After their mission in the Briar Patch, the senior officers of the Enterprise-E gathered for their usual poker game in Commander Riker’s quarters. Commander Riker just finished dealing the next hand and looked to his left at Dr. Crusher to begin the betting. The doctor looked at her hand and then looked up with no pretense to move.
“I believe it is your bet, Doctor.” Data reminded her.
Beverly looked at Commander Riker and then at Commander Worf. “I was just remembering a wager Worf, Will, and I made a few years ago in a poker game. As I recall, I told them I didn’t trust men with beards, and I found beards were merely an ostentation for men.”
Worf let out a puff of hot air. “What is your point? We’re here to play poker not talk.”
A smile began to curl on Beverly’s face. “Yes. I believe we wagered that if I had the winning hand, you two would shave off your beards.”
“Are you going to bet or not, Doctor?” Riker asked exasperated.
“I’ll raise.” Crusher said, throwing two chips into the pot. Then she looked at Counselor Troi seated on her left. “So what did you give Will to make him shave it off?”
Troi saw the Doctor’s bet and smiled. “Not a thing, Beverly.”
Crusher looked at Riker and then back at Troi. “Hmm…when the red alert klaxon sounded last time neither Worf nor Will could get out of the room fast enough. They never showed me their hands.”
Worf hurled two chips into the pot. “Are we playing a game here or talking about one?"
Crusher gave Worf a deadpan look. “You don’t have to talk.” She turned to Troi once more. “You can’t tell me Will shaved his beard on a whim after having one all these years.”
Before Troi could answer, Data interjected. “The metaphasic radiation caused everyone to behave unusually. Therefore, the possibility does exist that Commander Riker has shaven his beard off on a ‘whim’.”
Riker shook his head and laughed. “Data, I think Dr. Crusher is trying to allude that I may have shaven my beard off in order to seduce Counselor Troi.”
Geordi tossed in two chips and looked over at Commander Riker. “Why did you decide to shave it off, Commander?”
“As I was saying, Geordi, the radiation made everyone return to a more youthful”
“And what do you think Will and Deanna did in their youth?” Crusher interrupted before Data had a chance to finish.
“Well I don’t know about Counselor Troi” Will said; “but I definitely had a more worthwhile sex life.”
“Will.” Both Worf and Troi uttered at the same time.
“Counselor Troi is as virtuous as the day I met her.” Riker smiled. “Are you in or out, Data?”
“I am in.” Data replied tossing in his chips.
Riker tossed in two chips and the bet came back to Dr. Crusher. She tilted her head to regard Commander Riker. “Did it work?”
Will shook his head. “I don’t kiss and tell, Doctor.”
Beverly fiddled with her chips. “Let’s see.” She said dropping her chips one by one into a stack.
Riker watched her indecisiveness. “Maybe you’d prefer to wager your hair color instead.” He teased.
Crusher gave him a fiery glare and grabbed a handful of chips, tossing them into the pot. “I’ll raise again.” She announced as a dozen chips came to rest in the middle of the table.
“Whew.” Geordi whistled.
“Doctor it is not wise to bet on emotional outbursts.” Data said.
“Thank you, Data.” Crusher said through clenched teeth still looking fiercely at Riker.
“I’m out.” Troi replied.
“I am as well.” Worf said.
Geordi folded his hand and placed it down on the table. “Me too.”
Data sat there looking between Crusher and Riker in total bewilderment. “Clearly the metaphasic radiation has caused some unusual side effects. What does the Doctor’s hair color have to do with Commander Riker’s and Commander Worf’s beards?” He asked.
“Never mind, Data.” Riker replied. “Are you staying in?”
“As they say ‘too rich for my blood’.” Data responded folding his cards.
Riker looked at Crusher innocently. “It’s all yours.” He said folding his hand too.
“Oh no. I wasn’t able to see your hand the last time. You should at least have the decency to”
Riker started gathering up the cards. “I’m not seeing your bet just so you can see my hand and I don’t have to give you a reason for shaving my beard off either. As I said, all yours” and Will handed the deck to Beverly for the next deal as she pulled in the pot.
Crusher snatched the deck from Riker and began to shuffle. “There’s nothing to tell. Everyone here knows why your beard is gone.” Beverly started to deal out the next hand. “Five card draw. One-eyed jacks are wild.”
After the deal, Troi looked over her hand. “I’ll stay” she informed them.
“I’m sure you will.” Beverly said.
“I fold.” Worf said clearly irritated.
“Dr. Crusher said we were playing five card draw. Why would you fold before seeing your new cards?” Data interjected again.
“Because it has become clear to me no one is interested in playing the game.” Worf replied and stood up
“Worf please it’s not necessary for you”
“It’s alright Counselor, I haven’t been getting good cards tonight.” Worf said, turned, and left.
Troi turned on Crusher. “Did you have to keep carrying on about Will and me?”
“What’s wrong. Did you have your heart set on a threesome tonight?” Beverly retorted. Everyone gave Crusher a look of horror and she immediately regretted what flew out of her mouth.
Geordi quickly got up. “I think we had better check on the repair progress in Engineering.” He said, grabbing Data’s arm.
Data looked from Riker to Crusher and then to Troi, and getting Laforge’s hint, stood up as well and the two of them left.
“What would make Dr. Crusher say such a horrible thing to Counselor Troi?” Data asked Laforge once they entered the corridor.
“I’m not sure.” Geordi replied. “But you were right about the metaphasic radiation making us all behave unusually.”
Alone with Counselor Troi and Commander Riker, Crusher was at a loss. “I’m sorry. I don’t know why I would…”
Troi gave Crusher a look of concern. “You’re upset about Captain Picard.”
Riker looked from Troi to Crusher not sure what exactly was going on, so he kept quiet.
Crusher shook her head. “It’s not like he and I ever” a tear slid down her cheek and Beverly swallowed hard.
Deanna reached over and clasped her hand. “That doesn’t mean seeing him with someone else can’t hurt.” She said.
Crusher looked up at Deanna and gave her a wry smile. “I think I should be going. You and Will probably have a lot of catching up to do.” Crusher stood up. “I’ll be fine.” Crusher walked to the door and it slid open. She turned back towards Will and Deanna. “Remember the book you saw in that trunk of Jack’s old things?” Beverly asked Troi.
Troi nodded and Crusher gave her a genuine smile. “It can work.” She said and left.
Riker stood up and walked over to Troi, pulling her chair out so she could stand up. “What can work?” He asked as he wrapped his arms around her.
“The book was entitled ‘How to Get Promoted through Marriage’” Deanna said as she wrapped her arms around Will as well. “It’s how Jack proposed to her.”
Will pulled Deanna close to him. “It’s so nice to know we’re smack dab in the middle of a fish bowl.”
Troi let out a small sigh. “Our past has been the mainstay of scuttlebutt for years. Therefore people are going to put their two cents in once they know we’re a couple again.” She pulled away from Will and went over to the replicator. “Hot Volorian Tea.”
The mug appeared and Deanna picked it up. “I’m worried about Beverly. She’s not as fine as she pretends to be.”
Will shook his head. “I’m sorry. But I’m not sure I understand why she’s upset with the Captain in the first place.”
Deanna sat down on the couch and shrugged her shoulders. “When you’re as close of friends as Crusher and Picard are, seeing one share intimate moments with someone else can be a little frustrating.” Troi curled her legs underneath her and smiled over at Will. “You should be able to empathize with that.”
Will walked over and sat down next to Deanna. “You just made Beverly’s last comment even more distasteful.”
Troi took a sip of her tea. “You know I had no idea.”
Will reached up and brushed back some of her hair. “Yes. And you know the Captain doesn’t realize either.”
“Maybe someone should point it out to him.” Troi answered looking into Will’s eyes.
Will placed his hand behind Deanna’s head and pulled her in for a kiss. “I think” he said afterwards; “that for one evening I would rather concentrate on us rather than everyone else. I’m not sure if I’m all that comfortable playing matchmaker anyway.”
“I’m not saying we should play matchmaker, Will. I just don’t want them to lose their friendship over this.” Troi replied and took another sip of tea.
Riker took the mug out of Troi’s hand and set it on the coffee table. Then he took both her hands in his and looked into her eyes. “Do you even remember the last time we only thought about the two of us?”
Deanna nodded. “Yes. But I’d rather not it was too long ago.”
Will let go of one of Deanna’s hands and brushed her cheek with his fingers. “If you could stop being ship’s counselor for a moment” he said softly and brushed his lips against hers; “it wouldn’t have to be so long ago.”
Deanna smiled and almost purred with contentment. “mmm…it’s not that easy. It’s who I am.”
Riker returned her smile. “I know that’s why I love you.” He said placing his lips over hers once more. However, Troi pulled away and stared at Will in astonishment.
“What?” Will laughed.
“You” Deanna took in a deep breath, trying to believe what her ears just heard. “Say that again.”
Will’s smile grew larger. “There’s no need to appear so shocked. I love you. You must have…” But before he could finish Deanna pulled him closer and kissed him full on the mouth, forgetting anyone else even existed.
Commander Riker and Counselor Troi remained wrapped in each others’ arms, totally oblivious to anything other than the magic in a lover’s kiss, until Will pulled away.
“At least now I know how to get you full attention.” He said losing himself in the dark pools of her eyes.
Troi smiled and started to play with the zipper on Riker’s tunic. “You know, we never did get to finish what we started back in the bubble bath.” She said, sliding the zipper down.
Will looked down to watch her unzip his jacket and then looked back into Deanna’s eyes. “You mean there was another purpose for it besides shaving my beard?”
Deanna let out a soft chuckle. “No. I take hot steamy bubble baths with everyone.” She said, giving Will a mischievous wink. “It’s another form of nude therapy.” And she slid her hands underneath Will’s jacket, guiding it off his arms.
Will laughed. “Just because the metaphysic radiation has made us feel younger, doesn’t mean I’m going to fall for your nude therapy ploy again.”
Troi reached up to undo the zipper on Riker’s uniform. “That’s good, because I don’t plan on talking once I get all your clothes off this time.” She said with a smile curling her lips.
“Why Counselor, I don’t believe you are as virtuous as the day I met you after all.” Will replied and began to remove Deanna’s jacket.
Deanna’s smile grew larger. “You just remember who it was that took my virtue in the first place, Commander.” She leaned in to kiss Will once again, and he took this opportunity to undo the zipper on the back of her uniform.
Before they went any further, Riker stood up and held his hand out for Troi. She too stood up, taking a hold of Will’s hand. But instead of leading the way into the bedroom, Will swept Deanna into his arms and carried her off.
“Show off.” Deanna smirked.
“Beards aren’t the only form of male ostentation.” Will remarked as he laid Deanna down softly on the bed. Leaning over her, Riker gave Troi a sensual kiss, and they continued catching up on old times.
Counselor Deanna Troi went down to sickbay to see Dr. Crusher the next morning first thing. As the door slid open to admit her, Beverly greeted her with a large smile.
“Good Morning!” The doctor said enthusiastically.
“Good morning.” Deanna replied as she took a seat in Beverly’s office. “How are you doing?”
“I told you last night I’m fine.” Beverly got up from her desk and walked over to the replicator. “Were you and Will able to catch up?”
Deanna smiled. “I’m not here to talk about last night. You know damn well I didn’t believe you then or I wouldn’t be here this morning.”
Crusher gave Troi an annoyed look and then turned towards the replicator. “Hot tea. Cream and sugar.” As her request appeared Crusher glanced at Troi who simply shook her head. Crusher picked up her tea and sat behind her desk once more. She took a sip and studied Deanna over the mug’s rim. “I see Will kept you sufficiently distracted last night for you not to have been bothered.”
Troi laughed and shook her head. “I’m not going to tell you what happened, Beverly.”
Crusher put her mug down. “Come on, Deanna. I have no sex life of my own; I need to live vicariously through someone.”
Troi gave Beverly another smile. “Yes, Will and I caught up on old times.”
“And…” Crusher prompted.
“And how are you really?” Troi stressed the last word.
Beverly let out an exasperated breath. “O.K. I don’t need an empathic ability to know you are worried about the Captain’s and my friendship staying intact.”
“I just don’t want you to”
“Yes, I’m upset about what happened between the Captain and that Ba’ku woman; but that doesn’t mean I’m going to jump ship.” Beverly cut in. “I realized a long time ago Jean-Luc and I are just friends, Deanna. I’ll be fine.” Crusher reiterated.
“Are you sure?” Troi asked still concerned.
Beverly flashed her another smile. “Yes. You know we’re not all as fortunate as this ship’s first officer and its counselor. Some of us never realize that special someone is right under our nose.” Crusher picked up her mug and took another sip. “You know what really is bothering me is the fact that when I take a lover Jean-luc doesn’t even notice.”
“That’s because he’s too busy being the Captain.”
“Good point. Which means you need to marry them before that happens.” Crusher said, giving Troi a sly look.
This time Troi let out the exasperated breath. “That’s the second time you’ve mentioned marriage, Beverly. Will and I just got back together. I think we’ll take it a little slower this time, savor the moment.”
Beverly perked up. “So there was a moment to savor?”
Deanna stood up. “You’re not going to get anything further from me.” And she turned to leave.
“Well you can’t blame a girl for trying.” Beverly remarked as she placed her mug back on the desk. “But if you ask me, I think you should nab Will while you can.”
Troi turned to face Crusher again with a devilish grin. “Just because I want to take it slowly, doesn’t mean we won’t fuck like minks.”
Crusher stared at her in total shock.
“Why does everyone on this ship think I’m so virtuous?” Troi asked and left sickbay.
Dr. Crusher picked up her mug again as her mind wandered to the mating rituals of minks.