Love is thicker than Embarrassment
Set: Just after Insurrection, before Nemesis.
Disclaimer: One word Paramount
The lights on the Bridge were dim, consistent with that of the night shift, the skeleton crew working silently as the Enterprise made its way to Durenia IV. Will Riker sat in the Captains chair his eyes straining to stay open, the constant shuffling of his body within the seat making the effort to keep his body upright all the more difficult. Hed felt more than his fair share of fatigue but this was beyond simple tiredness, since leaving the Baku the combination of several double shifts along with his late night activities with Deanna had quickly worn off any effects of the briar patch.
In front of him Data sat at his station methodically entering commands to the computer, Will had absolutely no idea what the android was doing and the thought of asking him was immediately pushed aside when he realized the answer to his question would most likely be the final straw in putting him to sleep.
With still an hour left of his shift he tried to think of things that would keep him awake. Images of cold running water sent a shiver to run through his body and he sat stiffly in the chair clenching his weary arms, willing himself not to doze off.
Within seconds his mind began to wander from the ice cool water to that of the warm scented water he had enjoyed the previous night with Deanna. He had returned to his quarters to find her submerged in his bathtub, and although he had planned on going straight to bed hed not uttered one word of disappointment as she coaxed him in to joining her or when hours later they lay satiated and exhausted in his bed.
Thats the problem, I cant say no to her. He mumbled, causing Data and the other two crewmen to look at him.
Is there a problem sir?
Wills eyes moved around the Bridge, watching them just as they were watching him. Uh No, everythings fine Data.
Will watched the android and the bridge crew return to their stations, mentally scolding himself for his momentary slip. He was certain they had all heard what he had said, how could they not hear it. And now that the whole crew knew of his relationship with Deanna there was not a single doubt in his mind they also knew who the cause of his outburst had been.
Running his hand over his face, Will briefly closed his eyes while his fingers massaged his temples. He was angry at himself for letting his thoughts about his personal life overtake him while he was on duty, but then at the moment there wasnt much else for him to think about. Hed been busy the last few weeks but the Enterprise was now in perfect condition and everyone was doing their jobs, the only thing he was behind on was the personnel reviews and that was partly Deannas fault.
He stretched back in the Captains chair with one leg crossed over the other, the chances of him giving the reviews the thought they deserved at the moment were almost zero. Maybe there was a good reason that Deanna had always pushed him away when hed tried to renew their relationship in the past. Shed told him why of course, but he had always believed he could handle it, that the strengthening of their bond would only ever have a positive effect on him, on both of them. And now that he had been completely consumed by it, by her, he could only wonder if she had been right.
Taking a quick glance around the Bridge once more, he was satisfied and mildly comforted by the loss of interest in him by his crewmates. Returning to his thoughts he knew with certainty that Deanna had been right, at least for that time in their lives. If she had turned down his latest advances while they had been in the briar patch however he knew that he wouldnt have given up as easily as he had in the past. They were meant to be together, he was sure of that, all he had to do now was find a way to balance everything.
He loved the idea of Deanna being in his quarters when he got off his shift, but he also loved the concept of sleep. Seeing as it would be three in the morning when his shift finished he though maybe she would go easy on him. Or maybe not. He chuckled aloud, forgetting where he was.
This time Data was the only one who turned around, the other officers lacking the Androids inquisitive nature. Commander are you alright?
Yes thank you Data, just clearing my throat. Will answered, lifting his hand to his mouth and forcing a clearing sound to come from his throat.
For the remaining forty minutes of his shift Will managed to keep his thoughts to himself, but the instant the crew changed over he was in the turbolift and on his way to his quarters. Dragging his weary body along the deserted corridors of the Enterprise the only thing keeping his legs moving was the prospect of a soft pillow and an even softer bed companion.
Upon entering his quarters he wasnt disappointed, soft lighting illuminated throughout the living area and his bedroom. Curled up in his bed lay the small form of the ships Counselor, her body turned to face the place that his body would normally fill. Will sat down beside her, the bed dipping slightly as he eased his body next to the petite Betazoid. He couldnt resist the urge to push a lock of her hair behind her ear, the all too familiar scent of her causing his chest to tighten as a sigh of contentment expelled from his lungs.
Will felt her stir under him as he pressed his lips to her forehead, Deanna reached out to him turning her body to bring him closer. Maybe I should call security, I think theres an intruder in my quarters. She mumbled sleepily, her head moving to rest on Wills leg that sat beside her.
Your quarters hmm? In that case I guess I should move all my stuff next door. Wills fingers caressed the side of her face, he couldnt imagine his life any other way, the idea of being without her or of them being just friends now seemed foreign to him.
Is that your subtle way of saying you want to move in with me Riker? Her hand began to gently massage his thigh, the circling of her fingers causing the corners of Wills mouth to curl up in to a grin.
Arent you tired Deanna? He asked as he watched her sit up leaning against him, the sleeplessness that he knew marred his face not evident in her features, in fact she looked surprisingly well rested.
Taking one of his larger hands in hers she shook her head at him and smiled. No Im not tired, I went to bed early so we could talk when you got home.
Wills blue eyes twinkled in merriment despite his fatigue, he knew he would fall under her spell tonight just as he had done every other time. You mean they changed the meaning of talking on Betazed, the last I heard it involved actually using words-
His words were halted as she reached up to pull his mouth down to hers, a groan rumbling in Wills chest as Deanna moved her free hand under his uniform top. I missed you. She spoke against his lips before both her hands latched on to his shirt and lifted it over his head.
You saw me at lunch. He whispered, her dark eyes mere inches away from his own, her breath mingling with his.
I know. She replied seductively, moving to sit in his lap.
Deanna It came out more of a moan than the question hed meant for it to be and he rolled his eyes at how pathetic he sounded when her lips made their way down the side of his neck, across his shoulder and over the broad expanse of his chest. Is this a good idea? Im going to end up in Sickbay before too long.
I know, Beverly already has a bed set up for you.
What? Will questioned her with a nervous grin on his face and gently pushed her away from him.
I told her it might be a good idea to set it up now and keep it til after the phase. She winked at him, trying to touch him and ignoring the hold he had on her.
You talked to Beverly about our sex life? About me? Will stood up off the bed causing Deanna to fall backwards, her quick reflexes the only thing stopping her from falling off the bed.
Well she already knows almost everything there is to know about you so I thought why stop now. Positioning herself back against the pillows she grinned innocently waiting for his reaction.
Will shook his head briefly trying to clear the sleep deprived fog that clouded his mind. Its not nice to play games with my head this time of night Deanna.
Who said I was playing games? I need to talk to someone sometimes too and Beverly is my friend.
Stopping his pacing temporarily to look at her Will searched for even a flicker that this was a joke, but Deanna never moved, her legs laid stretched out in front of her crossed at her ankles. Youre serious?
Yes Will. She answered, her arms moving from her sides to cross over her abdomen clearly indicating that her planned seduction had now come to an abrupt end.
What did you tell her?
Will dont be so paranoid. She answered with a loud sigh and moved her body lower down on the bed, her face turned away from him.
Deanna closed her eyes slowly, her voice barely louder than a whisper. I told her I was worried about how you were going to cope when I went into phase.
Wills bloodshot eyes widened. You what He wasnt sure what he was more angry about, whether it was just the fact that shed told Beverly or that shed hadnt talked to him first.
I was just interested if there was anything medical that she could do.
Oh god, I think Im going to pass out. He stumbled to the edge of the bed and sat down, his head leaning forward, almost between his knees.
Deanna was immediately beside him her hand running over his back. I spoke to her in confidence Will, no one else knows about it.
I would have liked to have known about it, why didnt you talk to me first? He stood up and moved away from her, gathering up a clean pair of boxers and a t-shirt and heading for the bathroom. Maybe he would get the sleep he needed after all he mused.
Seeing what he was doing Deanna jumped to her feet and beat him to the door, blocking the entrance. It wasnt something I had planned, it just came up in the conversation.
He wouldnt look in to her eyes afraid of what might happen, instead he stared over her head at the wall his anger fueled by fatigue. So does my apparent inability to satisfy your sexual needs come up regularly in conversations?
Will stop it!
Stop what? Deanna Im too tired to have this conversation with you right now. Im going to have a shower then go to bed, stay or dont stay its up to you. The truth was he wasnt sure if hed get much sleep if she left, but then how could he sleep in the same bed as her and not hold her in his arms or dream about her.
Pushing past her he walked in to the bathroom and began taking his uniform off keeping his gaze averted from Deanna who remained standing in the doorway. Minutes later he watched through the shower screen as she disappeared from his view and in the direction of the living room.
Stepping out of the shower feeling only slightly refreshed Will wrapped a towel around his waist and walked out in to his bedroom, a considerable amount of water running down over his body and splashing on the floor. Finding the room empty he continued out to the living area, any evidence that Deanna had even been there was now gone.
He eased himself in to the chair at his desk and sighed in frustration as he watched the water pool around his feet. Great, losing sleep Deannas way was far more fun. A chill swept through his body due to his lack of clothing, wet skin and the saturated towel that he now sat in.
Standing up he slid the towel from his hips and dried his freezing skin then headed towards the bedroom. Throwing the towel on the ground once he was dry the Commander retrieved his boxers and t-shirt from the bathroom, the soft material giving his weary body a small amount of comfort. The thought of sleeping on the couch briefly crossed his mind, just in case she came back and wanted to sleep in the bed, but then why would she? She had her own quarters and her own bed.
The second he lay down under the covers her scent rose off the bed and pillows
surrounding him, its intensity taunting him and enforcing the fact that she
probably wasnt coming back, at least not tonight. With his eyes closed
Will turned to his side, away from where Deanna would normally lie and forced
himself to try and sleep.
Deanna meanwhile had headed straight for the crew lounge, thinking that a healthy dose of chocolate and some time to herself would be the best therapy for her. Her quarters had been out of the question, they were too close to Will and what they both needed now was some distance.
The doors to the lounge opened revealing an almost deserted room. In the corner sat the lone figure of a woman, and in an instant Deanna recognized the woman by her taste in hats. Guinan?
Counselor, how nice to see you. The El-Aurian replied softly.
Im sorry I didnt get chance to see you when you transported on board. May I join you? Deanna asked indicating to the vacant chair in front of her. When Guinan merely nodded Deanna pulled out the chair and gazed momentarily out to the stars.
Its a little late to be doing house calls.
Deanna looked at her not sure if it was a question or a statement and then realized this was Guinans way of getting her to talk. Instead of outright asking what was wrong Guinan would have her talking before she knew what was even going on. A smile spread over Deannas face, shed missed having Guinan on the Enterprise.
Guinan smiled back I thought at this time of night you would be asleep in your quarters with Commander Riker.
At first Troi wasnt sure if she should go in to the specifics of her relationship with Will with someone else, after all that was part of the reason she was here. It didnt take long for any doubts she had to fade away, she knew she could trust Guinan to keep things private, probably more than she could trust Beverly with such things she thought. I think I damaged his ego a little.
Ah, so you came here for a retreat?
I wouldnt say that, just a bit of space. He was upset so I thought it would be best if I left him to sleep.
Guinan inclined her head and Deanna could tell she didnt believe her. I told Beverly some of the more intimate details of our relationship because I thought Will wasnt coping and I was worried about him. The whole sentence came out in one breath and when she had finished Deanna felt the flush of embarrassment rise in her cheeks.
The former bar tender raised her eyebrows at the Counselors outburst and took a deep breath before continuing. I see, and that made the Commander feel uncomfortable?
Thats one way of describing it. Deanna stopped the conversation as the waiter, who had until now been cleaning up came over to ask her if she wanted her usual. She smiled and thanked him before returning to Guinan and her thoughts of Will. I suppose I should have asked him first but I knew hed never want Beverly to know of such things.
Just as the waiter was placing Deannas chocolate sundae down in front of her the doors to the lounge opened revealing Beverly Crusher. The Doctor searched the room, looking for the occupants she already knew were there. Walking over to where Deanna and Guinan sat, she placed a hypospray down on the table and collapsed in to one of the remaining seats at the table.
Whats this? Deanna asked.
Something I thought our First Officer might find of use. Beverly saw the look of concern on Deannas face and shook her head. It wont hurt him, its just a supplement to keep his energy levels up because hes not getting enough rest. I thought about putting a stimulant in there but I figured at the moment he had more than enough with you.
Deanna picked up the hypospray and inspected it. Thank you.
Remember its just for the short term, he needs to come and see me and Ill give him a check up.
Im not sure he wants to do that Beverly. Troi placed the hypo back down on the table and began to eat the tower of chocolate ice cream that sat in front of her, comforted by the fact she could always rely on her friends and chocolate to cheer her up.
Well if I havent seen him by the end of tomorrow Im making it an order. The last thing this ship needs is a burnt out First Officer.
Deanna proceeded to tell Beverly of the events of the evening, right up until what had brought her to the crew lounge. I had to admit, Beverly said I was a little surprised when I asked the computer for your whereabouts and it said you were here.
It was then that they heard the sound of the door opening, the three of them turning to see a very sheepish looking Will Riker. Standing in the doorway in his uniform pants and the t-shirt Deanna knew he wore to bed he shuffled nervously on his feet. Will? She questioned him gently, picking up on his emotions.
Ah sorry, I thought you were alone. He stammered, any remnants of a Starfleet Commander buried under his embarrassment.
Not as alone as you it would appear Commander. Beverly interjected with a raised eyebrow before Deanna could speak.
Will nodded slowly, he knew when he was outnumbered. Okay then, Ill see you in the morning. Not waiting for a response from any of them he turned quickly and walked away, the door closing behind him.
Beverly! Deanna glared at the Doctor unconvinced by her idea of helping, the more upset Will got the harder it would be to reason with him.
Beverly laughed despite the annoyed look Deanna gave her. Im sorry, I couldnt resist. How often do I get the chance to torment Will Riker?
Deanna ignored her friends question and picked up the hypospray as she stood. Ill take this just in case. She said, waving the hypo in the air as she neared the door.
Before the door closed behind her she heard Beverly yell, I want to see
When Deanna reached the corridor leading to Wills quarters, she saw his door close just as she rounded the corner. Not bothering to press the door chime she entered the code and walked in to find Will standing across from the door looking out the viewport at the stars. Are you alright? she asked.
He didnt turn to face her and at first she thought he wasnt going to answer, when he finally did speak she jumped as the silence came to an end. I couldnt sleep, at first I tried to tell myself I was over tired but I guess Im just used to having you near.
Is that all it is? She moved closer to him but didnt touch him, the hypo still clenched in her hand.
You should have come to me first Deanna.
I know and Im sorry. Bridging the distance between them her hand ran down his back and encircled his waist. I love you. She spoke against his back.
Will smiled and turned around to face her, his hands moving to her shoulders. This is a first, usually Im the one apologizing.
His smile was contagious and a grin spread over her face as she reached up to thread both of her hands around the back of his neck. Will saw the flicker of silver in her hand but by the time he could react to it she had already pressed it to his neck. Whats that?
Something Beverly gave me, she said it would help.
Help with what? He asked trying to keep his eyes focused on her, but his attention was short lived as he leaned down to nuzzle his face in to her neck, his warm breath on her skin making her shiver. You smell so good.
Slowly his lips moved up the side of her throat and across her jaw line, his exploration finally coming to halt as he brushed them repeatedly against her lips. Clumsily Wills fingers sought out the fastening of Deannas dress and with her help it fell to the floor.
She slid her hands under Wills t-shirt, pushing it up over his stomach and eventually over his head as he urged her backward, his larger body pushing her up against the wall to his bedroom. bed. She managed to mumble as his tongue and lips continued their assault on her.
Will didnt answer her, his hands moving to her rear as he picked her up and pulled her to him. Slowly he felt the fatigue ebb from his body, his resurgence sending an unmistakable craving to his groin. And with her legs wrapped around his waist Will carried Deanna to his bed.
Gently laying her down, he couldnt help but stare at her near naked body. Within seconds his pants and boxers were tossed to the floor and he joined her on the bed. Settling himself on top of her she tried to speak but was silenced by his insistent kisses and his unrelenting hands.
Deanna fought for control and pushed Will off her so she was now on top of him, her legs either side of his waist. Her position was short lived as Will rolled them again except this time they fell to the floor with a thud with Wills heavier body landing on top of Deanna. With the sound of his breathing in her ear as his face lay beside hers she waited for him to move but when after a few moments hed failed to stir even slightly Deanna pushed her hands against his shoulders Will? she grunted, trying to push him off her.
Will? She repeated louder, this time picking up his face in her hands. Calmed somewhat that she could feel his heartbeat against her chest and feel his breath on her skin she sighed as she realized he was out cold. Trying with more force she tried to roll him off her, using her own body for leverage but it was no use, he was dead weight.
Great, she said out loud to herself Now Im going to have to get Beverly in here to counteract whatever was in that hypo.
Reaching blindly for Wills Comm. badge that sat above her head on the bedside table she found the cold metallic object with her fingertips and reluctantly pressed it. Troi to Crusher.
Deanna inwardly groaned when she heard the Doctors sleepy reply. <Crusher here, whats wrong Deanna?>
Im really sorry Beverly but I think Will may have had some sort of reaction to the hypo. She shuffled under his weight again, settling his head gently back down beside hers.
<What sort of Reaction?>
Deanna could hear Beverly gathering up a Med kit as she spoke and hoped the doctor had been alone. I dont know but hes unconscious.
<Okay Im on my way.>
Beverly! Troi interrupted before she could end the conversation.
<I wont be long Deanna.> Beverly answered misinterpreting her friends anxiousness.
I know, its just when you get here well Wills not wearing any clothes.
Beverly laughed <Well I guess part of the hypo worked then.>
Deanna managed to chuckle at the bizarreness of the situation. I guess you could say that.
<Ill be there in a minute, Crusher out.>
Deanna wrapped her arms around Wills shoulders as she waited for Beverly. You, William Riker are having at least two days off even if I have to declare you unfit for duty. She spoke to his sleeping forming, one of her hands moving to run her fingers over the back of his head.
She lay silent for the next few minutes until she heard the sound of the door to Wills quarters open. In the bedroom Beverly. She called out.
Troi heard the footsteps get closer and then stop as Crusher entered the room. She slowly walked around the bed to stand at Will and Deannas feet, a big grin on her face. Well I have to say, this is not exactly what I expected. When you said he was naked, you failed to mention he was lying rear end up on top of you.
Deanna rolled her eyes as Beverly kneeled down beside them and ran her tricorder over Will, her efforts to hold in her laughter not entirely successful. Hell need to go to Sickbay, Id better call for some assistance to help get him off you.
Beverly, No! Deanna clutched Will to her as if to say she was not going to let go, the last thing she wanted for the whole ship to find out about what had happened.
Deanna I cant do anything here, no one will say anything I promise.
You and I can move him off me, and then I can get dressed and we can put some pants on Will. Beverly please. Deanna begged, Will would never forgive her if any of this made its way to the rumor mill.
Beverly sighed, snapping the tricorder shut and placing it on the floor. Okay. She said placing her hands on Wills waist and moving her body as far as possible away from him so her face wouldnt end up in his groin when he was rolled over. You owe me big for this Counselor. Ready?
Deanna nodded and at the same time that she pushed Will away from her Beverly rolled him over. As soon as the unconscious Commander was off her Deanna reached for the bed sheet to cover him with then got to her feet to find her dress. After not finding it anywhere around the bed she headed in to the other room, finding it in a pile just outside the bedroom on the floor. Calling out to Beverly as she dressed Deanna thanked Crusher for coming and waiting before Will was moved anywhere. I didnt know what else to do. She told the Doctor.
Returning to the bedroom in the same clothes she had worn to the crew lounge
Troi picked up Wills boxers and kneeled beside him. Seeing Beverly was
busy packing away her equipment Deanna pulled the sheet off Will and placed
his boxers over his feet and slid them up his legs and with a certain degree
of difficulty over his waist. Okay lets get him to Sickbay.
-----A few hours later-----
Captain Jean Luc Picard sat at the table in his quarters across from Beverly Crusher, shed joined him for breakfast as was customary for the two of them. He sipped his tea watching as Beverly devoured a croissant, she looked tired he thought to himself. It was unusual for her to go without a nights sleep, always putting her patients welfare before her own but this time Picard felt as if he should say something. Long night? he asked her.
Beverly nodded, swallowing her mouthful. Yes, but not what you might think. I was up Counseling our Counselor.
Deanna? The Captain asked surprised. Is there something wrong?
Beverly snorted and rolled her eyes. Yes and its male, tall, blue eyed, has a beard and an ego as big as the Enterprise.
The corner of Picards mouth turned up in a slight grin as he leaned back in his chair and crossed his legs. Trouble in paradise. He said softly, too softly for Crusher to hear him.
Hes exhausted Jean Luc, whens the last time you can remember him having a day off. Deanna said hes functioning on only a few hours of sleep a day, not to mention the effect its had on the more intimate aspects of their relationship, it seems our usually over confident Commander is having a bit of trouble keeping up with the Counselor
Picards eyes widened, uncomfortable that Beverly had raised the topic. He cleared his throat and shifted on the chair, reaching out to replenish his tea.
Maybe you could talk to him. Beverly offered.
I dont think thats a good idea, Im sure Will and Deanna are capable of working through any problems. How would he even approach Will, he was a starship Captain not a sex therapist.
But he might listen to you, youre his Captain and his friend.
The captain sighed. What exactly am I supposed to be talking to him about? He asked raising an eyebrow.
Well...Beverly paused. Manly things I guess. She smiled sweetly at him. Let him know there are other means of sustaining ones energy without having to resort to sleeping through ones bridge shift. she winked
Picard didnt get the chance to respond as they were interrupted by the sound of Nurse Ogawas voice. <Doctor Crusher I think you should come to Sickbay, Commander Riker is awake and is not too happy.>
Beverly pushed her chair out from the table and stood. Ill be right there.
Sickbay? Picard questioned her also getting to his feet. Is my First Officer ill?
Hes fine or at least he will be after a bit more rest. Crusher then relayed the rest of the nights events to the Captain on the way to Sickbay, not hesitating to include the more sensitive parts.
Maybe I should talk to him then. Picard offered as they walked through the doors in to Sickbay only to be confronted with the full force of Will Rikers anger.
Oh look Deanna, your co-conspirator is here. He said sarcastically. Did you get a good laugh out of this Beverly because I can assure you thats the last time any of your medical voodoo gets injected into my body. He looked around for some clothes to wear other than the boxers he wore but when found none began walking to the door.
Will, where are you going? Deanna asked concerned by his lack of clothing and the idea of him wandering through the corridors of the Enterprise in such a state.
Im going to my quarters to get dressed, Ive got work to do.
Picard stepped forward halting the exit of his First Officer and Will seemed almost surprised to see the Captain, as if he hadnt noticed him before. It can wait Will, he said softly Im giving you the next two days off, this ship needs a healthy First Officer.
You told him? Will gasped at Beverly.
She did, Picard answered for her, ushering Will away from the two women so they wouldnt hear what he was about to say. And Im glad she did its completely normal for this to happen Will, its something that all men experience.
Will was dumbfounded, he couldnt open his mouth to speak to stop the older man from continuing. Captain Jean Luc Picard was giving him, Will Riker, advice about sex. Will shook his head unable to say anything, his initial concern about this getting around the ship doubling by the second.
Its nothing to be embarrassed about, let Beverly take a look at you maybe she can help.
That woman is not touching me! Will finally spoke, loud enough so the two women now engaged in their own conversation could hear.
Picard took a deep breath. Well just think of it this way, Geordi fixes gravity to make things stand up perhaps Doctor Crusher can help you in that regard.
Riker choked at the Captains words, what the hell had Beverly told him. Shes the reason Im here in the first place, her and Deanna and that damned hypospray.
Picards eyes narrowed at Crusher, shed failed to mention her involvement in this whole thing and now he could see why.
Look, Will said walking back over to Deanna and Beverly Ill take the two days off but I dont need you poking and prodding me, everything is in working order as Deanna wouldve testified to if we hadnt been interrupted by that hypospray.
The Captain stayed where he was, a little embarrassed that he had been involved in the conversation to begin with, and when Will turned to give him a final glance before turning to leave Sickbay Picard couldnt help but feel he should have continued with his original decision to let Riker and Troi work things out between themselves.
Still dressed in only his boxers Will walked towards the door. If youre this bad now, how are you going to cope during the phase Will? Crusher asked just as the door opened.
Will turned, winking cheekily at them. Science Beverly, remember there are two Will Rikers.
Deannas loud gasp could be heard over the softer one that came from Crushers
mouth and Will grinned, delighted by their response. Confident that they were
not sure if he was lying or not he continued on his way out through the door
and to his quarter to get some sleep leaving behind three very stunned Starfleet