He looked at her. "It's not that. There's just something I need to talk to you about."

This time she did no prompting, leaving him to think. She could sense his feelings - he seemed confused and nervous. Curiosity was what she was feeling. She waited patiently, a sure sign of a good listener.

Suddenly, he raised his face to look directly at her as he spoke. "Deanna, about the other night..."

She glanced away for a moment. "What about it?"

"I know that we agreed a long time ago to remain friends, but I can't shake the feeling that there was a promise of something more. You were looking at me all evening - like that." He gestured, for she was doing it again.

"Will, we were just having a good time."

"Just having a good time?" He repeated. "Is that all it was? Honestly?" He demanded when she didn't reply immediately.

Deanna tried to ignore the sudden nervous feeling in her stomach. How could she deny her feelings? What was the real advantage in fighting them? She looked up at him as he paced the floor.

"If you can look at me and tell me that all you want is friendship, then I will walk out of the door and we will never talk about this again."

"I can't." She admitted.

"Then what do you want me to do? Beg?"

She smiled. "No. I just need some time to think about this. And so do you."

"No I don't. I know exactly how I feel and what I want to do about it. But if you need to think, then fine." He kissed her and then walked towards the door. "Just don't keep me waiting too long!" He added, with a large grin.

The doors shut behind him, and it was only then that Deanna realized she must have been holding her breath. Calmly exhaling, she thought about what had just happened. It had been inevitable. Lately they had been spending more and more time together.

Her thoughts went on to what she really wanted. Could she see a future with Will Riker? Did she still love him? The answers to both those questions were the same - yes. The more she thought about it, the more she realized the reasons for outweighed the reasons against.

She sighed and looked around the room. Sometimes just sitting in a quiet, peaceful environment was the best therapy. She had lost count of the number of times she had stayed in the room sitting in her chair, just thinking, hours after her last appointment had finished.

However, she knew that she had a tendency to over analyze everything in her life. Will himself had told her so on countless occasions. She smiled, thinking of how it amused him so much. It amused her equally that he was so relaxed about everything in his life and in that way their characters were the complete opposite.

Despite, or perhaps because of their differences, Deanna realized that there had always been a mutual attraction between them. For many reasons they had decided to ignore it and continue their relationship on a purely platonic level. At first that had been strange, but she had been surprised at how quickly they had fallen into a comfortable friendship.

And now he wanted more than that. She was sure that it was what she wanted too. The more she thought about it, the more she knew that it was the right thing to do. She had wasted far too much time denying her feelings and concentrating on her work rather than herself. She realized that she should take more of her own advice and think of herself more often.

She stood up and marched out of her office, asking the computer where Will Riker was as she did. "Commander Riker is in his quarters." Came the reply.

Upon coming face to face with his door, she composed herself and rang the door chime. She was about to begin the conversation that would change both their lives forever.