December 18, 2009

by Bryce Newall
Rating: Mostly PG, but with one NC-17 scene (don't worry, there's a warning)

Takes place immediately following the end of the episode "Menage a Troi". A fictional, non-canon romp delving into the land of Imzadi wishful thinking.

Disclaimer: The usual. Paramount owns all. I'm just borrowing. Please don't sue me; you won't get much.


Captain Jean-Luc Picard stood next to Acting Ensign Wesley Crusher at the Conn, gazing at the viewscreen in front of them. The starry vista had just replaced the vision of the now-departed DaiMon Tog of the Ferengi. A collective sigh of relief echoed on the Bridge as Counselor Troi, Commander Riker, and Ambassador Lwaxana Troi were successfully retrieved from Tog's vessel, the Krayton. "Mr. Crusher, set course for Betazed," Picard commanded authoritatively. His shoulders slumped almost imperceptibly as he added in a low voice, "Warp Nine."

Riker grinned, and Troi stifled a giggle, both having heard the last part of Picard's order. Still seated in the Captain's chair, either Lwaxana didn't hear Picard's last two words, or their significance was lost on her, as she continued to admire the back of the Captain's head. "Data, what's our ETA to Betazed?" queried Deanna.

Data tapped a few buttons on the Ops console, then turned to face the Counselor. "At our current speed, we will arrive at Betazed in two hours and thirteen minutes."

Deanna turned to her mother. "Why don't we spend that time together, just you and I? There are some things I need to discuss with you."

//Would one of those things be William, by any chance?// Lwaxana sent. Deanna rolled her eyes and stood, extending a hand to Lwaxana. "That sounds like a wonderful idea, Litt--Deanna. I suppose we can leave the boys to play with their ship..." This time, it was Worf's eyes that rolled.

Lwaxana stood, took Deanna's proffered hand, and the two Trois made their way toward the aft turbolift. As Picard began to walk back to his chair, Lwaxana stopped and turned toward him. "Jean-Luc..." He stopped mid-stride and turned in her direction. She said, in a low, sultry voice, "I kept the seat warm for you." She winked at him and turned back toward the lift. Riker raised an amused eyebrow as Picard's face turned a slight shade of red. Deanna just shook her head and kept quiet as she and Lwaxana entered the turbolift and disappeared from the Bridge.


"I really don't know *where* things stand with us right now, Mother." Deanna was pacing the room; she was becoming exasperated. She had wanted to discuss other matters with her mother, but Lwaxana had steered the conversation in the direction of Deanna's relationship with Will Riker. "We're happy as friends. More than that, I don't know. I don't think *he* knows."

"Have you talked about it with him?" Lwaxana continued the conversation out loud, having gotten used to verbal communication during her time on the Ferengi ship. "It seems to me like you're both just dancing around the issue rather than confronting it. You, of all people, should know about the dangers of hiding your true feelings."

Deanna sighed, still pacing. "It's not that simple. We work together; being intimate could compromise our working relationship. I don't want to put Will in that position. I don't want him to sacrifice his ambitions for me. I don't want that responsibility!"

Lwaxana's eyes were growing tired from watching Deanna pacing back and forth across the VIP suite. Gently but firmly grasping Deanna's elbow the next time she passed by, she led her daughter to the couch and sat down with her. "Deanna... darling... you know how much I love you and care about you, right?" Deanna nodded, looking at her hands folded in her lap. "Good, then you know I mean no disrespect when I say that's the silliest thing I've ever heard!"

Deanna's head snapped up, eyes widened in shock. "Wha--"

Lwaxana cut her off. "William is capable of deciding for himself where his priorities are. He deserves that much consideration, especially from you. Now I can feel that deep down inside him, he loves you, more than you realize. More than *he* realizes! I think he's just afraid to come out and say it, for almost the same reasons you're afraid to talk to him. If the two of you don't sit down and figure this out, I swear to you on the Holy Rings of Betazed that I'll go positively insane! So, for once, listen to your mother and talk with William before this situation gets out of hand!"

Deanna's gaze dropped back to her folded hands. "Maybe... maybe you're right, Mother. I'll talk to Will. In fact, I'll talk to him *tonight*."


Will Riker's attention was not on his companion. He was staring out the large windows of Ten Forward at the stars streaking by as the Enterprise warped back to Betazed.

"Commander? Anyone home in there?" Geordi La Forge waved his hand in front of Riker's face and smiled, stifling a laugh. "This only proves my point, you know."

"What? Sorry, Geordi, I guess my mind wandered. You were saying?"

"Exactly my point, Commander. Why are you two fighting this? I may not be able to see like you do, but I can tell," he tapped his VISOR, "by the way the heat patterns on your face change whenever you're near each other."

"I don't know, Geordi," replied Riker, bringing his full attention back to the Chief Engineer. "We've been happy with the way things are between us now. If I get offered my own ship, I don't want Deanna to feel pressured to come with me and give up her life here. She's worked hard to get where she is; I wouldn't want to uproot her."

"Permission to speak frankly, sir?"

Riker smiled. "Of course, Geordi. We're off duty anyway."

La Forge leaned in closer and lowered his voice. "I'm saying this strictly as a friend. You're being stupid about this." Riker scowled, but La Forge pressed on. "Why don't you talk to her about how you feel, and let *her* decide her future, instead of trying to make the decision for her?"

Riker sat back and mulled over La Forge's words. He was right; he needed to talk to Deanna about this. About them. He had wanted to talk to her about their relationship ever since Farpoint, but had never been able to work up the nerve. Until now, he decided.

"You're right, Geordi. I'll talk to her tonight, after her mother leaves the ship." He looked out the window again, just in time to see the Enterprise drop out of warp and approach Betazed. "Speaking of which," he rose from his seat, "time to go see to a certain Betazoid ambassador's departure." He clapped La Forge on the shoulder as he made his way out. "Thanks, Geordi! I'll let you know what happens... and hopefully, it won't involve me requesting a transfer."

La Forge smiled as Riker left the lounge. As if on cue, Guinan made her way over to La Forge's table and brought him another drink. "So, do you think it'll work between them?" she asked, sitting down across from La Forge.

"How did you know..." he started to ask her, then stopped, remembering Guinan's legendary intuition. "Never mind. I hope so. I sure don't want to see them moping around wondering what could have been for the next decade."

Guinan smiled enigmatically. "Somehow, I think they'll work it out. In my experience, things that are meant to be just... happen."

"I hope you're right, Guinan. For both of their sakes."


Riker strode purposefully toward the VIP quarters. The Enterprise was now in orbit of Betazed, and he wanted to personally escort Ambassador Troi to the transporter room and bid her farewell, and to thank her again for risking her life for that of Deanna and himself. He was off duty, but he felt it was the right thing to do. It would also be the perfect opportunity to talk to Deanna -- he knew she would be escorting her mother as well, and once Lwaxana was back home, they would have time to discuss their relationship.

Despite being interrupted, and subsequently abducted, by the Ferengi, Riker felt his old feelings for Deanna bubbling to the surface the moment they had set foot on Betazed. The way her face lit up when they found the Muktok flower, the look in her eyes when she remembered the good times they'd had... the feel of her lips against his when he kissed her... it had brought memories and feelings flooding back. Riker realized at that time that he wanted -- he *needed* -- to be with Deanna, and as more than just friends. But he had to know how *she* felt about rekindling their relationship, and yet he was afraid to talk to her about it, fearing it could jeopardize the close friendship they enjoyed. Was it worth the risk? He'd been mulling it over since before the Ferengi had intervened, and now he felt he had reached his conclusion.


"Ready to go, Mother?"

Lwaxana Troi gazed out the window of her VIP suite at the beautiful view of Betazed below. "Hard to believe how small it looks from up here," she remarked. She turned to Deanna. "Oh, Little One, I do hope you and William can come to some kind of... agreement. He really is a wonderful man."

Deanna chose for the moment to ignore her mother's annoying use of the phrase "Little One," and instead embraced Lwaxana. "I promise, whatever we decide, you'll be the first to know."

The door chimed. "Come in, Will(iam)," they called out at the same time, both having sensed his presence outside.

The door slid open and the Enterprise's First Officer strode in casually, smiling. "Mrs. Troi, I thought I'd help escort you to the Transporter Room."

"That's very thoughtful of you, William," she said as she turned and winked at Deanna. //Really, darling, you should *definitely* not let him get away this time!// she sent.

//Mother...!!// Deanna sent back, knowing Lwaxana meant well, but still somewhat annoyed at her persistence.

Riker offered his arm to Lwaxana, and she gladly accepted, hooking her arm through his. With Deanna on her other side, the trio made their way out of the VIP suite and headed for the transporter room.


Lwaxana Troi embraced her daughter tightly. "Take care, Little One. I'm sure I'll see you soon." //And good luck with your... discussion.// she sent.

"Be safe, Mother." She let go and Riker embraced her next.

"Always a pleasure to see you, Mrs. Troi. Give my best to Mr. Homn." He released her and she slowly climbed onto the transporter platform. Riker glanced toward Chief O'Brien. "Energize."

"Energizing... err, one moment, sir." O'Brien tapped a few buttons on the control console and frowned.

"Problem, Chief?" queried Riker.

"Uh, just a minor fluctuation on the pattern buffer. Nothing I can't fix..." He looked up to see Lwaxana turning pale. He grinned. "Just kidding, Ma'am. There's nothing wrong. I know much you love transporters."

Deanna suppressed a laugh. Lwaxana's eyes shot daggers at O'Brien, who smiled sheepishly. "Sorry, couldn't resist." He remembered the last time he had tried that little trick, with Dr. Pulaski. It hadn't gone over too well with her, either.

O'Brien engaged the transporter just as Lwaxana started to say, "Perhaps I'll take a shuttle instead..." but she was back in her living room before she could finish.

Troi started out of the transporter room and Riker began to follow, but then paused briefly and turned to O'Brien. "Easy on the transporter jokes, Chief. That could very well be my future mother-in-law you're taunting." He then walked out, leaving a surprised-looking transporter chief in his wake.


Riker and Troi re-entered the VIP suite to make sure everything was in proper order for whoever their next guest might be. Troi checked the bedroom and bathroom area, while Riker perused the living room and kitchen.

"Everything looks good here," Riker called out and made his way toward the bedroom. Troi was just coming out of the bathroom, and their eyes met. "Deanna--"


They both began at the same time, then laughed. Troi gestured to him. "You first," as they sat down on the edge of the bed.

'Might as well just come right out with it,' Riker thought to himself. Unable to meet her gaze, he looked down. "Deanna, I want to talk to you about... well... us. Our relationship--"

"Will," Troi interrupted. "So do I."

Now he looked up at her. "So do you... what? Want to talk about us? Or want to move on to something beyond friendship?" There, he had laid the cards out on the table. Time to see if she would play.

"Both," she answered. "Will... Imzadi... I know how important becoming a starship captain is to you. My career is important to me, too. Nothing would make me happier than to have you as part of my life, as more than just a friend. But I don't want to hold you back." Deanna averted his gaze and looked down at her hands.

Riker reached out and took her hand. "Deanna, from the moment I first saw you on the Enterprise at Farpoint, I realized how empty my life had been without you. Standing you up on Risa was the biggest mistake I've ever made in my life. Well, maybe the second-biggest." He chuckled half-heartedly. "Maybe leaving you on Betazed in the first place was the biggest one; I'm not sure." He looked up at her again and saw tears forming in her eyes. He was undoubtedly causing her to remember the pain he had put her through, which she had probably buried until now. But he was determined to say what needed to be said. "I've wanted to be more than just friends for a long time. But I was afraid to tell you... afraid of losing your friendship. And I didn't want you to think that I expected you to forget about your career."

Troi stared at him, unsure of what to say. He was pouring his heart out to her, something she had not expected. She could feel tears burning her eyes, and a few manage to escape and cascade down her cheeks. Riker brought his other hand up, caressing her cheek and wiping away some of the tears. He continued, "Remember these words? 'I cannot imagine a future without you.' You may not realize this, but after I left Betazed, not a day went by that I didn't think about you, wondering if I had made the right decision. I put my career ahead of my feelings, and ahead of you. But my priorities have changed. *I've* changed." His voice caught in his throat, and Deanna saw his eyes becoming moist. "The past two days finally made me realize that, and gave me the kick in the rear that I needed. Please, Imzadi," his own tears were falling in earnest now, mirroring hers. "Please, let's give this a chance. I don't care where my life ends up as long as you're part of it."

Deanna pulled Will tightly against her. "I feel the same way," she whispered against his ear. "I was going to tell you how I felt, how I wanted to be the most important part of your life, and was expecting to have to fight for you, but..." She pulled back and smiled at him through her tears. "You've made it easy for me. Yes, I want to make this work, more than anything!"

Riker couldn't contain himself any longer. He pulled her to him and kissed her fiercely, desperately, longingly. An emotional tidal wave of pent-up desires, regrets, hopes, and dreams flowed between them as their bond was instantly reawakened. Troi returned the kiss with equal passion, and both of them realized the same thing: They were home. This was home... not the Enterprise, not Betazed, but each other.

When they finally separated, both of them were breathless, reeling, and mildly shocked, but felt a happiness that neither had experienced for years. More tears spilled down Troi's cheeks, but she didn't care; these were tears of joy. She hugged him to her again, tightly, and her voice whispered in his mind. //Imzadi... I love you. I always have. I *need* you...// Riker could sense the passion and desire behind her unspoken words.

[Warning! NC-17 material ahead! You have been warned.]

//I need you, too, Imzadi... I want you...// he sent back. Her eyes widened in surprise; she couldn't remember the last time he had been able to communicate with her telepathically. He sensed her surprise, but distracted her with soft kisses against her ear, slowly working his way along her jaw and down to her neck. Deanna sighed with pleasure. "Too bad the bed's already made," she whispered.

Will kissed her again on the lips and smiled. "Not a problem; it can be re-made." And with that, he pushed her down onto the comforter, raining soft, sensual kisses along her neck and collarbone, eventually making his way back to her lips, capturing them in a mind-shattering kiss. Deanna groaned as his tongue sought entry into her mouth. //Imzadi...// The lilting sound of her voice in his mind heightened his arousal. She smiled into his kisses as she felt his hardness against her.

Panting for breath, he whispered, "If you think this is a bad idea, you'd better say it right now..." She cut him off with another kiss, her tongue teasing his lips, and sent a wave of pure lust through their bond. He closed his eyes and groaned; he had his answer. Will expertly divested Deanna of her top, but before he could proceed further, she suddenly flipped him over onto his back. Momentary shock registered on his face, and she giggled. His hands still around her back, he quickly undid her bra and tossed it aside, allowing her full, perfect breasts to hang down tantalizingly in front of him. He took one already-erect nipple into his mouth and sucked gently, eliciting a moan of ecstasy from her as her eyes closed, savoring the moment.

In short order, their clothes were scattered across the bedroom of the VIP suite, and thanks to the hearty construction of Enterprise corridors, the sounds of intense, passionate lovemaking could not be heard by passersby. Will's groans of pleasure as he thrust into her, Deanna's own cries of passion, and the echoes of their mutual desire and longing along their bond, soon brought them to a simultaneous, blinding, mind-numbing climax as they released together. In that moment, a half dozen Romulan Warbirds could have decloaked and opened fire on the Enterprise, and neither of them would have noticed.

As they slowly came back down to earth and reality settled in, Will gently extricated himself from within Deanna's confines, and embraced her tightly. A light sheen of sweat had formed on both of their skin, and he felt her shiver as the cool air began to take hold. He pulled the comforter around them for warmth, as he whispered into her ear, "I love you, Imzadi."

Deanna snuggled impossibly closer to him. //I love you, too,// echoed in his mind.


[We now return you to your regularly-scheduled PG rating.]

Ten Forward was bustling with activity. Alpha Shift had just ended, and many of the crew had come in to relax, have a drink, eat, or just socialize. Tonight was "Jazz Night" -- the ship's jazz combo, lead by Will Riker on the trombone, was playing a lively rendition of "Take Five." Deanna Troi and Beverly Crusher were seated at the bar, facing the musicians. At a nearby table sat Worf, Geordi La Forge, Data, Wesley Crusher, and even Captain Picard. The Captain was an extremely infrequent patron of Ten Forward, but Riker had asked him to be sure to make an appearance this evening. Picard knew that Riker's jazz combo would be performing, but he suspected his First Officer of having something else up his sleeve.

As "Take Five" came to an end, the members of the crowd who were paying attention applauded. "Any requests?" Riker called out.

Troi looked up with a devilish glint in her eye. "How about 'Night Bird?'" She asked innocently. Riker knew she would ask for that. He said nothing, but raised his eyebrow in mock surprise.

"Ok, ladies and gentlemen... 'Night Bird.'" The guitar, keyboard, and drums started up. The infamous trombone solo, which Riker had yet to get down pat, wouldn't come up for several measures.

Troi grinned at Crusher. "Something I should know?" the red-haired Doctor asked.

"He's been practicing the solo for years. I'm anxious to see if he'll get it right."

Guinan came up behind with a fresh drink for each of them. "You're ruthless, Counselor," she remarked as she set the glasses down.

Riker raised the trombone to his lips and was about to begin playing, when he suddenly waved his hand up in the air. "Stop, stop the music!" he shouted. The lounge suddenly became quiet. "I can't play this song..." he began, eliciting a collective gasp from the crowd. "There's something I need to do first." Soft murmurs whispered throughout the lounge as Riker made his way toward the bar. Troi watched him come toward her, concern etched on her face. He stopped a few feet in front of her, staring at her.

"I'll be able to play 'Night Bird' for you on one condition." He fidgeted nervously.

"What is it?" Troi asked him.

Riker reached into the pocket of his trousers and pulled out an object. Beverly immediately recognized a black velvet box, and a smile slowly spread across her face. Riker held the box in the palm of his hand, stretching it toward Deanna. "I can play 'Night Bird...'", he said as he knelt down on one knee before her, "if you will promise to make me the happiest man in the universe." Troi's confused look slowly turned to one of understanding. Riker opened the box, revealing a gorgeous diamond solitaire. His breath caught in his throat as he uttered the words, "De-- Deanna Troi, will you be my wife?"

Deanna choked back a sob as tears of joy fell down her cheeks. "Oh Gods, Will, yes! Yes, I *will* be your wife!" She sprang off the bar stool and flung herself into his arms. They kissed, long and passionate, as the crowd erupted in applause and cheers. But they didn't hear; all they knew at this moment was each other, their unconditional love, their need to be together, and the feeling that everything was right in the universe.

From behind the bar, Guinan remarked to Beverly, "Well, at least he got *that* part right."