He Found Her Broken


It takes place in the 6th season and is off
Cannon but will be settled in a way that everything in the 7th
season can fit. It is very angsty. Let me know what you think.


Chapter 1

Will walked past the Captain, Geordi and Beverly as they stood in the shuttle bay to welcome he and Data back from their mission … the peace talks on Xenaldi 4. He'd nodded his head in their direction, with a quick word of greeting and not much of an excuse for suddenly leaving as he took quick strides toward the nearest turbolift. A single bag thrown over his shoulder that carried what he had needed while gone, he stood impatiently in the lift that was known for its speed over predecessors, yet it wasn't going fast enough for Riker. He needed to get to her. Riker walked out of the lift dressed in the civilian clothes he'd opted for on the way home from the planet he had been on for over a week and felt anything but comfortable as he walked toward the quarters next door to his…he would walk past the comfort of a shower and resting amongst his own things to see Deanna.
Riker had been worried about the most important person in his life a day or so after the conference began, more from the things missing than the signs that something may be wrong. They had talked on the three day trek to the planet via communications on the shuttle and then the first day of the "talks," then nothing. He hadn't heard from her by her own effort and she hadn't returned the messages he'd sent … any free thought that wasn't occupied with talks and mediating had been focused on the counselor. When she hadn't been in the bay with the others when they'd come aboard it did nothing to soothe his instinct. The look he caught from Beverly as he swept past her only backing up his hypothesis…understanding was it? Sadness? Concern?
Will punched in the access code he knew by heart a bit surprised she had the door that usually opened upon his arrival…locked. He wasn't quite prepared for what he found inside. Dropping his bag to the floor, he was stilled for a moment.
Deanna was on the couch in her quarters her knees pulled close to her chest, she had her arms crossed over her stomach and her face was hidden as her forehead was resting on her legs. Her hair was pulled back into a pony tail, curls falling loose here and there and she wasn't in her uniform. Dressed in a pair of worn gray sweatpants that read Starfleet on the side in green and a white T-Shirt with a sweater that had a zipper up the front and seemed to swallow her tiny frame & thick white socks…Deanna never wore socks, preferring to leave her feet bare, unless she was sick or upset…She was sobbing, her shoulders shaking.
He knelt down next to her, beside the couch and lay a gentle hand on her back…he felt her jump at his touch as if she hadn't sensed his presence at all…her own emotions blocking out those that she sensed most strongly. Riker hadn't seen her jump at being caught off guard since she had lost her empathic abilities two years ago.
"Deanna," he said softly. "Shhhh…Dee what is it? What's wrong?" He felt her struggling, hiccupping and attempting to get control over her emotions…stifle them long enough to speak. She still hadn't moved from the position she was in on the couch when he'd entered the room.
"Please, Deanna…just look at me, Imzadi…you're scaring me love…he told her squeezing her arm affectionately, attempting to send her some strength. What was going on here? He thought to himself. Why the hell hadn't someone contacted him? If not Deanna then Beverly or the captain? He had a sinking suspicion he knew why…without even knowing the cause of her pain.
He watched as she lifted her head but continued to face away from him. "Dee – anna?" He drew out as soft as a whisper as he took his hand and tenderly forced her to look him in the eye. His breath caught in his chest and he physical hurt for her as he saw firsthand the pain she must have been experiencing during his time away. Deanna's beautiful eyes were red and swollen from more than one time of submission to tears. There were dark circles under her eyes…accentuated even more by her too pale skin…he wondered to himself how much she must have slept over the past week. He watched her intensely, those onyx orbs seeming to be pleading for any sort of relief from what she was experiencing. He ran his hands gingerly over her face as if afraid to add to any discomfort but wanting to touch her to soothe her in some way. He wiped at the path of tears with the pads of his thumbs, placing a small kiss on her forehead.
"Deanna let me help you…tell me what's the matter…"
She locked her arms around him, clinging to him…her face once again hidden in the safety of his neck. He held on to her tightly one hand running up and down her back and the other lightly caressing her tummy before asking, "Dee, is it the…" he stopped mid-sentence feeling her shake her head no. Then he waited as she took a sharp breath, exhaling the words--
She brushed a name into his mind, Ensign Alby.
Aloud--"She…she died. I could have stopped it, I let her--I let her die."

"Beverly," Jean-Luc said as he sat down next to her in Ten Forward, handing her a fresh drink.
"Where's Will?" It's a shame that he's missing this congratulatory reception. "Starfleet command is thrilled with the outcome of the talks and very impressed with his mediation skills. Who knows if he keeps turning down ships of his own, they may drive him into a life of diplomacy?" Picard smiled good-naturedly in her direction.
She forced a grin and hoped he didn't notice the effort it took.
"At least we could have heard some humorous accounts of the Xenaldian way of life and Data's being part of his delegation during the peace talks."
"I'm sure he's with Deanna." She told him, not keeping some of the shared pain of her friend off her face.
Concern washed over the captain and Beverly felt a little guilty for bringing down the relaxed mood he was in…fellowshipping with his crew.
"How is the counselor?"
"She's coping," Beverly stretched the truth a little, but what would she tell her commanding officer, miraculously Deanna had been making to all the right meetings and even adding to the conversation….make-up covering the hell she'd been living through for the past 5 days. She couldn't figure out who was going to be angrier, Will when he realized they knew his significant other was suffering and no one bothered to contact him or Picard when he found out the awful pain the woman he considered a surrogate daughter was truthfully in. "Should we have contacted him, Jean-Luc?"
"And tell him what Beverly? We lost Ensign Alby in a most tragic way…he was in the middle of a mission…two days away."
"How about…the woman you love, lost her first patient?"
He shook his head. "She's a grown woman Beverly, it wasn't effecting her duties and…and he's back now. She would have told him herself if she wanted him to know."
Beverly drank down the remnants of the liquid in her glass. The look she gave him was lit with barely hid anger, if he only knew.
"She has him now Beverly and things are about to get a little more difficult…he can be there for her."
"How?" She asked, fearing any more pressure being heaped on the Betazoid. "How are they going to be more difficult?"
"Kara's parents are coming on board in a few days to escort her body back to earth…also a lot of the younger crew members that graduated from the Academy in her class would like to have a memorial before that happens. I gave my support…the crew needs it."
He watched as Beverly's eyes watered and then as she seemed to force them to dry as if on cue. He knew she was hurting too, but he felt that she was thinking ahead to the next few days for their counselor.
"Has she talked with you any…about, about Kara's death?"
"No." Beverly stood to her full height and glanced toward the door. "I have some patients to check on before I go to bed."
"Bev…" He said attempting to catch her by the arm. She pulled away, leaving the noise and merriment behind for the solitude of her Sickbay..

She knew he wasn't expecting her to exhale the word she had and she shielded her face from the inquisitive, concerned look he wasn't sparing her. She wasn't ready for him to see everything…and he could see right through her..
"Deanna I've known you for a long time, longer than anyone onboard this ship and I know that you would do anything you could to help someone if they needed you…I also know that you are harder on yourself than I've ever seen one person be. .. What happened," he asked, putting his hands on her waist and pulling her towards him until he enveloped her…her back to his chest. "Was there an accident at the helm? Did something happen on the Bridge?" He set his chin on her head and held her there. She tried once to pull away and then she relented and spoke,
"Suicide." It was hard for her to even form the word, to speak at all when she remembered what she saw… Had it been a week already? Deanna felt Will tense and being so caught up in her own pain, she didn't take the time or the effort to analyze what that meant. Pulling free from his arms, she walked over to the view port and stared…as she had been doing for days. If she wasn't crying she was staring, or putting on quite the performance, with mask, during crew meetings.
"What?" He called after her as if she were light-years away, not a few mere steps from him. "Kara killed herself? I don't believe it. I had a bridge shift with her the night before I left…we were joking around, she was fine. She wouldn`t do something like that."
"She seemed fine." Deanna said, hollow and as if she was talking to herself. As if she hadn't heard him at all.
And that's when he remembered. Ensign Kara Alby had been seeing Deanna in counseling for awhile now. Fresh out of the Academy, Kara had been assigned to the Enterprise. It would have been two years next month if he remembered correctly…he having welcomed her in the Transporter room along with the other members of her flight class…they had all managed to get a posting on Starfleet's flagship. They were so excited to be serving and then the following year he and Deanna had decided to promote her to helm officer. Ensign Alby had begun seeing the counselor in her professional capacity not long after her promotion. It wasn't information Deanna would have shared with him, she was loyal to her patients and to her vow of ethics…he had suggested Kara Alby see Deanna when she had missed a few shifts on the Bridge. He hadn't meant to pry into her personal life, but it was so unlike Kara to neglect her duties and he had sat down next to her one night in Ten Forward, lending a listening ear. That night he learned that the Ensign's younger brother had died in a shuttle accident during a routine exercise at the Academy. Kai was in his first year at Starfleet Academy, 18 years old. The following day she'd made and appointment with Troi after his encouragement and suggestion and had shared with him that she had gone to the session despite her aversion to talking about his death. Trusting she was in capable hands, it was never brought up again…but he had noticed the healing taking place as her usual spirit returned during her duties and when he bumped into her around ship.
"She was fine." He heard Deanna say once again and it snapped him out of his reverie. Will remembered what she'd said earlier, when she finally spoke to him and he realized where she'd been all week. She'd been alone…alone and blaming herself. Probably going over ever detail, every session, every movement she could remember.
"Dee, look at me. This was not your fault." She wouldn't turn around, so he went and stood in the space in between her and the port she was looking out. "Deanna." Her gaze followed him slowly until she met his eyes…her own raw from crying. "I will not let you carry the blame for, for Kara's death. You are not responsible for what happened to her."
"Wasn't I Will?" She said with such emotion in her voice, such fire…he knew was directed toward herself. "She trusted me. She trusted me and I…I didn't do my job."
"Imzadi, I will not listen to you beat yourself up over something you didn't have control over…"
"Didn't have control over!" She raised her voice, a sound he had rarely heard come from the serene counselor of the Enterprise. "Of course, I had control…I -- I could have stopped her. I should have been paying closer attention! It is my job to intervene…! She would be alive right now if…if I hadn't been…"
"If you hadn't been doing what Deanna? Helping your other patients…taking care of the crew…dealing with your own life?" He asked, trying to break through to the rational part of her, to get her to see how ridiculous it was to paint herself as, as some kind of inadvertent murderer.
"My life…" she mumbled, almost inaudibly.
But he heard her and he knew what she was referring to…he was sure she had been distracted lately, as she should have been--considering. But normal was not something Deanna Troi was going to let herself be…especially not after the death of a patient.
"Deanna, have you talked to anyone…I mean I know you didn't contact me--" She felt a sliver of hurt seep past the wall she had built around herself. It was miniscule compared to the love and concern he was feeling, but it was there just the same.
"I'm sorry." She said softly. He shook his head.
"It's not what I meant Deanna…I mean if not me Beverly…" He knew she hadn't opened up to her best friend either. Not only from the look on her face, but the fact that he knew what a private person Deanna was, so at odds with her own feelings at times. "Dee, we've all lost people under our command…Beverly has lost patients--close friends like Tasha, God she's come close to losing you and I a time or two…"
"It's different, Will. It's just not the same." The sadness in her voice and the shame in her eyes scared him more than he wanted to admit. He watched her try to stop the quiver in her chin, she bit down on her lip slightly, forcing the tears to stay in place…
"I've never lost a patient before." He couldn't help but smile sadly as the words formed in his head. From the first day he'd met this woman that he loved so much, she had been involved in psychology in some capacity. She'd never lost a patient in all those years…it spoke volumes about her talent as a counselor, but it also made him realize the magnitude of pain she was feeling now.
The look on her face told him he'd get no more from her right now. Her emotional reserves were low and it seemed to be taking its toll on her body and her mind. He went over to where she stood leaning against a chair in the living space of her quarters and he took her hand leading her over to the couch and pulling her down onto his lap.
He watched as her hand absently fell to her abdomen, she quickly moved her slender hand into his larger, protective one.
"Dee? Baby, when's the last time you've eaten anything? Slept even?" He asked gently, his lips close to her ear.
"I can't remember." She told him, looking down. "I can't…" She said, meeting the blue of his eyes.
"I had some soup yesterday. I've been sleeping…when I can." He kissed her forehead, running his hands, soothingly up and down her arms.
"Imzadi, you've got to think of the b…" He began, but she interrupted.
"I can't right now Will, I need you to do that for me…please…Imzadi, just for a little while."
"I'll take care of you as long as you need me to, love. I'm here now. I'm here."


Chapter 2

"Beverly," Riker said, walking into her office and sitting down in the chair across from her desk. "Is everything okay with Deanna?"
Dr. Beverly Crusher sighed loudly as she pushed the computer padd she had been studying away from her and looked up at him.
"Hello, Commander. Good to see you. Something I can help you with today?" She said in part playful frustration, part true exhaustion.
The last few weeks were beginning to take their toll. As one of Deanna's closest friends she had picked up on the slight hints of coolness toward Riker. how she had avoided most of the social gatherings with the senior staff, and was spending time in her quarters when not on duty. Beverly knew for most other officers the way Deanna Troi had been behaving would have registered as insignificant in the grand scheme of things. But with the Betazoid it seemed at times with the slightest movements or the briefest words the woman was screaming, especially when it came to her relationship with Will Riker. She and Deanna had spent some time talking a few days before and Beverly wasn't surprised at all to find the commander walking into her sickbay. He actually did spend a lot of time there, just not usually walking in of his on accord.
"Hi, Bev," the commander began again, "Good to see you." He said with a smile. He scratched at his beard waiting on a slight pause..
"Continue." She said with a small laugh.
"I'm worried about Deanna. She's been acting kind of strange lately. Do you think everything is okay with her?"
"Deanna, acting strange," she repeated, bending one of her legs up in the chair with her and leaning her head back. Blue eyes meeting blue eyes. "Now that's not like her at all." Riker shook his head trying to hide his grin at the doctor's gentle ribbing of the Enterprise's counselor. A straight answer was not going to be easy to come by, not with Crusher and not today – but he could see that glint she got in her eyes. Beverly knew what was going on with Deanna and it was up to him to play the game..
"She talked to you." He exhaled. Beverly nodded.
"And I think Deanna has every right to not be okay Will. Not that she would ever saying anything, but if I were her -"
"Which you're not ..." he interjected.
"If I were her," she continued, "I would be a little discouraged by the fact that she was the only one of us that wanted to stop this pretend war we were supposedly fighting while we were all running the ship with no memories, the only one who had the good sense to contact Starfleet and get confirmation of our orders and if the Captain or any of us for that matter would have backed her up that Lysian ship would still be intact and those innocent people would still be alive."
"We were misled Beverly. We were given amnesia, the information in the computer was tampered with …" Will countered.
The doctor leaned forward, towards him and said softly, "But isn't that her job Will. To advise the captain. Isn't that what she does best, observing situations and people – being hyper aware of what is going around her. Someone should have respected her enough to at least hear her out." Beverly's voice held no anger but it was tinted with some sort of hurt for her friend.
"She's still upset about what happened?" Riker asked. Crusher raised an eyebrow, knowing that question could apply to more than just the mission they'd been sent on a few weeks back, but also what had happened between Will and Deanna personally while all of their memories were gone.
"I said if it were me. None of us are 100 percent back from that situation Commander. I've been restoring crewman's memories listening to stories of the things that happened while they couldn't remember who they were – sending them to Deanna … you've been sleeping with people that you barely tolerate ..." she finished without wiping the sly grin from her face, she pushed a lock of red hair from her face and waited for Riker's reaction.
"I'd rather not rehash that with you, doc." He said to her. "That's a memory you could have just erased while you were reinstating my old memories."
"I'm not magic, Will. I don't have time to wash away every dumb thing you do." She said standing up and walking over to sit in the seat next to him. She slapped him playfully on the arm.
"Have you talked to her about it Will?" She asked, finally serious.
Well, if you still confused tomorrow, you know where my office is … He could hear Deanna's voice echoing in his ears.
"About Ensign Ro and me?"
"About what she was going through during this whole ordeal?" He shook his head.
"No. She confided in me, she reached out … And I couldn't keep my libido in check."
"She's used to that." Beverly said with a laugh. He looked up at her.
"I guess I have no right to expect her to come to me now. This is … this is what has her being so distant though?"
"I think it's playing into the decisions she's making a little more than even she realizes – And I would be so hard on yourself … none of us are as self- aware as Deanna with or without or memories."
"Decisions?" He asked, his anxiety level rose a bit and he wasn't quite sure why.
Beverly looked down at her hands and then back up at the first officer. "She's thinking about leaving the ship, Will. Deanna wants to go home."

Before that day Will Riker couldn't remember many times aboard ship when he had wanted to get to Deanna faster. But as he half walked, half ran down the corridor he was thinking furiously within his head. Go home? That's all she wanted? To go home to Betazed and have her Mother breathing down her neck, asking her when she was going to get married? When would Deanna be giving her grandchildren? Trying to control her life … Hadn't they just gone through this last year when she'd lost her empathic sense? Why would she want to leave her family on the Enterprise?
Riker was still lost in his thoughts as he plowed through Deanna's door, it took him a moment to get his barrings. He took a breath and glanced around her quarters. Deanna was sitting on her couch reading a book, their were candles lit around the room, a mug in front of her on the table – hot chocolate if he had to guess. She was calm.
"What the hell is going on here Deanna?" The words were not angry but they were accusing. The counselor slowly reached over to the table, lifting up a bookmark, and slipping it in its place, while gently closing the book. She looked up at him.
"Maybe you should answer first Commander? You are the one who just burst through the doors to my quarters – seems a great deal more exciting than what the hell was going on in here." Her voice was even, irritatingly so, but just like always it evened out what he was feeling – she was soothing – well most of the time.
"You were going to leave without even discussing it with me first?"
"Beverly," she responded, underneath her breath.
He nodded. "Is this about what happened between Ro and me Deanna because I didn't know ..."
"No, Will. Everything is not about you." The frustration in her voice building. "You think I would leave the Enterprise because you were with another woman. Please commander … I would have resigned long ago."
"Ouch." He said, though he knew he had no room to argue.
"Will you please just sit down?" He did but not beside her, Riker seated himself in the chair next to the couch.
"Talk to me, Dee. Is this what you want to go home and get trapped into that world your mother would love to see you in … a pretentious diplomat?"
"It isn't like that." She said, not quite meeting his gaze.
"Then what is it like Counselor," he asked, trying to remind her of the role she'd be giving up.
"Can I speak, Commander?" So he held his tongue and let her explain.
"I was offered a position at on Betazed. Head over the crisis counseling department at a most distinguished institution near my family's home at Lake Elnar. I would be working with a lot of people who have come off of long and intense tours onboard starships, officers that have dealt with war, been in hostage situations. All different species, different circumstances … and I would be lecturing a few days a month at the University. It's an amazing opportunity and to go back to the University to teach – among so many highly – skilled telepaths. Well, it would be very vindicating."
"And your mother?" He asked quietly, a glimpse of defeat sneaking in … it did sound like an amazing opportunity for her. Who was he to tell her not to go?
"Imzadi." She could tell his mind was wondering, she didn't quite intend for that endearment to come from her mouth though. "She doesn't know. I – I thought it best to not involve her until I knew what I would do."
"How long have you known?"
"Almost three weeks," She answered. Right before their encounter with the Lysians. He finally understood what Beverly had been trying to tell him.
He reached out for her hand and she relaxed into his, he grasped her fingers tightly as if to will her not to leave him. "You knew about this before we lost are memories?" She stood up, looking out at the stars and he let her hand fall from his.
"Yes. The day of actually … the contacted me that morning." She said without turning back.
"How long until you have to let them know something?"
"Couple of days." He heard her voice thickly accented in spots that he hadn't noticed when he first arrived, before he knew. He just want to shake her, what was she feeling – why did she have to keep everything so in check?
"Oh. It sounds like a very challenging and yet rewarding position Deanna. You are amazing at what you do … it's just -"
"Just what?" She asked him, half facing his direction, she wanted to see him.
"You could leave Starfleet? You've worked really hard to make a life and a career here on the Enterprise. You're the ship's counselor on the flag ship of the Federation, your friends are here – wait a minute … does the Captain know you may be leaving."
"He knows that I've been offered the position."
"How long Dee?" He asked, feeling a bit betrayed whether he had any right to or not.
"About a week."
"Dammit, Deanna." His voice rose and he could see her jump slightly, though she tried to cover it. "Why didn't you come to me?"
The counselor ignored the question. "I'm not exactly friendly with Starfleet these days, I suppose."
"You asked if I could leave Starfleet."
"The captain values your counsel Deanna, you must know that." He said to her gently.
"Not when it counts Will, not when it's life or death … not when it could have saved innocent lives. We just apologize as if that justifies destroying that ship." She was wounded and though the bruises were not visible to the naked eye, right now they were radiating.
"Deanna we were the victims of ..."
"Were we Will? Were we the victims?" She asked him and he remembered every time she had come to him telling him how the war didn't feel right to her … and he had, what? Shown her his trombone?
"I'm so sorry Deanna … I should have listened." She shook her head when all he wanted her to do was scream … let it out.
"He couldn't have to confidence he has in me now, because the background wasn't there … the support, the counsel, the decisions I've helped him make over the past 5 years – it wasn't there for him to draw on." And so she gave Picard the benefit of the doubt.
"No, Deanna. The senior staff works as a team and if you were good enough to be posted to the Enterprise as its counselor then, he should have consider it."
"It was an uneasy situation, Will."
"It isn't the first time it's happened."
"No, it's not," she admitted. "Captain's prerogative."
She turned back to the view port and he eased up behind her, in almost a whisper he said, "I need you to scream Deanna. I need you to yell. I need you to give yourself permission to say I was right and those people would be alive now, if someone would have listened to me."
"You want me to yell," she said, her voice intensifying. "You want to hear me scream. Then point me to a mirror Riker because I need to be angry at myself for some things. I want to go hoarse from verbalizing the way I have been living … because I'm pretty sure I'm turning back into that girl you met on Betazed, but it isn't because of my Mother this time."
Will wasn't quite sure where she was going with this, but he would let her go.
"I lost my memories. I had no idea of who Deanna Troi was, where she came from. I wasn't sure what was going on inside of me … no awareness I was empathic. I just knew I could feel the feelings of the others more strongly. I knew nothing. Not my name, nor my career title. I didn't know where I was, this ship – what Starfleet was, the only thing I could remember was you." Her voice had calmed into a surreal sadness part way through what she was saying and his heart sunk. "They took everything and I still knew you. Do you know how much I l ..." She clamped her mouth close, she wouldn't turn to face him.
"How much you love me Deanna?"
"Shut – UP Will!" There was the anger.
"I was safe to you. A sort of security blanket that you could grab on to and the only thing you could remember and what did I do?"
"You chose someone else. Like you always have … you knew, YOU KNEW. There was a history there … you read the note I wrote in that Keats book. There had undeniably been something there and what did you do? You kept me at arms length, Will. You reached in to kiss me and you did what you always do – no emotions, no connection … just to instant gratification. How could you ever tire from the women who bow down to the god that is William T. Riker." He knew that she would be expecting him to stop her and she was walking a thin line, but he just couldn't – he wouldn't deprive her of this.
"It isn't just Laren. It's any that comes on board that you can infatuate with that twinkle in your eyes! We kiss in friendship on cheeks, shore leaves – after poker games, at times we fall into something more passionate. But you always chose someone else … why is that? I have relationships, you have relation – ships. We toss around the word Imzadi, without ever fully realizing it's meaning. They erased my entire identity and ALL I could remember was you. Will,don't you understand?" She quieted momentarily her eyes welling with unshed tears, she leaned back against the wall and let herself slide down to the floor. "I worked hard to be independent and strong, to never let anyone control me the way my mother did when we first met, Will. I finished my psychology degree at the top of my class, scored in the top 5 percent on my entrance exam to Starfleet, graduated a year early and was posted to the Enterprise. But it's come back to this …" She said defeat evident in her voice. "My love for you … I recognized my love for you more palpably than being able to identify myself." He'd begun to cry though she couldn't quite see his face from her seat on the floor. Then he stepped into view.
"Deanna," he said not bothering to wipe away the tears flowing down his cheeks.
"Don't do this ..." She whispered. "Please ..."
"Deanna do you know why I stay detached from all these women. Fleeting relationships … passionate affairs – no commitment. Never sharing too much of who I am with them. Because I cannot be with the woman that I love. You taught me how to hinge the spiritual with the physical, connection and meaning was so important to you when we met on Betazed. I know that it still is … I only want that with you Dee. You taught me to really be a man when I was stationed at the Embassy … why would you think I would want to be that man for anyone other woman than you. But I don't deserve you. I broke your heart then. I didn't marry you like I promised. I indulged in our friendship but didn't allow you into my bed. I wanted to be with you the moment I saw you come down that ramp toward the Captain and I at Farpoint. And later when you said that we couldn't be together while I the same ship. I respected that, because it was safe … because God knows I couldn't bear to hurt you again. Do I understand how much you love me Deanna? I thought I did. But after we regained our memories I was sitting in my quarters and replaying the days prior in my head and I knew that you loved me deeper than I could have imagined. I've never been loved like that … never, but once again I felt guilty because I knew I had again chosen someone else … no matter the excuse Dee.
Deanna was crying hard, her knees pulled close to her chest and he wanted to go to her but he knew she wouldn't let him touch her yet. And so he knelt down beside her.
"Imzadi," she struggled against the word but he wouldn't take it back. Do you want to know how much I love you? Because I don't think that your love for me makes you weak or any less independent than this gorgeous woman you've become. But if you want to leave I will let you go … because you've never tried to keep me from leaving when I've had the chance."
"But you're still here." She managed through her tears.
"Why is that?" Was he asking her? She answered.
"You enjoy serving under Captain Picard. You're learning from one of the best."
He bypassed her answer. "I have been offered command, after command, after command. Starting from the 2nd year I was assigned to the Enterprise. Was I afraid to move from under Picard's wings? Hell, no … Deanna. I've been ready to be a Captain since the day you met me. No one … no one had the ambition and drive that I had when you met me on Betazed. I wanted to beat Kirk's record. Dammit, I had the chance more than one time. Yes, I've learned a lot from Picard but it's been six years … I'm finished learning.
"Then why?" He heard her sniffle – tainted voice inside his mind.
"Why? I will not leave you behind Deanna. Not again. You can go. We can go together. But I will not be without you. The biggest goal of my life, I dreamed of it since I was a little boy trying to get out of my Father's house. More than 5 commands I've been offered since we've served together. You've never asked me to stay, because you knew that was what I wanted … Do you understand now how much I love you?


She had stayed. Riker would never forget that night. It seemed that losing their memories had somehow helped them remember what they meant to each other and the ways they had been lying to themselves. He'd kissed every tear from her face and when he reached her lips, she just seemed to melt completely against him. Never – not even when they were kids on Betazed had him remembered being with her in such an intimate way. But on the day they realized that nothing in their lives was more important than how deeply they loved each other … he had lay her gently on the bed in her cabin. Lit candles all around the room, showered the petals of her favorite flower over her naked body as she lye there beautiful, glowing and completely safe with him. And Will made love to her in a reverence and an awe that he had never felt for anyone. As if he was touching something that could cost him everything, but her tender body and the love she held within her for him …. was something he could live on for ever. Each kiss, each breath, each exploration was a gift to her. He would never choose anyone over her again … she believed he deserved her and that was enough for him to commit to the love he felt for her.
Deanna didn't take the job on Betazed, but it seemed the crisis counseling on this ship was now causing her to begin to unravel. He sat on the couch in her cabin waiting for her to get into her robe so that he could draw her a bath. He remembered that day more often than most men would care to admit. The day that brought them back together. But as the months went on her waining trust of him once again got the best of her. That sliver of a spot that carried her doubt … and then they found out – they were still together, but it was different somehow. "Imzadi, love … are you ready?" Will heard a weary "yes" slip into his thoughts. He knew she was exhausted so spent. He opened up his tote from the mission and pulled out the lavender bath salts he'd gotten for her on Xenaldi IV. He led her into the bathroom, sitting her down on the chair next to the antique dressing table her mother had sent her from Earth. It belonged to her father's mother and it fit Deanna perfectly.
She had an antique claw foot tub that sat in the center of the room as well.. As far as he knew the only one on board, but she had requested it when she came onto the ship and he guessed no one would deny a bubble bath and relaxation to the woman who's job it was to keep everyone else on the ship at peace. Will poured in the bath salts and watched as the steaming water bubbled up. "Did you bring those back for me from your mission?" She said trying to muscle up a smile. Success.
He smiled leaning over to kiss her lips. "I thought you would like them. They're lavender. Maybe this will help your body relax, help you sleep."
"Mmm," She managed the closest thing to acknowledgement she could muster, though she doubted anything could help her rest. She stood then swaying slightly, but she steady herself on the edge of the table. He walked over and gently pulled her against him. Pushing her head to his shoulder as he slipped the robe from her body.
"It's okay Deanna. I'm here now and I'm going to help you. You're not going through this alone." She nodded her head and let him help her step into the tub, she sank down into the bubble and leaned her long neck against the cool curve of the bath.
"Thank you, Imzadi." She said … her eyes still red a puffy, the hitches in her breathing slowing a bit. He bent down giving her a long sweet kiss. Such soft lips, it always amazed him.
"Relax, okay. I'm going to go get some things from my quarters and unload the pack I took with me. Then I'll come back and help you dry your hair and get dressed for bed."
"Will, are you staying here tonight?" she asked in a voice that beneath its maturity held the quivering lips of a little girl.
"Unless you need to be alone." He would understand if she still felt to raw for him to see, but he wouldn't like it.
"N – no, I need you here with me."
"I'll be back as soon as I can," he told her, kissing the palm of her hand … he waited until she relaxed enough for her eyelids to fall shut and then he headed next store to get his stuff and to get some answers.


Chapter 3

"Commander Riker to Dr. Crusher," Will said gruffly, as he hit his combadge a little harder than he meant to. He barely waited for the doors of his quarters to close behind him before reaching up to contact Crusher. His anger was fuming and he wanted answers - from someone.
"Crusher here – What can I ..." She began, not surprised when he cut her off. The doctor shielded her communicator with her hand, trying to muffle the sound of his voice as she turned the corner and sucked within the doors of her office.
"Will -" She tried again.
"I have known her for over 15 years Beverly and I have never, NEVER seen her in this much pain. Crusher had known this was coming and so she let him go, she couldn't deny that she'd felt the same way many times over the past week. Beverly could feel the anger in his voice despite the decks separating them, but she could also feel the trembling underneath his anger. He was hurting deeply for Deanna.
"This senior staff is a family, not just a group of officers doctor – How the hell could you let her go through this alone?"
As she continued to listen to his tirade, she realized there was only one way to shake him into listening – matching fire with fire. She slammed the computer padd she'd been holding down forcefully on her desk.
"It wasn't my decision Commander. We all follow orders around here." She said, interrupting him – matching pitch and tone. "And you have no right to criticize me for what I have or have not been doing for Deanna. Do you think I don't know what kind of pain she's in ? Who do you think called Ensign Alby's time of death. I was with Deanna and Damn you, Will Riker … I have been staying as close as she'll let me get. Now – would you like the answers you're looking for or do you want to continue to take your fears out on me?"
The doctor had given him enough time to breathe and he realized what he was doing was getting him no closer to the words he needed to hear – the fill – in to the blanks that were gaping.
"I'm so sorry Bev," he told her, easing back to sit on the arm of the chair he'd been standing next to. "I just walked in and she was so – broken. I need to know what happened, I need answers."
"I'm on my way." She replied without out a second thought to anything else she might need to be doing. "Just let me give some instructions to Selar," she added, pulling off her blue lab coat. He nodded, though he knew she couldn't see him.
"Give me an hour or two. I want to see if I can get Deanna to try and sleep." He said the exhaustion evident in his voice. He had no idea how he was going to do that despite the droopiness of her eyes and the tough job he had seen her doing of concentrating just enough to keep from swaying .
"Tea," Commander. Valerian, Chamomile ..." She said gently, as if listening to his thoughts. "She'll accept it before she'll take the sedative, and it's better for – It'll be soothing." She finished, it seemed they did have much to talk about.
"Thanks, Doc. Riker out." He grinned slightly knowing Beverly was right, Deanna hated taking medicine – she craved control. Perhaps that is what troubled him the most. She would have to crumble to be pliable enough to make it through this – it had to be terrifying her as well. She knew, she knew herself that well, whether she chose to listen or not.

Deanna shivered slightly in the warmth of the scented water of the bath. She didn't know if the coolness was in the air or if she was feeling the chill from her psyche, dripping through her veins and freezing her from within. She was frozen. Paralyzed in her pain, doubting her abilities, and hating that she wasn't strong enough to deal with this loss any other way. I'm a professional, she thought, angrily slamming her fist into the tub and splashing the water. She wasn't sure what made her more angry her inability to control her own personal life or not being able to withstand the pain of losing a patient, even though as a therapist she knew it was inevitable. She couldn't stop the tears. She felt the warmth of them coursing down her face, mixing with the water that had splashed up from the tub. Squeezing her eyes shut she tried to cut them off at the source, yet it only served to pool the tears together at the duct, forcing them to gush over her cheekbones.
She focused in on the audio she'd had the computer pipe into the room just a few minutes after Will left her there to relax. She knew the two – three messages by heart. They all ran together. Three – four of them over the past week. She allowed them to repeat, rotate, shuffle as she listened to the words over and over. Do YOU know how it feels to lose the only child you have left? You should have known. Betazoid? A lot of good that did my daughter. It's YOUR fault. I should have you reported to the ethics committee. If it weren't for you my daughter would be alive …
Deanna had slipped from the tub around the time the second message began to play overhead, she only heard bits and pieces of the painful words from Kara's mother. She pulled her robe around her tightly and doubled over where she sat on the edge of the porcelain bathtub. The sobs weren't there audibly as if afraid to interrupt the depth of this woman's anger, pain. But she rocked herself the neverending tears flowing down her face and she was so focused on the words that came like fists and feet … hitting her hard and kicking her in the wounds she had already created herself – she didn't hear will as he entered the room.

When Will Riker returned to Deanna's quarters he went straight to the bathroom, he hadn't been gone long, but everything seemed to be moving in slow motion. He saw her bent at the waist the back of her robe slipping down to reveal that beautiful spine he loved to run his fingers down, just to watch the chill bumps follow in the wake of his hands. He sat the steaming tea he'd replicated for her down on the table and hurried over to her. He got down on his knees so that he was level with her and pulled her to him, he felt himself being soaked by the edge of the robe that had fallen into the water as she held herself there on the edge. He held her tight to him, her head tucked into the crook of his neck and he whispered to her aloud while somewhere in the back of his mind he whispered Please God don't let it be the baby.
It was then over his own thoughts, the words of comfort he was giving to Deanna, and the soft sound of her crying her heard it for the first time. The hateful words and unrelenting shards of pain being thrown at the recipient. She must have realized he'd heard the subspace messages at the same time she remembered she hadn't had time to quiet them.
"Computer," he heard her say, pulling away and leaning against the cool side of the tub, "Pause audio."
"Deanna, what is this?" He looked at her the dark circles under her eyes, the wet curls sticking to her forehead falling over her shoulders, her blood-shot eyes swollen, her tiny body trembling, housing a life that had no idea the parts of its mother's world shattering around her. "Computer play audio."
Deanna tugged at his sleeve with all the energy she could muster. "Will, no..." She looked down as she listened once more. Riker didn't have time to feel for the women whose voice was playing to his ears, he could only hurt because of the harshness she was expressing towards this gentle, loving creature that encouraged and helped all that she came into contact with.
"Computer stop audio." She called out hoarsely, finally – finally she couldn't hear it anymore.
She tried to pull herself up and though he stayed where he was he held her arm helping her to a standing position. He sat back against the wall. His first instinct was to hope in the fact that this was the first time Deanna had listened to these messages from Ensign Alby's mother. That though they were dated, it was the first time she could bring herself to listen. But he knew that wasn't the case.
"God, Dee. Why … why would you do this to yourself? You've been listening to these all week haven't you? Oh, sweetheart … " He said letting his head fall back onto the wall, covering his eyes with his forearm.
"Yes," she told him. He would have known if she was lying and how easy would if have been for him to check the file records. Yes, she had heard them more than once, some days several times.
"You know that she's grieving Imzadi. You know that your an easy target. She needs someone to blame. You know none if it's true..." He said to her, his eyes still closed.
"I know," she whispered, picking up the cup of tea from the table in front of her. Though none of it being true might be wishful thinking, she said to herself. "Will, you're so tired."
He smiled and looked over at her, sipping the hot tea, her free hand settled gently on her belly – the skin slightly exposed by the opening of her robe.
"I love you," he whispered to her. It was the first smile he'd seen grace her face since he'd gotten home. "I love you too," he heard in his mind.
"You ready to go to bed?" He asked as she tipped the tea toward her lips once more.
"I – I won't be able to sleep Will," he watched as the shake came back to her hands.
" You're not alone now Deanna, but if you can't sleep - Well, then neither will I … we'll lye down and I'll practice some bedtime stories on you." He heard the mug she was holding slip before he saw it, his eyes were focused on the palm she had covering their baby inside of her. But he saw her jump. As the cup shattered into pieces. He stood but he got to it first, slipping down from the chair to gather the bits from the floor.
"Dee, let me get that..." But she wouldn't stop picking them up.
"It was as if my hand just gave way … they won't stop shaking – they won't stop. Owe. Mmmmm ..."
In another second he would've reached her and her hand would've been pulled away, but it was too late. He held out his own hand. "Here, love, let me see." She relaxed her hand. She hadn't even looked at it yet. She'd simply felt it. Will looked up into her dark eyes. "It's not that deep. Let me grab your first aid kit and I'll heal it for you." She nodded as he walked over to were she kept the kit as she looked down at her finger. There was a tiny bead of blood that was beginning to trickle down her hand. Blood on her shaking hands. Blood on her hands.
She barely felt the movements as he healed the cut and placed a small kiss there. "Deanna are you okay?" He asked running his hand over her cheek. She just stared at him. He kissed the top of her head and pulled her up with him. Tying the robe tightly over her waist and grab the towel next to her to squeeze the remainder of the moisture from her hair. She stood their without sound as he lifted her into his arms and carried her to bed.


Chapter 4

"Picard to Riker." Will hesitated for a moment before answering. He'd waited a while to make sure Deanna was sleeping peacefully before walking next door to his quarters where Beverly would meet him. He was beginning to feel the fatigue he had been battling with all night and was afraid of losing his patience with the Enterprise's captain.
"Riker here. Sir?"
"We missed you at the reception, commander." Picard said in a neutral tone, though he was prepared to weigh the response of his first in command, to draw what little information he could.
"I had things I had to … I needed to see -" Will began and then began again, through clenched teeth. He needed this conversation to end.
"How is the counselor?" Picard said, his voice softening. Riker knew the captain was concerned, but his anger was overshadowing that knowledge.
"She's – did you need something, sir?" He responded, catching his commanding officer off guard.
"No I just wanted to commend you on your mission Number One."
"Thank you Sir. Riker out."

Just as the doors to his quarters closed behind him, they opened again to reveal Beverly Crusher. He could help but smile slightly in his deliriousness. "Perfect timing Doctor," he exhaled, dropping down on the couch.
"Welcome home Commander," she told him, sitting down across from him. He nodded. Riker noticed that Beverly had changed into off duty clothes. It wasn't often that he saw her out of uniform or without a lab coat draping her shoulders. It had to be close to morning watch.
"You look comfortable, Doc. Going somewhere after you leave here?" He asked her. But he surmised that she had come there not as his and Deanna's doctor, not as a colleague, but as a friend. He was right.
"I want to be there for her Will." She breathed out, the emotion evident in her voice.
"I know Beverly." He said placing a hand over hers. "I know. She doesn't make it easy. She doesn't like to admit she's afraid and well, she has a lot to be afraid of right now."
"Will," She asked almost in a whisper, but he could here the frustration in her voice. "Why didn't she tell me about the baby?" Riker shook his head, leaning back against the couch. He didn't even think to ask her how she'd found out, his own pain bubbling up a bit.
"I guess for the same reason she waited almost a month to tell me." Beverly met his eyes with her own, shocked. Deanna may have control issues, but she knew how much her friend truly loved Will. She trusted him more than anyone else on the ship, despite any past hurt. "I'm not the one who wants to keep secrets here, Bev. About this baby, about our relationship … I – She, she wants to keep me at arms length. And right now I'm willing to take what she gives. I'll be as close as she lets me be. I broke her heart back when she waited so long to open herself up and she gave me her trust completely. I broke her … Now, I don't think she'll ever let her guard down completely."
"Will, you can't pay for that forever. She loves you. She does." He nodded.
"I know," He began. But she's scared, Beverly finished the thought to herself. Dammit, Deanna.
"You wanted to marry her?" Crusher asked, already knowing the answer.
"Yeah," he said running a hand over his beard. "I've wanted to marry her since I fell in love with her on Betazed … She's convinced herself I finally want to commit – "
"Because of the baby." Beverly finished for him.
"How did you find out?" He said, as he watched the doctor stand up, stretching out her body, before walking toward the replicator.
"A couple of days after Kara died, Deanna asked me to come over for dinner. There were small windows right after it happened when she let me in." She walked back over handing him a cup of coffee while she sat beside him, holding a cup of steaming tea. "We were talking about a transmission she had received from Lwaxana and she drifted off mid - sentence. She'd fallen asleep. I scanned her quickly with my tricorder. I knew she wasn't doing well. But she was keeping up appearances. Contributing to staff meetings just enough, making it to appointments, covering her tired eyes and the redness from crying with makeup. She was holding it together – until today when she knew you would be back home. When she didn't show up in the shuttle bay, I knew she was crumbling. She can't hide from you, Will – She's never been able to."
"But she does put up a lot of fight," he said, he hated to see her hurting and then watch her as she refused to let anyone help. "How is she physically? How is my – "
"How's your daughter?" She said with a small smile.
"It's a little girl," Riker asked her, a huge smile spreading across his face, and reaching into his eyes.
"Yes. A girl. And she's perfectly fine," Beverly reassured her friend. "You really didn't know?"
"No. Deanna doesn't know either," He answered.
"Oh." She replied, wishing she had known sooner as Deanna's doctor, wishing she was able to keep a closer eye on her friend. Wishing Troi had been given the time she needed to find joy in this pregnancy with the man she loved. "When did she find out she was pregnant?"
Riker looked down at his hands which were clenched in front of him. It was a sore subject for him. He had never had so much trouble with Deanna being open with him about anything since they'd been back together onboard the Enterprise. And this was his child, they were Imzadi, and she'd kept it from him. "Uh, about two months ago, actually. She was giving a speech at the psychology symposium on Starbase 81 and the day before she came down with a really bad cold. She went to see the doctor on the base to ask if he could give her something to help. He told her then." Will looked back up at her.
"She's almost three months pregnant. Did he give her any prenatal vitamins?"
Riker nodded. "She's taking them. At least she was … I don't – "
"I can't believe she's three months pregnant and no one told her doctor." Crusher said concerned.
"It's what she wanted, Bev. It was what she wanted two weeks ago when I left. We were going to come see you when I got back. Now she's … Is she okay – physically?" He said, the anxiety creeping into his voice.
"She shut me out about a week ago. She only talks to me enough to relay a positive report to the captain and God knows I don't even know how long I can keep that up." Beverly rambled of to Riker. "She was dehydrated, fatigued, her blood pressure was slightly elevated. It's been awhile since I've had the opportunity to get another scan without her knowing." She watched as Will stood up walking over to the viewport and staring out at the stars. "She can't go on like this much longer. It isn't good for the baby." His gaze shifted and all his attention was averted to her. "The first trimester is a sensitive time without all the added stress that Deanna is under and genetically – she's only half human, Will and although there's not a big risk with the differences between yours and Dee's DNA ..."
"It's there." She nodded. "What can I do?"
"Get her to eat, make sure she's taking those vitamins, it wouldn't hurt when she starts feeling a little better if you could get her to come see me – you got her to sleep?" She asked realizing how long they had been alone, considering the tiny intervals in which Deanna had been resting.
"It was awful. I went to get her out of the bath and she was listening to these subspace messages from Ensign Alby's mother. This women is taking all of her anger out on Deanna and Dee was just – she was playing them over and over. As if she deserved to be punished somehow. She was sobbing when I found her. I tried to soothe her, I gave her the tea, and her hands were trembling so much she dropped it. The glass shattered and she cut her finger. There was blood all over her hand, it was covered, and I healed the cut, but she just kept staring … I carried her to bed and she wouldn't talk, Bev. She just kept looking straight ahead. I put my arms around her and I held her for awhile and I thought she was asleep but she was fighting so hard to keep her eyes open. Finally, I gave her the sedative that was in her cabinet. She's had them since … since we were dealing with the attacks from the Ulians. I sat with her – I just couldn't leave." He slammed his palm against the wall he'd been leaning against, turning away from her again.
He heard Crusher utter one word, fierce and with the fire he knew well. "Damn."

Jean-Luc Picard sat at his desk in his quarters sipping a glass of steamed milk and nutmeg. Sleep refused to come. He scrolled through the text on his view screen. Ensign Alby's parents would be arriving in two days, just in time for the memorial service a group of his junior officers were planning. He could still see the ensign at the helm of his ship. Alive and capable, a good officer, and with much promise. He had lost a fair share of crewman under his command, but it was always difficult to see a life end when it was really just beginning, and taken by her own hands … he couldn't help but think somewhere in the recesses of his mind that there should have been a clue. Something uncharacteristic he could've noticed on the bridge – maybe if he had been watching her a bit more closely. But he'd had no real knowledge of her struggles. He did however have complete confidence in the one who had been watching her closely. And where he was able to shake off the doubts in his mind in his crews ability to watch when someone that worked with them daily was shattering. He would understand if Deanna had not been able to do the same.
He thought back to his conversation with Will earlier – short, stark, and staccato. The frustration in Beverly's voice at the reception. Deanna may have known him better than at times he knew himself, but Picard knew his counselor quite well all on his own. They were both very private people, in very different ways. She had been keeping up appearances and so far she hadn't let this loss effect her duties in any obvious ways. Yet, he wasn't sure how much longer he could leave her be.
Picard scrolled down to the new message that flashed before him on the screen. It was the updated plans for Kara's memorial. He opened it scanning over the text, his eyes being drawn back to a paragraph he'd glazed over the first time he read it. Though he went back and took the words in more slowly.

Lieutenant Bart, Ensign Saco, and Ensign Lenair and I have been trying to thing of the a person that who knew Kara well and whom Kara admired that would be best suited to speak at her memorial. We were planing to set aside time for her friends and colleagues to share memories of her and pay tribute to her life, but we need someone to close out that time in a way that would be caring and calming to the crew. Upon much deliberation we agreed that there was really only one choice. Counselor Troi.

Picard noticed his heart beating faster as he read those last two words over and over again, even though he somehow knew that their decision would fall upon her. It seemed that he would be speaking with his ship's counselor directly somewhat sooner than he had anticipated. He would ask her on their behalf. Though he did not envy her in the task of weighing such a decision.
"Picard to Commander Data." He called out to the air and was delivered the response he anticipated.
"Data here. Sir."
"Commander I would like to call a senior staff meeting in the observation lounge tomorrow afternoon."
"Aye sir. I will notify the crew."
Picard closed the transmission and turned off the view screen. "Lights off," he called as he reached his bed, he hoped somehow that the rest he needed would now find him … as his head hit the pillow, hovering between wakefulness and sleep his last thought was of deep concern. How am I going to ask this of her?

Will could relate to the roughness he'd heard in the doctor's voice as she spat out the curse. She'd just sat on the couch still for a long moment before coming over to where Riker was. Leaning on the edge of his desk.
"How much has Deanna told you about what happened to Kara?" She asked, they had pushed away the reason she'd come there long enough.
"She wasn't able to get out much. Just that Ensign Alby died and that she let it happen. I couldn't believe that Kara would take her own life and Deanna just kept saying that she seemed fine." Not that it was easy for Beverly, herself to relive that day, but she was wanted him to be able to help her friend and he deserved the answers.
"Will, Deanna found her." It was as if someone punched him in the chest, the air momentarily taken from his lungs. No.
"Kara had missed an appointment and when she didn't respond to Deanna's attempts to contact her through the computer, Dee contacted Geordi. He told her Kara had not shown up for her shift in engineering earlier in the day – telling him she hadn't been feeling well. Deanna knew that something wasn't right. She contacted me and headed to Kara's quarters." Will looked at her expectantly. He was anxious about hearing what she had to say next but knowing he had to hear what had happened to his Imzadi while he was so far away from her.
"I was stalled because a lieutenant came in with a nasty burn on his arm. A small accident in engineering, but I didn't arrive too far behind her. When I walked through the door to the ensign's quarters I called for Deanna and her voice was frantic though I could already hear something strange underneath her words. I hurried toward Kara's bedroom. At first all I could see was Deanna, leaning over her but when she turned …" Beverly's own voice stalled as she was bombarded by the image of what she'd seen next. "Kara had slit both of her wrists with a small dagger that had fallen next to her. I rushed over to them, already knowing it had been too long. All the color was drained from her face, she'd lost too much blood, she'd been there too long. I placed a hand on Deanna's leg as I ran my tricorder over the ensign's body. I didn't need to see the results. I looked over at Deanna, her hands were trembling … they were covered in Kara's blood. When I glanced back over at the ensign's body I noticed the small fingerprints on her neck where Dee had searched for a pulse, where she'd shook her trying to elicit some sort of response."
"Beverly, can't you do something?" Troi had asked her gaze focused on the young woman she'd tried so hard to help. "It's the 24th century … we should be able to do something." She could still hear the urgency in her voice.
"Dee," she said, no pretenses to keep up, it was just the two of them, and she squeezed her friend's shoulder as Troi looked up at her with pleading eyes. "She's gone."
"No," he repeated softly, this time outloud.
"I helped her up and guided her into the bathroom while we waited for Worf and some of my personnel to arrive. I helped her rinse off her hands. She didn't say anything, just walked into the living area and sat down in a chair. She spoke briefly to Worf and contacted the captain to let him know."
"Counselor mode." He muttered.
"Shock was setting in," she continued. "She kicked into autopilot. She wouldn't leave until, until we removed Kara's body. I can't imagine she's been able to close her eyes without seeing that moment, when she found her there."
"How long was Deanna in the cabin by herself?" He asked, the emotion easily detectable in his voice.
"Five, Seven minutes. She won't talk about it. I tried to get her to that night after we left sickbay."
"Why wasn't I contacted?" He asked not really expecting an answer.
"What could you have done Will?" She said taking his hand. "The captain left it up to Deanna and I can only imagine she didn't want to endanger the outcome of your mission."
"I knew something was wrong." He said pulling his hand from hers. "She needed me."
"And now she has you commander. When she needs you most." He knew she was right.
"The captain said that Kara's parents would be coming on board in a couple of days, to take her body back to earth." Riker's thoughts were brought back to the subspace messages he'd heard, the blood that had dripped down Deanna's hands I her bathroom, now knowing why it silenced her.
"I walked in on her listening to the communiques from Sarah Alby a few days ago. She quickly shut them off, asking me to leave. I couldn't erase them without her knowing, but I've been having her subspace messages patched into my terminal in sickbay before they are sent to her." She'd been staying as close as Deanna would let her, Beverly had told him when he'd first contacted her.
"There's more?"
He could tell how listening to the messages and trying to protect Deanna from the unnecessary hurt was effecting the Doctor. "There's more."
"She will be furious if she finds out what you've been doing."
Beverly nodded in agreement. "Good, let her be, at least she will be angry at someone other than herself."