TITLE: Icarus And Psyche (1/1)
AUTHOR: Leyenn
E-MAIL: Leyenn@aol.com
RATING: G, pretty much.
PAIRING: Riker/Troi (look! het! *sniggers*)
SPOILERS: 'The Icarus Factor'
SERIES: Nah. Well, *maybe*... ish. Can I get back to you on that one?
SUMMARY: Reflections on family.
DISCLAIMER: Nothing here is mine, as usual. I do this purely out of love and
respect for the series and the characters, and I wouldn't even *want* to
write it for money. No, seriously. I'm being honest here!
ARCHIVE: If you think it's worth your time, put my name on it and it's yours.

Icarus And Psyche
By Leyenn@aol.com

It was dark outside her window as Deanna Troi padded out of bed, dressed in
nothing but a long white shift that floated to her ankles as she moved
through into the main room of her cabin, brushing her loose hair back with
one hand. Of course, the darkness outside was almost a given unless the ship
happened to be in close orbit somewhere, but still it brought to the
planet-bred mind the immediate thought of night-time, no matter how long
you'd had to accustom yourself to its presence. The fact that it was nearly
one in the morning by her chrono also added to the sensation, and likewise to
the craving for some chocolate to stave off what seemed to be becoming a
chronic case of insomnia.    

She knew why she couldn't sleep, of course. She could feel him standing
outside her door, waiting. Not for her - he knew her code as well as his own,
if he needed to come in that badly - but for his own indecision to fall one
way or the other; to bring him inside or take him back the dozen steps to
behind the wall that usually separated them this late at night. She
considered moving to the door, calling his bluff and opening the lock to see
what he would say, when she found him lurking in the corridor outside her
quarters in the middle of the night shift... but then, he knew she would be
awake, probably knew she would do that if he waited too long. Which was
precisely why she wasn't going to force matters, and precisely why she placed
her midnight snack above Will Riker's restless legs right now.    

The door slid open - did she imagine it, or was it quieter at night? His
voice certainly was, although the corridor beyond would be hours empty of
other people. "Mind if I come in?"    

She flashed him a warm smile, not even bothering to be surprised at his
appearance, and gestured with one hand at the couch behind her. "Of course
not. Would you like a drink?"    

He smiled back gratefully, making his way to the couch with some obvious
relief. "Surprise me."    

She chuckled quietly, removed the steaming hot chocolate from the replicator
slot and keyed another long-practiced request into the console. When she
turned back to sit down she handed him a clear spirit glass: he swirled the
blue liquid speculatively, taking a tentative sniff before flashing her a
bemused glance over the rim. "Betazoid brandy?"    

She smiled from behind the coffee glass cupped between her palms. "Surprise."

"It's been a while." He examined the liquid once more and then took an
experimental mouthful to test its potency. He seemed to approve, although he
couldn't resist teasing her. "Not quite as good as the real thing..." Troi
rolled her eyes from behind her own drink.    

"I'm afraid the first officer confiscated my supply. Something about
quarantine regulations?"    

"Ah." He grinned good-naturedly and eyed his glass again. "Well, in that
case, I guess I can survive."    

"You want to talk." She didn't insult him by making it a question,
deliberately reaching inside herself to 'switch off' her analytical,
counselling mind. It would be a mistake, always, to attempt to counsel Will
Riker the way she would any other member of the crew, particularly at one in
the morning. Because Will Riker was not, in any way, just another member of
the crew. Especially not to her.    

"I couldn't just come to enjoy your fine taste in brandy?"    

Troi raised her eyebrows. She didn't even bother to mention the absurdity of
his coming over at one in the morning for a replicated nightcap. "If that was
all you wanted you'd be in your own quarters with the real thing. So talk,

He sighed, although she spotted a rueful surrender in his eyes for just a
moment when she invoked that most intense of privacies between them. But she
knew him - she knew what he was here to say, what he wanted to talk about,
and he wasn't about to open up for anything less.    

"What did you think of him?" Seeing the thoughtful look on her face, he
added, "Honest truth. I didn't come here for counselling."    

To anyone else, the question would have seemed sudden, out of the blue, but
Deanna had been waiting for it for hours now. She frowned, then allowed
herself a low sigh. "My honest opinion?" At his nod she sat back into the
chair and wrapped her arms around herself, taking another sip of chocolate.
"I didn't like him. I didn't like who you were when you were with him."    

He raised his eyebrows, unsure how to take that. "Well, they do say fate will
eventually turn us all into our parents, no matter how we try to avoid it."  

She winced. "Gods, I hope not."    

Riker grinned wryly. "I admit the idea doesn't exactly fill me with joy,

"You came close to it today, Will."    

His amusement faded almost instantly. "Too close." He took an angry gulp of
the brandy, his emotions so strong in her mind she could almost feel it burn
down his throat. "Promise next time you'll just kill me before it goes that

Amusement flickered across her lips, but she raised her eyebrows in a
challenge he would allow only her to get away with. "Rather me than your
father, is that it?"    

He gave her a roguish smile, the way he always did when he was trying to get
away with something. "Rather you than anyone, Counselor."    

She ignored the barb in her title, finishing the sentence for him. "And
rather anyone than your father."    

"He doesn't *feel* like my father!" His glass made a sharp 'clink' against
the coffee table as he thrust himself out of the couch, his body finally
giving way to the restlessness of those emotions she had felt in him for days
now. "Everyone on *board* knows him but me, Deanna. Watching him in Ten
Forward... it was like Jesus healing the masses. The perfect Kyle Riker," he
put on an overly arrogant tone, pacing back on himself to look down to her
still sitting there in her nightgown, unsettlingly calm in her chair. "Great
career, friends with half of Starfleet, a woman in every port..."    

"Sounds familiar." She took a sip of hot chocolate to hide from the glare he
shot her. "If you didn't want the truth, Will, you should have told me. I
have to be prepared if I'm supposed to lie convincingly." He held her gaze a
moment longer - a long moment longer - at such an outrageous statement, then
finally looked away with a frustrated sigh and raked a hand back through his

"He was just so goddamn *likeable*, Deanna. Everybody's friend, all smiles
and charm-"    

"And that's not how he was with you."    

He stared at her - trying to work out how she could take such a simple,
horrendously obvious statement and turn it into the revelation that just
spilled out everything that crowded into his jumbled mind. He had an
unsettling feeling that it had a lot less to do with the words than it did
the kind of trick a well-mannered Betazoid like Deanna wasn't supposed to
try, but he purposefully ignored it. Given how difficult he'd been for her
over the years, she was entitled to keep some secrets up her sleeve.    

"That's never been how he is with me." Pacing again, he stopped unconsciously
between her chair and the window, gazing out at the stars streaking past.
"Fifteen years, Deanna. And he wants to just forget it all - be 'family'
again, like nothing ever happened." He shook his head helplessly, staring
fixedly out into the cold of space beyond her window. "Am I really supposed
to be able to do that?"    

There was a heavy pause, as if she were considering her answer; the only
sound in the room was a quiet chink as her glass was placed next to his. Then
her hand rested gently on his back, and a moment later he felt her press
close to his side, following his gaze out into the blackness. She felt warmer
than usual through the thin shift she was wearing; he'd barely even noticed
it until now, as her bare arm snaked around his waist. "Truthfully?"    

He looked down at her. "Yes."    

She rubbed her palm gently between his shoulders and laid her cheek against
his upper arm. "I couldn't."    

He felt his shoulders drop, his muscles unconsciously relaxing under her
hands; he hadn't even realised how tense he'd been until she said that. How
tense he'd been for days now, ever since he'd stepped into that transporter
room and gotten his worst surprise in years. He was insanely reminded, in
total opposition to what he'd felt then, of the instant he'd stepped out from
behind Jean-Luc Picard's shoulder to find Deanna standing there in front of
him. A ghost from the past, or so he'd thought - but a welcome one. He hadn't
realised how much he'd missed her until he knew he could reach out and touch
her, feel that she was real the way he could feel her against him now.
Nothing at all like this past week - not being able to turn around without
another confrontation, another pitiful attempt at reconciliation with too
much need and not enough understanding on either side. And now the total
confusion of knowing that they were so different, but so similar - a
knowledge he still wasn't even the slightest inch comfortable with - and
actually having believed, for an instant that afternoon, that a single 'I
love you, son' that was decades overdue could be enough to sort out the mass
of conflicting emotions in his head.    

"You know, he was so sure that you'd take this mission." Troi's voice was
quiet, as if she were thinking aloud. He frowned in surprise.    

"You talked to him about me?"    

"Only briefly. In a purely professional capacity." She looked up in time to
see the look that flickered through his eyes and gave him an incredulous
stare. "You're suggesting I would have told him about us?"    

"I don't know. I didn't really consider it." He sounded thoughtful. "I'm not
sure it's any of his damn business."    

"I think I like it better that way." His frown deepened, closer to concern
this time, and she wondered why it surprised her that he would side with her
rather than Kyle Riker at even the merest hint of a problem. "To be honest,
Will... I don't think *he* liked *me*."    

He actually scowled then, although she could clearly feel that it was
directed light years away from her. "Why the hell not?"    

"Will." She smiled reassuringly and moved to face him, unconsciously framing
herself against the darkness outside as she laid a placating hand on his arm.
"Not every Human is comfortable with someone who can see behind their walls,
much less someone trained and employed to do just that. I've put up with my
share of that distrust, believe me. In your father's case, at least the fear
is somewhat justified."    

He looked sceptical - and definitely still angry, although she could feel him
already trying to control it. He still remembered fragments of what she had
taught him, even after this long, and it was one of his most endearing
qualities that he tried to guard himself like that around her, to tone down
the mental pressure he knew such fierce emotion could produce. She found it
suddenly ironic that he could be so much better at it out of simple concern
for her, where Kyle's distrust had scrabbled up only the most rudimentary of
barriers - that of intense, overriding emotion - against her mind.     Riker
was looking at her in confusion now. "If this was a purely professional
encounter...?" He raised his eyebrows in question. Troi shrugged.    

"I went no deeper than I would with any of my patients. But it's very hard
not to read someone when they are, as the saying goes, thinking constantly of
the camel's left kneecap."    

He snorted with sudden amusement at the image that presented. "You're saying
he was that afraid of what you might see, he just mentally," he waved his
hand, "poured it all out?" She nodded sincerely.    

"It's a common trait in people who are distrustful of telepaths. Which, by
the way, I could distinctly tell he thought I was."    

"And you didn't enlighten him?"    

Her smile was innocent. "No, I didn't. How remiss of me."    

He actually laughed then, for the first time in days, flashing her that grin
that took seven years off him and made his eyes sparkle the way they always
had. She smiled along with him and tapped a playful finger on his lips.    

"Now, if your father could get you to do that, maybe you could both start to
make some progress."    

He shrugged. "It's been fifteen years, Dea. You know me better than he does."

"I know you better than anyone." It was simple fact, and she treated it as
such. He smiled; and, much to her sudden - and pleasant - surprise, pulled
her around into his arms and hugged her tightly to him.    

"You know, you're more family to me than anyone I know?"    

She brushed back that errant lock of hair that always fell out of place on
his forehead and traced her fingertips down his cheek, a fond smile in her
eyes as she looked at him. "Will, what we have - what we'll always have, no
matter what... it goes beyond family."    

He arched his eyebrows in mock challenge. "Even yours?"    

Troi rolled her eyes playfully; she knew better than to be drawn by Will
Riker. "Perhaps."    

He let that pass, but he couldn't resist teasing her just a little. "You
know, we're pretty much even now."    

She raised her eyebrows. "'Even'?"    

"Your mother wasn't overly enamoured with me when we talked about *you*, as I

"Well, given what you'd been doing for three days before that..."    

"What *I* was doing?!" His arms were still around her waist, her hands
resting lightly on his shoulders, and he took advantage of the closeness to
send a wave of decidedly erotic memories into her mind. "I don't remember you
giving me a whole lot of choice in the matter."    

She smiled softly. "There are always choices, Will."    

He allowed that, but still... "And did I make the right one?"    

He suddenly felt very much closer than she'd noticed before, and that sudden
vulnerability echoed clearly in her mind. Indecision wasn't in Will Riker's
nature, but she knew him well enough to see its rare appearance where another
wouldn't. Another such as Kyle Riker, for example. "Then, or today?"    

He sighed, but the smile he gave her was affectionate. "I knew I could count
on you for that."    

"Today." She cocked her head, curious. "Why are you still here, Will?"    

He looked straight into her eyes, then; his reply was quiet in the dark room,
and gentler and more sincere than she had heard from him in a long while.
"You know why."    

She stared at him in astonishment. When she spoke, her voice was hushed and
she sounded stunned. "You're actually serious."    

"I'm not asking. Not yet... maybe not ever." He ran a hand tenderly over her
hair and smiled hopefully. "But I couldn't say goodbye, Deanna. Not yet.
Being here, on the *Enterprise*... it feels more like family than my own
father. Maybe I'm just not ready to give that up."    

"'Motivated self-interest'?" she teased. He chuckled, twirling a curl of dark
hair absently around one finger.    

"I don't know... I'm starting to revise that idea."    

"Will." The tone of her voice was a reprimand in itself, a warning of the
boundaries set between them - boundaries that felt oddly hazy this late at
night, standing in each others' arms with only hours since she had imagined
he might be leaving her again. "We had an agreement..."    

"And if I had taken the assignment on the *Aries*?" He touched her face and
brought her head up, intense blue eyes searching hers. "Could you still have
let us end that way? With no regrets?"    

She swallowed, holding her voice steady by only a thin thread as he caught
her in that honest gaze. "There are always regrets, Imzadi."    

"And there are always choices?" His mouth was less than an inch from hers
now, so close she could feel the warmth of his skin brushing hers, the heat
in his eyes that she hadn't seen there for a long while now - that maybe, she
hadn't let herself see until it was almost too late...    

"Yes." She melted into him, pressed her lips to his and wound her arms around
his neck to pull his head down. "Always."    

And then there was the amazing, dizzying intensity of emotion that she had
always felt with him as the kiss deepened, reflected back and back forever
between them... but still, something niggled at the edge of her senses, a
mutter of distraction read from a corner of his mind.    

She blinked. "Will?"    

He tried - why, she didn't know - not to look uncomfortable. Although he did
have the good grace not to bother pretending there was nothing else bothering
him. "This... discussion. With my father."    

Deanna lifted an eyebrow, levelling her voice to just a touch of amusement.

"Really, purely professional? You weren't even curious?"    

She leaned back into the broad span of his hands on her back and smiled
mischievously. "All right... I admit, a little. You've never said a lot about
your father, and I wanted to make sure you weren't playing the Icarus to his
fatherly advice."     He chuckled at the seemingly elaborate metaphor.

She smiled. "Icarus, in your ancient mythology, ignored his father and let
his own blind ambition rule his decisions, despite his father's attempts to
reach out to him. That same ambition was ultimately what got him killed."    

Riker grinned and pulled her closer. "Ah... but Icarus, that I remember, was
never blessed with his very own Psyche to keep that dreaded ambition in

"Psyche wasn't entirely stable herself," she retorted. He chuckled.    

"You're digging yourself into a hole, Counselor."    

"Nothing you couldn't pull me out of, I'm sure," she teased back. "Icarus was
able to fly, after all."    

"And crashed back to earth rather spectacularly," he added dourly. "Not
exactly a metaphor I'd like to take to its ultimate conclusion."    

"Then we should find something else to discuss."    

Riker grinned wolfishly and tightened his hands on her back, pulling her
flush against him. "I think that's enough discussion for one night."    

She looked up into his face, and although she made no move to push him away,
the expression on her face was more than a little bemused. "I thought you
weren't asking?" she teased. He looked down at her and smiled, tenderly
brushing hair from her face.    

"Maybe we shouldn't have to ask any more."    

A smile touched her lips. "Maybe."

[END 1/1]