Title: Sanctuary
Author: DiNovia
Authorís Email: seftiri@livejournal.co
Rating: G - PG13
Pairing: Troi/Yar
Word Count: 1834
Summary: "As a counselor, one of my first duties is to know myself. If I cannot identify my own feelings, how can I be trusted to identify the feelings of my patients?"
Spoilers (if any): references Haven

Disclaimer: "Star Trek: The Next Generation," the characters, and situations depicted are the property of Paramount Pictures, CBS Television, and several other people or companies over the years. This piece of fan fiction was created for entertainment not monetary purposes. Previously unrecognized characters and places, and this story, are copyrighted to the author. Any similarity to real persons, living or dead, is coincidental and not intended by the author. This site is in no way affiliated with "Star Trek: The Next Generation," Paramount Pictures, or any representatives of the actors.

Authorís Notes: I never should have thought that I could keep anything to 300 words. Also, in this story, the relationship between Troi and Riker is a thing of the past for both of them and never came up during the episode Haven. Hope you enjoy it!

Part One

Will Riker stopped at the bar to order a raktajino before making his way over to Deanna's corner table. While he waited for the young crewman on duty to bring his drink, he noted the untouched chocolate fudge sundae that sat melting in front of his ex-lover and the chameleon rose next to it, now colored a depressing charcoal gray. Deanna herself simply stared out the viewport at the passing stars, her features nearly unreadable. Will accepted the piping hot caffeinated beverage and quietly approached Deanna's table.

"Who counsels the counselors?" he asked gently.

Deanna looked up at Will, clearly startled. "I'm sorry?" she asked. Will looked at the seat across from her and she nodded, not really wanting the company but sensing that the commander considered this an "official" visit. He sat and took a sip of the raktajino.

"It must be bad if even chocolate can't console you," he said finally, glancing at the untasted confection in front of her.

"I will recover," replied Deanna, her richly-accented voice very precise. The tone indicated she didn't appreciate the interference in what would traditionally be her realm. Even if he was correct and healing herself was beyond her powers.

"No doubt," he agreed, waving his hand dismissively. Then he cupped his mug in both hands and leaned forward, lowering his voice. "But this business with your aborted arranged marriage has hurt someone else and I can't ignore that."

"Will, it's over between us," began the dark haired woman angrily. "It has been--"

"Not me, Deanna. I know that what we had has been over for a long time." He covered one small pale hand with his own. "Open your senses, Deanna. Allow yourself to move beyond the questions and confusion in your own mind."

Still angry and confused, the young counselor tried to do as he asked. She closed her eyes and deliberately compartmentalized her emotions, just as she often did when in her office with a patient. Clarity bloomed in her mind first, followed by a strong feeling of concern and caring that she identified as Riker. She saw in her mind the sharply defined edges of his emotions: the caring of a superior officer, of someone in command. Nothing more.

She took a deep breath and her senses expanded further to encompass first the rest of Ten Forward and the benign emotions of the few patrons at this hour and then the rest of the ship. Gamma shift was usually a quiet time for Deanna and her empathic abilities. So many sleeping people, so many hushed voices, so many thoughtful and pensive hours passing gently by. But somewhere in all that fluid peacefulness pain called out to her, like the thrust of a razor-edged knife in her gut. Sharp and bright against the darkness of space, the mental cry was impossible for Deanna to ignore. When she opened her eyes, they were filled with the remnants of someone else's sadness and longing.

"Oh, Will..." she whispered.

"Go to her, Deanna. Help her if you can. I've tried." He grimaced, not pleased with himself. "I think I might have made it worse."

Jealousy--unbidden and entirely her own--flashed through the Betazoid. "What did you do to her?" she asked darkly, the words practically ground out through her clenched jaw.

Riker sat back, stunned. Then he chuckled, seeing that the chameleon rose had turned a bilious shade of green. "Well, I guess that answers that question." He finished his coffee; became serious again. "I talked to her. Just talked. But--because of my past history with you--I don't think she wanted to hear what I had to say."

"No," agreed Deanna. "I'm sure she didn't." She stood, her posture ramrod straight in her dark maroon alternative uniform. "If you'll excuse me?"

Riker nodded and watched her exit Ten Forward, her gait purposeful and resolved, her hands clenched at her sides. She was clearly on a mission. He looked out the viewport at the stars, wondering briefly about the worlds they sped past and the beings on them, about whether any of them had a job as difficult and as fulfilling as his. Pulling himself from his reverie, he reached for Deanna's abandoned sundae, digging in to the melted ice cream with gusto.

No point in letting it go to waste, he thought happily.

Part Two

Deanna Troi stood impatiently outside Lieutenant Natasha Yar's quarters waiting for the young woman to answer her chime. The young counselor was keyed up and anxious and she clenched and unclenched her fists nervously. When Tasha finally answered the chime--her eyes slightly red and swollen--Deanna didn't even let her speak.

"Invite me in, Tasha, please."

The blonde security chief took one look in Deanna's fierce black eyes and swallowed whatever protest had been perched on her lips. She reluctantly stepped aside, shuddering at the fleeting kiss of heat from the Betazoid's body as she brushed past.

Deanna marched into Tasha's extremely spartan sitting room, part of her subconscious registering the lack of personal expression as a distinct symptom of the blonde's upbringing--or lack thereof. What souvenirs or trinkets would she have brought from Turkana IV, the rape planet? What memories of a home so fraught with pain and terror? She filed the observation away for later and began to pace a tight circle in the middle of the room.

Tasha, unsure of what was going on and knowing only that Deanna Troi was the last person on the ship she wanted to see at the moment, made one attempt to divert the counselor from whatever her errand might be.

"Deanna, I--"

"You must think me the worst counselor in the Federation," interrupted the dark-haired woman, continuing her agitated pacing. "At the moment, I agree with you. In fact, there's nothing at all keeping me from going directly to Captain Picard to resign my commission."

Tasha shook her head. "No!" she said, without hesitation. When she managed two consecutive thoughts, she followed quickly with, "What? Deanna, I don't know what's going on but--"

"I should have seen it, Tasha. There was that moment--in my quarters--after you'd returned from the Tsiolkovsky. And several more during our negotiations with Lutan of Ligon II for the Anchilles virus vaccine. How could I not have seen it?"

Horrified that her deepest, most personal feelings were suddenly being exposed against her wishes, Yar raised her hands to stop Deanna's humiliating litany. "Please! Deanna, don't--"

The Betazoid counselor barreled on, disregarding the distraught plea. "As a counselor, one of my first duties is to know myself. If I cannot identify my own feelings, how can I be trusted to identify the feelings of my patients? And then to allow those unexamined feelings to hurt someone so lovely, someone I care about deeply--it's unforgivable!" Deanna stopped abruptly and turned tearful black eyes to gaze at Tasha. "How can I even ask for your forgiveness?" she asked plaintively.

All in all, Tasha was glad she'd been standing near the one arm chair she'd included in her sitting room because she dropped into it like a stone. Pale and confused, she could only sit there at a complete loss. Like a fish out of water, exactly as she had been during those first few months at the Academy.

Deanna Troi closed her eyes for a moment and sighed deeply. She relaxed her rigid muscles and released the frenzy of self-recrimination that had fueled her journey to this moment. She felt, in Tasha, confusion first and foremost. Followed by fear and a sense of unworthiness that was old and deep, a well-worn and comfortable sweater. Underneath all of that, though--shining like a newborn star--was hope. Deanna opened her eyes and went to the young security chief.

Kneeling in front of Tasha to better catch her eye, Deanna reached out to touch the young woman's hand, stone-still in her lap.

"I never meant to treat you so carelessly, Tasha. I am ashamed of my actions and of my failure to realize their effect on you. Please accept my--"

"Stop," whispered the lieutenant raggedly. Tears that she had once hoped were buried forever rose anew and spilled silently down her cheeks. "Deanna, don't you know you need never apologize to me for anything? Can't you feel that? Or have I finally killed every good thing inside me just when my dreams are coming true?"

Probing for the truth in those words, Deanna gasped, stunned by the sheer force of emotion flooding her senses. It was as if Tasha had carefully unshuttered a secret place inside herself, revealing pure and magnificent sunlight where once there had only been darkness. It was heady and magnetic and she rose to meet it, colliding with Tasha halfway, their mouths crashing together. Deanna cupped Tasha's angular features in her long-fingered hands while the security chief enfolded the brunette in her strong arms. Deepening her kiss hungrily, Deanna pushed Tasha backwards into the chair and straddled her thighs. Holding the blonde's head still, she plundered her lips and plumbed her mouth, seeking the sweet intoxication she knew could only be found there.

Locked in this electrifying embrace, Natasha Yar felt her mind shift. A fiery, golden blaze--like sunshine dappled by Autumn leaves--burst upon her mind's eye and she recognized it as the reflection of her love for the slender, precious woman she incredulously held in her arms. She drank the honeyed warmth and power of it, drew it into herself via the connection of their mouths even as she realized it wasn't nearly enough. She needed more, much more. Using finely-tuned muscles and a wiry strength belied by her almost willowy frame, Tasha levered Deanna and herself out of the chair, groaning into their unrelenting kiss when she felt the counselor's legs wrap around her waist.

Tumbling Deanna into her bed, Tasha pulled her mouth away and pleaded breathlessly, "If this isn't what you want, stop me now, Deanna. Don't let me believe in this if it isn't real. Please."

"I've always known you with my mind and now I know you with my heart," whispered Deanna, reaching up to caress Tasha's cheek with the backs of her fingers. "Teach me to know you by the touch of your skin, Tasha. Teach me to crave your kiss when we're apart. I want to know all of you that you have to give..."

A needful cry escaped from Tasha before she claimed and devoured Deanna's kiss-bruised lips, pouring all of herself into their connection. Like a beacon in the depths of space, her mind called out to her lover.

Know me. Know me. Know me. Know me...