Somewhat silly, but it fitted my mood and the episode, or so I thought ;)

Midnight Counseling VII
(Night Terrors)

Author: D. Destiny


Having just stopped by her quarters and looked into the mirror Deanna Troi knew she looked like she hadn't slept for days. Which she hadn't, save for a few stolen minutes. The arched eyebrow of her friend only confirmed that.

Surprisingly enough, Guinan looked as if she had slept for ten days straight. "Miss Troi." She greeted, already having two drinks ready on the bar.

"That wasn't the agreement." Deanna countered half heartedly and climbed onto the bar, keeping her eyes locked on the smiling face of her hostess.

"Consider it payback. You look like you haven't slept in days." The amused twinkle in the El-Aurian's brown eyes wasn't lost on the Counselor, neither was the irony.

"Hmm, I haven't. Despite being the only one on board who -could- sleep."

"So why aren't you asleep now?"

Two could play that came. "Why aren't you?" The bartender acknowledged the reply only with a small nod and a broader smile. "What's this by the way?" Troi asked, gesturing at her drink. Upon receiving nothing but a steady look she sighed and relented. "All right, I know; I won't tell, you won't tell."

The silence between them stretched and each woman listened with relish; it had been too long since either of them had heard complete silence for too long now. "But I did save your precious costumers today" Deanna suddenly spoke with an evil glint in her black eyes.

"Hmm, today of all days I could've missed them like a toothache." She ignored the askew glance her visitor threw at her, convinced the counselor would realize the expression for what is was sooner or later. "But since you also saved -my- ass I guess I can tell you it's authentic El-Aurian Iraksuw."

"It tastes good, a little familiar."

Guinan smiled enigmatically, but didn't explain the reason behind it. Instead she stood up and began cleaning the tables, not at all surprised when Troi didn't join her. "If you're so exhausted --and I can tell you are-- why won't you go to sleep?"

"I actually just dropped by on my way to the Bridge."

The El-Aurian turned around, waves of her disbelief slapping against the Betazoid's exhausted senses. "I thought I might as well keep Data company while enjoying the silence."

"Oh, can I come too?" Guinan asked in mock-excitement, throwing the cloth with which she quickly swiped the tables to Deanna, who caught it single handedly, dipped it in the sink behind the bar and threw it back.

"Only if you promise to be good and keep your mouth shut." Both women had to stifle a laugh at that. "I was beginning to think you weren't affected." Deanna confessed.

"Oh I was, I was just too busy keeping my bar in one piece."

"Must have been pretty messed up here."

"I'll say. You should have heard the theories; experiment by Starfleet, Captain Picard. I even had to use my little souvenir from Magus III"

That little piece of information brought Troi's head up, just as the cloth flew into her direction again. The action was repeated and within seconds it was back in Guinan's hands. "You mean that weapon which power source is nearly empty?" The dark-skinned woman nodded in confirmation. "I thought you could only use its first setting."

"That's true."

"You broke up a fight with the 'light a candle with pretty fireworks'-setting?" With the distance between them all Deanna could see was the whiteness of Guinan's eyes and teeth. She couldn't hold back her laughter; a bunch of first class Starfleet officer scared by a phaser blast that would cause two burned hairs at most.

When she approached the bar again, after Deanna had been silent for too long for her liking, Guinan tried to discern whether the Counselor was asleep or not. When she opened her right eye and looked straight into her host's eyes. "You're wondering who they were right?"

"I was actually hoping you might have an idea."

"I don't."

"Well, in that case I'd like to think we have some friends out there, as invisible as they may be." They shared a look of mutual understanding before Deanna drank the last of her Iraksuw. "It still tastes familiar."

"Well, it does contain about twice as much caffeine than the strongest black Terran coffee."

The confession drew a long groan from Troi. "I'm going to make you pay for that!"

"Check back in three days! I'm going to get some -sleep-. Have fun with Data!"

"Happy dreams Guinan."

"Peaceful nightmares Miss Troi."

And the doors closed.