A short story I've wanted to write for ages. It didn't turn out quite as I wanted to, but I'm pretty proud of it nonetheless.

Rating: PG
Disclaimer: *hmpf*
Setting: directly after Dark Mirror by Diana Duane

Dark Reflections


With her eyes set on kill Deanna Troi strode through the corridors of the Enterprise, sending officers scurrying to the sides as she approached. That…that woman! So pitiful, so…weak and yet stronger than herself. It was frustrating and she had to take it out on someone. With a simple command she overrode the lock on Riker's doors and charged inside.

She found the commander in bed with one of his subordinates. As she knew she would and with a quick gesture yanked the woman off the bed. "Get dressed" she hissed to both officers and crossed her arms, tapping impatiently with her left foot on the floor.

The young lieutenant tripped over her own feet several times in hurry to follow Troi's orders, but much to Deanna's dismay Riker was totally at ease and totally too confident about himself. She never gave the other woman a second thought as she watched Riker dress with complete calm and detachment. The corners of her lips turned upwards as she sensed his dread beginning to develop.

When he had finished dressing himself he went to sit down, but she stopped him. "Oh I don't think so commander."

"Counselor?" he half-asked in fear, his early confidence failing him. He'd seen her mad before, but never this mad and never at him.

"That's me" she returned flatly and motioned him to follow her into his living area. She knew Riker could tell she was seething with anger and could practically hear him asking himself what he'd done this time. Rationally she knew he hadn't done anything, they had simply made some miscalculations, but he was a big boy, he could take it. Besides, they're relationship had always been a love/hate one. Oh neither of them would kill the other, but that didn't keep them from threatening each other.

"Deanna, what do you want?" His voice showed more confidence than he felt, a typical human reaction, Troi knew. Sometimes she pitied the humans for their unsubtle way of communicating, but more often she was all too happy to have the advantage of being Betazoid over them.

"Tell me Riker, did she excite you?" It was insane of her to feel jealousy towards that other woman, she knew that William Riker was hers and hers alone. It was even more insane of her to feel any admiration to that other woman. She, Deanna Troi, Daughter of Lwaxana Troi Empress of Betazed, stood above jealousy and admiration.

And yet…

"Janice?" The bearded commander laughed nervously "you know better than that."

She did indeed, but she hadn't meant that pitiful lieutenant. "Not her you idiot! The other, *her*!"

Now that realization dawned Riker's fear subdued somewhat, but Troi was too eagerly awaiting his reply that she didn't bother doing something about it. "She was different," he admitted truthfully, knowing better than to lie to the Imzadi, "soft and vulnerable" Troi knew from experience that it were the moments -as rare as they were-when she allowed her heart to speak for her that made Will trust and love her above anything and everything else, but it were also those moments that were most dangerous. "yet strong, and a challenge."

Was he actually admitting that he liked -the other- better than her?

"Never Imzadi" he answered her unspoken question, effectively doing away with the anger building inside her. If he did, it would have been total undermining of Imzadi, for which she would make him pay with his life "she may have looked like you, sounded like you and even felt like you, and perhaps she even had the fire you possess; she wasn't nearly as challenging, tantalizing and sensual as you are. *Imzadi*."

Will had to stifle a sigh of relief when her anger seemed to vaporize completely and joyfully returned the vicious kiss she forced upon him. "I'll see you after my shift." Deanna told him resolutely and turned, the shimmering fabric of her blue skirt shifting just enough for him to steal a glimpse of her thigh.

Having left Riker's quarters Deanna returned to her office, deciding she could deal with Picard later. Again the officers she encountered in the corridors jumped aside, mindful not to hinder her way. If it had been any other day she would've stayed behind in Riker's quarters, but the appearance of the other had given her too much to think about.

For a brief fraction of a second she had recognized the person of her dreams, the woman se had aspired to be before she'd grown up. And she found herself jealous for the very first time in her life; she, Deanna Troi who was practically in command of the Flagship of the Empire was jealous at a soft, compassionate ship's counselor, a woman without real power.

And yet…

And yet that woman had defeated her and in those brief moments of mind battle Troi had seen such wondrous things in the other woman's mind that her own beliefs had been shaken at its very core. A world where Imzadi was so much more than trust, a world where time was spend in friendship, rather than in plotting murder and watching your back.

And for the briefest of moments she wished she could live in that world. But then Crusher hailed her to remind her of their appointment with a young, too sexy for her own good lieutenant in the Agony Booth and she pushed the memories of that rose colored Universe away in a deep corner of her mind, never to be found again.