by Imz

Deep, low grunts accompanied by occasional moans filled her bedroom. His body moved over hers in rhythmical control until he could wait no longer. The woman's sudden shriek followed by the sound of glass breaking and the bed rattling under their weight signaled that he was done trying to conform to her ideas of lovemaking and now she would pleasure him in the fashion he was accustomed to.
It had been their last time together.
Deanna Troi sat in Ten-Forward facing the large window enjoying the view that had given her comfort so many times before. Lost in her own world, she had managed to block most of the emotions emanating from those around her and found solace in the peace it gave her. She didn't notice her friends watching her from the bar.
"Has she been in to see you lately?" Will Riker asked the CMO in a low tone.
"No, actually, she hasn't. As a matter of fact I haven't seen much of her at all," Beverly Crusher glanced back towards Deanna. "She says she's just been tired lately when I try to talk to her."
"Do you believe her?" he looked down at his drink, not letting her see his eyes as he asked the question.
"Should I not?" she turned back towards the bar, knowing full well what Will was hinting at.
He glanced quickly at her then back to Deanna. "I don't know. I don't know anything anymore," he downed the contents of his glass in one final gulp and put the empty glass down on the bar with a little more force then he had meant to before turning and leaving. The doctor shook her head sadly at the way things were going for her friends.
Sighing deeply, she gathered her resolve, and her drink, and approached Deanna.
"Hello, stranger. Mind if I sit down?" she said as she took the seat opposite her friend.
Deanna smiled, "No, of course not; sit down," she subconsciously put her hand to her neck attempting to hide the mark that had been left there from a few nights before. She wasn't quick enough.
"You know, that looked rather deep. You might want to stop by and let me fix it," she watched the counselor before taking another sip of her drink and settling back to listen.
"He didn't mean to hurt me," she said barely above a whisper in the crowded bar.
Beverly leaned in, placing her hand atop Deanna's and giving it a reassuring squeeze, "I'm sure he didn't," she said sincerely. She waited a moment, letting Deanna collect her thoughts. "Come on," she said as she stood, "Let's drop by sick-bay," knowing something must really be bothering her friend when she didn't put up a struggle over the suggestion.
She had tried to be very supportive towards her friend, even though the closer Deanna had become with the Klingon security officer, the further away she had seemed to pull from her. She assumed it was embarrassment over the several minor (although, some hadn't been so minor) injuries that had led Deanna to seek her outfor medical attention after Worf had spent the night, but when Deanna had stopped coming in at all, she had assumed that things had begun to cool between the two. When she examined Deanna more closely, she realized she had obviously been wrong.
As Deanna sat on the edge of the bed, Beverly ran the instrument over what she concluded must be a bite wound. It was already at least 48 hours old and would probably have healed itself given a few more days, but it had been an excuse to get Deanna alone so they could talk.
"Beverly," Deanna broke the silence between the two. "I've been thinking about my relationship with Worf."
Beverly glanced up from running the small device over Deanna, "You know you also have a few bruised ribs. What have you been "thinking" about the relationship?' she finished her scan of Deanna and waited for the flood she was sure was coming. She had known Deanna long enough to know when the Betazoid was going to let loose everything she had been trying to hold to herself; she knew when Deanna was going to tell her something that she wouldn't tell anyone else. In their years of friendship, Beverly knew that when Deanna finally reasoned whatever it was out that was causing her pain, she would need her friend there to talk about it. And she was more than ready to listen.
"We've decided to not continue it," she paused before continuing. "I know that our relationship was a...surprise to everyone; it was a surprise to me as well when things first started. But over the last few weeks, I've thought about why we actually came together in the first place. And I'm not very proud of the reasons I've come up with," she said quietly. She watched Beverly putting away the medical devices and stretched, holding her side, "Thank you, my ribs do feel better." She let her hand go to the now smooth skin on her neck, "And thank you for this, too."
Beverly smiled, "Hey, no problem. I'm just a little curious why you didn't come in sooner."
Deanna exhaled, "I don't know. I guess I didn't want to bother you with it."
"Deanna, it's my job," she said reassuringly.
Deanna smiled. She needed to talk, but she was sure Beverly already knew that. She took a deep breath and began, "When we both decided to pursue this, I had been spending so much time with him and Alexander...I don't know, they just made me feel needed. Not like in my career, I mean, I feel very satisfied with that aspect of my life, but my personal life, well, that's another matter. And I suppose part of it was that, subconsciously I associated helping care for Alexander with something I was missing. I think perhaps I wanted to make my relationship with Alexander more permanent by taking that step closer to Worf; by making myself part of their family since I didn't have one of my own," she paused, "I never really talked about how devastated I was when Ian died. You know, if he had aged at the normal rate, he would be just a few years older than Alexander is now," she looked away, tears forming in the corners of her eyes. "I know the being that was Ian lived, but it's still hard to cope with the fact that the physical form he took as my son died in my arms that day," she blinked back the tears as her friend hugged her.
Beverly had read the reports of her friend's "unusual", to say the least, pregnancy during her absence from the Enterprise and had tried to talk to her about it at the time, but Deanna's pain had been too fresh. Part of that pain, she now realized, lay in the fact of how desperately Deanna wanted to be a mother. Even if that meant playing the surrogate mother to a certain beautiful little Klingon boy.
"Have you ever talked to Will about any of this?" she asked quietly.
"Beverly, Will has always put his career first. I guess I just don't think he would be able to make a family a priority in his life," she answered with another twinge of regret.
"I don't know about that. He's been very upset by your relationship with Worf, even if he's tried to hide it from everyone...especially from himself. You need to talk to him, Deanna. I think you might find that what you were trying to create with Worf, was what you had all the time... in Will."
Deanna considered her friends words and the depth in which Beverly herself believed them. It made her want to believe them as well; maybe Will really could "settle down", the question was, would he still want to with her after all she had put them through by entering into her relationship with Worf?
"Go Deanna, talk to him now, tonight. Clear things up before it's too late," she said honestly.
Deanna looked down at her hands in her lap and nodded silently.
Conclusions by Imz
*Was that it?* Deanna wondered as she walked away from sick-bay. Had she been trying to find what she shared with Will, with Worf? Worf was a wonderful man, but they had both realized recently that what they shared could never go beyond what they already had; they were too different and neither wanted to have to change so drastically for the other.
Now it was over and Worf had decided it was best to move on. And he meant it literally; he had requested a transfer to DS9. She had tried to convince him that they could continue their friendship, even though she knew how difficult it was going to be with all three of them still aboard the Enterprise. In the end he had been the one to convince her that he needed to leave. And she had finally accepted it.
Their differences had brought them together in the one thing they shared: loneliness. But now those differences in culture, in what they each needed in a mate, what they wanted for the future, in almost every aspect of both their lives, pulled them in opposite directions. It had become too much for Worf; he had felt the strain between his commanding officer and himself since the first time he had spoken to him about pursuing Deanna. She felt it too, but she hadn't stopped him. She had convinced him that it was all right to explore their feelings; she had convinced herself as easily as Worf.
She hadn't been blind to Will's pain and she had never wanted to hurt him, she had just been too aware of her own pain. The terrible ache that filled her whenever she returned to her cabin; her empty cabin, with no one there waiting for her, needing her as much as she needed them.
She had hoped to ease that pain with Worf and Alexander. They needed her, they wanted her to be a part of their lives. And Will, Will had always had someone else. Lots of someone elses. So had she, but as she came to realize she needed something more stable, Will had seemingly continued his old ways; of seeking the physical from a relationship while she craved the emotional. Not to say that she herself hadn't found the joy of a purely physical relationship, but more and more she found she had only been masking her more permanent needs with transient desires. Could the same be said of Will? Beverly was right, she had to know; tonight.
"Come," Will Riker called out from where he sat on the couch; no need to get up, he thought, only one person would come calling this late.
Deanna entered his quarters and was immediately met with the unmistakable smell of Scotch. This was going to be harder then she had thought because she knew Will Riker never drank synthehol Scotch, only the real thing and only when something had him very upset.
"Deanna," he half slurred her name. "Come have a seat. I was going to talk to you..." his sentence trailed off. He thought a moment, "I was going to tell're going to love DS9; they have this little bar there, the management takes some getting used to, but they have the best..." he stopped as she sat down next to him. "Oh well, you'll find out anyway," he took a long drink from his glass and looked at her apologetically. "I know. You don't like it when I drink, but I'm really not in the mood for a lecture right now."
He took a long hard look at his glass. "So I know Worf's transfer has been approved, I'm just wondering when yours will go through," he looked over at her with a firmly placed smile on his features. "I guess I was expecting this; you're here to tell me you're leaving, aren't you?"
It was a statement, one she guessed he had thoroughly convinced himself of, because he gave her no time to answer him.
"You know, Deanna, for some reason, I always thought it would be me," he said as he took another drink.
"Will," she tried to begin, but he cut her off.
"I don't know why, I just did. Even when things between you and Worf started getting serious. I still thought you'd realize how much I loved you and somehow we'd make it work," the alcohol giving him the strength to tell her things he knew he'd never have had the courage to tell her without it.
She stared at him, everything she had planned to say forgotten for a moment. He loved her, he had admitted it, out in the open, in front of her, that he loved her. It was something she hadn't expected. He had never said anything, even though maybe a small part of her had wished he had when she first started seeing Worf. But he hadn't; until now.
He left her on the couch as he walked over to the table to refill his now empty glass.
"I'm not going with him," she told him, watching for his reaction.
He stopped pouring the liquor just long enough to make sure he had heard what he thought he had.
"Worf and I have decided it's best if we go our own ways and he feels that for him, that is somewhere other then the Enterprise," she watched him as he again let the liquid fill his glass.
"Mind if I ask why," he asked, not daring to let his hopes get too high just yet.
"We just realized that this kind of involvement wasn't something we wanted to continue. Neither of us has really found what we hoped we would in the relationship," she answered. "there are things that I've discovered about myself that just leads me to believe he's not the man I was meant to be with."
He contemplated what she had said. Looking down into his drink, "Did he ever hurt you?" He knew the question was out-of-the-blue, but he had to know.
"Will...I don't think that has any relevance now."
"I just want to know if there were ever any times when he went beyond what was...expected by you."
"No," she answered simply.
"Don't get me wrong; I know what kind of man Worf is. I just needed to make sure before we moved on," he sat down at the table and let his gaze move over her. "I've thought about that every night since...since I saw you in sick-bay that morning," he finished.
She remembered the moment with excruciating clarity; it had been a very painful moment for them both, filled with embarrassment on each side.
"No, he never did anything that I would or could ever hold against him," she reassured him.
"So where do we stand now?" his gaze was filled with months of pain; pain that had made him vow that if there were ever the slightest chance she would consider him again, he wouldn't let it pass him by.
"I've realized that maybe what I was looking for was right in front of me the whole time," she moved to stand behind him and lightly rested her hands on his shoulders.
He reached up and covered one hand with his own. "I need you in my life, Imzadi," he said quietly.
She kissed the back of his head softly. "I think I'm ready to find out what exactly was in front of me all this time," she whispered in his ear.
He closed his eyes and smiled. "Deanna, I'm more then willing to show you," he said pulling her intohis embrace.