The Dreams of Ordinary Men

Authors: Leanne, with an enormous amount of help from Sarajayne.
Rating: At a guess PG except for one chapter but I'll warn ahead of time.
Disclaimer: Unfortunately none of it is mine, it's all Paramount's
Takes place during Hide and Q, right after Riker gives Worf his wish. Deanna wasn't in the episode, hence why I'm writing it.

Chapter 1
She had been expecting it, right from the moment the Captain said he supported Will's wish to give each of them a gift. A very personal gift. Wanting to turn and make a quick but obvious exit, her body had flat out refused to budge, cementing her to the chair, regardless of her silent prayers to leave. When he turned to look at her she knew the chances of leaving without one of them being hurt was all but impossible. Still, she sat there, her hands clenched tightly together as his powerful electric blue eyes seized hers, leaving Deanna Troi both speechless and immobile.

Taking three steps, Will closed the distance between them, his powerful presence towering over her. She had never felt threatened by his height before but at this instant she felt as if he was at least ten feet tall, causing her to flinch slightly as he reached out and touched her shoulder tenderly. "Deanna…. Imzadi… I can finally give you something that I could only dream of before."

"Will! No!" She cried out, launching herself from her seat to step back, creating a wider expanse between them, aware of what he was about to do.

But it was too late, and in an instant they both vanished from the Enterprise within the radiant light they'd all come to know from the Q.

Trying to shield her eyes from the brightness, Deanna covered her tightly closed eyes with her hands, giving them time to adjust. When moments later she dropped them, the first thing her sight focused on was Will. His expression wasn't one of guilt or repentance as she had expected, in fact he looked confident and sure of himself, almost a little too smug. She'd seen him confident before, but this was different, it almost scared her.

Standing the same distance apart as they had on the bridge Deanna began to shake her head. "Will this isn't right."

He smiled and took a step closer to her, stopping only as she stepped back. "Deanna we can finally be together." His plea was heartfelt and he couldn't help but be hurt when she pulled away from him.

"Is that what you really want?" She questioned him. She didn't believe it was, she knew what he wanted in life and had garnered that information the hard way. Her chin dropped and Deanna looked at the ground, reflecting and reviewing what could have been, she had been willing to give up everything for them to be together, but he had been more occupied, more determined with his career.

"You know it is." He advanced on her again, and this time when Deanna didn't move he leant forward and took hold of her arm, his hand running the length of it to clasp on to her clenched fist.

"I can sense you truly want things between us to be the way they were meant to be, but at what cost Will? Are you willing to give up your dream of being Captain?"

"I won't have to, I can change the variables, have you realized where we are?" he asked extending out his free arm.

For the first time since arriving Deanna shifted her attention from Will to look at their surroundings. The sun's rays engulfed them, radiating down upon them and the entire beach, which she now noticed was conveniently deserted. Crystal blue water lapped at the shore only meters away from them and Deanna paused to let the gentle sound flow through her senses and calm her somewhat. The foliage, easily identifiable at the edge of the beach didn't help in giving away their location, but in all truth she already knew where they were. Risa…the place where their relationship had in a sense come to an end. The damage had been done during Will's last days on Betazed but this is where Deanna finally understood that it was over, Will's priorities lay elsewhere.

"I know where we are Will, that's why this is wrong." It hurt her to be here with him, her emotional wounds still sore, even after the years, how could she ever wipe away the hurt caused by one William Thomas Riker? But could she ever survive without him again? Tears threatened as she came to realize in all truth she'd never really gotten over him, and most likely never would, it was the nature of their bond.

"How can it be wrong? We can put right what went wrong," he saw the unbelieving look in her eyes "Okay…I can put right what I did wrong."

"No you can't Will!" She knew he didn't understand what he had done to her and doubted that he would ever fully recognize just how much he had hurt her. "Do you think that by bringing me here it will erase everything from my memory, rub out the fact that you never came here the first time or that it took you only a matter of hours to jump into the first available woman's bed?"

"Is this about Wendy Roper because…" Will dropped her hand and began to circle her.

"It's about a lot of things. You can't just snap your fingers and expect me to come running." She tried to ignore the way he was walking around her, almost stalking her and urging her on for a fight.

"Tell me you don't want things between us to be the way they were." He protested.

Chapter 2

Deanna sighed and turned from him and begun walking down the beach, the sun felt like it was burning a hole through her uniform. The trickle of perspiration sliding down the spine of her back wasn't truly all due to the position Will as just put her in, so she headed towards the trees in search of shade and also to escape him for a moment.

"Where are you going?" He shouted from behind. A hint of insecurity lacing his words.

"I can't decide on this now Will." She hoped he would accept her answer, because he was the only way she could return to the Enterprise, especially when so unsure of their exact location upon Risa.

"Why won't you give me an answer?" He persisted. "Just a yes or no will do. How hard can that be?"

Deanna continued to walk towards the shelter of the trees, ignoring him until she felt him begin to stalk, till he gripped her arm from behind. "Answer me! Do you want us to be together?"

Turning, she shook her arm out of his grasp angrily "I think you should take us back," she pleaded sounding pathetic even to herself.

"Not until you give me an answer." He said crossing his arms like a genie in a bottle.

"Fine" she snapped continuing on towards the shelter.

She didn't know if he was still following her or even if he was still on the beach as she focused straight ahead, blocking his emotions out completely, till she reached the much needed shade, never once looking back. Sitting down on a fallen tree trunk she let out a sigh and ran her fingers through her hair, trying to gain some form of control over her emotions. Strands of the black mass had come loose while on the beach, prompting her to finally take it down from the highly perfected bun she normally wore on duty, unraveling it till it hung loose down her back.

Minutes ticked by, and the tingle at the back of her mind began to evade even the best of blocks she fumbled to put into place. Deanna managed to keep her eyes averted from him in the beginning, but now she could look no where else. She felt the pull of him, and not since Betazed had it been so strong. Will stood in exactly the same place, his arms crossed across his broad chest, his defiant stance telling her he would stay here a lifetime if need be. Just to wait for one word, one answer.

For endless minutes the couple merely stared at each other. Deanna impulsively let down the hopeless block she had put in place and immediately was bombarded with the full force of his emotions, his love and passion but also his arrogance over the power he held over her. She let out an almost inaudible gasp as she struggled to control her breathing and fought over the compulsion to walk up to him and either slap him or kiss him, and although both reactions would provide a temporary relief from his glare she decided against it.

Will saw her shiver and gasp once she felt his emotions and grinned, he knew he'd caught her out. Eventually it was Deanna who decided she could take no more and made her way back to him. "This isn't about you and I," she claimed, her finger pointing hard into his chest "it's about Q and how this has changed you."

Will shook his head, he didn't believe her for a second. "Just say the word and I'll refuse the powers, all I want is an answer from you…the truth."

Her eyes dropped low "Why are you doing this?" She demanded, then her voice dropped, so quiet he barely heard the words. "I can't fall in love with you, I won't be hurt again"

Closing the distance between them he reached out and softly brushed his fingers over her cheek. "I would never hurt you. We could get married just like we planned, either when we go back to the Enterprise or I can change things so we got married just like we were supposed to."

"You can't Will, it won't just be our lives you're changing." As much as she wanted him too, the thought that they would change someone else's life just so they could have what they wanted was unbearable to her.

"I know, but I can't see you everyday and pretend that I don't love you. I can't be just friends anymore" He'd finally said it, something they had both been avoiding since they began serving together and although she knew it was true and sincere it only made her heart ache more.

His fingers still caressed her face and she leaned into his touch, her body betraying her mind. "I need time"

The disappointment was evident on his face but he nodded, both of them remaining silent

"You should take us back to the ship," she finally said.

Will looked back at her, she looked so miserable. He couldn't understand where he'd gone wrong. This was what she wanted, what they both wanted, they should be smiling and happy not broken hearted and hurting.

"Give me a day?" He asked, his disappointment now replaced with enthusiasm.

Deanna looked at him not completely sure what he was asking.

"Just spend a day with me here and we can see what happens"

"Will it's going to take longer than a day"

"Why? Surely you must already know how you feel about me, about us"

"That's not the point!" she backed away from him again. Trying to put distance between them.

"Then what is?"

"We have a duty to the ship and crew, we're needed on the Enterprise."

"They'll survive a day without us."

She couldn't believe what she was hearing, he had definitely changed. The William Riker she knew would never think of such a thing, he had only been First Officer of the Enterprise for a short time, but took his duties extremely seriously. But she was unsure if this was the way he truly felt or if it was because of his newly acquired powers. The realness of his feelings were not only evident in his emotions but also in his eyes and in the end that was enough for her to give him a chance. It may not have been the right thing for a Starfleet officer to do, but she owed herself the chance to salvage their relationship.

"One day," she relented "but on one condition, you don't use Q's powers. I want you to try and forget you have them."

Will's face lit up with excitement "Counselor, you have a deal. Let's go find a place out of this sun where we can talk."

Chapter 3

Walking away from the hotels reception, making his way back through the brightly lit foyer, Will Riker forced a smile at the demure Deanna "They only had one room left."

Deanna rolled her eyes and tried to keep her smile hidden, was he really going to be this childish she wondered. "Will I know you too well to know that's not true"

His shoulders slumped admitting defeat. "Okay, I thought if I asked you you'd say no, we only have twenty four hours together and I don't want to spend half of it with a wall between us."

The petit betazoid smiled at his pleading boyish looks "Alright, just behave yourself." Reflecting his smile once she felt his excitement and happiness at her agreement.

They walked the rest of the way to the room in silence, sauntering along the long carpeted hallway, till they found their room number. Will keyed the lock and motioned for Deanna to go in first, stopping to admire the woman before him as she took in the interior. The room was reasonably large, heavy white drapes hung down over the windows, the intense sunlight filtered by the foliage surrounding the veranda.

Deanna, ignoring the large bed in the centre of the room, headed towards the open doors that led to a wide balcony. The sun had almost gone down and she watched through the trees as the red from the fiery orb reflected on the water in the distance, its beauty leaving her speechless.

"This is how it should've always been" Will said placing his hands on Deanna's shoulders.

"Will…" She froze at his touch.

"What do you want me to say Deanna? It's how I feel." He removed his hands and sat down on one of the reclining beach chairs. He leaned back in the chair, looking out over the balcony, his hands joined behind his head.

Deanna sat on the remaining chair next to him continuing to gaze at the sunset. Broken from her reverie by Will's whispered question "Tell me how you feel."

When she paused in contemplation, he sat up, swinging his legs over the side of the chair to face her "You have an advantage over me Deanna, I can't tell what you feeling…Damn it Deanna we came here to talk, so talk!"

"I love you, I think you know that much, that hasn't changed and never will. But our problems have never been about our love for one another," she turned her eyes away from the now absent sun and faced him. Although darkness was now falling around them she could still see the hope and desire that was written clearly on his face, "it's about your priorities Will. Ever since I've known you they've been the same, to become a Starfleet Captain and to get another notch on your bed post."

He stammered, trying to get out an excuse but she held up her hand. "It's okay, I understand you better than you think and I've accepted this." She watched as Will gritted his teeth and his lips thinned.

"You're wrong. Sure I want to be Captain but I can still do that with you by my side and I don't want anyone else warming my bed, I want you."

She smiled at his remarks wishing it was as easy as he made it sound. "How does my career fit into all of this Will? Am I just to tag along where ever you go?"

"If we were married you could be transferred with me as family, not to mention the post of ships Counselor."

"What would I do if there was no Counseling position available? Only Galaxy class ships have them Will" she asked, seeing his anger increase with her direction of questioning.

"We would deal with it when the situation arose, Deanna what's with the questions?" he demanded getting frustrated. "I thought we were going to talk about us."

"We are, did you think you could bring me here and I would forget everything, fall at your feet and into your bed. Because it doesn't work like that Will! I have a little more self-respect and emotional understanding of who I am unlike your one night stands." She was fuming and knew that that was exactly what he thought would happen, he expected her to be there when he was ready for a relationship and to hell with what she wanted or felt.

"All you've done since we got here is put me down. Is this some way of hiding your true feelings for me?" He stood up, bringing her with him, their faces now mere inches apart "Imzadi, I can see the want in your eyes…you want me to kiss you as much as I do. You want us to be true Imzadi, together as one."

Deanna remained silent her intent gaze equaling his and when she had offered no reply he leaned forward, his lips barely brushing over hers. Her eyes briefly closed and she suppressed a groan at his nearness. She couldn't let this happen, if she gave in to what she wanted now there would be no turning back this time. About to push him away she opened her eyes to find his deep blue ones were staring back at her " I don't think this is about me," he whispered against her lips his hands now holding the sides of her face "I think this is about you being afraid to lose yourself to me and be consumed by our bond." Allowing for no reply, his mouth once again descended to hers, this time with more force. "Would I be right?" he asked breaking away so they could both catch their breath.

She was unable to speak and a tear ran down over her cheek, she closed her eyes and bit down on her lip trying to centre herself. "You broke my heart." She quietly sobbed. "Every time I see you, every time I think about you I re-live the pain I went through when you left me. I can't do it anymore."

"You don't need to, just say the word and we'll be together." His mouth moved away from hers and lingered above her ear, his lips touching her soft hair. "Just one little word and the pain stops."

Chapter 4

Deanna was finding it harder to ignore his caresses as his lips moved from her ear, down her neck, his attention focused on the pulse that lay beneath. His lips and tongue moved over the same sensitive spot again and again until Deanna found herself leaning into him. Pushing up against his enormous body.

The whole time Will had been carrying out his ritual her hands had remained by her side, no longer able to keep them there she reached up placed them around his neck. Seeing this as a sign of victory Will's mouth traveled back up to meet hers, their lips met with a heated urgency and Will let out a groan of satisfaction as their earlier chaste kisses were replaced with a more passionate and consuming embrace.

Minutes later Deanna managed to pull herself out of Will's grasp trying to catch her breath. She moved back out of his reach, eventually seeking a retreat inside. Will remained on the balcony confused by her behavior. Running a hand through his hair, he decided it was better to give her a moment alone.

Sitting by himself in the dark, a chill ran up Will's spine and he wasn't sure if it was due to the rapidly chilling night air or something more far more unsettling. Several moments later when he walked inside he found her sitting on the bed, her legs crossed in front of her. "You okay?" he asked.

She nodded looking away from him as he sat beside her taking one of her hands in his own. "This is happening to quickly, I think it was a mistake for us to stay here." She said turning her attention to their joined hands.

"The only mistake is that this hasn't happened sooner, that kiss meant something Deanna but you're just too damn proud to admit that you were wrong about us."

"The only thing it meant is that I'll have to ask for a transfer off the Enterprise" she countered, removing her hand from his and trying to iron out an imaginary crease on the bed covers.

"Deanna, don't be stupid! You know this would have been much easier if I had just snapped my fingers and made you admit your feelings. We would have been lying amongst these bed sheets and ready to move onto the next round. But no, I wanted to give you time, I wanted you to answer truthfully. Not some become some automaton at my command"

She shook her head in disbelief. "That's all this is about to you isn't it? Always thinking with what's between your legs."

He sighed deeply, pinching the bridge of his nose. "Well you know how I feel, I'm running out of ideas. For a counselor you seem to be having trouble talking about feelings."

"That's it I'm leaving," she said standing up and heading towards the door.

Deanna had only taken a few steps when he stood in front of her, blocking her exit. "Where will you go?"

"Anywhere but here." She said vacantly staring into his burgundy chest, her breathing slow and steady.

"God I love you." He ached to touch her, to pull her to him, to tell her and show her the feelings he'd held inside for what seemed like forever. The fever pitched raw emotions that begged silently for her to say yes.

Deanna stood motionless and silent, trying to ignore his nearness and the emotions she was sensing from him.

"I'll be whatever you need me to be, give you whatever you need," he looked down on her smaller figure lifting her chin with a finger "please just stop running from me."

Her dark eyes returned the pain he felt, and for the first time since their separation he wondered how he'd ever survived without her, really survived, he'd missed her incredibly but never this much. Picking up on his emotions her heart sank and she reached up to run her hand over the newly grown stubble on his cheek "I need you to be there…always. There can be no in-between, it's all or nothing. That's what Imzadi is. If you say you want it all then there's no turning back when you get cold feet because it will destroy us both professionally and personally, can you handle that Will? Because I don't know if I could, it was hard enough the first time."

Chapter 5

She drew him deeper and deeper into the twin emotional mires that were her onyx eyes. To Will Riker, within another moment he was sure to drown in them, as every passing second, his control slipped further to oblivion. "I'll always be there for you, no matter what. Even if we aren't together."

It wasn't enough for her, though she could feel his intense desire she needed to hear the words, the words that would mean either their beginning or ending. "I need your word on this Will, if I say yes you can't just turn your back when things get a little rough."

"You have it Deanna, I swear this time it will be different." Her smell and touch intoxicated him and although he would have told her what ever she wanted to hear, he had never spoken truer words.

She smiled at his answer and took a small step forward bridging the gap between them, her arms slid around his torso, stretching her hands to lay flat across his back. Will drew her in closer and she rested her forehead on his chest, she could feel his heart beating fiercely and then she too realized hers was pounding. As much as she wanted to stay here like this, with him, she was also eager to get back to the Enterprise and to what would be awaiting them on their return. Taking a deep breath she closed her eyes and let him enflame her senses before delivering her final answer, "Yes."

Will pushed her away just far enough to look into her eyes, he could have stayed there forever staring right through to the depths of her soul but instead the corners of his mouth turned up in a smile and he nodded his head. "Your wish is my command."

The next thing Deanna knew, she found herself back on what she presumed was the Enterprise. Looking around still locked in their previous embrace they tried to get a sense of where they were, some of the objects placed around the room she knew were either hers or Will's but several of them she had never seen before. About to question Will she was startled when a child came running past them and jumped on the couch, eyes bright with mischief. Will looked at Deanna with shock, Deanna for her part couldn't take her eyes off the young boy. "Mommy give Ian a hug too?" an audible gasp escaped Deanna.

She pulled out of Will's arms immediately moving towards the boy, halting his movements as he began jumping up and down on the couch. Crouching down to his height, Deanna took a hold of his tiny hands in hers and breathed deeply before taking in his appearance. He looked to be about five years old and he was the spitting image of Will, from his dark brown hair to piercing blue eyes and the mischievous twinkle that brought them alive. "Who's your mommy?" she asked, certain she already knew the answer.

"Mummy's being silly," he giggled as he jumped back up and wrapping his hands around her neck lightly. "You are."

Deanna lifted Ian in her arms and turned to face Will, her eyes meeting his over the top of Ian's head. Will's mixed feelings of both shock and happiness were more than clear on his face and when he moved to encircle them both in his arms she felt a sudden sense of completeness. Something that she was certain she'd waited a lifetime for and something that she had never been more sure of.

After a few silent moments Deanna felt a small rumble from between her and Will and looked down to see Ian struggling. "Daddy, can't breath" he said trying to wriggle out of his parents grasp.

They both let him go, watching as he ran off giggling into one of the bedrooms. Deanna collapsed heavily onto the couch her body stretched out and her hands resting on her forehead "Oh god Will, this is how it should have been."

He sat down beside her, his arm resting on her shoulders. "You don't sound too happy, I thought this was what you wanted." He whispered.

She sat up, hearing the disappointment in his voice and rested a hand on his knee. "It is, but how real is this?"

"As real as life can get my dear Counselor," they heard as Q flashed into existence in front of them.

"Q!" Will and Deanna were on their feet in an instant.

"Of course it's me, who else would it be?" Q spat pulling the cowled hood from his head. He was wearing the clothing of an Earth priest and held in his hand an old leather bible. Seeing Riker's attention on the bible he waved it under the Commanders nose "thought I might perform the ceremony for you again since you missed it the first time around."

Will looked at his left hand noticing for the first time the gold ring on his finger, slowly he turned it between his fingers then looked over to Deanna. "What's going on Q?" he asked, his eyes never leaving Deanna who was now looking at the glittering ring on her own finger. He saw the smile on her face and a rush excitement and longing ran through him. Reaching out he took a hold of her hand, the treasured metal band once worn by his own mother many years prior to her death, its halloed nature causing him to run his own fingers over the cool metal band and up and down the softness of her finger.

Q began wandering around their new quarters, picking up things and inspecting them, some of which neither Will nor Deanna had seen before. "There's a decision to be made Riker, if you want the kids… you have to keep the power of the continuum, if not…you lose the power and the kids."

"Wait a minute you said kids." Deanna asked excited but frightened at the thought that she and Will would become instant parents to more than one child, or at a loss to two.

"That's right my dear Counselor, I'm surprised you haven't noticed yet but you are currently with child." The words rolled off Q's tongue as if it was something completely normal to say in such circumstances, but his tone went unnoticed by Will and Deanna who were now more interested in their newly acquired family.

Chapter 6

Deanna's hands immediately went to her stomach, slowly they ran over her slightly swollen belly and she wondered how she had missed both the physical and emotional signs. She was now carrying a child, a baby boy or girl. Will was immediately at her side trying to get her attention and when she looked up from her stomach and into his eyes he received his answer. Tears spilled out over her olive cheeks and onto her uniform. She nodded her head slightly to Will and the smile she had come to love lit up his face. He took her in his arms and squeezed her tightly, her tears stilling falling as they moistened his uniform tunic. "We're going to have a baby," he said out loud, reaffirming it not only for himself but also Deanna.

"This is all very touching but you have a decision to make Riker," Q said sitting down and relaxing on the couch. He briefly opened the bible calmly before slamming it shut in anger "do you want the kids or not?"

"Of course I want them!" Will said pulling away from Deanna, looking over his shoulder at Q before returning his attention to Deanna. "But I don't want the powers."

"Tsk tsk tsk, you know, I thought you were more advanced then the rest of the so called human race. It's a simple choice Riker, you take both or lose both, that's not too hard to understand is it?" With a self-righteous grin on his face, Q watched as the different emotions played out over their faces.

"We have to decide now?" Deanna asked, pulling away from Will's embrace to face the immortal being, hoping that just this once Q would show a little compassion.

Q laughed loudly "No I'll come back in another millennia or two, of course you have to decide now! I have people to torment, torture to inflict, and delicious Callamerain to taunt, you know how it is. A Q's job is never done" He said with a flip of his hand.

"Q," Will sighed "I need some time to think about this with Deanna."

Getting to his feet the omnipotent being shrugged his shoulders, his face suddenly becoming serious. "Very well but there will be a cost," he said clicking his fingers returning the three of them to the bridge.

The crew stood on the bridge just as they had when Will and Deanna had left hours ago and when they flashed into existence, all attention centered on the couple, their arms still around each other. To the crew, the first officer and counselor had only just left.

Picking up on the lack of attention towards him Q immediately decided to amend the situation, his boisterous voice booming over the bridge. "Ah Picard, you missed some pretty sickening human moments between your not so intelligent Commander and the ever emotional Counselor. But never mind, the games are about to begin. Things are about to get very interesting."

Picard who had been sitting in the Captains chair got to his feet and looked to Riker, noticing the pompous stature was no longer present in his first officer. "Number One, care to tell me what has been happening?"

Will looked down at Deanna and ever so gently ran his fingers over her tear stained cheek and tried to smile. Surprised at his display of affection on the bridge Deanna blushed, her eyes avoiding the glances from the crew.

Moving out of Deanna's arms to stand next to Picard he was more than aware that his friends were about to hear a part of his and Deanna's personal life that he would rather have been kept between them. "Sir, I took Deanna and I to Risa with a hope that we might be able to sort out some issues of our past." He stopped briefly allowing everyone to take in what he was saying, he reached out his hand to Deanna and she willingly stepped forward to take it. He let the rush of their renewed love wash over him before continuing, it's added strength helping him to continue, "It looks as if no time has passed here but we spent a few hours together on Risa sorting out those issues. Captain, Deanna and I have always kept our private life just that but I'm sure that you're aware of just how close we are, we have never kept our feelings for one another hidden."

At the nod of Picard's head Will continued with his explanation. "While we were on Risa we talked about a lot of things but mostly about whether we wanted our lives to change to how they should've been if we had gotten married when we had originally planned to. I used the powers that Q gave me, which has in effect has brought about several changes. Deanna and I are married now."

"Married." He repeated, raising one eyebrow. "I see, and what other kind of changes have occurred?" asked Picard a little concerned. His First Officer seemed to be holding something back.

"When we returned to the ship, there was a child in our shared quarters, our son."

No one on the Bridge spoke and Will became worried as his commanding officer seemed almost speechless. He felt Deanna squeeze his hand as she stepped forward, closer to the Captain. "Sir, there is something else you should know." She said, feeling like she wanted to shout her next sentence over the comm. She watched Picard feeling his apprehension about what she was about to say, trying to set his mind at ease somewhat she answered his unasked question. "I'm pregnant."

Chapter 7

She heard the sharp intakes of breath from all around her and she watched as Beverly jumped out of her seat immediately taking out her tricorder. She scanned Deanna's stomach a few times to be sure, before turning her head to look at Picard, who looked almost mesmerized. "It's true, she's about twelve weeks since inception."

Picard let out a quick sigh, his thumb resting under his chin while his index finger stroked over his bottom lip and chin. "What do you want Q?" he finally asked, he knew there would be a motive in this, there always was with Q.

Q walked up the ramp and stood next to Worf, pretending to pick something off the Klingons shoulder. "That, Mon Capitan is up to Riker," he said walking away from Worf as he scowled "if he and his lovely wife wish to keep the children then Riker must keep the powers of the Q."

Deanna's heart soared when she heard Q call her Will's wife, temporarily distracted from the conversation, though brought back to the present crudely as Will shouted at Q that he needed more time.

"I told you! I can't wait around for you to make up your feeble mind. There's too many Sarcalian fish the sea that needed to be extinct by next Thursday to wait around. I need an answer now."

Picard gave Will a sharp look to silence him, "Q if you know as much about humanity as you claim to, you will understand why the Commander and Counselor need some extra time. Surely the omnipotent continuum can spare some time to observe these harsh conditions of choice."

They all watched on as Q thought about the prospects. "It is true, the extra time would allow us to study you from a different perspective. But even so what's in it for me?"

Picard sighed. In for a penny in for a pound. He thought to himself. "What do you want?" Picard asked.

"Hmmm… how about we make our earlier wager a little more interesting?" He answered trying to sound completely innocent, trying to hide his undercurrent plans. So far things had followed to plan, and right now Picard and his crew had fallen into his mighty grasp.

"Get to the point Q!" Picard was certain he wasn't going to like was about to take place but he had faith in Riker and the Counselor and he knew how they needed him right now.

"I want your command. Plus the careers of two of your officers, your choice." Looking completely satisfied with himself he walked up to Picard, with Worf on alert. "Who will it be?" he taunted "Data, Laforge, Wesley Crusher or how about poor foolish Riker?"

"Q, that's enough! If this is to be our wager, then hear me now. When I win you shall not only stay out of humanities path but the pathway of every other sentient being."

"Sir wait," Riker interrupted "what is this wager about?"

"This is between Picard and I Riker," Q waved back at Riker in a bored sort of way "you just go about making your mind up with the Betazoid." Q stated waving his finger at Deanna.


"He's right Will, it's better if I don't tell you."

"So we are agreed Picard?" The Captain nodded his head "Very well, I shall return in a week for your answer Riker, in the meantime I shall be watching."

"Sir I think you should tell me about this wager of yours, how can I make a decision when I know it's not only affecting Deanna and I but others as well?"

"This IS about you and Deanna, Number One, base your decision on only that. I know this may be difficult for you both but I believe at the end of the week you will have made the right choice, all I ask is that you refrain from using Q's powers."

Will nodded his head, not happy that he didn't completely understand what was happening around him. He looked to Deanna then back to the Captain "Sir if it's alright with you, Deanna and I would like to spend some time with our son."

"Of course, consider yourself both off duty for the rest of the day."

"Thank you Sir."

"Deck Eight." Will instructed the turbolift as he stepped in with Deanna. He watched her as she stared at the floor almost unaware that he was even standing next to her. "Halt." He called out bringing their journey to an abrupt standstill. For the first time since leaving the bridge Deanna gazed up at him, "I'm sorry." He told her. "I'm so sorry to put you through this. If I had known…"

"What Will? You wouldn't have taken me to Risa?" A bitter smile crossed her face. "You told me you wouldn't give up this time."

He moved to her "I'm not giving up, it's just…we have a son Deanna." His hand lay over her stomach "and a baby. Something I could lose. This is just a lot for me to take in right now."

"Do you think it's easy for me?" She retorted.

"No of course not, look I don't want to argue with you. I just want you to know that no matter what we decide on, you and I will be together."

For the first time since returning to the Enterprise Deanna let down her guard, becoming a wife again instead of a Starfleet officer, and reaching up to wrap her arms around Will's neck. Enfolding her in his arms he felt her body shake as her tears soaked through his uniform. "What are we going to do?" she asked her cheek resting on his chest.

"We're going to go and see our son. And enjoy the time we may only have left. I don't know what's going to happen in a weeks time Deanna but we should make the most of out time with him."

She nodded her head, her arms now encircling his waist. Leaning down he kissed her forehead pulling away only when she looked up to him, her eyes red, and her cheeks moist with tears. Will gently brushed his thumbs across her cheeks, his lips caressing the trails left behind. "Better?"

"Yes." She forced a smile. Will knew she needed to regain her composure. Not wanting their son to see her in such a state.

"Resume." He ordered the turbolift.

They remained silent the rest of the way to their quarters, the only communication between them was their linked hands.

Chapter 8

Upon entering they were greeted only by silence, there was nothing to even suggest their son was still there. Thinking it was Q's idea of a joke Will ran into the room they had seen Ian disappear into before they had been taken to the bridge, Deanna following closely behind. Both let out a deep sigh when they saw him asleep on the covers of his bed, his arms hugging a light brown teddy bear.

Slowly Deanna walked over to him sitting down next to his sleeping form, her fingers brushing back the dark hair that fell over his face. She couldn't help but notice again how much he looked like Will, even in sleep. Her fingers ran over the soft curves of his face finally coming to rest over the heartbeat in his chest and she watched expectantly as his eyes briefly opened. Ian saw her and let go of his teddy, his arms instead clinging on to her legs.

Will watched from the doorway as Deanna rubbed their sons back. His eyes once again drifting shut, the contentment he felt at the closeness of his mother evident on his face. Deanna wanted to stay like this forever, her eyes never wavering from Ian, but when she felt Will's weight settle behind her on the bed she turned to look at him. He smiled at her and slid his arms around her waist, his hands resting upon her stomach. Deanna returned her watchful gaze to Ian, leaning back in to Will. Neither of them daring to speak for fear that it might shatter the moment.

For hours they just sat there, letting each others presence flood through their senses. The bond between parents and a child forming, just as the bond between Deanna and Will was healing and re-establishing. Their awareness and feelings of each other strengthening with every passing minute. When Ian rolled away from Deanna, Will helped her to her feet talking her into the living area.

"This is going to be harder than I thought." She said sitting down on the couch, leaning forward with her head in her hands.

Will sat down beside her, "Tell me what you're thinking."

"Honestly, I don't know, I'm feeling everything at once. Excited, nervous, sad and in a way numb. How can I not get attached to our son and the life growing within me?" she asked her hand resting lightly on her stomach.

"You can't, you can't change how you feel Deanna. This situation has been thrust on you but in a week we will have a decision, and it will be the right one. You have to believe that, even if it hurts now or then."

"You're not looking at taking my job are you?"

He smirked at her, getting up and walking to the replicator ordering them both a light salad. He placed one down in front of her and she looked up at him, not impressed "We haven't eaten all day, you should try and eat some," he suggested, picking up a fork and beginning to eat his own. "Then maybe we can get some sleep, it'll be a big day tomorrow."

Deanna merely nodded, they hadn't spoken about sleeping arrangements not that she suspected Will would want to do anything other than sleep, not now. More than anything at this moment all she wanted was to fall asleep in his arms, his face to be the last thing she saw before sleep claimed her. It had been a while since they had shared the same bed but she had never forgotten how it felt to have him beside her, how protected and loved she had felt just by his presence.

"I missed you too." Will said out loud, cutting short her thoughts.

Deanna visibly blushed "I'll have to get used to that again."

"So you don't mind us sleeping in the same bed?" he asked sheepishly.

"Will I love you, why would I mind? Would you have us sleep in separate beds the rest of our lives?"

He looked almost worried at the thought of it. "No, it's just with everything that's happened I didn't want to push you."

Deanna patted his hand lightly. "Will, you could never push me into something like that. Why don't you finish your salad while I transfer Ian in to his bed."

Not waiting for his agreement she got to her feet and left the room, leaving Will to contemplate their dilemma. He was startled from his thoughts minutes later when he felt Deanna's hands on his shoulders, his salad still sitting in front of him its contents barely touched. "Come to bed Imzadi." She soothed, her hands rubbing his shoulders. His tiredness was easy for her to sense and she hoped that their renewed bond would help him get a restful night's sleep.

Following her into the main bedroom Will proceeded to take off his clothes and climbed into bed naked from habit without eve thinking. Deanna smiled as she slid in next to him unclothed as well as she reveled in the touch of his skin against hers. Will draped an arm around her and pulled her to him, embracing her like they used to do.

"I can't believe you're here, that I have a second chance." He said their faces only a breath apart.

Deanna pressed her lips against his, the brief touch not enough for Will as he deepened the kiss. "I wish I had the strength to follow up on this." He mumbled against her lips.

"There'll be plenty of time later Will, I'm not going anywhere. All I want is for you to hold me right now, and promise me this isn't a dream."

Will tightened his embrace of her. With their legs entangled with one another, her foot gently rubbed up and down over his calf, taming the raging beast till he relaxed. His eyes closed against his will as her hands eased the tension in his back, a satisfied sigh escaping him. Deanna pressed a kiss to his closed eyelids before her own eyes slid shut and her dreams of Will and their new family sent her into a blissful sleep.

Chapter 9

For the next two days Will and Deanna had been given time off from their duties. Something the Captain hadn't had to order them to do, they'd left appreciative of the time to talk through what they were going to do, and to share that time with Ian as much as possible. After hours of just sitting and talking with next to no sleep they soon found themselves at the end of the second day in exactly in same position. Frustrated and no way clearer to an objective, an answer, anything. Their endless discussions however had only made things between the couple more than a little strained. Things finally came to a head during a small disagreement, ending in a heated argument as Will ordered Deanna to choose between him and their children. The happiness of their time with Ian was brought to an abrupt end as Deanna slapped him hard, the cold silence of what she had done continued, util she whispered "I'm sorry" and stormed out, taking their son with her.

Will closed his eyes tightly and tried to calm his anger, breathing deeply and steadily to try and shift the energy away. But it found other ways to diffuse. Without intentionally doing so, the control on his powers became alive as Will flashed his anger into the biggest bunch of thorn bushes even. Realizing what he had done, he immediately Q'd them away. Guilty he looked around finding no sign of his transgression and sighed in relief.

"She's right, I can't be trusted." He whispered. The anger dissipated and a relief fell upon him.

A lot calmer now, Will Riker paced the room, finally coming to a stand still and glaring at the ceiling. "Computer location of Counselor Troi?" And when it replied that she was in Beverly Crusher's quarters, he left their cabin to take his troubles instead to ten forward, hoping to drown them before Beverly came to hunt him down.

Taking a seat at the bar next to Geordi LaForge, Will ordered himself a drink and turned to the engineer. "So tell me Geordi did I miss anything exciting?" he asked, hoping to make small talk, anything to forget what had just happened.

"Not a thing Commander." Geordi paused briefly and shifted in his chair unsure whether or not to ask his next question. "Forgive me if I'm out of line here, but shouldn't you be with the Counselor?"

Geordi battened down the hatches and prepared himself for the outburst he thought was coming when he saw the irritated look on Will's face, but it never came. Will Riker instead turned his full attention to the real scotch in front of him, his finger lazily tracing the edge of the glass until he gripped it hard, gulping down nearly half of its contents. He placed it back down on the bar, but not before swilling the contents in a circular motion first, wishing and waiting for the traces of alcohol to hurry up and begin its merry dance in inebriating his senses. Tracing the rim of the glass with his finger again, he let the guilt from his earlier conversation with Deanna wash over him. "I should be," he finally said "but being the insensitive jerk that I am I pushed her away, said some things I shouldn't have."

"I don't claim to be an expert on women Commander, but usually an apology followed by some crawling will generally help." The Engineer offered him a smile but saw by the distressed look on Will's face it was a waste of time.

"That's just it Geordi, I don't know if it will this time."

Chapter 10

At the same time in the quarters of Beverly Crusher, Deanna Troi was wearing the carpet out. "I can't believe him" she said throwing her hands into the air. "This would be so much easier if he didn't have those powers, he's just so arrogant now, and thinks he's doing me a favor by not using them. They're affecting him Beverly. He's not Will."

"Deanna you need to calm down, don't forget your own hormones are playing havoc here too, you are pregnant." Beverly watched her friend closely trying to scan her with a tricorder.

"How could I forget Beverly!" she shouted, her actions regrettable, as she sunk down to the couch next to a curious Ian "I'm sorry, I shouldn't have brought this on you, it's between Will and I." She moved to pick Ian up from the couch but Beverly stopped her.

"Nonsense, please stay. A bit of time for you both might be just what you need. It's only been one day and you've both been thrust together like you've been married for years. You're just a little uneasy."

Deanna nodded, her thoughts going straight back to Will. "He's been using the powers…he doesn't know that I know."

Beverly frowned "But he promised the Captain."

"He also promised me. It's only been for a few things but that's not the point. He's lying to me because he thinks I don't know." To Deanna, that is what hurt her the most, that after all his promises, he still lied to her.

"Deanna, maybe this is something you need to talk to him about." Beverly suggested, sitting down indicating Deanna should join her. Taking a seat beside the Doctor, Deanna pulled Ian on to her lap. "How can I trust him when he's lying to me?"

"Are you sure?" Beverly asked as she watched Ian wriggle around, trying to get comfortable on his mothers knees. "What has he done exactly?"

"Ian told me that Will bought him home a puppy to play with. There's no dogs on the Enterprise and I checked the Holodeck logs, the only time they've been in there was when I was with them."

"There could be another reason." Beverly shrugged.

"I also found an eagle feather on the floor of Ian's room, and when I asked him where it came from he said daddy's home." She had kept the feather, for what purpose she didn't know. Hidden within her wardrobe, she had hoped that he would soon confess to her of what he'd done, just so she could get rid of it. But at the moment, all it did was prove to her of any doubts she had had in their relationship so far, were justified.

Beverly was moving back from the replicator, tea in hand as she let the information play in her mind. "When has he been doing this, haven't you been together the whole time?"

It was true they had barely been separated since returning to the Enterprise, but on both occasions Will had wasted no time in making the most of his powers. "When I came to see you for a pregnancy check up, and the other time I believe was when they woke up yesterday morning before me. I can't believe he would do this Beverly, after everything that's happened I can't believe he would betray my trust like this."

"He was trying to make his son happy, is that so bad?" she reasoned.

"Of course not but I don't like what these powers are doing to him. He's only had them for a short time and he's already changed, he's no longer the Will Riker I know and love." She was on the verge of tears when she heard Beverly asked something she had not expected.

"Computer, location of Commander Riker." Beverly called out.

"Beverly what are you doing?"

"Commander Riker is in Ten Forward," came the dull reply.

"Crusher to Riker." Her voice was stern and Deanna cringed, fearful of the exchange that was about to take place between the Doctor and her new husband.

A few moments passed before she heard the despondent voice of Will Riker. "Riker here."

"I'd like to see you in my quarters Commander."

"Now's not a good time Doctor, but I'm sure you already know that." He added sarcastically.

"That's precisely the reason I want you to come, don't make me make it an order."

"We're off duty, and since this is not a medical matter you have no authority here Doctor." He really wasn't in the mood to listen to anything she had to say but if she wanted a fight then she was headed the right way to get one.

"Listen here Will Riker! If you want Deanna to speak to you again I suggest you get to my quarters in the next five minutes. This is marriage Will, and the sooner you realize problems can't be solved by only one individual, the sooner you and your wife can get on with your lives."


"Crusher out!"

Slamming his drink down hard, and sloshing the contents. Will swore hard "Damn that interfering woman!" he added getting to his feet and storming out of Ten Forward. Having heard the whole conversation, Geordi shook his head as he watched Will leave, he certainly didn't envy what Will would be walking into.

Chapter 11

After cutting off her conversation with Will, Beverly got to her feet gently shifting Ian out of Deanna's arms. "Where are you going?"

"I'll take Ian to the Holodeck or something, you two need time alone to sort this out."

"Beverly I don't think this is a good idea, we'll only end up arguing again." Deanna looked desperate for her to stay.

"He's your husband Deanna and like I told him, these things won't work themselves out. I know the whole marriage thing is new to you and you're still getting used to it but the sooner the air is clear between you the sooner you can get back to enjoying being newlyweds." She said nothing further, hoisting Ian on to her shoulder and walking out in to the corridor.

Will arrived at Beverly's quarter's mere seconds after she had left. Knowing which way he would come from she had chosen an alternative route not wanting to receive the full brunt of his troubled emotions.

Standing outside the door, Will sighed and leaned against the wall, aware that he didn't want to have the conversation that he was about to. He felt her presence on the other side of the door and trying unsuccessfully to clear his thoughts and emotions of any hostility towards Beverly he pressed the door chime.

"Come in." Deanna called out softly.

The doors opened and Will took a step in, his large frame blocking most of the bright light of the hall from streaming in to the dim room. He saw her standing by the window with her back to him, her back ramrod straight. Walking completely inside, the door closed behind him and his electric blue eyes searched the room for Ian and Beverly. When he saw they were alone he moved to stand beside her, any anger he felt diminished when he saw the teddy she held in her hands. "Where's Ian?" he asked, his voice breaking their silence.

"With Beverly." Her voice only a whisper.

Will watched her, studying her face as if it was the last time he was going to see it, fighting the urge to reach up and run his fingers over the softness of her face. "That was wrong of me to force you to choose, you must know I didn't mean it."

"Do I Will? I can't even begin to imagine why you would do this to us."

He turned her to face him, looking into her eyes he could see the pain she was in. "I just feel like we're going in circles, you want us to be a family but you don't want me to have the powers."

"Are you saying you don't want our children?" She challenged him.

"No, god no, but do you know how hard it is not to give into temptation and use Q's powers. I could do good things, halt wars, wipe out epidemics, and give you everything you want or need." Resting his hand on her shoulder he tangled his fingers in her hair and watched as she slowly gave in to his touch.

"You're what I want, don't you understand that, you 'and' our children." Pulling away from him she decided it was time to confront him. "If I knew I could trust you this wouldn't be an issue." Deanna pushed away from him, giving them distance.

"Of course you can trust me." Will said hurtfully, taking one step forward as she moved back.

"Can I? I know about the puppy and the trip to Alaska Will. What else have you been concocting like a magic genie in a bottle?" She crossed her arms protectively and speared him with her gaze.

Will was shocked, he thought he had covered his tracks, obviously Ian had let something slip. "It was just something to make him smile, Deanna it didn't hurt anyone."

"It hurt me Will, and it hurts me even more that you don't understand why." She crossed to the other side of the room wanting to distance herself from him. "You swore to me and the captain that you wouldn't use those powers, how can I trust you now?"

Leaning against the window he could see the disappointment in her eyes and guilt soon overcame him. His emotions and actions were rapidly becoming something he felt as if he had no control over. It now only took the slightest of things to set him off into an outburst of rage, just as it had happened recently. "Deanna, you can trust me just as you always have. I'm no different now than I was a week ago, I love you the same, I love my job on the Enterprise and her family of crew, and I believe in the same things."

She shook her head. "You're deluding yourself if you believe that Will, I see changes in you already, changes I don't like. Things that after only two days together are tearing us apart."

"So I'm to take all the blame for this?" He questioned brutally.

She tuned on him, her eyes intense, demanding his attention "I love you Will Riker do you understand that? But the things I love about you are changing, they're been taken over by something evil and corrupt."

"You're wrong Deanna." He said softly, approaching her again, but soon halted as the saddened Betazoid held her arms out at full length and placed her hands upon his chest.

"Then why would you turn away from me last night? I was hurting and I needed you Will but you didn't care that I was upset! If you don't want me all you have to do is click your fingers and everything will be back the way it was." It hurt her to say it but the last thing she wanted was to feel like a burden, for him to have married her out of feelings of guilt over their past.

"I'm scared okay! I've got myself into this situation and now I don't know what to do." He roughly ran a hand through his hair, a nervous action from way back. "Talking is no help, I feel like I'm waiting for my death sentence, just waiting for Q to come back. I don't know what I'll tell him Imzadi." He pleaded.

She wanted nothing more than to help him, to take what appeared to be a very confused and out of control little boy and return him back to Commander William Riker. So she did the only thing she could think of. "I think we should decide now."

Chapter 12

"What?" Will was more than a little taken back by her suggestion.

"If we do we'll be able to spend the rest of the week doing what's most important to us."

"You really want to do this?"

"It will be hardest decision of my life but I need my Imzadi back." Tears streamed down her face as she moved willingly into his arms. "You have no idea how much it hurts to make a choice. I may never see Ian again or get the chance to see our baby grow, but I won't lose you to this monster Will."

Riker hung on tightly to her, not in the least bit, ready to let her go. "Deanna, I think you should wait, you're not thinking straight."

"I won't change my mind Will, I'm going to ask Captain Picard for the rest of the week off to spend with Ian and I think you should do the same." She prompted.

"What if I want to keep Ian and the baby, did you forget this is my decision as well?" As soon as he said it, he regretted it. Maybe she was right, he thought to himself, never could he have imagined himself trying to hurt Deanna the way he had just done.

She recoiled at his remark and forcefully pushed him away from her, how dare he put her through this and then say her opinion is worthless. But instead of lashing out at him she remained perfectly calm. "Then you and I won't be together."

Will glared at her and she back at him, neither willing to concede the argument. Deanna finally looked away, staring out into the blackness of space. "From the look on your face I'd say that you're not too disappointed by that."

Her comment shocked him to the core. "How can you say that after what I did to get you back?"

When she looked back to him her eyes were filled with tears, her voice only a whisper. "Then tell me, where's the man that swept me of my feet on Risa barely two days ago?"

"I'm here." He declared clenching his hand over his heart. Moving to her side he turned her to face him and placed his hand over the same place on her chest. "And I'm here."

Deanna rested her hand on top of his, "Please don't make this any harder."

"It already is Deanna, I need you." Taking hold of her hand in both of his, he brought it to his lips, kissing each knuckle, "I'll do whatever you say just don't give up on me yet."

Deanna slowly felt her anger melting away, they needed time and yet it also felt like they had too much. "We still have a few days so I think we should take the Captain up on his offer to take the time off and spend it together."

Will nodded, his eyes never wavering from her, he knew this would be his last chance with Deanna and was willing to do whatever was necessary. "Do you really think I'm a monster?" he was terrified that she would think something bad of him.

"A monster, no, just a little misguided." This time when he moved to her there was no hesitation as her hands made their way up his spine, coming to rest between his shoulder blades. "I say this only to help you Will, and because I love you."

"I know." Placing his hands on her hips he drew her body close to him. "I hear the best part of marriage is when you get to make up."

Deanna laughed at his attempt to seduce her, "You mean even better than when you're not married?"

Will shrugged his shoulders "Only one way to find out."

Chapter 13

Before Deanna knew it she was laid out on Beverly's couch, her legs hanging over the end and the very heavy form of Will Riker on top of her. His hands ran smoothly over the curves of her body, never idle as he fumbled with the fastening of her dress. She gasped as he tore his mouth away from hers only to move his attentions on her body southward. Kissing his way down over her chin and neck he paused briefly over the hollow of her throat. "Your skin is so soft." He whispered, finally freeing her of her clothing.

Deanna said nothing, her actions speaking for her as she pulled his shirt over his head and seconds later reached down for his pants, her hand creeping inside to claim her prize. A deep moan was her reward as she continued her ministrations with her hand as her lips aggressively seized hold of his, both of them fighting for control. When Will disengaged from the kiss she cried out as he lay against her, his heated skin pressing against her chest and stomach. Her wandering hand left his pants to grip on to his back and pull him even closer, looking at him she saw the desire in his eyes, just as sure as she felt it as he shifted his weight to settle between her legs.

"We're in Beverly's quarters." She heard him say as his mouth resumed its earlier journey only stopping to rid her of her bra. She wasn't sure if he was telling her this as a way of getting her approval to keep going or to give him a reason to quicken his motions on her body. A strangled "I know," was all she could manage. This was their first time together since Betazed and although she had hoped it might happen somewhere more romantic than Beverly Crushers quarters she was now passed the point of caring, the only thing she wanted at this moment was Will.

Not needing any more encouragement Will's mouth latched on to her breast, the now permanent stubble on his chin grazing over her sensitive skin. Threading her hands into his hair Deanna's back lifted off the couch as she pushed herself closer to his eager lips and tongue. "Take your pants off." She pleaded, sounding almost desperate.

Getting to his feet, she felt his absence instantly and she watched on appreciatively as he slid his pants slowly down his legs, followed by his boxers. Standing naked before her, she smiled at his perfect form and rose to her feet to stand before him dressed only in her purple underwear.

Closing the short distance between them Will hooked his finger around the lacey band, tracing the contour of it over her stomach and hips. Finally, as Deanna watched him with semi lucid eyes he dragged them down over her hips.

Deanna couldn't stand it any longer and she pulled him up to stand in front of her, her hands immediately on his shoulders. Her lips began covering his chest with warm moist kisses as her hands began to roam down his arms, over his stomach and finally coming to rest on his backside. She heard Will moan and felt the grumble in his chest making her circle her hands behind his neck and bring his mouth down to hers. Ragged breaths escaped between every kiss, every caress, but it wasn't enough for either of them.

Turning Will around so the back of his knees leaned into the couch, Deanna gently pushed him down so he lay on the couch just as she previously had. Climbing on top of him she straddled his waist, their close contact not enough as Deanna began to grind her weight against him. "Beverly is going to kill us for this." Will said, one hand reaching up to her waist steadying her movements against him, the other settling on her thigh, his fingers inching inside her.

"It was her idea we talk remember." Deanna moaned softly, her head rolling back. Any further conversation was stopped as she bent down to kiss him hungrily while completing their joining, taking him inside her, both body and mind.

The soft moans and sighs of pleasure that grew to excited screams and groans could be heard through the room until Deanna's body thrust against Will's for the final time. His body reaching up to meet her as her thighs gripped at his waist and she screamed out his name.

Lying down on his chest, their bodies still intimately joined, Deanna tired to calm her breathing. Will's arms wrapped around her shoulders and she could feel his heart beating as fast as hers. After moments of silence with only the sound of their deep breathing Will finally spoke. "That was some reunion Imzadi."

Deanna laughed, "It's been far too long Will."

Chapter 14

Moments later still wrapped in each others arms the sound of door chime brought them back to reality. "Who is it?" Deanna called out, easing herself off Will. One hand gently rested on his warm belly as she unstraddled his tempting body, while the other fended off his sleepy caresses.

"It's Beverly…. Deanna is everything ….okay?" A grunt punctuated each word as she tried to keep a hold of Ian as he wrestled to get out of her grasp.

"Everything's fine Beverly," she said trying to hide the guilt in her voice. "Could you just give us a minute?" Searching the room for their clothing Deanna began to panic as piece after piece of clothing she picked up wasn't hers.

"Sure." The Doctor replied standing at the door with the wriggling child.

Will Riker, lying casually back on his elbows, with a full beam grin in place, suddenly found himself under fire. His shirt at full force, hitting him square in the chest. Deanna exasperated at his slothful actions in getting dressed ended her actions with a pair of trousers in the face to match, finally wiping the grin off his boyish looks.

Having gathered all her clothing but for one item, Deanna started to get dressed only to look up and see Will hanging her missing garment off the tip of his little finger. "Missing something Counselor?" He grinned, the purple bra swinging back and forth as he waved it in front of her. Leaning forward and grabbing it from his teasing fingertips, she pressed her lips to his before returning to the task of making herself look presentable. Cursing the lack of clothes and time it took for Will to get dressed compared to herself. When both were fully clothed, albeit poorly, Deanna finally ordered the door open.

Beverly froze instantly upon seeing the disheveled look of her friends. Will's hair was spiking out at odd angles, his shirt wasn't any better as it stretched across his chest almost on sideways. And Deanna was now wearing a creased dress, the thin straps barely holding to her shoulders at all. The Doctor smiled, "Do I want to know what happened?"

Deanna laughed as Ian ran to her wrapping his arms around her legs. "Probably not." She answered ruffling Ian's hair lovingly.

Beverly glanced around the room, inspecting if for damage or possible signs of their amorous meeting. "Well as long as everything is in one piece in here I don't care."

"I should go speak to the Captain." Will said, a hint of uncharacteristic nervousness creeping into his voice, interrupting their girl talk before it had any chance at all to go any further. As he fled from the room, Deanna's gentle caress against his mind, he rearranged his clothing, combing his hair into place with his fingers.

When he had gone Beverly turned to Deanna with a raised eyebrow, "I take it things went well."

"Some things did yes, as for others I don't think anything will make it better." Running her hands over Ian's soft hair again, she let out a soft sigh, how could she prepare herself for something like this?

Beverly shook her head and smiled at the glowing Betazoid. "Sorry if we interrupted but Ian was getting restless." Since Deanna now held him in her embrace his protests had all but ceased and Beverly could only marvel at how quickly the bond between mother and son had formed.

Deanna placed her hand on her friends arm, and squeezing is gently. "Thank you Beverly, for everything."

"Hey, no thanks needed, that's what friends are for remember."

Sitting Ian down on the couch, Deanna then moved closer as she gave Beverly a hug, whispering into her ear. "Will's going to refuse Q's powers," Allowing only for her friend to hear the horrible truth of the situation. "We don't have long left." She said sitting back on the couch and tenderly touching Ian's knee while resting her other hand across her belly. She was telling Beverly as much as she was repeating it to herself, trying to somehow make it sink in.

"I'm so sorry Deanna." Beverly saddened by Deanna admittance, praised the brave woman before her in her decision.

"I'll be fine, the three of us just need to spend some more time together." She just hoped that would be enough, not just for herself but for Will.

Picking Ian up, Deanna thanked Beverly for her help, returning to their quarters to wait for Will, praying he had sorted things out with the Captain.


"I really appreciate this Captain, you've been very understanding with Deanna and I, especially since this all began." Will sat across from Picard, one leg crossed over his knee, his posture now relaxed.

The Captain sipped his tea, waving his hand and dismissing Riker's words. "I believe the time off will be good for you both, though granted it's not the best of situations, but at least the load will be lighter without the stresses of your duties."

"There's just one other thing sir," Will swallowed deeply. "I feel I need to be honest with you, keep my word to both you and Deanna." He leaned forward, his movements now tense opposed to the relaxed demeanor before. "I used Q's powers."

Will watched as Picard's lips pursed, settling his tea cup down into its saucer, as he mulled over the admission.

"It was only for a few things, mainly for Ian," He declared wanting to make it clear that the things he had done would not influence anything else. "Only you and Deanna are aware of it, and I've told Deanna I won't be using them again. In the best interest of our relationship I intend to do as she asks."

Picard nodded at his honesty and forthrightness. "Very well, I'm sure the Counselor could inflict a more severe and appropriate punishment than I could should the need arise."

Will grimaced. "That's what I'm afraid of, sir." He joked.

Their conversation was interrupted as the Captain's Comm. badge rang out, Data's voice filtering in to the ready room, informing them of their boarding passengers from Alcoras Four.

"This is a routine mission." Picard told Riker as they left the ready room, heading towards the turbolift. "We're merely picking up two dignitaries and dropping them off at the Klingon homeworld. No need for you to worry Will, you're off duty for now. I can still do some things myself you know." He smiled with a twinkle in his eye at his over protective first officer. With a pat on Will's back, the captain continued on to transporter room two, while Will made his way back to his new family and home.

Chapter 15

Upon his arrival he entered the room to find Deanna sitting on the floor with her back to him, lights at half illumination. Ian was no where in sight. "Deanna." He called, rushing to her side, immediately thinking something was wrong with the baby.

"He said he hopes it's a baby girl." Her eyes were red from crying and both her hands sat on her stomach.

"Oh god, Deanna don't do this to yourself. If you need to blame someone, blame me. I'm the reason you can't have both." Sitting down beside her, he pulled her in to his arms so she lay against him. "Is Ian okay?"

"He's sleeping, it was the last thing he said to me." Brushing the tears from her cheeks Deanna closed her eyes and sunk further into his embrace.

It was now late, and it had been a long and exhausting day for both of them. So many things happening, so many decisions, but wondrous things never-the-less. Deanna didn't object when Will got to his feet, and lifted her in his arms, carrying her into their bedroom. Sitting her down on the bed edge, he pulled down the covers, placing one of his own t-shirts over her head and arms once he'd helped her remove her rumpled dress. Nothing was said between them, as each understood one another's love and caring for the other.

By the time Will had changed in to a pair of boxers and a t-shirt, she was waiting for him in the centre of the bed. Climbing in, he settled beside her, careful not to brush his cold feet against her legs. Deanna immediately nuzzled up to his neck. "We still have a few days together." Will whispered to her. He felt her head nod against him and wrapped his arms around her, somehow hoping he could ease her pain.

Several hours later Will awoke to find himself alone. Getting up he went to check Ian's room, and just as he suspected found Deanna sitting watching over him. "Imzadi," he said quietly "what's wrong?"

She didn't avert her eyes to look at Will. "I feel like time is being wasted when we're asleep."

"It's not wasted Deanna, you need rest." He leaned against the door frame, the structure supporting his fatigued body. "Why not bring him to bed with us?"

"You don't mind?"

"Of course not." Will gently lifted Ian from his bed, placing the sleeping child against his shoulder and carrying him to their room.

A few moments later all three were in bed, Ian on the outside, his mother watching over him with protective and wonder filled eyes her body spooned from behind by Will, who bore a similar look of calm on his face just like his son.


The next few days went smoothly for Deanna and Will, their time spent with Ian, mostly on the holodeck. The deadline was drawing closer. Q was expected to make his return tomorrow and no doubt demand an answer from Riker. Deanna had clearly made up her mind, she wasn't happy about it, but believed it to be the only answer. Will however wasn't too sure, he had refrained from using the powers since the earlier instances and believed he could do so for the rest of his life. But regret tinged his decision, when it came at the expense of losing his son and possible daughter.

Making his way towards sickbay Will was hoping he could persuade Doctor Crusher to attend a party he was secretly organizing for Deanna and Ian. After their last heated conversation, Will thought it would be better to ask her in person and apologize for his behavior. She'd more than likely make him squirm and in her subtle way have him groveling for forgiveness, but if that's what it took to regain her friendship, then he decided he was more than ready to give her anything she asked for.

The doors to sickbay slid open and he walked in, only to be confronted by a very angry Alcorian. Its green skin turning darker as its anger increased. "Doctor Crusher! You 'will' give me the medication I need!"

"Not until I know what for." She answered firmly walking away from him and ushering all the medical staff out of the room.

"What's going on here Doctor?" Will asked.

"Ambassador Nochek says he requires a specific medication for a medical condition that he is refusing to tell me of, let alone in allowing me to examine him."

Great, Will thought, like I don't already have enough to worry about. "Ambassador," Will began moving to stand next to him "Doctor Crusher can not just give out medication to anyone, if you are ill, please let her examine you first."

"Give me the medication!" The Alcorian hissed.

"If you can remain calm Ambassador I'm sure we can get this sorted out." Riker now noticed Nochek was holding a weapon, one which he had kept concealed under his clothes until now.

Will slapped his Comm. badge "Security to sickbay."

"Not a good idea." The Ambassador said bringing his weapon into full view and aiming it at Beverly. "You have one last chance."

Will edged his way towards Beverly trying to block Nochek's view of the Doctor. "Stay where you are!" he was ordered, the disruptor now aimed at him.

"Will." Beverly's eyes pleaded that he do as he was told, the last thing she wanted was a dead First Officer in her Sickbay.

At her request, he halted his movements and the Ambassador returned his attention back to Beverly Crusher. Now agitated, the Ambassador thumbed up the setting on his disruptor and pushed it harshly against her pale skin. "If you aren't going to give me the medication I shall have to find it myself. Your time is up Doctor."

Security still hadn't arrived and Will saw only one chance of stopping Beverly from being killed. Saying a silent prayer, hoping that Deanna would forgive him, he closed his eyes. A bright flash of light enveloped them all, and a woman's shriek called out. Reopening his eyes, Will Riker gazed at the heap of green slime on the ground. The Ambassadorial robes of the Alcorian, the only surviving indication, that this was once a person.

Chapter 16

"Will, what have you done?" Beverly was more than shocked, she was horrified.

Will Riker, looked up into her eyes. "He was going to kill you Beverly!" He said coldly. His arms hanging motionless, the rest of his body stood stiffened, almost glued to the floor. It was then that security arrived, soon followed closely by Captain Picard. Will failed to acknowledge their entrance, his eyes now intently focused on the slime on the floor.

"Beverly?" The Captain questioned.

Beverly looked to Will, he wasn't moving, his eyes already taking on that far away look. Her first thought was that he had gone into some form of shock, he seemed almost frozen. Ignoring the Captain, Beverly walked over to Will, placing a gentle hand upon his arm. "Will, are you okay?"


"Doctor Crusher?" Picard demanded.

She looked to the sloppy green liquid on the floor, the Captain following her gaze. "That is Ambassador Nochek."

"What?" His hazel eyes widened revealing he was more than a little confused at the situation playing out in front of him.

"Captain if you'll give me a minute, I'll explain in full, but first I need to check on Commander Riker first." Beverly grabbed her tricorder and ran it over the Commander, his heart rate accelerated, but other than that he seemed fine.

"What's wrong with him?" Picard asked, impatient for answers.

"I'm not sure. I think he's in shock." Truthfully she had no idea, what ever was wrong seemed to be psychological, something was definitely going on in his mind.

The Captain side stepped the green ooze to stand in front of his officer. "Did the Ambassador do this to him?"

"No, it happened not long after he killed the Ambassador."

"Riker did this?" Picard was stunned at her explanation.

"Yes. Captain. I think I'd better call Deanna in" Will still wasn't responding to her, his electric blue eyes continuing to stare at the ground.

Beverly pressed her Comm. badge, knowing there was only one person who could snap Will out of whatever trance he was in. "Crusher to Troi."

"Troi here, what is it Beverly?"

"I think you should come to sickbay Deanna, something's wrong with Will."

"I'm on my way." She responded immediately, worry lining each word.

Beverly turned her attention back to the Captain. "The Ambassador pulled out a disruptor after I refused him medication, he was going to kill me Jean Luc, Will stopped him."

"By killing him? Why didn't he just get rid of the weapon?" Picard knew Will Riker well, the thought that he could and had kill someone, when it could have easily been avoided, was obviously more than he could cope with right now. It was obvious he had used the powers, breaking his promise once more.

"I don't know Jean Luc, maybe that's what he's asking himself right now."

"Commander Riker." Picard moved forward to block Will's view of the liquefied Ambassador. "Will, look at me." His said more sternly.

Slowly moving his head, Will's intense eyes pierced Picard's with a turmoil of emotion. The Captain took a deep breath as he saw the fear buried deep within his first officer, fear unlike he had ever seen before. "I'm sorry… tell Deanna I'm sorry." He brought both hands up to ward them off, backing away from them both towards the door.

"Will, wait!" Beverly called out. She could see the horror in his eyes and watched as he disappeared in a flash, moments before Deanna walked through the door.

Deanna visually searched the room for Will. Noticing only Picard and Beverly's worried expressions. "He's not here Beverly."

"He just Q'd himself out of here." Beverly responded, angrily at herself.

Deanna looked to Picard. Before pressing her Comm. badge. "Troi to Riker."

There was no answer and Deanna repeated her request. "Will Riker, please answer me."

Sickbay was silent in anticipation for his response, any response, but to their disappointment it never came. Deanna shook her head "Computer location of Commander Riker."

"Commander Riker is in the arboretum."

Deanna shared a look with Beverly and Picard and the three of them, followed by security headed off in search of Riker.

On the way Beverly informed Deanna of what had happened. The Betazoid, second in line to the holy rings of Betazed, didn't know what to feel. Anger that he was not only still using his power but that he had used it to kill a living being, or sadness for the very same reasons, how would she be able to look at him innocently again after what he had done. She could sense his guilt and rage, coming off him in waves, the strength of his pounding waves of emotion, tossing her around, leaving her struggling to remain standing. "We need to find him." She said out loud, as much to Beverly as to herself. "Right now he's capable of doing anything."

Picking up the pace, Deanna was running when she got to the doors of the arboretum. "I think it's best if I go in alone." She told the Captain.

Not entirely happy with the idea Picard agreed anyway, ordering Security to remain outside. Taking a deep breath Deanna moved closer to the doors, almost walking into them when they failed to open. "Will," she called out "open the door…please."

"Computer override lock on arboretum door, access code Picard alpha one nine omega four." Picard instructed, not waiting for a response from behind the doors that he knew wouldn't come.

"Unable to comply."

"No doubt he's sealed it with his powers." Picard said looking to Deanna "Talk to him Deanna, I can't imagine what he's thinking or feeling right now. You know him better than anyone, as both a friend and partner."

She nodded in agreement. About to press her Comm. badge but stopped short. "Perhaps I can transport in there. I'd rather speak to him face to face, Captain."

Picard toyed with the idea momentarily deciding at this point they had little choice. "Very well, but be careful counselor, as much as I don't like to admit, that is not William Riker."

"I'll be fine, he'd never hurt me." Deanna keyed her Comm. badge, instructing the transporter chief to put a few meters of distance between her and Will, hoping she wouldn't startle him.

In seconds she disappeared and Beverly turned to Picard "I hope she's right, I know Will loves her but he just murdered someone Jean Luc."

Picard couldn't answer her, he knew that Will wouldn't harm Deanna, but in all truth there was no way he could say that he believed it himself. All they could do was wait and hope.

Chapter 17

Within the arboretum, Deanna crept through the massive tropical plants and their fiery colors, making her way slowly towards Will. She could feel his presence strongly, his negative feelings projected to her like a beacon. The bond worked both ways, and he would surely know that she was there with him now, their bodies and minds in tune with one another.

She saw him in the distance, sitting with his back to a large trunk of a tree, his hands entangled in his hair, with his elbows resting on his knees. He was mumbling to himself but Deanna was unable to make out any of the words. It broke her heart to see him like this, torn by what he wanted to do and what he should do, so deeply tormented that he had been driven to his physical and emotion limits. Moving forward, her footfalls went unheard till she trod on an old dry branch that lay across her path.

Looking up he saw Deanna draw near, immediately getting to his feet and backing away, unable to speak. His head was shaking from side to side as he refused to believe what he had done, not only to the Ambassador but to the trust of his wife and friends.

"Will, talk to me." She glided closer, lifting her hand to try and touch him. But he only stared at her petite fingers, with intense fear, as if with a simple caress it would leave him dying and in pain.

"Stay away from me…please." Standing almost nose to chest in front of him, she now had him blocked in. His escape through the door now humanly impossible, even if Will hadn't of Q'd them shut in the first place. "I don't want to hurt you." He pleaded leaning back comically.

"You could never hurt me Will."

He shook his head, he once believed that too but things were different now. "I already have, please Deanna."

She continued to move closer to him, inhaling his heavenly scent, and feeling the motherly pull to give him some physical comfort. "Will calm down, everything is okay."

"How can you say that?" he yelled. "I killed one of the Ambassadors, how can you even be here with me after I betrayed you?"

"We'll worry about that later Will, right now I'm worried about you." His emotions were what worried her the most, the fact that one minute she felt nothing but love from him the next minute he was filled with rage or a maniacal urge to control everything and everyone.

"You need to go Deanna, I can't be around you now."

She was hurt by his words, they had always been able to rely on each other when they needed help, even when they were only friends, it was the unique nature of their friendship. He needed her now more than he ever had before, but he refused to give in to his deeper emotions, especially after all that he had done to her.

"I'm not going anywhere Will, whether you recognize it or not the fact is that you need me now and I won't leave you like this."

"I don't need you!" He shouted before waving his arm and she was gone within the brilliantly familiar flash of the Q.

Deanna gasped as she flashed into existence in the corridor still recoiling from his words.

"Counselor?" Picard questioned, blinking away the remnants of her entrance back into the corridor.

When she didn't reply, Beverly gently touched her arm bringing her back to the present. "Deanna, what happened?"

"He said he doesn't need me." She whispered, swallowing hard as the words passed her own lips.

Picard let out a quick sigh. "This has gone on long enough. Picard to Riker, Commander you have one minute to open these doors."

"Or what," came the sarcastic reply, floating in the air like Q had many a time, bodiless and not of the Comm. link. "You'll put me in the brig?"

The Captain gritted his teeth and was about to command attention when he found himself imprisoned within a steel cage, barely large enough to support his height. Gripping the metal bars with his restrained hands Picard tried to break free but soon realized it was useless. "Consider yourself lucky I didn't place you into Livingston's aquarium instead Picard." Riker's mocking voice floated near by.

Frustrated, Picard gave up on his efforts, leaning against the steel in defeat. "He's right, we can't stop him while he has those powers."

"You can't just leave him there Jean Luc. Send in security to stun him." Beverly suggested looking over the Captain's cell for a way to get him out.

"And then what Beverly? Keep him unconscious indefinitely." Picard said running his hand over his bald head trying to think.

"Only until tomorrow. Q will be back by then, and Will will have no choice but to make a decision." Beverly found the old earth keyhole on Picard's personal prison but knew it wasn't going to be of much use without the matching key.

"But will it be the right decision." Picard said raising an eye brow, and silently nodding at Deanna as she stood silently facing the arboretum doors.

It was at that moment that they heard things smashing against the door closely followed by a loud frustrated scream. They all jumped to attention, soon rushing to Deanna's side as she collapsed, reeling from the full brunt of Will's emotions.

"Deanna." Beverly cried out cradling her head on her knees. "Captain do something! This isn't just affecting Will."

Picard gave the order. Transport security to Will's location and stun him. But ten seconds later what appeared to be the two officers materialized back in the corridor. The two men no longer wore their Starfleet uniforms having instead been replaced with dark green overalls and a navy blue t-shirt. On their heads sat a bright red pointy hat, while in their hands one carried a watering can the other a pot plant, and both were completely still. Deanna, Picard and Beverly raced to their statuesque sides, stunned at what was in front

of them. "Merde! What the devil has he done?" Picard yelled, beginning to lose his temper.

"They're garden gnomes." Beverly offered.

Picard's eyes narrowed in at her, "Yes thank you Doctor, I can see that quite plainly."

Checking their status Beverly left the Captain to watch over Deanna. Realizing security was going to be of little use, the two officers were carried away in their immobile state by sickbay crew and never replaced, leaving only Picard, Doctor Crusher and Deanna behind.

"He's not going to come out of there." Deanna said watching as the door suddenly melded away to form part of the wall. Any trace of a previous entrance vanishing. "There's no way we can get to him now."

"Why's he doing this?" Beverly asked, unsure as to why his behavior was so extreme.

"He can't face me, he thinks after what he's done I'll want nothing to do with him."

"Is he right?" The Doctor inquired, wary of pushing Deanna for too much.

"I don't know." The Counselor confessed.


Chapter 18

Will sat in a corner of the Arboretum, under an old oak tree. Legs sprawled out in front he took in his surroundings. He had completely sealed himself away from the ship and its crew, relaxing in his new haven that held promise of escape from his demons. Picking up a plant in his hands, Will's fingers traced over the venation of the leaves and branch. The plant had just been recovered from Earth, a small sample cultivated, and given to the Enterprise for study into its medicinal uses onboard. Growing from it was a fluorescent blue flower, its strong scent bringing back memories as he remembered Deanna once whispering into his ear that its cyan glow rivaled the twinkle in his eyes.

How had things gone so wrong he wondered as the flower vanished from his fingers and out in to the hands of the one he loved so much. Her emotions were heady to him, intoxicating as he imagined her holding up the flower, her delicate hands lifting it to her face.


The small flower drew a tear to her eyes. Its memories precious. Moments later the corridor was a sea of bright blue, the tiny blue flowers carpeting the floor from one end to the other. Both women gasped as tendrils from the flowers crept up over the walls and over the ceiling of the corridor, removing any signs of technology beneath its fragrant layer. Beverly witnessed Deanna's face come alive, her eyes alight with wonder and her mouth open in awe at the beauty that surrounded them. The sweet heady perfume from the flowers drifted through the air and although it was strong Deanna couldn't help herself from kneeling down into the luscious coverage and picking another flower to deeply inhale its scent.

"I need you," she heard him say, "but I don't deserve you."

"Will." Scrambling up she placed her hand on the wall where the door used to be "I feel what you're feeling, please let me in."

In his heart he wanted her there but his mind knew it would be a mistake, he couldn't let her see him in this state. He tried to shield his thoughts from her but it was too late. "We all have a dark side Will, and I accept it all, that's part of being Imzadi."

She'd said it, the one word he didn't want to hear. "Don't say that." He boomed, breaking his silence.

"What?" Deanna asked "Imzadi? How could I not? It's more important to me than anything and it's the one thing you need right now."

He knew it as much she did but it was something that he was not willing to admit, he needed to show her that he could manage without her. He wanted them all to understand that with his powers he didn't need anyone, that he was better off by himself, and that it was time they understood just how powerful he was.

With a blink of an eye the crew of the Enterprise found themselves in orbit around Betazed. The first Picard, Crusher and Troi knew of this was when Lieutenant Data's voice informed them that they had been thrown off course only to come to a standstill above the Counselor's native home planet.

"He's doing this to prove a point." Said Deanna "The last time we were here together he walked away from me." She felt her breath catch, he was doing this to hurt her so he wouldn't have to face what he had done, to rid himself of the commitment he'd made to her and to free himself of a relationship that had now become a burden to him, an incredible weight that rested on his shoulders. Of course he hadn't told her this, but he didn't need to it was clear they weren't coming here for a reunion.

She was about to open her mouth to speak when she felt the weight of her limbs temporarily taken from her. Seconds later she regained her bearings as she felt Will walk up behind her. The surroundings were known to her immediately, she knew that they were on Betazed, of that she had no doubt but when she saw the small cove under the waterfall she knew they were in the Jalara Jungle.

Deanna turned on Will, allowing him no time to make an excuse for forcing her here like he had done on Risa. "How dare you bring me here! Don't you think you've done more than enough to hurt me?"

The smell and appearance of the jungle that she had up until now, had only good memories, would now be scared with his attempt to demean their bond. "That's why I brought you here. Do you honestly think being Imzadi is enough anymore?" He walked around in front of her, finding a small boulder to sit on. "I used to but now I'm not sure. I would do anything for you but I don't think there'll ever be anything I could ever do to make up for what I've done to you."

Bending down in front of him he let her reach out and touch him for the first time since the ordeal had begun. She placed her hand on top of his larger one, her thumb stroking over his. "Will I can feel your confusion, part of you wants to beg for my forgiveness while the rest of you denies that you should do such a thing."

"Damn it! Deanna stay out of my mind, I don't want you there!" He shouted getting to his feet, pacing back and forth. "When I want you I'll be sure to click my fingers."

Riker never saw her lift her hand in rage, her arm swinging back to gain momentum. The sound as her hand came in contact with his cheek sickened Deanna, but not for one moment did she feel any regret. Will covered his burning bearded cheek with his own hand, the heat he felt stinging his skin. Reaching out to Deanna he roughly took hold of both her shoulders and pulled her to him, their bodies barely touching. "How very human of you, the high and mighty Deanna Troi loses her calm. My primitive human actions must be rubbing off on you Counselor." He took a few loose strands of her hair between his fingers "Of course I could do a lot more than that, we could relive our jungle romp if you'd like." An evil grin crossed his face as he inched closer to her.

Deanna tried to push him away but her efforts amounted to nothing as his strong arms held on to her tighter and his face moved closer to hers. "Kiss me Riker and I swear you'll regret it." She growled angrily at his intentions.

He waggled his eyebrows, believing her harmless, but within a second of pressing his lips to hers she had lifted her knee, promptly sending him doubling over in pain to the hard packed earth. Falling to his knees, jolting his injury further, Will's hands immediately went to his crotch, "What was that for?" he asked gritting his teeth.

"I warned you Will." Free from his hold, she moved away so there was a considerable distance between them.

"Did you have to do that?" He straightened slightly, his head still spinning. "There goes our chances of carrying on the Riker linage."

Deanna's eyes narrowed in on him "Our chances? As in you and I? Do you really think that's something you should be thinking about right now? You can't even control yourself now for the sake of Ian and our unborn child."

Will bit back his response, it wasn't worth the effort he decided, she'd already made up her mind.

"Where is Ian?" He heard her ask, hands on her hips.

"With your mother. I thought she might like to meet one of her grandchildren."

"Great idea Will, that's just what we need now on top of everything else." Deanna groaned.

Chapter 19

"What do you want from me?" He was sitting on the ground, his legs spread out with his hands protectively covering his crotch, just in case on urge she attacked him again.

Deanna laughed at his comment. "What do I want? What I've always wanted from you from the beginning, to be yourself." She watched him look away from her and bow his head. "I ask for nothing more because that's all need and I think you know that."

Sitting herself down at his feet she saw his expression change from one of guilt to a look of understanding. "Why can't you just be angry with me?" he asked her.

Feeling that he had somewhat calmed down she scooted over to sit next to him. "I am angry, but I want my Imzadi back, I miss him and I'll do whatever it takes to get him back."

She felt it the second his mood changed, her hand moving to cover her heart as his emotions penetrated through to her soul, this was what scared her so much. "It's all about you isn't it?" he spat at her, getting to his feet and brushing the dirt off his pants. "I should have known it wasn't about me, it never is. I'm like a puppet on a string to you, whatever you want I dance to. How many men would put up with what you've put me through?"

Taking a deep breath she swallowed. Halting her urge to slap him again. "William Riker if you value your life I suggest you shut up right now." She wanted to scream at him that he had no idea what he was talking about, after all he was the one who left her, and he was the reason they were in this mess. Taking several more deep breaths she got to her feet her small figure rounding on him. "If you have even an ounce of love left for me behind that inflated ego, you will listen to me." When he hadn't said anything she continued, "I know what you're going through…"

His mouth opened to speak but she silenced him by marching over to him and placing her finger to his lips. "You may think that I don't, but through our bond I experience everything. Everything that you feel, I feel." His emotions spiraling out of control flipped back to sanity.

He wouldn't look into her eyes, refused to, because if he did that he knew it would be over. He would lose himself in the endlessness of her dark eyes, to him they were like a door to her heart and soul, and could melt his resolve with just a glimpse.

Deanna felt his inner conflict for control and saw this as her chance to get through to him. "Look at me," she said softly, the finger which she placed over his lips running down over his bearded chin and cheeks.

Her simple touches were too much for him and he found himself drawn to her, unable to turn away from her he slowly moved closer, his hands holding on to her waist. "I'm so confused. I have no control over anything, including the way I act." Leaning into her he wrapped his arms completely around her, a needful sigh escaping him as he realized their closeness was what his body craved.

It was their first intimate contact in days, certainly since several nights before when Ian had slept in with them. Will had become more distant over the days, the power growing and corrupting him more so everyday, so much so that he had ceased to show her any signs of affection at all before now. "Let me take care of you for once." She whispered into his chest.

In that moment he let go of all his hostility, falling to his knees with his arms still around her. "Please forgive me."

She knew he was talking about more than his behavior the past week, his earlier remark about what she had put him through had cut her deep. "I forgive you." Falling down in front of him the words came easily to her, just as the next three did. "I love you."

His forehead rested on her shoulder and she could feel his warm breath on her neck as he spoke. "I love you too. I love you so damn much it hurts."

"Will, we're together, that hasn't changed."

"Even now?" His face nuzzled closer to her neck, his breath catching as he took in the scent of her. Slowly her eyes drifted shut, he was like a drug that she couldn't get enough of and when his lips once again found hers this time she did not stop him. Giving in willingly Deanna accepted all that he had to offer, "Even now." She mumbled against his mouth.

It was Will who eventually broke the kiss "What do I do now?" Deanna's eyebrows lifted with amusement, she knew what he meant but couldn't help seeing the insinuation in his question. She was well aware from her previous experience with him he needed no help in such things but it provided them with a few brief moments free of their problems.

"Not that," Will laughed, rolling his eyes. "I think you'll verify I can hold my own there." He said pushing back a lock of hair behind her delicate ear.

Deanna's laughter joined his. "Sure of ourselves aren't we?"

"I can always prove it." He grinned, one of his hands traveling from her waist to her face.

"Now's not the time Will. To answer your question we need to go back to the Enterprise, you need to talk with Captain Picard and sort this out before it's too late."

A strong pulse of guilt beat beneath her fingers as they rested over his heart. "How do I face him?"

"Just as you have done with me, he's your Captain and even though he hasn't known you as long as me, he respects and has faith in you."

It was something Will was not looking forward to doing but understood it needed to be done. If he wanted to continue his career in Starfleet, even if it meant dropping a rank or two for his behavior, he would eventually have to talk to Picard. "Okay."

Will gazed down at Deanna affectionately and wrapped her in a tight embrace, his blue eyes sparkled as he felt her feelings of love and understanding smothering him. It never ceased to amaze him how she was always there for him when he needed her, even if he didn't know it himself or refused to acknowledge it.

Suddenly his thoughts shifted from Deanna to Captain Picard, the change sending a jolt of apprehension through him. "You'll be fine," he heard Deanna murmur against his chest "just tell him the truth."

She pulled away from his chest but the distance between them was brief, Will leaning forward to press his forehead to hers. "Stay close." He almost sounded like a small child not wanting to be separated from a parent, but he was passed caring.

With a blink of an eye the couple left Betazed and reappeared on the Bridge of the Enterprise. His time of hiding was now up.

Chapter 20

The bridge crew were startled by the sudden and glaringly brilliant arrival of their First Officer and Counselor. The Captain swiftly came to his feet, hands braced behind his back. "I believe an explanation is in order Commander." he demanded.

"Sir, please… if you'll just give me a minute." Will approached Picard with a somewhat diminished arrogance.

"Your excuses at this point are moot Commander. I'll expect your full report on my desk once this is over." Picard, ignoring Riker's overbearing dominance, faced him square on like addressing a raw recruit. "For the moment our remaining guest has requested to be taken to the Klingon homeworld. Even though the Ambassador was less than happy with the disposal of his colleague, all charges for your arrest having been generously dropped in light of the situation. Though for now, I think it is advisable that some control be brought to this situation."

"What are you saying? That I'm out of control? A burden? I saved Beverly Crusher!" Will was almost standing on top of Picard, the calm he had felt after he and Deanna had spoken was now gone only to be replaced with resentment towards the older man. Will failed to see that the Captain was only trying to help him, rope him in, and stop things from progressing any further out of hand than they already were. But all Riker could see was a man that didn't possess the powers that he held, a mere mortal who thought he could control the one person who did, and that to him meant Picard was jealous.

"Will." He heard Deanna say quietly from behind. She remained exactly where they had first made their spectacular entrance from, hesitant to make the situation worse by compromising his authority, but now she was no longer able to just stay on the side lines and watch Will destroy himself. "Please listen to the captain". She had to help him through this for both of them.

"No Deanna!" He screamed, making her take a step backwards. Turning back to the immovable Frenchman before him, he lowered his voice back down to a barely civil level. "What is it exactly that is out of control here Jean-Luc?" The venom in his voice as he spoke the Captain's name was clearly noticeable, his intentions deliberate in calling him by his first name after Picard had brought it to Will's attention days before.

"Will, I think it would be best if you let Beverly take a look at you, maybe give you something to calm you down - let you rest." It was the nicest way Picard could say that he would feel more at ease if his First Officer was unconscious and not running amok flashing things in and out of existence.

Will's attention moved between Picard and Doctor Crusher, who up until his arrival had been sitting in Riker's chair. "Meaning you want me flat on my back and out cold. I thank you for your concern but I'm doing just fine." He began to pace the bridge, taking long strides back and forth in front of the view screen. His brow furrowed as he fought for some kind of composure over himself, the restraint he was using, causing sweat to run down the sides of his face. He was becoming weaker by the minute and although he refused to accept it, it was more than obvious to his friends that his fatigue was also now adding to his paranoid delusions.

Picard mused for a moment, letting the man stride and strut. "In control. Really Number One? Then I'd be interested to hear if Lieutenants Rodriguez and Hart agree with you, after all they are the ones who are still dressed as garden gnomes down in Sickbay."

Will continued to pace, no longer looking their way until he heard Deanna inhale deeply. And when he turned to face her, he saw the knowing look Picard was giving Doctor Crusher. With an unsure look on her face Beverly began walking towards the First Officer "Will," she soothed "it's for the best."

"No!" He yelled, "Stay back, I'm warning you!" he threatened, Beverly pausing for a moment before continuing. "I said stay back!" Throwing his arm into the air, the entire crew except for Deanna and Picard were suddenly transported off the ship within one heartbeat.

Deanna ran instantly to Will's side, taking a hold of his arms and shaking him, pleading for the Will she was with on Betazed to return. "Will, what are you doing? Where are they all?"

"Does it matter? They're no longer in my way, that's all." His heartless tone sounded forced and neither Deanna nor Picard believed his words for a second, but the rapid shifts in Will's emotions left Deanna unsure as to whether he actually believed it himself. Her senses had taken a battering over the past hours as she struggled to keep up with his fluid emotions, causing her to finally cut herself off from him.

Will tore his arms out of her grasp, stumbling a little till he pushed his way passed Picard to finally collapse in the Captain's chair, sweat ran down over his brow, covering his face until he wiped it away with the sleeve of his tunic. "I suggest you both shut up or you'll be joining them." He gulped hard for breath.

Turning to face his weakening First Officer Picard placed both hands on the armrests of the chair and leaned forward. "You don't have much time Will, those powers are fading by the minute. Q said they were temporary, the evidence surely clear to you by now. Bring back the crew Will, and let Beverly…" Picard never had chance to finish his sentence before he too vanished.

Deanna, mouth open in horror, turned to Will, only to find him slumped like a rag doll in the captain's chair. His glazed eyes slowly rolled back in his head and his mouth fell open drawing in uneven breaths. "No." Deanna screamed rushing to his side "Will, please, not now."

Running her hands over his scalding cheeks, she repeatedly called out his name pleading with him to stay conscious. It was then that she heard the voice of Captain Picard over the Comm. Channel, "Picard to Counselor Troi. The crew and I are all safe and well on Betazed. If you are able, I request that you beam the Doctor aboard to help with Commander Riker." Picard was not aware of the Riker's current condition but he wanted Crusher on board immediately to sedate the out of control First Officer.

"Understood sir." Deanna didn't want to leave Will but if she was going to help him she needed to get Beverly on board, and quickly. As fast as she could she ran to the Transporter Room, his presence across their link no longer substantial. Realizing he must of lost consciousness, she instead focused her efforts on getting Beverly and the captain back onboard the ship. No sooner had the Doctor, Captain and several others beamed up, Deanna explained what had happen to Will, and both she and Beverly immediately transported directly to the bridge.

The instant the two women were freed from the transporter's lock, they were at the collapsed officer's side. "Will can you hear me?" Beverly asked, scanning his life signs.

"Is he going to be okay?" Deanna asked worriedly as she picked up his limp hand, grasping it like a lifeline in her own.

Beverly nodded. "He's very weak and run down, it's just his body's way of saying it's had enough. With some rest and some fluids he should be fine. Hopefully he'll sleep right through until Q returns."

The Doctor saw the look on Deanna's face in response to her comment, her expression softening. "I didn't mean it like that Deanna, I can't begin to imagine how you feel right now but he's a danger to himself as well as everyone on board."

"I know." A lone tear slipped down the Betazoids cheek and she wondered how things would be after this was over, not only between her and Will but Will and the crew.

Chapter 21

Will was carried away to Sickbay where he was soon restrained to the bed, Deanna never leaving his side. His arms lay flat on the bedding, along the side of his body, the sickbay sheet drawn over his waist, covering his naked body. The fresh scent of clean sheets and skin a welcome sign of his recent sponge bath, though already his face and chest had a light covering of beaded perspiration. The rhythm of his chest had become only slightly steadier since leaving the bridge, but increasing every moment.

Deanna ran her hand through his damp hair, pushing it back from his face. He looked so innocent during sleep, any evidence of what he had been through or done over the last few days, blissfully erased from his face as he slept. At first she had objected to the restraints, but under the orders of the Captain they had been put in place, and secured until Q's arrival.

Picard had soon left sickbay, once his First Officer had been taken care of, to assure that the whole crew had returned safely to the ship, along with having to deal with an angry and confused Lwaxana Troi. Deanna had refused to talk to her mother until Will was awake and coherent enough to help her explain, her mother's interference was the last thing she needed now. But gratefully the Captain had agreed to step in and talk to her about the sudden appearance of her first grandchild.

"Why is he so hot?" Deanna asked Beverly as she came in to take a few more readings, her hand resting on his forehead.

"It's the fever, don't worry Deanna he'll be fine." She rested her hand on the Betazoids arm trying to offer her some comfort. "You can give him another sponge bath if you like, that should cool him down again."

"Thank you Beverly, I really appreciate it." Deanna answered, happy that she would be doing something instead of just standing around.

Administering some nutrition shots, she gave him another quick scan. "I'll have one of the nurses bring in the equipment for you. In the meantime I'll be in my office if you need me." Leaving the petit Betazoid alone once more to care for her wayward husband.

Deanna watched over her Imzadi's sleeping body, her eyes traveling down the length of him and back up again. Holding back her tears the words came out of her mouth before she even knew what she was saying. "Things never seem to go smoothly for us do they?" She spoke to his sleeping form never expecting a response but hoping he was hearing her. "If there is anything I know with all my heart it's that I need you, the past few days have shown me that I can't live a day without you….the real you."

As the nurse entered, Deanna halted her next words, nodding her thanks as the nurse placed beside her the necessary items for his bath. Picking up the soft cloth, she immersed it within the soapy water and began to slowly clean his moist skin, wiping away the ever present dew.

She gently ran the material over his heated chest, several drops of water escaping from the cloth to pool within his belly button. His broad shoulders and chest made for worshipping. Moving her hand down she soaked up the cool water while her other hand reached up to cover his heart. "I love you William Riker and I think in the past that's something I haven't told you enough, as of now that changes. I intend to tell you everyday for the rest of my life and for as long as our hearts continue to beat in the same rhythm, that I love you."

Her emotions and attention was so intently focused on the beating of his heart and the feel of his skin under her hands that she never even saw his finger twitch against the bed sheet.


From the door Beverly Crusher watched on as her friend tended to an unconscious Will Riker. She witnessed the worry on Deanna's face, the dark rings under her eyes, her furrowed brow and the way her features seemed to lack their usual vibrancy. Still, Crusher envied the younger woman's strength and courage, if their places were reversed Beverly wasn't so sure she'd be standing by his bedside. Although she didn't fully understand the boundaries of their relationship she didn't think one existed that would be able to make it through the ordeal they had been through and not bare some kind of scar.

"Deanna." She said softly, startling the Counselor from her ministrations. "Why don't you get some rest, I promise I'll let you know when he wakes."

"No I don't want to leave him. Not yet." Moving the damp cloth from his chest, she submerged it in the water once again before running it over his forehead and cheeks.

"He'll be fine Deanna, there's plenty of staff here to watch over him, at least come and get something to eat and drink." Reluctantly she nodded, dropping the cloth in the water, sweetly kissing Will on the lips before following Beverly out of the room. The two of them left Sickbay, headed towards Ten Forward for a much needed break.

Once they had left the room the twitching of Will's hand now became a fist, struggling against the restraints, twisting his hands around as he tried to break free. His eyes remained tightly shut the whole time, not wanting to give himself away to the Sickbay staff.

When he realized his efforts were useless, he instead focused his strength on using the Q powers rather than physically exerting himself. Clenching his teeth, he took several deep breaths, his thoughts focussed only on the restraints, and with the smallest flash of light they were gone.

Chapter 22

Slowly turning his head Will scanned the area for Sickbay personnel, he grinned when he realized he was alone, an evil glint flickering in his eyes. "This is just too easy." He gloated, moving to a sitting position as quickly as his tired limbs would allow.

Finding himself completely naked he slid off the bed looking for something to wear, the thought of using his powers crossed his mind but instead, he decided to save his energy for what was to come. Spotting the clothes he had been wearing earlier neatly cleaned and folded on a chair he stealthily crept towards them, his movements going unnoticed in the vacant room.

Just as he was pulling on the pants, hopping on one foot and trying not to land flat on his face, he heard two voices approaching. As quickly as his aching body could cope with, he lumbered back onto the bed, covering his legs with the sheet as before, leaving his bare chest exposed. His shirt was still firmly clasped in his hand, his body blocking its view from the doorway. The women's voices continued in their melodious gossip, even as they stalled temporarily at his doorway.

Will's eyes were clamped shut, forcing his breathing to mimic the deep inhale/exhale motions of sleep, the possibility of him being caught causing his already heated body to drip sweat profusely. Lying there, plans and thoughts moved into play. If he was discovered he would then have to take care of them immediately, even if it weakened his already waning strength, and hide somewhere until his exhaustion lifted. Finally after what seemed like an eternity the two nurses were satisfied he was still sleeping and turned and left.

Getting to his feet again he slid the shirt over his aching shoulders, sighing deeply from the effort. From where he now stood at the door, Sickbay appeared to be empty, at least in the direction he was going. No longer wishing to waste any more time, he made a hasty exit through the door and out into the corridor, his heart pounding from both excitement and the fear of being caught. Not to mention the exertion.

"Freedom." He laughed comically, making his was down the hall in the direction of the turbolift. "Computer, location of Counselor Deanna Troi." He called out before stepping inside the lift.

"Counselor Troi is in Ten Forward."

He stepped over the threshold into the turbolift, backing up against the wall "Ten Forward." He instructed the lift, his grin getting wider. "What a great setting." He clapped his hands together with glee, "for my own personal party."

He made it to his destination unhindered, only the senior officers and certain Sickbay crew alerted of his status. No one else knew that he was supposed to be restrained within sickbay's confines, hence the lack of security so far. The rumors of his new found powers had already traveled the grapevine, not to mention his witnessed take over of the ship and its constructed evacuation of crew. Other than a few obvious stares and whispered words between several officers, his obvious paleness as he walked by a little distressing, there was nothing to get in his way.

The second the doors to Ten Forward opened Deanna felt his presence, her eyes immediately roamed the room to meet his fierce blue orbs, her conversation with Beverly stopping mid sentence. She felt his intentions instantly, forcing her to her feet "No Will!" she called out, rushing towards him.

"Aww come on Deanna, it's party time." He said cheerily, his hands clapping together and trying to hide his fatigue. But he couldn't hide it from her, she knew him too well, her only advantage at this point in the very dangerous game he was no doubt about to play. Slowly advancing closer to him she watched as several people ran out past him, obviously frightened by what they'd witnessed before and what was possibly going to happen now.

"Now that's not nice is it?" Riker indicated with his head at the last few officers who'd passed through the now closed Ten Forward doors. "All I want to do is celebrate with my friends. Surely it can't be that bad."

"Will you're scaring people, all this power has gone to your head, you're not the First Officer they trusted from before, that's why they're running from you." Deanna was only meters from him when she stopped, she didn't want to get any closer because, even though it was something she hated to admit to herself she was scared of him too.

"There's nothing to be scared of" he called out casually to the few crew members still left. Unless you're afraid of a little fun." He walked over to the bar, leaning on it to steady his weight. It was something that didn't go unnoticed to Deanna, he was becoming incrementally more exhausted with every passing minute, and without that much needed rest, his body would begin to shut down against his will, the consequences on him emotionally and physically not something she didn't dare to think about.

Her thoughts were broken by the sound of Will's voice as he pulled himself up tiredly to sit on a stool. "Deanna, you probably won't approve of my choice of decoration but what can I say it was a fantasy." He shrugged. "I'd always hoped you'd be my queen, but over the years all I've ever had were the harems of girls who couldn't satisfy me as you did." He said sadly.

Deanna moved to stand next to him, as scared as she was of what he was going to do she knew he wouldn't hurt her, at least not physically. "You don't have to do this Will."

"But I want to, I want to show you exactly how those women seemed to me, just sex and nothing more. Well maybe a little more." He winked at her mischievously.

She watched as he closed his eyes briefly, his breathing fast and ragged, psyching himself up. And then in a blink of an eye everything changed.

Chapter 23

The subdued light of Ten Forward was replaced with what appeared to be natural sunlight, its source coming from outside the ship. Bright yellow and orange material draped from the windows and fell in voluminous form from the ceiling also. In the centre of the room sat more than fifty soft pillows of all shapes and sizes, covering a large portion of the floor, of which had now been transformed to a simple covering of sand and patterned rugs.

But what stood out above anything else to Deanna was that there were no longer any men in the room. She looked down to find herself wearing nothing but a bikini, gold in color it barely covered her and she was certain Will had made it a size too small for his own enjoyment. Wrapped around her waist was a length of gold transparent fabric, hiding nothing but allowing a slight modest covering over her legs and thighs The swelling of Deanna's stomach was obvious and she hoped that by seeing the noticeable sign of their imminent child, would deter Will from making any more impulsive decisions. Though her hope was waning.

Looking around Deanna saw all the women in the room wearing the same as her, only that of various different colors, and minus the twinkling veil that ran down over her long curly black locks. She watched as some of them belly danced to the loud Turkish music which boomed through out the room, their eyes filled with terror and confusion as their bodies continued to gyrate against their will .They too inspected their appearance just as she had done, their curious eyes searching the room for Will Riker.

Deanna found him propping up the bar, a huge drink in his hand and he was completely oblivious to her, his attention focused entirely on the young Ensign who was laid out across the bar. Behind her stood a camel, chewing its cud, unimpressed with its surroundings. Deanna glared at the Ensign, but then realized when she returned her look that her husbands new play toy had no control over her movements, the ensigns searching hands exploring her body, enticing and earning his full attention.

Deanna stormed over, trying not to trip on her skirt, towards the bar just as Will slid off his chair slightly. From behind her Deanna heard Beverly's curses at Will Riker and his sleazy taste. Just as his hand clumsily placed a small gem into the Ensign's belly button, the Doctor stormed up and gripped on to Will's hand from behind. "Will what in the name of Hades are you doing?" Beverly asked as his irritated face turned to her.

"Keeping myself entertained." He told her casually, his voice emotionless, as if this was exactly how he behaved every day.

"She is not here for your entertainment William Riker, I suggest you take your hands off Ensign Connor or the only thing you'll be feeling will be my knee between your legs." Beverly Crusher was not one to stand back and let herself or those close to her be pushed around and she had reached her breaking point. Over the years she'd seen too many broken hearted women, the ones who Will had bedded in his quest to find the one woman who could fill the hole in his heart, the one that Deanna had left behind. Even so, she believed Will had put Deanna through more than enough and if the Counselor was not going to put him in his place then she was.

"Is that a promise?" Will grinned.

Beverly shook her head and looked back at Deanna, her arms hung by her side and a look of defeat clouded her eyes. "Look what you're doing to Deanna Will, can't you see how this is hurting her?"

He said nothing but drew his tired body upright and staggered away from them. Brushing away the hands of one Lieutenant Jansen, as she started to paw him. "You can't run away from this Will," the Doctor continued "what you're doing with Q's powers is wrong and you know it. This is going to take a lot more than the Riker charm to fix this, but you can start by returning things as they should be."

His gait began to turn to a mere shuffle as he took uneasy steps towards the pillows in the center of the room, turning back to face the two women. "Who's to say this isn't how it should be." They saw him briefly close his eyes and braced themselves for what would happen next, and then the camel disappeared.

"Damn it," he swore. "That was for you Beverly. Guess I was a bit off course." He shrugged his shoulders not bothering to try again. Beverly looked to Deanna, they both knew his powers were now getting weaker and the last thing they wanted was for him to use them again with such a lack of concentration. Someone could end up dead.

Letting himself deadfall back onto the cushions, Deanna cried out before sliding to his side, to see if he had in fact passed out from exhaustion. But from the cushion peppered floor his eyes met hers, her hands immediately moving to her hips in indignation as she stood above him, she'd had enough of his games. "Damn you Will Riker! What is it you want?"

The previous twinkle was replaced by an evil flash and she gasped at the force of it. "I want to be treated like the God that I am, I want to be worshiped and loved, is that too much to ask for?"

Chapter 24

"You think that's what you want but I know you Will, and I know that's not true." Deanna shook her head.

She visibly jumped when several of the pillows on the floor were thrown up into the air, landing around him as he sat up rigidly amongst his new bed. "Then tell me my beloved," he shouted "what is it that I want?"

Her voice was gentle and calm as she stared intently at him, her eyes never wavering. "You want forgiveness, and to know that those who loved you before you got these damnable powers still will after all you've done. I do Will, and so will they."

Will shook his head and let out a deep sigh. "You can never just be Deanna Troi can you? You're always Counselor Troi. Well maybe Counselor you don't know as much as you profess too, because you're wrong. There's only one thing I want right now and I can assure you it isn't forgiveness. Why not settle down and join me, and I'll prove it to you your majesty." he said affectionately patting the cushions beside him.

Tiring of her silence, he lay back gains the cushions, his arms outstretched to support him. Deanna knew that they were the only things holding him up, the amount of energy he had used up was starting to show in the strain lines around his eyes once more, it was amazing that he was still conscious. "I don't think that's a good idea Will."

"Fine," he answered a little too quickly as he looked around the room. "I'm sure I could find one of these lovely ladies willing to take me up on my offer, if not more."

She rolled her eyes at him, with all the good he had to offer with these powers, he was still thinking about sex. Sitting down on one of the cushions she kept her distance from him. Now able to move as his power weakened, the remaining women in the room, made their way towards the door. "Don't even think you're going anywhere, there's no way for you to get through that door. It's sealed." He waggled his eyebrows at them, twirling one finger up in the air to demonstrate that he'd used his powers on the doors a longtime ago, "At least not until I get what I want from you."

"Will stop it." Deanna scolded him "Think of how embarrassed you'll be about this tomorrow."

"There's no need to be jealous Deanna, there's plenty here to go around." He fell on to his back as his arms finally tired, his hands swinging up behind his head to prop it up higher. "Who's first ladies?" he called out.

Deanna got to her feet, her eyes staring back at his. "Will, I want you to stay here, I'll be back in a minute, then we'll do whatever you want."

His smile widened and he nodded his head in agreement, pleased that she had finally come around to his way of thinking. Exhaustion deadening his thought processes, not in the least aware that she could be playing him the fool.

Deanna walked over to the women who had now gathered around the door. "I want all of you stay here, and stay silent, I'm going to try and persuade him to let you out. No matter what happens look after yourselves, don't worry about me I'll be fine. I can handle the big bad Commander." She gave a small smile, watching as some of the women relaxed a little and smiled back.

Beverly opened her mouth to speak, but Deanna stopped her. "Please Beverly."

When she nodded Deanna turned away from them and headed back towards Will, where he lay just as before, but seemed asleep. She carefully stepped over the pillows, stopping just short of him and slowly squatting down beside him as she waited for a sign that her assumption was true. The next thing she knew his hands had grabbed a hold of her arm and pulled her down next to him, his big body moving to cover hers.

"Will." Her hands moved to his chest, as his weight settled into her. His strength too much for her to even consider budging, but she tried none the less, Will's lips covering hers with punishing force. "Wait," she spoke in to his mouth "we have an audience."

She knew at that point it was the last thing on his mind, but she needed to get her crewmates to safety. "Please, I don't want the whole ship to see our sex life in play."

Will sighed heavily "Alright," his head fell to Deanna's chest, eyes closed as he used his remaining strength, shaking with force to send the other women outside. Caught up in the moment with Deanna he didn't realize that by using the vestiges of strength, would leave him incapable of doing very little else.

Deanna twisted her head slightly to watch the women disappear, relief flooded over her until she felt Will's weight become heavier. Her eyes drifted back down to Will as he moved his head to lay the side of his face on her chest, his body shaking as he tried to breath in enough oxygen. The emergency over, the Commander bested at his own game, she ran her fingers through his hair trying to calm him. "I'm sorry Imzadi." She told him. Guilt flooded her being. She'd needed to push him to protect the others, but it still hurt. "We need to get you to Sickbay. Can you return the door to normal?"

His body now lay silent and unmoving on top of hers. Wriggling out from under him, she was able to push him off slightly to look into his eyes, but they were shut, his mouth gaping wide. "Will?"

Chapter 25

Managing to push him fully off her, Deanna knelt beside him, her hands covering her mouth in shock. "Oh God Will, what have I done?" Moving into action, she at first assessed the situation as fast as she could. The first problem and most likely the largest was that he didn't look to be breathing. Leaning down, Deanna pressed her ear to his chest, grateful for the faint dull thud of his heartbeat. She let out a strangled sigh of relief, even though it was plain to hear its irregular beat, but at least it was there.

Slapping her communicator, she remembered it missing along with the proper uniform she'd at first entered Ten Forward in. Calling out to the ceiling's communications array instead, she waited for the familiar chirp of an open channel. Nothing. She was alone.

Placing her hands on either side of his head she tilted it back ready to resuscitate him. Breathing strongly into his mouth she continued to count between each breath, forcing air in to his lungs. Just as she was beginning to give up, tears pouring down her face, he coughed against her mouth, reaching up to grab her by the shoulders.

"Imzadi?" She barely heard him as she rolled him on to his side, Deanna's weight settling behind him and holding him in place.

"Shh, don't talk just try and breathe." As she watched him nod slowly, Deanna reached down to take his hand in hers. Clasping it in love and hope that someone would soon save them. It was then that she heard the screeching sound of tearing metal, her eyes came to rest on the door, as a bright orange square began to form as those on the other side cut through.

Once the square was complete the metal fell with a loud bang, revealing the worried forms of Beverly Crusher and Captain Picard who both wore the clothing of Will Riker's choice. Deanna did a double take when she saw the Captain wearing a pink outfit similar to her own, if the circumstances were different she may have found herself struggling not to laugh, but all she was concerned about was Will's condition.

Taking out her Tricorder Beverly scanned it over Will and looked to Deanna "Well not surprisingly he's in worse condition then he was before but if he does as I say this time he should be back to his usual level of fitness in a few days. That's physically, unfortunately I can't account for the emotional."

Will was in no condition to walk. His labored breathing enough for proof's sake. But before Beverly could give the order for Will to be transported direct to Sickbay, he tried to push himself up in to a sitting position. A painful groan escaping his lips, as he fought gravity only by determination. Will continued with his efforts to sit up, against the protests of Deanna and Beverly, his eyes intense as he looked passed them.

"Ian." He managed to say.

Both women turned to look behind them at the sudden appearance of Will's son, whose terrified gaze looked back at his father. Deanna turned back to face Will, a lone tear slipped from the corner of his eye as he realized for the first time what he'd done. His son was scared of him, scared of what would happen if he did something to upset or anger his father. Ian had seen what his dad had done to Deanna and if he could hurt her without a care, then he could hurt anyone.

Deanna breathed a silent sigh of relief. It was over. Will finally understood the damaged he had caused since gaining the powers. She motioned for Ian to come closer to her, and she put her arm around his shoulder, pulling him in to her embrace. Ian stood behind Deanna, as if hiding from Will and any impending danger.

Will quietly watched on at the exchange between mother and son, and witnessed how much they loved each other. They had formed their own bond over the last week, how could he take that away from Deanna? Struggling to get to his feet Will's eyes never left Ian, he wanted to be a part of their bond too. When Ian cowered behind Deanna further Will staggered towards him even though he knew it was too late. There was no way possible that he could make things up to either of them. "I'm going to lose everything regardless of which path I choose." He mumbled to himself in realization.

Will fell to his knees in front of Ian and watched as the expression on his face softened from one of pure terror to one of forgiveness. Seeing the change Will decided to show Ian that he could use his powers for good, just as he done when he had given him the puppy to play with or taken him to Alaska.

Deanna knew what he was doing the moment he closed his eyes and she reached out to touch his arm and stop him, but she was too late. Will had lifted his hand in the hopes that a balloon would appear tied to his middle finger by a piece of string, but instead the tip of his finger fizzled and a single puff of smoke rose from it.

He looked to Deanna feeling the sudden loss of his powers, but Deanna was staring at Ian wide eyed. Turning back to his son Will then heard the combined gasps as all those in the room, as they stared at Ian, the substance of his body fading away.

"No, not yet Q! I still have some time damn it." Will screamed into the air as Ian became more and more translucent, his boyish looks fading with every passing moment.

Picard walked up to Will, placing a comforting hand on his shoulder. The Captain hoped he was beginning to return to the real William Riker, and that he would listen to what he was about to say, even though he was garbed in a pink belly dancers costume. "Just like your powers, the things you have used them on are disappearing. It's not Q Will, everything is returning to the way it was originally."

Disheartened Will looked to Deanna, only to find her tears confirming what the Captain had said. Will shook his head from side to side, refusing to believe it to be true. "No. Beverly, please! Give me something to boost up my energy levels. I'll bring him back!"

Deanna fiercely hugged what was left of Ian, whispering comfort and love to him. His body was slowly fading, the whole time he had not said a word, hadn't screamed or even cried, he had merely looked back at his father, his eyes pleading for help.

"There's nothing I can give you Will, and even if there was it wouldn't bring back the powers." Beverly tried to move Will, to lay him down but he shrugged off the hand she offered and crawled closer to Ian's vanishing form.

"I'm sorry." He took his son's face in his hands and watched as Ian mimicked his actions, rubbing his fingers over Will's beard. "Please believe me, I'm so sorry." He felt the soft touch of Ian's fingers on his cheek disappear and then he was gone.

Will swallowed the lump in his throat and was unable to control his emotions any longer as his body collapsed to the floor and began to tremble, his tears falling uncontrollably. The Captain and Beverly moved away from the couple to allow them a few minutes privacy. Beverly halting her orders with the transport chief.

No words were exchanged between them as Deanna circled her arms around Will and he held on to her with all the remaining strength he had. When he had exhausted himself completely and the spasms ceased to run through his body, Deanna pulled back from him and rested her forehead on his. "You need to go to Sickbay."

He sniffed and nodded before placing a gentle kiss on her tear stained cheek, finally giving in to his fatigue he slumped against Deanna. She rested his head in her lap, stroking her fingers over the tired features, caressing his tear stained face until Beverly called for Sickbay.

Chapter 26

An hour later Will was fast asleep in Sickbay with Deanna by his side, most of the things he had changed with his powers had returned to their normal state, including Deanna's pregnancy. Will had been asleep the whole time and it had hurt her that he had not been there with her. Beverly had offered what support she could but it was not the same as what it would have been with Will. The all consuming feeling of loss and despair that took over her was unlike anything she had ever experienced before. Only when she and Will had parted had she felt such pain, been so overcome by grief. But nothing could prepare her for losing the life that had been growing inside her for the past week. She had also watched on helplessly as their wedding rings had all but vanished into thin air. Her fingers had been threaded through his, their rings touching. The instant it vanished from her finger she had felt it, and could do nothing more as Will's too melted in to nothingness.

Sitting beside him now Deanna felt tired, not just physically but emotionally as well. Not only had she had to deal with her own emotions but through their renewed bond she had felt the brunt of Will's also. Taking her eyes off Will briefly she watched as Beverly tended to the two Security Officers who Will had previously turned into garden gnomes. From the calm look on the Doctors face, Deanna knew they were both okay. They appeared stunned at first to find themselves waking in Sickbay wearing unfamiliar clothes, but nonetheless okay.

For the next few hours, Deanna tried to keep her eyes open. She'd had a short nap while resting her head upon Will's shoulder, but had been brought out of her light sleep as Will began mumbling in his sleep. Still she refused Doctor Crusher's offer of a bed in Sickbay.

"You'll make yourself sick Deanna." Beverly tried again as she looked in from the doorway.

"Beverly I'm fine, he might wake up."

"He could sleep for hours, I promise as soon as he stirs I'll come and get you."

Deanna shook her head, her tired eyes watching over Will. "He'll need me. Facing someone else right now is going to be hard for him". She whispered to her friend. Beverly sighed and walked away knowing she was not going to win this war.

Settling in to the chair once more, Deanna made herself comfortable for the long wait ahead, her heavy eyelids threatening to close at any minute, until she felt the gentle squeeze of his fingers. It was barely noticeable, thinking she was hallucinating at first, until she felt it again.

Will groaned and murmured something illegible, instinctively rolling over to face Deanna. In an instant she was on her feet, leaning over him. "Will it's me," she soothed "you're in Sickbay." She watched him struggle to wake himself, her hand still clasped his tightly as she stroked her thumb across the back of his palm, while her other came to rest upon his warm chest.

"What are you doing here?" He asked groggily.

She was taken aback by his question and was about to pull her hand away from him when he spoke. "No, no, I don't mean it that way, I'm glad you're here." His eyes opened more and he tried to sit up but when his body refused he gave up trying. "I just thought you'd be asleep, after all you've been through…after all I put you through." He looked away from her, his eyes staring at the wall dejectedly.

Stepping in to his line of sight, the smile she gave to him was more than he thought he deserved. "We'll talk about that later. I don't want you to think about it right now."

"How can I not, our son is gone Deanna." For the first time since waking he thought of their baby, his eyes drifting down to Deanna's stomach. He stretched out to touch her belly, sadness overcoming him as the realization hit him. "Our baby?"

"She's gone Will."

"She? You knew it was a girl?" He asked his voice lined with a deep sadness.

Deanna nodded "Beverly told me when I had a check up. I didn't want to make things more difficult than they were for you."

This time Will sat up, ignoring the protests of his body and setting off several of the alarms monitoring his status. Seconds later Beverly burst in through the door to find Will upright and heaving for breath, with Deanna backing away from him. "Will, I need you to calm down."

"Deanna." He gasped between gulps for air. A sheen of sweat gathering over face, small rivulets travelling their way down his neck and chest. Frantically he sought her out through his haze induced eyes, his head comically refusing to remain upright.

"She's right here, just lay back and try to breathe normally."

He did as he was told and eventually his breathing calmed, his damp chest now moving at a more regular rate. "You should have told me." He said to both women when he could speak again.

"Told you what?" Beverly asked.

"Beverly, could you give us a minute?" Deanna interrupted before Will had a chance to answer. This was between them. Beverly had only been doing her job when Deanna had asked her to keep the sex of the baby a secret.

Beverly nodded and left the room silently, leaving the couple in privacy.

"I didn't tell you because at the time I felt it would be wrong to add to the stress you were already under. I was trying to protect you, to make the choice easier on you." Her excuses now seemed worthless as she viewed the hurt in his eyes. The pain she had tried to spare him now lay there, only tenfold.


Chapter 27

He stared at the ceiling, his teeth gritted in anger. But then what did have to be angry about, after everything he had done she was still here, by his side, comforting him and loving him. Closing his eyes he took a deep breath, his hand blindly reaching out for hers.

“I have no right to treat you this way, I’m sorry.” He saw the forgiveness in her eyes but it didn’t make him feel any better. “I feel like I’ll be saying that for the rest of my life.”

She saw his cooling body shiver, and began to remove the damp shirt he was wearing, this wasn’t the time or the place for the conversation they needed to have and so for the time being she set his mind at ease. “From a man like you Will Riker, one apology is enough for anyone, including me.”

Awkwardly, she finally removed his shirt and wiped the dampness from his face and chest with a towel. Her actions were carefully watched by Will, and he wondered how he could have been so stupid, to threaten the one thing in his life he would give everything for, his Imzadi.

Deanna immediately sensed his thoughts and feelings and removed the towel from his chest to place her hand on his bare chest. The simple contact of her skin touching the warmth of his own was not enough for him, once again pushing himself upward, feeling the need to kiss her far greater than his want for oxygen. The alarms sounded but neither cared as Will pulled her to him, reveling in the pressure of his lips against hers.

The powerful drawing kiss did not last long due to the return of Beverly Crusher, with the captain in tow, when they had heard the monitors go off. Will and Deanna’s attentions were still focused entirely on the other, their lips only pulling apart at the sound of Beverly clearing her throat. The Doctor looked at Deanna apologetically before scolding Will, “I’m not going to tell you again Will, lay down and behave yourself.” Arms crossed in a formidable pose.

Reluctantly moving away from Deanna’s embrace, he laid his head back down, giving her an anxious look due the reaction he believed he was about to receive from his Captain. However there was barely enough time for Picard to open his mouth when Q flashed himself into existence. This time dressed in a Starfleet medical uniform identical to Beverly’s, including the blue medical coat.

“Well, well, well, you have had fun the past week haven’t you Riker?” He laughed, flopping himself down on the edge of Will’s bed.

“That’s not exactly what I’d call it Q.” Trying to control his anger, Will clamped his jaw shut.

“Well you seemed to be enjoying the freedom of omnipotent power every time I dropped in on you. You can’t tell me you didn’t enjoy taking your son to Alaska, the trip to Betazed and then there was that personal encounter with Troi in Doctor Crusher’s quarters. Although that wasn’t entirely due to the power of Q, but who could resist a man who can give you anything you so desire.” He looked mischievously at Deanna. “Isn’t that right Counselor?”

Deanna’s face turned bright red at the looks from Beverly and Picard.

“That’s enough Q!” Will yelled out, as he took the clean shirt Deanna handed him and slipped it over his head with her assistance.

Q’s face turned serious at the tone in Will’s voice, “You know, you can be quite scary when you’re angry, but considering you can’t even dress yourself, Riker, a field mouse wouldn’t even be threatened by you right now. What do you think Picard?” The omnipotent being rounded on the bald captain. “Were you scared for your life and the lives of your officers?”

Before Picard could answer him Will had had enough, lunging out of bed and propelling himself at Q. He missed of course, landing on the floor with a loud thud, with Deanna soon hurrying to his side to help him up.

“Maybe there’s a bit of fight left in you after all.” Circling the room Q finally came to a standstill in the doorway.

“I don’t want your powers Q.” He declared, managing to sit up and lean on Deanna.

“And why is that?”

Will didn’t want to give him the satisfaction of hearing the real reasons, that he didn’t like who he had become with the powers, that he’d felt so out of control and that the power had completely taken over him and consumed everything he had once been. But most importantly it had threatened to destroy everything that mattered to him. “I have everything I need and want without them.”

Q shrugged his shoulders in an uninterested way. “Very well, but it really isn’t your decision anyway.”

“What?” They collectively asked.

“You humans are all the same, think the universe revolves around you.” Q rolled his eyes before continuing “You see it was the continuums little experiment, to see how dangerous the human race will be in the future when you posses such incredible power which will rivals even that of the Q.”

“So I was merely a test subject, I went through all that for nothing?” Will was livid, any tiredness he had felt was pushed away by the burning anger fueling his belly.

“I wouldn’t say nothing, it was very helpful and informative to us.” Q mused checking his fingernails for cleanliness.

Once erect, Will towered over him, his chest pushed out in the menacing way he frightened ensigns into line. “I’m so glad I could be of assistance to you Q,” he said sarcastically.

Picard saw this as his opportunity to bring the conversation to an end, and remove Q from his ship as quickly as possible, and stepped between the two puffed out chests. “I believe Q that you must now stand by our wager, you must stay out of the path of every sentient being as we agreed.”

Moving away from the two men Q waved his finger at the Captain, backing up to garner an interest in the life signs monitor on the far wall. “Uh, that wager is null and void Picard, Riker is a void deal, so there is no winner.”

The Captain saw the look of anger on the Commanders face intensify as he staggered back to his bed with Deanna’s help. “You are not getting out of this so easily Q, we had a deal.”

“What? Is that a threat Riker? My my you’re gaining your strength back quickly. Must be that bodacious Betazoid charm.” Q egged him on for a response. Deanna silencing Will’s retort by squeezing his arm meaningfully.

Picard waited calmly till Q had gloated himself silly, there was nothing he could do to stop the Q’s power, that had been proven quite recently by his inability to stop Commander Riker.

“Don’t worry I’ll be leaving you, at least for now. I have decided to leave you with a parting gift however. During our study of Riker we found one trait which remained untouched or tainted by the whole experience.” Q approached Will, a smug smile in place, “The love you share with the Counselor is rare, only something that is meant to be could remain strong and true after all it has been subjected to.” He took a hold of Will’s arm and held up his hand, the metal band had returned to his finger as it had to Deanna’s.

When Will finally looked away from his golden band, Q had gone.


Chapter 28

“Well that was strange.” It hadn’t been the kind of exit Picard had expected from Q, something a little more noisy and colorful was his way but Picard certainly wasn’t going to complain.

When no one had spoken the Captain cleared his throat breaking the silence. “What is Commander Riker’s condition Doctor?”

“With a good night’s sleep and a decent meal he should be fine by tomorrow. With of course the usual clause of light duties.” Beverly, expectant of a complaint from Will, was quite surprised to hear nothing from him, not even a deep sigh.

Picard tugged down on his tunic and regarded the repentant officer. “Very well, number one, we’ll see you tomorrow for bridge duty.” Watching as Riker’s head shot up, guilt flashing across his features.

Will was about to protest when Picard held up his hand to silence him. “Tomorrow, Commander.”

“Yes Sir.”

Will let out a sigh of relief as the Captain left the room. “Can I go to my quarters?” he asked Beverly, never once looking in Deanna’s direction.

She nodded her reply, “On the condition that Deanna goes with you.”

“Beverly” Will protested “I don’t think that’s a good idea, Deanna needs rest.”

“I agree with you Will. And it is my medical opinion that you would both sleep better if you were together.” She smiled at him, waiting for the duel excuses that she knew were coming.

“And this is based on what Doctor?” Will questioned tiredly, eyebrows raised.

“My knowledge of the heart.” She winked at him then grinned at Deanna as they both stood there trying to come up with some reason why they should be sleeping in separate quarters. “Off you go, Doctor’s orders.”

The couple turned to each other and Doctor Crusher rolled her eyes at their attempts to delay the inevitable. Giving up Will took several slow steps, waiting for Deanna only once he’d stepped through the door and out in to the corridor.

Will looked back to Deanna longingly, his shoulders drooping, his eyes and the rest of the features of his face sagging from both fatigue and pain. “You coming?” he asked her a little too anxiously.

Deanna gave Beverly a quick glance, her brief smile serving as an apology for his behavior and to hide her own discomfort. She followed him out into the corridor, offering to help him as they made their way towards the turbolift, but had refused her attempts, either by jerking his arm out of her reach or angrily telling her he was fine.

Once in the turbolift, Will leant heavily against the wall. While Deanna took up a post opposite him, her eyes never leaving him. “We need to talk about this Will.”

Will just rubbed both hands over his face, tracing the tired lines around his eyes. “I’m too tired right now.” She felt a wall slam up between them and it wasn’t just in her mind.

“I’m tired too, but this won’t just go away Will. Don’t you think you’ll sleep better once the air is clear?” She reasoned, but the last thing he wanted to do was relive it all again.

He dropped his hands in defeat. “It’ll never be clear, that’s the point Deanna. No amount of talking will change what happened. Not for you, not for me and sure as hell not for the Captain.” He ran his hand through his messed up spiky hair and down over his weary face to rest on his left temple, trying to allay the small headache from forming.

She approached him, closing the distance between him. “The Captain understands Will.”

“Maybe he does but he still has his duty to Starfleet as do I, and I put both our careers at risk from the moment I first used those powers.”

“If you stop feeling sorry for yourself for a minute, we might actually be able to get passed this and get on with our lives.”

She felt it the moment his anger towards her flared up to pure rage. No longer did he feel her presence to be a mere inconvenience but now he felt like she was intruding. “I’m not feeling sorry for myself! Damn it Deanna! Don’t make me say something else I’m going to regret.”

When the turbolift came to a halt Will stormed out of the door before Deanna even had chance to respond. She watched him from behind as he walked towards his quarters his big strides losing momentum the closer he got. Fatigue ebbed off him in waves and she expected that in any moment he would just collapse in the middle of the hall. As much as she knew he was tired, she also knew he needed to put the demons running through him to rest. He needed to come to terms with his feelings, and not push them away so they would become so deeply buried within him that the burden he carried became a part of him.

She saw him disappear into his quarters and when she reached the door it was still gaping open. Peering within, he stood in front of the window looking in her direction, his body silhouetted by the stars outside. “Do you want me to come in or should I go?”

Will shrugged his shoulders, his eyes were pleading with her and at the same time betraying him. More than anything he wanted to be near her, he needed to touch her, to hold her but he knew that would only happen once he told her everything.


Chapter 29

Deanna saw the need and despair in his eyes and seized the opportunity to try and get him talking. With a few small steps she was standing in front of him, the door closing behind her. It was just the two of them now, there was no crew to bother them, no Q interrupting and no children distracting them.

Deanna swallowed deeply at the thought of their children, reaching up to stroke her fingers over Will’s bearded cheek and chin she couldn’t help but think of how much Ian had looked like his father. “Talk to me.” She whispered, her eyes never wavering from his.

Will ignored her request instead leaning his head forward in an attempt to kiss her, but before his lips could reach hers she had moved her fingers, pressing them to his lips. She shook her head, he wasn’t getting out of it that easily. “Talk to me.” She repeated, this time in her normal tone of voice.

“Deanna I don't want to talk about it, I can't talk about it, alright?” he said forcefully, moving out of her reach to pace the expansive windows of his quarters.

“So you're just going to bottle this all up and try and ignore it all, that it ever happened?” Deanna smiled. “You know for someone who was ready to resign their commission a few hours ago, and more embarrassed about it than the Captain ever is around my mother, I had thought your actions would be something you would want to walk through and discuss.”

“Discuss?” He turned, flushed in the cheeks, exhaustion still evident on his features. “You make it sound so damn easy!” He stopped, swallowing hard on his anger. “Look, I'm sorry okay? I just can't talk about it right now. It hurts...” He paused.

“Our son?” She prompted, gaining her a wave emotional pain and misery from Will. “Our daughter.” She added, again receiving the same stomach piercing misery. A misery so strong and dense, she folded back down to sit on the edge of the couch.

He was hurting bad, she too, but she hadn't realized how much he'd wanted that possibility, the possibility of a family, of her being married to him and bare foot and waddling with his child.

‘Then don't talk Imzadi.’ She whispered into his mind making him gasp, ‘Let me help you bare the pain instead.’

“Your dreams are mine, that's something we should both never forget.” She spoke aloud, rising up to move beside his hunched over shoulders, as he leaned against the plastine window pane. The flashes of warp light adding brilliance to his tear filled blue eyes

“I never did Imzadi. I never forgot you. Never in a hundred dreams.”

Facing her, tearing away from his guilt and letting the warp light take it elsewhere he faced her bravely and grasped her hand, feeling the cool warmth of her wedding ring before his own met her soft skin.

“I feel so stupid.” He gave a small smile, and chuckled lightly. “Think Picard will ever let me have the keys to the Enterprise again?”

“Not stupidity. What you felt, did and experienced was something we can all learn from Will. That amongst the chaos of corrupt power, something pure and good can always thrive and grow. Our love Imzadi, our wish to be together, to finally be one.” She curled into his chest, truly loving the comfort of his strong arms wrapping themselves around her automatically. The safety he exuded gave her comfort and a sense of belonging.

“Then will you be my wife, my real wife.” Will posed the question, one that immediately brought a smile to his lips and Deanna pulled away, tears running down her face as her eyes filled with love for him. Not the god-like Riker. But the small boy-like mortal Will Riker.

Unable to speak she bit her quivering lower lip as her emotions threatened to boil over, both her hands resting on his chest to stop her from collapsing. Will wiped her cheeks with his thumbs, the rest of his fingers cupping the side of her face. He waited in silence for her to answer, not wanting to rush her decision.

When he had removed all signs of her tears from her cheeks, her dark eyes continued to gaze lovingly in to his crystal blue ones. He was surprised when her hands slid over the muscles of his chest to link behind his neck, pulling his face down so it was level with her own. And then she was kissing him, but it was more than a kiss, it was an answer to his question and it was a renewal of their bond. Even though they had been together before this moment, neither of them had completely let down their guard as they did now. There were no more secrets to hide, no emotions to keep buried and no guilt tearing through their hearts.


Chapter 30

Will returned Deanna’s attention with his own enthusiasm, his hands encircling her waist and pulling her even closer. Breathless they pulled back slightly from each other, Deanna’s head resting on his shoulder, one of her hands brushing back and forth over his heart while the other held his waist close to her. “I knew you’d come back to me.”

Will for his part still wanted to hear her answer to his question. “So is that a yes?”

He grinned as her felt her chuckle against him. “What do you think?”

Moving her away from his chest so he could look in to her eyes he took a hold of the hand on his chest and slowly turned the ring around her finger. “I think it’s a yes, but I want to hear you say it.”

She smiled widely at him and decided she would have a little fun with him, after all she’d missed his proposal the first time she got the ring and a girl only married her imzadi once. “I think William Riker that if you want a proper answer I should get a proper proposal.”

Will was horrified by her answer and she immediately picked up on his fear. “No Will that’s not what I meant.” She indicated with her eyes that he should get down on his knees.

“Oh,” he said realization finally dawning on him.

Pleased that he understood her eyes lit up as he slowly dropped to his knees, taking both her hands in his. “Deanna, Imzadi, will you marry me?”

Deanna nodded her head and the tears which she had previously managed to contain once again flowed over. “Yes,” she managed to whisper between sniffles.

At finally hearing her say the word, Will held back his own tears, allowing a small smile to spread over his face, intrigued by why she had asked him for a traditional Earth proposal. “How did you know about the tradition on Earth of proposing on bended knee?”

“I may have looked in to it….soon after we met on Betazed.” Wills eyebrows rose at her confession and he removed his hands from hers to place them on her hips. Laying the side of his face against her stomach, his hands ran up and down over the curve of her hips. “At least this time we’ll be there for the birth of our children, and of course the conception.”

Deanna laughed at his last remark and slid down on to her knees in front of him. “Some things just never change do they?”

He joined in her laughter and wrapped his arms around her. “Not that that’s necessarily a bad thing.”

As he pulled her closer his exhaustion finally overcame his will to remain upright and he collapsed to the floor taking Deanna with him. “Sorry,” he mumbled in to her hair “I guess I’m a little tired.”

“You’ve had a big day Imzadi, let’s get you in to bed.”

Will grinned wickedly at her suggestion and waggled his eyebrows. “To sleep.” She laughed, helping him to his feet.

“But I can think of more fun things to do.”

“Need I remind you that you’ve already fallen flat on your face once today where those things are concerned?” She threaded her arm under his and wrapped it around his waist, helping him walk in to the bedroom.

“Don’t remind me, none of the female staff will ever look at me again.”

Deanna grinned, she liked the idea of that. She trusted him of course but it didn’t hurt to have a little help. “I see no problems with that.”

Will did a double take only to see her cheeky smile. He let out a tired groan as he sunk down on to the bed. Deanna lifted his feet off the floor, turning his body so he now lay outstretched in the middle of the bed. Sitting on the edge of the bed she watched his eyes drift shut, his chest rising and falling in even rhythm. She jumped when he spoke “Not very romantic, I’m sorry.”

Lying down next to him, she curled herself around his body. “You’ve nothing to be sorry about.”

He opened his eyes to look at her and found her staring back at him. “I ask you to marry me, as soon as you say yes I fall asleep.”

Nuzzling in to his chest she sighed, completely content by their closeness. “I think I can forgive you, after all you’ll have a lifetime to make it up to me.”

“I love you Deanna.” His eyelids became heavier, but he needed to tell her, needed her to know.

“I love you too Imzadi.”

It was the last thing he heard before sleep claimed his weary body. Deanna lay beside him watching him sleep for untold hours. Even though she was tired she was unable to sleep, so instead she indulged in the change of his emotions as they swept through him. When she sensed he was in a deep sleep she closed her eyes for what she thought would only be a minute, but within seconds joined Will in slumber.


Chapter 31

The next day Will arrived on the Bridge refreshed and ready for duty, stepping out of the turbolift ten minutes before his shift was due to start, eager as ever to get there and get things over and done with. On his way to the command circle, several crew members looked worriedly at him but most of them said hello or acted the way they always had before. He wasn’t sure if the Captain had said anything or if it was just the crew being themselves. He felt certain that they understood that they themselves would have acted in a similar way if not caused more damage, with the power he had harnessed. But most importantly that they understood who he was now and that he may have changed, but it had been a change for the better.

Picard was absent of the Bridge, leaving Data in command until Riker took over. Will tenderly touched the arm of his command chair, finally sinking into its familiarity, feeling too uncomfortable to sit in the Captain’s chair. Things were quiet as they still maintained orbit around Betazed, Will and Deanna had yet to go down to the planets surface to talk to her mother and explain his actions, something that he was not particularly looking forward to.

Caught up in his own thoughts Will didn’t hear or see Picard as he stepped out of his Ready Room and on to the Bridge. The Captain cleared his throat getting Riker’s attention, the First Officer quickly gaining his feet under him, as Picard approached, immediately picking up on Riker’s nervousness. “Captain, may I speak with you in your Ready Room?”

“Of course Number One, Mister Data you have the Bridge.” Picard ushered the younger man in ahead of him, till Riker stood behind one of the vacant chairs facing the Captains desk. His shoulders rigid.

Picard chose to stand next to Will rather than behind his desk, he knew what Riker was about to say but he didn’t want to hear it, there was no need. Even though he had only known Will a short time but he understood him and a lot of his behavior, would he the Captain, have been able to refuse such powers if they had been thrust upon him?

Before Will could open his mouth Picard had held up his hand to silence him. “No apologies are necessary Number One, just good to have you back as yourself once more.”

Will shook his head, “Actually Sir there was something else I wanted to speak to you about.” There was a short pause while Picard nodded his head. “I would really appreciate it if you would be at the ceremony.”

“Ceremony, Number One?”

Will held up his left hand the gold band sparkling nearly as brightly as the twinkle in his eyes. “The wedding. Deanna and I would like to officiate these rings.”

Picard smiled. “I would be delighted Will, congratulations.” He slapped the Commander lightly on the shoulder, delighted that he had worked things out with the Counselor.

“Thank you Sir.”

Picard moved to sit down at his desk expecting to see Riker leaving the room, but the Commander remained. “Is there something else Commander?”

Will fidgeted anxiously, “Yes Sir, about my position on the ship…”

“You’ve nothing to worry about Number One, I’ve taken care of everything.”

Before Riker could respond to his Captain’s remarks they had been interrupted by the voice of Beverly Crusher over the Comm. “Crusher to Riker, you’re late for your Sickbay appointment Commander. 07:00 was twenty minutes ago. ”

“I’m on my way Doctor, Riker out.” Riker turned to Picard, nodding towards the door. “I better go before she sends out a search party.”

“A wise decision.” Picard smiled knowing full well that Beverly Crusher didn’t ask twice.

“Thank you Captain, for everything.”

The Captain merely nodded his reply and Will headed out on to the Bridge and towards Sickbay. He stepped on to the empty turbolift breathing a heavy sigh of relief that he had not only been lucky enough to save his relationship with Deanna but his career had also come through unscathed.

Just as he was beginning to get used to such a good feeling the turbolift came to a halt and the doors opened to reveal two female Ensigns. Two young women, who Will instantly recognized from the harem party, stepped inside the turbolift car, with the doors closing behind them swiftly.

Will felt an instant flush of embarrassment and guilt as the three of them stood in total silence, the only distracting sound was the hum of the turbolift as they continued toward their destination. His discomfort growing by the second, Will forcefully cleared his throat. “Ummm,” he stuttered nervously gaining their attention. “I really need to apologize for…”

“No need Sir,” one of the women stated, turning and halting him from further explanation. “I rather enjoyed my boyfriend’s jealousy.” She laughed, winking at him. Will smiled back at both of them as relief once again washed over him.

The doors opened at his deck, and Will Riker boldly walked past the two ensigns, entering the corridor just as the voice of the other Ensign caused him to turn around. “Commander Riker, I really do think you make a wonderful father, sir.”

His smile grew and any remaining guilt he felt dissipated into nothingness. “Thank you ladies.” They returned his smile and the doors closed on them, sending him on his way to Sickbay.


Chapter 32

When Will arrived in Sickbay he found Doctor Crusher in her office awaiting his arrival. She looked up from the Padd she was scanning over and smiled, once he filled her doorway. “Come on in Will.”

He took a seat across from her. Beverly’s first impression was that he looked particularly good considering the ordeal he’d been through. “How are you feeling?” She asked getting to her feet and running a quick scan over him.

“Surprisingly, pretty good.”

“Yes,” she smirked “I can imagine. I believe congratulations are in order.”

“Deanna” Will grinned.

Beverly smiled as Will realized Deanna had already run off to tell her best friend. “So will it be a Betazoid or terran wedding?”

Will sighed “Well considering the amount of bare flesh I’ve seen the last few days I think Terran will suit me just fine.”

Beverly laughed at his answer and returned to behind her desk. “Everything is clear with your tests and you seem to be on the mend, in more ways than one. I still want you on light duties though for the next two days, just so you can fully recover.”

He reluctantly nodded his head, he was eager to get back to his duties and get everything back to normal. Knowing it that all would fall back in to place in time he offered no protest to her orders, even surprising himself.

“Thanks Doc.” Getting to his feet he flashed her one of his trademark grins. “And if you speak to Deanna before me, tell the Counselor she is in big trouble.” So much for telling the Captain first, he mused.

Will shook his head at what Deanna had done, they had agreed to tell the rest of the crew once the Captain had been informed but the excitement had obviously been too much for her to keep to herself. Not that he cared that she had told Beverly, it warmed his heart to know that she was so happy and that he was responsible for her happiness.

He left Sickbay with a big smile plastered on his face and headed towards the Bridge to finish his shift, content that everything in his life was now as it should be.

Later that night as he sat in his cabin waiting for Deanna he took a moment for himself to go over his thoughts and feelings. Stretched out on the couch he rested his head on the on the arm, one of his hands stroking over his neatly trimmed beard.

“Computer, record personal log William T Riker.” There was a brief silence before as he got his thoughts in order before continuing. “In the last few days I have learnt so much about humanity that I feel like Data in some ways. People that I publicly humiliated have gained benefits it seems, and have even thanked me in some ways. I guess we can never predict how someone will react, even those close. Something I have learned quite well in respects to Deanna in the last few days. But all is well, in two days time Deanna and I will be wed by the captain, and in one day time Worf and Geordi have promised to make me pay for my transgressions in the form of a bachelor party. Let's just hope they’re forgiving enough. All in all, the experience with Q has taught me a lot. In some ways his test was a gift. A gift of knowledge, understanding and gratitude I guess in aiding them in their twisted experiment. Though I am sure this isn't the last we'll ever see of Q. I must say I just hope it's along way off till we meet again. End personal log.”

It was at that moment when Deanna walked through the doors, a radiant smile lighting up her face. She went straight to him and sat down on the edge of the couch, resting both her hands on his chest. “How’s my Imzadi doing today?”

“Wonderful, now you’re here.” He replied pulling her down to rest her head on his shoulder. Their faces were only inches apart and Deanna sought out his lips with her own, gently brushing over them several times. A content sigh escaped her as she lay her head back down and he wrapped her securely in his arms, “I think I could get used to this.”

Stroking his fingers through her hair Will relished in her feelings, absorbing her emotions wholly. “Me too Imzadi, me too.”