Will gives his best on Valentine's Day.
The day was going at its usual pace for ship's counselor, Deanna Troi. "Five sessions down, about ten million more to go." She sat down in the chair at her desk, and sighed heavily from exhaustion. Now if only I could get myself shore leave time, Deanna thought. I'd be out of here in a flash, straight to the Betazed gardens. Her mother had informed her that the extravagant garden of Betazed's most beautiful and most rare flowers was planning to unveil a new hybrid-the Heart's Desire. Rumour was that the blossom was a white and deep red rose. No one was sure...such things were supposed to be kept under wraps. But then again, who could keep something like that from Lwaxana Troi? Deanna had to hand it to her mother. Sometimes her nosiness could come in handy.
She sighed again, "It's only a few more hours. I can do this." Afterwards, this particular counselor was determined to find means of relaxation in a cup of hot chocolate. Her thoughts were interrupted by the familiar sound of the door chime. "Come in."
In strode the counselor's latest patient, Lieutenant Sarah MarGuiles, plasma core specialist. "Good afternoon, Counselor. I'm sorry I'm late."
The young lieutenant was pleasant and sincere. Deanna didn't need her empathic abilities to know she honestly felt bad about her tardiness. "It's alright, Sarah. Actually, you gave me just enough time for me to finish these reports. Unfortunately, I rarely have time to myself these days."
MarGuiles nodded in agreement, "I know what you mean. Duty has been a little hectic lately. It must have something to do with Valentine's Day."
"Valentine's Day?" She tried to recall...
"Yeah, it's an old Earth holiday. It involves giving gifts...I guess you could say like Christmas, except it's a little different. You usually give the person you love things like candy, cards, flowers, poetry. If you want to know the truth, it's really a celebration for romantics."
The counselor smiled. I know a certain romantic who used to read me poetry, Deanna recalled. "Oh, okay. Now I remember," she said, "According to my mother, my father was infamous for totally spoiling her on Valentine's Day...not like he didn't do it on every other day of the year..."
Sarah's smile accompanied Deanna's own. "Valentine's Day was his favourite. He'd buy her all sorts of outrageous presents. One year, he bought her this HUGE," she demonstrated with her hands, "stuffed bear. The best part, was that it was filled with wrapped chocolates."
Ms. MarGuiles eyes widened, "My goodness! Talk about spoiled!"
"I know. But my mother beckons to be spoiled, as I'm sure you and everyone else in the galaxy knows." The two laughed.
"To be perfectly honest," the younger confided, "I would _love_ to be spoiled like that. I don't know, I guess I'm a hopeless romantic at heart. You're mother was a lucky woman."
Deanna nodded. "Yes she was." Just then, another call came from the counselor's door. "I wonder who that could be?" she wondered curiously, "Come."
A tall, blonde-haired man stood in the doorway, with a small black box in his hand. It was one of Beverly Crusher's aides, Brian...something-or-other.
"I'm sorry to disturb you, Counselor, but Dr. Crusher wanted me to deliver this to you immediately." He walked in, gave her the box. With a simple nod to each woman, he turned and left as quickly as he had entered.
"It looks like the holiday's already started for you, Counselor."
Deanna shrugged, "Why would Beverly give me a Valentine's present?"
"Maybe she wanted to get ahead of the Commander," the lieutenant guessed, referring to one First Officer of the Enterprise, Will Riker. Since the insurrection on the Bak'u paradise, the relationship between Will and Deanna was no longer questionable. Sarah hoped the best for the two, and eagerly awaited-as she was sure was true for the rest of the crew-future results.
"Maybe, but...oh well. It doesn't matter." Carefully, she lifted the lid of the small box, to reveal its contents. Deanna found a note, and underneath, a single dark chocolate truffle. She read aloud, "'For all the birthdays I missed.'"
"How sweet!" Sarah remarked.
Deanna was mystified. Why would Beverly send her a note like that? The two were close, but...there was something else behind the message, she was sure of it. For now, she took the gift in good faith, and left the matter to contemplate over later. "Well, it looks like my day just turned a little brighter," the counselor smiled. Putting all other things aside she said, "Now then. Shall we get down to our session?"
The next day was followed by a similar disruption. Just as Deanna was on her way to the bridge, Geordi LaForge gave her a gift-this time one in slightly larger box-in the turbolift. "Really, Geordi," she said, "you didn't have to get me anything."
The Chief engineer grinned and shook his head, "It's not from me, Deanna. Someone else handed it off to me, to give to you."
After he got off at his deck, she took a moment before stepping out to open the new present. This time, it was a polished, hand-crafted music box with a dove painted on top. Slowly, she lifted the lid. A familiar childhood melody began to play. Down in The Valley. Deanna recognized it immediately. "How thoughtful," she said, truly touched by such a personal item. She deduced that whoever had done this, knew her well. Once again, there was a note. "'For all the times I made you cry.'" Now she was starting to get suspicious.
In the back of her mind, Deanna had someone in mind. Who else could have done something like this for her? And just in time for Valentine's Day. How...romantic. Imzadi. She smiled and shut the box. "This," she noted, "is going right next to my bed, right where I can keep it close." She directed the 'lift to go to Deck 8, and was off to her quarters.
The next evening, when Deanna joined Will for their customary dinner together in Ten-Forward, she brought up her suspicions about him sending her the special gifts. "Will," she said, "have you been sending me things for Valentine's Day?"
He looked at her, feigning an innocent countenance. "What? Valentine's Day?" As if he didn't know what the holiday was about. He knew better than to play such games with her, but found it amusing. Will liked it when Deanna probed his thoughts when she knew he was lying.
"Will," she asked again, this time with more force, "is there something you're not telling me about? Are you planning some devious scheme behind my back?"
His mouth drooped into a frown. "Now Deanna, you know I'd never do anything like that. If I was going to scheme something...especially if it involved you, then you can be sure that you would be the first to know."
She accepted that as explanation enough for now, and smiled. "Okay. Just thought I'd check and make sure." And to further her probing, Will stood up and turned to walk towards the lounge band (They'd been playing frequently during the evening, thanks to Will's encouragement).
"Oh, and by the way," he added before making his way to the group, "Did you have any musical requests in mind?" His eyes held a certain mischievous twinkle. He already knew what masterpiece she would ask for.
"Nightbird," she grinned. And this time, there came no protests on his part.
"All right," he said, "then 'Nightbird' it is."
Deanna contentedly went on watching Will as he played. It was his most difficult, and frustrated him the most, but it was her favourite. When it came to 'Nightbird,' Will's patience level was at a minimum, but somehow that very irritation brought her great pleasure. She laughed as she thought about it. Deanna's slight giggling got her a funny look from him, but he played on. Beautifully. Afterwards, Will and the band received a round of applause, thanks to Deanna's example. He came over to her and kissed her softly. He bent slightly just to her ear and whispered, "For all the times I never played 'Nightbird.'"
"Thank you, Imzadi. I'll remember that."
They finished the rest of dinner, and then left Ten-Forward arm in arm.
As they approached her quarters, Deanna spoke to Will softly, "You know, this would be perfect...if...you were to come in and keep me company for the rest of the evening." The desire and hint of mischief glinted in her eyes. Will knew she was putting him in a corner, making it hard for him to resist.
"Normally, I would love nothing more than to go in your bedroom and reacquaint myself with that lovely body of yours," his eyes traced her figure, "but...it'll have to wait for next time. I have...things to attend to."
"Oh?" Deanna teased, "like what?"
He flashed his infamous grin and turned to her, "Wouldn't you like to know." He kissed her softly and then walked away in the opposite direction-to where, Deanna had no clue. "You'll find out soon enough." And regardless of the fact that she would yet again, spend another night in her bed alone, Deanna was still smiling.
Riker was pleased to know his romantic quest was coming along quite nicely. So far, he knew she was genuine impressed by his gifts. Now, he thought, to get a few more things... In his heart of hearts, Will knew he didn't need to give Deanna material things to win her affection and approval. A simple kiss was enough for both of them...but, Valentine's Day-after all-was fastly approaching, and he wanted to get in the spirit of things. If nothing else, he kind of thought of the old holiday as one for himself and Deanna, their celebration as a couple. He smiled at that. Maybe one of these days we'll be able to celebrate officially. A wedding anniversary was what came to mind. For now, he had to put the finishing touches on his next arrangements. One very special package was expected to arrive on the Enterprise with in the next hour. All Will had left to do was take it to Deanna's cabin...Add a few personal touches there...and wait for her to show up. But not before he could get another message to her. Yes, things were going quite nicely.
I can't wait to go home, Deanna thought. Once again, exhaustion had gotten the better of her. She hoped that Will wasn't counting on her to be on time for dinner. It was easy to assume from this point that she'd probably fall asleep in her office before long.... ...And sure enough, before she knew it, Deanna was sound asleep in her chair.
He had the cabin perfectly decorated. Candles were spread throughout the room, and the scent of Jasmine permeated the room. As Will blew out the last match, he wondered what was taking his hard-working counselor so long. "Deanna should have been here an hour ago." He glanced about the room and observed his work. Very nice. "Well, I better go check on her," and he was off... ...Only to find his beloved softly snoring (and she said she never snores...) on the sofa. He shook his head, and went over to wake her.
Will knelt down and kissed her forehead, inhaling the sweet smell of her hair as he withdrew. "Deanna," he whispered. She awoke from her dreamworld to meet her Imzadi's gorgeous blue eyes and that contagious smile. "Hi. Am I late?"
He chuckled, "You're still in your office, my dear. I was starting to wonder when you were going to show up once I got all those candles lit." She raised an eyebrow, impressed, "Candles, eh? I do believe you're getting fond of those."
"What can I say? They preserve the memories...and the mood." Deanna sat up on her elbow and looked at him teasingly, "Is it too late to try and engage in that mood you were trying so hard to re-create?"
"No," he said, his grin becoming wider, "never." He got up, took Deanna's hand in his, and the two headed to her quarters.
"My God, Imzadi," Deanna spoke in complete wonder, "This is incredible." And she was right. Her cabin had been transformed into a midnight paradise. She could swear that they were on the holodeck. "Will, are you sure these are my quarters?"
"Deck 8, section 10. Yep, this would be yours." As he had said, the entire room was surrounded in candlelight. In her living room, she found a picnic setting. There was a wicker basket on the table, along with a bottle of champagne and two glasses. Set in the middle, was a fresh bouquet of white roses. She also noted that off to the side was a heart-shaped box. Chocolates, no doubt. Deanna looked-but did not bother to venture-into her bedroom.
She had already observed that he had a trail of rose petals leading there. That's probably heavily decorated, too. Deanna could feel her body tingling all over from excitement. Anticipation raced through her as well. Will had really worked for her affections this time.
"How about something to drink?" he offered. Deanna smiled, and almost laughed as she thought, Sure, he's gonna get me drunk first...then sweep me off to the bedroom. She knew his intentions were nothing but good-natured, but she didn't mind letting her mind conjure that image. At this point, she wouldn't have minded.
"Why not. After all, it's not often that I consume alcohol." Will laughed delightedly,
"I would think after that lovely drinking session with Zephram Cochran, you'd never touch another drop...even if it wasn't hard liquor."
"It made me think twice, let me tell you." They made their way to the table, and Will poured them each a glass. He gallantly proposed a toast,
"To us," he said. Smiling assuredly,
Deanna repeated, "To us," and they clinked glasses. Before Will could get ahead of her, Deanna said, tiredly, "I know you had a big evening planned...but if you don't mind, Will, I think I'd rather skip dinner and jump in the bath."
He looked at her mischievously, "You don't mean that literally, do you?"
"Why don't you come find out?" she offered suggestively. Will realized that their flirting was becoming constant...a new element in their relationship. One small set-back, though, was that Deanna could now almost flirt as well as he could. It was kind of stimulating...in a weird way. This time, however, there was something more behind her flirtatious remark...something he missed for a long time. He went over to her, and-to her surprise-picked her up in his arms, and into the bathroom, where a sensuous bubblebath already awaited them.
He was careful and deliberate in removing her clothes, allowing Deanna to bask in the sensations that were going through his mind. Once she was undressed, he picked her up again and gently set her in the tub. A few moments later, Will slid in behind her. "These bubble baths are becoming a ritual for us, aren't they?" Deanna said.
"Yes, but you have to admit, they do carry an advantage."
"Oh?" He took a sponge nearby, dipped it in the bubbled water, and ran it down her back as he said, "They allow us to get a little closer." She closed her eyes in pure bliss. Deanna felt as if she would melt right then. He stroked every inch of her skin until she felt like mere putty in the tub. She went limp against his chest. Will wrapped his arms around her and enjoyed the moment above anything else. It seemed that everything made so much sense now. He didn't have his career to worry about.
With Deanna in his life again, he realized he had new priorities...and all of them revolved around her. Without his Imzadi, he knew there was no future, period. Forget Starfleet. If he didn't have Deanna, he wouldn't have a life, no one to love, or love him-absolutely nothing. And knowing that-well, it scared him. Lost in his own world, Will didn't notice when Deanna got out.
Only when she turned and said to him, "Are you going to stay in there all night?" did he open his eyes.
"Sorry, I was just thinking."
"About?" she questioned him.
"Us." Deanna kneeled back down to the tub and kissed him lightly, "I'm not going anywhere, and if I can help it, neither are you. We've both worked too hard to get where we are. We deserve this chance."
"I know. And I intend to take it." He looked into those eyes of hers, and saw nothing but the serenity and reassurance he had needed for so long. After a few minutes, he stepped out of the bath without towelling himself, and ran his hands through his wet hair. She stood again and re-lit the candles resting on the vanity. Just as Will started to walk towards the bedroom (he had intended to put some clothes on), he got the urge to turn around. When he did, Will couldn't believe his eyes.
Deanna stood, naked, surrounded in an aura of romantic candle light, making her look more awe-inspiring than ever. "My God, Imzadi," he spoke, lovingly, "you take my breath away everyday. You've become more beautiful than the first day I met you." Deanna's heart swooned, and her body went hot. Will always knew the right things to say. Imzadi, she called to him. Without any further urging, he went to her, slowly. When Will reached her, he took her face in his hands, and kissed her with everything in his heart. Deanna felt her exhaustion slipping away at his touch. She knew as of tonight, they would become closer than they had been in a long time. And even if she couldn't hear it, she felt the words ringing in his mind, *I love you, Imzadi.* Before long, Deanna was swept up in her beloved's arms once again, away to the bedroom.
As Deanna assumed earlier, the room had been transformed. In the wall nearest to her right was an actual fireplace. On the floor next to her bed, lay an enormous mink blanket. While he stood in the doorway with her, Will said, "Look," and directed Deanna's attention to yet another token of his affections, placed just above the headboard of her bed. The sight there almost made her cry. It was a magnificent laser-cut portrait of the Jalara Jungle, right at where Janaran Falls stood. The picture looked just like it was imprinted in her memory.
"Imzadi," she whispered, "This has been the best Valentine's Day ever. Thank you for everything, my love." "Anything for you, Deanna. Anytime," and he took her over to the blanket, and laid her down. For a moment, Deanna propped herself on her elbows and looked at Will's still-nude body.
"You know, you don't look so bad either." He smiled as he came down to her,
"Well, I've had time to shape up since we last did this."
"That as a long time ago. Are you sure you're still...in touch?"
"You'll have to be the judge of that," and he pressed himself against her, kissing her lips along the way. The mink felt so good against her skin. The fireplace was lit, and illuminated the entire room. Everything was perfect.
In mid kiss, Deanna broke apart from Will for a second. "Is something wrong?" he asked.
"No," she assured him with a smile, "I just want you to promise me something."
"Oh? What's that?" She wrapped her body tighter around him, and gazed straight into his eyes.
"Promise me that this moment will never end?"
He kissed her, and ran a hand through her hair, "I promise." And they spent the rest of the evening making a permanent memory to treasure for times to come.