Midnight Counseling III


In the light of the stars she waited for her visitor to come; for she knew she would eventually. The room was empty and the only illumination came from the stars outside. Just the way she liked it best; empty and clean before the nightshift came of duty and when the majority of the people on board were a sleep.

"Shouldn't you be a sleep?" The melodious voice filled the air and announced the arrival of the visitor. The host made sure she didn't stir and kept her gaze outside, waiting for the other woman to take the seat next to her.

"As should you Miss Troi."

"Hmm." Deanna muffled in agreement. "I'll stop by Sickbay for some sleep inducers tomorrow; it's my day off anyway. I like the hat by the way, it's new isn't it?" Guinan raised an eyebrow in surprise as Troi shove a glass to her across the table.

The El-Aurian picked up the drink and sipped, trying to determine what the turquoise liquid within was. "Actually, it's the one I wore when we fled our home world." She eyed her companion as she spoke and witnessed the dark ringlets under her eyes and the sadness in her features. "The last days have worn you out, haven't they?"

"The curse of an empath" Deanna replied with a remarkable cheerfulness in her voice. "I'm happy with the outcome though."

Guinan noticed the unsaid words; no doubt unsaid intentionally. And so, as a good patient is supposed to do, she finished the counselor's sentence "but you wished he could have kept his individuality."


"Naturally." She tried to figure out what just happened, but after replaying the last couple of sentences in her head she still wasn't sure. "Some times I wonder how you manage not to annoy your patients away, counselor."

"But you're not my patient." Deanna stood up from her chair and walked to the view port, where she settled herself onto the window ledge. The view for Guinan was almost alien, despite the many cultures she had encountered on her travels. Troi's hair was as black as the space surrounding her, but because of the starlight it was outlined by a yellow-hue and in perfect contrast with the paleness of her skin. The skirt of her dress uniform hung down along the wall and her knees where drawn up against her chest.

"But you don't scare me" the El-Aurian countered.

"So what you're saying is that, for me to be your counselor I'd have to scare you." She turned her head towards Guinan and searched for the whites of her friend's eyes for Guinan's dark skin and clothing blended in perfectly with the background. "So tell me, how do you feel, knowing that we let go of a perfect opportunity to dismantle the entire Borg-collective?"

The words might not have scared her, but they certainly shocked her. And the empath just kept gazing at her with those damnable black eyes. Of course there had been occasions before where the roles had been reversed, and those situations were by far more preferable to the El-Aurian. "I'm, not sure." She hesitated, looking at Troi for any hint of encouragement and of course found none whatsoever.

The emotions Deanna sensed from her friend, as weak as she perceived them due to her mental exhaustion, were a lot like the ones she'd sensed from Picard and she understood the relationship between the captain and the mysterious bartender a little better than before. "A part of me is yelling at the captain, at myself, that we just signed our death warrant and a part of me can't help but hope that more Borg will become as Hugh."

"Which is pretty much the way everyone feels." She turned her head back to the stars and resumed her stargazing while she gave Guinan the time to think about what had been said.

"What about the captain?"

"His emotions are more complex" she replied solemnly, knowing that the El-Aurian was aware that she couldn't just give her an emotional analysis. The bartender seemed content with that information and drank the last bit of the turquoise liquid she had been given.

Guinan stood up and came to stand directly behind the Betazoid. "I admire him, you know. It goes against everything I ever believed about the Borg, but I really do admire him for the decision he made."

Deanna turned and smiled a brilliant smile; obviously *very* happy with how the past days had affected her friends. "I know."

"Deanna, tell me" the playfulness that was usually laced through their conversations disappeared "was Hugh sad when he chose to return?"

She turned until her back rested against the window her and legs dangled over the edge of the wall. "Yes and no. He was sad, knowing that he would loose the memory of his friendship, but glad he could help preventing us from being assimilated, as well as happy to go home."

"I can't help but wonder what he'd be like, had he not been assimilated." She murmured without expecting a reply.

Deanna resumed her previous position and whispered "Someone very special, no doubt" in a voice so quietly it could hardly be heard as she returned her gaze outside.

"What was that drink you gave me by the way?" Despite having no view of the counselor's features Guinan just knew she was grinning broadly.

"I won't tell if you won't." Damn that wittiness!

"Fine, have it your way. I'll find it out sooner or later!" Guinan called as she headed for the exit. "Peaceful emotions Miss Troi."

"Happy thoughts Guinan."

And the doors closed.