TITLE: The Music Box
CODES: R/T (Imzadi)
TIMELINE: Post Insurrection
SUMMARY: Deanna discovers a music box in Will's quarters..
DISCLAIMER: Characters are the property of Paramount, etc.. No infringement is intended other than the enjoyment of its readers.
FEEDBACK: Encouraged and welcomed.
"The Music Box"
Finishing up the report after her last patient, Deanna Troi headed out of her office towards her quarters to get ready for her dinner date with Commander Riker. Something she had looked forward to all day.
Since leaving the Briar Patch ten days ago, it seemed as if every spare moment was spent with Will. They couldn't get enough of each other since renewing their relationship as lovers. A thought that brought a blush to her cheeks and spurred her on to get ready. Will's duty shift would end in less than an hour.
Secure in the knowledge that she would still have time to spare, Deanna emerged from her quarters--comfortably attired--and set out toward the Commander's residence. Entering the access code, she stepped into the darkened room and gazed out of a starlight portal, losing herself in the glimmering shadows. "Computer, lights half illumination" she called out.
She slowly glanced around the cabin taking in everything; seeing old, familiar objects in a new and different light, now that her relationship with the First Officer had changed. So many things had changed, it seemed...
Deanna's eyes fell upon a small box she didn't recall seeing before. Moving to get a closer look, she gasped at seeing the design on top. A design filled with 'goopy' swirls and splashes of colors, heartwrenchingly familiar. And so it should have been. Because it was an exact replica of the painting she and Will had seen in the museum of art on Betazed.
Without realizing what she was doing, a trembling hand reached slowly toward the box. The enormity of what she might find inside was nearly enough to overwhelm her curiosity, but her inquisitiveness got the best of her and she silenced the tiny voice which whispered, she shouldn't be invading Will's privacy like this. Things were still too new between them.
Lifting her treasure, she opened the top only to have her breath taken from her as the sweetest sound emerged. A sound she recognized immediately as the whimsical chime of the Muktok flower on Betazed.
Thinking she couldn't be surprised any further, her astonishment was evident once she saw the contents inside. Picking up the holophoto of herself as that young betazoid psychology student, she held it in her hand alongside a single muktok flower. She almost missed the paper neatly folded up on the bottom. With her heart beating rapidly, she set everything else aside and lifted the paper out of the box even against her better judgment. She had come this far and something pulled at her to read what was inscribed on the old fashioned pages.
Oblivious to where she was or what she was actually doing, Deanna moved to sit on the couch in Riker's quarters, completely forgetting that he could walk in on her at any time. Carefully opening up the paper, she began to devour its contents.
There's a place down deep in my soul. A place I never knew existed until the day I met you.
No one else has ever come close to touching that part of me. Others have tried, but they weren't you.
You captivated me from the moment I saw you. I remember that day as if it were yesterday.
At first, it was your incredible beauty that stole my breath away. I felt as if I had had the wind knocked out of me on that first meeting. An indefinable moment where I became alive in a part of myself I wasn't even aware of yet. It was a new experience for me.
Then, as I came to know you - I realized so many other facets that have held me prisoner. A sentence I have happily carried out over the years. Would do so again given the chance.
During our first time together when we were so young, I don't think I ever truly realized what you would come to mean to my life. To my very existence. I knew I loved you without fully understanding how monumental that feeling really was.
You taught me to look beyond the surface from that very first 'lesson' all those years ago. Since that time, I have seen you bloom into the most beautiful soul I have ever had the privilege to know. A soul that is irrevocably tied to mine. For that, I am eternally grateful.
We were destined, you and I. Our journeys were written in the stars before we were born but even that could never have prepared me for what you would come to mean to the very air I breathe.
Looking back on it now, it is fortunate that events transpired as they did. It allowed us the time we needed to grow as individuals. To pursue the things that mattered to each of us and at the same time - to have the one constant in our lives that we've always needed to exist.
The bond we share is something I will never fully comprehend but I do know that without it, I would be utterly lost. I feel you in here, in my heart, in my head, and deep down in my soul. You ignited a passion inside that burns a fire through me that is hard to contain. I never knew that a person could *feel* so much for another. You complete me in a way that is indescribable. There are no words adequate enough.
What I do know now is that I understand, accept, embrace and cherish the spiritual with the physical. You are the only person in the entire universe that has ever reached that part of me. The part that is yours and has been since Chandra's wedding. The part that calls out to you in good times and bad and you always respond, no matter the need. The part that isn't complete unless you are near. You are truly my other half.. my better half.
I long to hold you again, Imzadi. To wrap myself around you and blanket you with all the love I feel inside. A love that has never died in all these years. Always waiting for the spark to reignite the embers once more allowing it to burn brightly and consume us both as it was meant to. As it was fated to.
There is a place down deep in my soul that can only be filled by you. I dream of that place when I close my eyes at night; when I see you looking back at me, with a thoughtful, knowing smile. You've always been the wiser of the two of us, Imzadi. Someday, perhaps, I'll find the courage to tell you just how much I've loved you. And that I always will...
"Oh Will." Came her first whispered words since she had begun reading. And then a sense of panic closed securely over her heart. It allowed her to absorb the magnitude and the reality of what she had discovered. Without another thought, she fled Will Riker's quarters for the safety of her own, still gripping the paper tightly in her hand.
Will had a bounce in his step as he made his way through the corridors of the Enterprise in route to his quarters. Thinking of his evening plans brought a smile to his lips. The last several days, he'd been happier than he could ever remember being. He was so wrapped up in those thoughts that he failed to notice the lights in his cabin or the quiet sound coming from his bedroom. But as he approached the door, a sense of sureness and impending dread washed over him. There was no question what the sound was from. Or who had discovered it.
Expecting to find Deanna inside, he was surprised when the room was empty. But the delicate box lay opened, playing sullenly on the center of his bed. Upon closer inspection, he realized that there was only one thing missing. The letter he'd written was gone. And with it ... the person to whom he hoped to give it to ... someday.
::Computer,:: he gently tapped his badge, ::location of Counselor Troi::
::Counselor Troi is in her quarters::
Filled with apprehension, Will set out to Deanna's cabin. But when he pressed the chime and stood outside, he received no initial response.
Affording a thoughtful look at the door, he sighed. It wasn't going to be this way. He reached for the panel and keyed in her access code, observing as the door slid quietly aside to allow him entry. What he found was not what he'd expected. Deanna standing by the window watching the stars go by with his letter clutched tightly in her hand.
Somewhat stunned, he looked down and was almost afraid to look back up again as embarrassment filled him. She must have read it all. She had to have... He summoned the courage and looked back up, right into her dark obsidian eyes. Time seemed to stand still. Unsure how long it had been since he entered her quarters, he took a step toward her and reached for the letter, but she didn't move nor did she relinquish her prize.
A sense of déjà vu consumed them both sending them back to another time, another place when he had written her another letter on paper.
Stuck in that moment, neither was sure who had spoken first or who made the first move to shake them out of their reverie.
What they did know was that whatever happened here and now would determine the direction of the rest of their lives.
Taking a step back to put some space between them, Deanna held the letter to her heart. Almost protecting it from harm. Her voice was shaking as she stated, "This is dated almost two years ago."
"Deanna.." Will started carefully only to be cut off.
"Were you ever going to tell me, Will? If we hadn't encountered the Briar Patch? "Were you ever going to let me know what was in your heart? She said the last with a sadness and plea in her voice.
"I don't know." he answered quietly.
"You don't know?" Came the question filled with something Riker was unsure of.
"Haven't you always known Deanna? At least on some level?
"I ... " Troi started but then trailed off.
"Couldn't you sense my feelings? Feelings that have never really changed in all these years..."
At that her eyebrows rose.
"Deanna, when I first saw you again on the Enterprise - I thought it was a second chance for us. But it didn't seem to be something you wanted or something either of us could reconcile at the time. With both of us serving here, together.."
"On the same ship." Deanna finished for him.
"Yes, that was part of it."
"And the rest?" she asked with hesitancy.
"The rest doesn't matter anymore Deanna. What matters is that we are together now." he whispered, silently begging her to leave it at that.
Deanna stared at him. Her expression consumed his every feature, finally resting on his eyes. Those clear, blue eyes that seemed the color of the sky. Blue eyes that stared back at her; filled with so much love.
She could sense his apprehension and the worry he felt over how she might react. Not only to her discovery but also the situation they were in now. But the ball was firmly in her court, and there was only one thing she knew that she could say. Extending her hand, Deanna held it out to Will. He took it gently into his and let her lead him to the couch.
With a smile that lit her eyes as well as her heart, she told him quietly, "I have never been so touched in all my life. I'll treasure this forever, Will. It's as dear to me as the poem you wrote during our time together in the Jalara Jungle; dearer perhaps..."
"Deanna," he looked away self-consciously, "I wish you hadn't seen it like that. I was planning on showing it to you...someday. But things didn't exactly turn out the way I planned."
"Then maybe it's not practical to plan."
"It's just, it's fast," he sighed, "I know that. It's only been a couple weeks since we got back together, but I--"
"I love you, too."
He stared at her, unable to speak. His mouth half-formed the word, "you--"
"I love you," she whispered again, "I always have and always will. And if I could write with half the gift you have with poetry, I might have told you in precisely the same way. This letter is precious to me," she held the paper aloft, "more precious than you may ever know. But as I'm nowhere near the author you've become, the best that I can do is to tell you how I'm feeling, honestly. The same way you've told me."
In the starlight, Deanna's eyes were glimmering with tears. Will took her hand and held it close, and he responded in the only way he could.
He pulled his beloved within the circle of his embrace and kissed her lips; her face; each eyelid, closed and moist. And with the passion and the feeling he had running through his being, he looked down at her and smiled. "Then keep the letter. Keep the box and everything inside. It all reminded me of you. But I don't need that anymore. You have my heart, Deanna. My spirit. And if I know I have you, too..."
Deanna pressed a finger to his lips. She smiled and whispered, "yes, you do."