Author: D. Destiny

Rating: PG-13 for language and suggestions

Paring: Troi/Riker (Imzadi)

Timeframe: Between Worf's departure to DS9 and Insurrection

Summary: My take on what happened between Will and Deanna after Worf left.

Disclaimer: The characters belong to Paramount...blablabla...story is mine...blablabla...no infringement or profit intended, just trying to write down idea's. Replicating is allowed, but please e-mail me by whom, why&where to :)

R&R: Always! I need some attention!!! *Big grin*

Note: It was two hours of work, so donít expect too much ;)


"Will, come in." The doors hissed apart, revealing her Imzadi. The man she loved, craved for, wanted to spend her life with. Her superior, best friend and confidant. The man who didn't want to spend his life with her, the one who had hurt her beyond words and hard as she might try, she couldn't forget.

Cautiously he walked in, edgy, ready to run out. His fingers intertwined, restless. Step by step he entered her quarters. He knew he had to talk to her, he knew it since she and Worf had started dating. But the question remained: did he want to? Was he ready to? Back then the answer had still been 'no'. And when Worf had been transferred to Deep Space Nine he no longer felt threatened. But someone had given him a wake up call, a rather loud wake up call. And now he was standing here, in her quarters looking down at her confused but oh so beautiful smile.

"Can I get you something?" She stood up and began to walk to the replicator. He watched her in awe.

"Uh...the usual." Slightly she raised one eyebrow, but never slowed her pace. Dropping himself in one of the comfortable chairs he waited for her to return, nervously tugging his collar. Deanna re-entered the room and put a mug of damping hot Ktarian coffee in front of his nose. Then she walked to the other side of the table and sat herself down on the couch, tucking her legs underneath her. Taking a small sip from her -what else could it be- hot chocolate she searched his eyes.

"What brought you here tonight Will?" He didn't miss the emphasis she put on 'tonight' and quickly tried to remember why she'd do that.

"Nothing in particular, just the need for a hot coffee I guess." Her scrutinizing look told him in no uncertain terms that she did not appreciate his coy answer. "I-uh...I want to talk...now, about us." Her next question was one he had not anticipated.

"Why this night? Why now?" Again he searched is mind for a reason that this night should be special, but he found none and thus he answered with the same sentence he had told himself earlier that day.

"Because I'm -finally- ready." The look she gave held no acquisition or anger, all he saw was a little bit of surprise.

"You're ready." Her matter-of-factly statement confused him. Was she angry? Or happy? Did she even care? Uneasy he shifted his position and regarded his Imzadi in silence; as she regarded him. Eventually he stood up. Deanna sighed softly, assuming he would walk out, run away, just like before. Only he didn't, only he walked *to* her and sat down next to her.

"When...When you where seeing Worf..." Patiently she waited, though frowned at his pick of words. "...I-I realized...I realized I was only this far-" With his thumb and first finger he symbolized a distance of an inch. "-away of loosing you." With a deep sigh he ended and leaned back, somewhat embarrassed.

"Will...you would never loose me." Hopeful he looked up. "We'll always be best of friends." Incredulously he looked into her deep brown eyes. Dumbfounded he stared, not thinking about anything else but her last three words -best of friends-.

"Will?" He shook his head and focussed on her face again. Could he tell? He knew he should, but could he? He saw her confused eyes shifting from one side to the other before resting on his. 'I *can*!'

"Deanna..." He gathered her tiny hands in his much larger ones. "What if I want more? More than just being best of friends? More than sharing a friendly kiss goodnight, night after night?" Her eyes widened. "More than the relationship we've had onboard the Enterprises for so long? More than what we had on Betazed?" Shocked by the intensity and pureness of his emotions she jerked away, pulling her hands out his, jumping up.

Confused, curious, worried but also hopeful he watched her walk to the window. While she was staring into the infinity of the stars out there, the unending universe, she felt herself once again so very, very small and insignificant. She hadn't anticipated the things he had just told her, somewhere inside she thought she should've, but she hadn't. She felt him approaching and standing behind him, but she didn't move.

"Deanna, I want, need something more. Something better, something more beautiful. I want my Imzadi back." Slowly, ever so slowly she turned around, her arms crossed in front of her stomach. But even after all these years, even when she didn't want to remember, didn't want to feel, even now she felt the hurt he had caused her again. And even after eight years of being best of friends it still hurt beyond words. And although she would trust him with her life without hesitation she still couldn't trust him with her heart...Or could she? Will picked up on her unease and indecision, but didn't see her fears. He stepped closer and tried to figure out what she was feeling, but failed.

"Deanna?" He reached out to her but the second they touched she stepped away. Sadly she shook her head.

"Will, not..." He didn't allow her to finish.

"Jesus Deanna! Don't give me that!" Quizzically she looked into his bright blue eyes.


"You're eternal 'Will, not when we're serving on the same ship'!" The fury within him had built for a long time, but now it finally burst out. "You didn't care about that rule when you dated Worf!!!" Still a bit confused by his sudden fury she didn't quite know how to react.

"That...that was different."

"Why?! What's the difference? I serve on the Enterprise, he served on the Enterprise. I'm a Senior Staff member, he's a Senior Staff member!"

"Will, you're the First Officer and Worf's..."

"The Security Officer!!! Deanna that's way more dangerous!" Now she had enough of it. It still was *her* choice to make about who she wanted to be with. And after all, wasn't *he* the one who had turned his back to her years ago on Risa?

"Damnit Will! I have to work with you *every* day! It's just *different*!!!" Her eyes flashed, just as his, with fury.

"Like hell it was different! And you know why?! Because..." He moved to stand right in front of her and forced her eyes on his. "...Because, you don't love him." He knew, even before he said the words, he had said the wrong thing. But he didn't care. Somewhere, in the back of his mind, he derived some kind of petty-pleasure from knowing he still could infuriate her.

"WHAT?! How *DARE* you say that!?! How *DARE* you pretend to know how I feel!!!" He grabbed her shoulders and squeezed.

"Because I know you!" Angrily she shrugged his hands off. "You don't know me Will Riker! You don't know who I am, what I am feeling or what I want! You didn't know back then, you don't know right now!!!"

"Oh, but I do. I knew exactly what you wanted!" Her furious gaze held his and slowly she moved away from him. "You wanted me back then! And I wanted YOU!!!"

"THEN WHY DID YOU LEAVE?!!" The fury in her eyes suddenly changed in to hurt.

"Does it matter?!"

"Of course it does." Her voice was suddenly soft and sad and she began to tremble.

"Honestly Deanna I don't think it does. I think you don't want to know why. Because if I come up with a *good* reason *you* no longer have a reason to hate me! To push me away!!!" This time her eyes flashed with disbelieve. 'How can he say that?!' she questioned herself. Did he really think she *wanted* to push him away? Did he really think she didnít want to love him? To trust him?

"I didn't push you away Will, not until you pushed me away. Not until you allowed your own selfish ego come between us! You never realized just how much you hurt me. What we shared was beautiful Will! Sacred! But you didn't realize, for you it was just another fling slightly better than the ones before! Ever you ever thought that it might mean more to me!?! That I might feel different than you?"

"Don't play the sensitive Betazoid to me!!!" When the expression in her eyes changed this time he knew he had hurt her, really, totally, thoroughly. But before he could apologize she exploded.

"WHAT?! I didn't know you had a problem with me being Betazoid?! I thought you actually rather enjoyed it!?!" Her voice dripped with sarcasm and hurt. "Has it ever occurred to you that I *AM* a Betazoid?! Even only for a half?! Has it ever occurred to you that that part of me makes me also WHO I am?!! Just as my human side does!?! For ONCE Will Riker, just appreciate me for who I am!"

He had pushed to far, he could tell by the look in her eyes and the controlled anger with which she spoke, "I'm sorry Deanna, I had no right to say that." His voice dropped and he apologetic raised his hands.

"You had no right indeed. I think you should go." Confused he glanced at her but started to walk out. However, half way there he changed his mind.

"No Deanna, I'm not going. Not now and preferably not ever again!" Surprised she looked at him.

"These are still *my* quarters!"

"Hopefully they'll be ours soon." Dumbfounded, confused and surprised she watched him, not intending to let him win.

"Fine, then I'll leave." With squared shoulders she started to walk to the doors. When she passed Will their bodies lightly brushed but she didn't seem to notice.

"Damn it Deanna, I'm not going to let you walk out that easily. Computer: lock doors authorization code: Riker-Gamma-Delta-0-9. Release only on my voice authorization." Stunned Troi looked around. 'Did he just?' "Neither of us is going anywhere..." He was relaxed, both her vision and her empathic sense told her that. "...so why don't you sit don't and I'll get us a mug of hot chocolate." With her large eyes she watched him as he walked to her replicated.

"You can't be serious!" Riker turned around and smile sweetly. "But I am My Imzadi." Totally unsure what was going on she sat down. Her mind spinning with unanswered, unvoiced questions, warnings, memories but also the nagging, irrational question: 'what if?' Will knew she was in state of turmoil and indecision. But he was determined to push this through. He handed her a mug of chocolate and sat down as well. Both drank their chocolate in silence not quite sure what to say.

"I did love him." Their eyes locked.

"I know you did." Slowly she put her empty mug back on the table. "Deanna, why do you feel there's no future for us?" Angry she looked up.

"Why?! Let's see, where should I start? Hmm...maybe with the night I caught you with Wendy Roper?"

"You forgave me for that."

"I forgave, but didn't forget. So what came next?" Seemingly thinking she looked around. "Oh yeah, I remember I waited a week on Risa for you to show up for our wedding...but as I recall you didn't." The sarcasm was nearly touchable, but he knew very well she tried to hide her hurting.

"That was years ago." Her eyes flashed once again.

"And that is supposed to make it hurt less?" Deanna felt the tears well up in her eyes. 'Not now!'

"No it isn't."

"Very well." Her sudden silence surprised him, but gave him the perfect opportunity to start his plea.

"Look Deanna, what I did back then was foolish, selfish and insensitive but I have had to pay for that ever since." Incredulously she looked up and sadly shook her head.

"WHY does it always have to be about you?!" Frowning he glanced back.

"What do you mean?" Angrily she stood up and started pacing through her quarters.

"Everything always has to be about you. You came in here nearly half an hour ago and all we have talked and argued about is what *you* want, what *you* need, how *you* feel!" Frozen he watched her.

"That's not..." But the instant he spoke the words he realized it *was* true. Triumphantic she looked at him. But his eyes glimmered soon and she knew the same instant her had found a way to talk himself out of it, to make her forget. "Very well, then tell me how you feel. How you felt." Quickly Deanna weighed her options and their results.


"How I felt? When I arrived on Risa..." By the emotions she sensed from Will she knew he regretted his question already. "No Will, you asked, you'll get your answer whether you want to hear it or not. As you said, neither of us is going anywhere." The small Betazoid paused a few moments before continuing where she left off. "When I arrived on Risa I felt happy, sure about my decision, sorry..." Her brief pause was intentionally and had the desired effect on her Imzadi. "...That I had argued with Mother. I was sad but eager to see you again, nervous as well. I was in love."

Deanna walked to the window and leaned against a bulkhead. Will had heard her use the word sad and it made him nervous but he didn't interrupt. "When you didn't show that day I told myself that something had delayed you, but that you would arrive soon. But you didn't. For 3 days my eagerness to see you again and my nervousness grew. With each transport arriving I'd watch the persons coming out and each time I didn't see you I told myself that you would be on the next transport."

She swallowed and closed her eyes, fighting back her tears. "But after another 3 days I could no longer fool myself. When I came back on Betazed I felt so alone, empty, dead but most of all embarrassed. Everywhere I came I felt the pity of those around me, for me. I felt useless and worthless and so thoroughly sad. I thought it was all my fault...that I was the reason you didn't show, that you didn't love me, that I wasn't good enough."

With her mind's eye she saw him shaking his head, telling her something she already knew. "But through time and through memories I realized I was wrong, that it wasn't my fault. That what had happened hadn't been my fault and that I couldn't have done anything to prevent it." The nasty feeling that she wasn't just talking about their brake up dawned in his mind. "And slowly the sorrow and self loathing changed into anger and fury." When she kept silent and when he was certain she was finished he stood up and approached her.

"I'm sorry for all that Deanna, I really am..." Being an empath she sensed his sincerity and compassion, but she didn't want it. Not eight years later. "...I realized, and I'm shamed to admit, but I realized recently that if I hadn't run away back then I would've had everything I want now years ago. I know now that marriage doesn't put such a restrain on one's career as I thought back then. If I only would've had the guts eight years ago I would've been married by now, to you. I still would have a career and most likely a child as well."

Stiffly Deanna closed her eyes. 'No, I cannot, must not...' "But most off all, I wouldn't have put you through all the hurt you just told me about." Trembling Deanna turned around, her eyes huge and bright in her pretty face, brimming with tears. Assuming she cried of joy he reached out and pulled her into his arms. Quietly she sobbed into his broad chest.

"Shh, it's alright. We'll work it out." Having her so close to him now wasn't a feeling he thought he could handle for very long. Not when his mind remembered the dreams he had lately. Gently he withdrew himself, not wanting his physical need to up set her.

"Frankly I was quite surprise when you started your relation with Worf." Searching her dark eyes glanced at him. "I mean, he's a Klingon and you are...well you are a Betazoid." Deanna felt the disbelieve and anger swell in her chest. 'Relax Deanna, he's not worth it', she told herself. "But more than that...I believed that because we...well because we are Imzadi...we would be destined to be together." A harsh gasp escaped her when she realized what he meant.

"Of all the creatures in the galaxy...*you* William Thomas Riker have not even the slightest right to say *that*! *You* who claims to have bedded every good-looking woman ever to cross your path." It annoyed him that she could hide her anger behind a wall of sarcasm. Driving high on a need to break that wall he found a way to do so.

"Well I guess you were no exception to the rule." And once again her eyes flashed with fury.

"So I should assume you're *begging* every woman you have ever been with to start a romantic relation with you again because you *need* her?"

"Oh DAMN IT Deanna! You're angry! Furious! Why don't you drop that aristocratic, overvalued, peace loving, ridiculous Betazoid philosophy of yours for once and just be FURIOUS!!!" Frozen she just stood there, no longer trembling, just standing staring. But something snapped, she felt it, he felt it.

"I *HATE* you Will!!! I *HATE* you for all that you've put me through!!! I *HATE* you for all the hurt and embarrassment you've caused me!!! I *HATE* your selfish, egocentric way of dealing with your desires and needs!!! And I *HATE* you for not being with me when I NEEDED you!!! When I NEEDED your help. Your love."

By now Deanna was pushing him wildly and lashed out at him frequently. Finally showing the anger and hurt she had carried with her for so long. As soon as he felt her strength decreasing he caught her wrists in his hand and forced her back against the wall.

"And Miss The Perfect Balanced Betazoid, how did that feel?" Open mouthed and still very furious she stared back, not knowing what to say. She looked drop-dead gorgeous to him. The drop-dead part shining in her huge, luminous eyes. The gorgeous part just shining of her delicate features. 'God she's beautiful!' Looking down at her parted lips he couldn't stop himself. He bent towards her and lightly bushed his lips over hers.

"God I love you Deanna." He drew his head away and looked into her eyes again. She was definitely still furious.

"I hate you Will." Again he brushed his mouth against hers, this time a little harder.

"I still love you." And again he paused to look at her eyes.

"And I still hate you." With her hands still caught in his she couldnít get away when he sealed his mouth over hers and thrust his tongue inside.

"I love you with all that I am." This time she didn't say anything in return. But he still felt her struggle a little when he deepened his next kiss.

"And I love all that you are." She still didn't say anything, but neither did she struggle when he kissed her again, deeper and more passionately than before. Deanna felt herself becoming weak under his touch. How many times hadn't she dreamt of their reunion in the past years? How often hadn't she yearned for his kiss when she was alone?

"God I'll love you during all the forevers that will ever exist." And this time she did respond.

"I love you too Imzadi, with whole my body, heart, mind and soul." This time it was Deanna who initiated their next kiss and devoured his mouth with hers in such a fiery need that he didn't think she would let him go to take in some air. He released her hands and while his slid to her hips hers locked around his neck to pull his closer. To pull him into their universe. They had a lot to talk about, a lot to sort out. But that would be tomorrow and now was now. And now both were lost in each other.