Title: Parterre, Season four, Chapter One: "Family"


BEST NON-VOY STORY, ROUND XVII ~~ BEST OVERALL STORY, ROUND XVII

Author: Psycha ( deadestiny@yahoo.com )

Series: TNG

Rating: PG-13, for some naughty words

Codes: C/T

Parts: Unknown

Summary: A wise man once said; "Nothing worthwhile is easy." And Doctor Beverly Crusher is just about to find out how right he was, especially in matters of friendship and love.

Archiving: The Femme Fuh-q Fest (http://www.svpress.us/femmefuhqfest/), ASCEM, homepage@http://deadestiny.tripod.com/parterre/

Disclaimer: They''re not mine, no profits are being made from this story. General plotline and any additional characters are mine and copyrighted as such. You''re welcome to use anything you come across, but please remember to give credit where due ;)

Feedback: Any type is welcome, even flames. Criticism is especially appreciated though :) You can leave feedback via the websites indicated above or send a direct e-mail to deadestiny@yahoo.com

Note: Part of the Femme Fuh-Q Fest - http://www.svpress.us/femmefuhqfest/

General A/N: This romance series is going to explore an evolving relationship between the two female Senior Staff officers onboard the Enterprise D. We start in TNG''s fourth season and each chapter will be tied into a specific episode (at least during this season) and will be titled after each respective episode. Since this will be an ongoing series (hopefully anyway ;)) the number of chapters will be subject to change at any given moment.

Due to finals and a lack of willing Beta's around, these chapters have not been beta-ed. I have attempted to edit them as best as I could, but I fear mistakes will have slipped through.

Hope you'll enjoy anyway *g*

-Psycha


Chapter One: "Family"

=====

Long lashed eyelids slid closed, covering the coal-black eyes of the Enterprise's counselor. Full red lips parted on a sigh and enveloped a silver spoon, drawing the cool, soft ice-cream deep in a mouth where it melted on a warm and agile tongue. Full, inviting breasts heaved against the purple material of a dress and a soft moan traveled outward with the spoon.

Beverly Crusher shook her head and looked to her side, intently watching the young male lieutenant sitting a few tables away. He was masculine, his yellow and black uniform nicely fitted against his broad chest and when he stood up she was treated to a nice view of his ass. A small smile tweaked her lips when he bent over.

"He's engaged." The soft, alluring voice broke her concentration and Beverly reluctantly turned her head back to look at Deanna Troi. "To one of your nurses actually." Her companion added while she brought another spoonful of chocolate ice-cream to her mouth.

Glancing back at the man, Beverly now recognized his face and blushed. "I, I was just----"

"Enjoying the goods?" Deanna finished gamely. "I suppose he's nice, for a human male."

Beverly arched her eyebrow, relaxing a little now that her mind was back on safe territory. "You 'suppose'? Not your type then, is he?"

The counselor chuckled and carefully collected the remaining bits of ice-cream on her spoon. "I've never really figured out what my 'type' is. But I don't think he's very appealing, physically or emotionally."

"Well, he's no Will Riker, I'll grant you that." Crusher teased her friend, then felt guilty when she saw the expression on Troi's face turn wistful, but before she had a chance to apologize the counselor responded.

"Good old Will," she sighed, "is not really who I'm looking for either."

Surprised, Beverly looked into her friend's black eyes. Why, did she wonder, did this admission come as a surprise to her? She had discussed the First Officer many a time with Deanna, and Troi had never truly hinted at desiring to rekindle with him. For some reason she had just assumed.

Especially with all the changes their lives had undergone in the aftermath of Picard's assimilation, and the Enterprise's first visit to Earth in over three years, she had somehow expected her friend to re-evaluate her life, just as she herself had been doing. And, she had expected the counselor to realize her love for Riker, just as the grapevine had been predicting for years. Now that Deanna explicitly stated that she didn't feel that way for him anymore Beverly was surprised, and maybe a little relieved as well.

"Really?" She gazed past Deanna's shoulder, staring at a group of ensigns while she settled into girl talk mode. Occasionally shifting her eyes back to Troi's face. "You two seemed very cozy after your return from Angel Falls." The surface of the table suddenly became very interesting as Beverly detected a hint of jealousy in her own voice. Hopefully Deanna had missed it, she seemed occupied enough with her chocolate sundae.

The counselor chuckled and the mischievous glint in her eyes captivated Beverly, a part of her dreading what caused it, but the larger part of it curious as a cat. "Well, I'm not going to say we didn't enjoyed each other," Deanna winked and slowly licked her lips, making Beverly shift nervously in her chair, "but at the same time it wasn't a rekindling, or a promise for more."

Crusher sputtered, a multitude of images cluttering her brain. "How? How do you separate between love and sex so clearly, I mean." She clarified when Deanna carefully arched her eyebrow. "Especially with the history you share with him."

"It's complicated. Will and I have become close friends over the years, I know that whatever I do or say he won't judge me. I can also tell that he isn't interested in pursuing an actual relationship. With all the stress we've been under recently it just felt……right. Comforting, relaxing, enjoyable, fun."

Beverly nodded, tearing her eyes away from Deanna's sensuous lips when they stopped moving. "So what was he like, compared to, you know, the past." She found herself actually leaning closer in anticipation of the answer, the images in her mind becoming more defined..

"Beverly!"

"Well," she complained, "it's not like I'm getting any."

Silence prevailed and Crusher nervously downed the remainder of her wine, momentarily forgetting that Guinan had given her the real stuff for a change. "Fine." Deanna said suddenly, the glint in her eyes growing in intensity. "What do you want to know?"

Beverly coughed, choking on her wine. She felt warm blush rise to her cheeks and looked away, trying to hide her surprise at Troi's forwardness. It took too many embarrassing seconds before she'd calmed down. Unceremoniously swiping her sleeve across her mouth she met Troi's eyes. "What?"

Deanna smiled sweetly at her, providing a new visual to go with the 'wolf in sheep's clothing' expression. "Anything you want to know, just ask."

Now it was Crusher's turn to smile. Her friend was expecting her to back off, she could tell. She wouldn't back down that easily though. "Anything?"

"Anything." The raven haired counselor confirmed.

Rising to the unspoken challenge Beverly licked her lips and leaned in a little closer, her voice dropping to a whisper. "Where did you……?"

"Fuck?" Deanna finished helpfully, whispering the word she herself had swallowed. "There was an amazing place at the foot of the falls, secluded enough and with the sun warming the water that streamed over huge, smooth rocks."

"Sounds amazing. So tell me about Will." She winked at her friend. As a doctor she'd seen Riker nude several times yet she found herself curious to hear how Deanna would describe him.

"He's……strong." She could almost see Troi's eyes darken with the memories, the softly accented voice taking on a husky tone that sent a thrill through her own body. "And broad. And he has a hairy chest."

Beverly guffawed when Deanna wrinkled her nose in what only could be described as distaste. "You don't like that?" she questioned, trying to hold back a chuckle.

Troi ducked her head and smiled, amused with herself it seemed. "I do actually, it feels nice and coarse. Just when I think about it it seems so……"

"Disgusting?"

"Alien," the counselor corrected, "Betazoids just don't have hair on their bodies, only on their heads. In spite of being half human it's the same for me." A curious expression crossed her face. "Some times I wonder what it would be to have pubic hair. Will's is so cute and curly."

Startled, Beverly stared at her friend, suddenly wondering what she'd gotten herself into. Deanna hadn't told her anything new, and yet the way she'd said it, with that voice, created very different images than medical texts and examinations. Self-consciously Crusher crossed her legs and fought to keep from blushing. "Be glad," she blurted before she could catch herself, "it's hell to trim. But we were talking about Will, what does he do to you?"

Their eyes locked. She could see Deanna's black irises move as if she was literally reading her. Quickly she thought of Ferengi. Ferengi in the shower, singing. Two singing Ferengi in the shower. Her mind recoiled from the thought and to her relief Deanna looked away.

"He likes to nibble." Troi confessed. "On my ears, my lips, my neck and he's good at it too." Beverly tried to get the Ferengi out of the shower, enjoying the expression that was settling on her companion's lovely face. "Especially my breasts." Deanna chuckled. "He's such a breast man." And the Ferengi were out, replaced by someone far more familiar.

"Somehow that doesn't surprise me." Unbidden her eyes fell down to the slanted neckline of Troi's dress.

"Hmmm, he does like to ogle. Not that I mind, it's flattering. He has amazing hands, rough and tender at the same time. And very skilled. He knows just how to caress and tease. I love it when he kisses me while putting his hands to good use."

Inhaling deeply Beverly smiled back at her friend, drinking in the glow that settled on her face. "I know what you mean. Jack was never good at multitasking, except in the bedroom." She surprised herself by bringing up her deceased husband so easily.

Deanna reached out to her and put a hand on top of hers, squeezing in support and withdrew almost instantly. Beverly let her gaze linger on her hand, the warmth of Troi's touch still burning her skin when Deanna picked up their conversation. "Will likes to tickle my stomach when he's on his way down."

"Are you ticklish?"

"Not at all," Troi denied sarcastically, "are you?"

"Only in some places."

"Like where?"

Beverly hesitated, not sure if she liked the intent in the counselor's eyes. "You know, the usual; my armpits, the undersides of my feet." She waited for Deanna to reply, but the Betazoid seemed quite happy to let the silence between them drag on. "The underside of my breasts and the inside of my thighs too." She added nervously, just to break the silence.

Deanna stood up, for a second looking down at her, her black eyes alight with laughter. "I'll remember that. I have an appointment in a few minutes, I'll see you tomorrow to go through the reports."

"Goodnight." Numbly she watched Troi walk out of Ten Forward, unsure if she'd heard her friend correctly and wondering if Deanna's walk had always been that alluring.




Title: Parterre Chapter Two: "Remember Me"

Author: Psycha ( deadestiny@yahoo.com )

Series: TNG

Rating: PG

Codes: C/T

Parts: Unknown

Summary: A wise man once said; "Nothing worthwhile is easy." And Doctor Beverly Crusher is just about to find out how right he was, especially in matters of friendship and love.

Archiving: The Femme Fuh-q Fest (http://www.svpress.us/femmefuhqfest/), ASCEM, homepage@http://deadestiny.tripod.com/parterre/

Disclaimer: They're not mine, no profits are being made from this story. General plotline and any additional characters are mine and copyrighted as such. You're welcome to use anything you come across, but please remember to give credit where due ;)

Feedback: Any type is welcome, even flames. Criticism is especially appreciated though :) You can leave feedback via the websites indicated above or send a direct e-mail to deadestiny @ yahoo.com

Note: Part of the Femme Fuh-Q Fest - http://www.svpress.us/femmefuhqfest/

=====

Chapter Two: "Remember Me"

=====

Warily Beverly Crusher looked at the faces around her, wishing she could make her friends and colleagues understand how horrible it had been to be trapped in that warp bubble, to have everyone around her, everyone she cared about, disappear.

A hand closing around her own shook her out of her thoughts. She turned to her side and found empathic eyes watching her, troubled with emotions. Beverly managed a small smile to assure the counselor that she was all right and averted her eyes to Jean-Luc.

He met her eyes and she could see a multitude of emotions in his hazel ones. A quiet understanding passed between them. He was glad to have her back in one piece, and she was glad to have her trusted friend back.

The warm hand withdrew from hers and when she looked back to Deanna, Troi had turned to face the captain as well.

"Then," Picard's strong voice concluded the meeting, carrying easily through the observation lounge, "I think we can close this particular investigation." The senior staff officers nodded, herself included. "We're glad you found your way back Beverly." He said warmly, stepping off protocol by using her first name.

Beverly smiled. "As am I. It's no fun running a starship all by yourself; the paper work would've killed me." Behind her Riker and LaForge chuckled good-naturedly and even Jean-Luc cracked a smile. Data just stared at her with inquisitive yellow eyes, not dissimilar from Troi's expression. The way the empathic counselor looked at her told her that Deanna knew precisely what was going on in her head.

"Will you stop by my office later today?" Deanna inquired neutrally.

In spite of Troi's easy-going attitude Crusher was well aware that a counseling session wasn't optional. Deanna would find away to talk to her. "Would it be okay if we talked now?" There was no point in putting it off, she figured. At least if she got this over with now, she could spend the rest of the day with Wesley.

The counselor looked up at her in surprise and squinted her black eyes ever so slightly. "Of course."

They made their way to Troi's office without exchanging a word. Beverly smiled politely at the various crewmembers they encountered and let her gaze occasionally drift to the counselor. Having arrived at their destination, Troi unlocked the office and proceeded inside, leaving her to follow. She couldn't stop herself from watching Deanna's feminine figure.

It was a bit strange to be in the office, the only times she came here was to pick Deanna up for lunch or work-outs. Their counseling sessions had, until now, always been set in their quarters or in one of the recreational area's of the ship.

The soft lighting reflected off several pastel colored paintings and a black and white sketch that hung above the desk. Large green plants were located in the corners and a vase full with flowers stood on the glass table in front of the long curved couch. The decorations set off nicely against the stark grey of the walls and created a room that was pleasant to the eye.

Beverly sat down sideways on the couch per Troi's unspoken suggestion and watched as the counselor sat down a few feet away, unbidden following the curve of her slender waist and hip outlined by the fitting bodice of the counselor's dress. The subtle scent of Deanna's perfume wafted through the air and Crusher inhaled it deeply, then caught herself. "I came to see you," she confessed, trying to cover up her embarrassment. "In the bubble I mean."

Black eyes regarded her solemnly for long seconds before asking a simple "why?"

"I thought I was going crazy." She shivered, the memories of the utter desolation she had felt still strong.

"Thinking that you're going crazy is often the first sign that you're not." Deanna replied with just a hint of amusement in her voice.

"That's what you said." Her smile turned into a sigh. "It was horrible. People just kept disappearing and nobody remembered them, like they had never existed to begin with."

"But you remembered them."

Deanna's gentle voice lulled her into a sense of safety for the first time since she'd escaped from the imploding warp bubble. Her eyes came to rest on the junction between Troi's neck and shoulder. "Yes, I did. Not that it did much good. Jean-Luc was supportive, and he believed me. But eventually even he thought I'd lost it. Just when I convinced him that I didn't need to confine myself to Sickbay he disappeared too."

It was hard to cope with the loss she felt, even though she knew that the real Jean-Luc had been, and was fine. It had been such a shock to have him disappear in the blink of an eye, especially after all the time she and Deanna had helped him to heal from his assimilation.

"I just couldn't understand it. Everyone disappeared into thin air. First Dalen, then random crewmembers and no one was any the wiser. Worf disappeared and none of you even realized he'd ever existed. Then Wesley," Beverly swallowed and tried to hold back her tears, "Data, Will, Geordi……you." She lifted her eyes briefly to meet Deanna's and let her body slump further into the couch. "Jean-Luc didn't even know who you were, and when he disappeared too the computer thought it was perfectly logical for me to run a galaxy class starship all by myself! I don't ever want to feel like that again." She finished on a whisper.

She caught her breath when Troi reached out and placed a comforting hand on her knee. Was it just her or was Deanna becoming more tactile lately? The warmth on the counselor's face and in her touch distracted her from her distraction. "The universe, no, the warp bubble," she corrected, "was closing in on me. I had to run to Engineering or……"

"Or you would have disappeared too." Troi finished softly.

"Yes. It was terrifying, I didn't want to forget, or be forgotten."

"How do you feel now, looking back on the experience?"

Shaking her head Beverly stood up, Troi's hand sliding off her knee made her skin tingle briefly. Ignoring the tingle she began to pace through the office, uncertain how to put her feelings into words. "Relieved, of course. I hugged Jean-Luc and Wesley in Engineering. I don't think either of them appreciated that much." When she paused to look at Deanna, she could tell by the twinkle in her black eyes that the counselor didn't agree. "Well, maybe Jean-Luc did, a little." She joked.

Troi wouldn't smile, or laugh and her blank expression unsettled Crusher a little. "How else are you feeling?"

"Frightened. I don't want that happening to me again." That earned her a smile.

"I can see why not. Anything else?"

Beverly shook her head. Of course Deanna would sense it. After another trip to the far wall and back, she let herself fall into the couch, not noticing how close to Troi she was until she'd made herself comfortable. With a heavy sigh she glanced up at the counselor and looked away again. "I'm angry." As she said the words she could feel the emotions rise. Embarrassed she tried to ignore them.

"Why?" She really hated those open questions and it wasn't often that her talks with Deanna resembled, however remotely, a counseling session. "Beverly." Her head shot up back to the counselor. The way her name fell off those lips……

"Yes I'm angry! I thought people I cared about were disappearing into oblivion. My son, my friends! I thought I was going insane and then it all turned out to……" Words escaped her. It had all turned out to be what? A nightmare?

"You invested strong emotions into people who you thought were your friends, only to find out that your real friends had been safe and sound all along. It wasn't just a nightmarish experience. You lived it, breathed it. Every part of you, every one of your senses told you it was real."

"But it wasn't," she completed. "I felt as if I'd been used as some kind of marionette, even though the universe was created entirely from my thoughts. I could have killed myself and I wouldn't have know it."

"But you didn't. You got out alive and we're all still here." Deanna's eyes shimmered with emotions. "You feel cheated because you felt all that pain for an illusion." Deanna leaned closer to her, so close that Beverly could clearly feel the warmth radiating from her. Ruby lips smiled gently at her, then pulled away. Troi stood up and she followed. "I'd like to talk to you again tomorrow."

"All right." Startled she held still when Deanna moved to hug her, then returned the embrace stiffly, too aware of the warm body that was pressed against her own. What the hell was happening to her?

"Go spend some time with Wesley," Troi coerced, "I bet there are a lot of things he wants to talk about with you." Beverly nodded and gingerly stepped out into the corridor, writing the flush she felt off to the after effects of her ordeal.


Title: Parterre Chapter Three: "Future Imperfect"

Author: Psycha ( deadestiny@yahoo.com )

Series: TNG

Rating: PG

Codes: C/T

Parts: Unknown

Summary: A wise man once said; "Nothing worthwhile is easy." And Doctor Beverly Crusher is just about to find out how right he was, especially in matters of friendship and love.

Archiving: The Femme Fuh-q Fest (http://www.svpress.us/femmefuhqfest/), ASCEM, homepage@http://deadestiny.tripod.com/parterre/

Disclaimer: They're not mine, no profits are being made from this story. General plotline and any additional characters are mine and copyrighted as such. You're welcome to use anything you come across, but please remember to give credit where due ;)

Feedback: Any type is welcome, even flames. Criticism is especially appreciated though :) You can leave feedback via the websites indicated above or send a direct e-mail to deadestiny@yahoo.com

Note: Part of the Femme Fuh-Q Fest - http://www.svpress.us/femmefuhqfest/

=====

Chapter Three: "Future Imperfect"

=====

"How is he doing?" Beverly turned her gaze to the young woman across from her when she was sure the first officer was out of hearing range. The exhausted expression on the counselor's face was hard to miss, especially for a doctor.

Deanna sighed and tore off a piece of bread. "He's coping, trying to deal with the memories." She tucked the bread in her mouth and chewed slowly. "Barash showed him a future that seemed perfectly real and probable, with the exception of his wife."

"Minuet."

"Yes, a hologram. She couldn't have been real."

Crusher nodded and took a sip of her wine. "Figures that his track record with women would be the thing to help him see through the hoax." Deanna's laughter made her smile, it was good to see the worry lines in her friend's face disappear for a short while. "Quite a birthday present."

Troi nodded and looked thoughtfully at a point on the table's surface. "It might be a blessing in disguise," she said slowly. "For a while he was a father, a widow and a captain. It's making him consider the path he's taking."

"I have to admit I was surprised when he turned down his own command, again." The changes in Troi's expression were minute, but Beverly felt as if she knew every thought that fluttered through that pretty head.

"You returned here after Starfleet medical, why?"

Black eyes implored her, the counselor's mask betraying nothing but gentle amusement. "I didn't like the work." Deanna shook her head and Beverly knew she saw right through her cop-out. "The Enterprise is still the flagship, a better position just isn't available."

"Is that why you came back here?"

With a sigh she relented, scanning the area around them out of habit and spotting Riker and LaForge near the bar. "Not primarily. Wesley was still here and Jean-Luc, Will, you……I felt comfortable here."

"So does Will," Troi shared, "so do I. The Enterprise is more than a position, it's an extended family."

"But I thought he wanted his own command."

"So did I." Deanna whispered softly. "People change."

"Sickbay to Doctor Crusher."

With a roll of her eyes Beverly acknowledged the hail, a part of her grateful for the interruption. "Crusher here." It had been a while since she and Troi had shared lunch together, in the last few weeks she has felt increasingly exposed in the counselor's presence. The conversations they shared had become more personal and intimate amplifying feelings she was trying hard to deny.

"Doctor, Doctor Selar is requesting your assistance."

"I'm on my way." Adrenaline was already starting to rush through her body, preparing her for a potentially high risk operation. "Sorry to cut this short," she lied to Troi, abruptly standing up.

"Dinner in my quarters tonight?"

Taken by surprise Crusher paused mid-step, her eyes flicking over the pale skin that set off against the dark red of Deanna's uniform. "Uhm, I'm not sure how long I'll be. Maybe some other time." She pretended not to see the disappointment in black eyes and hurried off.


Title: Parterre Chapter Four a: "The Loss"

Author: Psycha ( deadestiny@yahoo.com )

Series: TNG

Rating: PG

Codes: C/T

Parts: Unknown

Summary: A wise man once said; "Nothing worthwhile is easy." And Doctor Beverly Crusher is just about to find out how right he was, especially in matters of friendship and love.

Archiving: The Femme Fuh-q Fest (http://www.svpress.us/femmefuhqfest/), ASCEM, homepage@http://deadestiny.tripod.com/parterre/

Disclaimer: They're not mine, no profits are being made from this story. General plotline and any additional characters are mine and copyrighted as such. You're welcome to use anything you come across, but please remember to give credit where due ;)

Feedback: Any type is welcome, even flames. Criticism is especially appreciated though :) You can leave feedback via the websites indicated above or send a direct e-mail to deadestiny@yahoo.com

Note: Part of the Femme Fuh-Q Fest - http://www.svpress.us/femmefuhqfest/

=====

Chapter Four a "The Loss"

=====

Feeling slightly nervous, Doctor Crusher arranged several medical instruments on a sterile platter. The events of the last days played in her head as she toyed absently with her tricorder. The Enterprise had been caught by an unknown force, and was slowly pulled towards a lethal anomaly. The ship's counselor, Deanna Troi had suffered some kind of brain damage, and although it was clear, now that they had escaped from the two-dimensional beings that somehow trapped, that Deanna's brain has "just" been overloaded, she still worried a little about her friend.

With a sigh she rearranged the instruments, keeping herself busy until her patient and friend would arrive. It was difficult to forget about Deanna's outburst against her and although she had told her friend that all was forgiven, she hadn't really forgiven herself yet. Troi had been right, if she hadn't stayed in Sickbay treating the skinned elbows crewmembers had sustained, she might have responded in time to Deanna's call of distress to prevent the loss of the Betazoid's empathic skills.

Why had she dismissed the counselor's injury as a simple headache? Even after Deanna told her she'd passed out. What kind of Doctor, what kind of friend was she? A part of her, the same part that had been the reason she had avoided Deanna altogether the last weeks, knew that she didn't want to see Troi in any kind of pain. It would've destroyed all her self control. Leaning on her arms, her hands on the biobed, Beverly breathed in deeply, trying to ignore the image of Deanna's face that swam before her eyes.

"Beverly?"

Startled she spun around, the voice unmistakable. "Deanna! Uh, here, sit down." She forced a smile to cover up her unease and stepped aside. Her eyes lingered on the dark red uniform that clung to Troi's figure as she passed and sat down on the bed. "How're you feeling?"

Black eyes looked up at her with a hint of weariness in them. The coal black curls that framed Troi's beautiful face hung limp and beaten and Beverly winced at how vulnerable her friend looked. "I'm feeling fine, just tired."

"I need to run a few tests, after that I recommend you get some sleep." Deanna smiled softly, preoccupying her even as she reached for the diagnostic tool.

"Beverly, about what I said--"

"Shush, I told you, we're fine." With some effort she kept her eyes on the display screen in her hand.

"No, I shouldn't have said those things, I didn't mean them." A soft, warm hand covered her own, obstructing her view of the display. Reluctantly she glanced up at Troi's face, trying desperately to hide the feelings rising inside her. "I wasn't angry at you, you were there for me. You did everything you could." A blush rose on her cheeks and black eyes averted from her own. "I guess I was just mad at myself, for handling things so poorly."

Beverly snorted. "Poorly? I don't think I could've done half the job you did if our situations had been reversed." They both winced at the unintentional reference to their fight. "Data told us how you solved the puzzle. Without your insight, empathic or not, we would never have escaped in time."

"Data would've figured it out, or the captain."

"Bullshit." Startled Deanna looked up into her eyes and without thinking or even realizing it, Beverly reached out to touch her. The skin was warm under her fingers as they trailed along Troi's jaw. "You saved the day Dea and just because you think you're dispensable, doesn't mean we do so as well. I most certainly don't." The smile that brightened Deanna's face warmed her heart.

"Thank you." Troi whispered softly.

Beverly felt herself lean in closer and closer, her eyes fixated on the expressive black ones, but when she felt warm breath caress her lips she jumped backwards. "Right, I'll run the tests now." She couldn't bring herself to look at her patient, absolutely sure she would see shock and disgust on the empath's flawless face.

She moved the diagnostic tool around Troi's head in half circles, repeating the read-outs on the screen silently in her head, all the time aware of the dark eyes burning holes into her temple. "Okay, well, it looks like your brain is still repairing itself, for lack of better wording, but there's no major damage. You might experience some dizzy spells and minor headaches for a few days, but with plenty of rest you'll be as good as new."

"Beverly?"

"I'd prefer to keep you in Sickbay for the night, but you probably wouldn't be comfortable here." She continued, intentionally ignoring Deanna's soft plea. "I'll have the computer monitor you though, just in case."

"Beverly, look at me."

She did, but only briefly, the understanding and caring in the black eyes too much to handle. "I can get you a light sedative if you want, but you should really try to get some sleep as soon as possible." With her back now turned to Troi, she could sense the woman getting up behind her and held her breath until Deanna passed her and reached the door of the private cabin.

"Beverly?" The slight hesitation made her look up and the uncertainty she saw, so unlike Deanna, kept her from looking away again. "Would you mind……" the pause was excruciating, Crusher could feel herself stare, unable even to blink. "I could use some company, a friendly face if you will. Would you stay with me? Just for a while?"

"I……" How could she deny her friend this? All the times Deanna has stayed with her when she needed a shoulder, or just a comforting presence, ran through her head. "Of course." She smiled uneasily, but dared resting her hand against the back of Deanna's arm as they walked out into the main area of Sickbay in a gesture of comfort. "I just need to finish up a couple of reports and make sure the evening shift can do their jobs. Why don't I meet you in your quarters in, say, half an hour?"

Her stomach did a back flop when Deanna smiled at her, and then, to her utter shock, stood on her toes and kissed her lightly on the cheek, right in the middle of Sickbay. Feeling a blush rise to her cheeks she quickly glanced around to see if anyone had seen the gesture. When she saw that no one was around, she involuntarily brought her hand to where Deanna's soft lips had met her skin, her eyes lingering on the doors through which her friend had disappeared.


Title: Parterre Chapter 4b: "The Loss"

Author: Psycha ( deadestiny@yahoo.com )

Series: TNG

Rating: PG-13 (to be safe)

Codes: C/T

Parts: Unknown

Summary: A wise man once said; "Nothing worthwhile is easy." And Doctor Beverly Crusher is just about to find out how right he was, especially in matters of friendship and love.

Archiving: The Femme Fuh-q Fest (http://www.svpress.us/femmefuhqfest/), ASCEM, homepage@http://deadestiny.tripod.com/parterre/

Disclaimer: They're not mine, no profits are being made from this story. General plotline and any additional characters are mine and copyrighted as such. You're welcome to use anything you come across, but please remember to give credit where due ;)

Feedback: Any type is welcome, even flames. Criticism is especially appreciated though :) You can leave feedback via the websites indicated above or send a direct e-mail to deadestiny@yahoo.com

Note: Part of the Femme Fuh-Q Fest - http://www.svpress.us/femmefuhqfest/

=====

Chapter Four b: "The Loss"

=====

Standing just outside the counselor's quarters Beverly tried to find her poise, fighting the dread she felt at having to spend the evening with Troi in a secluded space. She took a deep breath and reached out for the enunciator, then jumped when the doors slid open.

Deanna appeared in the frame, looking…… Crusher swallowed, taking in the sight of her friend. The other woman's hair had been released of its bonds, flowing freely down her shoulders and it was still a little damp. "Come on in." Troi invited, looking different than the doctor was used to, but no less beautiful in spite off the lack of make-up. "Make yourself comfortable, I just need to change into something a little more appropriate."

Numbly she nodded and watched her friend disappear in the bedroom, the short robe she was wearing distracting her vision from her surroundings, to the hem of the white material, the backs of Deanna's knees and thighs exposed to her view.

Beverly shook her head and settled down in one of the chairs, breathing slow and controlled in an effort to stop her heart from raging. Why did the sight of her friend have that kind of effect? A statue on her left caught her attention and she stood up to inspect it closer. Carefully she picked the piece of art up and turned it sideways, looking for a familiar shape or pattern but finding none.

"Sorry," Deanna apologized from behind her, "I lost track of time in the shower."

At loss for words Beverly could only stare. Troi wasn't fully dressed yet, the soft green dress she had chosen hung loosely around her frame, showing tantalizing glimpses of the body hidden underneath. She almost regretted it when the other woman fastened the seals, fitting the dress tighter against her body and limiting the exposure of skin to a slit that ran high up her thigh.

"No problem," she assured, then held up the statue in her hand. "Is this new? I've never seen it before."

"Mother sent it." The counselor answered as she settled down on the couch, tucking her legs underneath her.

"It's beautiful, what is it?"

"It's a……a reminder, that I should settle down, have a couple of grandkids, grow a garden, learn to run a household and hire a valet."

Carefully she put the statue back in it's place. "So why display it so prominently?" The gentle laughter made her smile and she was feeling more at ease.

"If you take away Mother's intentions, it's a beautiful artifact. It's very old, coming from a time when Betazoid society was just beginning to define itself. The symbols stand for individuality within one-ness." Absently Crusher noted how cutely Troi wrinkled her nose when she was trying to translate something and having trouble with it. It wasn't often that she was truly confronted with the different culture Deanna grew up in, and when it did come up, they rarely discussed it for more than a few minutes.

"I see." She lied, not really seeing at all. Except maybe for the way the green dress clung to Deanna's figure. "Is it really so different?" She wondered aloud, "Betazoid versus Human I mean."

Deanna thought about it, giving Beverly plenty of time to let her mind wander. She didn't know much about Betazoid culture, it wasn't covered much in the xenobiology courses since the general consensus was that it took a telepath to understand a telepathic society. All she knew about the culture was what little Deanna or her mother, Lwaxana, had shared. Like nude weddings. How many of those had Deanna attended?

Startled by the images her mind came up with she jumped to her feet. "I'm getting something to drink" She announced loudly. "Do you want anything?"

"No, I'm fine."

"You should drink something, it'll help against the headaches."

"Whatever you say Doctor." Troi mocked. Beverly could feel the black eyes following her and was surprised when she found herself putting an extra bounce in her steps.

She ordered tea and a glass of water for Deanna and brought the beverages to the table. Her friend smiled her thanks and picked up the glass, sipping slowly. "I never thought it would be so different." She answered to the question Crusher had forgotten already. "Maybe that's why I handled the situation so poorly. I never thought I'd be so lost as a human."

Beverly wanted to go over and hug the empath, the sad expression on Deanna's face tugging at her heart. Instead she drank her tea. "I don't think I would've handled it any better if I'd lost my hearing or sight." She hoped it would console Troi a little.

"It's more than that," she met Deanna's gaze, questioning silently. "Betazoids evolved from an amphibian species called Cyndrii Beteas. They used a very primitive form of telepathy to hunt in groups and to maintain their hierarchy. Over time we refined and redirected our skills but one of the most primitive functions is still active. For lack of a better description."

With more effort than she though warranted, Beverly kept her gaze on Troi's face, instead of letting it wander over the other woman's body. "I think I got it," she said slowly, "your telepathy evolved with your species."

"Yes," Deanna confirmed, her lilting accent singing in Crusher's ears. "On the most basic level my empathy is a mix of hearing, sight and telepathy. I don't sense thoughts, but emotions and they are imprinted in my mind as a kind of map." The empathy sighed with frustration. "I don't know how to explain it."

"It's okay. We can talk about something else."

"No, I want to tell you. It's important." Surprised Beverly looked at her, the urgency she heard in the words making her a little nervous. Why was it important for her to understand? "It's like……like standing in a holodeck with only black around you. And for each being that emits emotions there's a light. Some lights are far away, others close by. Some are very intense and others are barely visible. With each shift of emotions the lights change color."

"Like being outside among the stars."

"Yes. When I lost my empathic senses the holodeck became void. I lost my sense of direction, of knowing my place. I couldn't feel other people anymore, like they had been ripped from me and replaced by cheap holo-images. I could hear, sea and touch you, but my mind couldn't verify that you were real."

Beverly wasn't sure how to reply to her friend's heartfelt attempt to explain how her empathy worked. She realize that it must be like trying to explain to a person who had been blind all his life what it was like to see.

"I know it's something that you can't really understand." Deanna spoke up again, her voice non-judgmental and carrying just a hint of amusement. "It's just that humans are such a dual species. There are so many times when you say one thing, but feel and do another. With my empathic skills I can verify that what you say is what you mean, without it I'm lost."

Suddenly Crusher wondered what it was that Troi sensed from her. The way the counselor's eyes watched her seemed to suggest that the woman was well aware of the thoughts that were dancing through her mind. "I'm sure you would've been fine after a period of adjustment." It was a lousy attempt to cover up the alert she felt, but she got away with it.

"I think I'm getting hungry. Is it okay if we eat now?"

"Uh, sure." Her eyes dropped to Deanna's rear. 'Damn it Beverly,' she chided herself. Purposefully she focused her attention on a painting on the wall and was surprised by its composition. "Is that Ferengi-art?"

Deanna laughed. "Yes, it's beautiful, isn't it?" In spite of herself Crusher agreed. "I keep it around to remind myself that everything has a beautiful side."

That was what she loved about Deanna, Beverly thought as she watched her friend scroll through the menu's in the database. She was always accepting and non-judgmental. It was one of Troi's strengths and what made her such a successful counselor. Even after a personal crisis, such as the one of the past few days her friend seemed to have little trouble swallowing her pride and apologize. She wondered how much of that was Deanna's natural way, and how it was the result of her work. Or maybe even of the culture she grew up in.

"What can I get you?" The voice shook her out of her thoughts.

"Anything's fine." She shrugged, then in the spur of the moment requested something typical to Betazed. Deanna looked at her quizzically. "What? Don't think I can handle it?"

The empath chuckled. "You just surprised me." The raven-haired woman turned and spoke in a alien language to the computer. Beverly knew she was just ordering food, but the sounds and tone variations made her feel as if she was listening to something far more intimate.

The plates materialized and judging by their size, Deanna's wasn't just a 'little' hungry. She got up to help her carry the dishes to the dinner table and returned to the replicator to order beverages. In the meantime she watched Deanna bend over to retrieve something from one of the small cabins against the wall. They reached the table simultaneously, she with the drinks and Troi with two candles.

Standing almost shoulder to shoulder, Beverly quickly grew uncomfortable, but the counselor was the first to move away. "The table's getting a little cluttered," she excused, "I'll put these elsewhere." Nodding, Crusher placed the glasses on the shiny table-surface and sat down, sniffing the scent from the lighted candles, recognizing the heady sandalwood immediately. "It helps me relax," Deanna explained as she sat down on the other side of the table. "I hope you don't mind."

"Not at all. What did you get me?"

"Nothing too fancy, it's all vegetarian. Mostly cooked and steamed vegetables and fruits."

"It looks delicious." It really did. The brightly colored mix looked healthy and varied.

"Don't mix the oskoid leaves with the blue berries on your right though," Troi warned, "they really don't go well together."

"Thanks for the heads up." They shared a smile and began their meal, the silver cutlery clanging musically against the porcelain plates.

They ate in silence for a long time, and on more than a few occasions Beverly found herself staring at her companion. Wondering what it would be like to truly know her, the way Will Riker did.

"Beverly?"

Her head shot up. Without a doubt Troi had sense the direction of her thoughts. "Tell me about Betazoid society," she asked before Deanna could say anything else. "Just how typical is Lwaxana?" The other woman stared at her for untold seconds, but she couldn't decipher the message that shone in those black eyes.

"More typical than she'd like to admit." Deanna said slowly after a long silence, the disapproving tone in her voice clear.

"No wonder you have such an uninhibited culture."

Troi shook her head, smiling sadly. Beverly wondered what she'd said wrong, but popped another pink piece of fruit in her mouth, enjoying the explosion of salty juice. "Mother doesn't read people's thoughts uninvited. She likes to tease based on the emotions she senses. It's no different from you noticing black hair, she doesn't have any control over it." Deanna defended. "To her, humans are incredibly uptight and secretive, even when there's no point in being either."

"I'm sorry." She wasn't sure why she was apologizing, but her companion seemed unusually defensive, black eyes glittering with annoyance. "I didn't mean to imply-"

"You did." Troi countered harshly, then relaxed. "But it's all right. Most non-telepathic humanoids are intimidated by telepaths. They feel vulnerable and a little paranoid around 'mind readers'. The truth is that very few telepaths actually read minds without permission, but they don't always have control over what they sense and hear, but they're trained to respect other people's privacy and not react to the emotions and thoughts of others."

Beverly absently chewed on an oskoid leaf while she listened to the monologue, unsure of what to say. She got the impression she hurt Deanna by her flippant remark, but the counselor showed little emotion while she finished the last pieces of food from her plate.

"When you walk into a room you notice your surroundings. The color of the walls, where the tables and chairs are located. If there are other people there you identify them. Stranger, acquaintance, friend. Male, female, alien, human etcetera. Telepaths do them same, only along with the visual information they receive mental information. The general state of mind of each person; are they worried, relaxed, happy, unnerved and the thoughts that are sometimes basically thrust into their minds. They can't not feel and hear those, it's as natural as noticing someone's hair color, or their gender."

With her eyes trained at a point just past Troi's shoulder, Beverly let the information sink in, eagerly taking in the sound of Deanna's lilting voice. She had always assumed that telepaths could just turn off their telepathy, like humans could ignore what happened around them, if they so chose. She'd known that Deanna didn't have this ability, but had ascribed that to her friend's mixed heritage. "I guess it's something that just can't be fully comprehended by someone who's not telepathic."

Deanna slumped a little and rubbed her hands against her temples. "I guess," she said dejectedly.

Something was frustrating her, Crusher realized in a flash of clarity. She almost asked what it was, but something stopped her. "How's your head?"

Troi forced a bitter smile. "Minor headache, I'm fine."

She was torn between leaving to let Deanna get some rest and staying. It had been a while since the two of them had spend off-duty time together. Somehow, over the course of the last couple of weeks, if not months, she'd gotten in the habit of avoiding her friend and now that they were sitting here, in Troi's quarters with a delicious meal between them and a lovely view of the space outside framing Deanna's figure, she realized she had missed her friend more than she'd let herself notice.

"I'm sorry." The empath suddenly spoke and she glanced up she saw a blush covering Deanna's cheeks, coloring them rosily. "I'm a little agitated."

"Don't mention it. Do you want to talk about it?" She awaited Troi's answer with a feeling of dread in her stomach. The feeling increased multifold when the eyes that were watching her turned hopeful, then sad and started showing the agitation the other woman was feeling.

"No, thank you." Deanna pursed her lips and averted her eyes. She dropped her head, sending a mass of dark curls falling forwards over her shoulders, then brought her head back up and met Crusher's gaze anew, a gentle but fake smiled displayed on her lips. There was something Deanna wanted to tell or ask her, her doctor's instinct were very clear about that, but she was relieved when Troi brought their conversation back to her native culture instead.

They chatted amicably and discussed various aspects of Betazoid culture and slowly Beverly began to feel like she was really getting to know her friend. All of her unease dissipated completely as she relaxed into the conversation. Even when they moved to the couch and sat closely together, gazing through the viewport at the stars, did it feel perfectly natural and comfortable for Deanna to squeeze her knee while she recounted Wesley's last letter and for her to touch Troi's elbow when the counselor sadly told her about why Lwaxana fluttered from one lover to another, trying to find what she'd once shared with Deanna's father.

Their voices dwindled when they both grew tired, but Beverly didn't realize how late it'd gotten until a head full of black curls came to rest against her shoulder and a soft snore cut into the silence. At first reluctantly, but then with increasing urgency Crusher shook her friend's shoulder, until Troi sat up straight, her eyes alert. "What?"

Beverly was about to ask her friend if she was still having headaches, when Deanna rubbed her fingers in slow circles around her temples. "You should get some real sleep." She said instead, and nudged Troi off the couch.

The counselor stood up and watched her as she rose as well. "Thank you for keeping me company, I was starting to feel like you were avoiding me." Slowly Beverly started to make her way to the door, her eyes never leaving Troi's.

She knew. There was no more place to hide. She shuffled backwards, unable to turn away from her friend. Deanna kept advancing, her eyes ablaze with determination. "Dea, I……" She couldn't find the words, or even the thoughts.

Deanna came closer still, until she was easily within her reach. Beverly felt herself leaning forward and this time when she felt her friend's breath flutter across her lips she didn't pull away. "You never have to hide from me." The soft spoken promise gave her the courage to close those last few inches between them. She held her breath and tentatively brushed her lips against Deanna's, marveling at the soft and erotic feel of the woman's lips against her own. Her stomach knotted itself in a tight ball of pleasure at the rush of emotions that washed over her. It was exactly as she'd imagined, and yet so much better.

She pulled back, the emotions robbing her of her breath and her mind refusing to work. Troi smiled and gentle fingers caressed the side of her face. She felt herself being pulled into another kiss and eagerly caught Deanna's mouth with her own, startling when a warm, moist tongue pushed itself against her lips. Her lips parted of their own accord, and a sigh escaped her. The hand along her cheek guided the kiss as it deepened, her tongue sneaking out to duel with Deanna's. The contact soft and slow, and oh so alluring and when she pulled away it was only out of necessity for air.

But as soon as the cold air around them replaced the scent and warmth of Deanna her mind kicked back into gear. Troi must've sensed it, because she took a step back just as Crusher did the same. Behind her the doors whooshed open. "You have a lot to think about." Deanna spoke quietly, looking almost ethereal with the soft lights of her cabin behind her and a serene expression on her face.

Beverly could only nod and turned into the corridor, her mind a clutter of uncertainties and shock.




Title: Parterre Chapter Five: "Data's Day"

Author: Psycha ( deadestiny@yahoo.com )

Series: TNG

Rating: PG

Codes: C/T

Parts: Unknown

Summary: A wise man once said; "Nothing worthwhile is easy." And Doctor Beverly Crusher is just about to find out how right he was, especially in matters of friendship and love.

Archiving: The Femme Fuh-q Fest (http://www.svpress.us/femmefuhqfest/), ASCEM, homepage@http://deadestiny.tripod.com/parterre/

Disclaimer: They're not mine, no profits are being made from this story. General plotline and any additional characters are mine and copyrighted as such. You're welcome to use anything you come across, but please remember to give credit where due ;)

Feedback: Any type is welcome, even flames. Criticism is especially appreciated though :) You can leave feedback via the websites indicated above or send a direct e-mail to deadestiny@yahoo.com

Note: Part of the Femme Fuh-Q Fest - http://www.svpress.us/femmefuhqfest/

====

Chapter Five: "Data's Day"

====

"Doctor, may I join you?"

The captain's familiar voice jogged her out of her thoughts. She forced a smile, knowing that she couldn't possibly justify turning him down. Her eyes drifted back to the couple dancing a few feet away.

"They match well together," Jean-Luc remarked, following her eyes. "I'm confident they can make a marriage work."

Her heart stopped. "What?"

He stared, his eyes full with confusion. "O'Brien and Keiko." He clarified, nodding over his shoulder to indicate the newlyweds dancing just in front of Riker and Troi.

"O. Yes." Her eyes fell back on Deanna's back. The counselor was moving in fluid, elegant motions, her body close against that of the first officer and her brilliant blue dress hugging every curve of her figure. She could remember the kiss so clearly, every little spark that jumped between their lips, the whisper of promises against her skin. Absently she rubbed her hand over a sore calf under the table, cursing herself for jumping into the dancing lesson with Data without properly warming up first.

Deanna's laughter carried across the lounge. Her head was thrown back, black curls reaching her rear, brushing over Riker's hand. The jealousy she felt surprised her and made her grit her teeth. Since she'd left Troi's quarters two days ago, the woman had constantly been on her mind.

"-ctor?"

"Huh?"

"Beverly, are you all right?" Jean-Luc's concerned hazel eyes met hers and she cringed. "You seem a little occupied."

There was no point in lying. "I am." She was occupied, namely by the way Will was touching her…… her what? It had been just a kiss. Granted, a gentle, earth-shattering kiss, but still just a kiss. She had no claim on Deanna whatsoever, and yet she found herself wishing that it would be different.

"Is there something wrong?"

"No, not at all. Just lost in thoughts." His strong features shifted slightly, the disappointment barely visible. She knew him too well. "It was a beautiful ceremony."

"Yes." He agreed. She thanked him silently for not pressing the issue. "Yes it was. It's good to see an old tradition survive for this long."

Beverly smiled, beaming at the newlyweds when they passed their table. "They love each other very much." Did she love Deanna? She didn't know. The question had been plaguing her for days. There was so much to think about, to consider. They were best friends, the only two female Senior Staff members. They worked closely together and provided each other with a willing ear and a soft shoulder. Conflicts of interest would be unavoidable, she didn't want to risk losing their friendship. "Did you contact Command yet?" The distraction was meant for herself, rather than him, but failed to serve its purpose.

"Yes." She recognized the grim tone, the flexing of his jaw. He wasn't happy with Command's decision. "They are investigating if T'Pel, no, Selok was privy to any sensitive security information." How would he react if she and Deanna…… The two of them shared a long history. There had been times when she thought he'd kiss her, or she him, but they always chickened out. Jack's presence hung between them, she could never not think about her late husband when she was in Jean-Luc's company.

And Wesley. Wesley looked so much like his father, even the way his mind worked reminded her of Jack; quick, precise and difficult t distract. He even looked up to Picard in a similar way as Jack had once had. When had it all gotten so complicated?

"May we join you?"

"Of course!" Jean-Luc invited the couple before she'd even been able to process the question. Deanna sat down at her left side and Will at her right, leaving her with only the table's surface to look at.

"Shouldn't you be dancing Captain?" She smiled at Riker's teasing, all of them fully aware how uncomfortable Jean-Luc was with public displays of affection, even in something as innocent and non-committal as dancing.

"What about you Beverly?" Deanna piped in with a wink.

She groaned, but laughed in spite of herself. "I've done enough dancing for today." The mirth on the counselor's face eased her concerns, but fanned a whole different set of emotions. How could she be acting so normal, after that kiss? Their eyes met and Picard and Riker disappeared into the far background. The subtle scent that she recognized so well from that night in Deanna's quarters hit her full force, going straight to her head. She'd been fighting these feelings for months, but she couldn't ignore them anymore. She was falling for her best friend and she suspected the landing was going to be harsh.

"Are you sure? I love this piece of music." Troi didn't finish the sentence, she didn't have to. Deanna couldn't be flirting with her here, right in front of Will and Jean-Luc, her cheeks began to burn with discomfort.

"I'm sure." She answered timidly, cursing being on call. She could do with a nice drink about now.

"You could teach her a thing or two." The first officer joked, and made a big show of rubbing his shins. Deanna scowled, making Jean-Luc laugh. Beverly just shook her head, feeling even more uncomfortable when Will blew a mocking kiss to the counselor.

"You're just not light enough on your feet Commander."

Her eyes moved from Troi to Riker, observing the level of ease between the couple. They knew each other so well and had built a strong, intimate friendship in spite of their rocky past. She couldn't imagine what it was like. With Jean-Luc she was always aware of the distance he kept between himself and others. They could joke and tease, but any sign of true intimacy made him freeze which in turn made her self-conscious.

The captain agreed with his counselor. "It's never the lady's fault Number One." She didn't miss the pointed look he threw her and smiled, remembering the arguments she and Jack used to have about his dancing abilities.

"I never understood the Terran costume of couples dancing." Deanna exclaimed. "All the dances are based on a leading man and a following woman. Why doesn't the woman lead?"

Jean-Luc sat a little straighter, she recognized the twinkle in his eyes as one of anticipation. This kind of discussion was right up his alley and a glance at Troi made her think that was exactly why Deanna had broached the subject. The empath leaned forward, bringing her attention almost fully to the captain. Beverly couldn't help but notice the cleavage she displayed and swallowed.

"When most Terran dances were created, they reflected the social structure at that time. Most cultures on Earth were patriarchal, this is signified by the man leading the woman." Jean-Luc answered, the glint in his eyes now accompanied by a wry smile. "Dancing was also seen as a sophisticated form of a mating ritual and according to many beliefs of that time, only a man and a woman could mate."

Troi shook her head. "It seems terribly narrow minded to me."

"Earth has a long history," Will defended, a little off-put by the counselor's rejection. "Most cultures grew out of that "narrow mindedness", but a man/woman coupling is in many levels still the 'default' setting, dancing included."

"How about Be-"

The chirp of her commbadge interrupted Picard's question and Crusher quickly reached to answer, grateful for the excuse to tear her eyes away from Deanna. "Crusher here."

"Doctor, Lieutenant Juarez wants to talk to you." Nurse Ogawa's calm voice betrayed nothing but the young woman's level headedness. The Asian woman had only been on her staff for a few months, but had proven herself to be up to the task.

"I'll be right there Alyssa." She stood up and threw an apologetic glance at her friends, then headed to the doors. She fought the urge to look back over her shoulder in spite of having the distinct impression that a certain beautiful alien was drilling holes in the back of her head with two onyx eyes. As she entered the corridor she tried to get Deanna out of her mind to make place for the possible scenario's she could encounter once she reached Sickbay.

The familiar grey/orange exterior of the corridors soothed her anxiety and she held still in front of the LCARS strip on the wall to check her hair, amused with her own vanity. She tucked a wayward lock of red hair back in line and hurried into a nearby turbolift. "Sickbay." She turned to face the doors and was startled by Troi suddenly standing in front of her. "Deanna."

"The captain asked me to make sure you were all right." The raven-haired woman explained as she leaned against the wall, her eyes neutrally surveying the small space. "He said you seemed unusually pre-occupied."

"I'm fine."

"Yes." The counselor agreed slowly, drawing out the word.

"I just have a lot to think about."

Silence dragged on between them and in the small cabin Beverly was assaulted by Deanna's subtle perfume. Her eyes kept going back to the pair of sensuous lips that had turned her world upside down. The temptation to repeat that kiss, the gentle, intimate contact grew by the second. Troi showed no sign of being aware of her dilemma, but she knew better.

She had learned a lot about her friend over the course of the last week. Deanna was trying to give her her space and let her make the choice of pursuing whatever it was between them that had such a strong hold on her, but she wasn't blind. She'd seen the way the Betazoid had watched her and in hindsight it was hard to miss that Deanna had become more tactile with her over the last months. Something was brewing between them. And here, in the enclosed space of the turbolift it sounded wholly unappealing to walk away.

Without knowing exactly how she'd gotten there, she found herself standing right in front of the counselor, their breaths mingling together. Large, black eyes looked up at her and she searched them for the answers to her questions. Deanna didn't move or blink, not even when the lift halted and the doors whooshed open.

The sudden exposure made her jump and she could feel a blush rising on her cheeks, behind her Deanna released a long breath. Without looking back Beverly darted into the corridor and hurried to her office, holding her breath until the doors closed behind her. She gave herself barely a second to inhale and focus her thoughts before she stepped into lieutenant Juarez' view, readying herself to ease the new mother's concerns.




Title: Parterre Chapter Six a: "Clues"

Author: Psycha ( deadestiny@yahoo.com )

Series: TNG

Rating: NC-17 for sex -- finally!

Codes: C/T

Parts: Unknown

Summary: A wise man once said; "Nothing worthwhile is easy." And Doctor Beverly Crusher is just about to find out how right he was, especially in matters of friendship and love.

Archiving: The Femme Fuh-q Fest (http://www.svpress.us/femmefuhqfest/, ASCEM, homepage@http://deadestiny.tripod.com/parterre/

Disclaimer: They're not mine, no profits are being made from this story. General plotline and any additional characters are mine and copyrighted as such. You're welcome to use anything you come across, but please remember to give credit where due ;)

Feedback: Any type is welcome, even flames. Criticism is especially appreciated though :) You can leave feedback via the websites indicated above or send a direct e-mail to deadestiny@yahoo.com

Note: Part of the Femme Fuh-Q Fest - http://www.svpress.us/femmefuhqfest/

====

Chapter Six a: "Clues"

====

The small round containers filled with frilly scarlet moss seemed so benign. They were, for the most part, but they'd also brought something disturbing to light. Twenty-four hours were missing. What happened during that day, Doctor Crusher could only speculate. For one thing, the moss had grown.

She watched the incubation chambers warily, hoping childishly that if she stared long enough, they would magically answer her questions. Data seemed to be the only one who had any answers, but he was unwilling or unable to provide them. The way the android kept talking in circles unnerved her. When he had taken control of the ship several months ago it had been because his creator had activated a homing device. His actions nearly cost a little boy his life. But Data's creator was dead and Data wasn't posing a threat to the Enterprise or her crew now.

Beverly sighed. Whatever the mystery, Jean-Luc would figure it out. The captain was always drawn to mysteries. For as long as she knew him, and that was longer than she wanted to admit, he had to have answers. Dixon Hill would solve the case of the Diomedian Scarlet moss and the malfunctioning Android.

And then there were Deanna's hallucinations, another piece of the puzzle. She'd examined her friend and had found elevated adrenaline and stress levels. Nothing unusual enough to worry about, in fact her findings hadn't been very different than those of a week ago, when the counselor had come to her, stressed under the emotions of a planet in chaos.

Her instinct told her that Troi's hallucination had to have been more than just any hallucination. She had never seen Deanna that terrified, except for the time she'd lost her empathic abilities.

She sighed, again. That line of thought had been what had made it so uncomfortable to continue the examinations in the counselor's quarters after Jean-Luc and Worf had left. Picard's steady presence had kept her focused and she'd be lying if she didn't admit that she had been a little bit amused by the big Klingon's concern. When the men had left however, only herself and Deanna remained, and between them the kiss they had shared.

They'd made polite small talk, consciously avoiding any intimate subject and Beverly had felt guiltily relieved when she had been called back to sickbay. There had to be a way past this awkwardness, but whenever she tried to find that way she ended up fantasizing about Troi's nude form writhing beneath her own. Like now.

Beverly tried to redirect her thoughts to the mystery at hand, failing that she begrudgingly thought about a young man who'd been in her year at medical school. But the slender, feminine body of her friend would not be chased away. Not even Jean-Luc did the trick this time. Frustrated with her inability to control her own thoughts, and embarrassed by the growing arousal low in her stomach Beverly slammed the small container she was holding against the surface of the desk. The ball didn't break, but rolled onto the floor and under the desk as if it was hiding from her.

"Get yourself together Beverly Howard." She ordered under her breath. Plastering a pleasant smile on her face she turned back to the doors, hoping that there would be someone waiting for her help. She froze when she saw who was blocking her exit. "How long have you been standing there?"

The counselor regarded her solemnly, her black eyes unusually wide. "I wanted to ask if you could give me a sedative. You seemed occupied, I didn't want to disturb you."

The way Troi was leaning against the wall accentuated the curves she had tried to ban from her head just seconds earlier, her cheeks burned hotly. "How long?" She had to know how much Deanna had sensed, she had to know how quickly she could peel that burgundy uniform away from-. "Damn this!"

She didn't dare to look at her friend, even when she felt the other woman come closer she kept her eyes trained on the floor. This was killing her. She wanted Deanna, but she didn't. Heat exploded on her arm where Troi touched it and she raised her gaze. "I never meant to make you uncomfortable." The remorse was clear in black eyes, but it wasn't the remorse that got to her.

"I can't get you out of my head." Beverly murmured, craning her neck to look past the remorse, her heart beating loudly in her chest. Deanna wanted her, she could see it in her eyes and unlike herself, she realized now, the counselor wasn't afraid to admit it.

The shorter woman met her gaze head on and for a second she was certain Deanna was going to kiss her. Anticipation drummed against her temples. "I'll leave you alone."

"Wait!" Beverly barely registered her own reaction as she grabbed Troi's arm, stopping the empath from walking away. She closed the short distance between them, finding courage where there had been none before. "I want you too," she whispered hoarsely

Time froze, wrapping her in a wonderful, warm blanket. The heat that flowed between them throbbed insistently in the pit of her stomach. She wasn't aware of moving, and suddenly her lips met Deanna's. Softly and tentatively their mouths brushed together, she shivered and parted her lips. Her breath caught in her throat when Deanna licked her lips and she tangled her hands into the dark mass of curls, her own tongue meeting Troi's.

They moaned into each others mouths and deepened the kiss, at first leisurely exploring each other, but soon the passion burned too hotly and the kisses became hot and demanding. She barely paused when eager hands began to explore her body, and reciprocated in kind, running her hands over the curves of her friend's body. She groaned when Deanna brushed her thumbs over her nipples, even through the fabric of her uniform the erotic contact was intense.

Troi broke their kiss with a playful tug at her lower lip. Black eyes burning with need met her own and heavy breathing filled the air around her. "You're so beautiful." The whispered compliment was accompanied by hands caressing her breasts and rear. She wanted to respond, but coherent thought was robbed from her when a wet mouth sucked hotly on her ear.

She drew Deanna closer to her and felt a rush of heat between her legs when the younger woman's body pressed flush against hers. She was forced backwards until her legs hit the desk. The containers with scarlet moss were knocked over and rolled onto the floor, but she couldn't care, the hot mouth lavishing kisses on her throat demanded all her attention.

Deanna moaned against the pulse in her neck when she cupped the empath's rear in her hands. Her uniform was burning into her skin and her mind was almost desperate to feel naked skin against her own. As if her mind had been read, nimble hands started to peel away her clothes.

The air soothed her skin and teased her nipples to full hardness. She leaned back and kicked off her uniform completely while Deanna undressed. Troi's dark eyes slid over her naked body and Beverly suddenly felt uncertain. Deanna's nude form made her knees buckle. How could she not have seen how beautiful her friend was? Her eyes lingered on lingered on large breasts, tipped with the dark brown nipples and on the smoothness of her friend's flushed sex. She felt plain in comparison to the empath's exotic appearance.

Deanna reached out to her and put a hand on her hip, Beverly shivered under the contact. They kissed again slowly while their bodies pressed together, the feel of naked skin against her own was electrifying. "You've been driving me crazy," Deanna whispered against her lips.

Beverly moaned softly in the sheer ecstasy of Deanna's body sliding along her own as the empath kissed down her throat, pausing to nibble on her collarbones before making way down between her breasts. She had to lean back on her arms to keep from falling when Deanna softly kissed her nipples, first one, then the other. Never had she imagined it could be this crazy, this intense, but the warm mouth enveloping her told her that it could be. That it would be.

She couldn't figure out why she'd been fighting this. All she knew was that she wasn't going to fight it again, ever. She gasped and arched her back when Deanna nipped lightly at the sensitive peaks, sending jolts of pleasure through her. "Dea, please."

Troi pulled away and looked up at her with black eyes full of passion. "Want me to stop?"

"Gods no." She barely recognized her own voice. Deanna's laughter only made her insides turn into a liquid heat and the hands rubbing up and down her thighs really didn't help.

"Good, I don't think I could." Whatever Beverly's reaction was going to be to the husky promise, it flew out of her reach when Deanna knelt before her and kissed the insides of her thighs. She held her breath, afraid that if she exhaled the thrilling sensations that exploded from between her legs would disappear. When the empath's warm tongue sank into the moist flesh of her sex, she couldn't not cry out.

Deanna's skilful explorations soon had her panting for more and her fingers had become tangled in the dark mass of curls. A playful tug at her own set of curls drew another groan and the teasing presence of two digits caressing her nether lips while Deanna's tongue and lips licked and sucked her swollen clit.

Every nerve in her body was straining with need, aching for that final touch. "Please," she begged breathlessly, "more." She shook with need, every flick of Deanna's tongue against her clit like a whiplash of pleasure along her spine. Then she froze when she felt a slender finger nudge her entrance. Her inner muscles clenched the nothingness, searching impatiently and a rush of wetness welcomed the intrusion. "Oh gods, yesss..."

"You feel so good." A voice whispered from far away, penetrating her mind as Deanna started a slow rhythm, thrusting deeply within her. Her body went into motion, bucking wantonly, spurred on when a second finger joined the first. She was so close. The rhythm picked up speed, almost as if it was trying to match her raging heart beat for beat. She wanted to tell Deanna of the fire threatening to consume her body and soul, of her desire, her need. She wanted to tell her lover so much but she couldn't find the words.

Deanna's fingers curled inside her, angled perfectly to bring her to the very edge of orgasm. She teetered there for eternity when Deanna pressed down on that secret spot of pleasure deep within her. A white ball of ecstasy formed and grew, expanding with each tremulous breath and throaty moan, it grew until it swallowed her whole. With the tip of her tongue Deanna flicked her clit and Beverly crashed into wave upon wave of orgasm, screaming from sheer intensity.

Her knees gave out from under her and she was unaware of the warm body holding her upright. Her mind was a vortex of pleasure so strong she couldn't breathe. After an eternity she became aware of sweet nothings being whispered in her ear and hands caressing her stomach and breasts. "Oh my god," she croaked, turning her head to look at Deanna, "that was……"

"Intense?" Troi smiled brilliantly and kissed her softly.

She nodded. "And then some." Their eyes met and she tried to figure out where to go from here. She'd fallen utterly in love with her best friend and never in her wildest dreams had she imagined that sex between them would be so mind-blowing. She didn't want to give that up. "Dea."

"We have to talk," Troi acknowledged, "but right now we need to get back to work." Her skin chilled aggressively when Deanna pulled away and began to collect their clothes. Her legs and arms were still a bit sluggish, but she managed to dress herself while watching Troi do the same

Standing face to face they looked into each others eyes for long seconds, then Deanna reached up for a leisurely kiss and she felt a familiar desire awaken. "I'm sorry," she whispered in a moment of self-consciousness, "for trying to deny fal--"

The counselor stilled her with another kiss. "Dinner in Ten-Forward at eight?"

"Ten-Forward?" The idea of having what was bound to be an intimate conversation in such a public place unsettled Crusher. Although, she reflected, it wouldn't be quite as intimate as what they'd just shared. She chuckled mentally and noted with some satisfaction that she hadn't felt this good in months.

She pushed against the hands caressing her rear and openly admired Deanna's cleavage as the counselor adjusted the neckline of her uniform. "I don't think I could keep my hands off you if we were alone." Deanna admitted in a husky voice that send a jolt of electricity through her.

After a final kiss Troi turned and exited the lab, leaving Crusher alone. Beverly kept her eyes on Deanna's backside as long as she could, desperate to keep the concerns forming in her mind at bay. Jean-Luc and Will would just have to deal, she decided firmly and started to collect the containers with diomedian scarlet moss that lay scattered on the floor. A shudder crashed down her spine as she remembered how the containers had gotten onto the floor in the first place. A quick check told her that the research hadn't been compromised.

Working in the lab would never be the same again. As she made her way into Sickbay's main area she couldn't keep the silly, satisfied grin off her face and quickly gave up trying. So what if her staff wondered how it'd gotten there? They'd never guess.

The grin disappeared faster than a Ferengi at a charity event when she saw the big, looming figure in the center of the treatment area. "Hello, Worf." The Klingon officer turned to look at her, one of his large hands wrapped protectively around the wrist of his other arm. He didn't say anything for a dreadful second. Dark intense eyes scanned her body and his nostrils flared with deep inhalation. Beverly held her breath. Would he be able to……? Nah, no way. Not a chance in hell. Absolutely not.

"Doctor." His voice boomed with just a hint of a question.

Not in a million years, she told herself again and smiled politely. "Can I help you?" His eyes squinted and suddenly she wondered if she hadn't accidentally ended up a few millennia in the future.




Title: Parterre Chapter Six b: "Clues"

Author: Psycha ( deadestiny@yahoo.com )

Series: TNG

Rating: PG-13, for some naughty images

Codes: C/T

Parts: Unknown

Summary: A wise man once said; "Nothing worthwhile is easy." And Doctor Beverly Crusher is just about to find out how right he was, especially in matters of friendship and love.

Archiving: The Femme Fuh-q Fest (http://www.svpress.us/femmefuhqfest/, ASCEM, homepage@http://deadestiny.tripod.com/parterre/

Disclaimer: They're not mine, no profits are being made from this story. General plotline and any additional characters are mine and copyrighted as such. You're welcome to use anything you come across, but please remember to give credit where due ;)

Feedback: Any type is welcome, even flames. Criticism is especially appreciated though :) You can leave feedback via the websites indicated above or send a direct e-mail to deadestiny@yahoo.com

Note: Part of the Femme Fuh-Q Fest - http://www.svpress.us/femmefuhqfest/

A/N: No, there isn't a mistake, you are in the Twilight Zone *smirk* Just thought I'd warn you.

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Chapter Six b: "Clues"

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The small round containers with frilly scarlet moss seemed so benign. They were. So benign in fact that they were nearly extinct. She watched the incubation chambers intently, hoping childishly that if she stared long enough, she would be able to see the moss grow.

When she'd waken up on the floor of Sickbay and was told, upon contacting the bridge, that the Enterprise had unexpectedly traveled through a small wormhole, she knew that her plans to plant the moss would have to wait. What had followed was a long day of treating headaches and minor injuries sustained by falls when the wormhole had knock the crew unconscious.

Beverly sighed. It would take a full day before the rare breeds of diomedian scarlet moss would have grown enough to be taken out of their containers, and then another two or three weeks before she could call the crops successful

She sighed, again, remembering telling Deanna of the complicated process of growing this kind of moss.. They'd made polite small talk, consciously avoiding any intimate subject and Beverly had felt guiltily relieved to be able to chat on and on about something as frivolous as the moss she was planning to grow. There had to be a way past this awkwardness, but whenever she tried to find that way she ended up fantasizing about Troi's nude form writhing beneath her own. Like now.

Beverly tried to redirect her thoughts to the task at hand, failing that she begrudgingly thought about a young man who'd been in her year at medical school. But the slender, feminine body of her friend would not be chased away. Not even Jean-Luc did the trick this time. Frustrated with her inability to control her own thoughts, and embarrassed by the growing arousal low in her stomach Beverly slammed the small container she was holding against the surface of the desk. The ball didn't break, but rolled onto the floor and under the desk as if it was hiding from her.

"Get yourself together Beverly Howard." She ordered under her breath. Plastering a pleasant smile on her face she turned back to the doors leading to Sickbay's center, hoping that there would be someone waiting for her help to take her mind off her half Betazoid friend. She froze when she saw who was blocking her exit. "How long have you been standing there?"

The counselor regarded her solemnly, her black eyes unusually wide. "I wanted to ask if you could give me a sedative for my headache. You seemed occupied, I didn't want to disturb you."

The way Troi was leaning against the wall accentuated the curves she had tried to ban from her head just seconds earlier, her cheeks burned hotly. "How long have you been standing there?" She had to know how much Deanna had sensed, she had to know how quickly she could peel that burgundy uniform away from-. "Damn this!"

She didn't dare to look at her friend, even when she felt the other woman come closer she kept her eyes trained on the floor. This was killing her. She wanted Deanna, but she didn't. Heat exploded on her arm where Troi touched it and she raised her gaze. "I never meant to make you uncomfortable." The remorse was clear in black eyes, but it wasn't the remorse that got to her.

"I can't get you out of my head." Beverly murmured, craning her neck to look past the remorse, her heart beating loudly in her chest. Deanna wanted her, she could see it in her eyes and unlike herself, she realized now, the counselor wasn't afraid to admit it.

The shorter woman met her gaze head on and for a second she was certain Deanna was going to kiss her. Anticipation drummed against her temples. "I'll leave you alone."

Beverly nodded numbly, stunned by an intense sense of déjà vu, she could have sworn they'd had this exact same conversation before. A sudden flare of arousal hit her like a wall and made her knees weak. Her cheeks burned hotly with embarrassment. A vivid image of Deanna undressing herself flashed before her eyes, and for eternal second she desperately wanted to help the ghostly woman. Instead her eyes lingered on the counselor's backside as the woman left the lab and without knowing how, she suddenly knew exactly how Deanna's naked skin would feel against her own.

Tbc……


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