Rating: PG
Summary: Set after Future Imperfect; Riker discovers he isn't the
only one affected by his experience with Barash.
Disclaimer: I left it with Barash, does anyone mind?
Note: The title may seem somewhat inappropriate, but I couldn't
think of a fitting one I'm afraid…
Warning: Story doesn't have a real plot, nor is it completely
finished but since it doesn't seem like it'll ever grow beyond this
(and I did write on it for about three weeks)I just decided to post
it :)




"What am I supposed to do Deanna?" Dark eyes regarded him solemnly,
the clinical detachment painfully shining through their depths. He
could count the times he'd talked to Deanna professionally on one
hand, for aside from teasing, he'd hardly ever regarded her as The
Counselor where his feelings were concerned.

All that had changed mere hours ago. Yet the detachment tore at his
heart. "It feels as if I've lost him. Even when he never really
existed to begin with." How did she do that? How did her eyes manage
to tell him she wouldn't judge him, that she didn't think he was
crazy and yet still radiate understanding and even a little bit of

"He was real to you, for all intends and purposes" she said in her
gentle voice, her eyes not wavering for even the fraction of a
second "He wasn't just a hologram Will, he was based on your desires
and dreams, so yes it is supposed to feel like a loss." She was
right, he had known it before even coming to see her. But the
diagnosis wasn't the problem; the solution was.

"But how am I supposed to mourn him, when he doesn't exist anywhere
outside my mind." For the first time since he'd entered her office,
now half an hour ago, did she smile. No big grin, but her
patented 'finally-we're-getting-somewhere' smile. The one that was
congratulating, without being disdaining.

She shifted a little and he couldn't phantom why, for she'd seemed
pretty comfortable in her chair. "I would say 'nurture the memories
you do have'--" Her pause seemed to be for no other purpose than to
take a sip of her tea, but he knew better and patiently waited while
contemplating on her words. Just like the good patient he was
supposed to be. The best manipulations are those you only see in
hindsight. "--But you, you have still access to the core of your
loss. You can still talk to the essence of your holographic son."

Will wasn't sure why she'd chosen that definition Perhaps to stress
the fact that although Jean-Luc had been real to him, the boy never
had existed in a physical form. What surprise him most however, was
the pang of hurt he felt at that definition, despite that it had
been nothing more than a statement of fact. "Barash" he breathed
finally in answer to her gentle suggestion.

Other than a slight nod she didn't respond and merely watched him
with those fathomless black eyes.

Outside the guest quarters assigned to the alien that called itself
Barash Riker tried to figure out how he felt. After taking a deep
breath he raised his hand to touch the panel next to the doors and
obediently they opened. Will stepped inside with his heart beating
wildly in his chest. This was the being that had fooled him into
having captaincy and a family and he didn't know whether to be
grateful or hateful.

He wasn't used to seeing her like this. It wasn't that she looked
ill, or tired, she just looked...cold. And it send shivers along his
spine. Only seconds earlier had he beamed Barash over to the
Starbase, but not after admitting to the alien, Deanna *and* himself
that he would miss him. Deanna's reaction --to his surprise-- had
been absent. Being honest with himself, he admitted that he'd
expected her to be proud, or at least satisfied, or give him
her 'you're-not-so-tough-and-you-know-it' smile. What he hadn't
expected was the ice-cold stare she shot his way.

"What's bothering you?" She didn't turn, didn't blink, didn't tense,
didn't relax...hell, she might as well been a statue, for he wasn't
even sure she was breathing.

But she did speak. "What makes you say anything is bothering me?" He
watched dumbfounded when she simply walked away. When he overcame
his initial shock he asked the computer her location and followed

For the past week she had counseled both him and Barash and had
helped both of them to deal with what had happened, but now he
realized she had become more and more distant with each session and
the last days she had made up excuse to avoid spending her free time
with either of them. But no matter how he wracked his mind, he
couldn't think of a reason why she'd done that.

He had thought for a while she would be mad at him for picturing his
future without her in it, but she had made it clear that wasn't the
case, yet when she said that he could've sworn he'd seen a flicker
of pain in her eyes...or was that just his imagination?

Will drew a hand through his hair and waited for the Counselor --
what happened to Deanna?-- to answer him. When there still wasn't
any response after he'd pressed the chimes ten times he became more
concerned than he already was. Quickly he keyed in her access code
and stepped inside.

He saw her instantly; the light of the stars outlined her silhouette
with a illumining hue. He admired her for a while; standing there so
serene she seemed untouchable. She lost weight he realized. What was
bothering her so much?

"Deanna?" It hurt him when she didn't acknowledge his presence, and
although she must have sensed it she kept on ignoring him. "Dea?"

"Go away." The tears so evident in her strained voice blocked his
throat. What was going on?

"Imzadi" he pleaded, reaching out to her. Even from where he stood
he could feel her muscle tense.

To hell with asking for permission, he determined and before Deanna
could react he wrapped his arms around her, holding her tightly
against his chest. "Let me go!" She yelled, trying to wriggle out
his embrace. But all it accomplished was him tightening his grip on
her. "LET ME GO!!!"

"No way Dea, not until you tell me what's wrong." Somehow she
managed to turn in his arms and looked up at him. The anguish on her
features halted his breath and he had to swallow to get past the
lump in his throat. "Deanna"

What she did next was something he never anticipated, not even in
his wildest dreams. Deanna slid her hand behind his head and
forcefully pulled him down, when he was within easy reach she
fastened her mouth on his with such primal hunger and demand it
almost hurt. For a second allowed Will himself to fall into her
kiss, but only until he realized there was no passion behind it.
Stunned he loosened his grip and immediately Troi darted away from

With the emotions the kiss had released reeling inside him he was
unable to form a coherent thought until Deana had long since left
her quarters.

Deanna Troi ran through the corridors of the Enterprise, her sight
blinded by tears. What was happening to her? Why did she have to
react the way she did? Now she had not only betrayed their
friendship, but their bond as well. To use their love as a means of
escaping...having reached the arboretum she quickly crawled into a
secluded corner to hide, stifling her sobs with all her might. Why
did she have to be so jealous?

Riker watched her from a distance. From where he stood all he could
see was the darkness of her curls. After allowing her a few moments
to herself he began to make his way into the seclusion, being
carefully not to step on any flowers. He still wasn't sure whether
to be angered by the kiss she gave him, or be even more worried and
so he decided to withhold judgment until he'd been able to figure
out what was going on. "Dea?"

"I -told- you to leave me ALONE!!!" She yelled again, although he
thought there was less conviction behind her voice this time. Again
he wrapped his arms around her, this time after he'd sat down behind
her and to his surprise she buried her head against his chest
instead of fighting him.

"Deanna, talk to me." He urged her again.

"I'm jealous all right!" She still seemed reluctant to be in his
arms and her ire was very much apparent in her voice.

"Jealous?" What on Earth could she be jealous about?! "Dea...about--
about Minuet..." He swallowed harshly and tried to look in her eyes,
but she refused to meet his. "You know I love you, right?"

It seemed, that was the wrong thing to say.

Deanna pushed him backwards and jumped to her feet. "I -told- you, I
don't have a problem with that!"

This avoiding attitude of hers was beginning to get to his
nerves...big time. "Damn it Dea, be *honest* with me!"

Finally his words seemed to reach her and she turned around. "You
want me to be honest? Fine." He wasn't sure he liked her tone, but
it didn't seem he had much choice. "I've been listening to you
whining for the past week. Having lost the son you never had. I
talked you out your anger against Barash, I helped you two become
fiends. I learned you how to cherish the memories you have and how
to admit --if only for a little-- that Barash is the embodiment of a
part of the son you never had and yet lost. I told you that it is
alright to mourn him and to feel a loss."

Vaguely he wondered how she managed to talk for so long without
taking a breath, but her next words quickly exiled that
thought. "Yet you keep feeling sorry for yourself. *You* Will Riker,
should cherish what you have. You can still talk to the person who
made you believe he was your son. You have a living, breathing
friend; a boy who knows your fictional son better than you do and
*you* should be GRATEFULL for that!"

Her tirade left him speechless and staring at her anger-drawn
features; tears streaming down her face like rivers down mountains.
She gave her words just enough time to sink in and then ran past
him. Reacting on instinct he caught her around her waist, finally
realizing why she was so upset. "This is about Ian, isn't it?"

Deanna didn't respond, she didn't need to. "Having me talking about
Jean-Luc only reminded you of your own son." He paused and listened
to her breathing; harsh gasps and shallow breaths. "Only he just
disappeared and I still have Barash and so you're jealous."

He understood now. The pain in her eyes during counseling, the too
snappy comments she had made to him and Barash, why she had avoided
them and why she had been so distracted. All that had happened had
taken her back to the past, when an alien life form had made itself
her child, from the point of gestation in her belly to birth and to
death; only two days later.

Her bond with Ian had been so much stronger than his bond with Jean-
Luc. Jean-Luc had just popped up and then disappeared almost as
soon, but she had given birth to Ian, she had felt him grow inside
her. He had been as real to her as any other child she might bear
and when he left it left a pain only the death of one's own
offspring can leave.

He on the other hand hadn't had a chance to really bond with his son
and yet he was the one who had felt the most betrayed.

"I'm sorry Imzadi, I'm so sorry." He drew her back against his and
held her as she released her tears.