The Challenge...

I've only read but a handful of stories involving 'Man of the People' (one of my fav R/T episodes), well, how about you continue from the end where Will and Dea are talking on her couch. I want to know how Will felt at the moment Deanna died.

We all assume that if either of them died, it would be terribly traumatic for the one still, just how did he feel? Can he discuss it with her? Or maybe she needs to pull it out for her own curiosity!

Make it serious, funny, whatever. Dig into his mind a little bit :)


So with that said, a response to the challenge....hope you like it.


“The Protector”


“Stupid---stubborn thing.” She grunted as she threw all her weight pulling on the piece of furniture.

“Deanna, what in the hell are you doing?” Riker barked as he stood in the threshold of her quarters.

Deanna jumped startled by the authority of his voice, she breathed in deeply reclaiming some of her calm. “I’m trying to move this couch. Are you going to stand there and bark orders or are you going to help me?”

“Why in the hell do you want to move the couch?” he asked, already taking large steps forward. “Never mind. Move aside.” He ordered as he grabbed the end of the large sofa and shifted it forward with comparative ease.

Deanna reached under the lifted piece of furniture and retrieved her bracelet. “You can let it down now.”

Riker did as he was instructed and gently lowered the heavy piece of furniture.

“I’ve been wrestling with that piece of furniture for an hour.” She said as she put the delicate bracelet on her wrist.

“You should have asked for. . .” Riker suddenly stopped talking, he noticed how she was fanning her hand as if in pain.

“Let me see.” He mumbled grabbing her hands in his and turning them palm up. “Damn it, Deanna. You have no business trying to pick up a piece of furniture that weighs almost three times as much as you do.”

“I’m fine.” She said, trying to pull her hand from his, but he refused to let go.

“You’re not fine.” He said, noticing the scratch that ran along her palm. “Why in the hell didn’t you ask for my help, instead of trying to do everything by yourself?”

“Oh so now, you think retrieving my bracelet is too hazardous of a task for me?” She tugged at her wrist but he refused to release her.

“No I think moving this damn piece of furniture is.”

“I’m not as fragile as you think I am Will.”

“Oh really! Your hand has an ugly scratch. And, have you looked in the mirror lately? You look a mess.”

Deanna’s clothes were rumpled; her hair, which was usually in proper place, was a mess with tendrils of hair falling across her face. She blew a stray strand away from her forehead, “I’m sure, I look a bit dis-leveled, but none the worse for wear.” She said. “I’m fine.” She snapped.

“You’re not fine, you’re bleeding.”

“It’s a scratch.” She said trying once again to pull her hands free.

“What are you doing here anyway?” she asked.

“I heard you grunting and groaning fighting with your furniture.” He lied. “We are neighbors you know, and the walls are thin.”

“Nice try. Liar.”

“So, you can chew my butt out later for lying.” He said tugging at her hand. “I’ll take you to sick-bay.”

“For Goodness sake! Will don’t be ridiculous.” She said trying to jerk away from him, yet he still refused to release her. “It’s a simple scratch.”

“You could get an infection.”

“Will, I’m not a child! Stop it!”

“I know you’re not a child, you’re Super Woman.”

“Oh my gods…do you know what you sound like? My mother. You sound like my mother! ”

“Okay so I sound like your mother, what’s wrong with that? We both care about you.”

She looked at him with pity in her eyes and her shoulders fell. “I know you care.” She whispered softly. Deanna inhaled and gathered her thoughts. “But you’re smothering me. You treat me as if I’m some sort of fragile crystal glass that would shatter at the slightest touch. I don’t need---.”

“You don’t know what you need. That much is obvious, if you did, you wouldn’t be standing here in front of me all banged up.” He was beginning to get angry now.

“If I wasn’t standing here in front of you, where would I be? Back on Betazed, sitting on a nice cushioned silk chair, ordering my servants around, just as mother would have me do? Or perhaps I would become your wife and spend the rest of my days locked up in a sanitary cabin, waiting for my night and shining armor to come home from slaying dragons, with only my chocolates for entertainment.” She jerked her wrists from his grip and glared at him, he glared back. “And Gods helps us if one of those sweet delights should happen to melt and soil my delicate hands.”

“Damn it, Deanna. I told myself that I would take care of you, and I meant it.”

“And who appointed you my guardian, or have you taken a sacred oath to be lord of my well being?” she snapped.

He stood there silent, burying everything he was feeling deep within himself. “I’m sorry I intruded, Counselor.” He forced himself to calm down. “If you need any more assistance with moving furniture, I’m sure Data would be more than happy to help you.”

“So I’m Counselor now? Funny whenever you want a friend I’m Deanna, but whenever you want to throw your rank around and act like the true bully that you are, I suddenly become Counselor.”

He stood there and glared at her for a few more seconds.

His face broke into a devilish grin. “Okay---Deanna. You want to talk---so talk.”

“It kills you to show any sign of weakness doesn’t it?”

“If you say so, you’re the one with the degree.”

“I say so.”

He gave her a look that stated, ‘who the hell cares.’

Tears of anger began to fill her eyes. “Damn it! Will Riker, you’re going to listen to me or I swear I’ll never speak to you again.” She shouted. He had only heard her raise your voice one other time, and he usually deserved it.

Like a chastened child, Riker straightened his posture.

“You doing it to me again, you’re shutting me out. And what’s worse you’re doing it on purpose.”

“I wouldn’t have to shut you out if you’d stop traipsing around the ship like your some sort of Wonder Woman.”

Her words seethed with anger. “Why are you being so difficult?”

Why? He thought, because of what he went through only five days ago, when Beverly pronounced the time of her death, he saw her laying there, and he suddenly felt helpless, unable to lift a finger to help her. He felt a life force within him diminish, he felt a pain so far down deep within his spirit that he wanted to scream out in agony, yet he refrained, all he could do was silently scream out to the gods from the depth of his spirit and pray that they bring her back. And to be honest, unlike anything else he had been through in his life, it had scared the hell out of him. And when she came back he swore silently to himself that he would never allow any thing to ever happen to her again.

Pain etched itself across his features as he stood there and silently looked at her, frozen in time, frozen in the heartache. It took him a moment to speak, but when he did it was quiet. “Difficult? Yeah, I guess that’s a way to say it. When you…” he tried to force the words from his throat but they had a mind of their own and refused to come out, so he began again, “When you were gone, something happened to me. I still don’t know what it was, and gods I’m not even sure I can describe it, but something happened to me Deanna---I pray that you don’t ever have to know a hurt like that. ”

She sensed his raw emotions and felt his pain, suddenly she was in his arms so fast, that it took his breath. Her arms were around his neck, her body up against his, he reflexively wrapped his arms around her, and enjoyed her closeness.

“Don’t you think I felt it too Will. I didn’t want to die. But I did, and then I saw you; I saw you standing there, with your hand out, calling for me to come back and I knew immediately that I was safe, that you would protect me and keep me, and bring me back home. You were with me, even in that dark place, you were always with me.” She admitted, he felt her warm breath as she spoke against his chest. “And when I came to all I wanted to do was reach out and take your hand.”

After a while her hand slipped down his shoulders, and he gently pushed her away. “Deanna….” He began; her face was between his hands now. She was in his blood stream, she always had been, always would be. Riker smiled, “I’m going to kiss you now, and I hope that you don’t feel any sudden urge to rip the hell out of my neck.”

Deanna let out a laugh and wiped the tears away from under her eyes. “I’ll try to contain myself.” The moment his lips touched hers, he knew that he was lost and all restraint that he had ever had flew out the window.