Someone was kind enough to give me
a writing challenge: Will and Deanna on a vacation.
Well, here are the long-delayed results. Constructive
criticism appreciated, but please put a little honey
with it -- I'm from the South. :)

Title: Trust
Genre: TNG, RT
Rated: Mild PG
Archive: sure, if you want to
Disclaimer: I borrow Paramount's characters
respectfully. No profit or tangible personal gain is


“Do you trust me?”

“About as far as I can throw you, Will.

William Riker did not like Deanna Troi’s response to
his question so he began to tickle her. The couple
had been lying on the floor listening to music. It
was one of their favorite ways to unwind after a day
of Starfleet’s challenges.

The tickling became a contest with Deanna and Will
trying to get to each other’s most sensitive parts –
namely knees, underarms, and feet. To an outsider, it
would have sounded like an argument:

“Oh, no you don’t!”

“Gotcha!” (pant, pant)

The mutual torture continued until they collapsed from
laughing. Will and Deanna had been having fun as a
couple, laughing and joking often. Will dearly
enjoyed this time with his Imzadi but wished to get
more serious about their future.

After their fits of giggles, Will leaned back and took
a deep breath. He would have to handle this just
right and try to keep the mood light. “Let me rephrase
that question, Counselor. Will you marry me?”

“Will, don’t be silly“ Deanna replied.

Will Riker knew she would say something like that. He
wished she would say yes, but he had his answer ready.
“Then, console my broken heart by running away with me
for a week-end. Do you trust me, Imzadi?”

“With my chocolate, no. With vacation, maybe….” Her
eyes lit up. This could be fun. Deanna Trio tried
not to think about tomorrow in her relationship with
Will Riker. She rationalized to herself that if they
did not get serious, she would not be hurt when their
romance inevitably faded away.

Will’s reply brought her back to the present. “Good. I
took the liberty of requesting a few days of leave and
arranging our transportation. A shuttle will be
waiting for us tomorrow after our duty shifts.
Remember, you said would trust me on this.” Will
flashed one of his signature grins while nerves chewed
up his stomach. “In the mean time, I have some work
to do before our get-away. Sleep tight, Dee.” Will
got up, leaned down to kiss Deanna on the forehead,
and left.

What was that all about? Why was he leaving so soon?
Why is it that when it came to Will Riker, she could
not rely on her empathic skills? Disappointed, Deanna
reminded herself this was why she only wanted to have
fun. Despite herself, a sigh escaped from her breast.
She would let herself dream about the immediate
future and deny her hopes of something more.

Next door, Will tried to control his anxiety even
though so much rested on his plans. He was taking
Deanna to a place she never wanted to visit again.
Will knew he was taking a chance in forcing a
confrontation. He might destroy everything, including
his friendship with his Imzadi.

The next morning, Deanna heard a chime on the door as
she groggily woke up. It had to be Will – it was like
him to be so good-natured in the morning. How did the
man survive without more sleep? “Come on in, Mr.
Sunshine” she said, hoping she did not look as gross
as she felt. Too late to run into the shower – Will
was already bending down for a kiss.

“Good morning, Glory” he said, cheerfully. “Here is a
little something to help your mood.” It was ambrosia
– Will’s special hot chocolate. Deanna gratefully
reached for the cup, not seeing the love shining in
Will’s eyes. He wanted to enjoy each moment with her
he could in case there were no more after tonight.
“It’s a little early but I dreamed of you all night.
I won’t get any work done unless…” he did his best to
project the naughty thoughts he was having. Deanna
blushed – it worked!

“Let me finish my chocolate and you can help me to
wash my hair” she teased.

Deanna kept her promise, to William Riker’s delight.
Will did his best to imprint the experience into his
memories, knowing full well it could be the last time
they would ever be this close.

Later that day, Will and Deanna walked arm in arm to
the transporter room. They were taking a shuttle that
would take them to their mysterious destination.
Deanna felt giddy and looked forward to not being the
dependable counselor for a few days. Riker’s
appearance matched Deanna’s as he willed himself not
to worry. Trouble would come soon enough anyway.

Deanna promised not to ask any questions about where
they were going. They slept on the shuttle for a
couple of hours, Deanna leaning into Will while he
circled his arm around her. He savored each breath
and the smell of her hair while maintaining his mental

Eventually, they arrived. Will woke Deanna and made
her promise to close her eyes as they were transported
to their mysterious location. Deanna closed her eyes
in anticipation…

And opened them, feeling first a sense of familiarity,
then disbelief, and finally anger!

“Why did you bring me here, of all places? Is this
your idea of a joke? Well, I AM NOT LAUGHING.” Deanna
practically shouted her displeasure.

Deanna had opened her eyes to Risa, a planet of lush
indulgence to most beings, but a source of bitter
memories for her. They were outside of the hotel
where they were supposed to meet years ago. How could
Will be so cruel?

Will took a deep breath. This was the moment he had
prepared for. Maybe it was not such a good idea. “I
brought you here for a reason, Imzadi. I have to make
things right with us, Deanna – even it that means
reliving our past.” Will tried to project calm and
love while making his voice sound soothingly
confident. It did not seem to be working.

“Our past? You mean MY past. I was the one stood up”
Deanna replied curtly, her face a grim mask except for
her narrowed eyes.

“And I have regretted it ever since” Will replied

“I want to leave. Now.”

“Deanna, please stay. Please do this favor for me,
as your dearest friend.” Will wanted to say more but
he knew Deanna needed to hear something that would not
sound insincere. “Let’s go somewhere to talk.”

Deanna’s eyes reflected her pain, resentment, and
surprise. She wanted to go, but she could not turn
down Will’s plaintive request. She nodded her assent
and they began walking. Will was careful not to say
anything. It was time for him to listen and hear the
truth about how he had hurt her.

As they walked Deanna started talking. “I don’t want
to think about the past, Will. I know the pattern.
Boy meets girl. Girl loves boy. Boy leaves girl. Boy
wants Girl again only if Girl is unavailable.”

Ouch –Will felt that jab. He wanted to protest that
he was no longer like that, but with chagrin he
realized he could not argue with her. His silence
must have encouraged Deanna, because she continued.

“You always leave, Will. I just wanted to enjoy our
time before the pattern resumes. You just think you
want to be serious now. In a month or two Randy Riker
will reappear because the challenge will be gone.
Don’t set me up, Will. It would be unseemly.” A
single tear slid down Deanna’s cheek. Riker winced at
the words as the tear burned into his heart. He knew
he deserved this.

“Deanna, I want to hear how you feel. I know I
deserve the things you are saying. That’s why I
brought you here. I want to have a future with you
that begins with your trust.” Before Deanna started to
speak again, Will put a finger to her lips. “We are
both tired and hungry. Let’s go to our room and get
cleaned up. I am not going anywhere and promise to
take whatever comes.”

Deanna sighed and nodded. Feeling numb, she walked
with Will to the hotel. She remembered waiting at the
Betazed embassy waiting for Will’s call to meet her at
the hotel. She even went to the lobby for long hours
just in case Will went there first. She was fooling
herself at the time. The fresh memories stiffened her
resolve to not let Will hurt her this time. Will
could feel the turmoil in her emotions. He had worked
hard to improve his sensitivity to his link with

In the hotel room, they changed clothes and ate. The
evening was refreshingly cool and Will knew sleep
would not come easily that night. Will was glad to go
walking with Deanna. He did not want to go to sleep
while Deanna was still hurting.

As they walked, Deanna tried to regain her composure
and distance. “Will – let’s just go back to having
fun. We can leave this planet and find somewhere else
to go on vacation.”

Will smiled wryly at the scene before him. “Deanna,
don’t you see the irony? We’ve changed places. Once
upon a time a Betazoid college student chided me about
being too interested in the physical aspects of
attraction. Now look at us. I want to grow in our
spiritual bond and you want the physical.”

That observation stung Deanna. Will was right. Had
she changed so much since her student days? “I guess
I have changed, Will. I learned how to develop
defenses, like a good Starfleet officer should” she
replied sadly.

“Deanna, there is nothing wrong with taking care of
yourself. God knows you have your reasons to watch
out for me. You are forgetting something important,
Imzadi. You should trust your instincts – and
yourself.” Will gratefully saw that Deanna’s eyes
lost a hint of their pain and he felt encouraged to
continue. “As a counselor, you help people to know
and improve themselves. Please look at me with those
eyes. I have changed, thanks to the love and
friendship of the most extraordinary woman I know.”
Will held his breath waiting for Deanna’s response.

“Let’s sit down, Will.” He noticed she still had not
called him Imzadi. They found a bench facing a lazy
river. The stars twinkled in the sky and a faint
breeze was blowing. Deanna calmed herself with
breathing exercises, then stretched her senses to her
surroundings. She tried to read Will objectively.
She found confidence, loyalty, intelligence,
sincerity, and powerful feelings of love underlined by
grief. Deanna opened her eyes to see Will looking at
her with concern. “Oh, Will.”

“Can’t you call me Imzadi?”

“I want to but I’m not ready. I’ve spent years
watching you with other women. When you were with
them, you closed yourself to me. I love you, Will,
but if I let myself hope, this all will disappear. I
wish you could understand.”

“I do, Deanna, and I want to know more. Let me in,
please,” Will pleaded, his voice cracking faintly.

Deanna nodded and reached for Will’s hand. She placed
it on her heart. “Close your eyes, William. Remember
you asked for this.” Deanna closed her eyes and let
her defenses down. She allowed Riker to read her raw
emotions, even the ones she had been hiding from

This time the tears fell from Will’s closed eyes as he
felt the swirls of jagged fear, hurt, and disbelief.
He felt wounds that never quite healed and the love,
beyond friendship, that existed in his Imzadi’s heart.

“Deanna, will you allow me?…” Will opened his eyes to
see the glistening ones of Deanna looking back at him.
“Yes, Will.” With her consent, Will sent the love he
felt through their link to assure Deanna. It was a
step. It was THE step, that Will prayed would happen.

“What do we do now, Will?”

“We go back and get some sleep, Dearest. We have
years of questions for each other” Will replied. He
took her hand and never wanted to let it go.

“And tears, Will.”

“And tears, sighs, and smiles, Imzadi. Then, perhaps,
together we can create new memories for Risa.” Will
smiled and Deanna smiled back.

“Trust me, Imzadi?” Will asked again, more hopeful.

“Yes, Imzadi” Deanna replied.

What else could William Riker do but to lean forward
to kiss her? The kiss began with a whisper and grew
into passionate promises for a bright future.

As Deanna tried to regain her composure, she could not
resist saying “But you still can’t have my chocolate”
She winked and Will laughed. It was going to be a
good vacation after all.

Two days later…

~Good morning, Glory.~ Will woke up Deanna again in
his annoyingly cheerful way. This time he used their
reestablished link.

~I don’t want to wake up, Imzadi. It’s our last day.
If I don’t get out of bed, the time won’t come to
leave.~ Deanna sleepily and illogically reasoned.

This time, Will did not coax her out of bed. He
snuggled against her and felt her drifting back to
sleep. ~Marry me, Imzadi?~ Will sent to Deanna.

~Hmmm? Of course, Will~ Deanna replied as she drifted
back to sleep. Will smiled. He would ask her again
when she woke up, but he trusted what the answer would