Will believes he is losing Deanna, but not everything is what it seems. Rated PG



Turning the Tables

Author: Leanne wombie25@optusnet.com.au

Disclaimer: Paramount owns it all, I’m just playing.


Part 1


A lonely figure sat in the darkened corner of the Officer's Lounge. His slumped shoulders were outlined by the glow of the stars as they streamed past. On the table sat an empty glass. It's contents moved only slightly as it was continually swirled.


He was the only one in the room. The bartender had the good sense not move him along at closing time. He'd said he would be fine getting to his quarters, now he wasn't so sure. Maybe he could stop at her quarters on the way.


"Find out what the hell is going on," he mumbled to himself.


Had he been deluding himself for months, believing that everything had been perfect? They had been so happy, or so he had thought. Was something going on that she hadn't told him about? Had he missed the signs? Question after question began to invade his thoughts and a dull ache slowly enveloped his temples.


So inflamed were his senses from the real alcohol he was drinking, he never even heard her approach.


"You heard then?"  she quietly asked, standing back from him. "Will?" she prodded when silence was her only answer. Unsure whether he had heard her or if he was just ignoring her, she moved to sit across from him. The moment he looked up she saw the pain in his eyes and fought to keep it from her own.


"I heard," he replied, the pain now replaced with bitterness. He stared at her for endless seconds before returning his gaze to the glass.


"I wanted to tell you myself," She knew it sounded weak, he didn't deserve to be treated this way.


"Then why didn't you?" he pleaded. The thought of how pathetic he sounded never entered his mind. He was drunk and upset and he wanted answers.


"I didn't know how."


"So you got the Captain to do your dirty work?"


"It wasn't like that," she replied, trying to convince herself that it was true. The thought of what his reaction would have been to the Captain's news made her wince. She should have told him herself, and maybe that's what hurt him more than anything. The fact that she didn't come to him.


"Then how was it? Tell me, Deanna. From our first day on the Enterprise I've done everything you asked. You didn't want us to be lovers so we became friends. Then after ten years you decide it was time for us to be together, now you back off again. I'm getting dizzy."


"I just think we need time apart."


"I don't believe that! Why wouldn't you tell me something like this? After all we've been through I think I at least deserve that!"


The impulse to say he was right, to tell him there was more to this than what lay on the surface was all but impossible to refuse and she nearly gave in, until she remembered what was at stake.


"Maybe we should talk about this later, when you're thinking straight." She said standing up and beginning to move away from him.


"I think we should talk about it now," He said, his voice getting louder.


"Will, please, you'll only make things worse."


"How can it get worse? I don't understand this."


She said nothing and turned away from him.


"I love you, you know how much I love you. How can you do this to me, to us?"


She was certain he was holding back tears, but refused to look at him. He let out a deep sigh and stood up, his steps staggered and slightly off balance as he walked out the door.


Deanna stood there, wiping away silent tears for several moments before deciding to see if Will made it to his quarters.


Upon entering she found him sprawled out on his bed, his eyes closed, his chest rising and falling in even rhythm. She sat down next to him and ran her fingers gently through his hair. He looked so peaceful, none of the earlier resentment toward her edged in his features. She pictured herself shaking him awake and telling him everything was going to be okay, that she would be home, here with him where she belonged in just a few days.


She was startled when his eyes opened revealing deep blue pools.


"Imzadi," he whispered. Reaching out he took her hand in his and squeezed it, a lone tear slipping from the corner of his eye. With his mental shields down, she felt the full force of his unrestrained feelings - pain, disappointment, guilt, and above all others....love.


Deanna's breath caught and she drowned in the comfort he offered. Will Riker rarely let down his guard so easily to let anyone in. In the time since they renewed their relationship she had never seen or been able to feel his emotions so completely. During the times they had been intimate she had been able to sense everything that made Will the man he was, but never had she seen him so vulnerable.


Slowly Will's eyes closed again as sleep reclaimed him.


As she watched him sleep, she thought back on the conversation she'd had with Captain Picard. She had all but begged him to tell Will what was going on. Deanna knew the Captain had been placed in an awkward position by Starfleet, and like her, had no choice but to follow orders. Unfortunately Will was the one who would suffer.


She fought the urge to lay down beside him and wrap herself in his embrace. Instead she leaned forward and kissed his forehead, lingering slightly before leaving.



The following morning, at the request of Counselor Troi, the senior crew gathered in the Observation Lounge. Captain Picard and Will Riker were the only two aware of the Counselors motives. Will sat beside her, his arms crossed over his chest, and a scowl on his face.


He couldn't remember much of what had happened last night, only a vague recollection of speaking with Deanna. The thought of what he'd said in his drunken state made him cringe. Thinking he could overcome his feelings, he ignored Deanna, blocking her from his mind.


She in turn tried not to act hurt, masking any discomfort by sitting next to him. She refused to let their relationship end before it had time to flourish.


Beverly Crusher watched the two of them closely and she knew their behavior was a bad sign. She knew Will and Deanna very well and she got the impression the tension between them was thick.


Once everyone had seated themselves around the table, Captain Picard cleared his throat and indicated that Deanna should speak.


Slowly she stood up, briefly straightening her uniform. "Thank you all for coming. I know this is short notice and I hope you all understand but in approximately two hours I will be leaving the Enterprise."


She looked from face to face, confusion clear on all of them. Her eyes rested on Will. He refused to look at her, eyes focused in front, his face expressionless.


"Are you taking shore leave?" Data asked.


"No, I'm leaving Data. I won't be coming back," she answered with no hesitation, as if it was the one thing she wanted.


"What? Why? Where are you going?" Beverly asked unable to hide her surprise.


"I'm going to Betazed. I'm needed there."


"For what?"


"My mother needs help with her duties and has asked me to join her."


"You never seemed interested before, why all of a sudden?"


"It's not sudden. Please, I've made my decision, try and be happy for me," She knew this wouldn't be a good enough answer and they would be having this conversation as soon as the meeting was over.


Beverly sighed and nodded her head, but she was far from finished.


Deanna looked to Picard and sat down. He felt the need to reach out and take Deanna's hand but decided against it, knowing now wasn't the time. He merely dismissed them and one by one they filed from the room. Alone with only Will and Deanna in the room Picard decided to leave. Before he could take a step, Will had risen from the chair and began walking towards the door.


"Will..." Deanna pleaded as he walked away from her. She needed to talk to him, somehow reason that this wasn't the end for them. They needed to talk, not in the angry manner like last night but calmly without any outside influence. But it was clear in the way he walked out, never looking back, that it wasn't going to happen now.


Picard moved behind her as she watched Will walk out. He put his hands on her shoulders. "I'm sorry you have to do this. If there was any other way to do this…" his voice trailed off.


"I know," she said regret evident in her voice. "It has to look real for this to work. I just hope he can forgive me when it's all over."


Part 2


Sitting at his desk in his quarters, Will ignored the chimes as they sounded out for the third time. He'd returned there after the meeting, today being his day off. It had taken a lot of rescheduling for him to get the day off; now he wished he hadn't gone to the trouble. He would have given anything to get his mind off what was happening. A trip to the holodeck was always an option, but given that he was still suffering from last night's events he had decided against it.


Again the chime rang out, Will knew who it was. That was the exact reason he wasn't answering. About to tell her to go away, he was startled when the door opened. She stood out in the hall, unsure whether to step in.


"What do you think you're doing?" he asked rising to his feet.


"Can I come in?"


"Little to late for that don't you think?" he fired back.


"Will, please, we need to talk about this," she finally walked into the room, no longer waiting for his approval.


"What's there to talk about? You've already made your decision."


He walked to the replicator, standing silent as if he were thinking what to ask for. Changing his mind, he walked away empty handed and sat on the couch.


"I need to know you're okay, that we'll be okay," her voice sounded hopeful, but she wasn't fooling anyone.


Will thought about lying, saying he was fine, acting the hero as always. But what would be the use in that she'd know he was lying. "I'm not alright Deanna," he answered, "and as for us, I don't know."


Deanna sighed and sat down next to him. "Do you trust me?" she asked.


Will scooted forward on the edge of the couch, leaning his elbows on his knees. "What does that have to do with anything?" he asked, running his hands through his hair in frustration.


"Because if you trust me, you'll believe me when I say I love you and that we'll be together."


"I really don't see how that's possible now."


Reaching out she lay her hand on top of his, which was now resting on his knee. Surprised when he didn't pull away from her she thread her finger through his. "Just trust in me and what we have together, that's all."


Feeling that she had broken him down a little she decided now was the time to tell him the only information she had been allowed. "Your friend, Ojarz that plays with you in the band, he's coming with me."


"To Betazed, why?" Yet more questions for him, he felt as if he were going in circles.


"I can't tell you why, Will."


Will moved from her grasp, standing up and walking to the other side of the room. "What's with all the secrecy, I want some answers. If we are going to get through this, I need answers." His first thought was that there was something going on between the two of them. The three of them had been spending a lot of time together lately, they had become quite close. He dismissed the idea seconds later, if this were true Deanna would have just told him.


"There's no more for me to tell," she said, waiting for the barrage of questions and anger to be fired at her.


Instead he casually walked back to his desk and sat down. "Then I guess we have no more to say to each other." He answered, turning his attention to the PADDs in front of him.


Deanna stood up, stopping before she reached the door. "I have to go and see Beverly, will I see you before I leave?"


Again he ignored her and she watched him studying the reports a little too intently. "I love you," she said softly almost a whisper, before leaving.


Will stared at the closed door. "I love you too," he whispered back, knowing she wouldn't hear it.


Only now could he release his anger and frustration, his fist slamming down into the desk with such force that the glass he'd been drinking from earlier smashed, sending shards flying in every direction. He lifted his hand to find the remnants of the glass underneath, the combination of the water and his blood now dripping on to the floor.


He watched as the blood ran down over his palm, a stinging sensation made its way up his arm. The pain in his hand seemed all but meaningless in comparison to the pain inside him. Balling his injured hand to a fist he let the physical pain overcome the emotional. 'Anything,' he told himself, 'I can handle anything, but not this.'



Deanna slowly made her way to Sickbay. She dreaded the conversion she was going to be having with Beverly. 'Can't be any worse than the one with Will,' she thought to herself.


Entering Sickbay, she found it bustling with activity as usual. Seeing Doctor Crusher was busy with a patient, Deanna moved into her office to wait. Sitting in the chair opposite Beverly's, she thought of all the time they'd spent in here talking about their lives, loves, and losses.


"Hello there," she heard from behind her.


"Hello yourself," Deanna responded, watching Beverly move to sit behind her desk.


"So why don't you tell me what's really going on? You know I don't believe that whole Betazed story for a minute."


"There's nothing to tell, Beverly; I'm leaving the Enterprise," Deanna stared out into Sickbay as if there was something exciting happening out there.


"Don't try that on me Counselor, I know you too well. How does Will feel about all this, or is he the reason you're leaving?"


At the mention of Will's name, Deanna turned her attention back to Beverly. Uncertain how to answer her, she sighed deeply. "He's upset, and yes he's part of the reason I'm leaving."


"Why?" the doctor asked confused. "I thought things between you were going wonderfully, you were inseparable."


"It's not what you think." Deanna got up and closed the door so no one would over hear what she was about to say. "I can't tell you much, but the one thing I can tell you is that I'll be coming back, my going away will be shorter than you think."


"Does Will know this?"


"No, and you have to promise me you won't tell him. No matter what happens, he mustn't know."


"But why Deanna, I don't understand you could easily put him out of his misery." Beverly was getting more confused by the minute and Deanna seemed to be speaking in riddles.


Before Deanna had the chance to answer her, Will Riker came strolling through the doors to Sickbay. His hand was clutched to his stomach, blood staining his blue shirt.


Beverly and Deanna rushed over to him immediately. "What happened?" the doctor asked.


"Just a bit of an accident, nothing serious." He answered nonchalantly.


"Take a seat and I'll get you patched up," she moved away to get a try of instruments leaving Will with Deanna.


"Are you alright?" she asked.


"I'll be fine."


He watched as Beverly returned and began wiping away the blood and healing over the cut. "How did you do this?" she asked.


He looked back at the doctor, refusing to look at Deanna. "Got a little frustrated, guess I wasn't thinking straight."


Deanna glared at him. "Just say it Will, it's my fault."


"Did I say that?" he responded a little too loudly, as some of the heads in Sickbay turned to look at them.


"No, you didn't, but you were thinking it."


"Stay out of my head, Counselor. You no longer have that right anymore."


Stung by his reaction, she flinched.


"Why don't you two go into my office and finish this in there." Beverly intervened.


"There's no need, we've already said all that has to be said," Will answered.


Beverly saw more eyes on them and began to gently push both Deanna and Will in the direction of her office. When she reached the door, she pushed both in. "Just talk about it will you." She looked at Deanna and thought about what she had said earlier about Will not knowing she would be coming back. Moving her eyes to Will, she asked, "This is your last hour together, is this how you want to spend it?" Leaving him with no time to answer she closed the door.


Will and Deanna stood silent, remaining where they had been pushed, only inches apart. Beverly's question ran over and over in his mind as Will looked at Deanna, her dark bottomless eyes, soft brown hair falling down over her shoulders, the curves and contours of her body. More than anything he wanted to hold her. He craved the feel of her soft skin, the smell of her hair and the warmth of her lips.


He saw her breath catch and knew she had picked up on what he was feeling. 'Do I go with my heart or my head?' he asked himself. Deanna was about to answer it for him when he reached out and took her in his arms. Tightly she wound her arms around his waist swearing to never let go. Will inhaled her scent knowing it would be the last time he would feel this way. He pulled away from her slightly but only so he could lower his head to press his lips to hers. Deanna responded eagerly and Will didn't know if he had the strength to let her go. Breathlessly they separated and Will placed his hand over her cheek.


"I don't know what it is you want from me, but I can't take this anymore." He stated simply. Moving away from her he opened the door. "If you're on that shuttlecraft in an hour, then it's over."


Part 3


Holding onto Deanna tightly, Beverly Crusher gave her a final squeeze before letting go. “Take care. I expect to hear from you when you’re settled in,” she said smiling.


Deanna nodded. “I promise.”


She had already said her good-byes to everyone, everyone except Will. He hadn’t come to see her leave and Deanna wasn’t really surprised. He had said everything he had wanted to in Sickbay. Still a part of her hoped he would turn up and say he hadn’t meant what he said, that their relationship, what they had now and would have in the future would all work out. He was most likely on the Bridge, his being on duty an excuse not to come and see her.


Waving a final goodbye, she walked into the shuttlecraft where Ojarz was waiting for her. The door closed behind her as the crew moved away. The shuttlebay doors opened to reveal the darkness of space. Just as the shuttle was moving out, another door to the bay opened, and Will Riker emerged from the hall.


They all turned to look at him. Beverly walked over and laid a gentle hand on his arm. “You’re too late, Will.”


Will watched as the shuttlecraft disappeared out of sight. “Maybe that’s a good thing, I didn’t know what to say to her.” One by one they walked passed him until finally he was left alone staring after the image of the shuttle.



The next few hours were somewhat of a blur for Will. He sat in the Captains chair plagued by thoughts of Deanna. Had he handled the situation wrongly? Was he being insensitive? Should he have tried harder to work things out? But what he knew was that he missed her more than ever and she hadn’t even been gone a day. He figured it would be best to give her some time then get in contact with her. The truth was she had become a major part of his everyday life and it was difficult to imagine life going on without her. No longer would he have her to wake up to after falling asleep in her arms, or her soulful eyes to gaze into. Aside from the physical aspects of their relationship, the emotional part was what had made him complete; *she* had made him complete. Now she was gone and, for the first time in his life, Will Riker felt as if a part of him had died. 



On their way to Betazed, the silence in the shuttle was broken when Deanna decided she could no longer keep quiet. “Why?” she asked the man sitting next to her. Lieutenant Ojarz was a human male, thirty two years old, with short blonde hair, and emerald green eyes. He was nearly as tall as Will but his size was not going to stop her confronting him.


The young man quickly glanced at her before returning his eyes to the console. Deanna saw him swallow and moved to the edge of her chair to look at him more closely. “We were your friends, how could you betray us like this? We told you things only our closest friends know.”


“I had no choice,” Ojarz pleaded, finally opening his mouth to speak.


“You did have a choice!” she demanded. “Do you understand what you have done to Will’s career, his life? If he doesn’t carry out the next mission to Starfleet's standards there will be an inquiry.”


“He did this to himself, not me,” he responded angrily.


“How can you say that! You were like a younger brother to him. He took care of you.”


“I don’t need taking care of, I need a promotion.”


“And this was this was the only way you would get one. I hope it’s worth it!” Deanna was furious this man that she and Will had once called a friend had deceived them to benefit his own career, although the way things had turned out there was little chance of that now. Deanna would play her part in that and was sure Will would too when everything had drawn to a conclusion.


“You must have your own doubts in his abilities to react this way,” Ojarz questioned.


“I’ve never doubted Will. I just hate it that he has to experience pain…all for your benefit.” She held back tears at the thought of what he was going through, fighting the urge to touch his mind.


Ojarz shrugged his shoulders. “Look at the positive side, at least you’ll get to visit your mother.”


Deanna’s eyebrows rose. “I wouldn’t call that a positive thing, at least not from where your standing. When she finds out what has happened, she’ll eat you for dinner, and believe me that’s scarier than anything you’ll ever face.”



Captain Picard sat in his Ready Room. He had just received word from Starfleet; the test facing his first officer had now been put into motion. Picard would walk out on to the Bridge and give the order to proceed to Condros II where Will Riker would have to face any demons that were now reeking havoc inside him. Picard strongly disagreed with what Starfleet was doing and had said so more than once. If they had a problem with Will’s competency, then why not give him the chance to defend himself. Instead they opted for secrecy. If he didn’t know he was being watched, then he would act as normal and that’s what they wanted.


He stood up and straightened his uniform, took a deep breath and walked onto the Bridge. Data watched as the Captain emerged and walked over to the Ensign at the Conn. “Ensign set course for Condros II, warp eight.”


“Aye, sir.”


Picard turned to see Commander Riker vacate his seat, the Enterprise's second in command looked as if he’d aged ten years in the past hour. “Number One, we’ve been ordered to negotiate peace talks between the Matriuk and the Sefaud.”


Riker looked at Picard. “Again, I thought we resolved this a year ago?”


“As did I, apparently things have flared up again. Fighting on the planet has escalated over the last week and they are asking for our assistance, yours in particular.”


“Me, why? I was there the last time, now their back where they started.”


Picard nodded his head. “That’s precisely why they want you back; they respect you and know that you understand their situation.” He waited for Will’s response but when none was forthcoming he continued. “There’s another two hours before we arrive. Why don’t you go and get some rest Number One, I’m sure I can handle things here.” Picard offered Will a smile and the younger man agreed it was a good idea.



Upon entering his quarters, Will immediately regretted his decision to return here. He was tired beyond what he thought possible yet he knew there would be no sleep for him. He collapsed onto the couch with a loud sigh and threw his arm over his eyes, letting them close under the weight of his eyelids. Motionless he lay there willing himself to sleep, minute by minute ticking past.


“Damn it,” he swore, sitting up.


Out of the corner of his eye he saw Deanna’s hairbrush sitting on the table. He walked over to it and picked it up, turning it in his hand. As he glanced around the room, he spotted several more of her personal items. Why hadn't she come to get them? Was she intentionally making him suffer? ‘No, she wouldn’t do that to me,’ he thought, ‘then why are they here? Maybe someone is sending them to her she didn’t have a lot of time to pack…or maybe there’s something else going on.’


“I need to stop thinking and save my energy,” he said out loud shaking his head, forcing himself to snap out of any delusions he might have. “I can sort this out later.”


Trying to push Deanna and everything about her from his thoughts, he went to have a shower, disregarding the signs she had left behind for him.


Part 4


Will was woken from slumber by the constant beeping of the computer panel beside the bed and he sat up rubbing any signs of sleep from his eyes. He had taken the precaution of setting the alarm in case he actually fell asleep. Now he wished he hadn't even laid down since the cloud that had been hanging over him since Deanna's departure seemed so much darker than before.


As he stared at his image in the mirror, he felt as if he was looking at a stranger. The man in his reflection no longer showed the signs of happiness which had emanated from him a few days ago. The dark rings under his eyes drowned out the crystal blueness of them, and the absence of color from his cheeks made him look as if the life had been drained from him.


‘How am I going to get through this?’ he asked himself. ‘This is the last thing I need right now. He splashed cold water onto his face and watched as it ran down in tiny rivulets to his chin where it then dripped on the sink. ‘Maybe it will take my mind off things,’ he sighed. The truth was he would welcome the break from his own thoughts and the opportunity to not be alone.


After he had dressed in his uniform, he made his way to the Bridge. Captain Picard was a little worried to see him looking worse than he had two hours ago. Still, he gave Will the impression nothing was amiss.


“Commander, you’re just in time. We will be in orbit around Condros II in approximately ten minutes.”


Will nodded and took his seat, and Picard watched him unsure whether to invite him into his Ready Room where he could talk to his first officer without having to worry who was listening. No, he couldn’t say anything personal to Will, it would influence his behavior and also the outcome of the mission.


“Ready your away team, Mr. Riker,” Picard ordered.


“Aye, Sir.”


Will instructed Data to join him along with one of the security officers on the Bridge, but before he could reach the turbolift, he was stopped by Picard. “Number One, I suggest you take Lieutenant Rowlins with you. He has an extensive background in these types of negotiations.”


Riker looked at the Captain unsure of why he would make a suggestion for the away team since he’d always trusted his decisions before. Will thought about responding but decided against it, instead his only reply was “Yes sir.”



As the four members of the away team materialized on the planet a loud explosion sounded in the distance. “Data, where are the representatives from the Matriuk and Sefaud?” Will asked after it appeared neither had arrived at the designated meeting place.


“Two life forms are approaching from both the East and the West, sir,” the android replied.


“Let me guess, they’re all armed right,” Will said sarcastically.


“Affirmative, sir.”


Instructing Data and Security Officer Meyer to watch those approach from the East, Will and Lieutenant Rowlins waited for those from the West.


“You have a lot of experience in these type of negotiations, is that right Lieutenant?” Will asked as they watched the two figures approach.


“Yes, sir.”


“Be on your guard then, just in case.”


“In case of what?” the lieutenant asked a bit too eagerly.


“Just stay alert,” Will ordered before walking away to greet their guests.


Will began to introduce himself. “I’m Commander William …”


“Riker,” one of them finished for him. “Yes we know who you are, how could we not?”


“And you are?” Will asked.


“We are Nakai and Garu of the Sefaud.”


“Well, gentleman, I wish we had met under better circumstances, but our main concern now is bringing the peace back to your world.” Riker then asked for all their weapons and handed them to Rowlins, quickly scanning both men for anything that could resemble a weapon.


He began walking back to their meeting place and indicated they should follow him. Instead they merely stood there looking at him amazement in their eyes. “Forgive us,” Nakai said shyly, “it’s just that we know what you did for our world and you are somewhat of a hero here.”


Riker wondered why these two had been sent to aid in the negotiations. Where were those he had dealt with last time? Were they killed in the fighting? “We should really get this underway,” was all he said.


This time they followed him and the four of them returned to the meeting point where Data was waiting with the members of the Matriuk. Will noticed all the weapons both Data and Meyer held onto. It was clear the Sefaud had an advantage. Things had changed since the last time he was here. At that time, the Matriuk by far had been the more powerful of the two.


The place they had chosen to meet in had once been police headquarters. Now it was just four crumbling walls with a ripped emblem hanging out the front. Grabbing a chair, Will indicated the planet's four natives should do the same. Meyer moved to stand guard at the entrance, while Data and Rowlins stood off to the side of the gathering, still close enough to hear what was happening.


“What happened after we left a year ago?” Will asked.


All four men immediately began telling their version of what happened and Will held up his hand to stop them. “One at a time.”


He pointed at one of the Matriuk who had since been introduced as Keran and Viko. “We kept our side of the bargain. We followed the laws of their government until they started imprisoning our people for petty crimes.”


“Stealing is not a petty crime!” Garu interrupted.


“It is for a bottle of water,” Keran fought back.


“Is this true?” Will asked Garu. “Someone was imprisoned for stealing water?”


“Our law states stealing of any kind will be punished.”


“But for water… why were they stealing water anyway?” 'This is what caused all this,' Will thought to himself, 'some stolen water.' A planet lay in ruins all because these people could not follow the rules they had set for themselves. A year ago they had agreed to a variety of terms and had said they would do everything in their power to return Condros II to the way it had once been. Now they were back to where they started, lives had been lost, and the remains of what had once been a beautiful planet now smoldered.


“The amount of food and water our people were allowed was reduced. Some had no choice, it was the only way to survive.”


Will looked from one to the other. “It is clearly stated in the treaty the volume of food and water you must be given. By how much has it been reduced?”


“Half!” the Sefaud said outraged.


Will sighed, he knew they would spend the rest of the day going around in circles, and that they did.


The Matriuk had failed to give the less developed Sefaud enough food to live as they believed members of their race had been importing illegal goods from other worlds. The Sefaud in retaliation had begun to steal not only food and water but weaponry so when the time came they could lead a full-scaled revolt, giving them control of Condros II. Their plan had worked and they now held the upper hand in the battle.


After six hours, Will decided they should take a break. Both races wanted time to talk over their options and he was more than ready for some air, although going outside was never a realistic idea.


After checking in with the Captain, Will moved to look out a cracked window at the front of the building. He saw a woman across the street with a baby cradled in her arms and watched her try to find a place to hide as gunfire erupted on the street. As he moved towards the door, he heard her screams as random explosions missed her by inches.


As Will ran out into the street, he did his best to dodge between the weapons fire, but his arm was grazed by a projectile. Still he ran towards the woman, any thoughts for his own health long forgotten. When he reached her, he picked her up in his arms and headed back the way he had come. She never struggled to be released from his grasp just held her baby close to her chest.


Will and the young woman were immediately surrounded by the others when Will set foot back into the old building. Will put the woman down and asked if she was alright.


“Yes, thank you,” she replied softly. The two Sefaud men recognized her as one of their own and began asking questions.


“Don’t you see?” Keran interrupted their conversation. “Even a stranger is willing to risk his life to save one of your people! Get everyone to put down their weapons and we can go back to our original agreement.”


“It’s not that simple. We can’t believe you won’t do the same again!”


The two Matriuk looked at each other. “Maybe we could make some minor changes…on both sides.”


The Sefaud nodded their agreement and discussion began on the new terms.


Ten hours after peace talks had began, terms had been agreed to and the away team was readying to be beamed back to the Enterprise for some rest.


Will walked over to the woman he had rescued who was sitting quietly in the corner of the room. “You remind me of someone I know,” he said


“Is that why you saved me?”


He thought about his answer, the truth was at the time it had been the reason. He would have risked his life to save whoever it might have been out in the street, but in the split second it took him to decide to go out there, all he had seen had been her resemblance to Deanna.


“No,” he answered


She smiled at him. “She must be special.”


“She is,” he smiled in return before walking away. “More than I deserve,” he mumbled under his breath.


It wasn’t until he was back with his crew waiting to beamed out, he realized Lieutenant Rowlins was writing something down on a PADD. “Keeping tabs on me, Lieutenant?”


“Something like that,” he replied, any signs of respect for a senior officer clearly missing from his voice.


Will looked at him a mixture of anger and confusion on his face.


“You’ll find out soon enough, Riker. You have my word on that.”


Part 5


“I told you, compared to my mother, I’m a kitten.” Deanna laughed at the expression on Ojarz face.


“I didn’t know she thought of Commander Riker so highly,” he said, still clearly scared from his encounter with Lwaxana Troi.


“She believes he’s her future son-in-law, how did you expect her to react?”


The young man sighed and refused to answer her, he no longer wanted to continue the conversation.


They had only spent a few hours on Betazed before receiving word from the Enterprise that the mission had been completed and for them to return. Ojarz however had not been ready for the onslaught that had awaited him in form of Lwaxana Troi.


Upon entering, he had received the full barrage of her questions and insults and it had continued the whole time they had been there. He had asked Deanna if this was to be his punishment, but she assured him not to worry it had been an added bonus.


Her minded drifted back to Will. 'What had happened on the mission? Had it been successful?' The Captain had been unable to tell her any information, he had said everyone would know on her arrival, which was still hours away.


'What would Will say on her arrival? Would things go back to the way they were?' She wanted answers to these questions so badly, yet she was scared of what they would be.


When they were finally on board the Enterprise, both Deanna and Ojarz were told their presence was required in the Observation Lounge. They entered to find the Senior crew seated around the table along with Rowlins.


“Deanna,” Will almost yelled, “What are you doing here?”


She smiled at him but Picard cut any chance of a reunion short. “Number One, I believe Mr. Rowlins has all the answers to your questions.”


Deanna sat at the opposite end of the table and patiently waited to find out the answers to her questions.


Rowlins stood and moved to the head of the table. “I am not a Lieutenant and my name is not Rowlins. I am with Starfleet Intelligence and my name is Lawson.” He paused briefly watching the combination of emotions change from face to face.


“I was sent here to observe Captain Picard and his ability to carry out his duty within the guidelines that Starfleet has set. In the past several years, your captain has ignored his orders on more than one occasion,” Lawson saw Riker was about to speak but talked over the top of him. “I know on these occasions the end result has been to our advantage, but we can not ignore what is happening on a repeat basis.”


“I don’t understand,” Will interrupted.


“Then let me finish,” Lawson said forcefully. “Remember a week ago when Counselor Troi was down on the surface of Uronos?”


Will nodded his head, still confused. “Of course I remember.”


“You remember because she was nearly killed and you risked your live and the lives of everyone on board to save her, didn’t you?”


“What are you talking about?” Will demanded


“Didn’t you!” Lawson screamed at him.


“I risked my life to save her as I would any member of the crew.”


“Yes well, at the time, I saw it as a threat to lives so I investigated further. What I stumbled on was more than I ever could have imagined.”


Will shifted nervously in his seat. 'Where was this going? Had he been the one at the center of this man's attention and not the Captain?'


“I set your young friend,” he pointed to Ojarz, “to work on finding everything out about the relationship between you and the Counselor, and what a job he did. I knew you were close to him and I would be able to manipulate him, unlike others close to you.”


Pushing back from the table, Will stood and began walking toward Ojarz. “You…” Data stopped the Commander before he could reach the young man. “How could you?” he asked Ojarz.


Ojarz refused to look at Will, but he knew his eyes were burning a hole through his soul. “Will, sit down,” Picard ordered.


Will did as he was told, all the time thinking of what he had told the man he thought was his friend. They had known each other for over a year, since Ojarz had joined the band and Will had treated the younger man as a brother. He had never really asked about Will's relationship with Deanna until this week.


Seeing no harm in telling him the history of their relationship, he had done so freely, believing the young man would keep it to himself. They were close and the thought that Ojarz would do something to hurt him never entered his mind.


Will heard someone clear their throat and he looked up to see the eyes of everyone in the room on him. “Will?” Picard asked.


“Sorry,” Will said trying to keep his thoughts on what was going on.


“I asked if you would have conducted yourself in the same manner during your last mission if Counselor Troi had been on the Enterprise?” Lawson asked standing over the First Officer.


“I believe so.”


“You see that’s why she left, I needed to see how you would behave if you were under the added pressure of being separated from your precious Imzadi,” he spat the last word at Riker and Will fought to keep his anger at bay.


“I don’t care who you are, you better watch your mouth,” he said rising to his feet.


“Relax Commander, you passed your little test. When I saw you rescue that woman today, I realized you would do the same for anyone no matter who they were. I guess it’s just that caring nature the Captain keeps reminding me of.”


Lawson returned to his seat unfazed by the situation. “Any questions?”


Will leaned forward on the table. “Who knew? Apart from you and him.”


A smile lit his face. “Well, I had to tell the Captain and of course the lovely Counselor, otherwise my plan wouldn’t have worked.”


Will looked down to where Deanna sat, she looked directly back at him, a tear forming in the corner of her eye. The Captain he could understand, but her; she had put him through so much torment over the last few days and it had all been for nothing. He felt as if his heart had been used as a torpedo and he had the emotional scars to prove it.


“Aww, how sweet,” Lawson said before rising to his feet once again. “It’s been charming but my time here is done.”


He left the room only silence following him. “Dismissed,” Picard finally ordered and all but Will and Deanna left.


Deanna moved to sit next to Will reaching out to take his hand. “Can you forgive me?” She asked.


He answered her question with a question of his own. “Were you ordered to do this?”


“Of course, do you think I did it for fun? It was just as hard on me as it was on you.”


“I doubt that,” He retaliated. “You knew what was happening.”


“Do you think that made it any easier for me?” she questioned. “It hurt me that you thought things between us were over, I felt what you felt.”


“I guess it was a taste of my own medicine,” Will said rising to his feet and moving to the window.




“All those years ago. I got to feel what you felt when I left you on Betazed.” There was no malice in his voice and sounded perfectly calm as if it had all become clear.


“Will, you know that was not my intention, I did this for you, for us.”


He turned to face her as she approached. “I know,” and he believed it. She would never risk something they had waited so long for just for a simple taste of revenge, it wasn’t who she was. She loved him enough to put him before herself and that was now clearer to him than the pain that he had suffered through.


“I never want to feel like that again,” he said reaching out to take her into his arms.


Deanna sighed into his chest and wrapped her arms tightly around him. “Say you forgive me and I promise you never will.”


He moved slightly out of her embrace. “I can’t forgive you.”


Not surprised by his answer, Deanna’s eyes dropped to the floor, this was it for them. She had hurt him too deeply and now she was going to have to pay the consequences.


Will lifted her chin with his finger, startled by the tears running down her cheek. “I can’t forgive you, because I have nothing to forgive you for.”


Deanna’s breath caught. “But…”


“But nothing. It’s like you said, you did it for us. I won’t say I wasn’t hurt by what happened, but if we are together then I won’t have to feel like that again. I couldn’t handle losing you again.”


Deanna broke down into his arms at his words and the two of them slid down to the floor, still holding each other. “I thought I’d lost you.”


Both of them were exhausted by the emotional rollercoster they had ridden the past few days. It had finally come to an end and they had survived. What it would do to their relationship in the long term was in the stars, but for now they had each other and that was all that mattered.


Gently he brushed his lips over hers. “You couldn’t lose me if you tried Imzadi.”


She reached up and drew his mouth back to hers, pulling away breathless moments later.


“I think you should be aware of Mother’s feelings towards you,” she said smiling and resting her forehead on his. Will laughed and pulled her closer.


“She sends her love then,” he asked sarcastically.


Deanna nodded. “And instructions.” She leaned into him and whispered in his ear.


A smile lit up his face and the previous days events were all but forgotten. “I think we can manage that. How about we make a head start?”


Her eyes widened with the realization of what he was saying. Her only response was to kiss him.


The End