”Beyond Reason”

Author: Pia Pedersen

Summary: A different take on how Will & Dee comes to be Imzadi

Note: In this story Will & Deanna never met before joining the crew of the Enterprise.


Disclaimer: It’s not mine; it’s theirs, and we all know it.



He had found himself thinking about her more and more lately. Will Riker smiled to himself as he emptied his drink and rose from his chair in Ten Forward before throwing one last look in her direction. She was talking to Beverly. He could go over there, ask her to dance. There would be no harm in that … He started in her direction, wondering why the Hell he felt so nervous around this woman? It wasn’t like he hadn’t met attractive women before, gorgeous even. Still, it was different with her. Counselor Deanna Troi was indeed different from any women he had known before.

The two women looked up at him, as he reached their table. He smiled at Beverly, and then turned to Deanna. ‘God, she’s so beautiful’, he thought. She smiled at him.

“Commander,” she said.  “Good evening.”

He returned the smile. How could he not? But still, he didn’t speak. The whole thing was getting quite awkward.

“Counselor,” he said, finally, “would you like to --- ”

And then the moment, his chance, had passed.

“Senior Officers report to the Bridge,” came the Captain’s firm voice.

Both women got up quickly, and he felt a strange sensation wash over him, as his and Deanna’s eyes locked. It was just for an instant, but it was enough to make his heart beat a little faster.

“How do you do it?”

The strange looks he got from both the Doctor and the Counselor made him realize that he had voiced his thoughts.

“Do what, Commander?” she asked, looking at him with questions in her onyx eyes. Those eyes …

“Oh, nothing,” he answered quickly, smiling broadly. He had to regain some sense of control over the situation.  “Excuse me, ladies, I have to be on the Bridge,” he stated, before practically bolting from the room.     


He confused her. Her sense of him confused her. Deanna sighed inaudibly, as she turned her head to look at him. He was also a very attractive man, she had to admit that, and it wasn’t easy. She smiled a little. She had promised herself, when she had first come face to face with Commander William T. Riker, that she would not succumb to his charms, and she intended to keep that promise. But no one said she couldn’t enjoy the sight …

Riker felt her eyes on him, but he didn’t turn to look at her. In fact, he didn’t move at all. If he did, she would be able to read his facial expression and realize how attracted he was to her. Just then he remembered that she wouldn’t have to look at him. “She’s an empath, you fool,” he thought to himself, before clearing his mind to focus on the mission they were about to embark on.

Deanna smiled, sensing Riker’s thoughts. Something was definitely up with the First Officer. But what was it? What was he up to, and with whom? The thought of him with yet another woman made her jealous. Deanna Troi was jealous, for the first time in her life, and she didn’t like it - not at all.

“Will? Are you okay?” Dr. Beverly Crusher looked at Riker, as they passed each other in the corridor.

He nodded, smiling.

“I’m fine, Beverly, just tired. It has been a long shift.”

She nodded but found herself not quite believing him. Something had not been right with Will for some time now. He kept to himself when he was off duty, and it wasn’t like him. He was obviously troubled, and Beverly was worried.

She had examined him, when he’d come back injured from the Enterprise’s last mission, but she had found nothing altered in him, no change in his personality. He had recovered fully and tended to his duties as always.

But he was still not himself, and she knew that she wasn’t the only one who had noticed. Jean-Luc had even asked her to convince him to go see the Counselor, as it was obvious he wasn’t going to go there on his own.

“Will, the Captain …”, she began, but he just looked at her, shaking his head as he continued in direction of his quarters. Beverly followed him. “He wants you to go see Deanna,” she continued, reaching out to him, making him look at her. He looked … sad.  “I recommend you make an appointment,” she continued, trying to get through to him.

“I’m in no need of counseling, Doctor, I assure you. I’m perfectly fine.”

He didn’t wait around to give her time to answer, and watching him disappear inside his quarters Beverly sighed and returned to her office, wondering.

She had never looked more beautiful to him than she did at this moment. He smiled as he leaned into kiss her, feeling a surge of electricity go through him, as she touched him, brought her hand up to his face and caressed his cheek ever so gently. It felt so incredible that he found himself breaking the kiss, because he had difficulty breathing.

“Will,” she whispered. “Please, don’t stop.”

Will Riker needed no further indication that this was what she wanted as well, and he kissed her again, kissed her with such passion that he felt her surprise for a second, before she pressed herself against his body and let him crush her to him in an embrace so tight that it seemed like a desperate attempt to keep her in his arms forever, never again letting her go.

“Deanna …” His voice was low, soft. She smiled up at him, and he was stunned for an instant, when he saw himself in her eyes, the eyes that seemed to follow him everywhere. He had never wanted any woman as much as he wanted her at this moment, and he knew that she knew it.

“It’s okay, Will,” came her soft reply, before she locked her hands behind his neck and kissed him until he was reeling from the sensation and carried her to his bed …

The darkness in his quarters was a blessing for Will, as he woke with a start and shook his head to make the images of the dream vanish. It had been a dream, only a dream. He got up and looked at himself in the mirror, as he entered the bathroom. He looked almost as awful as he felt. An ironic smile played on his lips for a second, curling them upward slightly.

“Maybe it is time for a little counseling.” He spoke out loud to himself, before stepping into the shower, letting the water revitalize him.

It was later than she'd thought when Deanna finished her workout in the gym and headed for Ten Forward. It was almost empty. She was just about to turn around and head for her quarters when she saw him sitting by the window. She stood at the door while trying to sense his state of mind. He was in a state of turmoil, and the strength of his emotions surprised her. Her concern for him intensified. She stepped inside and walked slowly to his table.

He looked up, startled, as he felt her hand on his shoulder. Deanna removed her hand, shaken by how warm he felt to her touch. The thought that he might be sick made her uneasy.

"May I join you?" she asked, praying that he wouldn't rebuff her. Suddenly she felt that she needed to be here with him. She needed to make him smile again. She missed his smile. "Will?" She spoke softly, calling him back from wherever he had disappeared to.

He looked at her, nodding.

"If you'd like. But I'm afraid I'm not much company tonight."

She smiled a little as she sat down across from him. There was an empty glass on the table in front of him, and she'd smelled alcohol on his breath. He had fallen silent again, withdrawn back into his own world. She tried again, touching his hand.

"Will, talk to me. Let me help you."

He felt his breath catch as she touched him. It felt so ... right. He contemplated that fact for a second and found that he didn't have words to describe exactly what he felt. But it did feel right - more right than anything ever had before.

'I want to touch you, feel your hands on my body, I want to kiss you.' he thought, 'Can you help me with that, Counselor?' Aloud, he only said "I have trouble sleeping." It was true, after all.

He couldn't break away when she held his gaze. What was she thinking? He had a feeling that she looked beyond his eyes and saw what was in his soul, saw who he really was. He wasn't sure exactly how he felt about that.

Deanna looked at him as he answered her and found her thoughts wandering weeks back in time to when he had returned with the away-team. He'd been hurt, and she had stayed with him in Sickbay while he'd been slipping in and out of consciousness. This wasn't something she ordinarily did, but then again, he wasn't ordinary, was he? He was Will Riker.

"Are you having nightmares?"

He smiled slightly and put his hand over hers, bringing her attention to the fact that their hands had been touching the entire time. That realization sent a tingling feeling down her spine.

"Not exactly."

She noticed him swallowing and that surprised her. He seemed to struggle somehow - but why? She tried, but she couldn't sense him clearly. Her emotions clouded her perception of him. She froze slightly. Her emotions ... oh, gods ...

"Deanna, what's wrong?"

He was beside her now, his hands on her shoulders, turning her to face him and she didn't resist. She found that she didn't want to.

"You never called me that before." She looked into his blue eyes and tried to focus, to center her emotions.

"I know," he simply said. "Are you okay?"

She nodded, and when he let her go, she let out her breath, not realizing that she had been holding it.


His name was just a whisper on her lips, and he felt it like a caress. Nothing in the universe could have stopped him from reaching out to her, and nothing did. He held her close to him, and she let him. It was almost as if she melted into him, and it felt incredible. Just incredible.

"Will, this is  ---"

He nodded.

"It is." He looked down into her eyes and let himself breathe in her scent. "What happened just now? You froze."

"It was nothing," she answered evasively.

He smiled.

"It really wasn't, Commander." Deanna didn't quite know whom she was trying to convince, herself or Will. She felt the change in him before seeing it in his eyes. He let her go, and she felt ... robbed.

"So, we're back to 'Commander' now, are we?"

She couldn't answer. The sense of his anger was overwhelming to her. But it wasn't just anger, she realized. He was hurt. She tried to speak, but the words caught in her throat, and he backed away from her.

"I think I better call it a night, then. Good night, Counselor." He turned and left, leaving her standing alone.

"Good night, Will." she replied, although she knew he wouldn't hear her. She took in a deep breath, trying to block the sadness she felt. She had never felt so alone in her entire life.

Deanna was not the only one feeling alone.

Will tossed and turned in his bed, unable to find the rest he so desperately needed. He was tired enough, that wasn’t it. But still, something kept him from surrendering to sleep. Deanna. This was her doing. He was being entirely irrational he knew that, but he also knew that when he closed his eyes, the first thing he would see was her face.

“Get a grip, Riker,” he told himself, shaking her image from his mind’s eye. “She doesn’t want you.”

The pain he felt was deeper than any pain he had ever imagined that he would experience. It cut him like a knife, deep - so deep. What was happening to him? Why did it hurt so much?

Will settled into the fact that sleep would not be an option for him tonight and got up from his bed. He might as well catch up on some reading, anything to get his mind of her and the way it had felt to hold her in his arms … it had been …

Suddenly it hit him, with impact. This feeling. It was love. He was in love, for the first time in his life.

“Great. Just great. Now what am I going to do?” He sighed in annoyance. This was the absolute last thing he needed right now, with the Enterprise in the midst of an important mission.

But he couldn’t help it. Now that he’d admitted it to himself, he couldn’t escape it, and he wasn’t sure he wanted to, either.

For a brief moment Will thought about going back to Ten Forward, hoping that she would still be there. But then he remembered, how she had backed away from him, and he hesitated, climbing back to bed instead.

As he closed his eyes, at last drifting off to sleep, he breathed her name.

The next morning Will was on his way to meet with Picard, who had requested to see him. Will didn’t really know what to expect from his superior. He knew he had been the object of some speculation on board lately, especially between the Captain and the Chief Medical Officer, and he wanted to make sure that Picard knew that he was perfectly able to fulfill his duties as First Officer. He just hoped he would be given a chance to do so.

Picard was fair, Will knew this, but he also knew that he hadn’t made things easy. He had been acting out of character, and it was bound to cause some worry. Especially because Picard not only was his captain, he was also a friend, and so was Beverly.


He heard Deanna speak beside him and felt her touch like a jolt of electricity when she put a hand on his arm. He looked at her briefly and stopped dead in his tracks. She looked like she’d been crying. It tore him apart, and he felt guilty for leaving things the way he had. It hadn’t been fair, but he had had to get out of there, to be alone, before he had done something, said something, that she obviously was not ready to deal with.

 But they were friends, first of all, and right now his thoughts were only of comfort. He wanted to pull her into her arms and hold her. Just hold her.

“I’m sorry, I …“ he began, but was cut short by the Captain’s urging.

“Picard to Riker. Are you on your way, Number One?”

“Yes,” he replied, tapping his communicator. “I’ll be right with you, Captain. Riker out.” He turned to Deanna again. “I …” he started again, but she stopped him in mid-sentence.

She smiled a little, and a wave of relief washed over him, as he saw it.

“It can wait,” she answered, softly.  “The Captain is waiting for you.”

He felt like telling her that he didn’t care, that he wanted to know what was on her mind.

But he didn’t. Instead, he smiled back at her causing Deanna to blush slightly. She was just as relieved as Will.

“He’s not angry anymore,” was all she thought, as they went their separate ways, both turning their heads slightly, and both looking away quickly as their eyes met.

Then Will thought better of it, catching her eye again.

“I would like to schedule an appointment,” he said. “Do you have time?”

She nodded, a twinkle in her eye he hadn’t seen before. But he liked it all the same.

“For you,” she whispered. “Always.”

And she was gone, leaving Will surprised, but with a big grin on his face, as he hurried to Picard’s Ready Room.

Captain Jean-Luc Picard stood facing the window, deep in thought. Riker cleared his throat gently and thereby announced his presence. Picard turned around, wordlessly waving him inside.

Will took a couple of steps forward, and the door hissed shut behind him. He didn’t speak; he waited.

“Sit down, Will.”

Picard broke the silence, gesturing to the empty chair, and Will did so. Picard’s use of his first name made him a little less anxious, but there was no question that the Captain was very serious.

“We’re in a very delicate situation.” Picard spoke, and Riker listened, as he continued. “I need my senior officers at their best. It’s crucial to the success of this mission.“

Riker nodded in agreement.

“I understand, sir.” There was nothing more he could say at this point.

Picard nodded and smiled a little.

“Will, you know I value you as an officer and a friend. You are very important to the Enterprise.”

Riker listened in silence, not knowing exactly how to react. He was getting a little nervous.

Picard paced the room a little, before turning and holding Riker’s gaze with his. “Something is happening to you, Will, and I want you to go see Counselor Troi so we can find out what it is.”

“Permission to speak freely, sir?”

Picard nodded silently.

“I won’t argue that I have been acting somewhat different than usual, but I need to know, sir - is this a matter of lacking trust that I am able perform my duties?”

Riker was serious, and so was Picard, as he shook his head.

“Number One, this is a matter of both professional and personal concern, not lack of trust in the least.” Picard took in a deep breath. “Are you all right, Will?”

The hand on his shoulder made Riker smile. Captain Picard was not only a very accomplished captain, he was also a very caring man with a lot of compassion for his crew, whether he wanted to admit it or not.

“I’m all right, Captain,” he promised. “I’ve had some things on my mind, but I am beginning to work through them, and I have made an appointment to see the Counselor today.”

This pleased Picard visibly.

“I’m happy to hear that, Commander,” he answered, continuing after a brief pause. “I am relieving you from duty today.”

This caught Will by surprise, and he was unable to hide it.


Picard offered a reassuring look to Riker.

“You need sleep, Will,” was his answer.  “You look exhausted. Stop by and see Dr. Crusher.”

Will got up from the chair. The words escaped his lips, before he could stop them.

“What I need I can’t get from Dr. Crusher.”

Picard looked puzzled.

Riker felt like kicking himself.

“Number One?” Picard asked.

Riker shook his head, just wanting to get out of there at this point.

“Never mind, sir,” he managed to say.

Picard went to sit behind his desk.

“Very well,” he acknowledged. “That would be all.”

Riker nodded.

“Yes, sir.”

Picard watched him leave, making a mental note to speak to the doctor, before Data’s request to see him on the Bridge took his mind away from his First Officer’s troubles.

 Deanna looked up from her screen, as she heard the chime. She smiled to herself. It was Will, she sensed. Somehow it surprised her that she could distinguish him so clearly from others. But still, it seemed natural in some way that she couldn’t really explain, and for once she didn’t feel she needed to.

“Come in,” she offered, still smiling.

 The door hissed open, and she was stunned momentarily as his bright eyes revealed the warmth and emotion that she had seen there the night before.


This was all she could say. What was it about this man that she seemed to be overwhelmed by his mere presence?

“Deanna.” He smiled, while stepping inside and letting the door shut before continuing. “I can’t believe it.”

She looked at him, not understanding.


“How your face changes, every time you smile. It’s so … beautiful.” Will’s voice fell to a whisper.

Deanna didn’t say anything, she couldn’t.

“I’m … “

Will swallowed and couldn’t believe what he’d just said. What had he been thinking? Damn.

“I’m sorry, I really am. For everything.”

There was a minute of loaded silence.

“I’ll leave you alone.” He turned to leave.

“No!” Deanna got up from her seat and reached out to him. “No. Not again.”

She was close enough for him to smell her perfume. He felt his body tense, but shook his head, when she misunderstood and started to back away.

“Please, don’t.” He barely recognized his own voice. “I need … “

Will lost his nerve. This was a new experience for him. He had never been more afraid than he was now, he didn’t want to do the wrong thing where Deanna was concerned.

“Me too.”

Their eyes locked, and seconds later their lips met. The kiss was tender at first, but gradually deepened.

Deanna felt her senses overflow and had to hold on tighter to Will for balance.

He drew her completely into his arms without breaking the kiss, and he felt both their hearts beating.

“Thank you.” She took a step back and looked up at him. “For the compliment.”

She smiled again, and Will nodded, unable to resist another kiss. It felt so wonderful to finally be able to kiss her.

“My pleasure.”

He winked, and Deanna couldn’t help but laugh a little, as she recognized the famous Riker charm.

“I have an appointment in a few minutes,” she said. “Maybe we can continue  …” She searched for the words and decided now was not the time to identify what had just happened between them.

He nodded.

“I’ll see you later.”

She watched him leave, but this time she felt no sadness. In fact, she couldn’t seem to stop smiling. 

Beverly walked into Deanna’s office early that evening, surprised to find her friend still working. They had made plans to have dinner together in Ten Forward, and Beverly had already been to Deanna’s quarters. Not finding her there, she had asked the computer to let her know the location of the Counselor.

“Working late?”

“Beverly. I’m sorry, I must have lost track of time.  I’ll be right with you.” Deanna rose from her chair quickly.

“Are you okay? You’re blushing.” Beverly couldn’t hide a smile. She had never seen her friend blush before, and she was curious.

“Yes, I’m fine. “ Deanna replied, smiling. “But I’m getting hungry.”

Beverly nodded, picking up on Deanna’s evasiveness. Whatever thoughts she had been lost in, it wasn’t any she wanted to share.

“Point taken. Let’s go.”

“It’s good to have you back, Commander.” LaForge raised his glass and looked across the table in Ten Forward at Will.

“And it’s good to be back, Geordi,” Will said, finishing his drink  “Another drink?”

 Geordi nodded, and Will stood, just as Deanna and Beverly entered the lounge. Then he froze; it was almost like time stood still. His heart was pounding in his chest, but he managed to make his way to the bar.

Guinan threw him one of her enigmatic smiles.

“Commander Riker, you seem preoccupied tonight?”

Will just nodded. He made no attempt to dismiss her statement. She saw everything as it was. There was no reason to try and deny it. He didn’t want to, he wanted to enjoy it.

He turned his head in Deanna’s direction and locked eyes with her across the lounge.  

“An ale for Mr. LaForge,” he told Guinan, without breaking eye contact with Deanna. “and a … chocolate.” He turned to face Guinan again, as she offered the beverages to him.

“Enjoy,” was all she said.

“I will.”

Riker returned to LaForge and put down the glass on the table. “I’m sorry, Geordi. I just remembered I have to talk to Counselor Troi.”

“Sure, Commander.”

Geordi nodded, and if he suspected anything out of the ordinary, he hid it very well.

Riker offered a goodnight before making his way to Deanna and Beverly’s table.

This time he didn’t feel tongue-tied.

“’Anyone up for a little hot chocolate?”

Deanna’s reaction was priceless to Will. She blushed.

“I … thank you, Will.”

She reached out for the mug, and their hands touched. For a few seconds they stayed like that.

Then Will let her take the drink from him.

“There’s a price, Counselor,” Will maintained. “If you drink the chocolate, you must dance with me.”

Beverly watched her two friends with interest. Will and Deanna had always been good friends, but there was something different about way they acted tonight. She couldn’t quite put her finger on it, though. 

“Agreed, Commander,” Deanna said.

Will drank in her beauty for a moment before Picard summoned him, and he turned to leave.

“Enjoy your dinner, ladies. Duty calls, I’m afraid.”

Deanna’s eyes followed him, as he left, and when she tasted the chocolate, a small smile curled her lips.

‘So much for not succumbing to his charm,’ she thought to herself.

Beverly noticed Deanna’s smile and suddenly it dawned on her. Will and Deanna were a couple! But that couldn’t be. Or could it?

No matter what, she had a feeling she would soon find out, and, frankly, she couldn’t wait.  

“Riker to Troi.”

Deanna was heading back to her quarters after saying goodnight to Beverly, when Will contacted her through her Communicator. She tapped it slightly.

“What is it, Will?”  

“You owe me a dance, Ms. Troi,” he said, and she heard the smile in his voice.

“Now? Will, it’s late. I’m tired.”

She was, but she was also curious. What was he up to? She waited.

“Oh, okay.”

She was surprised at his answer. The Will Riker she had come to know was not one to back down easily when it came to women. Not to say that women seemed to want to resist him for long, she reminded herself, and now she understood why. No man had ever kissed her like that before. More to the point: No man’s kiss had ever felt quite so exhilarating and wonderful to her as Will’s had. She didn’t know what it meant, but she knew that right now she wanted to be near him.


For some reason she held her breath.


His voice was soft, and she closed her eyes.

“All right.”

In his quarters Will smiled, mouthing a silent “Yes!”

He took in a deep breath.

“All right, what?”

He couldn’t resist teasing her a little.

“Watch it,” she advised, but she was also smiling. “I might still change my mind.” 

“In that case … why don’t you come to my quarters?”

“I’ll be there. Troi out.”

Her attempt at seriousness failed miserably, and she knew it. She also did not care.

Deanna was greeted by soft jazz tones, when she was admitted into Will’s quarters minutes later. He reached out to her, and she took a couple of steps forward into his arms. He drew her close, and she settled into his embrace, resting her cheek against his chest.

“Deanna,” he spoke softly as if afraid to break the spell of the moment with his words.


The atmosphere was charged. She withdrew from his arms a little, just enough to look into his eyes.

And, then, he kissed her again. It was merely a brush of his lips against hers, and Deanna had to fight the impulse to just pull him closer and force him to put out the fire that was starting to burn inside her.

“I’ve never felt like this before.”

She stared at him, not quite sure that she had heard him right.

Will kissed her hair.

“What is it you do to me?” He trailed off, swallowing. This was just great. He was acting like a damn teenager! 

Her hands went up to his face, caressing him gently. She felt her heart skip a beat, as she saw him close his eyes.

“I’m not doing anything to you, Will.”

She smiled a little.

“But you are,” he argued. “Sometimes when I’m with you, I just … I can’t concentrate.”

He sighed deeply and moved away from her. He began pacing.

Deanna watched him silently, secretly treasuring the moment. He was in turmoil, and she wanted to help him. But at the same time she felt a strong need to hear what he had to say, even if she sensed how confused he was.

This, her instincts told her, was a side of Will Riker that very few people, if any, got to see. She felt privileged, and the feelings she could no longer deny or suppress flowed to the surface. The sensation was so powerful that she gasped.

The sound made him stop his pacing immediately.

“I’m fine,” she reassured him, before he could ask.

He went to her and brought her into his arms with a force that surprised her. But she didn’t object. This was where she wanted to be - in his arms.

This time the kiss was deep and revealed the longing and desire in him.

He kissed her like a man possessed, holding her as close as he possibly could, and Deanna gave in, opening her mouth to let him in.

“Oh, my God!”

He broke away from her and reveled in the beauty in front of him.

 “Deanna, please. I need you.”

The raw emotion in his words, in his eyes … the fierceness of his desire, mixed with an uncharacteristic vulnerability took Deanna’s breath away.

There was no way she could leave him now. She wanted him, needed to feel him against her. It was all that mattered.

Reason and analysis subsided in an instant, as she touched him and let her hands run through his hair and down his broad shoulders.

He shivered, and it fueled Deanna’s own desire to feel him react so strongly to her touch.

No more words were spoken.

It wasn’t a time for words, all they needed to say was communicated with their bodies and hearts, as they gave in, and, with sighs of relief, became one, forever joining their hearts and souls.


Deanna’s scream was caught in Will’s mouth, as he kissed her and heard the echo of a word in his mind, a word that he didn’t know. It filled every fiber of his being, as he felt her let go.

~ Imzadi. ~

He heard the word again and again in his mind, as they released and he held her close, wanting to freeze this moment in time, forever.

“I love you.”

Three words that carried such significance that he had found it hard to say them in the past, but not now. Not with her. He did love her. If he had doubted it earlier, now he was as certain as he would ever be. It was a love that filled him with hope and promise, a love that carried him beyond reason to a place he had never been before, a place he hadn’t even known existed.

Deanna turned in Will’s arms to look at his sleeping form. She couldn’t sleep. She kept going over what had happened, replaying it in her mind. It had been all consuming, and she had felt herself come alive at his touch, just as he had at hers. She had no regrets, but she was still frightened. Deep inside she knew that what she felt for Will was everything but fleeting. He had touched her heart, her soul.

Deanna thought of her parents and remembered her mother saying how she and Ian had shared an unbreakable bond; they had been ‘Imzadi.’ The first ones to touch each other’s souls …

Last night Deanna had cried out this very word to Will in her mind, it had been the only word to even remotely describe how she felt. Now, she was just grateful that he would never know. 


Will spoke, breaking her train of thought.

 She smiled timidly. It wasn’t until he gently wiped away her tears with his thumbs that she realized that she had been silently crying.

“Are you all right?”

He looked at her, praying that she hadn’t regretted what had happened between them.

“Hold me, Will.”

He did, trying to soothe her, as her tears began to fall again. He was aware that she hadn’t answered his question, and it made him uneasy. But the last thing he wanted to do was pressure her.

“Of course,” he whispered and kissed her lightly.

Deanna rested in his arms, feeling safe in a way that she couldn’t explain. She realized that when it came to Will she wasn’t able to explain much. When she was in his arms reality seemed to subside, to simply vanish. 

Will watched as sleep overtook her and cuddled her in his arms before succumbing to sleep as well.

She wasn’t beside him in bed the next morning.

Will sat up with a start, looking around his quarters searchingly before breathing a sigh of relief. Her clothes were still there, although she seemed to have gathered it from the floor and folded it on the chair. He smiled, letting himself fall back in the pillows, as he called out for her.


She emerged from the bathroom, clothed in one of his robes, her hair still damp from the shower. She looked positively angelic, like a vision. A broad grin spread across Will’s face. He had envisioned this moment so many times in his dreams. But this wasn’t a dream. It was real. She was real, and she was here with him.   

“What’s so funny?”

She came towards him, sitting down on the edge of the bed.


He reached up to tuck a stray curl behind her ear. “I just realized that dreams actually do come true.” He felt corny, terribly corny, but he couldn’t help himself.

“Good one, Will,” she smiled. “You’re quite the flatterer!”

“I am,” he nodded, matching her playful tone with his own. Then he continued. “Except, this isn’t flattery.”

She had no comeback for that one. She was too surprised by the seriousness she sensed from him.

“I know.”

She leaned in and kissed his lips softly.

Will brought her closer to him.

“Good morning.” He put a hand behind her neck and brought her lips to his for a longer kiss. She complied.

“We have to get ready.” She withdrew from him after a lingering kiss that left both of them breathless.   

“In a minute.” He kissed her again, not ready to let her go just yet.

Deanna smiled inwardly. He really was special.

“Will you tell me why you cried last night?”

His eyes had suddenly clouded over. She sensed his worry. But she didn’t know what to say to him.

“Will, don’t worry.”

She smiled.

But he insisted.

“Just tell me you don’t regret what happened.”

She was taken back by the vulnerability in his eyes and voice and reached out to him.

“Of course not!”

His relief flooded her senses; it was almost tangible. She got up from the bed, reaching for her clothes before disappearing back into the bathroom.

Deanna was about to leave. She was getting late for her first appointment of the day.

Will enveloped her in his arms for one last hug.  It wasn’t until she was halfway through the door that he found the courage to ask her the question that had been on his mind most of the night and all morning.

“Deanna, what does ‘Imzadi’ mean?”

She turned, slowly, to face him. Her face was pale. She looked disbelieving and seemed relieved when Beverly’s voice was heard through her Communicator requesting her presence in sickbay.

“I have to go, Will. I’m late.”

“But …” he objected.

But Deanna was already gone.

He knew. He knew.  But how could he? It wasn’t possible … was it?


Beverly threw her friend a concerned look. She seemed shocked.

“Are you okay?”

Deanna fell down in a chair in Crusher’s office.

“I’m fine.”

She knew her appearance was contradicting that statement, but she didn’t have the strength to keep up a front, and knowing Beverly it wouldn’t do her much good, anyway. Crusher would see through it in a minute.

“Of course you are,” Beverly nodded and continued without missing a beat. “What’s going on?”

“Nothing,” Deanna maintained. “What did you want to see me about?”

Beverly quickly masked her hurt at being dismissed. She and Deanna were friends. Troi would share what was on her mind, eventually - when she was ready.

“I just spoke to the Captain,” Beverly said. “He wanted to know if Will came to see you yesterday?”

“See me?” Deanna was thrown off guard for a second, and then quickly regained her composure. “Yes … I mean no. No. I’ll see him later today.”


Beverly was getting nervous. When she had witnessed the conversation between Troi and Riker the previous night, she had had a feeling that something was going on.

Now she was sure. But what was it?

“Beverly, not now.”

Deanna’s silent plea stopped Crusher from asking all the questions forming in her mind.

“Okay, but when you’re ready …”

 Deanna nodded and rose from the chair. She smiled for the first time since the conversation had begun.

 “I know where to find you. Thank you.”

 “That’s what friends are for,” Beverly answered and returned Troi’s smile before watching her leave the office.


The senior officers were assembled in the Conference Lounge for the daily briefing, and Picard had just informed them that an away team would be formed within a few hours. Their task would be to mediate a dispute between two battling races on the planet Exron IV. There was a risk that it could all explode and result in a civil war. Starfleet did not want it to come to that, and it was up to the Enterprise to assure a peaceful outcome.

“That would be all,” Picard ended his briefing, silently gesturing for Riker to stay behind while the rest of the officers returned to their duties.

Deanna felt Will’s eyes on her as she hurried out of the lounge. Not a word had been spoken between them since she had left his cabin earlier that morning, and she felt his turmoil; the doubt and hurt in his mind and heart. But she could do nothing to appease him, not now when her own thoughts were so conflicted. Talking would make it all worse, Deanna told herself, as she reached her office and let herself slide into a chair.

“Riker to Troi.”

His voice startled her, and Deanna felt her heart jump to her throat.


Her response was far from professional, but it was the only one she could form and still keep her voice from shaking.

“The Captain would like an evaluation of my mental state.“

She picked up on the slight strain in his voice, and the sarcasm didn’t escape her, either.

“Do you have a free time slot?” he continued, waiting.

“I’m free right now,” she replied and came face to face with him - as she had known she would - when she rose and let the door slide open.

“Lucky me.”

Will stepped inside, resisting the pull to touch her. A few hours ago it would have been the easiest and most natural thing in the Universe. Now it seemed she was far away, out of his reach.

“Will …”

He shook his head and sat on the edge of the couch. 

“No,” he said and sucked in a deep breath. “Deanna, I didn’t come here for anything but counseling.”

She nodded and took her place behind the desk.

The tension in the room was tangible.

He was right there, on the other side of the table, close enough to touch - if she only reached out …

“Will, I’m sorry,” she heard herself whisper.

He grimaced, and her heart sank.

Was this what it would be like for them – an eternal dance of ‘two steps forward, one step back’? Was there any “them” at all?

 “I don’t want you to apologize. I shouldn’t have … done what I did.”

“I’m not a child, Will Riker!”

Deanna’s irritation was apparent in her outburst.

“I know,” he answered in a soft tone that made Deanna want to close her eyes just to enjoy it. “I just meant that no matter how much I lo ---“  

Will cleared his throat and silently cursed himself for not keeping his feelings unknown to her. It wasn’t fair - not when she wasn’t ready to deal with them, and she wasn’t.

It didn’t matter that they had spent the night in each other’s arms, it didn’t matter that what they had shared had felt like … magic to him.

All he could think of was her tears - and that word. What did it mean? More importantly, why wouldn’t she tell him?


“Please tell the Captain what he wants to know. I’m fine.”

Deanna nodded slightly.

He was heading out the door quickly.


He turned around, nodding.

“When …” she paused for a moment, losing herself in the warmth of his eyes. “When will you be leaving?”


 “Be safe,” she whispered.

Will closed the distance between them in a couple of long strides and held her close to him.

For a minute everything else subsided just like it had the previous night, and they stood there silently, each lost in their thoughts of the other.

“Data to Commander Riker.”

The moment was over, the spell was broken, and Will stepped back from Deanna.

“I’m on my way. Riker out.”

Will drew Deanna into another tight embrace, and she followed him willingly.

“Promise me something, Will,” she asked.

“Anything,” he answered, looking into her eyes and forgot all the unanswered questions between them. If he didn’t return, he wanted to remember her like this, in his arms, and if he did, there would be enough time to talk.

“Come back to me.”

He smiled and kissed her lightly.

Deanna deepened the kiss, not wanting to let him go just yet.

Will couldn’t hide his surprise at her heated reaction.

“I’ll do my best, Ms. Troi,” he whispered against her lips, feeling giddy - she made him feel almost adolescent. “I’ll do my very best.”

Deanna watched him leave her office, wowing that when he returned to the Enterprise, to her, she would tell him.

She would tell him that she loved him, and she would let him know the meaning of ‘Imzadi.’


Deanna rushed to Sickbay.

She was frantic and didn’t pay attention to the officers who jumped aside to avoid being knocked over as she passed by.

“Where is he?”

Beverly got up quickly behind her desk, hurrying to comfort her friend.

“Deanna ---“

“Where is he, Beverly? How is he?”

Crusher swallowed hard. This might be the hardest thing she would ever have to say to anyone.

“Deanna, please listen to me,” she started, feeling sick at the sight of Troi’s panic and desperation.

The mission had been a success, or so everyone had thought up until a couple of weeks ago, when the away team had returned – without the First Officer.

Riker had been captured and was held on charges that remained unspecified. In a bold move Picard had sent down a team to recover his first in command from the prison, where he was held. The team had succeeded, but Riker had been fatally wounded during the escape and had slipped into a coma before it was possible to get him to Sickbay.


It had been three days now, and he had not yet regained consciousness.

Deanna’s presence had been requested by Starfleet at a psychology conference, and much to Picard’s dismay he had been forced to let her go.

Therefore, she had just now been informed of Will’s condition.

Beverly had feared this moment, prayed that by some miracle Will would have woken up by the time Deanna was back onboard.

Her prayers had been left unanswered, and, now here she was, forced to let one of her best friends know that she had done all she could to save the life of the man she loved.

Deanna had never told her how she felt about Will, but Beverly was sure, nevertheless. If there had been any doubt in her mind, Deanna’s distraught expression put them all to rest instantly.

“Beverly, just let me see him, I want to see him.”

Crusher nodded, leading the Counselor to the biobed where Riker lay as if he was soundly sleeping.

As Deanna moved closer and reached out to touch Will’s face, Beverly backed away. She wanted to let Deanna have some time alone to come to terms with the situation.    

“Will,” Deanna whispered, leaning in to kiss his lips. “Can you hear me? Please, Will, hear me.”

Deanna grew more desperate by the minute as there continued to be no reaction from the man lying in front of her. She couldn’t reach him, she admitted, not like this.

But if he really was her Imzadi, if it really was true, there might still be a chance, albeit a very small one. She had to try.

She had to try everything she possible could.

She needed him.


“Are you sure, Little One?”

Lwaxana Troi’s voice filled Deanna’s cabin, and Deanna watched her mother’s face on the screen.

“Yes, Mother, I am,” she answered. “And he needs me. I’m the only who can help him now, but you have to help me. Tell me how to reach him.”

“Deanna,” the Elder Troi objected, but Deanna cut her off before she could continue.

“Mother, please. I love him. Help me.”

Light-years away on Deanna’s home planet of Betazed her mother listened to her daughter’s plea.

Her Little One had gone against Betazoid customs in more than one way. She had followed her heart and her dreams and formed a career for herself in Starfleet. She had objected to enter into the traditional pre-arranged marriage, and now … now she claimed to be in love – and with a human, no less. She maintained that he was her Imzadi.

This was exactly what Lwaxana had hoped would never happen, and she wanted nothing more than to convince Deanna to forget about this William Riker, to come back home and take her place in history as the heir to the Holy Rings of Betazed.

But she also knew that she would not succeed, Deanna had become a very independent woman and very stubborn as well.

In fact, Lwaxana knew that her daughter would never have sought out her advice on a matter such as this, if she hadn’t tried everything else in vain.

~ Mother, I need you. ~

Deanna’s pleading words floated into Lwaxana’s mind across the vast distance, thereby breaking her train of thought, and Lwaxana felt the pain her daughter went through.

It was a pain very similar to one she herself had experienced years ago when losing her beloved Ian, the pain of loss and of words never spoken.

She could not let Deanna go through that kind of agony, not if there was anything she could do to help it. This was not about her, Lwaxana reluctantly admitted to herself.

It was about Deanna and her William Riker; it was about Imzadi.

~ I will help you, Little One. ~

Deanna let out her breath in a silent sigh of relief.

“Thank you,” she answered and waited, hoping that whatever her mother could tell her would help bring Will back.

In the course of the next couple of days Deanna spent every free moment she had by Will’s side, trying to reach out to him with her mind, just as her mother had advised her to.

The bond that had been forged between the two of them, through the intimacy they had shared, meant that she and Will shared something unique, a very special and deep connection.

They had touched each other’s hearts and souls that night – they had found a love stronger than anything else, and now that love was the only thing that could save Will.

Deanna leaned back in the chair with her eyes closed and her mind cleared of every thought that wasn’t of Riker. She remembered their friendship, their confidence, and most of all she remembered the way he had made her feel, the way he had held her, loved her.

It had never been like that with any other man, and she knew that even if she would have to let him go, she would treasure the memories forever.

~ I love you ~

She formed the words mentally, hoping that Will would hear them and respond. She wanted so desperately to believe that he could hear her.

One. Two. Three …

Long moments of silence, deafening silence, where Deanna sensed nothing but emptiness – inside and out. Will was trapped, and she could not get to him, she could not help him.

And then, suddenly, she sensed him again. It was faint, very faint, but Deanna focused all her energy on holding on to it.

~ Will? ~

She tried again; reaching out to him through the link that she had to believe was really there.

~ Help me. ~

At first she didn’t believe it, couldn’t believe that she had actually heard his quiet voice in her mind. It was so weak that Deanna thought she had only imagined it.

But then she heard it again, from somewhere far away. Faded, but real nonetheless.

~ Deanna? Help me! ~

She jumped slightly in her seat; the sensation of him in her mind was both frightening and exhilarating at the same time.

Deanna drew in a slow breath to keep herself calm.

~ I will, Imzadi, I will. ~

Relief, gratitude and love washed over her all at once as she felt hope for the first time in what seemed an eternity.

 Weeks later Deanna walked into Sickbay as she had done everyday since she had learned of Will critical state. She had stayed by his side and with her help he had gradually fought his way out of the coma. He was still weak and under the constant supervision of Beverly and her staff – not to mention the Captain who was kept up to date on any change in Riker’s condition.


He smiled slightly and winced as he turned his head to look at her. She rushed to his side, surprised to see that he was reading.

“Will, you’re supposed to be resting,” she whispered before she was robbed of the ability to speak and could do nothing but respond to his kiss that grew more passionate by the second.

“I am,” he assured her, his breath hot against her lips.

Deanna closed her eyes and let the sensation of his touch crash over her in a wave of emotion. His hand in her hair, his lips caressing her cheeks and eyelids lightly before recapturing her mouth in a sensual kiss that sent Deanna’s senses soaring.

“What a welcome!”

She withdrew from him a little and smiled.

So did Will, and he had every reason to. 

He had been inches away from dying, and now he was on the road to full recovery.

It would take time, but he would get there.

Will looked at the woman in front of him and knew that she was the reason he was still here.

She had saved his life.

“It’s the least I can do,” he said, pausing for a brief moment to make sure that she looked at him, as he continued. “For my Imzadi.”

“I promised myself that when you came back I would let you know what it means,” Deanna explained and was surprised to see Will shake his head.

“I know what it means, Deanna,” he let her know, gesturing to the PADD in his lap.

She looked at it, then up at Will and back again.

She hadn’t expected this.

He was reading about Betazoid customs and the history of her home planet.

“I was shocked, and I ---“

He reached for her hand and cut her off in the soft tone of voice that she already loved so much.


She nodded, swallowing hard upon hearing him utter the word in her native tongue.

It was more than a word; it was reassurance that she didn’t need to explain anything.

 He understood.

“I made another wow to myself after you left my office,” she told him.

He smiled and waited for her to go on.

“I wowed that I would tell you that I love you.”

Deanna locked eyes with Will.

“I love you … I was so afraid that you would never know.”

She felt the tears burn behind her eyelids threatening to run down her cheeks any moment.

“I love you, too,” he answered, leaning forward to bring her back into his arms. “I’m here now, and I will be fine. We will be fine.”

Deanna melted into him as she had done before as Will kissed her tenderly.

Her thoughts of the complications that their relationship might cause, the hint of doubt in the back of her mind that it would be wise to get involved with a fellow officer while they served on the same ship … it all disappeared in an instant as she felt his kiss and the love that flowed from his heart to hers.

 Will smiled as he saw the trust in Deanna’s eyes, it reassured him.

What they shared was unlike anything he had ever shared with anyone else, and he knew he would never feel about any other woman the way he felt about her.

They were Imzadi, and the bond surpassed any logic.

It was love.

And love – true love – is beyond reason.