The first thing Deanna remembered when she woke up was how warm Tasha’s hand as it had grasped her own had been; it might have been a nice dream except for the circumstances that had surrounded it.
With that reminder she shot up, gasping and flinching when a hand landed on her shoulder.
“Deanna it’s all right,” Beverly’s voice automatically relaxed her, it meant she was back on board the Enterprise and that they had gotten off that shuttlecraft and-
Looking around there was no sign of Tasha, a pit of fear unfurled in her stomach making her feel cold all of sudden.
“Tasha?” Her voice wavered between worry and determination.
“She’s fine too,” Beverly said and Deanna let out a grateful sigh, shoulders relaxing completely, “She’s just in the other room, needed some quiet, Deanna how are you feeling?”
Beverly sounded cautious just then and Deanna frowned, trying to reach out with her mind to sense what might be causing that unease and coming back with nothing.
For a moment she thought she was just imagining it but even trying to extend her empathic abilities farther, to the other room where Tasha must have been sitting, gave her nothing, she wasn’t even able to sense that there was a lifeform right in front of her.
“What’s happened?” Deanna tightened her hands in the blanket that had fallen into her lap once she had sat up, “Beverly what’s going on.”
Beverly hesitated just long enough that Deanna knew whatever it was going to be serious but before she could explain Tasha came stumbling out through the doors of the isolated room in medbay, her blonde hair in disarray like she had been constantly running her hands through it.
“Deanna!” Tasha rushed forward, reaching out to touch her with one hand and with the other she held her head and winced in pain, “Please calm down.”
Despite how frightened Deanna felt in that moment the plead in Tasha’s voice had her attempting to breath slowly and desperately sending out something, anything towards Tasha to try to see what was wrong with her friend.
“Tasha?” Deanna raised a hand to cover Tasha’s own as she rubbed her head, “What’s going on, why can’t I sense you, have I…” She looked over at Beverly and swallowed hard, “Have I lost my powers?”
“Yes,” Beverly began and frowned, “And no. It’s complicated, Deanna. Do you remember you and Tasha taking a shuttle back?”
“Of course,” They had been coming back from shoreleave on the planet below, Deanna had convinced Tasha to take a few days off so they could explore the planet together as everyone else was busy with the diplomatic mission.
The only reason she hadn’t been involved was that any form of telepathic or empathic abilities made the people nervous, but they had been quick to offer her a tour of the ruins, far away from the people, and because of the storms she and Tasha had taken the other shuttlecraft down.
Tasha’s hand was still resting on top of hers, different than when she had grabbed Deanna’s to pull her towards the transporters when the shuttle had been hit with a devastating storm that led to have to abandon it, but warm all the same.
“We aren’t sure exactly of the cause of what’s happened,” Beverly went on, unaware of Deanna getting lost in the memory, “But when we transported you out something must have happened with the storms interference and…” Beverly looked like she was trying to find the best way to phrase it when Tasha cut her off.
“I’ve got your powers.”
Deanna’s eyebrows shot up in surprise and she stared at Tasha who winced, probably at what must have been the jolt of emotion in Deanna.
“Or at least some of your powers.” Tasha went on, “I can’t feel the whole ship thankfully. Just you.”
Deanna’s pulled her other hand that she had been resting over top of Tasha’s away and frowned. “That shouldn’t be right, if you can only feel me why aren’t I able to sense the whole ship still.”
“We don’t know,” Beverly interjected, “We’ve never had anything like this happen before, there’s not even records from Betazoid of this happening. Perhaps the rest of your powers were suppressed and you need the ones Tasha is currently carrying back, or-”
In the midst of Beverly’s explanation Deanna had been trying to reach out again and shivered at the emptiness that back with her, she wanted to curl up in fear or run back to her quarters or to Ten Forward where there would be people and she could try to focus on them and maybe just maybe…
Despair fell like a blanket around her when she tried again, tears stinging her eyes.
Next to her Tasha was biting her lip and trying to keep together from the spikes of different emotions she could sense, in an attempt to stall them Tasha leaned in and wrapped her arms around Deanna, loosely pulling her into a hug.
“We’re going to get through this.” Tasha said and burrowed her face into Deanna’s hair, sighing with relief when she got a spike of gratitude back.
Beverly had been watching this display quietly, having broken off her explanations and letting the two of them take comfort in that they were in this together, “I think it’s best if the two of you stay together for now, we can assign you temporary quarters if you need to and in the meanwhile I’ll find out what’s going on. We’ll do our best to fix this, for the both of you, I promise.”
“I don’t know how you manage it with so many people, I can hardly keep track with just you.” Tasha complained once they had made it to Deanna’s quarters, deciding that was fine enough for them.
“It takes practice and being born with it helps.” Deanna tried for a light quip, smiling.
“Stop that,” Tasha frowned, “I know you’re unhappy right now.”
Deanna sighed, pulling her legs up onto the couch to rest her chin on her knees, “You’re right, of course. I am unhappy. It’s so empty Tasha, I can’t feel anyone out there, you asked me how I manage but the truth is I don’t know how you manage the loneliness of not being able to feel these sorts of things.”
“Because we never know any differently,” Tasha said and inched herself closer on the couch until she just barely touched Deanna, a soft but constant presence. “You feel that right?”
Deanna smiled, “A bit of a different kind of feeling.”
“But it helps.” Tasha guessed, or rather knew given her insight to Deanna’s mind currently.
“It does, thank you,” Deanna leaned in just a little and Tasha accommodated her, resting her feet on the table in front of them and slipping and arm over Deanna’s shoulder.
“Maybe if we stay this way until Beverly can find a cure we’ll make it out of this okay.” Tasha joked, the tips of her fingers playing with Deanna’s hair in a fascination with the curls.
Deanna laughed for the first time since she’s woken up in medbay, “I very much doubt the Captain would appreciate us walking hand in hand down the hallways.”
Tasha snorted at the idea of it, “Could you imagine Worf’s face? ‘I do not understand why physical intimacy must be portrayed in the halls.’” She dropped her voice to try to imitate Worf’s, making a mental note to apologize to her Klingon friend later all though that would just make him more confused.
The two of them exchanged glances and then broke off into gales of laughter.
“It might be worth it just for that. All though,” Deanna tilted her head, “You never know, the Klingons are a rather physical race, he might understand.”
“There’s only one way to find out really.” Tasha normally wouldn’t have suggested it, wanting to maintain her persona in the hallways, it really wouldn’t do her any good to be so relaxed out there when there were still threats and everything but Deanna’s good mood was bleeding into hers and bringing out a mischievous side she always seemed to pick up with Deanna.
“At least one good thing came about this,” Deanna said suddenly, eyes crinkling at the edges and sometimes when Tashsa looked over into the dark eyes she felt like they were pulling her in and she would always welcome it.
“Oh?” Tasha raised an eyebrow.
“I got to see you laugh again. We don’t get to do that often enough.” Deanna was grinning now and all Tasha could sense from her was elation.
“Well I didn’t have a lot to laugh about for a long time until I came here.” Tasha’s mouth twisted downwards at the thought of Tarkana IV.
Even with the loss of her powers Deanna could sense that is Tasha’s mind kept on that thought the good mood of the evening now would have been burst, at some point she would like to talk to Tasha about it, more than they already had at least, but not while Tasha was so compromised by her own feelings.
“You know what this night needs.” Deanna stood up and talked over to the replicator, “Two chocolate sundaes please.”
Behind her Tasha chimed in at the exact same moment and when Deanna shot her a look Tasha merely shrugged and smiled.
Watching Deanna bring them over Tasha was overcome by a strange feeling she didn’t recognize but knew could only be coming from Deanna; something light and heartfelt that came right as Deanna saw her smile, something joyous.
Tasha was taken aback by it, numbly taking the sundae Deanna passed to her as she took a seat again, and trying to surreptitiously watch Deanna from under her lashes.
How strange that Deanna would feel so happy at seeing her smile.
Deanna caught her eye however and Tasha swallowed the ice cream she had taken a bite of; her black eyes looked warm and grateful as she looked at Tasha.
“What is it?” Tasha finally asked, trying to muddle through Deanna’s emotions without much luck, it was giving her a headache again and she didn’t want to snap at Deanna to stop but as unused to it as she was she might have.
“I’m just glad it’s you.” Deanna said eventually, “Who got my powers. Someone else might have done something awful and tried to take advantage if they spread.”
That made Tasha nervous, “You think they’ll spread.” The idea of feeling everyone’s emotions wasn’t appealing at all to her.
“I think everyone will find a solution,” Deanna was trying to be strong again about it and Tasha could tell, “Because I don’t want to be without them.”
“I don’t want you to either,” Tasha admitted, even if it hadn’t been her seeing Deanna struggle through this left her feeling sad about it too.
“Well,” Deanna sighed, “Looks like chocolate wasn’t quite the right idea after all.”
“I like it, well, could get used to it. I don’t eat many sweets,” Tasha took another bite just to see Deanna smile a little again and called it worth it.
“You don’t have to you know.”
“It’s fine,” Tasha insisted and there it was again, that light bubbling feeling like butterflies in her stomach but she couldn’t tell if it was Deanna’s or hers or both.
Unconsciously she ran her fingers through her hair, a habit she had thought she’d broken once she joined Starfleet but still did when she felt pressed by something.
A moment later fingers tangled with her own and Deanna had set her sundae down and reached out to slide her fingers through Tasha’s hair, amusement filtering through what Tasha could sense in her.
“Dare I ask?” Tasha stared at her and Deanna merely smiled.
“I wanted to see how soft it was, besides,” Deanna pulled away, “You were playing with my hair earlier, fair’s fair.”
Tasha flushed at being called out on that and mumbled some kind of apology.
“It’s fine,” Deanna waved it off and there was that amusement again, “Any time you feel like it you can always find me.”
Tasha rolled her eyes then, knowing that Deanna was enjoying this far too much now.
“In fact I need to take my hair down and you can help me.” Deanna motioned towards her hair, “It’s always a struggle to find the pins.”
Tasha didn’t believe that for one second but setting her own sundae down she reached over to rise to Deanna’s quiet challenge and combed her fingers through Deanna’s curls until she found a pin, slipping it out.
“I’ve never worn my hair this long.” Tasha commented idly.
“I don’t think I’ve had mine short since I was a child.”
“This suits you better,” Tasha said, trying to picture Deanna with short hair and failing, she liked it long; the way it curled around Deanna’s face when strands escaped and fell around her shoulders beautifully.
It was thoughts like those she often pushed aside in the wake of their friendship but they still came to her every now and then.
“Thank you,” Joy, appreciation, gratitude. “I think yours suits you very nice too.”
There wasn’t any teasing in there, just genuine affection and Tasha wondered if this was how Deanna always felt about her and this headache was honestly worth it for knowing that alone.
“I think that’s all of them,” Deanna hummed once Tasha showed her how many pins were in her hand that she had found, without the pins and her band in her hair it fell even more in waves around her face, framing her dark eyes that matched it.
“I don’t know how you do it in the mornings.”
“Well I guess you can find out when we wake up tomorrow.” Deanna said, standing to put the pins away in the bathroom and Tasha took the time to take the sundaes, hers mostly still there and Deanna’s mostly gone, away to the replicator.
On her way back to the couch she grabbed the bag of clothes that they had gotten from her quarters along the way to Deanna’s, rummaging through them to find her night clothes to change into.
When Deanna stepped out she had changed into her night gown, Tasha took one quick look at the way it fell around Deanna’s curves and tore her eyes away, cursing herself for it, Deanna was her friend and deserved respect after all.
She really hadn’t been lying a few years ago when that virus had taken over the ship however, Deanna did make everything look wonderful on her.
By comparison she felt out of place in Deanna’s room once she changed into her night clothes, a Starfleet t-shirt from her academy days and the sweatpants to match; she had grown however so they were tighter on her than they were back then.
Still when she stepped out and Deanna looked over at her, having taken a seat back on the couch, she felt warm all of sudden, a spike of something that Tasha might have thought was lust or desire.
“I’ll take the couch,” She said to distract from the sudden wave of emotion least it overwhelm her again.
Deanna frowned, “Are you all right.”
“I’m fine, it’s just…” She trailed off, motioning between them and Deanna caught on, nodding.
“I know how hard it is to sift through emotions, just try to take a hold of one and focus on it alone to help block out the others.” Deanna stood up, taking her arm and guiding her back towards the couch.
“You feel very strongly about everything,” Tasha said, distracted now when she got another pulse of something that was amusement and worry all at once.
“I do, everyone usually does. It’s too bad you couldn’t just sense Data because you’d be fine then.”
Tasha eyed her curiously, “Do you ever get anything from him?”
“Sometimes I think I do but it might just be my mind playing tricks.” Deanna admitted, her own wonder mixing with Tasha’s and making it stronger.
“I think I could use some sleep now.” Tasha groaned, headache back in full force, for a while it had seemed manageable while they were talking but now it was everywhere and all around her.
“That seems like it’s for the best.” Deanna stood up but she still held on to Tasha’s arm, tugging her lightly.
Tasha raised an eyebrow, “Are we going somewhere.”
“My bed,” Deanna shrugged, “I think you need it more.”
Images of sleeping next to Deanna filtered in and Tasha cleared her throat, shaking her head, “I already said I’d take the couch.”
“But you need the bed and as ships counselor I can assess these sorts of things.”
“You’re just as tired as I am,” and lonely Tasha didn’t add, “I can sense that.”
Deanna huffed, letting go of Tasha’s arms and putting her hands on her hips, “Are you really going to be so stubborn.”
Tasha bit her tongue not to point out that Deanna was just as bad but clearly Deanna could still read her and could tell what she was thinking, leaning over and lightly hitting Tasha on the arm.
“That’s enough from you, bed. It’s big enough for the both of us.”
Seeing that she wasn’t going to win this Tasha sighed and followed Deanna to the bedroom, she could wait till Deanna fell asleep and then slip out to the couch.
They settled in awkwardly, taking notice of it and exchanging a look before chuckling to themselves, feelings on the same wavelength that made them feel more enhanced in Tasha’s mind.
“You’re going to get your powers back.” Tasha promised when she noticed Deanna’s mind sneaking away to those thoughts.
Deanna’s hand found hers under the sheets and squeezed and strangely, settled her mind.
They fell asleep at the same time, with gratitude that the other was there.
Tasha woke up to hair in her face and warm breath tickling her neck, Deanna having moved closer during the night, or maybe she had she couldn’t tell.
She yawned and sat up, her fingers still tangled with Deanna’s and feeling nothing but calm.
Tasha smiled to herself, looking down at Deanna and pushing the curls back from her face; she’d let her sleep in, it wasn’t like they were on duty now.
Or that was her plan but her movement must have woken Deanna, blinking slowly as she woke up.
“Good morning Tasha.” Deanna sat up and without thinking brushed her lips against Tasha’s cheek as she slipped out of the bed, leaving Tasha sitting there with her mouth open and thoughts scrambled.
It took a second but Deanna came back into the room, eyes wide.
“I’m sorry, it must have just been, I mean I was just. Well I was dreaming,” Deanna tried to explain, embarrassment fizzled in the back of Tasha’s mind coming from her.
“It’s fine,” Tasha said, her voice sounded a little shakey and she swallowed, repeating herself with more conviction but the memory of Deanna’s lips against her skin kept flashing in her mind.
“You’re sure.” Deanna was leaning in, peering at her with worry.
“How are you feeling?” She asked to change the subject to something else.
“Fine this morning,” Deanna tilted her head and closed her eyes, breathing in and out slowly and Tasha got the feeling she was trying her powers again. “I think I can feel you.”
Tasha sat up straighter at that, realizing that though she had felt Deanna this morning it seemed quieter compared to yesterday.
Deanna opened her eyes, staring right at Tasha and her breath caught, the two of them both frozen.
“We should go see Beverly.” Deanna finally said, licking her lips and stepping back as Tasha’s gaze dropped downwards to them.
Tasha nodded and slipped out of the bed, stepping into the living room to find her uniform to wear for that day.
Deanna came out of the washroom changed into her purple jumpsuit and pinning her hair back without even looking, catching Tasha’s eyes with a wink.
Tasha shook her head, walking to the washroom to change for herself.
While waiting for Tasha she began humming, feeling far more at ease about everything with the low levels of emotions she was starting to feel from others around her.
Her powers were in fact coming back, slowly but surely and the weight that had been resting on her shoulders felt smaller already; she wasn’t sure what she would have done if they didn’t. Admittedly she would have begun to lash out in anger at the loss of them.
Once Tasha was ready and back in her living room Deanna smiled at her brightly.
“Ready?” She asked teasingly, holding out her hand to Tasha who laughed once she remembered their conversation last night.
To her surprise Tasha didn’t take it but instead slipped her arm through Deanna’s and they walked out together; that at least wasn’t so unusual the two of them were well known to hang off of each other in the midst of a joke or a laugh.
They made their way to the medbay where Beverly was on shift, talking about heading to the holodeck at some point if Beverly okayed it.
Once there she was delighted with the news.
“So long as the effects are temporary and your powers are coming back; by this rate I estimate a few more days. Stay together just in case and I’d still like you to be off duty and report to me every few hours so we can monitor this.” Beverly ran the tricorder over Deanna again and smiled, “Looks like you’ll both be making a full recovery.”
Deanna smiled, feeling completely relaxed at the news and Tasha looked just as happy though that could have been her emotions spilling over of course.
“Enough that we could take some holodeck time?” Deanna asked.
“I don’t see why not, you’re off duty and relaxing might be the key to this; after all it came back while you were sleeping it appears.” Beverly hummed and Deanna knew she was wondering if there was something either to the relaxing or sleep that was getting her powers back.
“Well Tasha and I will let you know.” Deanna slipped off the biobed she was seated on to stand near Tasha, “After our trip there.”
Beverly raised an eyebrow at the two of them standing so close and shot Deanna a knowing smirk that Deanna promptly ignored.
She never should have drunk with Beverly last month and brought up how attractive she thought Tasha’s features were.
Tasha must have sensed her slight nervousness and glanced over at her curiously to which Deanna just shrugged and led them both out of medbay towards an empty holodeck.
“So, since you never got to practice at all this morning why don’t you now?” Deanna suggested while they stood in the empty room pondering what to make the computer conjure up.
“I thought we were going to pick something that relaxed the both of us?” Tasha shot back but Deanna shrugged enigmatically again.
“We can do that after, I know you hate miss training.”
Tasha shot her an appreciative smile and Deanna felt the low pleased simmer that fluttered through her as it always did when Tasha smiled.
Something Tasha must have been aware of by the confused look that crossed her face a second later.
“Computer activate Tasha 31,” Deanna said quickly to distract her, shuffling over to the side when the mat and fake opponent appeared and settling against the wall to watching Tasha perform her daily training ritual.
“Sure you don’t want to take a turn?” Tasha called out, wiping the sweat off her brow after the latest match.
“Another time maybe.” Deanna was in good humour at least, Tasha had felt that the whole time during her match along with the occasional worry when one of the opponents seem to strike a blow.
She walked over to where Deanna was sitting on a bench and sat down next to her with a pleased sigh.
“You really do enjoy this.” Deanna commented, tilting her head to look at Tasha.
“I like a good fight.” Tasha agreed, stretching her arms as best she could while sitting down and feeling the burn of her muscles.
She’d taken off her over jacket which left her in a tank top and missed the way Deanna’s eyes linger on her arms as she did.
“A perfect quality for a ships chief of security.” Deanna’s shoulder bumped hers and Tasha laughed.
“As perceptive as ever for the ships counsellor.” Tasha teased back.
“I try, it really is so much harder without my powers however.” Deanna was frowning again and Tasha along with her.
Tasha jumped up just then, “Computer activate Tasha 23.”
Immediately the scene shifted to an outdoor spa, the air becoming warmer and a slight breeze ruffling their hair.
“What’s this?” Deanna looked around, surprised.
“Sometimes I need to relax my muscles after a fight, Doctor Crusher prescribed this. I don’t actually use it that much but I thought we could use it.”
Deanna stood up and rested her hand on Tasha’s wrist, squeezing lightly, “Thank you.”
Relaxing didn’t help in returning her powers much to Deanna’s disappointment; sleep was the apparent answer.
After a day in the holodeck where Deanna had changed the scene to Betazoid to show Tasha the sights and then Worf came in to spar with Tasha they had stumbled back to Deanna’s quarters and collapsed on her couch.
“I don’t want to get up for food.” Deanna sighed, “But I’m very hungry.”
She was pressed up against Tasha’s stomach which seemed to agree with her, growling and making Deanna snicker.
“Could be worse,” Tasha sat up, making Deanna move off her, “Could be no replicators.”
“Perish the thought.” Deanna shuddered, “I’ve had those rations, they really are awful.”
They stood up together and stepped over the replicator; quietly thinking of what they wanted.
Tasha ordered just a chicken dish while Deanna ordered something rather leafy that smelled like mint.
When she opened up the leaves however Tasha could see there was some kind of meat inside, peering at it curiously.
“Would you like to try some?” Deanna offered.
“What is it?” Tasha asked, looking suspicious as she could feel the slight mischief in Deanna, and even if she couldn’t she could tell by Deanna’s eyes.
“It’s a traditional Betazoid dish, go on, try some.”
Tasha mumbled something about haunting her if it was poisoned much to Deanna’s amusement and took a bite out of the dish.
It tasted almost like beef with something just alien enough that Tasha couldn’t explain.
“There, see, that’s not so bad.” Deanna leant back in the chair she was sitting on and smiled.
“It isn’t,” Tasha agreed, “So why do you feel so amused.”
“Because I’m getting you to try new things. It’s an experience.” Deanna grinned and Tasha shook her head.
“I try plenty of new things.”
Deanna made a sound in the back of her throat that made her statement sound false.
“I’m kidding, I know, you’re plenty adventurous,” Deanna still sounded much to innocent, “That’s why you’ve dated so often.”
Tasha groaned, “Security doesn’t really leave me time to date.”
“I think it could. You’re very attractive you know.”
Something flashed in her that seemed like jealous but it didn’t feel aimed towards her looks rather…aimed towards those that might date her.
Tasha blinked in surprise, looking over at Deanna who looked almost cut off as opposed to a second ago where she was teasing Tasha.
“Deanna…” Tasha began and then shut her mouth, she had no idea where to even begin.
The awkward silence grew around them, both avoiding each other’s eyes until Deanna huffed.
“This is ridiculous. I refuse to do this. All right Tasha,” Deanna straightened up but Tasha could feel all her nervousness she was hiding, “When I say there are those on the ship who would love to date you, I mean I am one of them.”
Tasha was quiet, looking for the right words but she needed to say something soon as Deanna’s trepidation and worry and horror that their friendship might have been over grew every second.
“I wasn’t letting myself think about it.” Tasha said softly, running a hand through her hair, “Deanna I’d be blind not to notice you but I wasn’t letting myself think about it because you’re my friend, one of the closest and best I’ve ever had and I didn’t want to ruin that.”
“I didn’t want to either Tasha,” Deanna’s voice was warm, her hand equally so when reached over to brush her fingertips over Tasha’s cheek, right where she had kissed her this morning. “But maybe this will be something better for both of us. You can tell how much a care can’t you?”
She could, the emotions swimming in her head, lust mixed with affection and adoration and everything that Tasha knew was the cocktail that made for love.
“Couldn’t you tell how I felt before?” Tasha asked and Deanna shook her head vehemently.
“I don’t let my powers work that way, I can shield myself from such things and I don’t want to poke around where I might not be welcome.”
“You’re welcome,” Tasha told her, standing up and leaning over Deanna, “You’re completely welcome.”
Not much else was said when Deanna closed the gap between them to kiss Tasha, pulling her down towards her for a better angle and leaving their food forgotten while they stumbled to her bedroom.
It was three days later that Deanna woke up with the thrum of feeling people around her though they weren’t really there, her powers completely her own again.
Tasha woke up a second later to Deanna pressing excitedly kisses everywhere on her face and laughed.
“Looks like we’re back.” Tasha smiled rather sadly, an emptiness in her.
“We are.” Deanna settled in next to her, driving the overcoming loneliness away from Tasha.
“Means we’re also back to duty.” Tasha sighed, getting ready to sit up when Deanna pressed a hand to her shoulder and stopped her.
“Maybe we should take a day. Just in case. If there’s an emergency we can always join the others on the bridge.” She knew that Tasha’s sense of duty might have been bothering her but placed an enticing kiss on Tasha’s collarbone.
Tasha settled back down with an agreeable hum.
“One more day then.”
“Of course we could always take a shuttlecraft to the planet to explore again.”
Tasha stared at Deanna balefully until Deanna’s starting laughing.
“I’m kidding Tasha, just kidding.” She leaned over to kiss Tasha.
“See if I ever take one with you again,” Tasha muttered but kissed her back and this time knew that the butterflies in her stomach and the happiness was something all her own.