Author: Laura Schiller
Email: Rostockgirl AT aol.com
Summary: Deanna is reading "Jane Eyre". Beverly can't help but notice certain parallels.
Disclaimers: Everything Star Trek, including Worf and Deanna Troi, belong to Paramount Pictures. No infringement is intended, no profit is made.
U.S.S. Enterprise, Ten-Forward
"What are you reading?"
Deanna put down her data padd and greeted Beverly with one of her radiant smiles. The redheaded doctor sat down opposite her friend, inspected the padd, and raised an eyebrow.
"Jane Eyre? Oh, my. I haven't read that since high school."
"It's one of my favorites from that period, actually," said Deanna.
"I thought Mansfield Park was your favorite."
Deanna sighed and took a sip of her hot chocolate. "That was seven years ago. I don't know ... the last time I read Mansfield Park, it just got on my nerves. Edmund took Fanny shamelessly for granted, you know. And all the while, pursuing that Crawford woman right under her nose."
Beverly nodded and rolled her eyes. "She was such a smart, brave, decent girl. And such a doormat when it came to him."
"Jane isn't a doormat, that's for sure." Deanna smirked.
"So what's that story about again? Enlighten me." Beverly tapped the padd with long, well-manicured finger. "It's been a longer time since tenth-grade English than I care to admit."
"Well, it's about this young girl, Jane, an orphan being raised by her aunt. An absolutely horrible person – the aunt, I mean. And so Jane decides to make her own living and find work as a governess."
"A teacher and caregiver for children. That's what they were called in nineteenth-century England. Her first client is a wealthy gentleman named Edward Rochester and his adopted daughter, and while she's living at his mansion and looking after the child, well ... "
"Let me guess – they fall in love," said Beverly, correctly interpreting the dreamy look in Deanna's black eyes.
"Ex-act-ly," said Deanna. "The sexual tension just leaps off the page. I've always liked the Rochester character – he's that dark, brooding, mysterious type, you know? With a fierce temper everyone's afraid of – except Jane."
"Like Beauty and the Beast?"
"Something like that. The author was very ahead of her time, you know; she presented the two as equals. He respected her mind as well as her body, and she didn't hesitate to stand up to him when she believed he was doing something wrong. She showed him that being small and female doesn't make her weak."
"Good for her." Beverly felt the beginnings of a sly suspicion; if she was right, no wonder the plot of the story sounded so familiar. 'Dark, brooding and mysterious', indeed.
"Why do you think that taking care of a child together creates such a bond between people?" she wondered out loud.
"Well ... I imagine it's a primal instinct. We start to do what's best for the child, and what's best is for him or her to live in a friendly, loving environment. The child becomes your shared goal, something you have in common ... Also, you can find out the most amazing things about someone when you're working so close together. For instance, did you know that Worf and Alexander have a holoprogram of the old American West?"
"No!" Beverly giggled. "Those two, playing cowboys? Really?"
"Ya ain't seen nothin' yet, sugar," Deanna drawled. "I've come along with them once or twice. You wouldn't believe how dashing Sherriff Worf looks in a Stetson hat and spurs."
Beverly raised an eyebrow; Deanna ignored it.
"He really does care for his son a great deal," Deanna continued thoughtfully. "Playing roles really isn't something he's comfortable with, most of the time, but he does it for Alexander. It's at times like that I start to notice how kind he really is, under that big tough Klingon façade ... "
While she had been talking, her eyes unfocused as she breathed in the scent of her hot chocolate, Beverly had become increasingly aware of a tall, broad figure in a yellow-and-black uniform making his way toward them It was Worf himself. Beverly cleared her throat and caught Deanna's eye; the counselor's curly head whipped around.
"Counselor. Doctor," said Worf, with a nod to each of the ladies.
"Hello, Mr. Worf," said Deanna, fiddling with her padd between long, elegant fingers. "Er, would you care to join us?"
"Yes, please." He pulled up a chair and sat down.
"Well, if you two will excuse me, I have some experiments in Sickbay to look after. Have fun with your Mr. Rochester, Deanna."
Beverly would have winked at Deanna if Worf had not been watching; however, she could still broadcast a spike of mischievous satisfaction at her friend's expense.
As she left, she could hear Worf asking, in his low rumbling voice, who Mr. Rochester was. "A fictional character, Lieutenant," replied Deanna. "It's a long story."