Author: Pia Pedersen

Summary: Deanna sees Will in the arms of another woman. Will this be the end of Imzadi?

Disclaimer: It’s not mine, and it never will be. 


“You’re unbelievable!”

Deanna Troi hurled the words in Will Riker’s face even before he had a chance to enter her quarters for their scheduled meeting – it was time to discuss crew evaluations yet again.

But right now Riker was the absolute last person Deanna wanted to see.

“Always the professional,” Will shot back and held her gaze as the door closed behind him. “What did I do now?”

“Oh, don’t give me that. Just sit down and let us get this over with. The Captain wants them by morning ---“

“Yes, I know, that’s why I’m here.”

Will sat down and cringed at the look she gave him.

“Deanna? Would you like you to clue me in here? This wasn’t exactly the welcome I was expecting!“

“Did you think I wouldn’t find out?”

Deanna dismissed him and pierced him with a look of unmasked pain.

“Did you really think that you could hide it from me?” she asked, her tone demanding. “Did you, Will?”

“Deanna, would you calm down? I have no idea what you’re so upset about – I’m not hiding anything from you.”

Will rose from the chair and went around the table to stand in front of her

But the look in her eyes kept him from reaching out to touch her, even though he wanted to.

She had never looked at him like that before, with such contempt.

“Stay away from me, Will. Don’t touch me.”

That sent him reeling.

She didn’t want him near her, didn’t want his touch.

“I think it’s about time you explain, Deanna,” he said. “What happened? I mean, I know you were disappointed we couldn’t take our shore leave together, but this is …we were getting closer. Weren’t we?”

He looked at her, but Deanna tore her eyes from his.

She was feeling worse than she ever had before. She couldn’t look at him; it made her sick.

He made her sick.

How could he have done this to her?

“I thought so,” she said. “But I guess I was wrong.”

He looked confused, she noted. Like he really had no idea want she was talking about.

The nerve …

“Did you have a nice trip, Will? Did you meet anyone? Old friends?”

“Yes,” he nodded. “Some.”

He let out a frustrated sigh.

“I don’t see the point to this,” he said, his irritation beginning to surface. “Whatever it is you think you know, Deanna Troi, just say it. This is getting ridiculous!”


Deanna fumed, turning her back to him to hide her tears.

“You think I’m ridiculous, Will?”

She turned to face him again, and he swallowed hard.

“I didn’t say that,” he said. “Deanna, what is this? Why are you crying?“

“I can’t believe you’re asking me that!”

Will was blown away by her anger and the pain that fuelled it.

“Why don’t you just say it?”

Deanna looked him right in the eyes and choked back the tears.

She loved him with all her heart and soul.

She’d thought he loved her just as much.

But she had been wrong.



Will was getting worried. He had never seen her like this.

“What is it you want me to say, Deanna?”

“I want you to tell me,” she demanded, the fury darkening her eyes. “I want you to tell me who she is. Who is the woman you took to bed last night?”

For a minute Will was too stunned to speak.

She thought …

He looked at her, suddenly understanding everything.

“Deanna,” he began. “Please listen to me … “

The minute the words had rolled off his lips, Riker knew they were the worst he could possibly have spoken.


She appeared resigned.

“Not anymore. I just want you to go.”

He didn’t move.

“Dee …”

His loving abbreviation of her name sounded hollow to Deanna now.

She felt paralyzed, unable to speak or move.

Her world came crashing down, and she cursed her own naiveté.

She had believed him, believed in the love he had claimed to have for her.

Had it all been a lie? 

The thought made Deanna feel like her heart was being ripped out of her chest. 

All over again.

Images of the past, of Will in the arms of Wendy Roper came flooding back into Deanna’s mind.

She closed her eyes, and Will knew this was his opportunity to make this right, to make her see how wrong she was.

“Deanna, I didn’t sleep with anyone last night or any night, for that matter. You are the only woman in my life now. We’re ---“

“Don’t say it. I never want to hear that word from you again.” 

Her eyes shot lightning and he instinctually took a step back.

“How could you, Will? How could you do this to me?”

Her words pierced his heart like small needles.

“I didn’t sleep with her,” he whispered, softly. “Dee, she’s a friend from the Academy. We talked, that’s all.”

“I don’t care.”

She shook her head lightly.

“I just don’t care anymore, Will. I’m tired.” 

He didn’t answer.

Instead, he reached out to her.

Deanna didn’t shy away from his touch or protest, but she might as well have.

Will felt like a cold hand clutched his heart and held on to the point of psychical pain.

“Listen to me,” he asked.

He would have begged, he would have done anything …

But there was no point. She had made up her mind; he could see it in her eyes.

“I’m tired,” she repeated now, stepping away from him. “Do you understand? I’m tired of this game we play. I’m tired of hurting, Will.”

He nodded. He did understand.

“I’m tired of loving you so much and being afraid that you will never feel the same way about me – that I will never be … enough for you.”

She took in a breath, centering herself and clearing her mind.

He was shocked, she could tell.

“I love you,” he whispered after a long moment of uncomfortable silence. “I have loved you with every beat of my heart since the first time I saw you, and the day I take my last breath, my last thought will be of you.”

“Then why, Will? If you truly feel that way, why did you --?”

She looked so fragile.

“I didn’t,” he maintained. “Rorie and I are friends and have been for a long time. She needed someone, and I ---“

Deanna didn’t let him finish.

“You were there for her.”

“Yes, I was, but not in the way you imply. “

He sighed and turned on his heel towards the door.

There wasn’t anything he could say now that would make any difference to her, nothing at all.

She didn’t believe him, didn’t trust him.

Will closed his eyes, refusing to give in to the pain.


He looked at her, surprised by her soft tone, hoping …

But her words crushed that tiny glimmer of hope, and he let the tears fall, both unable and unwilling to hold back any longer.

“I hope it was worth it. I hope she was worth it.”

She turned away from him, refusing him the opportunity to answer.

Will stood there for a second that seemed to him to last an eternity.

It was over, he realized.

If he couldn’t make her understand, make her see that he didn’t want anyone else it was over.

But he would make her see, somehow he would make her see that she was the only woman that he could ever want, she was the only woman he needed.

If it were the last thing he ever did, he would let her know exactly how important she was to him.

“Good night, Deanna.”

She didn’t turn around; she didn’t answer.

And Will did want she had asked him to do.

He left.


 He had been crying.

The sight of his tears always moved her, and she had had to fight the instinctual reaction of reaching out to him.

 And now, he was gone.

 He had left, just as she had asked him to …

 Was it over now?

 Was this really the end?

 Deanna fell down on her bed, curling up like a child.

 She wanted him there, with her, right now.

 She needed him to hold her close and kiss her, love her, until the image of that other woman in his arms was washed away from her mind’s eye … from her heart.


 Will left, but he didn’t go away.

 He stayed just outside her door.

 When he heard her call his name, he rested his forehead against the door.

 She was calling for him.

 He hesitated only a second before stepping into her quarters again.

 She was lying with her back to him, eyes closed and her hand clutched in a fist.

The torment edged in her delicate features gripped at his heart.

Her breath was forced, and he stepped forward to sit down at the edge of the bed.


He let a hand run affectionately through her hair, knowing from past experience that it would soothe her.


He removed his hand instantly and got up quickly as she turned around in the bed.

 She was sleeping.

He knew he shouldn’t be there, but Will found that he couldn’t leave.

“Oh, God, Will, why?”

He cringed as she called out in pain, reacting to the images playing out behind her eyes.

She had been there last night, when he had said good-bye to Rorie before returning to the Enterprise.

It was the only explanation.

She had probably finished her work early and gained Picard’s permission to leave the ship to go pick him up, hoping that they would spend the last night of his shore leave together.

She had wanted to surprise him, and, instead, she was the one who had been surprised. 

“Oh, my God, Deanna …”

He sat down on the bed again, reaching out to take her into his arms and hold her close.


She opened her eyes, still half caught up in her dream.

“You called out for me, and I --- “

She shook her head to wake up fully.

He watched, as the soft expression in her eyes changed back to one of anger and pain.

“I have nothing more to say to you,” she said, freeing herself from his arms. “Please just leave.”

“I will,” he promised and got up. “But we have to talk, Deanna.”

“Good night,” was all she said before turning her back to him again.


“Captain,” Will inquired when walking into Picard’s Ready Room the next morning.


Picard eyed his First Officer. He had rarely seen him this serious.

“Is there a problem, Will?”

“I need to ask permission for an extension of my shore leave, sir.”

“You just reported back, Commander. What could be this important?”

“Deanna,” Will answered, and then continued. “Please, Jean-Luc. I wouldn’t ask if …”

Picard was still stuck on Riker’s use of his first name. Not that he really minded – he was just unaccustomed to anyone calling him by his given name. Except, Beverly, of course.

Beverly …

“I take it that this means I will have to grant the Counselor leave as well?”

Will only nodded.

“I need time with her, Captain,” he then said. “Deanna saw me with a friend on Risa, and she thinks ---“ Will cleared his throat. “She misinterpreted the situation. I have to make it right, or … or I’ll lose her.”

Picard nodded his understanding.

Under normal circumstances he wouldn’t have agreed to this, but he had seen Troi when she had returned to the ship last night, and now Riker was standing before him looking as much out of control as Picard had ever experienced him to be.

“Very well,” he told Will, smiling slightly. “Your request is hereby granted, Commander. You have 48 hours. Make them count.”

Will took a step back, nodding.

“Yes, sir, thank you.”


“Picard to Counselor Troi.”

The Captain’s voice woke up Deanna from her restless sleep, and she sat up quickly.

“Yes, Captain,” she acknowledged sleepily. “Give me five minutes, sir.”

“Take it easy, Counselor,” came his answer. “I will be relieving you from duty for the next two days. You need the rest.”

“But …” Deanna began, but Picard interrupted her.

“I know you have wanted some time off,” he said.

“Yes, sir.”

Picard ended the communication, hoping that Riker would be able to right what had gone wrong between he and Troi.


Deanna let herself relax as she arrived on Risa.

True, she had some bad memories from here, last night being one of them, but it was a wonderful planet, nevertheless, and the Captain was right.

She did need rest and time away from the Enterprise.

She needed time away from Will.

More than anything else she needed to get some distance between the two of them – it was the only way she could ever hope to sort out her feelings and accept the fact that what she wanted for them wasn’t going to happen.

Deanna sighed and reached for the door to the house that Beverly had arranged for her to stay in.

It was open.

 Deanna stepped in carefully, surprised.

No one was supposed to be here.

Beverly’s friends, who owned the house, were away. So why would they have left the door unlocked?

It didn’t make sense.

She walked cautiously around the house, taking in the atmosphere of the rooms and the magnificence of the view, but still aware that someone else was there, somewhere.

She sensed someone’s presence, but even though she probably should be afraid, for some reason, she wasn’t.

She sensed no hostility, no anger.

So, she continued on and reached the bedroom suite.

Someone was sleeping here.

It was a man, but not just any man.

It was …

“Will Riker!”

Startled, although not nearly as much he should have been, Will opened his eyes.


Deanna couldn’t believe it.

“You are the most infuriating man I have ever laid eyes on! What are you doing here?!

“We have to talk, Deanna,” he said, rising from the bed.

He was bare-chested; wearing only a couple of loose fitting pants in a blue color that matched his eyes.

He was infuriating, but he was also devilishly good-looking

“We have to do nothing of the sort,” she argued. “I came here to get some rest, and although I see now that I should have known something wasn’t right, I still intend to stay here for the next two days. Alone.”

“I know I shouldn’t have done this.” He reached for his sweater, pulling it down over his head. “But you would never have agreed to it if I had asked you to come with me …”

“So you decided to get the Captain to send me down here,” she concluded. “That doesn’t change anything, Will. I don’t want to be near you right now.”

Deanna sensed how her words affected him.

But she wanted to hurt him, she realized, uncomfortable with the fact that she was able to succumb to so primal a feeling.

She needed him to feel the pain that she felt.

“I know,” he nodded. “But you have to at least give me a chance to explain, before you decide that you don’t want to have anything to do with me.”

“Right now I really don’t feel I have to do anything, Will,” Deanna replied angrily.

“All right,” he agreed. “But I’m asking you to listen. Give me five minutes, Dee. That’s all I’m asking.” 

Deanna looked at Will as he spoke.

She loved him, of course she did – she had loved him for twenty years of her life.

But was it enough?

“Give me a chance.”

Will’s voice fell to a whisper as he looked into her eyes, watching them glaze over.

He waited.

He loved her, and that meant he would wait however long she needed him to.

He would do anything, as long as she didn’t ask him to leave.

That was the only thing he would never be able to do.

Deanna couldn’t dismiss his plea; her heart wouldn’t let her.

She met his gaze right on, and they both felt time melt away.

“One chance,” she told him.

He smiled, and his relief washed over her with such force that it left Deanna breathless.

“Come with me.”

He extended his hand to her, and she followed him outside.


“Why are you doing this?”

Deanna had felt herself relax a little as she walked beside Will, following his lead.

But now she stopped, looking at him in disbelief.

“Why are you taking me here, Will?”

They were approaching the house where she had seen him last night, with her.

It hurt so much.

“Because I have to,” he said, gently touching her hand. “I know it hurts …”

“No, you don’t.”

She didn’t yell or scream. She just stated a fact.

“You will never know how much it hurt to see what I saw last night, so please, don’t pretend to.”

He nodded silently.

“Deanna,” he said after a brief pause. “I would you like to meet her.”

“What?” Deanna exclaimed in shocked surprise. “Honestly, if this is your way of making up, you’re not …”

“It is,” he nodded, interrupting her. “It’s the only way that you will believe that nothing happened.”

Deanna looked to the side, seeing the contours of a woman through the darkened windows.


She heard Will call out and realized that he was no longer beside her.

He had moved to the front door.


Deanna watched, as the woman hugged Will tight. It wasn’t a lover’s embrace, she noted. It was the embrace of a woman in need of comfort, of a friend.

“Rorie,” he whispered, and Deanna had rarely heard Riker so soft-spoken.

Expect when …

Deanna closed her eyes.

It didn’t help.

“It hurts so much, Will! Oh, God, why did he have to …”

“I don’t know,” he said. “I don’t have any answers.”

The woman withdrew from Will’s embrace, suddenly aware that they were not alone.

“Rorie, this is …”

Will began to explain, but she shook her head, smiling slightly at Deanna, who was utterly confused and experiencing all kinds of conflicting emotions. 


She reached out her hand to Deanna, who took it - entirely by instinct.

“Please excuse me, I … I haven’t been feeling well, so I must look like something the cat dragged in!”

Seeing Deanna’s confusion at her statement, Rorie quickly explained.

“It’s an old Earth saying for when you look like crap, as I’m sure I do right now.”

“You look beautiful, as always.”

Will smiled, and Deanna saw Rorie return it, gratefully.  

“You’re still a flatterer, Will,” she said. “Just as you were at the Academy.”

Rorie looked at Deanna, still smiling and blissfully unaware of what turmoil she was causing.

“How can you live with him?”

Deanna swallowed hard and looked at Will as he did the same.

“It’s not always easy,” she managed to say.

“Rorie, I need you to … Can we come in?”

“Of course! I’m sorry, I … “

She waved them inside, and Deanna followed Will into the house, not at all sure how she felt about the situation.


“Will, this is not …”

Deanna grabbed his arm, holding him back as Rorie continued from the hallway further into the house.

“She’s obviously in pain. This isn’t the time.”

“Yes, she is.”

He nodded, his concern apparent in his eyes.

“But I won’t lose you, Deanna, and I will do whatever it takes to make you see that she is only a friend, that she has never been more than that.”

He reached out to touch her, gently caressing her cheek.

She let him.  

“Whatever it takes.”

She watched him silently, taking in all of him as he stood there in front of her.

He loved her.

She looked into his eyes, seeing in them everything that he was, his very soul.

And she knew.

He was being honest; this was the truth.

“What happened to her, Will?”

Riker smiled a little, his heart full of love for Deanna.

She was the most caring person he knew.

“She lost her husband in an accident two months ago,” he explained, and heard Deanna’s compassionate gasp.

“Oh, no!”

“She needs me,” he continued. “I have to be here for her. David and I were friends ---“

She nodded understandingly, but there was still something she didn’t understand.

“Why didn’t you just tell me about her? Why did I have to find out like this? She obviously knows who I am ---“

“I told him not to say anything to anyone.”

Rorie had reappeared without Will or Deanna noticing. 

Now she looked at Deanna, then at Will and back again.

“He loves you,” she told Deanna, relying on her intuition to tell her what was going on. “Desperately so.”

“Rorie …”

She shook her head and looked at him.

“No, Will, she needs to know. You need to tell her how you feel, tell her everything.”

Rorie turned to Deanna again.

“I’m so sorry,” she said. “I can only imagine how you must feel, but Will and I are only friends. That’s all we have ever been.” She reached her hand out to Deanna. “I never meant to hurt you.”   

Deanna nodded.

“I’m sorry about your loss.”

Rorie’s eyes filled with sadness.

“It’s Hell right now, but I’ll be okay.”

She smiled, standing on her toes to kiss Will on the cheek.

He gave her a warm hug, and Deanna felt a stone fall from her heart.

It’s amazing how easily you can warm up to people when you find out they’re not sleeping with the man you love.

She smiled at the thought, only half listening as Rorie spoke.

“I hope you know how lucky you are, Will.”  

Deanna looked at Will and didn’t notice that Rorie left.

Neither did Will.

He was too busy looking at Deanna, his eyes filled with love and hope.

“I do,” he said, softly. “I do.”

Deanna felt the dark cloud of uncertainty, which had hovered over her since the previous night, lift and evaporate into thin air.


She nodded and stepped forward, wordlessly offering the acceptance he was seeking.

The kiss was gentle at first, before slowly deepening into one that made them melt into each other, reclaiming what they had come so close to losing.


He withdrew from her a little, looking into her eyes.

She was serious, and he automatically held her tighter.

“Don’t ever do something like this to me again.”

“Not ever,” he promised with sincerity.

Deanna smiled, and Will reveled in the love he felt from her, but what was even more important was the trust that he saw in her eyes.

He never wanted to see it disappear again.


They said their goodbyes to Rorie and left.

After walking side by side in silence for a while, Will stopped and caught Deanna’s eye. 



“Thank you,” he said. 

“For what?” she asked, not understanding.

“For loving me enough to give me another chance.”

She had no words to answer, so she didn’t.

She kissed him instead, and Will didn’t mind in the least.

They hurried back, and Will carried her over the threshold, loving the sound of her laughter that rang through the house.   

Rorie had advised him to tell Deanna everything he felt about her, but Will had other plans.

He wanted to show her – after all, actions did speak louder than words.

It was time to create some good memories to replace the bad ones – and they had almost two days to do it.

Two days with absolutely nothing or no one to interrupt them.

He intended to make them count.