Ten Forward was the perfect place to discuss the annual crew evaluations. The
Enterprise's first officer and counsellor sat at their favourite table, trying
to get through the mammoth task of deciding who deserved promotion, and who was
the best candidate for the new positions that had opened up after some of the
Enterprise-D officers had been transferred to other positions. Now they had
another ship of the same name, there had been some problems finding the ideal
officers for certain positions. Both Riker and Troi were aware of that.
It was a time of year they both dreaded, but this was even more work than usual.
Many officers had requested promotions, and there were plenty of other officers
currently on other assignments that wished to be posted to the flagship of the
Riker looked up from his PADD as Deanna sighed. They were barely half way
through, and she was beginning to think they could be there all night. She was
tempted to order another chocolate sundae, but decided her figure could do
without another one. She had already eaten three that evening.
Another hour later, they came to the post they had been deliberately leaving
until last; Security Chief. Since Worf had been reassigned to Deep Space Nine,
the Enterprise had not found a suitable replacement. It seemed that no one could
fill the (very large) shoes he had left behind, and maybe that was part of the
problem - they were trying too hard. Worf was a very sore subject for both Will,
who still wondered why Deanna had broken the rules she had set down for them -
not getting involved with a colleague, and Deanna, who felt uncomfortable with
the feelings she sensed from her Imzadi. She also felt a bit sad when she
thought of how things had been left between her and Worf. They had parted as
friends, but distant friends, not close like they were before.
But what had she thought would happen? It would have been hurtful enough if Worf
had lost her to another man, but she had simply decided that the relationship
wasn't working out, and wanted to end it. In Worf's eyes that was the worst
insult she could have given him - she preferred to be alone rather than being in
a relationship with him. She had really tried to break up with him in the
kindest way possible, knowing how she would wound his Klingon pride. He had
tried not to show it, but she knew him too well not to notice.
And then there was Will. She had not noticed his jealousy when she started
seeing more of Worf, but her Imzadi had become less and less careful about
hiding his feelings, and it hurt her at first, because it was as if he thought
she hadn't given him the same chances she had given Worf.
She couldn't explain how that had happened, maybe it was because she knew how
deeply rooted her relationship with Riker was, and always had been. But she and
Worf had just been good friends disillusioned into thinking there could be more
between them than that. The two relationships were vastly different, but she had
to admit to herself that getting involved with Will again would be far more
complicated than it had been with Worf.
Deanna looked across the table at him, thinking about what it would be like to
be with him again. She acknowledged the delightful shiver that went through her
body as she did.
Riker looked up from his PADD, feeling her eyes upon him. "Deanna? What's the
"Nothing." She answered a little too quickly. "Let's finish this shall we? So,
we have three possible choices for Security Chief. I think Lt. Sarem has the
best qualifications for the job."
"Yes, but Lt K'Nolle has more experience."
"And Lt Angel has the best attitude." She sighed, "So how do we choose between
"Well, one of them can become the night duty tactical officer. We just have to
choose the best one for security chief."
It didn't help much that the three officers all knew each other, and happened to
be sat at a table on the other side of the room with several other friends. Will
was facing away from them, and was easily able to ignore the many curious looks
they were getting. Unfortunately Deanna wasn't having the same luck. Every time
she glanced up at least one of the younger officers were staring at her. She
could understand their curiosity, but it wasn't making it easy for her to
concentrate on the decision she was trying to make.
A few minutes later, she had decided that she could not continue to work in Ten
Forward. "Let's finish this in my quarters." Deanna said in a low voice to
Riker. He offered no complaint and followed her past the table of curious junior
officers to her quarters. Neither of them noticed that the three Lieutenants and
their friends followed them.
"Commander Riker has gone in to the Counsellor's quarters!" Exclaimed one
officer in surprise. They were all even more curious at this point.
Riker's exaggerated reputation was kept alive by officers such as these, who
already had suspicious minds. Soon it was all over the ship that the Counsellor
and First Officer were an item again. The couple in question were totally
unaware of the rumours circulating around.
But someone was not happy when she heard the rumour, and that person was Beverly
Crusher. She burst into the Counsellor's office unannounced. "Deanna!" She said,
still in disbelief over what she had heard her medical staff gossiping about.
"Beverly?" Replied Deanna, walking over to her friend. "What's....."
"Why didn't you tell me?" Beverly demanded, cutting her off mid-sentence, then
engulfing her in a huge hug. "Congratulations."
"Thanks." Said Deanna. "But for what?"
"You and Will." Beverly said with a grin. "I always knew you two were the
perfect couple, and I'm so glad you finally sorted things out. I must admit,
there was a time there when I thought neither of you would make the first move
and admit your feelings for each other. You know, he told me he loved you a long
time ago."
Deanna held up her hand. "Beverly, there's nothing going on between us."
"I don't believe that. You two have been spending a lot of time together lately
and I know you were once very happy together. I can see how you would be unable
to resist having all that happiness again. What I don't understand all the
secrecy though." She said.
"I don't know who told you that we are back together, but we're not." Deanna
insisted. "Do you honestly think I would be able to keep that a secret,
especially from you?"
Beverly was disappointed, and Deanna sensed it. She had really wanted her friend
to be happy. "To tell you the truth, I have been thinking about him more
recently." She admitted. "But that makes sense, because we've been spending a
lot more time together recently."
The Doctor smiled knowingly. "Ah ha!"
Deanna couldn't help grinning back. "I think it's too much of a risk - we would
probably only end up hurting each other again."
"Or more precisely him hurting you?"
Troi nodded. "It took a long time to get over our last break-up. How do I know
it won't happen again?"
"Because you've both changed, and you care for each other too much to do that
again. Don't you think he knows how much he hurt you? And don't you think that's
one of the things that has kept him from telling you how he feels?"
Deanna considered this. Beverly made it all sound so simple.
The Doctor left Deanna with her thoughts, knowing the Counsellor would make her
own decisions. She hoped that she had been a helpful catalyst towards Deanna and
Will getting back together again.
That evening Riker and Troi found themselves sitting at a table in Ten Forward.
Something had changed between them, and they both knew it. Will had also heard
the rumours about the two of them - he noticed a few officers looking across at
them with knowing smiles. It angered him in a way, but as he looked across the
table at his Imzadi, he realised that he felt a love towards her he had never
felt for anyone else.
Deanna gazed back at him. She can sense what Im thinking. He reminded himself,
trying to keep his feelings under control. But it was no use, she had already
sensed all she needed to know. He too saw her love for him reflected in her
Riker smiled at his companion, who watched him stand up and walk over to her.
Well give them something to talk about. Riker thought to himself as Deanna
looked up into his face, trying to work out what he was doing.
He took Deannas hand, and pulled her out of her seat towards him. People were
starting to look their way with less discretion as Will put his arm around his
Imzadis waist. He had made his decision, and was not the sort of person to wait
around once his mind was made up.
Deanna had a good idea what was about to happen, and had no objections as he
leaned down to kiss her. Everyone in the room had stopped talking, drinking and
playing three dimensional chess to applaud the couple, who continued to embrace
and kiss for minutes longer than anyone thought humanly possible.
Beverly and Guinan were among the people at the bar, and they exchanged a happy
smile. The Doctor could imagine what the Captains reaction would be when he
found out about it though. He thought these things should be carried out in more
private surroundings. It was, after all, two of the ships senior officers that
were displaying their feelings for each other in the most popular recreation
room on the Enterprise. She decided to tell him about it before he heard the
rumours - and she would tell him that everyone in the room appeared happy for
them, except the young ensign that had been following Deanna around for months
in the hope that she would notice him.
Will smiled around at the crewmembers around him. He hadnt finished yet.
Encouraged by Deannas reaction to his kiss, he pulled a beautiful ring out of
his pocket. He kneeled down and in a loud voice, so that everyone could hear, he
looked into Deannas eyes, which were struggling to hold back tears, and said,
Deanna Troi, Imzadi, I love you more than life itself. Will you marry me?
There was silence, as the whole room waited with baited breath for Trois answer.
If she had been counselling someone on her situation, she knew her advice would
be that it was too soon to make such a large commitment so soon. But this was
different, it felt right. She felt all her old feelings for Will resurfacing,
and she was no longer frightened to deal with them. She looked back into his
eyes and knew that he really wanted her this time, and would do anything to hold
on to the relationship.
She held out her hand as acceptance of the lovely ring, which he placed on her
finger as she said. Yes Will, yes I will marry you! She pulled him up off his
knees towards her and kissed him back, as the crowd cheered and clapped again.
Deanna turned around to find Beverly stood there with a big soppy grin on her
face. Thank you. She mouthed at her friend, referring to the conversation and
advice she had given earlier. She turned back to Will, and started to pull him
towards the doors. She wanted him all to herself and she imagined he felt the
same way.
The happy couple did not leave each others company for some days after that.
They finally had discovered that to make full use of their unique Imzadi bond,
they needed to be together, instead of torturing each other trying to deny their
Deanna smiled as she looked at Wills features. He looks so peaceful when hes
asleep. She thought. She stroked his hair away from his face gently and smiled
again as she sensed that he had entered REM sleep. He had told her that recently
she had dominated his dreams, and she wondered what he was dreaming about this
Unfortunately, the images in his head consisted of Lwaxana insisting on a
traditional Betazoid wedding and trying to persuade his father to be her new
husband. It wasnt a dream - it was a nightmare!
Completely oblivious to Wills visions, Deanna curled up next to him and put her
arm around him, wondering why they hadnt overcome their barriers earlier. She
felt so happy and content beside him, she wished the moment would never end.

*** THE END ***