Disclaimer: Paramount owns them and all things associated with
Author's note: This is another story from my Archive that my muse
bullied me into fixing up a little. (Does anyone else's muse wear
leather and carry a riding crop or is it just mine?) This story
takes place after the events of the episode The Vengeance Factor, an
episode where Riker has to kill a women he was attracted to before
she assassinates someone.

The Vengeance Factor Revisited



Yuta was dead, and he had killed her. It was not the first
time duty had called for him to take the life of another, but this
was not the same, this was a hell of a lot more painful. He had
cared for the woman, pitied her lack of freedom but he knew now that
her lack of freedom was self-imposed. She forged the bars of her
prison with her determination for revenge, and Will could not
understand it.

How did the need for revenge drive someone to spend a
lifetime in a futile quest for justice? Questions kept floating
through his guilt-ridden mind and it all came down to why, the most
often asked and all encompassing question in the cosmos. Will Riker
was many things, but a philosopher he was not, and so he could find
no satisfactory answer to that question.

As he sat in his quarters with only the stars to illuminate
the darkness, he remembered the moment of her death. He remembered
each firing of his phaser, her stumble, his pleads for her to stop.
His mind continued in the same circle, over and over again he saw her
death, and it was slowly driving him crazy. He groaned and put his
head in his hands, guilt, confusion, and anger battling over control
of his mind. He was so deep in his own torment that he did not
notice the door slide open or the dark haired women that walked in

Deanna approached Will slowly, not wanting to startle him.
She could feel his mind bubbling with emotions so strong they stopped
her in her tracks. Finally, after a moment to compose herself, she
stepped beside the chair he sat in. He looked up at her, his blue
eyes clouded by pain, and then turned back to the view port to
continue his examination of space.

"You did what had to be done," she said. She wanted nothing
more then to take him into her arms and soothe him but in his current
mood, she was not sure how he would react.

"Is that supposed to make me feel better?" He asked

She stepped around the chair, knelt in front of him, and
gently placed her hand on his bearded cheek. "No Imzadi it's not."

Will could see tears begging to well up in her dark eyes,
tears she shed for his pain it was thier way, she cried the tears he
could not. Silently he reached for her, she slid like warm honey
into his arms, and he pulled her onto his lap. They rested their
foreheads together and shared their breath, while Deanna continued to
silently cry his tears for him. She took all his pain into herself,
not alleviating it, but sharing it, until his pain became hers and he
knew he was not alone.

To anyone who might have seen them at that moment it would be
hard to say whom was comforting whom, Will cradled Deanna like a
child in his lap while she ran her fingers in a soothing manner
through his hair and down his back. Somewhere in the back of his
mind, Will realized that if he was not ridden with guilt over Yuta he
would have kissed her, made love to her right there, but Deanna was
not here for that she was here to comfort him in a way no other women
ever had.

How long they stayed like that Will did not know, but
eventually they both fell into a deep dreamless sleep. When Will
woke hours later, he carried her to the bed and gently lay beside
her. He kissed the top of her head relishing in her unique flowery
scent, and gathered her up in his arms. "Thank-you Imzadi," he
whispered as sleep took him again.