By: Gwen

Rating: PG
Codes: R/T

Disclaimer: It all belongs
to Paramount and Star Trek. I am simply borrowing
for fun not profit.

Authors notes: follows "The Loss"; I had a lot of fun
writing this one - hope you enjoy. Feedback is
adored, and sometimes feared. (I am in a STRANGE mood
:) ).


He had been following her around the ship for the
past 20 min. Why he was still doing it he couldn't be
totally sure except that he knew she needed him to.
Whether she was willing to admit it or not. And she
hadn't. In fact, that was the reason he was following
her in the first place. She kept leaving when he
tried to talk to her. So he kept following.

It was rather funny really. Like a parade around the
ship. They had started at her quarters when he came
back to check on her like he had told her he would.
When he got there she was leaving. At first he
thought it was a coincidence. He soon figured out

"Guess the computer was a little off on my timing," he
said with a grin.

His only response was a glare and that was 20 min ago.
Since then they had gone to Ten forward, the library,
ENGINEERING, and they were finally nearing the

It was important that he talk to her. The captain had
tried, Beverly had tried, even Guinan had tried. He
had thought that he had made some headway earlier, but
seeing as she was still resigning from her position as
ships counselor - obviously not.

"Deanna..."he started placing a hand on her shoulder.

She jerked away and glared at him.

"Why are you still following me Will? I told you -
I'm fine."

*sure you are, that's why you're running from me* Will
thought, but quite suddenly he was struck with an
idea. An absurd idea maybe but it just might work.

"I simply wanted to know when we could resume our

That did it. Deanna froze, completly. He wasn't sure
she was even still breathing.

"I mean," he rushed on before she had a chance to get
her equilirium back, "seeing as how you have resigned
we wouldn't technically be serving together so I
figured..." He shrugged.

The first reaction Deanna had was total and utter
shock. This COULDN'T be what he had followed her all
over the place to say. The problem was with her
senses gone she couldn't read him and he was looking
at her with a completly neutral expression. This was
why he was so good at poker.

But she knew him and she knew better than to think he
could mean this. Still she realized she had been
standing there a full minute - speechless. Her
breathing and heartrate both stopping then speeding.
Her heart so wanted it to be true. She was half a
beat away from turning and kissing him.

Her second reaction was total and complete outrage.
This was the reaction she went with.

"You what!"
Deanna grabbed Will's arm and dragged him into the

"I have lost my sense of who I am. I gave up my job,
the only one that I have ever loved. I don't know how
to deal with any of this. I don't even know what I am
going to do tommorrow and you are asking about us!?
Let me tell you something Will Riker, you are NOT the
center of the universe and certainly not the one who
matters here. I can't believe..."

"So you're not fine." Will said quietly effectivly
cutting off her tirade.

She just stared at him for a moment. And then turned
to leave again.

He caught her before she took more than a step,
pulling her backwards into his arms.

"No, I don't think so. Not this time." he murmured in
her ear.

She fought him for less than a second. She was sick
of it honestly and tired, so tired.

He smiled when she relaxed against him.

"It is okay to not be the strong one all the time, you

She sighed and broke away from him.

"You were the one who told me I was feeling sorry for
myself." she smiled wryly.

"I know what I said Dea, and you know what I meant
too." he said.

She looked away from him. He followed her and forced
her to look at him, sliding his finger under her chin.

"Look, I KNOW how important your empathic abilities
are to you, how much a part of you. But they do not
define everything you are. There's a part of you
that's human as well, you know. You don't have to
resign, you are a very good counselor. With or
without your abilities, and you still don't know that
they won't still return. But until then - you simply
have to learn to work with the other gifts you have."

She looked at him quietly for a moment more then

"Other gifts huh? I didn't read you so well a minute
ago." she said in a slightly hurt voice.
"I can't believe I almost started to believe..." she
said in a low voice he had to strain to hear.

"Oh Dea, I did mean it. Only not for the reasons I
said. I do want us together, I do."

He moved closer as he spoke forcing her to look up at
him, reading the sincerity in his eyes.

"Will I ..." she started nervously.

"But I know," he continued taking a strand of hair
between his fingers and brushing it back from her
cheek, "that NOW is not the time."

"Just think of it as - something to hold on to."

Will smiled slowly and pulled her into his arms.

She held onto him as an anchor and finally - let go.

The End