Pairing: Deanna/Ro
Timeline: 7.24 - Pre-emptive Strike
Beta: Insane Vampiress

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She probably should have seen it coming. She knew that Ro had always been sympathetic to their cause, even if she didn't approve of their methods. But somehow Laren leaving the ship, her friends, and her girlfriend was something that Deanna had never even considered, let alone prepared herself to deal with. They'd only been together for a few months, but she'd felt a sense of... forever-ness she'd never known before and she'd thought Laren felt the same. Deanna and Ro had always had more differences than similarities, but it had never bothered either of them because, as the Bajoran had put it once when talking to William, "It keeps things interesting." They had disagreements over many things, and Laren would often get fed up because Troi wouldn't yell no matter how she would try to provoke her, but they always made up, and on those nights she really hoped their quarters were soundproof. Beverly would tease her during their workouts that they were like fire and water, but Deanna knew she didn't have a problem with the relationship between the two women.

When she learned from the Captain that Laren wouldn't be coming back, she almost broke down right there. It's something she'll remember forever, the way he told her with the guilt and sympathy for her so strong the ship's counselor could barely focus. All she could do was nod numbly, thank him for telling her and go to her quarters on autopilot. That night she fell asleep sobbing, because she knew the chances of ever seeing Ro again were incredibly unlikely, and even if she did, if wouldn't be the same.

Deanna is aware of how her friends are worried about her, because she'd have to be dead not to feel it, but she can't bring herself to say anything to reassure them that she'll be okay. She knows it's not healthy, the way she's thrown herself into her work, obsessing over every minor thing, and if one of her patients were doing it, she'd tell them they'd have to confront their problem before they could get past it. But she's scared that if she thinks about how Laren's joined the Maquis and is officially an enemy of Starfleet, she'll lose it, and she can't afford to let go of her professionalism when there are so many people who need to see her about their feelings regarding Lieutenant Ro.

Talking to Guinan has always helped in the past, but she's not sure how comfortable she would be talking about her relationship in such a public place. Aside from the senior staff, Deanna had been careful not to make a big scene about her and Ro, not because she was ashamed, she had always been proud to be with her, but because no matter how far humanity has come, some people can't get past some things, and same-sex relationships can be one of them. And the idea of falling apart in Ten-Forward is less then appealing.

She just wishes she had a chance to say goodbye and tell her one last time that she loves her.