Title: Missing Scenes
Codes: Crew, mostly R/T
Summary: What we didn't see in Insurrection and before Nemesis
The beaches of the Ba'ku home world were home to some of the most pristine in the quadrant. A good number of the Enterprise crew were certainly enjoying them along with the hospitality of Anij and Sojef. What they had initially thought to be hostage situation appeared to be nothing of the sort. The Starfleet personnel were still trying to figure out how they could have been so misled with regard to the 'hostile nature' of the Ba'ku. In the mean time they were listening for any tidbits of information they could glean from the natives while Captain Picard and Commander Worf assisted Commander Data.
Stretched out on a large blanket and running her tricorder over the sand was Dr. Beverly Crusher. Clad in a modest, yet flattering one piece navy swimsuit, the doctor was trying to figure out if anything in the environment was causing some of the odd behavior and vital signs she had been seeing in the crew. She had a hard time seeing the results of the scan because a large shadow had just blocked the sun. Crusher looked up.
"Riker, you're blocking my light."
He laughed and turned to Lt. Commander LaForge, who was standing next to him. Both men were shirtless and clad in Starfleet issue black trunks.
"Geordi, she does know that relaxation is occasionally allowed even on away missions, doesn't she?" Will moved slightly to the side, not blocking the light any longer. Geordi just shrugged.
"I am relaxed, Will. I'm also taking in the surroundings."
"So am I, Doctor." Riker responded, looking around him at the many bikini-clad women, some crew, some civilians.
"There is something to be said for analyzing the environment," LaForge agreed sagely. "And I'd love to analyze those legs over there." He gestured to the deep green waves, where some ways away from them a woman had just executed a dive beneath the surface. His ocular implants zoomed in For a moment, all that could be seen was her bottom half, a pair of long legs and slim yet curvy hips wrapped in a small piece of black fabric. Then those too were hidden from view. Riker's gaze had followed Geordi's.
"You two are acting like teenagers." Crusher huffed, tossing aside her tricorder and scowling at the lascivious men. It wasn't as if SHE was invisible after all.
"Not at all, Doc. Just admiring the view." Riker didn't bother to turn around.
"And who could blame you, Commander? It is some view." LaForge let out a low wolf whistle and at that moment the owner of those legs surfaced from the water wearing an incredibly small bikini.
LaForge coughed and averted his eyes when he realized who it was that he had been leering over. Riker on the other hand, swallowed hard and remained riveted. Crusher followed his gaze and just laughed when she saw the object of his focus dive back into the waves.
"Will, stop ogling Deanna," she admonished, laughter in her voice when he still hadn't moved. Riker ignored her and kept his eyes on the beauty in the water. "Come on, Will. Cut it out." A smile lit up his bearded face and Crusher realized he was hopeless.
It had been a very long time since Will had seen Deanna in so little and he was going to savor every moment of it. His laser blue eyes, hidden by sunglasses, traveled up and down her body, roaming over and over, fascinated. Her hair was wet and reminded him of their time at Janaran Falls. He knew Crusher was still talking to him, but only registered the last thing she said to him.
"You know, Will," she said, "Sometimes I think you need professional help." She wanted to wipe that smug grin from his face. Geordi still looked abashed at his thoughts of a few moments earlier.
Riker turned and faced Crusher again, pausing to consider her words. Then he smiled wider.
"You know what, Doc? That's not a bad idea." He nodded to himself, flashed Crusher his trademark grin and began walking down the beach. He was going to pay a professional call on the lovely Counselor. And he was going to do it soon.
Watching him walk away, Beverly groaned and put her head in her hands. "I walked right into that one."
LaForge sat down in the sand beside her, patting her shoulder sympathetically as Crusher raised her head and grinned before picking up her tricorder again. She couldn't wait to see how this played out.
Later that evening
Will Riker rinsed his face free of shaving cream, turned to face his companion with a cocky smile on his now bare face and was immediately struck silent by the look in her eyes. Her cheeks were flushed from the steam in the air, her hair was loosely gathered atop her head to avoid the fragrant bubbles that clung to her shoulders and she was simply gorgeous. Those onyx eyes of hers were alight with more than just the reflective glow of the candles he'd scattered around the bath earlier; glittering at him in the subdued light with far more than friendly affection. It had been so long… years since she'd looked at him like that.
Bright with passion and love, Deanna's eyes held him hostage as she stared
at him in a manner he'd both yearned for and never thought to see again.
Her hand shaking slightly, she set the champagne flute down on the high back
of the tub behind her and reached out her fingers to his face in wonder, her
gaze never wavering from his. She caressed the newly smooth skin of his cheek
and jaw with an achingly familiar touch before resting her index finger in the
small dimple in his chin; no longer hidden from view as it had been for many
"Hello, again," she said softly, moving through the water towards
where he sat lounging against the back of the tub. With the lilt of her voice
almost as sensual to him as her physical touch against his skin, Will's heart
began to beat so loudly that he was certain she could hear its pounding.
"Deanna…" he began but was silenced when she raised the finger to
his lips; memorizing their shape and texture once again. She'd stared at them
for years, delighting in the casual smiles he'd often tossed her way; craving
the hard press of them against hers in the dark, lonely hours of night in her
dreams… and fantasies. Her midnight eyes burned into his, setting his soul aflame.
<No words, Imzadi. Only this.> Her voice rang in his spirit and he fully
understood only in that moment just how much he had missed this intimate closeness
of their long denied bond.
His lips parted slightly, kissed the delicate finger still tracing a whispering path over his lips and he opened his thoughts fully to her, watching Deanna tremble beside him in the water when the complete sense of his being flooded her senses. Unable to resist that look in her eyes any longer, Will moved forward, eliminating the distance between them and drew her into his arms; tilting her face towards his.
The kiss that followed was sweeter than memory and more than imagination. It
quickly deepened and took her by surprise as his memories rushed through her…
the first time he saw her and those steamy days in the jungle flashed by rapidly,
changing into their last minutes together at the museum on Betazed and his surprised
double take during their reunion at Farpoint Station. She felt the ambivalence
and the heartache he'd shared alongside her during Ian's brief encounter and
the pride he experienced the first time she'd beaten him at poker and when she'd
become a full commander. Images struck at her heart; she saw herself pushing
him away when she'd lost her empathic abilities and felt his overwhelming fear
that she'd leave him one day for Thomas… or Worf.
She, the empath, had spent so many years guarding her heart and emotions where
Will was concerned that she'd never realized how much he'd been blocking from
her. The intensity of his love and longing for her, hidden away for so long,
rushed into her and stole her breath. Her eyes captured him again, heavy-lidded
and gleaming with desire and his mouth went dry when she silently whispered,
<Make me cry, Will.>
She was everywhere at once; her body as fluid as the water surrounding them,
the silky caress of her voice in his mind, all of it stroked at his soul in
places no one else could ever reach… ways he'd never been able to forget. He
shook his head mutely and swallowed hard, trying to calm his rapid pulse before
Afraid he'd changed his mind, Deanna slid out of his embrace and began moving
away to the other side of the tub, halting only when she felt his large hand
encircle her wrist. Grasping it gently but firmly, he tugged her back to him
then let go; tilting her lips up towards his with a curved finger under her
"I've already made you cry too many times, Imzadi."
He searched her face closely, seeing the cascading emotions play across her
face. Her hurt expression transformed into one of confusion then understanding
as the myriad emotions behind his words chased away the last of her uncertainty.
Will grinned wickedly at her; his sky blue eyes growing dark as the flickering
dance of the candle flames mirrored his own inner fire for her. He bent his
head and slowly lowered his mouth to hers. His voice was hoarse when he spoke
again, scarcely brushing his lips over hers.
"But I'd love to make you scream."
His tongue swept into her mouth and Deanna's body quivered; her hands splayed
across his back as she lost herself to him.
Gods she loved the taste of him; raw and masculine in her mouth. Even mingled with the subtle flavor of champagne she would recognize his mouth anywhere. They consumed each other; tongues mating, hot and searching with years of suppressed desire igniting at once as the universe fell away around them.
They parted after an eternity, her eyes unfocused and wild with anticipation
as they locked with his deep blue depths.
<Imzadi> he sent, infusing the word with his certainty that this moment,
this time was inevitable… and forever. Deanna's eyes closed at the sense of
his undeniable love and fluttered open again, glistening still and awash with
adoration. After all these years of unending doubts and silly games, he was
so sure… he had changed so much.
Her beautiful face cradled in his palms, he rained kisses down the graceful
curve of her neck to her shoulders, peeking up from the sea of scented bubbles
in which they were submerged. The silken press of her skin against his was maddening,
irresistible and drew him like a magnet. Craving her closer still, Will tucked
his arms under her knees and briefly lifted the surprised Betazoid from the
bath before settling her on his lap.
Deanna couldn't help but gasp at the intimate contact when his muscular legs
collided with her thighs under the water, urging them apart for his eager exploration.
His hands drifted over her body, re-learning every curve and hollow but never
lingering anywhere for long. Soft sounds slipped from her throat in frustration
as she wrapped her legs around his hips, urging him closer. Deanna's head dropped
down; her lips pressing softly against the back of his neck, a spot she knew
used to drive him wild. Will's incoherent mumble of pleasure against the swell
of her breast assured her that some things hadn't changed.
Small waves slapped against them from their movements, almost overflowing the
confines of the bath. Bubbles popped between their bodies as they moved together
in a perfect rhythm they'd never thought to reach again. Intoxicated by the
sensations they created in each other, Deanna reached through their bond and
felt his pleasure enmeshed with her own. Sending it back to him, Will's fierce
thrust almost overwhelmed her. She was filled with him completely… her heart…
her body… her soul. Her arms draped around his neck and she buried her head
in his shoulder, utterly pliant and more than a little stunned by the intensity
of his need. Her body threatened to come apart at every touch, more so because
she knew that it was finally Will making love to her.
The moment she surrendered, Riker felt her scream of <Imzadi> before
he heard it, convulsions rocking her body as she clenched around him and drew
him deeper still. He groaned at the exquisite torture and let go, dropping his
head to her chest and hearing her heart race in time with his own.
Slowly they came back to themselves, drawing ragged breaths as they continued
to cling to each other beneath a rapidly fading blanket of bubbles.
"Will," she whispered, sending tremors down his spine, "the
water's getting cold."
"I hadn't noticed," he answered, still catching his breath. He lifted his head and with a dazed expression, stood up with her in his arms; water sluicing down their bodies as he carried her to the bedroom.
Deanna awoke in Will's arms and in his bed from the most restful sleep she had ever had. She probably hadn't gotten any more than a few hours in total, though. She couldn't get enough of him, of them. At least twice during the night she had half wakened him with hungry demanding kisses. Each time, he rose to her challenge, loving her… just a little bit more…before they both fell back to sleep. And once during the earliest morning hours she had opened her eyes to the touch of his lips moving gently down her spine. She had sighed with pleasure; rolled over to face him and was taken to the stars again.
Already growing between them was a strange blend of familiarity mixed with the heady feelings of a new love affair. It just felt right somehow. It was the best of all worlds, being free to be completely out of control and knowing that she was still safe. Finally where she belonged, with her Imzadi. It made all their choices over past few years worth it.
They had definitely gotten a start on making up for lost time. Deanna realized that they had never actually made love in a bed before. There had always been an urgency between them in the past, as if they had known that what they had couldn't be sustained for very long. That fire was still there now, though it burned deeper and sweeter than before; fueled by their many years of friendship. And she knew that this time there would be no hesitating and no turning back. After spending the night enfolded in his embrace she never wanted to sleep alone again. She could sense that he felt the same.
Deanna looked up at Will from her place underneath his chin. The warmth of his body permeated hers; his strong arms wrapped tightly around her. Her hand swept softly over his cheek, surprised at the absence of his beard. He looked so much like the dashing lieutenant who swept her off her feet all those years ago. She still couldn't believe he had actually let her shave him the previous evening. Once the beard was gone and Will was looking at her exactly the way he used to she couldn't resist him any more. And she didn't want to. But now that it was gone, she kind of missed it. Will's beard had been such a vital part of him for so many years that Deanna hoped he'd grow it back at some point. She'd known him much longer with it than without it. Still it had been fun to revisit the past. She was feeling deliciously battered this morning, her lips swollen from kisses and her body pleasantly sore in ways it hadn't been in a very long time.
Soon enough they'd have to get back to work. The galaxy around them could only stand still for so long. For just a little while longer though, she was going to enjoy this. She lay her head back down on his chest, yawned and closed her eyes again. Everything else could wait for at least another hour or so.
Will opened his eyes, instantly awake, and quickly understood that something was different this morning. Deanna was still there. This was usually the moment when she disappeared back into his dreams where she'd been waiting for him for years. But this morning she hadn't faded away. Today she was curled up against him, her body molded to his underneath the blanket.
His thoughts drifting as he watched her sleep, Will realized that he had never slept with another woman in his arms. Sure he'd shared a bed with many, many women over the years, even throughout the night, but he'd always kept to 'his' side of the bed. He'd never given really thought about it and his bedmates had certainly never drawn it to his attention. It was generally accepted as another aspect of 'Will-the-Thrill.' Just how it was; and how it had always been. Until Deanna.
When they had made love the first time in the Jalara Jungle it had been an unconscious gesture. Thoroughly exhausted from the Sindareen ordeal and the ensuing endless hours of passionate love; he had simply gathered Deanna close and slept soundly. They awoke hours later, still entwined. Still, as they continued on their way to the rendezvous point over the next few days, Deanna spent every night in his arms. After they had ended their relationship it had never happened for him with anyone else. He hadn't dwelled on it until after accepting the Enterprise posting.
As the years past, he had gradually begun having increasingly erotic dreams which all ended the same way. In the dream he'd wake with a woman in his arms, only to actually awaken and she'd be gone. But a few years ago, something had changed.
Will remembered the exact day it had happened. Deanna had temporarily lost her empathic abilities for a short time and after initially pushing him away had cried herself to sleep on his shoulder later that evening. That night, he had fallen asleep while holding her on the couch in her quarters and his head finally understood what his heart had known all along. He wasn't just dreaming of a woman; he was dreaming about Deanna. She had nestled into him as she slept and she had fit as though she belonged there. It had jolted him awake, and despite the crick in his neck and the numbness in his limbs from the awkward position of sleeping at such an odd angle, he felt wonderful.
From then on, just about every time he slept, Will held his Imzadi in his dreams.
When they were on Earth and he had carried her out of that noisy bar it had been unbelievably difficult to keep his mind on the mission. He stayed with her as she slept off the tequila that Cochrane had forced on her and his breath had caught in his throat as she had rolled into his lap. Unwilling to wake her he just stroked her hair, savoring the moment.
After the mission had ended and the Borg threat dealt with, he had some time to think. And he knew in that moment and all the moments after that nothing could measure up to that feeling. The thrill of the chase had gone stale for him now as had the prospect of yet another meaningless relationship. He wanted Deanna. Only Deanna. All the time and in every way. Imzadi. And now, somehow, she was here. Whether it was due to the metaphasic radiation or something more, Will didn't care. She was here. And he was going to do his damnedest to ensure she stayed here, where she belonged. With him.
Feeling the cool air of the room against his bare face, Will smiled into the semi-darkness of the room. It was a strangely distant but familiar feeling. When Deanna had teased his neck in the library the other day, his whole body had come alive at her touch. She had to have sensed it though she pretended otherwise. And coming upon her on the beach the next day had been a sucker punch to his gut. Watching her in the water had struck him speechless at the sheer loveliness of her. Even Beverly had ribbed him about it. But he didn't care.
Later that day he had dropped by her office on a whim, unable to resist catching a glimpse of her and hoping she'd accept his dinner invitation. But once the doors had opened Will didn't know what had come over him. Deanna had been sitting on her sofa looking so studious that he couldn't resist provoking her just a bit in order to coax that smile he so loved into existence. But once again she had taken him off guard, pushing him out of her office after insulting his kiss. It had only made him want to try harder to win her over.
He smiled again at the recent memory, still watching her sleep beside him. He thought back to the night before…
This time he had surprised her, offering to shave off the beard that had been a part of him for so long in order to kiss her again. He had more than half expected her to turn him down and had been pleasantly shocked when she had not only taken him up on his offer, but countered with one of her own. And it had been perfect, barring a minor interruption from Admiral Dougherty. Just the two of them; a bottle of champagne, a straight razor and a lot of bubbles. Riker's eyes darkened as he thought about the previous evening. Deanna had always been fond of water, and last night Will had gained a new appreciation for it as well.
Once again, she had taken his breath away. Will had always prided himself on his memorization skills, but his recollections didn't hold a candle to the reality of her. Gone was the sweet somewhat naïve young girl who had continuously rebuffed his advances then boldly seduced him in the jungle. She had been replaced by this passionate creature asleep in his arms... his best friend… the other half of his soul… Imzadi.
But though he tried, Will couldn't help but wonder if it had ever been like this before for her. He certainly couldn't begrudge her any past relationships, not considering his history, though during one of their friendly talks not so long ago she had mentioned that she could count her love affairs on one hand 'and two of them were you.' Still, there was a small part of him that always wanted to be the only man Deanna held in her arms while she slept. He knew that if Deanna had known that he was thinking this way she would have laughingly compared it to the primitive act of marking one's territory. He let the thought flit out of his head and leaned towards her, brushing a few wayward strands of Deanna's hair off of her face as she turned slightly, the curve of her cheek resting in the palm of his hand. As his hand gently caressed her skin, Deanna's lips parted and she sighed then breathed his name. Will exhaled a breath he hadn't realized he was holding and tenderly traced her lips with the pad of his thumb.
Will marveled at the delicate planes of her face; so serene as she slept; the silk of her hair against his skin, tickling his chest with every rise and fall of her own. She was exquisite and wound around his body and soul so tightly that he didn't know where she ended and he began. Just as it should be, he thought to himself.
At some time during the night their bond had been completed. Will couldn't pinpoint the exact moment it had happened, only that now he could feel her all through him. Their souls were now as deeply enmeshed as their bodies; even their hearts beat in time to each other. Finally.
Drawn in as always, Will gave in and lowered his lips to hers. Again and again their lips met and Deanna's eyes fluttered open. She stared intently into his blue depths and kissed him again, her hands moving upwards to clutch at his shoulders.
"Good morning." Will spoke first, trailing his finger down her spine. Deanna released his shoulders and planted a kiss on his smooth chin.
"Morning." She stretched her arms above her head and lay back on the pillow; the sheet tangled about her waist.
Will's blue eyes widened at the sight of her innocently arched against the grey sheets of the bed… so lovely. He gazed appreciatively for a long moment and said, almost to himself, "I could make breakfast, but I know how much you prefer to start with dessert." He leaned toward her cautiously, hoping she wouldn't rush away.
Deanna smiled and brought her face very close to his. <What did you have in mind, Imzadi?> She nipped at his earlobe and Will's eyes closed at the long sought sound of her laughter in his head.
Knowing that his fears of her leaving were unfounded, Will cleared his mind, concentrating, the way she had taught him all those years ago. He kissed her slowly and she felt him gently brush over her breasts and between her thighs though his hands were tangled in her hair. <I thought we'd start with this.>
Deanna's eyes widened in shock; she hadn't known that he could still do that. Then Will kissed her again, less than gentle this time, and their thoughts ceased altogether.
(A few hours after the final scene)
Four hours had past since the Enterprise left Ba'ku space and this was the first opportunity Will had to be alone with Deanna. They were in her office so that they wouldn't be disturbed unless there was an emergency.
"Well that was a close one." He threw himself onto her couch and sighed, lounging against one end of it.
"Yes, too close. I'm sure I'll be keeping busy dealing with the emotional aftermath among the crew over the next few days. I already have thirteen appointment requests waiting to be addressed." She said plaintively, throwing her hands up in the air.
Will tensed at her words and sat straight up.
"You're not backing away from us are you?" He'd drag her kicking and screaming into this relationship if he had to. Luckily she sensed his intent and quickly corrected him.
"No! Of course not." She set herself down on the couch beside him. "It'll just be harder for us to find some quiet time for the next few days." She flashed him a smile. "Not that its been that quiet lately…"
"I could always schedule an emergency appointment and block off some of your time. I've been having some issues dealing with the emotional aftermath myself." Riker breathed into Deanna's hair, pulling her from the cushion next to him on the couch and settling her on his lap.
"Have you?" She raised an eyebrow and squirmed around on his lap until she was facing him, her legs straddling his waist. "I have some time now and my schedule is clear for the moment."
"And is this considered to be a normal therapeutic posture, Counselor?" His tone light, Will raised an eyebrow and ran his hands up her thighs enjoying the way her eyes closed at his touch.
She opened her eyes and looked at him expectantly. "No. But it is comfortable." She smiled warmly. "You were saying?"
"Yes." He closed his eyes for a moment then opened them so he was looking directly into her eyes. "Earlier, I asked Worf if he thought things would be different once the ship was away from the metaphasic radiation." He linked the fingers of his right hand with hers. "He assumed I was talking about you."
"We haven't exactly been discrete these past few days." She ran her left index finger across the smooth skin of his jaw.
"True." He raised their right hands to his lips and pressed gentle kisses across her knuckles. "He told me that my feelings for you hadn't changed in all the years he'd known me. Pretty observant for a Klingon."
Deanna stayed silent, staring at him.
"You and he have had this conversation before." He realized, judging from her lack of response.
"Yes. A few years ago."
"When you were," he paused, "seeing each other."
"Yes. It never would have worked, Will." Her tone was noncommittal.
"Frankly, I never knew what to make of that relationship." He struggled to keep his voice neutral. He had never understood how she could have even attempted to date Worf, considering she always said that her main reason for keeping them apart had been because they were serving together on the ship.
"There was never much to understand. It never went anywhere and was essentially over before it started." She paused and stared down at their still entwined fingers. "Because of you, Imzadi. I think Worf realized, even before I did." She smiled tentatively at him and her smile widened as he leaned in for a kiss.
"So what now?" He breathed against her lips and changed the subject. He'd rather not dwell on the past with the future right in front of them.
"Now, we move on."
"But to what?" He kissed her again, unable to resist her lips so near to his.
"I don't know, Will. Contrary to popular belief, I don't have all the answers. I'm hoping we can figure it out together." She wrapped her free arm around his neck.
"Together. It has a nice ring to it. I like the sound of that." Riker shifted slightly and leaned into the delicate caresses at the nape of his neck.
"Me too. I'm not so sure the Captain will, though." She halted the motion of her roving fingers.
"Then we'll deal with that together too, Imzadi. It'll all work out." He captured her lips again, teasing them open with his tongue. Deanna leaned into the kiss, her heart racing at the pressure of his lips against hers.
A loud beeping began from the console on the desk to their left. It was followed by the even louder voice of the computer.
<Incoming appointment requests for Counselor Troi have reached maximum capacity. No further requests will be logged until space allows.>
Deanna finally broke away from their kiss and lowered her head to Will's shoulder as the computer repeated its message. "That mailbox holds up to fifty requests at a time. It hasn't maxed out since our last encounter with the Borg."
"I'm sure you'll be able to handle it. Like you said before, it's probably adjustment issues from the mission and the metaphasic radiation. Not everyone enjoyed revisiting their 'younger years' as much as we have." He grinned. "Still, you'd better deal with it. And I'd better get started on the reports the Captain requested."
The computer repeated its message a third time and Deanna groaned. Will took Deanna's arms in his, wrapped them around his neck and stood. He kissed her thoroughly again before gently placing her on the ground.
"I'll see you later?" He asked, heading towards the door. He had no intention spending even a single night without her again.
Deanna nodded. "I'll check in with you once I deal with THAT." She gestured to the still beeping console and rolled her eyes.
"Later then." He flashed her a grin as the doors hissed open. He stared a moment longer, unwilling to leave, then said, "The hell with it." Will rushed towards her and enveloped her in his arms, devastating her with a final passionate kiss.
Just as the doors were beginning to close, a second year Ensign from Engineering happened to be walking by the Counselor's office and got an eyeful of the sizzling embrace. Within hours the news spread through the ship like wildfire that Commander Riker and Counselor Troi were seen 'making out' in her office.
(A few days later)
Reports were multiplying like tribbles. In the seventy-two hours since the Enterprise had left the Briar Patch, Riker had done nothing except write and review reports regarding the mission. The ship would docking in two days for repairs, routine maintenance and a new warp core and ramscoop. Preliminary work had already been started by Engineering and damage reports, maintenance reports and mission reports to Starfleet Command seemed to pile up as fast as they were knocked down. Most of the crew felt overwhelmed. The absence of the metaphasic radiation they'd been exposed to had thrown more than a few of them off kilter and there were some adjustment problems. Commander Riker, in his characteristic manner, was taking it all in stride.
Other than the loss of his beard which was already on its way to returning, outwardly the Commander appeared unchanged and unfazed. While some of the crew were practically climbing the walls with anxiety and frustration, he simply went on with business as usual. A little less social perhaps, but that could be forgiven due to the high volume of reports awaiting his attention at all hours.
He was in the midst of one right now, sprawled out on the couch in the main room of his quarters, a stack of completed reports on the table beside him, and a larger stack still to be dealt with on the floor. It was taking him considerably longer to get everything completed than he had hoped it would and he was planning on a break shortly.
The door chimed.
Riker wasn't expecting any one at this late hour, sighed, and quietly allowed admittance. The doors hissed open and in walked Captain Picard, striding into the main room with an apologetic tone.
"I'm sorry to bother you, Number One. I've come to gather any completed reports. Perhaps we'll be able to be finished by the time we dock. I know that Starfleet Command would like this whole Son'a incident put to rest as soon as possible."
Riker inclined his head in acknowledgment. "They're on the table over here." With the report he was currently reviewing in hand, he gestured to the table in front of him, currently out of sight. Riker's voice remained at a low level and he made no move to stand.
Picard was a bit surprised that Riker hadn't gotten up from the couch at the entrance of a superior officer as it was quite unlike him, and he hoped that his First Officer wasn't injured in some way and avoiding sickbay again. He certainly seemed subdued. He was probably just tired; they all were. Picard crossed the room and headed for the table Riker had been pointing at. He scooped the stack of reports off the table and then looked up, eyes momentarily wide. He faced Riker directly and somehow managed to cover his surprise.
Stretched out on the couch on top of Commander Riker was Ship's Counselor Deanna
Troi, still in uniform, but barefoot and obviously fast asleep. Her feet were
atop Riker's calves; one of her arms was wound around his waist effectively
pinning him to the couch and Picard could just see her profile from her position
on Riker's chest. One of the Commander's arms was loosely draped around her
shoulder. Her boots were on the floor next to the couch and it looked as though
she had been there for a while.
Picard had heard whisperings across the ship about these two many times over the years and had always dismissed it as gossip. He knew of course that prior to serving together they had been involved; it was an open secret on the ship. This time he would have been better prepared for the sight before him if he had paid a bit more attention to the rumors swirling around. Picard readjusted the PADDs in his hand and tugged on his uniform, feeling distinctly uncomfortable. He cleared his throat softly, stalling for time to cover his awkwardness. Being ill at ease was not something that came naturally to him and Picard noticed that Riker didn't seem disturbed in the least. On the contrary, Picard had never seen his First Officer so relaxed. Even with the piles of reports scattered everywhere Riker was radiating peace and contentment just like someone they both knew often did.
Looking closer at the couch but trying not to stare, Picard noticed the purple smudges under the Counselor's visible eye. He realized that he had been silent for a lot longer than he had intended. Riker too, said nothing. He placed the PADD in his hand onto the arm of the couch and ran his fingers over the stubble on his chin.
Troi hadn't stirred.
"Is she all right?" Picard asked, lowering his voice a bit as he acknowledged her presence. He would have thought that the Counselor's empathic abilities would have made her a light sleeper and unease must have been simply pouring off him into the room. Still, the only movement from the couch came from her deep, even breaths; her face half buried in Riker's chest.
"She's fine, Sir. Just exhausted. She's essentially been in back to back counseling sessions for the past three days." Riker gazed down at Troi in a fiercely protective and loving manner that left Picard in no doubt whatsoever as to the nature of their relationship and gently moved a few strands of her hair away from her cheek, twining the silken curl around his fingers before looking up at the Captain once again. "Quite a few members of the crew are having some adjustment issues. Deanna believes that the time in dry-dock should help alleviate some of the strain."
"Yes, well I think we could all use a bit of a break, Number One." Picard instinctively lowered his voice again in deference to the sleeping Counselor. He had relaxed slightly but was tugging a bit at his collar. Now that the shock was ebbing Picard thought that what he saw was quite charming. Still he felt as though he was intruding and he didn't want to be responsible for Counselor Troi to awaken when she so obviously needed rest.
"I should get going on these interminable reports. Have a good evening, Will."
Riker watched his fingers untwine Troi's hair and picked up the PADD again.
"Good night, Captain. I'll have another batch for you in the morning." He smiled wryly at Picard and inclined his head slightly towards the side of the couch.
"Good night, Number One." Picard gathered the remaining completed reports from the table on his way out, wanting to get out of there as fast as possible without looking as though he were in a hurry. As the doors hissed open and shut again Will leaned down and kissed Deanna's forehead then her lips before settling back in for another few hours of reading. He'd bring her to bed when he was done but for now he was reluctant to let go or risk waking her.
Outside Riker's quarters, Picard paused before heading back to his own. He realized that now, on top of the many hours of report review ahead of him, he also owed the Chief Medical Officer a very rare, very expensive bottle of Chateau Picard.
(The next evening)
Deanna and Will were sitting at the table in his quarters, sharing a light dinner.
"Does it bother you that people are talking about us?" She speared a piece of lettuce with her fork.
"Deanna, they've been talking about us on this ship for years. That hasn't changed. Senior Staff aren't exactly invisible. And besides I don't really care who is talking about us or what they are saying for that matter. I'm actually thrilled." He took a sip from his glass.
"You are?" Her fork dropped to the plate with a loud clatter. "Why?"
"Well, for one thing, we don't have to pretend or hide our relationship when we leave our quarters." His hand reached across the table for hers. He simply couldn't stop touching her whenever possible. "And for another," his eyes twinkled; "it's made every male aboard this ship afraid to look at you for too long. Except for Data, that is."
"Did you hang a sign on me when I wasn't looking, Will?" She asked, a light teasing tone to her voice. Will was not normally a jealous man and she was enjoying this new side of him.
"Sure I did. It says 'Property of Will Riker, All Trespassers Will Be Executed' in just about every language you could think of. I didn't think subtlety was called for and this way there will be no confusion." He was only partly joking.
Deanna laughed. "Your property, huh, Commander? Well then, it's a good thing I marked you first.
"Did you now?" His blue eyes lit up at the prospect. "Counselor, what exactly have you posted on me? 'Nymphomaniacal Betazoid's Sex Toy, Keep Away?'"
"Hardly." As if he had to ask. She smiled at him from across the table then returned to her meal. "Imzadi" she answered.
He tilted his glass towards her in acknowledgment, smiling broadly. "I think that says it all."
(The next afternoon)
"All right, Deanna out with it." Beverly Crusher stared at her friend from across their table in Ten Forward. They had finally carved out a few minutes to meet for drinks in an incredibly hectic week.
"Out with what?" Troi asked innocently, hiding her smile behind the mug of hot chocolate.
"First of all, you look like you've been struck by lightning. And Will isn't much better." Her blue eyes lit up with mirth in spite of her feigned scowl. "Have the two of you finally come to your senses?"
Troi put down her mug and gestured Crusher a bit closer. Then she whispered to her. "Actually Beverly, we've barely come up for air."
"I knew it!" Beverly leaned back in her chair and clasped her hands together in delight. "Wait a minute. Are you trying to tell me that all these years, all he had to do was ditch the beard for you to throw yourself at him again? Will would have done that years ago, Deanna."
"I did not throw myself at him. And it was a lot more complicated than just facial hair." Deanna was indignant. "Besides, it's already growing back. It was just…. time, I guess." She smiled; a dreamy expression on her delicate features.
"I'll say. Many, many times, from the look of you." Beverly teased, unable to resist ribbing her best friend.
Deanna blushed. "Is it really that obvious?" She looked around and noticed that quite a few crew were attempting to avoid looking directly at her. There was a general sense of curiosity coming from the occupants of the lounge, but nothing that she was able to pinpoint.
"To me, yes. Very obvious. To the rest of the ship?" She paused. "Probably." Beverly smiled as Deanna shot her a mournful look.
"Try to relax and ignore it. Or enjoy it. We've all been speculating about each others love lives on this ship for years anyway. Now at least I can live vicariously through you for some tawdry thrills for a while."
Deanna winced. "I'm going to try to forget that you said that."
"You'll probably forget it anyway. Medical studies have shown that good sex can temporarily cause your IQ to drop about ten points. And judging from your glow I'd say you've hurtled well on your way past twenty." Beverly smirked and took another sip of tea.
"Beverly!" Troi exclaimed. She looked around the crowded lounge to make sure no one had overheard the doctor's last statement. Then she just sat back and smiled.
"Twenty points, huh?" She took another sip from her mug.
"It's worth at least a loss of fifty." She said thoughtfully as her face lit up.
Beverly sighed and leaned forward, her elbows on the table. "Goody. Now
tell me all about it. And don't leave out the juicy details."
(Later that night)
"I cannot believe you did that, Deanna." Will was stunned, practically speechless. His blue eyes were wide with surprise and his mouth was agape.
"Don't worry, Will. It's only temporary." She smiled serenely at his incredulous expression.
"But still, how the devil did you even manage to do that by yourself, Deanna?" He couldn't stop looking at her. She simply captivated him and he never knew what she'd do next.
"I had help."
"You had help?" He echoed, his heart thudding in his chest. Just who had helped her?
"Beverly helped me." She smiled up at him impishly.
"Oh no." His head drooped on his shoulders. "I'm never going to hear the end of this from her."
Deanna laughed and spun around as Will raised his head. Deanna's hair was loosely curled around her shoulders and Will's hands itched to bury themselves in it.
"How long did you say it would last again?" He asked, intrigued and more than a bit delighted at her imagination.
"A day or so." She gazed up at him as Will came closer and curved his hand around her waist. He turned her slightly with her back towards him and just stared intently as Deanna stood before him, nude and laughing. There, on the bared left cheek of Deanna's lovely derriere were clearly stamped the words 'Property of Will Riker' in Federation standard.
"You know, Imzadi," he lowered his voice, sending shivers up her spine as he guided her towards the bedroom, "according to the Federation, possession is still nine tenths of the law. And I'm going to enjoy every bit of this for as long as it lasts."
"Will!" She paused at the foot of the bed, only to be gently pushed backwards onto its surface. Riker swiftly followed. She lay back and propped herself up on her elbows, waiting. "I cannot believe you said that." She feigned outrage.
"Come on, Deanna. You come into my quarters, tell me you have a surprise for me; take your clothes off, parade around like that, and don't expect me to have at least a little fun?" The sparkle in his eyes was infectious.
"A little fun? I think," She was cut off by the press of his lips against hers.
"I think you should stop thinking." His grin was devilish as his eyes swept up and down her curves. Then his expression changed, suddenly growing serious.
"Okay, Commander. Then how about this? I know that you should be taking off your uniform right now," she said, frustrated. The Will Riker she thought she knew would never had taken so long to indulge in the delights she was so blatantly offering. But the still clothed man beside her sat on the bed and just kept looking, not making any move to come closer. Will's light blue eyes now fixated on hers, contemplating something she could not read.
"In a minute. Did you mean it?" He touched her then, one long finger tracing a path across her parted lips, down her chin and throat, then between her breasts before halting its motion just over her heart. Deanna shivered slightly from the touch of his skin on hers and the intensity of his gaze.
"Did I mean what?" Her heart began beating wildly, and she knew he could feel it through his touch. She had never seen him look quite so serious.
" 'Property of Will Riker'. Did you mean it, Imzadi?" He spoke softly but insistently.
"Yes," she answered, feeling the emotion behind his words. "Yes, I meant it."
Will closed his eyes for a moment and exhaled. Opening them, he ran his finger back up her chest and settled on her chin, tilting her lips towards his. Still gazing at her, he took her bottom lip between his teeth and nipped at it slightly, then released it.
"Good. Then I think something more permanent is in order, Deanna." He moved away from her and Deanna became chilled at the absence of his warmth. He didn't sound as though he were teasing, either.
"Will…" she trailed off as he reached into the pocket of his uniform and pulled out the most beautiful ring she had ever seen. The band itself was diamond encrusted gold-pressed latinum with a large solitaire diamond set directly in the center and it sparkled like starlight in his palm.
"I was going to do this later, but there's something about asking a naked woman to be my wife that I couldn't resist. I know rings aren't necessarily a part of the culture you were primarily raised in, Deanna, but they are a part of mine and yours as well, and I'd be honored if you wore it." His voice was hoarse, his words solemn but strong; his eyes had never looked so bright before or so looked deeply into hers, into her soul.
Her dark eyes were luminous with tears as she looked from his face to the promise in his hand. At that moment Deanna stopped caring that Riker was still clothed. In his own way, right now he was more naked than she.
"Don't say anything yet. And it's not too soon. We both know that this has been a long time coming, every day we've been moving towards this moment. Maybe not always together, but never apart either. You know I could never consider you to be my property, Deanna. But this is ring is a symbol of my love for you. There's a stone here for every year I've known you, loved you. And I want you to wear it. Tonight and every night for the rest of our lives." He took her hand in his; slid the ring on her finger and she didn't resist. It fit perfectly, looked as though it belonged there and had always been there. Finally she spoke, but not aloud.
<Yes, Imzadi. I'll be your wife.> The tears fell from her eyes and were swiftly kissed away. Will's eyes closed, lost in that special thrill of being able to hear her in his mind again. She bathed his soul with the light of her love, no words necessary between them. Her lips reached for his, drawing him in so sweetly that he forgot to breathe for a moment. Then she spoke aloud.
"You know, Will," she said against his lips, pressing her body as closely against him as she could. "On Betazed, most often couples are also naked during the proposal as well as the wedding. So considering my background, and yours, I'd say you got it quite right."
"That's a relief." His hand wandered down her shoulder to her back, settling on her hip. Now that she had accepted he was once again drawn in by her loveliness.
"And now that you have gotten me to agree to marry you, can you stop keeping me waiting? Would you please take your uniform off before I do it for you?" Her patience was at an end. As stunned and ecstatic as she was at his proposal, right now her baser feelings were ruling her. Reality would return later.
"So you only agreed to marry me in order to get my clothes off?" He tossed his jacket to the floor. "Counselor, you are always at me to get in touch with my feelings and I have to tell you that right now I'm feeling used and objectified." He feigned an insulted tone while he reached for the fastener at the neck of his tunic.
"Not yet, Imzadi, but you certainly will be before I'm done tonight." She licked her lips, her dark eyes sparkling wickedly
Riker grinned at the seductive promise in her words and continued undressing as she watched avidly. The rest of the uniform discarded, Will pulled her into his arms and drew her against him. "I suppose my virtue is in good hands. At least you agreed to make an honest man out of me before you ravished me this time." Deanna laughed and laid herself on top of him, her body flush against his as she ran her fingers through his hair, admiring the ring on her finger as she kissed him. Will placed his hand over the temporary stamp on her behind and traced the letters of his name with his finger.
"Nymphomaniacal Betazoids always make honest men out of their sex toys. It's a planetary tradition." Her head fell back and she moaned as his hand traveled lower.
"Shut up and kiss me, Troi."
"That'll be Mrs. Riker, thank you very much." She gasped against his mouth.
"You're damn right it will be."
(A month later)
They had moved in together without realizing it. They still maintained separate quarters on the ship, but were always together in either one or the other. Anyone looking for either of them could usually find them together unless one of them was on the Bridge or the Counselor was in her office.
On this night, like many others, they were curled up together on the couch discussing wedding plans, when Will changed the subject abruptly.
"Hmmm?" Deanna had expected this. She has sensed something from him all evening and not wanting to pry, had been biding her time waiting for him to tell her what it was.
"Starfleet Command offered me the Titan today. It'll be at least four months before she's space ready, but she's ours if we want her."
"Is that what your meeting was about earlier?" She had seen him follow the Captain into the Ready Room for a Level One security communiqué on her way off the Bridge.
"Yes. I know it'll be a step below the Enterprise for you." He knew that any other ship would be a drop in prestige for the Counselor of the Federation Flagship.
"Will." She pushed herself up with one hand on his chest. "If you turn this down, you might not get offered another ship." Deanna looked at him gravely; he'd already turned down more assignments than she could count on one hand. For her, for them, she'd only recently discovered. She was not going to let him give up another.
"Believe me, its crossed my mind. But I will be turning it down, unless you agree to come with me. You'd also hold a slightly different position as well."
"How so? A ship's counselor's role is virtually the same no matter the size of the vessel. Psychology, in its own way is straightforward in its methods."
"If you agree, you'd be Diplomatic Officer as well as Senior Counselor. The Titan will be posted in the Neutral Zone initially and you'd be able to utilize more of your mediation skills. Starfleet Command seems to think you are perfectly suited. Plus, you come highly recommended." He took her earlobe between his teeth and tugged at it gently. "We have a few days to decide."
"It sounds promising. But you are forgetting something else, something very important." She closed her eyes as he began trailing kisses from her ear down her neck. "There's another position I'm interested in."
"There usually is." He laughed softly, recalling how she seemed to get more inventive as the days went on. She excited him beyond his wildest dreams and fantasies. "What did you have in mind?"
"Captain's wife." She turned her head and kissed the underside of his jaw.
"Yes, well that position won't be open for long. There was an extremely limited pool of applicants."
"Nobody else wanted the job?" She asked, slipping her hands under his jacket and across his broad chest.
"On the contrary. It was only offered to one person, and she seems to be overqualified." He sucked in his breath as her hands slipped down his chest and into his pants.
"Well, I guess that's settled then."
He seized her wrist with his hand.
"So, I should tell them yes?" He wanted to be sure. After all this was her career as well as his.
"You should tell them yes." She began moving her hand against him, causing his eyes to close as she projected some extremely intense visions into his mind. He visibly shuddered with pleasure.
Her lips locked onto his, her tongue slid into his mouth. And in his mind he distinctly heard, <And you should tell me 'Yes' too.>
Right after the bar scene.
Will heard Deanna's head hit the table with a loud 'thud' and he winced on her behalf, knowing that though she was passed out cold now she'd have one hell of a headache when she woke. He'd never seen her drunk before and was torn between feelings of genuine concern and wanting to laugh out loud at her antics of a few moments ago.
They had all been so somber lately between the Borg threat and the Dominion War that Riker had forgotten that most often the crew of the Enterprise didn't always have such grim demeanors. Deanna's long suppressed sense of humor had gotten quite a kick from the tequila Cochrane had been forcing her to drink.
Knowing that she wouldn't be happy to wake up with her head on the liquor-soaked table and looking quite like she was about to slide off the chair onto the grimy floor, Will pulled her out of her seat and gathered her in his arms; her head falling back against his shoulder. Though the circumstances were less than ideal, Riker still enjoyed the way she felt in his embrace; soft and yielding.
Even inebriated, she was lovely. He couldn't understand why she had changed her hairstyle recently and he was hoping that this new straighter style would bore her quickly so she'd return to that wild mass of curls that his fingers so often ached to get tangled into. He wondered if that was why she had changed it; lately his thoughts had been drifting off of their long time friendship and more towards their past relationship and the prospect of trying again. What she'd sensed from him had probably been making her uncomfortable.
As he walked with the sleeping Counselor in his arms out of the bar and towards the secluded area where he'd stashed the standard issue medkit, Will reflected on Deanna's brief conversation with the legendary Cochrane. Some not so small part of him had wanted Deanna to answer 'Yes' when Cochrane asked if Riker was her husband. It didn't surprise him even though he hadn't consciously thought about it in a long time. After this mess with the Borg was dealt with, Riker promised himself that he'd spend some serious time thinking about it… and maybe even get some counseling.
He laid her down gently in a grove of trees and injected her with a hypospray from the medkit he'd hidden away earlier. It contained a mixture of an analgesic and a stimulant and should work quickly to wake and sober her up. Until then he'd wait with her. Cochrane had seemed entirely too interested in Deanna and he had seemed to be the least harmless of the all the drunken patrons in that bar. There was no way he was going to leave her alone out here.
Riker sat down next to the still unconscious Counselor and gently placed her in his lap. Even with the hypo he had given her, she wouldn't be feeling well upon wakening. He tried to contact the Enterprise again but there was still no response from the ship. So he sat there, stroking Deanna's forehead tenderly and looking up at the stars overhead with her in his arms. It reminded him of another night on another planet in another time…
All around them was silence, save the far away echo from that ridiculous jukebox and the occasional rustle of the wind dancing through the trees. In spite of the seriousness of the mission Riker found himself surprisingly calm.
Within five minutes Troi's eyelids began fluttering before they opened; her eyes still not fully focusing but her vision was becoming clearer by the moment. She attempted to sit up and Riker stopped her.
"Shhh. Just rest a minute. Give the hypo some time to work." He raised a finger to her lips and felt her velvety softness against the rough skin of his fingertip.
She nodded and lay back against his legs, looking up at him. Her jet eyes closed again and when they reopened a few minutes later the world had stopped spinning and she only had a moderate headache. Her empathic abilities were still hard to focus and she concentrated on clearing her mind to center herself. That done, she slowly sat up. This time Riker didn't stop her.
"I'll leave this out of the official report, Counselor. Consider it a mission requirement."
She glanced at him gratefully; embarrassed. At least it had been Will who'd found her and not someone else like LaForge or Barclay.
"Thank you, Will." She changed the subject back to the matter at hand. "What are we going to do about the timeline?"
"Timeline be damned. We're going to have to tell Cochrane what's really going on here, Deanna. I have no choice."
"I know." She answered, standing with some assistance. Her legs were still a bit wobbly. She took a step, tripped over an exposed root and slipped, trying not to tumble back to the ground. Riker's arm was around her waist at the time and he pulled her closer to steady her. She righted herself by leaning against him, taking a few seconds to relish what she could feel of his strong body against hers before she forced herself to move away.
"You're welcome." He couldn't look away from her even if he wanted to. He'd always loved the way her dark eyes reflected the glow of moonlight. He stopped resisting though his head knew this was neither the time nor place to approach her about changing their relationship. But there never seemed to be a right time…
Will leaned his head towards hers, slowly moving closer. Her pulse raced at the thought that he might kiss her… Their lips were less than a breath apart when a voice shouted from the clearing near them, jolting them back to reality.
"Hey, where'd you go? I finally found the good stuff!" The man's voice sounded strident and plaintive in the dark and Riker stilled as the moment shattered. He stepped back and slipped his hand from hers.
"We'd better go talk to him before he drinks himself into the middle of next week and misses the launch tomorrow."
Deanna nodded and began silently walking back with him towards the sounds of
the drunken Cochrane; trying to hide her disappointment.