by Kate

Subject: Riker - Troi
Rating: R / NC-17
Disclaimer: Bow down to almighty Paramount! I'm just playing.
Feedback: Please, but gently :: lol
Setting: After the very end of "Insurrection", with a nod to David Gray.

"Only wish that you were here,
you know I've seen it so clear.
I've been afraid
To tell you how I really feel,
To admit to some of those bad mistakes I've made…

If you want it, come and get it, crying out loud.
The love that I was giving you was never in doubt.
Let go your heart, let go your head and feel it now…"

Taken from BABYLON, words and music by David Gray

Will sat at his favorite table in Ten Forward. He was contemplating the day just ended. They had successfully completed their mission down on the Baku planet. But that was not what occupied his thoughts at that moment. It was Deanna….

Deanna. He could still feel the pleasure he experienced earlier as he watched her and the other members of the away team approach the beam-out point. Then, the thrill in his heart as she smiled and waved to him. And then, after Worf's assurances about Deanna's feelings for him, the charged feelings that flowed between Will and Deanna as she took his hand into hers.

He smiled at the memory. He felt giddy at the thought that maybe Worf was indeed correct. Maybe their feelings for each had not changed, but just needed a good airing. He knew for a fact that his had not. Although he had learned to mask his heart with a professional demeanor, he still thrilled to hear the sound of her voice, smell her marvelous scent, drink in her exotic beauty, and revel in the occasional brushes of mind to mind. He yearned to drown in the depths of her dark eyes, to get lost in the wonders of her passionate love-making. Or simply, just be - just sit with her quietly, as they had done on countless occasions, whether working or relaxing.

No, his feelings had not changed. But he had learned a few lessons over the years they had served together. One was the importance of friendship, for Deanna had become the best friend he had on board the Enterprise. The other was that his career goals were beginning to ring empty - empty if he had no one to share those goals and that life with. He was no longer the cocky go-getter. Life - Deanna -- had taught him better than that.

He paused in his reverie to take a sip of his drink. As he felt the burn of the synthehol making its way down his throat, he considered what he should do. "I can't go on as we have," he muttered to himself. "Okay then Riker, you know what you have to do."


A few minutes later, Will arrived at Deanna's door. He hesitated a moment before ringing the chime. "Now is the time," he told himself as he fought off a sudden moment of panic. His hand pushed the chime button.

"Come in," sang out a melodious voice. Her voice. Will felt Deanna gently touch his mind. She obviously knew who was standing outside his door. A moment later, the door opened and Will walked in.

"Deanna, got a minute?"

"Where have I heard that line before?" she laughed. "Will this lead to the same kind of 'counseling' that I provided before?"

"Well, this time, you can't say 'yuck!'. The beard is gone," countered Will with a chuckle and a raised eye-brow. Then, as soon as the laugh left his mouth, his expression turned serious.

"Deanna, we have to talk."

"About what?" she said, though she knew what he meant.

"I think you know," he returned in a soft voice.

"Us." He nodded. In that instant, a mélange of feelings tumbled through her mind: her love for Will; her barely-controlled desire for him - his body, his hands, his mouth, his love-making; the feeling of completion she had when she was with him; her tremendous fear that she would be hurt by him yet again.

Will stared intently into her obsidian eyes. "Yes, us. Deanna, something has changed. Well, maybe not 'changed', but just become clear to me. Deanna, what happened in your office, what happened in the hot tub…"

"Were due to the effects of the metaphasic radiation. Yes, I know, Will." Deanna said.

"No. What happened was not because of the radiation. The feelings I expressed, the things I said and did - those were not just a passing phase. This is how I've felt for all the years I've known you, Deanna. The radiation just gave me the courage to act on them, to go beyond the line we've drawn."

Deanna looked down at her hands, a somber expression stealing over her features. Will sat down on the couch, next to her but not touching.

"Deanna, I have always loved you. I worship you. My day is not complete without you. I want you, I want to be with you again. I can't live with this line any more."

"Will, "she said, her voice husky with emotion, "We've been over this many times. You and I both know that we can't cross that line while we're serving on the same ship."

"Deanna," he said as he tipped her face up with his finger under her chin, "I love you. This I know. I sense that you love me, too."

"It doesn't matter how I feel. We can't do this, Will. Not while we are serving on the same ship. We made that decision a long time ago, for a very good reason." She responded in a tight voice, bowing her head down again. She felt she could no longer look him in the eye. If she did, she would lose the control over her feelings that she was battling hard to maintain.

"It matters to me. Doesn't that count?" He queried tenderly, placing a hand gently on her shoulder.

"Will, I can't have this conversation again. Please." She felt herself beginning to lose her battle for self control.

Will saw Deanna struggling to maintain composure. He ran a finger gently down the side of her face, bringing his hand to rest on the collar bone.

"Please don't," she said as she wrapped her arms around her waist.

"Imzadi, please. Please let me touch you. Please let me love you," Will implored her.

"We can't… I can't," she stated flatly.

"Why not? Please let me in?" He was begging now. He felt as if his very life depended on getting his Imzadi back - back into his love, into his arms and heart.

"I can't," she said again, this time more forcefully. She pushed his hand off her shoulder.

"What's this?" Will asked, a note of irritation appearing in his voice. "Why are you pushing me away?" The note of anger in his voice caused Deanna to jerk her head up suddenly. Written on her face was sadness. What she radiated to him was fear, hurt and anger.

"Deanna, I sense fear from you. Why?" She looked at him, clenching and unclenching her jaw, struggling to stay in control of her feelings. She was afraid if she said one word more, she would lose it altogether.

"Deanna, please… Please tell me. Tell me now." She could feel a protective anger growing within her as he continued to push her.

"What ever it is, say it out loud. I'm not a mind reader."

"Alright, Will. I'll tell you," she said tartly. "I cannot let myself cross that line…"


"Because I cannot and will not let myself be hurt again the way you hurt me years ago. Never!" She almost yelled at Will as she poked him in the chest with her index finger. "No, never again."

Will was shocked. He knew that he had hurt Deanna on Betazed and in not showing up on Risa. Hurt her badly. But he had never quite grasped at how it had ripped her to the core. She never let him in close enough again for him to find out.

"Deanna, Imzadi. I am so sorry, so very sorry… I've wounded you so badly, worse than I ever knew." She just nodded, her anger now replaced by sad tears. A moment later, quiet sobs shook her frame. Will moved closer to her and wrapped his arms around her.

"Deanna, if I could only erase the hurt, all those bad mistakes I made with you…" He stroked her hair and held her close. He then ventured, "I am not that brash, heedless young lieutenant now, haven't been for a long time. And while he could and did hurt you, I could never do that," he said as he kissed her head and gently rubbed his hand up and down her arm. "Please believe me, Imzadi."

Her sobbing continued. "I'm so afraid of being hurt again, Will…It took me a long time to get over it, more time than you know. "

"I'm so sorry…" he whispered against her hair. " Deanna, is there any love left in there for me?'

She sighed, "Love… My love for you, Will…," she began, her words interrupted by quiet sobs. She raised her reddened eyes to his gaze. "But…"

"Please let me show you my love for you. Please, "he whispered, "Please, please let me show you that I will never hurt you again the way I did. Please let go of your heart and feel my love for you." His crystal blue eyes stared at her imploringly.

Deanna tentatively raised her face towards Will's. He sensed her hesitation, and did not move towards her. She inched closer. In another moment, she brought her lips hesitantly to his. It was a whisper of a kiss. Much like the barest hint of her brushing his mind.

"Imzadi." She pressed her lips against Will's, this time more strongly. Again he waited, letting her take the lead, maintain the control he knew she needed right now. Seeing that he was waiting for her to determine what would happen, a glimmer of a smile appeared on her tear-stained face. Will wiped the tears away with the pads of his thumbs and returned the smile.

"My love for you was never in doubt, Will," she said, now in a stronger voice. "But the hurt, the pain…," she began, as a frown graced her face. Will waited, not knowing if Deanna would again succumb to her feelings of anger and pain.

Deanna looked down, debating with herself what to do. Should she try to trust him and yield to the desire she had for him - or, should she retreat back behind the line they had maintained for so long?

After a moment's contemplation, she knew that she had to take the risk; her love for Will could no longer be hidden behind artificial lines. She leaned into Will, pressing her mouth passionately to his. As she wrapped her arms around his broad shoulders, she teased his mouth open with her tongue. In her tongue went, exploring a mouth she had long craved knowing again. She tasted and stroked, and then Will gently touched his tongue to hers. The contact of his tongue against hers unleashed a passion in her that had lain nearly dormant for many years. She moaned as she thrust her tongue in deeper, only to be met by an equally passionate thrust of Will's tongue.

He gently placed his hands on her shoulders and pressed her down to the couch. Every ounce of his body and mind radiated the joy he felt as he realized the decision she had made - for them. As she felt his joy, she smiled warmly at him, saying only, "Yes, Imzadi." This was all his bottled up passions needed to hear, as he initiated another searing kiss. As their tongues once again dueled, their hands were busy caressing each other's bodies. First gently, but then, with the passion borne of too-long maintained denial, their hands quickly went to remove each other's clothes.

With Will raining heated kisses on her face and down her neck, Deanna moaned. She fumbled first with his shirt, then with the zipper of his pants. "It's been so long," Will groaned, "I love how you smell, how you taste…"

Deanna pulled his pants off and stroked his torso. She let her hand gently brush first against his inner thighs, then against his aroused manhood. "Oh gods, Deanna…," he uttered huskily. Without hesitation, he reached up to cup her breasts. "Your smell…," he whispered as he buried his face between them. Then he gently caressed one breast while he lovingly suckled the other.

It was Deanna's turn to moan. "I've never forgotten how wonderfully you used your tongue," she whispered. "Don't stop." Will obliged her by suckling her other breast.

Will pulled away from Deanna's body for a moment. "Imzadi, there is a better place for what we are doing." She looked up at him questioningly with eyes glazed with passion. He stood up, took her hand and gently pulled her up from the couch. She opened her mouth to speak. "Shh," he whispered as he put a finger across her lips.

He wrapped his arms around her, and, while placing butterfly kisses about her neck walked her into her bedroom. Once at the bed, he gently bore her down to the bed's surface. "Imzadi," was all he said as he began his ministrations anew.

And so began a dance of love, begun so long ago and abandoned to the shadows of denial. A dance of aroused bodies, of intertwined minds. A dance of tenderness and passion. A dance that brought to proper light the bond that was Imzadi.

The End