Disclaimer: Star Trek belongs to Paramount, no infringement is
Reviews: Always appreciated.
Rating: G (for now)

By Austenwoolf

"Take care of her," he had actually said that to him of all
people. The one man who had watched over her for years, the one man
who would give up everything he had to make her smile. Well maybe
not the only man, not anymore. Now there was someone else, someone
allot like him, hell someone almost exactly like him. For a moment
he felt anger at his double. As if he had ever stopped looking out
for her, as if he could stop caring even if he wanted to.

As Tom Riker walked out the door Will let the anger subside
and turned to the dark eyed woman standing in the middle of the
room. He could tell she had felt his moment of anger and he mentally
kicked himself for letting his control slip. He smiled trying to
swallow to the well of emotion that threatened to swallow him at the
sight of her. She was fighting back tears, he could tell, he could
always tell when she was fighting for control. He held out his hand
to her and much to his relief she took it and smiled a sad smile that
never found her eyes.

They walked out of the quarters together. Will tried to hide
his discomfort from her and for the first time in years they endured
an uncomfortable silence. He looked at her out of the corner of his
eye, the woman he could say anything to, the woman that he had worked
with for a long time to find a comfortable zone for them, now he
found he had no words, he could think of nothing to say to her.

They made it to the turbo lift and Deanna dropped his hand
and stepped back from him a bit. The silence was becoming more then
he could bear, but just as he was about to open his mouth to say
something she spoke up.

"He's not going to wait," her voice was barely a whisper, and
she stared down at the neutral carpeting.

For a moment he was at a loss as to what to say, but he felt
an overwhelming need to comfort her. "I am sure he will he cares for
you a great deal."

She turned to him the sadness in her eyes made him gasp
softly. "Will you of all people should know that sometimes love
isn't enough. I know you, in whatever incarnation you take I know
you, and I know that he won't wait."

He stared at her for a moment his confusion evident of his
face. "Then why did you tell him you needed more time?"

"He needs more time; he just doesn't know it yet." She
turned away from him and resumed her inspection of the floor.
Suddenly the lift stopped and the door whooshed open. She stepped
out, but Riker just stood there still mildly confused. She turned
back around.

"He won't wait," she repeated. As if she was now trying to
comfort him. He looked into her beautiful eyes fighting the urge to
take her into his arms.

"I know," was all he said before the lift doors closed, and
blocked the view of her pain filled face. "But I will."

Disclaimer: Paramount owns them I don't…oh heck you know the drill.

Author's note: Here is the second part (insert applause and various
expletives of joy here). All right, I know no one is really waiting
with bated breath, but please allow me my delusions. If by some
chance, you do happen to read it feel free to review. I am thinking
of making this a longer story if however the readers out there would
rather burn in all of the seven layers of hell then read one more
word of my drivel then please say so. I can't stand it when people
sugar coat.

Two months after Waiting

Deanna Troi sat in front of her computer screen looking at
the list of messages she had to wade through. Most involved ships
business, appointment rescheduling, meetings, and one from Beverly
inviting her to dinner this evening. There was one from her Mother,
and one she dreaded even opening, from Thomas Riker. It had been two
months since he had left and because of the distance between them
live communiqués were impossible. At first, he had sent her a
message almost every day, but as time wore on, she could feel the
distance in his messages not only the physical distance, but the
emotional as well.

She knew she should open the message but she couldn't bring
herself to do it just yet. This could be the one, she thought, the
one were he tells me it's over. She had prepared herself for this,
had in fact been preparing for it from the moment he had left. She
meant what she told Will after Thomas had departed, she knew he
wouldn't wait, knew he couldn't wait. In so many ways he was the
William T. Riker she had meet over eight years ago. That was part of
the attraction, the reliving of memories that she had thought behind
her. Unfortunately with the rebirth of those old memories had come
the old emotions not only for Tom but for her best friend and Tom's
double Commander William Riker. Even while Tom was on board some
small part of her had felt the wrongness of their relationship. Some
part of her had screamed that it was not right, but she had quieted
that voice and turned over all self-control to fate.

Now as she sat in her quarters with the luxury of time and
distance she knew why it was wrong, because somehow over the years
she had come to love the man Will Riker was now more then she loved
the man he had been. It was a sobering thought, a thought that she
did not feel totally comfortable having. She knew that her love for
him had changed into something else, something more comfortable, and
something deeper. When they had first been together there was
passion the likes of which she had never found again. Now there was
familiarity, companionship, trust, all the things a strong
relationship was built on. There was no doubt that the passion two
inexperienced lovers had ignited on Betazed was still present with
Tom. That in the end was the problem; if the passion was still there
with Thomas Riker did that mean it would still be there with his
double, her best friend, William Riker.

Deanna shook her head to dispel the uncomfortable thoughts
growing there, and stood from her desk. She walked over to the full
length mirror and looked at her reflection. The woman who looked
back at her was older then the woman Tom had known, seasoned, wiser.
She knew in the depths of her soul that what ever had happened
between Tom and her could not continue for much longer. He had to
find his own path, his own life, and in order to do that he would
have to break all contact with the life he knew before, and Deanna
would be the first causality of that battle.

She just had to wait, wait for him to realize the truth of
that, wait for him to see that she was not really the woman he
loved. The woman he loved was lost in memory; she was still on
Betazed at the Janaran Falls waiting for the love of her life to
return to her. Just as the real living breathing Deanna Troi was
waiting. Waiting for that same man to break her heart again.

* * *

For William Riker patience was not an asset he had in abundance.
That was one of the many things that he respected about Capitan
Picard he was a patient man, and when his patience had run out he was
an expert at hiding it. This was one of the countless reasons why he
still felt like he had so much to learn from the Capitan.

Riker stole a glance at the dignified man sitting beside him
on the bridge, and could not help but wonder how Picard would deal
with the current situation that Will found himself in. Of course
Will knew how the Capitan would deal with it; he would suck it up and
wait for the inevitable to happen. The inevitable being that Tom
Riker would eventually end his relationship with Deanna Troi.

Will could still hear Deanna's words on the day that Tom left
echoing through his head. `He won't wait,' she had said, and Will
was inclined to agree. Tom would eventually come to the realization
that he had to move on; he had to find his own life. Will had no
doubt that Tom loved Deanna, but he also knew that Tom had a lot of
catching up to do, in his career and his personal life.

So that left Will right back at square one, waiting for Tom
to break his best friend's heart. A part of him wished it could work
out, if only so Deanna could be spared the pain, but he knew it
wouldn't it was just a matter of time. All that William Riker could
do was wait.