Lieutenant junior grade Jean-Luc Picard walked into Ten Forward. It was much
the same as he remembered it, the colors, the style, the atmosphere. But something
was missing. At first he chalked it up to his own disorientation, not being
in command of the Enterprise, being a relatively minor officer attached to Astrophysics
of all places. No, it was something else, though.
Picard looked around again and realized that the one person he had come to associate unfailingly with Ten Forward was missing. Guinan. Well, it only made sense, he supposed. If he had never done all the things that he so clearly remembered doing, then he had never met Guinan, either. Still, it was an odd feeling, almost like a sense of loss. Almost more so then the loss of his ship, his command the life he remembered.
Well, no matter, he had no time to worry about that right then. Spotting the very people he sought, the two people he most trusted in times of trouble, Picard made his way over to their table. Well, some things never changed, he thought as he spotted them together. In the dozen or so steps it took for him to walk from the door to their table, he realized that Q had, indeed, kept his word. Nothing else had changed.
Well, upon closer inspection, maybe that wasn't entirely true. Sure, Riker and Troi had always been close, had always shared a bond that no one else understood, let alone pretended to. But this was something different. AlmostPicard's eyes narrowed slightly. Almost like a rekindling of their previous relationship.
Neither had ever spoken of their past, had never really spoken of their time together at all. It was just general knowledge that some time before they served together on the Enterprise, William T. Riker and Deanna Troi had beeninvolved. Although Picard suspected that was too tame a word.
Yes, he thought, as he moved closer, something was different. The way they looked at each other, the way Troi's eyes smiled into Riker's, the way his hand lightly caressed the back of her neck, as if he had no sense of doing so, it was just an automatic reaction to their being in such close proximity. Maybe, because of him and his choices, then their choices had also been altered.
But that didn't make any sense. For one, Q had promised that nothing else would be altered by his, Picard's, choices. And as far as Picard could see, nothing else had altered. For another, Picard doubted very much that his presence had anything to do with their relationship not taking that crucial step forward.
All this went through Picard's mind in the ten seconds it took for him to traverse those dozen or so steps. Upon arriving at the table, he didn't let on any of his thoughts on his observations, merely asked, "Am I interrupting anything?" ****** "All senior officers to the bridge," The chime sounded. Riker rose, automatically obeying the command, not noticing Picard's response.
Troi placed a hand on Lieutenant Picard's arm and said, "We should talk about this later." She sounded worried, as if she knew exactly the turmoil his thoughts were in. And, being an empath, she probably did.
Riker stepped down onto the main floor and turned to wait for Troi. He had no idea what suddenly made Lieutenant Picard soassertive, but now wasn't the time to discuss it. Troi shortly joined him and he allowed her to step ahead of him, placing a hand on the small of her back. ******* It was sometime later, after the captain had briefed them on the current mission, peace negotiations between two warring factions both of the same planet, that Will and Deanna were able to catch up with each other again.
They did not know that Lieutenant junior grade Picard had since been returned to his proper status. They did not know that Captain Thomas Halloway was really not in command of the starship Enterprise. And they did not know that they weren't supposed to be involved with each otheryet
All they knew was that it had been a long day and tomorrow was going to prove to be just as long. So as they settled into Riker's quarters, jazz music playing softly in the background, dinner cleared away, and cups of coffee cooling in their mugs, they did not realize that this was not real, that this was as much an illusion as anything Q had ever done.
They did not realize this because they had never heard of Q; they had never heard of Q because Captain Halloway had never encountered Q. That was all Picard's doing, his fate, his destiny, so to speak. And, though Q had promised Picard that nothing else was going to change, well, being Q, helied. Not that it mattered, because this timeline was no more, this time line had never existed in the first place. And in the end, this would never really have happened.
None of that mattered to the couple sitting on the couch, discussing the day's events.
"Are you going to speak with Lieutenant Picard again?" Will asked as Deanna settled herself in his arms.
"Yes. He seemedtroubled. His thoughts were all a-whirl and the strongest feeling I was able to get from him was a sense of overwhelming confusion andwrongness. Is that even a word?" She rested her head against his chest and listened to his heartbeat. It beat in perfect time with hers.
And suddenly she wasn't in the mood for conversation. She wanted Will with an intensity that bordered on panic. As if they didn't make the most of their time together, then they would wake up tomorrow and find it had all been a dream.
Some of what she was feeling must have transferred itself to Will, because he tilted her head up and kissed her. Softly at first, as if to calm her panic, then with more intensity. Slipping his tongue between her lips, he met and retreated, met and retreated with hers.
Her taste was so familiar, so coveted. And he was suddenly glad that they had finally, finally, gotten back together. It had taken six long years, but now that they were, nothing was ever going to break them apart again.
Deanna shifted, moving over his lap to straddle him, grinding into his erection, running her hands down his chest, finding the hidden zipper to his uniform top and opening it to expose him to her. She quickly pulled the material off his body and moved her lips over his skin, tasting the slight saltiness, flicking her tongue over his nipples.
She felt his hand, so large, so warm, and so very familiar, move to her jumpsuit's side zipper, felt it slide downward and the material pool at her waist. And then Will's lips were trailing over her, teasing the hollow of her neck, tracing the tops of her breasts, before finally closing over one straining nipple. He pulled it into his mouth, teeth lightly scrapping over it before his tongue soothed the small hurt away.
She cried out, both aloud and in her mind, Imzadi.
Setting her on her feet, Will stood up and quickly divested her of the tangle her jumpsuit had become. Deanna's hands moved to his uniform pants to speed along the process and soon they were standing in front of each other. For an all too brief a moment in time they started. Their eyes locked and everything they ever wanted to say to each other was conveyed in those ultimately too short moments.
Deanna made the first move, closing the small gap between them to wind her arms around his neck and bring her leg up to his waist. Will gasped at the intimate contact and didn't need to be told twice. He picked her up and, as their mouths continued their assault, carried her the few short steps to the bedroom. He set her gently on the bed and, not breaking contact of any kind with her, entered her in one swift thrust.
Their minds had joined as surely as their bodies and, incongruously, or maybe not so given the fact that they were Imzadi, they could feel everything that the other was feeling. Each sensation, once separate, now melded together, forming a swirling mass of emotion and feeling that congealed into one. Deanna arched her back in time to meet Will's thrusts, anchoring her legs higher on his waist, drawing him deeper into her.
With their minds linked as well as their bodies, Will and Deanna raced towards that once illusive peak, trying to out-race something that neither understood, but that drove them both to go faster, harder, deeper. And right before they reached that peak, Will's eyes snapped open.
"Deanna, Imzadi, look at me."
Her eyes opened, locked onto his, and they fell of the peak together, their cries echoing around the room and in each other's minds.
Long minutes later, Will rolled off her, pulling her with him as he settled onto his back, tugging the sheet up to cover their cooling bodies. Automatically Deanna sprawled onto his chest, listening to his heart beating in time with hers.
Neither said anything for a long while, for really there was nothing to say. Finally, as sleep was claiming them, Will said, "I love you, Imzadi." It might have been a bit repetitive, but for some reason he felt compelled to say the words aloud anyway.
Deanna, for her part, didn't care. "I love you, too, Imzadi."
And they slept, wrapped around each other as though nothing could separate them. Secure in the knowledge that, at least in their world, everything was right and true. They were Imzadi and together and nothing could change that. ********* Commander William T. Riker woke at his normal time, feeling less then refreshedand all alone. He blinked the sleep from his eyes and wondered at his dream. If he concentrated just right, he could still feel Deanna curled in his arms, still taste her skin, the scent of her and their passion still hung in the air, clinging to him.
He could still feel her in his mind, as much a part of him as anything else.
He thought about calling out to her with his mind. Rusty though he was, Riker was sure she would hear and respond. But something held him back. Made him rethink that instinctive mental process. He wasn't sure what it was, but he decided to heed it rather than ignore it.
He had an 0700 briefing with the captain. Picard was supposed to beam back down to the planet where, just a day before, he had been struck by a stray energy blast and had almost died. Maybe that was it, Riker thought as he ate a quick breakfast, reviewing the nights duty log as he did so. Maybe it was Picard's experience with Q and the second chance the entity had offered him that caused Riker to dream about Deanna.
Yes, that was it. ********** Counselor Deanna Troi woke at her normal time, feeling less then refreshedand all alone. She blinked the sleep from her eyes and wondered at her dream. If she concentrated just right, she could still feel Will's arm curled around her, still taste his skin, the scent of her and their passion still hung in the air, clinging to him.
She could still feel him in her mind, as much a part of her as anything else.
She thought about calling out to him with her mind. Rusty though she knew him to be, Deanna was sure he would hear and respond. But something held her back. Made her rethink that instinctive mental process. She wasn't sure what it was, but she decided to heed it rather than ignore it.
Eating a quiet breakfast for one, Troi reviewed her scheduled appointments for the day. There was an 0700 briefing with the captain. Picard was supposed to beam back down to the planet where, just a day before, he had been struck by a stray energy blast and had almost died. Maybe that was it, Troi thought as she finished her breakfast. Last night as they had shared drinks in Ten Forward Riker had told her a bit about Picard's experience with Q and the second chance the entity had offered him. Maybe that was the cause of Deanna's dream about Will.
Yes, that was it. ********* Q looked on in disgust. Well, he thought, it seemed that Picard was the only one to realize the lesson he had wanted to give. "Look at that," he said to no one in particular, for no one else was sitting on the hull of the Enterprise as they orbited the blue and green planet. "I try to be nice, try to show others the error of their ways, and look what happens. Nothing."
He shook his head in a decidedly human fashion, though if anyone had told him that they would have suddenly found themselves as a Klingon Targ. "Second chances come along once in a very great while, children. One should always take them when one has the opportunity to do so."
Disgusted, but this time deciding that he was unmistakably finished with helping these helpless humans, Q rose to leave. It was then that his attention was caught by a light flickering in one of the windows.
Q chuckled. In point of fact, he started to laughed, a great big belly laugh actually (if Q had had a belly that is). "Well," he said still to no one in particular. "It seems that my lesson was heeded after all." And with a snap of his fingers and a flash of light that was purely for dramatic purposes, Q disappeared. ******** Commander William T. Riker and Counselor Deanna Troi sat in Riker's quarters sharing a meal. They laughed and joked as they always did, secure in the knowledge that they were Imzadi, and while they weren't necessarily together in that particular sense of the word, nothing could separate them. Everything, at least between them in their world, was right and true. They were Imzadi and together and nothing could change that.