Disclaimer: need I say more?


Setting: Before Nemesis; after Insurrection

Rated; PG-13 ???


Buzzing around the Enterprise, Deanna Troi felt like a new woman, she found herself happy with her decision to agree with Will, about their recent decision to end their rekindled relationship. Nevertheless, it was actually his idea, he was getting cold feet and she knew it. The two of them were getting close too close. She wanted marriage and all he wanted was a live in. So she stood strong and agreed that the best thing to do was to remain the best of friends; she was pleased with herself--- that she didn’t turn into a blubbering, bawling idiot when he told her he thought it best if they saw other people. However, the question remained; could she resist the charms of a certain commander named Riker?

Yes, she could, she had a plan. Humming down the corridors of the ship, she happily entered the turbo-lift and pivoted around on one foot, “Deck Eight.” She told the computer, the soft whirring sound vibrated inside the small enclosure of the car.

The doors to the tubo-lift opened and Deanna almost bounced as she walked down the corridors, “Good afternoon, Commander.” She stated with a broad smile, standing on her tiptoes she kissed him lightly on the cheek and continued her bounce down the corridor.

Commander Riker called after her questionably. “Are you all right?” he asked. Damn she got over him quickly. It had only been three days since they decided to part ways. Three of the longest damn days of his life.

She turned and he noticed the dance in her eyes, “I’m wonderful.” With that, she pivoted around in almost a ballerina type fashion, her turquoise dress swirling around with her, she turned on her heel and walked through her doorway, leaving a befuddled first officer in the corridor.

Curiosity getting the better of him, he had to see just what her mood was all about.

“Come in.” he heard the happy voice sing from inside.

The doors opened with a quiet hissing sound, “Who are those from?” Riker asked suspiciously as he walked through the threshold of the doorway and saw the huge floral arrangement on the table.

“Devinoni Ral.” Deanna answered with a huge grin. “Aren’t they lovely?”

“Reprehensible Ral.” Riker scoffed under his breath. Damn, he thought doesn’t that guy ever give up; the last thing he remembered about Devinoni Ral was their conversation in ten forward, years ago. Riker had calmly walked out, please with himself that he had stabbed a well-placed thorn in the man’s side. However, by the look of things Ral was still negotiating and apparently winning. Deanna was happy, perhaps the happiest he had seen her in a long time.

Her jovial mood faltering she asked, “What did you just say?” She asked, “Did you just call him reprehensible?”

“Deanna.” Riker explained in a soft gentle voice, “I have to tell you that these flowers . . .” he said nodding towards the huge bouquet. “Are the works of a stalker, and it concerns me that while he was aboard, he immediately niggled you --- but in my opinion---“ he said trying to sound convincing, “the man no doubt is stalking you.”

“Niggling?” She almost laughed, the idea seemed ridiculous to her, “Will,“ she softly scolded. “Devinoni is not a stalker.” She smiled at him and tipped her head, “But thank you for your concern.”

“Any time.” He shrugged, “You going to tell him I called him that?”

“I might.” She teased, but they both knew she wouldn’t.

“Hungry?” he asked, suddenly changing the subject. He reminded her of a big brother that was talking to his little sister.


“Would you like to join me in ten-forward for dinner?”

She thought about it. “I don’t know . . .I was planning on cooking in my quarters this evening.”

“You’ve made other plans. I’m sorry . . .” he began to apologize. The thoughts of Deanna, sitting here daydreaming over a scum like Devinoni Ral rummaged through his mind, and he found himself insanely jealous.

“No, I’m not going to sit here and sulk.” She grinned, “That’s what you wanted to hear isn’t it?”

He returned her smile, that is exactly what he wanted to hear but he wasn’t going to tell her that, so he asked instead, “This is new. When did you learn to cook?”

“Actually . . .I didn’t.” she answered, “I was hoping you would. I suddenly have this craving for one of your omelets.”

She looked at him thoughtfully. “If you’ll make me one of your specialties.” She grinned; her dark kitten eyes sparkled with life. “Then I’d be more than happy to join you for dinner, Commander.”

His white smiled flashed, “I think I can handle that.”

Fifteen minutes later they were sitting at Deanna’s kitchen table, “I’m glad we didn’t go to ten-forward, look at you you’re a mess.” He gently wiped a piece of guan egg off her chin with his thumb. “I can’t take you anywhere can I?” he teased.

“Nope.” She answered through a mouthful of food, wiping her chin with her napkin.

“Can I ask you something?”

“Mmm mmm.” She nodded.

“Would you marry me?”

Deanna blinked, feeling as if Riker’s question had just sucked all the air out of her lungs.

“Be right back.” He stated jumping up from the table, he returned only seconds later with a piece of chocolate and popped it into her opened mouth. “There nothing like a good piece of chocolate to help you when you’re mortified.” He looked at her with a slight tip of his head and smiled.

Deanna swallowed the piece of chocolate, and looked at him wide eyed, and then she smiled, it was a sad-smile that made him feel uneasy.

“Ral.” He stated flatly. “So the only thing standing between you and me is the stalker, right?”

“Will,” she breathed in deeply, “I know this sounds cliché’ but, you and I were meant to be friends---not lovers. That is what we’re best at.”

He looked at her and she felt as if she had just kicked a puppy, “Don’t do this.” She whispered, reaching across the table placing her hand on top of his.

He cleared his throat and shook his head, pulling his hand away. “That’s what we’re best at.” He repeated her words, through a tight face. Riker stared at her his blue eyes never wavering. “That’s why you were in a good mood all day . . .now of course it all makes sense.”

He looked up at her, “Deanna, I know this may sound odd coming from me, but Ral and I had a confrontation in ten forward the night before he left the ship. He threatened to take you with him. I retaliated and told him you were the only thing that could give his pathetic existence any meaning, that is, if he was smart enough to take it. I doubted if he was.” He looked away only briefly. He looked at her for a reaction and again she said nothing, he concluded, “Apparently I was wrong, and the man’s more intelligent than I gave him credit for.”

Exercising a great deal of willpower, Deanna started to breathe, trying to control her emotions, her eyes locked with his, “Smart enough to take it . . .“ she asked quietly, “**It** being me?”

Riker didn’t answer; she found her answer in his eyes, he looked away only briefly. ““He won, Deanna.” He sounded defeated, he looked up at her and inhaled slowly and exhaled quickly. His gaze moved to the huge floral arrangement on the table, gave a sad smile and a curt nod, before continuing, “He’ll make you happy, in a way that I can’t---and that’s the reason why I’m going to let you walk away.”

“You are going to let me----what?” she whispered, her dark eyes glittered in fury.

“I will always care about you and I’ll always be your friend.” Riker stated straightening in his chair.

“So you’re folding?”

“What?” he was confused and had no idea what she was talking about, “Deanna, I’m sorry. I seem to be confused. I don’t have any---”

“Riker!” She huffed cutting him off, slapping her hands on the tabletop, making him flinch. “You. You insufferable --idiot!” she stormed, standing to her feet. “I don’t want your damned blessing for me to walk away.” She stormed away from him, and then whirled back around. “How dare you! How dare you ask for my hand in marriage now, after thinking I’m with another man!”

Riker raised and eyebrow, it never occurred to him that she would be angry; he was pouring his heart out to her, why didn’t she understand his motives. “Deanna,” he said trying to make her see reason, “You being with Ral, has nothing to do with me asking you to marry me.”

She was so angry; she wasn’t about to hear anything he was saying, “The hell it doesn’t! Don’t lie to me!” she almost yelled, “You think that I won’t fall into your arms anymore because of Devinoni?! Well don’t you believe I would like to have a say in this private competition the two of you have produced?”

Riker stood stunned by her anger. He had only seen her this angry sixteen years ago, when she had caught him in bed with Wendy Roper. She stood there her dark eyes flashing, her chest heaving with anger.

“I said I would never lie to you again and I damned well meant it. You are jumping to the wrong conclusion.”

“You’ve asked me to marry you! Who in the hell do you think you are!?” she practically yelled, “What are you trying to do raise the ante!”

“It’s sixteen years ago, all over again. Just calm down---“

“This has nothing to do with that!” she stormed.

“You’re just as angry now as you were then.” He reminded her. He stated, and then looked at her suspiciously, and then a huge faultless grin enveloped his features, “You love me.” He whispered, “Admit it! You still love me.”

She shook her head, remembering her breathing exercises; she stood inhaling and exhaling, absorbing her anger as it began to fade. “The man I loved found himself writing poetry, and going to Art museums, he wanted a future, he wanted children; together we wanted all of those things.” She looked at him with hardened eyes, and straightened her spine. “You---Commander Riker—and most recently I might add--- have made it perfectly clear, that all you have ever wanted was a relationship that’s strictly without ties or a future.”

He didn’t hear a word she said, after the word, “love.”

“Aha!” he pointed a finger at her. “You love me, you just said it. You still love me.”

“Will you listen to what I’m saying!” she stomped her foot. Her good mood, her constitution all flew out the window in an instant.

“I am Deanna,” he argued, his words beating faster than his heart, “You just said it, and even though I haven’t said it in quite a while, I love you too, I just didn’t know how much. Now I do. You love me, I love you; two plus two is four, so what are we doing standing here arguing, shouldn’t we get married or something?”

“You are incorrigible!” she practically shouted.

“Yeah, so?” he asked simply.

“One minute you want to end our relationship, because you’re afraid of a commitment and the next you speak of marriage. You’re psychotic!”

“Yeah, I think I need therapy.” He smiled a devilish grin. “Wait until we’re married, then you’ll see just how much of a mess I am.”

“Please . . .listen . . .” She exhaled, “And listen carefully, It’s no secret that I fell in love with you once---“ and then she clarified, “--- a long time ago. And perhaps some of those feelings may have tried to resurface from time to time---”

He smiled arrogantly. “Like recently?”

“But,” She stated sternly, her anger returning, “That was before I saw this---this psychotic side of you---this win no matter what the cost—this---this sex starved primate that you’ve become. And Devinoni, may be confused and ethically unfit, but compared to you, Will Riker---he’s---he’s Sir Galahad!” She yelled waving her arms.

Riker’s eyes narrowed, and he studied her for a moment. “Ah yes—I see, Princess.”


“Employing the abilities of my human sex starved mind, I have concluded that you refused Ral’s offer to run away all those years ago---you dumped him because, he wanted you to straighten him out---to lead him in the right path. Unlike me,” he said with a gesture of his hand over his chest, “Who may go down the wrong path once in a while, but you are and have been more than willing to walk beside me on my pilgrimage---Hey!” He threw up a hand and ducked as the vase and the huge floral arrangement that Ral had sent came soaring past his head, hitting the wall behind him and shattering into a million pieces. Water, carnations, roses, daisies, sliding down the wall behind him, chalk dust flying all around his head. “Damn it, Deanna. What are you trying to do kill me?” he cursed, dusting the ceramic pieces out of his hair, his uniform splattered with water

“Yes!” She grabbed another vase, and drew her arm back, ready to let it fly. “Kyle Riker has trained his son well, you’re just like him!”

“Reverting to personal insults now, Counselor?” She could not believe the laughter in his eyes, which soon reached his face and the corners of his mouth curled up. Then he had that devilish gleam in his eyes, he learned quickly that, that was his first mistake.

Like a catapult her arm went back a little further and the vase sailed through the air, Riker ducked as the antique vase shattered on the wall behind him, ceramic chips and dust flying every where.

“Deanna will you calm down!” he yelled. “Before you kill me!”

“You calm down!” she warned with a loud voice. “And if I kill you, I’d be killing the only man that ever made me lose my self control, and I’m sick of it! How dare you do this to me! How dare you insist that we end our relationship simply because you got scared. And now when you think someone else is in the game you ask me to marry you!” She yelled, picking up a nearby statue, and hurled it at him. It bounced off his shoulder; and she heard him exclaim a painful curse, but it did nothing phase her anger. “First of all, the real me is not going to marry the first man that asks, and secondly the real me, is not some vase throwing hot tempered fool!”

“You love me. That is why I get to you. Isn’t it, Deanna?” Riker asked quietly, as he took a step towards her.

“Stay away from me.”

“Maybe the real Deanna Troi needs me. I am the only survival guide she has. I am the only one that helps you keep balanced, between the Betazoid and the human. The human side of you is standing in front of me now.” His blue eyes revealing the truth, “And I’m the only one who’s ever really seen her.”

“Stay back Will, I’m warning you!”

“I love you, Deanna. All of you the Betazoid half the human half, hell you could even be a ferengi and I’d still love you.” He stated with a calm. “Now, please put the plate down.” She only catapulted her arm back further, he had to think and he had to think fast. “I know now that I was wrong. I was dead wrong, Deanna. We belong together.”

Troi felt the anger serge through her body and she really wanted to kill him, and before she knew it, she had a Betazoid pear in her hand and hurled it at him, letting go of it with all the strength she possessed.

She found out one thing about Will Riker.

He was a good catcher.

A wide grin etched across his face, gloating in the fact that he had caught the pear

Her voice dripped with acid. “Oohhh…I hate you!”

His face turned and his voice filled with compassion and understanding. “Deanna, no you don’t.” he said, “No more than I hate you.”

“Oh how do you know.” She sulked; slowly dropping the vase, folding both arms around her upper torso, and flopped down on the divan. “Look at me, ranting and raving like some lunatic, throwing things.”

“You’ve got a good arm, I’ll give you that.” He stated, placing the pear on the table. He sat down the opposite end of the sofa. Deanna glance over towards him, his hair whitened with pieces of ceramic dust, his uniform top splattered with water, he looked a mess. She smiled and let out a slight chuckle.

“So much for the stalker’s floral arrangement.” Riker stated turning his head towards the shattered vase and cut flowers that were strewn all over the floor.

“Oh be still.” She scolded softly, and then her voice dropped to almost a whisper, “Would you please leave now?”

“Yeah, I guess I should.” He agreed, his hand reached out and touched a lock of hair, rubbing the curly, silky strands between his fingers, and was soon dragging his fingers through it. “You know, I love your hair.”

“No you don’t. It’s an unruly mess.”

“Troi?” He hadn’t referred to her in that name in years, it immediately got her attention and she stared at him wide-eyed. “Shut up.” He told her, but before she could respond, his lips were upon hers. As the kiss deepened, Deanna found that all of her anger was beginning to melt away, she wasn’t sure what was happening between them at this moment all she knew was that she wasn’t angry with him anymore, and she definitely didn’t want this magic to stop. Deanna found herself kissing him back, as her arms wrapped around his neck and he felt her body sag against his.

When Riker did finally pull away, and ran his thumb slowly over her bottom lip, “I still want all of those things, Deanna.” He searched her face and she felt the color rise in her cheeks. She was blushing, he was the only man that could ever make her blush, and she felt embarrassed. He let out a small laugh, and kissed the tip of her nose.

“Maybe you’re right.” He smiled sheepishly, “ Hell---you’re right about a lot of things. I thought that if we spent time apart---it would uncomplicate things, uncomplicate us. I want to be with you. The thought of losing you scares the hell out of me. When he wanted to take you with him, it was like I drowning, and I suddenly couldn’t breathe, and I become frantic and scared, able to do anything for air.” he admitted.

“But you never told me.”

“Yeah, that’s when I realized that I was hopelessly in love with you.” He looked at her his blue eyes glittered, and Deanna saw herself in his eyes, and she liked what she saw, she suddenly felt beautiful and desirable. “But I swear, I do love you . . .and I want us to be together. ” bending down his forehead rested upon hers, “If you’ll give me another chance . . .I’ll do what ever it takes to prove that.”

Her heart sank due to his honesty; she swallowed hard and pushed the words from her throat. “I can’t just live with you, Will.” She whispered. “I need a commitment.”

He raised his head and she noticed that his eyes grew hard, “Past tense, Deanna. Consider it history. Now--- let’s clean this place up, so that I can get the hell out of here like you’ve asked me too.” Wanting to desperately change the subject, he smiled and sat back down beside her. “Truce?”

“Truce.” She smiled.

He was only going to give her a friendly kiss, and before he knew it, he was nibbling on her lower lip, and then her ear and then planting a row of kisses on a trail along her neck. He pulled her body closer to his, his hands and lips going beyond the boundaries of friendship but he didn’t care and she didn’t try stopping him.

They both sank to their knees in front of the sofa, his mouth continued to explore, his fingers unzipping the back of her dress, slipping the fabric over her shoulders, his lips clamped over one of her breasts, she felt as if she had died and gone to heaven. She wondered if they were going to make it to the bedroom as her hands began a mindless frenzy at removing his clothing.

<<<Captain Picard to Riker>>>

They both jumped and then broke apart as if Picard had just walked into the room and caught them, he being the father figure and they the guilty teenagers.

Although he managed to stand, his knees were still wobbly; he grabbed his tunic from the floor and tapped his badge. <<Riker here.>> sounding as if he was being strangled, clearing his throat, he tried to speak again. <<Go ahead sir.>>

<<<Commander could you join me on the bridge. There’s something that you must see.>>> the Captain sounded.

<<Aye, Sir. Riker out.>>

Deanna had already made her exit to the bathroom, and he slipped his tunic over his head, using his fingers as a makeshift comb, he tried to make himself presentable. “Deanna.” he called out, his voice still ragged from their recent encounter. “We’ll talk later.” He waited for only a second before he heard her response from the other room. Riker pulled down his tunic and walked through her doorway.


“Got a minute?”

Deanna Troi looked up and saw Will Riker in the doorway of her office, she suddenly became shy and began to babble, “I hardly think so. I’m booked with appointments all afternoon, it seems that every time I get the crew roster updated, it’s time to do it again, and then there’s Lieutenant Crowder, she and her boyfriend seem to be at odds right now and between the two of them, it makes my job somewhat taxing.” She smiled, “And I’ve got to go to the classrooms for pottery class with the children.”

“Deanna.” Riker cut in, “We need to talk.”

“About what?” She said, standing to her feet and walking over to the file cabinet.

“About what almost happened between us.”

“We got a little carried away that’s all.” She shrugged. “I mean, we had just had a somewhat heated argument and it’s only reasonable that . . .”

“Are we talking about make up sex Counselor?” Riker smiled. “Isn’t that term reserved for only couples in a true long standing relationship?”

Her head snapped towards him and she slammed the file cabinet shut with more force than she had intended to, “I wasn’t referring to that at all Commander.”

“Bull shit.” He called her bluff.

“Pardon me?” She blinked.

“I said, Bull shit.” He repeated.

“Can we talk about this later.”

“Nope.” He stated with that same damn devilish grin.

“All right.” She glared, placing her hands flat on the desk and leaned towards him, “Okay, then how about this, Commander. You want to be with me, right?”

“More than anything?”

“And you’re willing to prove that?”


“All right, then I’ll allow you to prove yourself. I have decided no more dinners, no more mid-night rendezvous in ten forward, no more holo-deck foreplay, no sex, no more kisses. This body is off limits to you, until after we are married. Until that time, we will have a professional relationship, Counselor to Commander. I--- of course am free to see whomever I want, you of course--- cannot. You must remain celibate until our wedding night.”

“You can’t be serious.” He let out a grunt of a laugh. What in the hell was she nuts?

“You said you’d do anything.” She shrugged,

“This is blackmail, Deanna.”

“Hmmmm.” She said with a finger on her chin looking up into the air, “Let’s see---no, I believe it’s called raising the ante, Commander.” She looked at him, with a sadistic grin, “Are you playing or folding?”

His face turned to stone.

“Now, if you would please excuse me. I’m pressed for time, we can go over the crew roster mid-morning let say around ten hundred hours in ten-forward”

“Don’t we usually go over those in the evening?”

“Not that it’s any of your business, Commander Riker. But, I’ve made plans for the evening.”

“You’re a betazoidian she-devil,” he stated through squinted eyes. “Just like your mother. Hell bent on marriage.”

“Reverting to personal insults now, Commander?” she asked, “If you’ll excuse me, I’ve got an appointment in Classroom fourteen B.” She informed him in an iced professional tone as she walked around him and then she suddenly turned around in the archway. “It would appear to me that you’re the one who needs a ---survival guide, Will--- I’m the only person that is able to keep you balanced between the non-committal ass you are and the loving Imzadi you can be.” She had him, he knew it and she knew it. The door hissed shut and she was gone.

“Damn it.” He cursed loudly; he turned and headed in the opposite direction down the corridor.


“Okay, it’s a deal.”

“That was easy.” She said, never looking up from her padd.

“You wanted me to prove that I’ll marry you, you’ve got a deal. All conditions noted and accepted.”


“Want some breakfast?” he asked, taking a seat opposite her at the table in ten forward.

“Nope.” She answered with a smug grin. “Now for these crew evaluations, Commander. I believe we can get half of them done today, and the other half tomorrow, is that suitable?”

“Fine with me.” He shrugged.

“First one Lieutenant Costarze, he’s in engineering. It states that he’s gone above and beyond his call to duty, he gets along well with others and he’s proven to be a huge asset to the his shipmates.”

Riker abruptly stood to his feet; he sucked in a huge breath, and fell down on one knee.

She sat mortified, her chin dropped to the table and she immediately felt all eyes were upon her, all eyes expecting her to say something. She looked towards Riker. Who produced a golden engagement band from his tunic pocket. “Deanna, you won. However, this game started over sixteen years ago; you won my heart, my soul and my spirit. I cannot imagine how you could love an ass like me, but you do. I know you do. I can feel it. . .here.” he placed a hand over his chest. “I’m loud, hot tempered, mouthy and I get jealous far too easy. I’m a man who used to make fun of younger cadets that fell hopelessly in love. I never understood them; why they would want to rush home to their wives? Why that was all they talked about, I thought they were lovesick idiots. That is until I fell in love myself, and then suddenly I woke up one day, and realized hell, I was the worst than the whole lot of them. I can’t wait to see you, I can’t wait to talk to you and whenever I’m with you I find
my self blabbering like some imbecile. Saying things that hell--- half the time don’t make any sense to me. I love you. I love you. So damned much. And I just want you to know that . . .” his voice was beginning to crack.

Deanna fell to the floor on her knees, and knelt in front of him, “Will you marry me, Will Riker?” She asked, knowing that he was struggling with his emotions.

“Yeah.” He whispered, placing the ring on her finger. Suddenly the room was full of cheers and hand claps, Riker oblivious to those around him, snapped his head towards the noise in the room and in an instant later Deanna was in his arms, clinging onto him, laughing and kissing every warm part of his body.

Both of them stood up and accepted the hugs and handshakes of congratulations from the patrons of ten-forward.

“So what do we do now, Counselor?” Riker asked, as they stood in ten-forward. “More crew evaluations?”

She offered him her hand, palm up. “We go to holodeck program eight A.”

“I thought you said . . .”

“I was bluffing.” She smiled, and leading him out of the lounge by the hand.

He stopped immediately in his tracks, and looked at her unable to believe his own ears, “And one hell of a good one, I’ll grant you that.”