The Understanding

“This inquiry is concluded” The words had barely left Admiral Joel Victor’s mouth when William Riker left the room and headed toward the apartment had had been living in since the Farragut arrived at Earth. When he arrived, he sat down on a chair in the spartan apartment and put his head in his hands. He knew he would be reprimanded for permitting an inexperienced helmsman at the helm during a battle, but he never dreamed his career would be taken away from him. He knew that Admiral Victor still blamed him for not having the Enterprise at Wolf 359 to assist in the battle. Admiral Victor’s son had been on the Melbourne when it was destroyed with all hands lost. Admiral Paul Bayer hadn’t liked him since he got the Enterprise over his daughter. As far as he knew, Admiral Brett Starr had nothing against him. Admiral Nechayev had undertaken Will’s defense and assured him that Admiral Bayer was not the vindictive kind. “I guess she was wrong.” He said aloud.

He got up stripped off his uniform for the last time and put on civilian clothes and sneakers. “I guess I better get used to them.” He replicated a duffel bag and put his civilian clothes in it as well as his toiletries. He left his uniforms and boots in the closet. He hadn’t decorated the room so when he finished packing his bag, he walked out without a backward look. His neighbor, Lily Ray, had just stepped out her door and saw Will moving quickly down the hall and knew the worst had happened. She knew he had been worried but also knew what happened to the Enterprise was not his fault. She had been on the bridge that day and testified that Will did everything he could to keep the Enterprise

Starfleet Command

Admiral Nechayev, Captain Picard, and Admiral Starr were discussing the inquiry.

“I couldn’t convince them that Commander Riker wasn’t at fault, but both believed that there was more he could have done to prevent 17 people from dying. Admiral Bayer even said that his daughter wouldn’t have permitted a ship’s counselor to take the helm during the course of a battle. I was almost ready to leave our deliberations when Joel Victor said that, and I quote “Riker never seems to do enough to save lives.”

“We need to appeal.” Nechayev said. “Before the decision was announced, Will said to me that he didn’t want to appeal if the decision went against him. Captain, can you convince him to change his mind?”

“I’ll try.” Picard replied. “But you know how stubborn Will is at times.”

“Tell him what Victor and Bayer said. It might convince him.” Starr said.

“I only wish Deanna hadn’t left for Betazed. She could have been a great help in convincing Will to appeal.” Picard said. “Beverly Crusher should be helpful. She and Will are quite close.”

“In the meantime, I’m going to work on the appeal.” Nechayev said with determination.

“Alynna, you can appeal without Riker’s permission.” Starr said.

“True, but even if I win the appeal, if Will doesn’t want his career back, I can’t help him. So without his cooperation, an appeal just isn’t worth it.”

Beverly came over to the group. Picard turned to her. “Beverly, we could use your help in convincing Will to change his mind about appealing this decision.”

“I just sent Deanna a message letting her know the decision and asking her to come back; that Will is going to need his best friend right now. Is there any other way I can help?”

“Do you think you can talk to him?” Nechayev said. “Captain Picard can fill you in on our conversation.”

“I’ll try.”

“Come on, let’s go over to his apartment and try to talk to him.” Picard said.

“I’ll get started on the appeal. Brett, would you be willing to help with this?”


“Good luck.” Picard said.

“To all of us.” Starr said.

While Crusher and Picard headed to Riker’s apartment, Jean Luc filled Beverly in on what Starr said happened during deliberations.

“What I don’t understand is why Deanna left Earth. She knew how concerned Will was about this inquiry.” Picard said. “I know Lwaxana was driving Starfleet Command crazy with her constant communications asking whether we returned and then pestering Deanna to go home.”

“That’s part of it. I asked Deanna why she would leave when it’s obvious that Will needs her. She told me that he does need her but didn’t want to talk to her. Apparently, they had a big fight shortly before she left. From the way she talked they must have said some horrible things to each other. So she gave in to her mother and started for home.”

“That could be the reason Will just gave up. He seemed fine until a couple of days ago.”

By this time, they arrived at the door to Will’s former apartment. Beverly rang the bell. As she tried a second time, Ray came down the hall.

“Captain, Doctor, Commander Riker left.”

“Lieutenant, did he say where he was going?” Picard asked.

“I didn’t talk to him. He was in civilian clothes and carrying a duffel bag. I heard what happened. When you talk to him, tell him I still believe in him.”

“We will.” Beverly said.

Ray went into her apartment as Picard and Crusher started down the hall. “I guess we better head off to Alaska to try to talk to Will.” Picard said. “Let’s go to my place and get the address and directions once we get to Valdez.”

“I’m going to my place to see if Deanna responded to my message. I also want to pack a bag and stay with Will until Deanna gets there. I’m really concerned about him.”

“We all are. I would too but I promised Marie I would help her sort out Robert’s affairs. I’ll come to your place after I get the address and let Marie know the outcome and that I’ll be there as soon as I talk to Will.”

“Sounds like a plan.”

When Beverly reached her apartment, she found a message from Deanna stating that she would get back to Earth as soon as the shuttle reached a star base and she could arrange for transport back to Earth. Beverly acknowledged the message and packed a bag. Soon Picard arrived and they left for Valdez.

Part 2
When Beverly and Jean Luc arrived in Valdez, they went to Will’s family home. Picard knocked on the door but there was no answer.

“Maybe he’s out.” Beverly said but, to Picard, she didn’t sound convinced.

“May I help you?” A woman’s voice said from behind Beverly and Jean Luc. She was an older woman who looked like she spent quite a bit of time out of doors.

“We’re looking for a friend.” Beverly said.

“Who’s your friend? This is my brother’s home.”

“We’re looking for Will Riker.”

“He’s in San Francisco.”

“He left. We believe he may have come here.”

“And you are?”

“I’m Beverly Crusher and this is Jean Luc Picard.”

“Will’s mentioned you two. I’m his Aunt Susan.” She went to the door. When they went inside, there was no sign that Will had been there. Susan went upstairs and a few minutes later came back down. “He’s been here. There’s a duffel bag on his bed. I think I know where he might be but please tell me what happened.” She indicated that they all sit down in the living room.

“As you know, the Enterprise D crashed and 17 people were killed. An inquiry was convened and unfortunately, Will’s career was taken from him.” Picard said

“He must be devastated.”

“That’s why we’re so concerned. He had a fight with his closest friend. He doesn’t even want to appeal the decision despite the fact that two of the judges were biased against him.”

“The friend is Deanna?” Susan asked.

“Yes. You’ve heard about her?” Beverly asked.

“Yes. Will is so obviously in love with her. What happened?”

“Deanna was dating one of Will’s friends and he didn’t like it. He didn’t say anything to Deanna but she had to have known given their past relationship. A few days ago, it escalated into a full-blown fight. She left for Betazed and Will lost interest in the inquiry.”

Susan got up from the sofa. "I think I know where he might be. There’s a spot overlooking Prince William Sound that he always went to when he wanted to be alone to think.” She noticed Beverly’s expression. “You’re worried he might do something drastic?” It was not a question.

“I’m not sure. The look in his eyes when he left the inquiry…” Her voice trailed off.

“Let’s go then. It’s a short walk.” The trio left the cabin and started up the path toward an overlook.

When they reached the overlook, they saw a sight that concerned all three. Will was standing near the edge of the cliff staring out over the sound.

Part 3
Beverly started toward Will. Picard stopped her. “You might startle him. “

Will must have heard Picard. “Go. I want to be alone.”

Beverly slowly moved toward him. “Will, please. Admiral Nechayev is going to appeal. Victor and Bayer were biased against you. You’re career is not over.”

“I don't care about my career.”

“Deanna is coming back. She doesn’t hate you. She cares a great deal about you”

“She loves Worf.”

“They split up a couple of days ago. She came to talk to you because she wanted to tell you herself.” Beverly could tell from Will’s body language that he wasn’t convinced. “She’ll tell you when she gets here.” By this time she was within an arm’s reach from Will.

“With or without her mother?”

“Without. She hasn’t gotten back to Betazed yet. She’s going to get a return shuttle from the first star base her shuttle stops at.” She reached out and took Will’s hand. She doubted he would do anything with someone’s holding his hand. She only hoped he didn’t jerk his hand away and fall. Susan and Jean Luc came over to assist Beverly if necessary. “Come on, let’s sit down and talk.”

Will turned around and moved to a rock several feet from the edge of the cliff where he sat down and pulled his knees up to his chest. Beverly sat down next to him and put an arm around his shoulders. “I thought she was coming to tell me that she and Worf were getting married. Who ended it?”

“Worf. He could tell through this whole inquiry how Deanna felt – rather feels – about you.”

Jean Luc and Susan came over to the rock. Jean Luc put a hand on Will’s shoulder. “What should I tell Admiral Nechayev?”

“What did Admirals Victor and Bayer say?”

“Admiral Bayer said that his daughter wouldn’t have let a ship’s counselor take the helm in a battle and Admiral Victor said that you never seem to do enough to save lives. Admiral Starr said he almost left the deliberations when Victor said that.”

“As I told Jean Luc and Beverly on the way up here, they both sound like a couple of jerks and if I ever get my hands on them…” Susan said stopping when she saw the look on Will’s face.

Will laughed for the first time. “She’s always been quite outspoken.”

“Kind of like Lwaxana?” Jean Luc said. He turned to Susan. “Deanna’s mother.”

“I hope I get to meet her some day.” She said with a smile. “I’ll be going home. How long will you be here?”

“I need to go. My brother and nephew were killed in a fire a few weeks ago and I need to get to France to assist my sister-in-law.”

“Oh, Jean Luc, I’m so sorry. You must go. Give my sympathies to your sister-in-law.”

“Thank you.”

“I’m staying until I can talk some sense into your nephew.” Beverly said.

“That could take awhile.” Susan said. “Well, I’ll go get the house opened up.”

“Don’t go to any trouble for me.”

“The place hasn’t been used since the last time Kyle was home which was about 2 years ago. The least I could do is get some food in so you two can eat.”

“Thanks, Aunt Susan.” Will said. “Bev, why don’t you go with Aunt Susan. I want to stay here and think some more. I promise I won’t do anything drastic.”


“What should I tell Admiral Nechayev?” Picard asked.

“I’ll let you know. I don’t know if I want to go back into Starfleet.”

“Let me know, but think long and hard about it. You’re an excellent officer. I would hate to see Starfleet lose you because of a couple of renegade Klingons.”

The trio left and Will turned to look out over the sound. Was it possible his career wasn’t over? Was it possible that Deanna still loved him despite what he said to her? He knew he had some decisions to make.

Part 4
At Starbase 20, Deanna Troi was just getting off the shuttle. She headed for shuttle control to find the next shuttle heading to Earth. Based on what Beverly told her, she thought she had better hurry. She and Will had said some terrible things to each other and she regretted every word especially after seeing Will’s expression after she told him she hated him and never wanted to see him again. She could sense his demeanor change from cautiously optimistic to hopeless but, at the time, she didn’t care, she was angry with him. He had also said some horrible things to her but she knew he didn’t mean anything except when he said that she didn’t care about his feelings when she was dating Worf. She did care that’s why she had gone to tell him that they had split up and why. Unfortunately, she never did get a chance to tell him. She hoped Beverly or Captain Picard told him.

She found shuttle control and was able to get a shuttle that was leaving 2 hours later. She decided to do a little shopping and perhaps find a peace offering for Will. She also decided she better call her mother and tell her why she wasn’t coming home. She figured her mother wouldn’t be happy but knew her mother would be concerned about Will and would understand.

“Mother, I’m really concerned about Will. Beverly said he was despondent after the inquiry was concluded and left immediately for Alaska.”

“I know but I need to know that you’re alright. This whole thing has been traumatic for you – crashing a starship.”

“I’m fine both physically and emotionally. Right now, Will is my only concern. We had a terrible fight the day before I left. I have to go back to Earth. I promise I’ll come home as soon as I know Will is alright.”

“OK” Lwaxana said with a sigh. “Give Will my love.”

“I will.”

After finishing with her mother, she went to find a gift for Will. After selecting a music disk, she headed to the shuttle port. The return shuttle trip seemed to take much longer than the trip to the starbase. During the trip, Deanna realized that she had never stopped loving Will. It took a major fight for her to realize it . Now, she could lose him permanently if Beverly was right about Will’s state of mind. She wanted to contact Beverly but wasn’t sure how to contact her in Alaska.

When the shuttle arrived in San Francisco the next morning, Deanna immediately looked for passage to Valdez. The next shuttle was scheduled for an hour later but was scheduled to go to Anchorage. The clerk at the shuttle port assured that she could get passage to Valdez from Anchorage. She took the shuttle to Anchorage. When she arrived there, she was able to find a local shuttle to Valdez that was leaving in 15 minutes and would take about 30 minutes to Valdez.

Upon arriving in Valdez, she rented a shuttle and made her way to Will’s family cabin. As she got close, she started to sense Will. She didn’t sense that anything was wrong. He seemed to be pensive. She hoped he was giving some thought to continuing his career if Admiral Nechayev was successful in the appeal. She hoped Beverly told him that she and Worf had split up.

She saw smoke coming from the chimney which she felt was a good sign. She knocked on the door. Beverly opened the door and pulled her into a hug. Deanna could tell she was relieved that Deanna was there but wasn’t upset.

“I am so glad you’re here.”

“I am too. Where’s Will?”


“Is he better?”

“I think a little. When Jean Luc and I arrived, his aunt took us to a spot he likes to go to think and he was standing near the edge of the cliff. I convinced him that his career isn’t over and that you still care a great deal about him. He hasn’t decided whether he wants to appeal the decision although there was some bias by Admirals Victor and Bayer. I think he’s waiting to see how it goes with you.”

“Does he know I’m coming?”

“Yes. I told him I wasn’t sure when. Have you had breakfast?”

“I only had a donut.”

“How does an omelet sound?”


“Wait until you meet Will’s Aunt Susan. She reminds me so much of your mother.”

“Will must love that.”

“He said he didn’t even notice until Jean Luc mentioned it, but he didn’t disagree.”

Part 5

At Curtis Creek, Will was having some fishing success catching 4 salmon so far. He had also done some thinking. He decided he would contact Admiral Nechayev and allow her to file the appeal if only to expose Victor’s and Bayer’s bias against him. He hadn’t decided on whether he would continue his career if the appeal was successful and the inquiry’s decision was overturned. As for his relationship with Deanna, he would have to wait until he talked to her when she arrived.

After catching a few more salmon, he headed back to the house. He took the fish into the kitchen to clean them. He called out to Beverly that he was back but got no response. He figured she may have gone into town to get some vegetables to complement his grilled salmon. After cleaning the fish, he went upstairs to take a shower.
While he was in the shower, Beverly and Deanna returned. They took their bags into the kitchen and found the fish that Will had cleaned.

“He must be back.” Beverly said. “I’ll go for a walk and let you two talk.”

“That’s not necessary.”

“I know but I want to give you some time alone. You’ll both be more willing to talk without me around.”


“Besides, we forgot to get wine for dinner.”

After they finished putting the groceries away, Beverly left for town again.

Deanna was sitting in the living room reading a book she had gotten at the star base when Will came down the stairs. He stopped at the foot of the stairs when he saw Deanna. She looked up and smiled. He moved into the room and sat in another chair.

“When did you get in?”

“While you were fishing. Beverly went to get some wine for the picnic. I hear you’re grilling salmon.”


There was an awkward silence between the two. Neither was sure what to say to the other. They both knew they needed to apologize but neither was sure where to start. Deanna decided to start where she was planning to start the day of their fight.

“Worf and I split up.”

“I heard. Beverly said that Worf initiated the split because, during the inquiry, he could tell how you felt about me.” He left off what she added.

“Yes. I was coming to your place to tell you. I didn’t want you to hear from someone else.”

“I thought you were coming to tell me that you and Worf were engaged.”

“I have my doubts our relationship would have ever progressed that far.” Deanna decided to start the apologies, but so did Will.

“I’m sorry” both said simultaneously.

Both chuckled a bit breaking the tension..

“Let me go first. I didn’t give you a chance to tell me why you stopped by. I just jumped to the wrong conclusion. I didn’t mean anything I said.” He got up, moved to the window, and looked out. “You don’t need my permission or even tell when you start to date anyone. We’re friends. Sure, you changed your mind about relationships while serving on the same ship but that’s OK. I’m going to finally admit to you and to myself that I was jealous. Deanna, I still care a great deal about you and I am so sorry for what I said.” He turned around and saw that Deanna was still sitting on the chair with tears streaming down her face. He went over and knelt in front of her taking her hands.

“What’s wrong?”

“I knew you didn’t mean any of it except when you said I didn’t care about your feelings. I didn’t think about you at all. Every time you thought a relationship might turn serious, you came to tell me. I didn’t do the same. I know you want me to be happy and I was with Worf but you didn’t need to find out by seeing us together in Ten Forward. I should have told you. I certainly didn’t mean what I said either – especially about never wanting to see you again and I certainly don’t hate you.” Will moved to the sofa and pulled Deanna into his arms and sat holding her as she cried.

Soon Deanna’s sobs quieted and she relaxed. Will smiled as he realized she had fallen asleep. It had been awhile since she had fallen asleep in his arms. He got up picking her up as he did and started up the stairs. He wasn’t sure which room Beverly put Deanna in but figured that it shouldn’t be too hard. He opened the door to the second guest room and saw Deanna’s bag on the bed. He laid Deanna on the bed and moved her bag to the floor. He got an afghan and covered Deanna with it. Before leaving the room, he kissed her on the forehead. Subconsciously, Deanna sensed the kiss and smiled in her sleep. Will smiled and left the room. He went downstairs and into the kitchen to start preparing the vegetables for the picnic.

As he was cutting up the vegetables, Beverly came in the kitchen. He looked up and smiled the brightest smile Beverly had seen since in several months. “I gather you two made up.”

“We’ve started to. Both of us apologized for what we said during the fight. We need to talk some more. Deanna broke down and fell asleep in my arms.”

“Which room is she in?” Beverly asked mischievously although she was pretty sure she knew the answer.

“The second guest room.” He knew what Beverly was getting at.

“Since I won’t get the answer I want, I’ll change the subject. What were you thinking about for dessert?”

“Originally, I was thinking about an apple pie; but since we have another person, I’ve been thinking about a chocolate cake. It might be a good peace offering for Deanna.”

Beverly opened the second bag. “I figured as much and brought all the ingredients for a chocolate cake.”

After the cake was ready, Beverly worked on cooking the vegetables while Will went outside and worked on the salmon. Deanna came in the kitchen. “You should have wakened me to help.”

“That’s OK. Everything is just about ready in here. Will is outside grilling the salmon. I heard you two only got as far as apologizing for what you said.”

“Before I fell asleep.”

“In Will’s arms from what I hear.”

“Yes. I gather he took me upstairs.”


Deanna spotted the cake on the counter. “You two made a chocolate cake.”

“Yep. Will thought it would be a good peace offering.”

“I got him one too. I’ll give it to him after dinner.”

“Should I leave?”

“No.” She realized what Beverly was getting at. “Beverly! We’re not ready for anything like that yet.”

“Anything like what?” Will said as he came in the kitchen.

Deanna looked at Beverly who just shrugged.

Will noticed that Deanna was hovering near the cake. “Hey, no sticking your fingers in the icing.” He said with a smile.

Deanna looked at him with a guilty expression. “You know me too well.”

“Yes I do.”

Beverly smiled. “This is what I like to see; you two talking and teasing. I haven’t seen that in far too long.”

“I agree.” Will said. Deanna nodded. “Well, ladies, if you have the side dishes ready, the salmon is on the table.”

Deanna reached for the cake but Will stopped her. “That can stay in here. You wouldn’t want the icing to melt would you?”

“No.” Deanna responded and reached for the salad.

While they were eating, Deanna noticed that Will seemed pensive. “Are you OK?”

” I did some thinking while I was grilling the fish and came up with something, but I would like to run it by you.”

“What is it?” Deanna asked.

“I’d rather discuss it with you alone first.”

“Is it something you would prefer Beverly not hear?”

“No, in fact, if you agree, she’ll be involved.”

“It’s OK with me if you want to discuss it now.”

“OK. Dee, how would you feel about having Beverly hold us accountable to each other?”

“I would be more than willing. What would I do?” Beverly said.

“Make sure we communicate.”

“Sure, but most of the time you communicate very well.”

“I didn’t communicate when I started dating Worf. Do you remember the Jnaii?” Beverly nodded. “When Will felt that he was becoming close to Soren, he came and told me and yet I didn’t do the same when I started dating Worf. I didn’t think about Will’s feelings. I could sense he was hurt, not because I was dating Worf, but because I didn’t say anything to him.”

“Do you two mind if I make an observation?” Both shook their heads. “Deanna, I was never in favor of your relationship with Worf. I could tell how badly Will was hurting. I know now it was because you didn’t say anything to him. One thing I’ve also noticed over the 7 years I’ve known the 2 of you is that it is so obvious to me how you truly feel about each other. I’ve seen the way you’ve looked at each other. When I had to kill you to break Alkar’s hold on you, Will was scared. Will, Kate Pulaski told me that Deanna stayed in Sickbay the whole time she was trying to save your life. It’s obvious to me and to the entire Enterprise senior staff, including Worf, that you two love each other. I just wish you would admit it to each other and to yourselves.” She smiled as she noticed that Will and Deanna were looking at each other in precisely the way she talked about. “Now that I’ve given you two something to think about, let’s finish eating.”

Part 6

After dinner, the trio cleaned up and then Beverly went into the house to watch a holofilm while Will and Deanna sat on the porch to talk. Both had become even more quiet after she told them what she had observed over the past 7 years. She had a feeling they would work things out. She was tempted to eaves drop on the conversation but decided against it.

On the porch, Will sat on one of the chairs while Deanna sat on the swing. They purposely decided to avoid physical contact while they talked.

“Do you want to start this time?” Will asked Deanna. “I gather what Kate told Beverly was true?”

“Yes, I never left your side from when you slipped into the coma until you woke up. I was so scared that you wouldn’t make it. When you were so near death after you were beamed up at Malcor, I could barely sense you and I was scared. I’m not sure I really meant it when I said that we shouldn’t have a relationship while serving aboard the same ship. I’m not sure Worf and I would have lasted much longer. I knew no one was in favor of our relationship and it was hurting my friendships. I could have accepted losing all my friendships except yours and mine. Beverly was right; I never stopped loving you.”

“She was right about my feelings too. When you were “dead”, all I could think about was how I would feel if Beverly couldn’t bring you back. When I saw you and Worf in Ten Forward that evening, my heart just broke. I thought I would never have you in my life again.” He got up and moved to the swing and put his arm around Deanna pulling her close. She lay her head on his shoulder. “I thought we would never sit like this again. Deanna, I never stopped loving you. I want us to have the relationship we had on Betazed. It doesn’t have to be right away; we both need to heal after this and I have to get my career back.”

“No you don’t. I could resign and start my own practice here on Earth or even stay in Starfleet and practice at Command or the Academy.”

“Are you sure?”

“Yes.” She kissed him on the cheek. “But I have a feeling you’ll get your career back with no problem.”

“Thanks. I hope you’re right.”

“I know I am.”

Will kissed her on the top of her head. To Will, this felt so right. Sitting on the porch of his childhood home with his arm around the woman he loved more than anything.

In the house, Beverly was starting to become extremely curious how her friends were making out or <<if they’re making out>> Beverly thought to herself with a chuckle. She decided to go to the window to see if she could ease her curiosity.

Unfortunately, Deanna sensed Beverly’s curiosity and knew it was only a matter of time before Beverly would come to a window to see what they were up to. “Beverly is starting to become curious.”


“Before long, she’ll be at the window checking up on us.”

“Should we give her what she wants or the total opposite.”

“I don’t know what she may have said to you but she asked if she should leave so I could give you my peace offering.” She gave Will the music disk right after dinner.

“She asked me which bedroom I put you in.”

“So we should give her the opposite of what she wants.”

“Sounds good to me. How about when she comes to the window, I go around to the side of the house and you pretend to cry?”

“OK.” Deanna sensed that Beverly’s curiosity was getting the better of her. “She can’t wait any longer.”

Will got up and moved to the side of the house as Deanna put her head in her hands. Unfortunately, she started giggling but with her head in her hands, it looked like she was crying. Deanna was glad that Beverly wasn’t empathic. Beverly came to the window and saw Deanna “crying” and didn’t see Will. She thought something had to be wrong. She went out and pulled Deanna into her arms. “What happened? Things seemed fine at dinner.”

Deanna was laughing so hard that she couldn’t answer.

Will decided to run around the house and come up behind Beverly. While he was running around the house, he tripped over a rock and fell injuring his ankle.

Deanna sensed Will’s pain and groaned. She looked up. “Will’s injured.”

“I thought…” She noticed that Deanna’s eyes were not red like they normally would be if someone were crying. “Wait a minute, you two were teasing me.”

Deanna nodded and got up and started around the house to find Will. Beverly also started around slowly. She wasn’t convinced Will was hurt despite Deanna’s obvious concern. <<Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me.>> She thought remembering the old Earth saying. When she got around the house, she saw Will sitting on the ground and Deanna kneeling next to him. He really looked like he was in pain and as she got closer, she could see that his ankle was swollen. She shook her head. She thought he was faking but when she saw Will’s ankle, her training kicked in.

“Do you think you can walk into the house?” Beverly asked.

“With help maybe.”

“OK”. Beverly took one of Will’s arms while Deanna took the other. With their help, he was able to get to his feet. He couldn’t put weight on his injured foot. With Beverly and Deanna’s help, they made it into the house. After getting Will on to the sofa, Beverly went upstairs to get her medical kit. After she finished scanning Will’s ankle, she pressed a hypospray to his neck. “Your ankle is badly sprained. I can heal it quickly but it will be a little tender for a day or so. Of course, after what you two did to me, I’m tempted to let you suffer.”

“But Beverly, if you don’t heal my ankle, I’ll have to sleep down here and there’s only room for one on the sofa.” He winked at Deanna who just smiled. She knew he was joking at least partially.

“So if I heal your ankle, you won’t be sleeping alone tonight?”

“Beverly!” Deanna exclaimed. “We’ve only just made up after a fight and come to an understanding about our relationships with other people.”

“Well, as your accountability partner and friend, I have a feeling neither of you will have relationships with anyone else.” Beverly said with a smile. She proceeded to heal Will’s ankle. After she finished, Will sat up. Deanna sat down next to him. He pulled her close.

Beverly shook her head. She had a feeling her friends’ relationship would become stronger and she was more than willing to help. In fact she made a promise to herself that she would do whatever it took to make absolutely sure Will and Deanna stayed together. After watching a romantic holofilm that Beverly hoped would ignite a spark in her friends, they all went to bed. Much to Beverly’s chagrin, Will and Deanna slept in separate rooms. <<Oh well, tomorrow is another day.>>

Part 7
The next morning, Will got up before the ladies and made them breakfast. After breakfast Will called Admiral Nechayev and told her that he would like to appeal the decision of the Board of Inquiry. She was glad and told him that she would let him know when the hearing date was set for. He told her that he still wasn’t sure if he was going to resume his career if the appeal was successful but would think about it some more. He decided to go to the overlook to think about whether he wanted to resume his career or not.

“I’m going to go to the overlook to think.”

“I know you’ll make the decision that’s right for you.” Deanna said. “Just remember, the crash was not your fault. It couldn’t have been prevented.”

“I know.”

“Just remember what Jean Luc said. Don’t give up an excellent career because of rogue Klingons.” Beverly added.

“I will.” He left.

“What do you think? Do you think he’ll give up his career?” Beverly asked.

Deanna shook her head. “I don’t think so. Right now, his confidence is down and that bothers him more than anything. I’ve never seen him so unconfident.”

“I’ve noticed too. When I first met Will, I thought he was a bit cocky but quickly figured out that he was hiding some vulnerability behind the self-confidence.”

“I agree.”

“OK now on to more interesting things. Where will your relationship with Will go from here?”

“I don’t know. “

“Where do you want it to go?”

“I love him and am more than willing to have a close relationship with him but right now he needs to concentrate on whether he wants his career back and then he can worry about our relationship. I plan to give him the space he needs.”


Meanwhile on the overlook, Will was thinking about his future in Starfleet. It was obvious that Admirals Bayer and Victor were biased against him. Victor’s bias didn’t make sense to him because if he had been on the Melbourne, he too would have been killed when the Melbourne was destroyed. Picard told Will that he didn’t feel Bayer’s daughter was ready to be First Officer on the Federation flagship. Picard told Bayer that when he questioned Jean Luc about his decision. Despite this, Will wasn’t sure if he was ready to resume his career. His confidence was badly shaken by the crash. Hesitating during a battle could cause more casualties than the crash had. As he had so many times since the crash, he reviewed everything that happened from the core breach, to having Deanna take over the helm, to the crash. He knew he did everything he could to prevent it. The saucer was simply too close to Veridian 3 to avoid crashing. He smiled because he finally realized the crash was not his fault. He still needed to build his confidence back up but at least he accepted that there was nothing he could have done to prevent the crash. <<I know a perfectly good counselor who could help me with my confidence problem.>> He knew she could help with his confidence but their relationship probably wouldn’t be so easy to figure out. He loved her; that much he knew. He would love for their relationship to go beyond friendship. He wasn’t sure how she felt. She had changed her mind about relationships while serving on the same ship which was definitely in his favor. He decided to go back down to the cabin, get Deanna, and bring her back up to the overlook where they could talk.

When he was halfway down the trail, he met Deanna who was on her way up. “I was just coming to get you so we can talk.”

“I sensed that you did.”

He took her hand and they walked up the trail. When they reached the top, they sat on the rock and Will wrapped an arm around Deanna and pulled her close.

“Do you want to talk about your confidence or about us?” Deanna asked.

“Us. Dee, I love you. I want our relationship to be like it was on Betazed. What we had there was special. I want that back.”

“So do I. I love you too. We can have a relationship while serving on the same ship. I know that now. You didn’t let my relationship with Worf affect your work or working with Worf or me. “

Will wrapped his other arm around Deanna. For several minutes they sat looking out over Prince William Sound. Soon they turned and looked into each other’s eyes. As one they moved closer and kissed. As the kiss deepened, both realized their relationship was about to move from friendship to something more. Soon they started back down the trail walking hand in hand. “This kind of reminds me of our walk out of the jungle after I rescued you.” Will said.

“I agree except we don’t have to hide our relationship from Beverly.”

“After last evening, we better not even try.” Will let go of Deanna’s hand and wrapped his arm around her waist. She wrapped her arm around Will’s waist. After another kiss, they finally made it back to the cabin.

Beverly was sitting on the porch reading. She looked up and smiled when she saw her friends walking hand in hand. “How’s your ankle after your hike up the hill?”


Deanna knew what Beverly’s next question was going to be and she didn’t disappoint. “So what are the sleeping arrangements for tonight and should I leave?”

“You don’t need to leave.” Will said.

“I gather we’ll have an extra bedroom tonight.”

“Maybe.” Will said.

“Maybe not.” Deanna said with a smile.

That evening, Beverly felt out of place watching her two friends; although they didn’t even seem to notice her, but she didn’t mind. During dinner, Will and Deanna sat with their chairs close to each other. After dinner, they watched a holofilm. Deanna sat very close to Will and laid her head on his shoulder. He had his arm around her. Despite her feeling a bit left out, Beverly was happy for her friends. She had a feeling they would eventually get married.

After the movie, Beverly went to her room to read before going to sleep. She kept an ear out for Will and Deanna to see if they slept in separate rooms. Just after she turned out the light and lay down, she heard footsteps on the stairs, but only one set too heavy to be Deanna’s. She got up and opened to the door just enough to see Will walk by the door carrying Deanna who was not asleep. She moved out to the hall to see where Will took Deanna. He took her into his room and closed the door. She moved quietly down the hall hoping Deanna wouldn’t come out of the room. A couple of minutes later, she heard the bed squeak. She smiled and went back to bed happy that her friends were definitely back together.

In Will’s bedroom, Deanna and Will were snuggled on the bed. They both knew that Beverly had been waiting to see what happened. After Beverly went to bed, they sat on the sofa trying to decide whether to give Beverly what she wanted.

“We both know that Beverly wants us to sleep together tonight but…” Deanna said.

“Are we ready for that?”

“Exactly” Deanna moved to sit on Will’s lap. He didn’t stop her. He just wrapped his arms around her. “You know Beverly is going to be watching for us to go to bed and to see where we go tonight.”

“I know. I supposed I could carry you upstairs and we could go in my bedroom and then play it by ear.”

“Sounds like a plan.” She kissed him lightly. “Who knows maybe we’ll decide we are ready.”


After sitting together for a little bit longer, they decided to go to bed. Will picked Deanna up and carried her up the stairs. Deanna could sense that Beverly was curious. <<She’s curious.>>

<<I’m sure she is.>> Will saw the door open out the corner of his eye. <<She’s at the door to her room.>> Deanna wrapped her arms tighter around Will’s neck and snuggled her head against his neck. After they went into Will’s room, he put her down on the floor, but Deanna didn’t move her arms. Instead she kissed Will. She was starting to feel that she was ready for more. As she kissed Will, she sensed that he was ready also. They moved to the bed and lay snuggled up until Deanna sensed that Beverly was asleep.

“Beverly’s asleep.” Deanna said as she got up out of bed. Will took her hand.

“You don’t have to leave.” He really wanted her to stay. It felt good to have her laying next to him again.

Deanna smiled. “Are you sure?” She asked even though she already knew the answer.


She leaned over and kissed him. “OK but I’ll be right back.” She left the room and went to her room and changed into a fairly slinky negligee which she also bought at the starbase before returning to Earth. She hoped to use it while she was on Earth.

After she changed, she threw on her old robe and went back to Will’s room. He had changed out of the clothes he had on and into just pajama bottoms. When she walked into the room, she smiled inwardly at Will’s expression. He looked disappointed in her robe and what he thought was under it. <<He’ll find out shortly.>> She opened her robe revealing the slinky negligee. She smiled at Will’s reaction and leaned over and kissed him. As the kiss slowly deepened, Deanna sat down on the bed. Will put his arms around her and pulled her against him.

Will broke the kiss first. “Are you sure you’re ready for this?” After everything they had been through over the last several months, he wanted to be absolutely sure they were ready to resume a physical relationship. He felt ready and, based on the way she was reacting, was pretty sure Deanna was also; but he knew they both needed to say it.

“You mean I haven’t convinced you yet?” She knew what Will wanted her to say, but she preferred showing him that she was ready.

“I just want you to say that you’re ready.”

“OK.” She got up off the bed and took Will’s hand and started to pull him up. He got up and stood in front of Deanna. She held his hands. “While at the overlook, we both said we wanted what we had on Betazed and I know we both meant it. We’ve been through so much over the past few months. We’ve hurt each other but it’s over now. I love you. There’s nothing I want more than to spend as much time as I can with you.” She dropped Will’s hands and moved closer wrapping her arms around him. He wrapped his arms around her and held her close. “This is what I want; to be close to you; for you to hold me close.” She stood on tiptoes and kissed him lightly. “I’m ready for us to be close again; to love each other again. I’m ready for us to sleep in the same bed; to sleep in each other’s arms. I want for us to make love.”

Will kissed the top of her head. “I want the same thing. I want us to be together. I love you more than I did on Betazed. It took losing you temporarily to make me see it. I will try to never hurt you again. I also want us to have what we had on Betazed.” He moved his hands from Deanna’s back to her shoulders and started to push the straps of her negligee off her shoulders.

She looked up at him and smiled. “I’m ready.” She moved her hands to the top of Will’s pajama bottoms. “Are you?”

Will lowered his head and just before kissing her said “I’m ready too.” As the kiss deepened, Will removed the negligee from Deanna while she removed his pajama bottoms. When both garments were at their feet, Will picked Deanna up and stepped out of his pajamas. He lay down on the bed never letting go of Deanna and never breaking the kiss.

After slowly and tenderly making love, Deanna lay in Will’s arms as they both fell asleep knowing that they were together again. This time they were both determined to never let anything separate them again.


The End