No real plot, no Imzadi, no nothing actually, but a little exploration of a relationship between two shipmates :)

Hope you like it. Usual disclaimers are written with invisible ink and the rating is, don't need to say anything about those, now do I?;)

Midnight Counseling

Hearing the chimes of the door the woman on the couch reluctantly raised her head. Who would be stopping by at a time like this? It was one a.m, every sensible person would be sleeping now.

"Come in." The doors slid apart and revealed a woman standing in the corridor, but already making her way in. A long skirt flowed behind her and nearly got caught between the doors as they closed again.

The woman on the couch was about to get up when the visitor rose her hand and spoke. "Don't bother, I know the routine." More than happy not to have to leave her comfortable position she remained seated and watched the other walk to the replicator and order two cups of 'her special addiction' as she liked to call it.

Gratefully she accepted the drink offered to her and politely waited till the other had taken a seat as well before she sipped the tea. She pushed some locks of ebony curls out her face and regarded the woman across her. "One day you'll have to tell what this stuff is. It tastes wonderful."

Unfortunately for her she didn't yield and simply smiled in response, just as she had for as long as Deanna could remember. "I like the hat, where did you get this one?"

Instead of the knowing smile the dark woman across the room was famous for she now chuckled. "Curious as always aren't we Miss Troi?" The Betazoid just shook her head and waited for the answer, knowing it would come.

"Hirak Yam, a planet on the boarder of the Beta-quadrant." When the El-Aurian didn't continue her explanation Deanna raised her head and locked her black eyes on the brown ones of the Enterprise's bartender.

"Something wrong?" Guinan briefly diverted her gaze, seemingly considering whether or not she wanted to tell the Ship's Counselor what was on her mind.

"Before I start attacking you with my problems, just how tired are you Miss Troi?" Deanna smiled slightly, being once again remembered that there wasn't much that escaped her friend.

"What makes you say I'm tired at all?" This time it was Guinan who smiled, being remembered that Deanna Troi wasn't someone who easily admitted her feelings to others.

"Well, you didn't pick up on my worries immediately as you do usually." At this the empath nodded.

"I took a slight psylo-synine inhibitor, with all the emotional shifts the crew has experienced the past days it became increasingly difficult to keep up the barrier between my own emotions and those of others." Guinan was about to reply when Deanna cut her off, her voice coy and cheery. "Don't worry, I'm not tired enough, and yes I'm sure."

"You've come to know me too well." The El-Aurian sighed.

"Well, in any case, you're still a mystery to practically everyone else onboard the ship. So what are you going to do about it? Kill me?" Both drank the last bit of their drinks and put their glasses back on the table.

"I might, but not tonight, I need your advice." Deanna put down her cup and fought a yawn away. Her senses told her that the problem Guinan was facing was worrying her more than she cared to admit.

"The Borg."

Guinan snorted in mock-acknowledgement. "Hugh, they *named* a Borg." The strong waves of emotions pouring from the El-Aurian slammed against Troi's weakened shields; the tension and fear that had been roaming through the ship since the captain had decided to bring the Borg onboard had been taking their toll on her senses. "Geordi wants me to listen to him."

"Will you?"

"That's an annoying habit you know." Guinan smiled faint-heartedly and stood up. "I don't know." Deanna rose to her feet as well, deliberately doing so slowly to keep herself from swaying, and moved to stand in front of her friend.

"The anger and fear you feel is understandable," she said quietly, "a lot of people on board feel it."

"You would know, of course. Tell me, have you talked to him." When Deanna's expression remained even Guinan chuckled softly. "I guess that was a silly question. Should I talk to him?"

"How would you feel if you didn't?" The question surprised Guinan to greater extend that it should've.


"How will you feel in three of four weeks, when you see Geordi in your bar grieving for the loss of someone he considered a friend while you're celebrating the destruction of the Borg?" The rude way in which Deanna verbalized her question seemed to escape the El-Aurian as she sought for an answer. Troi had a point she knew. How often hadn't she told visitors of her bar to try and look at a fight they were having from their enemies point of view? How often hadn't she stressed that people should never lower themselves to the level of those whom they despised.

Could she not look at the Borg whom they were going to make destroy his kind and live with that knowledge? "I guess you just found your answer, didn't you?" Whether Deanna simply had so much experience with emotions that she could predict what someone was thinking, or that she really picked up her thought Guinan couldn't tell, but she appreciated the help the counselor had given her.

"Thank you Deanna." She squeezed the Betazoid's hand in gratitude and turned to leave.

"Guinan, could you talk to captain Picard? He refuses to acknowledge the emotions he's feeling and won't to talk to me." A silent nod sealed the deal as the doors opened and Guinan stepped into the corridor.

"Peaceful emotions Miss Troi."

"Happy thoughts Guinan."

And the doors closed.