by Kate

DISCLAIMER: Paramount owns everything but my imagination. No infringement intended.
SETTING: One year after Nemesis
FEEDBACK: Absolutely!

AUTHOR'S NOTE: This story is a take on what Will and Deanna's first anniversary might be like. Only good sentimental stuff in this one - a wedding anniversary should be angst-free, as this depiction is.

The words used for Will's poetry are taken from "You Were There with Me," words and music by Shlomo Artzi, and from "It Might Be You," words and music by Alan Bergman, Marilyn Bergman and Dave Grusin.



It was early morning. The low lights from their living room radiated into the bedroom. Deanna lay asleep in their bed, stretched out comfortably under the sheets. A pleasant smile danced on her face as Will's smiling face and baritone voice filled her dreams. A faint floral smell began to waft its way into her dreams. Gradually, the lightly sweet aroma drew her from sleep to consciousness.

Deanna opened her eyes to find Will's side of the bed empty. What met her eyes instead was a single, fully blossomed red rose which lay against Will's pillow. Between the flower and the pillow was something she saw very rarely: a real sheet of paper. She smiled as she guessed that it had to be something from Will.

She picked up the rose. Closing her eyes, she held the flower to her nose and gently breathed in its sweet scent. The aroma brought a pleased smile to her face. Then, she turned to pick up the piece of paper. She called out to the computer for the lights to come on in their bedroom. She smiled again as she read his words: "One perfect rose for our first, perfect year. The heady scent fills my lungs as your perfection fills my being. - Will."

"Ah Imzadi…," she sighed as she sat up. Holding the rose once more to her nose, she happened to look towards the door way. There, leaning against the door frame, was Will. A radiant, handsome smile filled his face. Instantly waves of his depthless love for her flowed through their bond.

"Surprised?" he asked as he approached her side of the bed.

"They're wonderful, Will," she responded, holding her arms out to pull him into an embrace. Will fell to his knees at her bedside and wrapped his solid arms around her slim torso. He rested his face against hers. Breathing deeply, he felt himself mesmerized by her intoxicating scent.

"I knew I had to be up before you for Bridge duty, but I wanted you to have something special to start this day. Just a small way for me to begin to show you what this year has meant to me," Will murmured softly into her ear.

"You show me every moment of every day, Will," Deanna whispered as she pulled back. Will gazed lovingly into her depthless onyx eyes. Then he cupped her face in his large hands and brought it close to his. Lightly, tenderly, he brushed his lips against hers. Deanna responded with a gentle kiss of her own. And through those soft contacts, their love and thankfulness flowed between them.

Will pulled back reluctantly. Stroking her face tenderly, he said, "I have to report to the Bridge now, Imzadi." She smiled, her eyes sparkling with her love for him. "But this is just the beginning of what this day will bring," he added with his winning lop-sided grin.

"I'm sure of that, Will," she said. Then she leaned in close to him and met his lips once again with her own. Catching his hand in hers, she brought it to her lips, then let it slowly slide from hers as he stood up.

"I have to go now, Deanna," was all that he said as he placed a light kiss on her hair. Then, with a loving grin, he turned and walked out of their quarters.

Deanna stretched and then arose from their bed. She smiled to herself as she placed the rose on her bedside table next to Will's note. Then she stepped out into their living room. The sight she saw brought yet another smile to her face. On the table Will had placed a crystal vase full of her favorite Betazoid flowers. In front of the vase were a mug full of a steaming liquid and a plate bearing fruit slices beautifully arranged around triangles of toast. Even from where she stood she could smell the wonderful aroma of hot chocolate. <<How lovely, Will!>> she sent, knowing that where ever he was, he would hear her gently projected message and feel her feelings of contentment and love.

Deanna approached the table. Only when she sat down did she see one other item that had escaped her prior notice: a holopic of Will and her that had been taken in Alaska shortly before their wedding there. They were dressed in civilian clothes, he in a plaid flannel shirt and denim jeans and she in an over-sized sweater and jeans. They both smiled with the radiance and excitement of young lovers. It was a personal favorite of Deanna's.

Next to the holopic was a card that bore Will's handwriting. She smiled as she read his words. "I enter our next year with the same joy," he had written.

She took a sip of the hot chocolate. She sighed pleasantly as she ran her finger along the edge of the holopic and began to replay in her mind the kaleidoscopic events that made up her first year of marriage with Will. A thoughtful, satisfied smile spread across her fine features as she quietly let her mind wander…

"Has it really been a year already? I can hardly believe that…I thought I knew all there was to know about him before we married. But the depths of his soul, the boundlessness of his love and passion - these I didn't fully grasp, even though we are Imzadi…

He is even more tolerant and nurturing than I ever might have guessed…The way he helped me work through what Shinzon did to me…Never a harsh word, never a judgmental thought about me, only gentle loving and respect for the space I needed for healing…

I don't think a day has gone by this past year when he has not asked me about my work, about if I'm happy on board the Titan. He makes me feel so valued, so important. As if what I do is the most important thing in his universe…It's so easy to love him for it, and to return the respect…

Hmm, he looks so sexy in that photo…That crooked smile and those denim jeans that hug his hips so enticingly, those large sensitive hands wrapped around me…Oh, those hands, that mouth, what pleasures they have brought me…He is the most exquisite, solicitous lover I have ever known…

My heart and being are so full of my love for that amazing man. If it's possible, I love him more today than I did a year ago…The warmth of my feelings for him and his love for me brings a sweet smile to my face numerous times each and every day…

We are so very blessed to be Imzadi…A unity of being, two people melded into one…I can't imagine having it any other way…"



Once Will exited the turbolift onto the Bridge, he made straight for the captain's chair. Stepping down in front of the chair, he came into his First Officer's line of sight. As the Commander began to stand up, Will placed a friendly hand on his shoulder and told him pleasantly, "As you were, Commander." The First Officer sat back down and, without being bidden to, began to update Will on the status of the ship's business.

Once the officer's report was completed, Will nodded. "Very good, Commander. If you should need anything, I'll be in my Ready Room."

"Very good, Sir," the officer smiled. "Oh, and Sir?" Will turned to look back questioningly at his executive officer.

"Yes?" Will asked, crooking one eyebrow up in curiosity.

"Happy anniversary, Sir!"

A wide, pleased smile spread across Will's handsome features. "Thanks!" Giving his First Officer a friendly wink, Will smiled to himself as he turned to walk into the Ready Room.

As soon as Will stepped into the room, he walked over to his desk. He sat down, his attention momentarily distracted from his surroundings by thoughts of things he needed to attend to on his shift. Lost in thought, he stretched his legs out and leaned them up across the surface of his desk. As he did so, his leg knocked something over. Still not fully cognizant of things beyond his currently ship-obsessed thoughts, he reached over distractedly to pick up the object he had knocked over.

As soon as he saw what he had in his hand, his attention snapped back immediately to the moment. A loving smile burst onto his face as he stared at the item. It was one of his favorite holopics of Deanna. It had been taken shortly after their wedding on Betazed. Her eyes sparkling and lively, her hair tousled by a breeze, she looked at once alluring, seductive and full of love.

As he stared pleasantly at the holopic, he noticed a faint hint of lilac. One of Deanna's favorite scents. The combination of the aroma and the beautiful image before him caused Will's mind to wander…

"What did I do so right to deserve such an amazing woman…Gods, I am so blessed. Look at that incredibly beautiful woman…She gives me such a sense of belonging, of being loved, of completion…I can't remember feeling so loved since my mother was alive…

I thank whatever Fates or Gods brought us together…And finally delivered a swift one hard enough for me to see that commitment wasn't something to be afraid of, that it would instead open the door to all that my heart had sought for years…"

Will sighed wistfully as he fingered the frame. He gently placed two of his fingers on the holopic itself, as if to touch Deanna's face. In his mind, he felt the soft skin of her cheek instead of the hard surface of the holopic.

"And now it's been a year…With a woman who makes me feel treasured and desired…Who treats me as if I were the most important person in the universe. Whose love absorbs me, flows through me and caresses my soul…"

Will looked again at the image of his beloved wife. He felt as if he was sharing an intimate moment with her as he took in her depthless dark eyes and her sensuous mouth.

"How many women have I bedded over the years? And all the time, I knew deep down that no one could ever match her love-making, the magic her hands can work on my body, the passion and sense of wonder she can trigger in my soul…And she's always there for me. For me! And every time we make love, it's as if we were once again in the Jalara the first time…

Deanna Troi, if this is just the beginning, I can hardly wait for what comes next!" As that final thought drifted through his mind, a sudden feeling of soul-filling warmth and love spread through his inner being. He knew in that instant that Deanna had shared in what was in his heart.



As Deanna stepped through the doorway to her office, she could feel Will's love and appreciation tingle in her mind. With a smile, she sent him her own waves of affection. "A perfect start to my working day," she murmured pleasantly to herself.

As she always did, she went directly to her desk to check the comm console for messages and to call up patient files on her computer. As she sat down, she noticed a piece of parchment rolled up and tied with a ribbon. "Ah Will…:" she smiled warmly to herself as she picked it up. She sat back in her chair and, in unconscious imitation of her husband, propped her legs up across the top of her desk. Leaning back, she removed the ribbon and unrolled the parchment. Slowly, with increasingly moist eyes, she read what Will had neatly penned…

"And when the story of my life begins,
You are very much there.
In love and in hate…
You were here with me.

We are not a big crowd,
No one pays attention to us.
It's just the two of us in the universe
You were truly there with me.

You always have been and will always be my universe."

Deanna clutched the scroll to her chest. Tears of thankfulness and love trickled down her cheeks. She closed her eyes and let her mind wander for a moment.

"For one who has never liked talking about his feelings, he does it so beautifully in poetry…Such a gift for words. And it's so ironic, someone like him marrying a counselor! Who would have thought it?

So tender a heart. A heart he shows to very few…So many think him an aggressive, focused leader. How little they all know the inner man, the man I get to see every day. A man with a soul full of love and tenderness and humor…Who can make the worst day turn out right...Who cherishes my soul as if were his own…"

Deanna was shaken from her reverie by Will's voice over the comm link.

"Riker to Counselor Troi." Deanna could feel as well as hear the nearly giddy happiness in his voice.

"Troi here," she responded in her melodious voice.

"Counselor, might there be a break in your busy schedule today to meet for lunch in the Forward Lounge?"

"Hm, Captain, let me see," she snickered, giving up in her effort to sound at least semi-serious. "I have to consult my planner for the day…" Her giggling prevented her from finishing her sentence.

"Well Counselor?" Will asked with mock officiousness. He was struggling to keep himself from cracking up; he was thoroughly enjoying the banter with Deanna, and his inner awareness of her amusement ratcheted up his own tenfold.

"Well Captain, I might *just* be able to squeeze in a little lunch break at 1300," she chuckled, not even attempting to rein in her own laughter.

"Very well Counselor…" Laughter erupted out of Will. He couldn't contain his mirth any longer. "And I must take up with you…" he began to say between guffaws, "the matter of what you have done to my poker face."

"Oh I see, captain," she laughed. "Well, you'll have to make an appointment for that one…"

"An appointment?" he snorted in mock surprise. "Geez, doesn't the Captain of this ship get any privileges?

"We can discuss that too at your next appointment," Deanna retorted between giggles.

"You are most merciless, Counselor!"

"Merciless?" she snickered? "That's not what you said the last time…"

"Whoa there, Counselor," he interjected to stop her before she related something embarrassing. "Lunch at 1300 then?"

"Certainly. Troi out." She cut the comm link connection and leaned back, her body shaking with mischievous laughter.

"G-ds how he makes me laugh," she thought to herself. "No one can make me laugh the way he does…And I love the sound of that laugh of his, so full, so much from his inner being…"

The sound of her door chime halted her momentary internal monolog. "Come in?" she called out. The door to her office swished open and in walked her first patient of the day. Deanna offered him a smile and, as she arose from her chair, motioned him over to the couch. The officer sat down and grinned at her.

"I think maybe I shouldn't be here," he offered pleasantly.

"Why is that, Commander?" Deanna asked, a note of concern entering her voice.

"Well I know today is your first wedding anniversary…" he said hesitantly.

"Indeed it is, Commander," Deanna smiled. "But while you are here with me, you will get my undivided attention."

"Very good. Well, in any case, Counselor Troi, happy anniversary!"



After her final patient of the morning left, Deanna went to her desk to record her notes on the various patients she had seen so far that day. She quickly found herself wrapped up in the task and lost track of time. When she happened to look up and glance at the chronometer on her desk, she noticed that it was already 1300. "Damn," she muttered to herself as she sprang up out of her chair, "I'm late…And on our anniversary too." She dropped the padd that she had been working on and rushed out the door.

A short time later, she emerged breathlessly out of the turbolift and strode quickly into the Forward Lounge. Pausing to look nervously over to the table that she and Will usually shared by a view port, she noticed immediately that it was empty. Sighing with relief, she thought to herself, "So he's running late too. Well thank goodness for small miracles." She drew in a slow, calming breath and then walked slowly over to the table.

When she arrived at their table, she noticed it was set for two already. Beside one of the place settings was a box wrapped in gold paper. It gave off the faint aroma of chocolate. "Now what's this, Will Riker?" she smiled to herself. She picked up the box and began to remove the wrapping paper. Then she opened the box. In it was an elegant assortment of chocolate candies. Resting atop the middle of the sweets was a paper with words written on it. Deanna returned the box to the table and carefully removed the paper. She sat down slowly as she began to read what was written on it…

"Time…I've been passing time watching trains go by
All of my life…
Lying on the sand, watching seabirds fly
Wishing there would be
Someone waiting home for me…

Something's telling me it might be you
It's telling me it might be you
All of my life…

Looking back as lovers go walking past…
All of my life
Wondering how they met and what makes it last

If I found the place
Would I recognize the face?
Something's telling me it might be you
Yeah it's telling it might be you

So many quiet walks to take
So many dreams to wake
And we've so much love to make…"

Deanna felt tears begin to trickle down her cheeks. A tremulous sigh escaped her lips. She raised her hand to brush the moisture from her face. Then she continued to read…

"I think we're gonna need some time
Maybe all we need is time
And it's telling me it might be you
All of my life…

I've been saving love songs and lullabies
And there's so much more
No one's ever heard before…

Something's telling me it might be you
Yeah, it's telling me it must be you
And I'm feeling it'll just be you
All of my life…
It's you…
It's you…
I've been waiting for all of my life."*

Deanna gently laid the paper back in the box. She lifted her hand once again to wipe the tears from her face, but this time a larger male hand gently caught her petite hand in his. She turned and looked up to see Will staring lovingly down at her. Tracing the contour of her cheek bone with his finger, Will murmured, "I guess you liked it."

Deanna stood up and touched her hand to his lips. Smiling through her tears, she said softly, "Yes, I did…" And then she buried her face in his chest. "Thank you, Will," she whispered. Will wrapped his solid arms around her slim torso and responded, "No, Imzadi, I am the one who should thank you…for being the one I was blessed to find." He unwrapped one of his arms and tilted her face up with his thumb. He placed a light, gentle kiss on her full lips, then said softly, "Care to join me for lunch, Counselor?"

Deanna giggled like a school girl and answered, "Sure. If, of course, the Captain can make time in his busy schedule for such things."

"Oh, I've been known to make time for lunch with my beautiful wife," he laughed gaily and winked at her. With that, he pulled out her chair and gestured for her to sit. When she had, he pushed her chair in for her. "Good lord, Captain, you had better be careful," Deanna snickered. "With manners like that, you might just win the heart of a certain Ship's Counselor."

"That's the idea," Will laughed. He went around to the other side of the table and sat down. "So what'll be today, Counselor?" Just as Will asked the question, a waiter showed up. "Ah, perfect timing," Will smiled.

A short time later, their food arrived. As they sat eating their meal, they chatted about their mornings. Just as they were finishing up, Will announced poker-faced, "Oh, and Counselor, meet me this evening in Holodeck 1 at 1800 hours. There is something I want you to check out there for me." Deanna tried to probe Will's mind but he had put up tight barriers she could not begin to penetrate. He did not want her to know what he had planned.

"Something to check out, Captain? This sounds like ship's business," she commented suspiciously.

"Oh, it certainly is," Will responded with an innocent-looking smile.

"Then why is your mind blocked tighter than an airlock?" she pressed him.

"Why, Counselor, that's to keep you from being bothered by all the flotsam floating about in my brain," Will answered as he rose from his chair. "So… See you tonight at 1800 hours?" he asked as he leaned over to place a light kiss on her cheek.

Smiling in spite of herself, Deanna said, "Sure. Holodeck 1 at 1800 hours."



Will had done his best since lunch to keep his mental barriers in place. He had special plans for the evening, and he wanted to surprise Deanna. He knew he had triggered her curiosity with his lunch-time request to join him in the Holodeck and, in fact, had felt occasional probes from her during the afternoon. He met each attempt to reach into his mind with a gently sent <<Sorry Deanna, you'll just have to wait>> and a satisfied smile. Even as he showered and dressed for the evening, he did his best to ensure that she would not have a clue as to what was to take place.

1800 hours found Deanna walking down the corridor to the Holodeck. She had just finished up with her patient notes for the day, and when she noticed the hour, she sped out of her office. She didn't even consider taking the time to change out of her uniform. "What is this with being late yet again?" she muttered to herself as she headed for the nearest turbolift.

Deanna came to the entrance to the Holodeck. She paused and took a deep, calming breath. Then she closed her eyes and attempted one final time to probe Will's mind as to what he really had waiting behind the closed door in front of her. She had no more luck gaining entry to his mind than before. Well, she thought, perhaps it really was something professional that needed to be checked out, as Will had suggested. But she would never find out by standing outside the Holodeck.

Deanna reached out and pressed the door switch on the control panel. With a loud swish and a mechanical hum, the heavy doors slid open. All was dark inside. Stepping tentatively into the Holodeck, she called out, "Will?" Getting no answer, she ordered the computer to increase the light level in the space. Nothing happened.

Then she heard him. Gently, his voice touched her mind. <<Come to me, Deanna. I'm here.>> The warmth his voice spread in her mind brought a smile to her face. <<Follow my voice…,>> he sent. Confidently, she stepped forward in spite of the darkness.

As she drew closer to what had to be his location, she became aware of a light floral fragrance in the air. She recognized the aroma immediately. Betazoid flowers!

"Will Riker, this is no professional meeting!" she said in mock indignation. As soon as the words left her mouth, the lights suddenly came on. She gasped at the sight before her: it was her mother's garden on Betazed, set up with the same decorations and with the same band ready to play as had been at their wedding reception a year ago. But here, there was only one table bearing two elegant place settings of lead crystal and silver. And standing next to that beautifully set table was the most stunning thing she had ever seen: Will, tall and proud, with love dancing in his sparkling blue eyes, handsomely resplendent in the tuxedo he had worn a year ago.

Deanna stared at him in utter shock. "Happy anniversary, Imzadi," he said softly. A loving smile spread across his rugged features. Then he came over to her and offered her his arm. "Care to join me for dinner and dancing?"

"Oh Will…," she began. Her eyes, welling up with tears of joy, went from the table to him and then to herself, so plainly dressed. Will knew immediately what she was thinking. "You are perfectly gorgeous just as you are, Imzadi," he said reassuringly. Then he reached out to wipe away the stray tears that had made their way down her face.

Wordlessly, he walked her to the table. He pulled her chair out for her and then pushed it back in, once she had sat down. Then he picked up the bottle of wine from the table and poured some of the honey-colored liquid in each of their glasses. Picking his glass up, he said in a voice rich with emotion, "To us, to all that has been and to all that will be." Deanna smiled and silently acknowledged the toast with a sip of her wine.

Will sat down. He stretched his hands halfway across the table. With silent understanding, she reached out to wrap her hands around his. Bottomless onyx eyes locked onto rich blue ones. Mind connected with mind. Vibrant energy tumbled from soul to soul…

<<I love you more than the day I married you, Imzadi…I could not love you more. You are my heart, my soul, my reason for being. Your essence fills me every day and reminds me how much I cherish you…You are the only universe that matters to me, for any other one - the one out there that I once pursued myopically - is empty without you…I don't know who or what brought me to you all those years ago, but I thank my lucky stars every day of my life that I was…>>

<<You are my destiny, Will Riker. From the first time I saw you and touched your mind so long ago, I knew in my inner being that you were the one for me...Even before we became Imzadi in the Jalara…I fought it, I hid it, I hid from it. But it could not be denied…And then we fought it…But now we are where we should be, joined in soul, in body and in being. Able to be free to share our love, our lives…You are my life, Imzadi. Your presence gently touches me from within, warms me and makes me whole…I carry your heart within me always…I am home, Imzadi…>>

Several moments of mental silence ensued. They sat staring at each other, letting unmediated emotion pulse through their bond and touch their inner beings. Love that caressed their souls. Happiness that warmed their hearts. Thankfulness that filled their beings. Everything that could be expressed was done without the benefit of words.

A long while later, after they had eaten, the band started playing soft jazz. Will stood up and inquired, "May I have this dance?" Deanna smiled delightedly, stood up and wrapped her arm around his.

They walked a few steps away from the table. Then Will wrapped his arm around her back and began to lead her in their dance, the first one they had done since their reception on Betazed a year before. Deanna rested her head against Will's solid chest. Will, in turn, leaned his head gently against hers. As they danced, their bodies melded together and moved in perfect rhythm, as if their two bodies were now one. Each became lost in thought as their awareness of their surroundings faded…

"Strong heartbeat in this chest, so solid, so deliciously covered in soft hair…These strong arms wrapped so lovingly around me…Sparkling blue eyes, so often glinting with mischief…He molds to me so perfectly…His body is so handsome, whether relaxed or aroused…His smell is so distinctive and enticing...a mixture of his aftershave and his own musky scent…I could stay in these arms forever…," tumbled through Deanna's mind…

"Oh that intoxicating scent of hers…The calming feel of her chest moving against mine as she breathes…Her hair, her incredible luscious hair…Her bottomless eyes I could drown in…Her perfectly formed soft body that molds so perfectly with mine, gods I can never touch her enough, never tire of exploring with my hands, my mouth…Her full lips that I can't get enough of…She moves in perfect time with me, whether it is when we are dancing or when we are making love…," Will thought.

They danced several more dances. Then Will motioned to the band to stop. "I think it is time to return to our quarters now, Imzadi," Will said quietly. Deanna looked up and nodded. With a sweet smile, Will entwined his arm around hers and together they left the Holodeck. After a quick order to the computer to end the Holodeck program, Will and Deanna strolled leisurely to the turbolift.

A few minutes later, they arrived at their cabin. Will keyed in the entry code. The door slid open and Deanna began to walk in. Will put a hand on her shoulder to stop her. She looked up at him questioningly. "We didn't do this on Betazed, I'm going to do it now instead," he smiled.

"Ah yes, the threshold," Deanna giggled. "Uh-huh," Will replied as he reached down to scoop her into his strong arms. Flashing his widest grin at her, he carried her in carefully and then gently put her down on her feet again. Deanna gazed lovingly at Will, and then reached up to pull his face gently towards hers. Ever so softly, her lips met his in a kiss of infinite tenderness. When the kiss ended, blue eyes radiating affection and desire met dark ones emanating the same. "Come with me, Imzadi," Will whispered as he took Deanna by the hand.

There had been many times in the last year, their first year of marriage, that they had feverishly stripped one another and hungrily plundered each others' mouths. And then they had greedily and aggressively stroked, caressed and stimulated each other to passionate climaxes. But not tonight. Tonight was their time to savor and appreciate what they had. Tonight was their chance to renew their intimacy and love for each other. Their time for tenderness and sensitivity.

Will walked Deanna into their bedroom. He smiled as he saw the rose he had given her that morning, still on her bedside table. "You still like it?" he asked. "Absolutely, Will," she answered, her face breaking into a delighted smile.

He took off his jacket and undid his dress collar and tie. Tossing them to the floor beside the bed, he turned to Deanna. Staring down into her fine-featured face, he gently cupped her face in his hands. He lowered his mouth to hers, closing his eyes to savor the moment. First, his lips brushed hers lightly. Yet again his mouth touched hers lightly. Then he softly traced out the contours of her mouth with his tongue. Wrapping her hands around his, she gently moved her lips against his mouth. Softly, her tongue swept over his lips, seeking entry. Wet, warm tongues touched, probed and stroked and bore their love from one lover to the other.

Silently, expectantly, Will and Deanna took turns undressing each other. Will slowly pulled off Deanna's uniform, pausing to place butterfly kisses along her shoulders. Deanna unbuttoned and removed Will's shirt and then indulged in running her fingers sensually up and down through his chest hair and then across his nipples. In turn, Will wordlessly unhitched her bra, ministering to her soft breasts with light kisses and gentle caresses. Deanna leaned her head against Will's warm, hairy chest, reveling in his scent as she unzipped his pants and slid them and the boxers beneath down towards his ankles. Then she wrapped her arms around his solid body and hugged him tightly as she gripped him by his buttocks. In that moment, she felt his arousal pressed firmly against her abdomen. A fresh wave of his love mixed with desire washed through her as she heard him moan softly. As she tightened her grip on his buttocks, she felt her own passion and depthless affection flow into him. At the same time, she felt his large hands slide down her sides to push her underwear down. Nearly in unison, they stepped out of the clothing now gathered around their ankles.

Saying only, "Imzadi," Will picked Deanna up once again in his arms. With infinite gentleness, he laid her across the surface of their bed. Lying down next to her, he initiated another kiss, this one deeper but no less tender than before. She returned the kiss, filling her gentle gesture with all the love in her soul. After the kiss ended, Will murmured softly, "Let me show my love for you, Imzadi." Deanna nodded pleasantly, her passion-dilated eyes locked on Will's.

Will proceeded to minister to her with exquisite tenderness. Gently, lovingly, he caressed and then kissed her face, her neck, her breasts, eventually centering on her womanhood. Instead of plundering her body, he worshipped it in every sensual way he knew how. In the midst of his tender attentions, Deanna muttered, "What a wonderful lover…" Will smiled warmly and returned to initiate another deep kiss.

When their lips parted this time, Deanna spoke. "I want to enjoy your magnificent body, Imzadi," she sighed pleasantly. Will rolled onto his back, an expectant grin on his face. Deanna began to experience the terrain of her beloved's body. Using her sensitive, knowledgeable fingers and warm lips, she tenderly explored once again his muscular chest, then his neck, his mouth and finally, his arousal. Sensing his readiness and knowing of her own, she laid down and lovingly but wordlessly invited him in. Wrapped together in a lover's embrace, they moved together now in an ancient rhythm made new every time they experienced it. Slowly, steadily, with each thrust, their passion built until it exploded within them, uniting them in a merging of thought and sensation.

A short time later, they lay together on the bed, physically spent but spiritually satisfied. Their arms and legs were still entwined, nearly merging the two into one. As he felt the gentle touch of sleep begin to approach him, Will whispered, "Thank you for being mine, Imzadi. Thank you for completing me." The last thing he heard was Deanna's soft voice saying, "As you do me, Imzadi, and as you will forever." Then she let the warmth of Will's loving embrace and the comfortable familiarity of his scent yield her to the realm of slumber. And as they slept, entwined as one, their souls cherished the time they had had together and the love and life that awaited them in the next year of marriage.