Coda to Season 2 episode "Shades of Grey". What took place after
Riker woke up in Sickbay


Sept. 11, 2009

I never thought I'd actually try my hand at writing, but after reading so much of the good literature here, I became inspired. :) My wife and I have been watching TNG on DVD for the past few weeks. Although we haven't reached this episode yet, the idea struck me to write a short coda piece to the episode "Shades of Grey". This is my first attempt at writing, and I'm sure it shows. :) I took the existing episode ending and modified it slightly, just removing the excess dialog. Comments welcome, but please be gentle with me. :) This is pure fluff, for fun.


Disclaimer: Paramount/Viacom/CBS owns all. I'm just borrowing.

Coda to "Shades of Grey"
By Bryce Newall
Rating: PG


"Data! Something's got me...!!!" Will Riker heard himself cry out as he saw himself being dragged backward along the sand and slowly being engulfed in the oily black slick known simply as "Armus."

A few moments later, Will began to feel consciousness swirling slowly around his mind. A familiar presence asserted itself as he gradually became aware of his surroundings. It was her. He struggled to open his eyes and focus on his surroundings. He soon recognized the familiar confines of the Enterprise's Sickbay. But more importantly, he saw her beautiful, smiling face looking down at him with a mixture of concern and relief. Deanna, his Imzadi, who had apparently never left his side during his brush with death.

He smiled weakly. "You still here?" he managed to croak out.

Still holding his hand in hers, she fought back tears as she answered wryly, "I could ask you the same question." He felt her relief wash over him, nearly losing himself in the sensation.


After Dr. Pulaski released him from Sickbay, Will made his way back to his quarters. The doctor had asked Captain Picard to release him from duty for the next day, to give him time to recuperate. Picard was happy to oblige, as much for his own sake as for Riker's -- after all, he wouldn't want to face the good doctor's wrath if he refused!

Deanna had stayed behind in Sickbay to confer with Pulaski. "Doctor..." she began. She looked as if she were on the verge of tears again. "I can't begin to thank you enough for saving him. If he had died... I don't know what--" Deanna's voice broke. Pulaski put a comforting arm around Deanna's shoulder, sparing her from having to finish voicing her agonizing thought.

"It's what I do. Or at least try to do." Pulaski replied. Deanna smiled wanly. "Besides, I can't take all the credit. Without you here, sensing what he was feeling, we may never have discovered the need to stimulate negative emotions. You were every bit as important to his recovery as I was."

Pulaski gave Deanna's arm an affectionate squeeze. "Do me a favor?" she asked Deanna.

"Of course."

"Would you make sure he really goes back to his quarters and gets some rest?"

The corner of Deanna's mouth turned up in a smirk. "Sure thing, Doctor. All part of my responsibility as Ship's Counselor, right?" Pulaski grinned as Deanna turned and left Sickbay.

As Deanna headed toward the turbolift, her mind turned back to the conversation in Dr. Pulaski's office, and the thought she hadn't finished. Keeping her face a mask of calm, she waited impatiently for the turbolift. Once it finally arrived, she stepped in without turning around. "Deck 8." As the doors closed and the lift began its quiet journey, a single tear made its way defiantly down Deanna's cheek. What if he had died? "Oh gods..." she whispered, shivering as she imagined the emptiness that would have permeated her mind, her heart... her entire soul... if he had been lost. She willed the lift to reach its destination faster.

When the lift arrived at Deck 8, Deanna composed herself and strode purposefully toward Will's quarters. The doctor did ask her to check on him, after all. So why was she feeling nervous? She chalked it up to leftover feelings from the experience in Sickbay. Within seconds, Deanna found herself in front of Wills' quarters. She could sense his presence inside, and was grateful that he had followed Pulaski's orders and had not tried to go to the Bridge, or even the Holodeck. She rang the chime.


"Computer, music. Jazz, 20th century, Earth."

//Please specify artist or title.//

"Random selection." Riker sat back in a comfortable chair as the computer chose from its vast selection of music. He tried to relax, but was finding it difficult to let his mind go blank. Doing nothing was never one of Will Riker's strong suits, even as fatigued as he felt from his ordeal. He had considered poking his head in on the Bridge, but quickly retracted that idea, knowing the Captain would have sent him right back to his quarters. Perhaps a visit to the Holodeck instead... there were any number of scenarios that would have been far more interesting than sitting in his quarters.

His door chime rang, interrupting his reverie. He looked up, and a smile touched his lips when he felt Deanna's presence outside. He stood and called out, "Come in!" The doors swooshed open and Deanna walked in tentatively. She stopped a few feet inside, and the doors closed behind her. "Come to check up on me, Counselor?" Will chided.

"Just making sure you're following the doctor's orders, Commander," she replied, with more cheerfulness than she felt.

He motioned her over to the couch in his living area. His smile faded slightly. "But that's not all," he started.

"I thought I was the empath", Deanna replied, her smile also fading. As they sat down, she continued. "But you're right; I didn't come here just because Dr. Pulaski asked me to. Will--"

Will instinctively pulled her close into his embrace. Her train of thought was momentarily derailed as she sank into him. She felt tears welling up under her half-closed eyelids, and fought valiantly to restrain them. "Will... if you had died in there, I don't know what I would have done... how I could have--" her words choked off as she lost the battle with her emotions. Tears ran unchecked down her cheeks, and she trembled silently, reminding Will of the Jalara jungle on Betazed years earlier.

He held her, gently stroking the back of her head. "It's OK, Imzadi, I'm here. I'm not going anywhere."

Deanna's trembling gradually subsided, and she looked up at him with tear-stained eyes. "Do you have any idea how frightened I was back there in Sickbay?" She asked in a barely-audible whisper.

Will gently brushed a stray tear from her cheek with his thumb. "Actually..." he replied gently and smiled, "I do."

Deanna's countenance took on a puzzled expression. 'He couldn't have been sensing my feelings,' she thought to herself, 'not when he was unconscious.'

As if knowing what was going through her mind, Will continued. "Remember about a year ago, when your shuttle crash-landed on Vagra II?" She nodded. "When Lieutenant Prieto's voice cut off and we lost contact with the shuttle...during those few moments, I was scared, Deanna." His expression became haunted with the memory. "I was more scared than at any other time in my life. Not knowing if you had survived the crash, if you were alive or dead... I was scared out of my wits."

In spite of the memory, the corners of Deanna's mouth turned up in a smile. "I'll bet you hid your fear quite well from the rest of the Bridge crew."

Riker, in turn, smiled back. "Of course! A first officer can't show feelings in front of the crew..." A short laugh escaped her lips and she swatted his arm lightly. His expression grew serious again. "When we beamed down to the planet, I began to get a sense of you and I knew you were alive. Of course, then we had Armus to deal with..." He shuddered at the memory of being pulled inside the black ooze. "But anyway, I do understand how you must have felt. Armus killed Tasha, and I had no idea if he might have tried to do the same to you--" his voice cracked as he remembered not only Lt. Yar's sudden and senseless death, but his own feelings of helplessness, inadequacy and despair at knowing that he was in no position to protect Deanna from the sadistic creature.

Deanna felt the shift in Will's emotional state. Both of them knew full well that serving in Starfleet, on board a starship -- be it for exploration, research, or battle -- involved risks. But the bond they shared made it difficult for them to accept that either of them could lose the other at any time. The mere thought of the emptiness that would wash over one of their souls if the other were lost was too much to contemplate. Deanna pushed the errant thoughts into a far corner of her mind, and she could feel that Will was fighting the same battle inside his own psyche.

Pulling Deanna close to him again, Will felt waves of love and caring emanating from her being. Her arm snaked out and reached up to his face, gently touching his cheek. As she gazed up at him, a thousand emotions swirled around in her mind, and even if she weren't an empath, she could tell from his expression that he was feeling them as well. Her hand reached to the back of his head and pulled him down closer to her face. A hair's breadth separated their lips, and she whispered, "Imzadi... you complete me. Don't ever leave me." Her lips then met his in a warm, tender kiss. She felt him return the kiss with equal gentleness, and heard the word echo in her mind. "Imzadi."