Midnight Counseling II


For the second night in row the quiet sounds of the annunciator forced Deanna to change her comfortable position on her couch. "Come in" she called and watched as a dark figure entered her quarters just enough for the doors to close again.

"Shouldn't you be asleep?" She should, both women knew as much, but the emotional out put of the crew was too strong.

"Nope" Deanna replied cheerfully.

"And why not?" The visitor lifted the skirt of her dress up as she sat down to make sure it wouldn't get in the way and mimicked the counselor's posture; legs crossed and hands neatly folded together in her lap.

"Because then you would've encountered a closed door now." Guinan shook her head in disbelief, Troi's wittiness still amazed and she really should know better after four years. "So, what was it like?"

Playtime's over, Guinan quoted her mother silently. "Surreal" she replied "very different from what

I had expected." And Deanna smiled that damn knowing smile of hers again. She had one of her own she knew, but Deanna's only appeared when she knew that her companion/patient knew Troi was right and was thereby twice as effective.

"Better or worse?" she asked even so.

"Both." She didn't intend to elaborate further on that point; certainly not without being asked another question. Damn those Betazoid eyes. "He really is his own person, not quite an individual yet, but getting there. But then you know that of course."

Of course, she had been monitoring his psychology of course. Deanna remained steadily gazing into the El-Aurian's brown eyes from across the table, not revealing anything about her own thoughts or emotions. "Sometimes I wonder which one of us is the bigger mystery to the crew" Guinan mused aloud as she made her way to the replicator. They'd made the deal that when Guinan was at Deanna's place she would fix the drinks and when Deanna came to Ten-Forward or Guinan's quarters she would fetch the drinks.

"Don't worry, you're position isn't being threatened." Fathomless black eyes told her gratitude as the counselor accepted her drink and watched Guinan settled down again. "I hate it when you make me do all the talking, I'm supposed to listen."

"You aren't supposed to do *anything* but wait the exhausted officers who're off duty and dying for a drink" Troi told her in a forceful, yet mischievous voice as she had done dozens of time before. "Besides," she added, "you often enough listen to my whining."

The standard reply --for they'd had this little discussion a dozen times over-- didn't come this time, as the El-Aurian's mind was focused on the matter of the Borg named Hugh. "He really is just a little lost boy. He even forgot to tell me I would be assimilated."

"Forgot or didn't?" That was something she hadn't considered. She tried to remember what he had said as she remembered the uncertainty he had radiated. It was somewhat shocking to realize she had completely missed that because she had been so absorbed in her own fear and anger.

"*Don't*" Deanna's voice shot through the room, edged with just a hint of hysteria; probably due to the tension she was experiencing. The short exclamation engendered the desired response, the guilt disappeared.

"I think he didn't." Guinan vocalized her conclusion --unnecessary, she knew. "How do you feel about the plan Data and Geordi came up with?" And again she received a silent response from the Betazoid's black eyes, this time encased in unshed tears.

"I don't like it. But it's not my right to judge other's reasoning either. I never lost a loved one to the Borg, my home world hasn't been attacked." The emotional turmoil within the El-Aurian increased for a second, being reminded of what had happened to her own world and family, then she forced herself to calm down.

"But you sensed it. All of it." True enough, both knew. She did sense all of it; the fear and trepidation in advance, the pain and horror during the assimilation, the agony of those who were left behind and the grief for those who were killed. "You know, I relished in the idea that within a month or so the Borg would've been destroyed. I never was overjoyed about it, but I couldn't help but feel justified for *liking* the thoughts of a Borgless universe.

"I know" the counselor whispered softly, "everyone did, to varying degrees...but opinions and emotions change."

"They do. And now that I've seen Hugh I don't want to send him back as a living bomb." And Deanna smiled again, obviously pleased with what Guinan told her.

"Have you talked to Captain Picard?"

"As a matter of fact, I did. Right after I had the chance to over think my conversation with Hugh," Troi's smile grew wider as she realized her friend had gone from calling the Borg ' it' and 'a Borg' to seeing him as a single person, as Hugh. "I don't know if he will talk to him though." She really didn't. For all intends and purposes Guinan had always believed she knew and understood Jean-Luc Picard, but none of his behavior in this matter made sense to her.

"He will."

"What makes you so sure?"

"You did." The two words send Guinan chuckling quietly as she rose. Deanna Troi, you're a wise lady, she thought, knowing better than to say it aloud.

"Peaceful emotions Miss Troi."

"Happy thoughts Guinan."

And the doors closed.