Rated: PG
Summary: In the aftermath of Man of the People friends help each
other to recover and face each other to begin to heal.
Disclaimer: *sigh* I so do wish they were mine…and I could tell you
they are, but then, you'd never believe me, would you? :rolleyes:

~Friends & Healing~



Deanna Troi entered Ten-Forward with a definite purpose in mind. Her
eyes searched to confirm what her senses already knew. After just a
few seconds she spotted one of her friends near the doors at the
other side of the lounge and began to approach the solemn figure.
Before she had gotten as far as half way through the room she was
noticed by the blue eyes and instantly the figure bolted out the
chair and disappeared into the corridor.

Troi sighed heavily and was about to turn back to retreat to her
quarters when Geordi LaForge stepped up to her. Smiling his usual
broad smile. "It's been a while since I've seen you around here
Counselor," he commented too casually, "Can I buy you a drink?"

One eyebrow carefully arched and a smile to take away his
uneasiness. "No thank you Geordi. I was just looking for...someone."
His face fell, almost imperceptibly, but his emotions were a lot
clearer to her. Apparently the change in the friendship between
herself and the ship's medical officer had not gone unnoticed.

She reached out to Geordi's hand and squeezed it in a gesture of
gratitude and left the crowded lounge, back to the safety of her

* * *
The doors opened even before he'd come within sensor range. Damned
empathy or hers he cursed silently and entered. Deanna just walked
out of her bathroom, her hair loosely flowing around her shoulders
and every lack of make-up on her face. Will noticed the reddened
skin around her eyes and they seemed a bit swollen. "Deanna, are you
all right?"

Dark eyes flashed at him across the distance. "I have been *all
right* for weeks!" She snapped, emphasizing each word with cold
determination. True enough, he knew, it had been over two weeks
since Alkar's demise and Deanna's thirty minute death. An
involuntary shudder slithered up his spine and out of habit he gave
her a once over. She was back to her normal self. Physically at

"Will you *stop* doing that!" How the towel remained clung to her
body was something that completely eluded Riker, but he was glad
that it did.

"Dea, we're just concerned."

"As you have been for weeks! *I* told you, the doctor told you; I'm
*fine*. I just want *my* life *back*!" Pent up frustration finally
seemed to be released and Will almost sighed of relieve. But then
Deanna switched that damn switch of her and the frustration was
reeled back inside and the counselor's calm returned.

He resisted the urge to clench his hands into fists and instead
managed to smile. "All right. So why don't you get dressed and I
take you to that dinner I promised."

"If you don't mind Will, I'd like to take you up on that some other
night." Her voice didn't falter and her black eyes gazed steadily
into his and still could he tell something was upsetting her. Trying
to determine whether or not it would be safe to ask her proved more
difficult and when she ordered the computer to open the doors the
decision was taken out of his hands. Fortunately.

* * *
"Beverly, could I have a minute of your time?" The soft voice of
Deanna Troi barely broke the silence that had lapsed into existence
a few seconds ago.

"I'm sorry Counselor, but I have some errands to run in Sickbay."
And before anyone could blink their eyes Doctor Crusher had left the
observation lounge behind her. Deanna slumped back into her chair
and the resigned expression that settled on her face didn't go
unnoticed by the other senior officers.

"Excuse me," Troi muttered after an uncomfortable silence and then
she too darted out of the room, leaving four men and an android
behind. Picard and Riker locked their eyes for a moment and then
they too stood up and left the room. What had happened between the
two women was a mystery to all of them, but the way they interacted
had changed in such a drastic manner none of them hadn't noticed it.

* * *
Deanna was pacing through her quarters, from window to door and back
again. And again, and again. It had been three weeks since she and
Beverly had exchanged anything but pleasantries and professional
conversations. Why couldn't Beverly see she wanted to talk to her?
She needed a friend. It was not that Will wasn't being sweet or
considerate, for he was, but Beverly was supposed to be her best
friend and she was the one who had saved her life.

"Computer" she called out "display Doctor Crusher's schedule for
today." Familiar bleeps told her the computer was busy accessing the
information it needed and within twenty seconds Deanna knew doctor
Crusher had the entire afternoon and evening off.

* * *
Having put the remains of her lunch in the recycler Beverly curled
up on her sofa and picked up the framed photo that had been lying on
the floor. Her eyes fastened on the small woman in the middle. How
could she have killed her? She was a doctor and the very first rule
a doctor learned was 'if you can't make a patient better, never make
it worse'. And for all intends and purposes, *dead* was definitely

How could she ever forgive herself? Deanna had been her best friend
on board, they had shared just about everything, pulled pranks,
healed patients, saved lives and dragged each other through the down
periods. And she had killed her! Fully conscious, fully lucid and
without giving anyone as much as a chance to say goodbye. Never had
she asked Deanna's permission, or Lwaxana's, or Will's. She had seen
the look on Riker's face when he realized what she was going to do,
she had heard Jean-Luc speaking to a distraught Lwaxana Troi over
the comlink trying to explain that, yes Deanna was dead, but that
they would revive her and that he had complete confidence in 'his
chief medical officer' and all she could think was, what if I'm not
good enough?

She had been good enough, she had revived Deanna, with only seconds
to spare, but still it felt like betrayal and failure.

The doors suddenly opened --reminding Beverly she'd forgot to engage
the privacy lock-- and in walked the last person she wanted to face;
Deanna Troi. "Why are you avoiding me?" She asked quietly in a voice
so filled with hurt it brought tears to Beverly's own eyes.

"I--" she swallowed and tried again, "Dea, I..."

"What have I done?" Deanna stepped forward, just enough to place
herself completely in the doctor's view. Her hair was down and
seemed in slight disarray. Her dress was a little uncharacteristic;
loose, thick and figure-concealing. Probably a left over from what
Alkar had put her through Beverly surmised. "I don't remember
everything I did under...under Alkar's influence. Did I hurt you?
Upset you?"

The assumption! How did she come up with that?! "No!" The
forcefulness of her reaction startled Deanna so much that she made a
little jump.

"Then why? Why do you feel such embarrassment whenever you see me?
Why the hurt, the longing?" Her words brought Beverly to her feet
and within seconds she'd crossed the distance between them and flung
her arms around Deanna. "No! It's not your fault! God, it's not your
fault." Deanna stiffened in the embrace, for a second not sure what
to do.

She returned the hug for a little while and then gently disentangled
herself from her friend. The two women locked eyes for a long
moment, both of them some what hesitant about what to say or do.
Eventually Deanna walked past Crusher and sat down on the couch. The
emotions coming from the doctor confused her and at the same time
broke the control she had over her own. "Talk to me."

Beverly struggled with her thoughts for longer than she would've
liked, but Deanna didn't pres further and simply waited. "Deanna, I--
" She couldn't do this! How could she apologize for something so
horrendous?! Then suddenly a sense of calmness settled over her,
spreading through her body from her hand. The one Deanna was holding
to be precise. "How are you doing that?" she queried; all too happy
to let the doctor in her take over.

"Don't try to change the subject."

"I'm not trying too--" She snapped her mouth shut as Deanna suddenly
withdrew her hand and jumped up. "Damn it Beverly! I just want my
life back! Your friendship! I'm tired of being treated as a
porcelain doll." Pent up frustration finally came to a head and tore
from her throat. "I don't want to feel the revulsion you feel
whenever you see me, I don't want *you* to feel it!" By now Beverly
stood to, but she hesitated about how to break Troi's tirade. "What
happened to me? To our friendship?"

"Oh Deanna" What could she say? What should she say? They stood
across from each other for a long time, tears trickling down their
faces, dripping unnoticed on their clothing at each second that
passed. And as the doctor was looking for the right words the
counselor was keeping her emotions at bay with the last remains of
her strength.

Finally Troi broke the spell that had settled over the two women as
she took a step backwards and quickly wiped her tears away. She was
already near the door when Crusher realized where she was
going. "Deanna, don't" she croaked "I..." Why couldn't she say it?
She knew the words, could pronounce them, even spell them. So why
couldn't she say them?

"It's all right Bev. I understand." Damn it Beverly Crusher, she
chided herself, for once it would be all right to blurt *anything*
out before thinking. "I'm sorry I hurt you."

"NO! No, you don't understand!" Her words, so urgently spoken,
stopped Deanna's steps, "you can't possibly understand Deanna." She
hesitated between the doors and the danger of what might be said,
but choose to stay and wait. "You're my best friend" Beverly
continued "you helped me deal with so much during the past years
and..." Words failed her again and in a last attempt she closed her
eyes and focused on her breathing, just like Deanna had taught
her. "And in return I, I *killed* you!" Release, at last.

"You just did your job." Her voice was so calm Beverly wasn't sure
she'd heard it correctly.

"My job is to *heal* people! Not *kill* them!" And to her utter
astonishment, Deanna *smiled*

"Sometimes" she whispered as she stepped closer and enfolded her
dearest friend with her arms "something simple can solve a
complicated problem, but most of the time, that simple act requires
an incredible amount of courage, faith and love." No more words were
spoken after that for a long time as both women shed tears and began
the real healing.

"Can you forgive me?"

"Beverly Crusher!" Deanna exclaimed disbelieving "that is the
*stupidest* thing you have *ever* asked me!" Laughter replaced
weeping and smiles replaced tears.

"What did he do to you?" The laughter died instantly and Deanna
lowered her eyes and turned her head away ever so slightly.

"Enough for me to welcome death" she replied quietly, then raised
her eyes back to Crusher's. Troi moved to the couch and sat down,
she curled her legs underneath her and Beverly noticed she wasn't
wearing shoes.

When she realized Deanna didn't collaborate any further she asked
her again, this time with more urgency. Troi hesitated, she hadn't
told anyone what she'd gone through, Beverly had always been her
listening ear, as was Will. But what Alkar had put her through...an
unwelcome shiver slithered up her spine. "I --he..." Now that she
experienced the emotions herself, she recognized what she had sensed
from Beverly earlier on. A strange mix of wanting and needing to
talk combined with the trepidation, shame and embarrassment of doing

What she also sensed was Crusher's need to know what had happened,
which provided just enough motivation for her to find the
words. "His emotions, his lusts and hates, colored everything." She
wasn't sure where to look, she didn't want to see the compassion, or
hurt, in her friend's eyes yet at the same time she didn't want to
embarrass or insult the doctor by not looking into her eyes.

Deanna compromised by shifting her eyes between Beverly's and the
pattern on the couch. "All I could see in people were the things I
didn't like...and the attributes that I did." She felt the color
rise in her cheeks as she remembered the seduction she'd pulled on
Will, right after her...unusual appointment with an
ensign. "His 'negative' memories came along with the emotional input-

Her throat tightened as she recalled those memories and fear began
to take over her rationale. 'I've been holding this inside for too
long' she vaguely chided herself as she tried to hold back. Beverly
noticed it and remained silent to Deanna's relief as she pulled her
against her chest.

"He didn't c-care...h-he didn't...hold any-y respect, for any...li--
living being...but him---himself." The fear and revulsion, anger and
frustration were finally given free reign as Deanna cried into her
confidant's shoulder.

"Shh, easy now Dea." Beverly whispered time and time again as she
stroked her friend's jet-black hair in soothing movement. How come
she hasn't let go of it before now? She should have. It worried her
Deanna had been holding back this release for three weeks, she
should've let go sooner. When eventually Deanna's crying had
swindled down to hick-ups and sobs Beverly gently pushed her away so
that she could stand up and get a wet cloth and a glass of water.

"Here" she said as she handed a shaking Deanna the glass of water
and began to wipe the younger woman's reddened face with the
cloth, "take small sips." She waited until Troi had recovered a bit
and then asked her why she'd bee holding it inside for so long.

"I couldn't talk to Will about this, he wouldn't understand." As was
often the norm with Deanna Troi the unsaid words were more important
than those she did say. And what she basically was saying was 'you
weren't there'.

"I'm so sorry Deanna."

"I missed you." For some reason Deanna refused to raise her eyes and
Beverly gladly used the opportunity to study the counselor's
features more closely. Her cheeks had hollowed and dark ringlets had
appeared under her eyes, reminding Beverly too poignantly of her
failure as a friend and a doctor.

"I missed you too." With a gentle hand under her chin she asked Troi
to face her. "You look awful" she chided.

Sparkles lit the blackness of the Betazoid's eyes "why thank you
doctor. You know just what a girl wants to hear."

Crusher chuckled happily; glad to see her friend hadn't lost her
sense of humor. "Seriously now, have you slept enough?"

In reply the counselor merely shook her head. "Nightmares" she
explained, not meeting Beverly's eyes.

Guilt surged through the doctor, but she quickly put it away. Very
much aware Troi would be able to sense it. "Why don't you return to
your quarters and I'll bring you a sleep inducer."

Her black eyes widened briefly with fear. At least the redhead
thought so. "All right" Troi said demurely and slowly walked to the
door. Beverly could swear she...

"Deanna? Are you scared?" Deanna went rigid instantly, not too fond
of the idea Beverly could so easily see through her mask. "You are,
aren't you?" Beverly rounded her so she could look at her face. Troi
was almost in tears again and not knowing what else to do Beverly
wrapped her arm around her and guided her to her bedroom. "Why don't
you stay here tonight." She could feel how desperate her friend was
trying to keep her tears inside by the tension in her shoulders.

The two women sat down on the bed, facing each other. "Beverly you
really don't have to--"

"Shush." She said simply and left the room. "I'll go get a

Was it right of her to accept Beverly's hospitality so easily? True
she didn't want to be alone tonight; it was easier to fight
nightmares when she had a familiar presence close-by. But after all
that had happened the past weeks Deanna wasn't sure she should stay.
Although she recognized it was important for Beverly to make up for
what she perceived as failure on her part.

Perhaps it would be good for both of them. With the decision being
made she began to undress and accessed the replicator menu for a
nightgown, a mug of hot chocolate and a cup of tea. It took Beverly
longer than she'd expected and Deanna began to get self-conscious.
She tried to take the anxiety away by studying her surroundings

She hadn't been there very often; usually they met in one of their
offices, her own quarters or Ten-Forward. The only times she'd spend
the night at Beverly's was after a girl's night out that had gotten
a -little- out of hand.

* * *
When Beverly returned with the tranquilizer after handling some
unexpected errands in sickbay she found Deanna sitting in a chair,
demurely looking at the hands she had folded in her lap. She looked
extremely vulnerable and frightened, the sight momentarily stopped
the beating of Crusher's heart. "Dea, what happened?!" She rushed to
her side and enveloped her friend with her arms, shushing the
trembling counselor.

Deanna tried to speak, but the fear that had seized her was still
too strong. It had happened often since her ordeal with Alkar; when
she was alone something would trigger the memories he'd forced upon
her and leave her trembling in fear. She tried to speak again, but
couldn't make a sound. "Shh, be quiet."

Beverly's soft voice assured her enough to stop trembling, but she
still couldn't speak so she followed quietly when the doctor guided
her to the bedroom and helped her lie down. Quickly Crusher injected
the hypo in Troi's neck and watched as the sleep deprived woman
tried to fight the sedation.

The doctor decided to stay at her friend's side at least until she
was sure Deanna was deeply asleep and remained stroking the
beautiful jet-black curls in a repeating pattern.


Friends & Healing pt 2

* * *
"No! Don't!...Please!...Leave her alone!...Alkar NO!" Beverly
watched helplessly as Deanna tried to fight her nightmare. She had
already tried to wake her and failed, Troi was deep asleep and that,
together with the remains of the sedative in her system, made it for
Crusher near to impossible to wake her. A litany of Betazoid,
Standard and even some Klingon curses, mixed with sobs filled the

Beverly sought frantically for a way to take away the fear, despair
and anger her dearest friend was experiencing. The emotions were so
uncharacteristic for the gentle empath it was actually a little

Suddenly she recalled how Will would calm her after Deanna would
wake up in Sickbay from whatever ordeal she'd been through. She
might not share any psychic bond with the Betazoid the way Will did,
but they were very close friends. That should count for something.

Reasoning that physical contact would make it easier for Deanna to
sense her emotions Beverly placed her hand against the distressed
counselor's cheek and tried to focus her mind on positive emotions.

It took a while but finally Deanna began to calm and vanquished her
nightmare. She remaining lying disturbingly still for another five
minutes and then opened her eyes. Beverly watched intently as the
haze of sleep lifted from her eyes. Fear was still very much present
in her features but bit by bit she came back to reality. "B-bev?"

"Shh...it's alright, you had a nightmare."

Deanna shook her head, her pain tearing at Crusher's heart. "They're
more than nightmares; they're memories" and for the third time since
she had walked into the doctor's quarters Deanna started to cry

She hated herself for every tear that fell and she hated Alkar twice
as much for making her cry in the first place. She could sense the
guilt Beverly still held inside, together with compassion and anger
at Alkar. She wanted to scream as loudly as she could and founds she
couldn't control that urge.

Beverly jumped to her feet when Deanna suddenly screamed at the top
of her lungs. But by some unexplainable way she just *knew* it
wasn't a scream of pain or fear and so she let her and watched as
her beautiful features let go of the fear and anger and instead
transformed into a huge grin.

Hysterical laughter now bubbled from the Betazoid's throat, so
infectious Beverly couldn't help but join in. Two stages she noted
mentally one to go.

The two friends hugged each other fiercely as the laughter died into

* * *
Deanna walked back to her quarters after having talked with Beverly
for several hours, when she was suddenly distracted by very intense
and unsettling emotions. Without really thinking about it, she
passed her own cabin and headed straight for Will's. She keyed his
access code in and stepped into the darkness.

The second the doors opened she felt a sense of self-control
overwhelming the previous dark emotions and when she softly called
his name a block was put up around his mind. "Deanna!" He greeted
cheerfully and ordered the lights on.

But he didn't fool her.

Suddenly she had the urge to run away from him, her own guilt
overwhelming her as she was faced with his emotions. He had been so
considerate of her, he had held her when she cried and watched over
her when she slept. And now she suddenly realized she had neglected
him, not only by snapping at him the previous day, but also by not
trying to find out how he felt.

For thirty minutes she'd been dead to him and having been in the
same position herself she knew exactly what he'd gone through, only
she hadn't remembered until now. "Oh Will! I'm so sorry." Instead of
running she flung herself into his arms, hoping her embrace would
bring him some modicum of relief.

How it must have cost him to set aside his feelings while being
there for her!

When Deanna threw himself in his arms, he couldn't do anything. She
had found out, he'd burden her with his feelings. It didn't matter
that it was her job, or that she would've expected no less; she just
didn't deserve his emotional baggage on top of her own, not after
what she'd been through.

"I know it hurts" he heard her whisper, "I know it hurts Imzadi, but
it will get better, I promise."

How could she say that?! How could she know the hell he'd been
through; thirty minutes without her shining presence in his mind,
thirty minutes alone for the first time since he'd met her. Where
she'd touched him, his skin felt inflamed when she stepped away.
Surprised he looked down at her and was met by two tear-strained

"I do know." She said quietly.

Her words, her soul and her eyes captivated him at that moment and
time stood still. Of course she would know, he too had died and been
revived. His need for her at time moment grew beyond any he'd ever
experienced and without really thinking he pulled her flush against
him, tipped her head upwards and capture her sweet mouth in the most
Earth-shattering kiss either of them had ever experienced. Souls
intertwined and soared in their hearts; their bond reaffirmed and

She was alive

And shocked. After falling into his kiss Troi suddenly pushed
herself away from her Imzadi, turned and ran as fast as she could.

* * *
Deanna found herself in Holodeck three. Her emotions in such a
turmoil she didn't know what she was doing. Residual fear from the
nightmarish memories was now mixed with confusion over the kiss
she'd shared with Will.

She knew why he had kissed her; she had sensed his love, longing and
need to feel her in every inch of his being clearly once he'd
dropped his blocks completely. But she didn't know if she could
return those feelings, she was so unsure and scared. Too many things
had happened, too many emotions fighting for control inside of her.
She had enjoyed the kiss, yes. And the tingling it caused along her
skin felt wonderful.


She felt she had to hit something *hard* and to do so she asked the
computer to load one of Riker's trainings programs. A sophisticated
gym appeared around her and she quickly sought out the rectangular
sack filled with sand and began to hit it with all her strength.
Hammering without any technique, but just to be hammering.

Deanna had never been a violent person and there were but a few
things that could ever bring her to the point of physically hurting
someone but with all the turmoil raging within her she didn't give a
damn who she hurt, or how badly, as long as she could release some
of her frustration before she drove herself nuts.

* * *
By the time Will had recovered enough to seek out to Deanna and
reached the holodeck he found Troi delivering weak punches to the
training device. Her simple dress was soaked with sweat, dark curls
stuck to her face and tears slipped from her eyes as curses from her
throat. It broke his heart to see the sensitive counselor like that,
knowing it was him who'd caused her turmoil. Carefully not to
startle her he slid a hand to Deanna's shoulders and gently pulled
her backwards.

Deanna turned around and looked at Will through teary eyes but
remained silent.

Riker swallowed, and swallowed and swallowed again before he found
his voice. "Deanna. About that...kiss...I'm, I'm sorry. I shouldn't
have let myself go, but you looked breathtaking beautiful I--" he
stopped himself, painfully aware of how corny he sounded.

When Deanna didn't speak he slowly raised his eyes to meet the black
ones of his Imzadi. The furious beating of his heart settled a
little when he found quiet understanding in the onyx depths. "It's
all right."

"Is it Dea? Are we just going to forget it?" He didn't want to, he
realized. Her death had made him see how important she was to him.

"Do you want to forget it?"

"No, no." Deanna smiled another brilliant smile and stepped
forward. "What are you doing?"

"Continuing where I left off" she replied half smiling. The complex
love she sensed from Will had broken away her barriers and although
she knew neither of them was ready to commit yet, she wanted to take
this chance, for she knew they both needed the mutual love to ease
away the hurt and fear of the past weeks.

"Are you sure?" Deanna answered by covering Riker's mouth with her
own, gently and tentatively exploring his lips. Riker responded
hesitantly, savoring the sweetness of Troi's lips as he gently
traced them with her tongue, not sure if it was the right thing to
do. He gave in however when Deanna started teasing him by forcing
her tongue between his lips, but pulling back before she'd reached
his teeth.

Will cut off further teasing by attacking Deanna's mouth vigorously,
demanding her to give herself to him, if only for one night.

Which she did willingly.

The End...