between “Being There” parts II & III.
This story was written just before Christmas and is the fourth
installment in a story arc that was never meant to develop --- it did anyway.
I guess that will teach me never to say never. But now I have finally gotten
it out of my system, and it is the last part. I promise. :-) My thanks
to Carol for offering ideas for revisions that I feel made the story much
better. --- I hope you will
Disclaimers are in force.
called out to her softly. She was asleep on the couch, holding Melinda close.
His daughter's small hands were entangled in Troi's dark curls. Will
swallowed. It seemed so perfect, so right, and yet he felt like it could all
vanish in the blink of an eye.
She opened her eyes slowly, hugging the little girl in her arms. She loved
this child so much. "Hi Will."
is ready," he said, clearing his throat.
"I can't bear to wake her up." Deanna eased away, covering the sleeping child with a blanket. When she let a kiss fall on Melinda's cheek, Will watched in silence. The loving scene called a smile to his face, and when Deanna turned to him, she realized that it was the first time in several weeks that her sense of him had been so relaxed.
put her down," he said, wanting to get some distance between himself and
Deanna. There was time. They didn't have to rush, but Will was growing
increasingly impatient. He needed her, all of her, and he needed to tell her,
to let her know how he spent night after night sleeplessly hoping for her to
be there next to him. "I'll be right back."
watched as Will carried Melinda to her room. He was still in pain, she knew,
but it seemed that he was slowly coming to terms with Cecily's decision,
nevertheless. She had tried to help, but so far he hadn't been willing to let
her close, and she hadn't wanted to push. He would come to her when he was
ready. There was time.
was great, Will." Deanna put down her napkin, looking at him from across
the table. "I'm glad you're feeling better," she added
looked everywhere I could imagine." He rose from his chair and begun
clearing the dishes from the table. "I asked everyone I can think of.
There is nothing more for me to do." His smile was faint. "She just
doesn't want to be found, and I have to accept it."
loved her." It was a statement, not a question, and his eyes burned into
her with raw intensity. She smiled through the pain she couldn't deny.
he said, "I did."
know that a part of you still does," she went on," ignoring the
sting in her heart.
he began, "whatever I feel for her it can never compare …" Her
looked silenced him for a moment, but then he decided that he had to say it.
"We're Imzadi," he whispered, the word sounding like a blessing on
his tongue. Deanna took a deep breath. "I'm yours, and I always will be.
No matter what I do, or where I go." His eyes shone with emotion, and she
sensed his need to make her understand. "Can't you see that?"
she smiled, her hand resting against his cheek. "I see. I know, Will. How
could I not?" Her lips were soft against his, but the contact was much
too brief before she withdrew from him
miss you," he whispered, reaching out to bring her back into his arms.
"Deanna, I can't do this anymore. I need you."
before had she experienced such raw emotion from him, and she just stood there
listening as he continued. Will, for his part, fought to put into words the
feelings that coursed through his body. It was as if he had just been awakened
from a deep sleep, and all his senses were heightened tenfold. Her body was
molded perfectly into his; it was a perfect fit. Perfect. His hands ran over
her curves, igniting soft sounds from her that only made his love for her burn
stronger. He bore his eyes into hers as he claimed her lips in a feverish
kiss. Deanna tried, but she couldn't deny her own need, and she felt Will's
sense of relieved triumph as she clung to him.
soft," he mumbled, "so incredibly soft. I've waited so long for
this, Deanna. Do you realize how long I've wanted to touch you like this? It
damn near drove me insane!" He kissed her again; captured her lips with
his in a passionate attack that left her breathless. His hands were
everywhere, and she felt herself react to his touch. The look in his eyes was
unlike anything she had ever seen, and when he moved to unbutton her shirt,
Deanna was powerless to resist. "You're so beautiful," he said, and
Deanna let herself enjoy his touch just a little longer before she forced
herself to ask him to do the last thing she wanted him to. "Stop?"
He looked at her, desire and love flashing in his eyes. His breathing was
eyes begged for understanding, and he let go of her, taking a deep breath to
let the air penetrate the haze in his mind. Deanna wanted nothing more than to
take away the doubt shining in his eyes. A few seconds ago those eyes had been
full of such passion that it had nearly taken her breath away, and now …
both his expression and feelings were indeterminate. Troi had never felt such
turmoil from him before, and with their undeniable past that fact worried her.
She used to think she knew him better than anyone, but suddenly she wasn't so
sure anymore. The years of separation had changed him. Truthfully, time had
changed both of them, and for a second Deanna found herself wondering if there
really was time, or if, unimaginably, it was too late?
he backed away from her worried gaze. "No."
she whispered, not understanding. "Will?"
look at me like that!"
what? I'm not ---"
you are," he maintained, "that damned look, like you feel sorry for
me or something!"
I don't --- why would you think that?" She managed to hold his gaze, but
he didn't answer. He just looked at her, and then she felt him close himself
off to her. Deanna backed away on her own, needing to shield herself from the
overwhelming pain radiating from him. It was a far cry from his relaxed state
mere moments ago. "Please answer me."
It's not like it will make any difference. You told me to stop, and I
did." He turned away after a last look on her face. "What the hell
more do you want from me?"
do this. It's crude, Will."
well, I apologize if my feelings are too basic for you," he said in an
even tone, turning to look at her again. There were questions in her eyes –
questions to which he had no answers. He hadn't meant for things to turn out
this way. Will curled his hand into a fist and slammed it down, hard. Deanna
gasped, her eyes turning to the open door. Will cursed himself for forgetting
about his daughter sleeping just down the hall. "Damn it," he
mumbled, "damn it all!"
it's okay." she tried, realizing too late that it was the absolute worst
thing she could have said. His eyes were the darkest blue Deanna had ever
seen. In fact they were almost black. She shivered. It was like he wasn't even
there. She summoned all her strength as the counselor in her kicked in. She
had known it would happen eventually; known that he would have to react, but
she hadn't anticipated it would happen like this, and Troi found herself
questioning whether Will would even let her close enough that she would to be
able to help him.
gave her a smile, but it was a pale imitation of the one she knew so well.
"Really? That's comforting, Deanna, it really is. I mean – what would I
do without you telling me that everything is okay?" He pierced her
with a dark look. She waited in silence for him to go on, knowing that he
would. "It makes me feel so much better about having a wife that left me
for God knows what reason, a daughter whose crying is ripping my heart out,
and a woman in my life who I want so much that …" He trailed off.
much that --- what?" She asked because she had to. But she wasn't sure
she was going to like the answer.
much," he repeated, "that I allowed myself to forget." She
stared at him, not at all comfortable with the look in his eyes. It was
loathing, but it wasn't directed at her, she knew. Her plea that he stop
touching her had caused him to believe that she didn't want him, didn't love
him, and now he blamed himself for pushing her. Deanna caught his eyes and for
a minute she saw a crack in his carefully maintained mask of indifference.
I …" Her words caught in her throat, and he held up a hand to stop her
don't have to say anything." His smile was forced. "In fact, I'd
rather you didn't." He didn't look her in the eyes when he spoke again.
"I'll always be grateful for your help," he said slowly, and
Deanna's heart stopped.
How can you say that I consider the two of you some sort of obligation?"
I say that?" Their eyes locked. "You have been wonderful to her, to
me, and I will never forget the sacrifices you've made to be here." His
words were soft, but still strangely distant. "I should go check on
her." There was a long silence. "Maybe it would be best if you
…" He didn't finish the sentence. There was no need. She nodded
wordlessly. There was no reason to try to explain, not now. He wouldn't
listen. She watched him disappear from view before she left. There was
somewhere she had to be, something she had to do. Otherwise, they would never
be able to get past this.
Stephen Ross looked at the woman standing at the entrance to the café. She was a vision; she always had been. But the love that lived in his heart for her had withered away and been replaced by a blind jealousy towards the man, he knew would always have her love and devotion. William Riker would always be first in her heart, and Stephen hated him for it.
he called, and she turned in his direction, a pale smile on her lips. He stood
as she sat down.
you," she said, and he noticed her voice shaking slightly, "for
were persuasive," he said, and she looked up into his eyes. They were
gray as mist and so different from Will's. The warmth she had always spotted
there was gone. Now there was only anger and jealousy, and Deanna felt a pang
of regret. Stephen looked away from her; he had never been completely at ease
with her empathy, even though he had tried to adjust. "Is he feeling
don't have to pretend with me," she said, playing with a napkin. "We
both know what you think of Will."
as we know what you think of him," he countered, barely able to
reign in his anger. "All he has to do is call, and you come running! He's
playing with you, Deanna, and you let him!"
doing no such thing!" Her anger took him by surprise. "You don't
understand; you never did. Will and I are a part of each other."
he mumbled, "so you tell me. I'm sorry, but I don't buy it. There are no
such thing as soul mates." His smile was overbearing, and she cringed at
the thought that he would know her so little. "This is reality; not some
fairy tale romance."
she nodded, and he smiled despite himself. He had fallen head over heels in
love with her. When she had agreed to marry him, he had felt like the luckiest
bastard in the Universe. But he had never really known her, he realized as
much now. To know Deanna was to acknowledge Riker's position in her life –
be it destined or not. Stephen looked off into the distance.
love you," he said, "and I want you to let go of him. I need you to,
Deanna. If that makes me selfish, then I guess that's what I am."
can't do that." She willed him to face her. "Not because of a
romantic cliché of entwined souls. That is not what Imzadi is, Stephen. It's
no fairy tale, no illusion. It's my reality, and sometimes it is very painful.
Sometimes it's haunting, and I wish I could turn away. But I can't, and I'll
never be able to."
you even want to?" His gaze was unyielding. "Do you?" He shook
his head, denying her the chance to reply. "Why do I even ask? I got my
answer already, didn't I? I asked you to stay, and you went to him
never asked," Deanna pointed out, "you demanded."
are married," he said. "My opinion should matter to you."
does." She regarded him seriously. "But Will and I are friends, and
he needed my help." She sighed. "I had to go to him."
see." He didn't, and she was right to say that he never had. Maybe it was
because he hadn't wanted to, he wasn't sure. He jumped at the unexpected
feeling of her touch. God, how he missed her … "Deanna." He
couldn't keep the longing out of his voice, and when she smiled his anger
deflated. "You never really gave up on him, did you?" His anger and
resentment resurfaced, and Deanna knew she didn't need to answer. He would not
hear her anyway. "Why did you come back at all? To rub it in?"
course not. You know that."
I know is that if he ever comes near me … well, just make sure he
doesn't." He threw her a look. "Are we done?"
She stood. "Yes, I guess we are."
ring slid off her finger, and she placed it in front of him. There would be
details to take care of, and it would not be pleasant, but she knew this was
the right decision.
hope you'll be happy," he said, the sarcasm evident in his voice as he
spoke. But Deanna chose to look behind it, behind the anger, and see the man
she had honestly loved. She knew he was still there.
know," she said, and it called a smile of surrender to his face as he
acknowledged her point. Then he left with not one look back at her, and Troi
stood there alone for a moment reflecting on her choices and how each and
every one of them seemed to always lead back to Will Riker. She smiled
briefly. Imzadi. Soul mate. It was so much more than that. So much she had yet
to find the words to explain, if they even existed. Deanna doubted it. How
would it be possible to put into words how she felt? She couldn't, and, in the
end, she didn't have to. She only had to show him.
was sleeping. For a while she just stood there, taking in it all. It had only
been three months since she had come here, but it seemed much longer than
here." He only whispered, but, because she had been lost in thought, his
words still startled her. "Deanna, come over here."
thought you were sleeping?" She smiled, sitting down on the bed. He drew
her close, and before long they were lying close together, closer than they
had been in years. She shivered briefly before being enveloped by his warm
body. "I had to ---"
His lips brushed against hers, but she sensed the fire in him, a fire that
raged in her own as soul as well. "I don't want to know."
she tried, "we have to talk about it. We have to ---"
he kissed her again, coaxing her mouth open, "not now." His hands
felt so well known against her skin, and she moaned softly at the feeling.
"Tell me," he asked, his words a whisper against her slightly parted
lips. "God, Deanna, please tell me you want this, too."
came her soft reply, "yes …"
a moment their eyes met, and then Deanna kissed him, finally able let her
longing show. Will was slightly surprised by her intensity, but he had waited
so long for this, for her, that all thoughts of being gentle were readily
abandoned. He needed her more than he knew the words to convey, and when he
crushed her to him, and Deanna melted into him, Will knew that it didn't
… " he began, but her lips on his ended his train of thought, and she
smiled when he looked into her eyes. They were even darker than usual, and
when she moved against him, any coherent thought fled from his already fogged
mind. He couldn't remember a time when he had wanted her more than he did
right now. Not even in the Jalara Jungle had he felt such urgency.
need you," she whispered, "Will!"
was all he needed, and Deanna fed off his heated response. It had never been
like this with Stephen, or anyone else, for that matter. With Will it was
different; it was unique. No matter how long they were apart, it seemed that
all it took was a single touch, and all their shields came tumbling down. It
was overwhelming and liberating at the same time, and Deanna gave into the
sensations completely, no longer able to separate Will's heartbeat from her
want you so much," he whispered, his lips hot on her sensitive skin.
"I don't think I can …" He locked eyes with her, and then he heard
her. It had been so long since she had reached out to him like this that Will
was momentarily startled. She only smiled, and he returned it. "Are you
sure? I don't want to hurt you, Dee."
You could never hurt me, Imzadi, not like this. ~
assurance, coupled with the way she moved impatiently beneath him, made
Riker's self control snap. He held on tight to the woman, whose spirit he knew
as intimately as his own, and with one hard thrust he pushed inside her,
feeling the beauty of everything that was her, when she enveloped him from
he mumbled, when he could breathe again. "You're so amazing!"
missed you." She kissed him. "Will ---"
He rolled to his side, bringing her with him. Deanna looked into his eyes,
seeing his smile reflected there, and the calm that radiated from him was such
a relief from the conflicted emotions that she had sensed from him, even
though she realized he had done his best to hide them from her. "I know.
You went to see him." She smiled. Of course he would know where she had
been. He looked at her seriously. "What happened?"
over," she only said, suddenly feeling no need to talk about it. Will
accepted her decision willingly. There was no reason to push, especially not
happens next?" Her serious tone demanded his undivided attention.
"What to do we do now?"
don't know," he said, his trademark grin spreading across his face.
"It is almost time for dinner."
kissed her deeply. "Stay here. I think Melinda is awake." Concern
flashed over his face. Deanna sat up. "I think she's coming down with
something, Dee. She has been sleeping through most of the last week …"
still an infant," she said calmingly, "I don't think there's
anything for us to worry about. She's fine, Will."
hope so." He was out the door before he turned around, smiling.
She got out of bed, reached for his shirt and put it on. The sight was enough
to make Will retrace his steps and bring her back into his arms. Deanna gasped
at the passion of his kiss. "If this is what I get for wearing your
shirts," she teased, "then why do I need lingerie?"
enjoy your lingerie," he reassured her, raising an eyebrow suggestively
before kissing her again. "But seeing you in my shirt like this --- I
don't know. It just seems so right."
you're very cute, Commander." She laughed softly, secretly touched by his
He stepped away from her in mock horror. "I am not cute,
you are," she maintained, kissing him. "I love you, Will."
He smiled. "Well, if that's the case then maybe cute isn't so bad, after
all." He kissed her deeply as if to emphasize his next point. "Just
don't get too used to it."
try not to," she said, watching him leave the room and walk across the
hall to the guest room where he had put Melinda down earlier. Her bed was
still standing in a corner of his bedroom, but the child had become so
accustomed to falling asleep in Deanna's arms and bed that she now refused to
sleep anywhere else. He couldn't really say that he blamed her. Will smiled as
he picked up his daughter, who started crying as he held her close.
princess," he whispered, taking a deep breath when he felt her grip
tighten on his robe. Deanna entered the room unnoticed and took in the scene
in silence. There was still a tiny part of her that resented the lost chances
in her relationship with Will. If they hadn't been so stubborn, if life hadn't
twisted and turned quite so much, she would have been the one to give birth to
that little girl.
she warm?" she asked, walking up to Will, who shook his head.
he said, "at least I don't think so." Deanna reached out, relieved
to find that Melinda's temperature was normal.
feels fine," she said as Melinda's crying ceased. "I think she's
he smiled, "I can deal with that." His relief was tangible, and he
reached out to her when Deanna turned around to go. "Dee?"
just want to get her some food," she said, not turning around. "I'll
be right back."
at me," he asked, "tell me what's wrong?"
she promised, looking at him, "it's just --- I love her, Will."
There. She had said it. It was out there.
he nodded, "I know you do. It's who you are, and I feel so blessed to
have you in my life, in Melinda's life. It means everything to me." He
caught her eye. "I'm sorry, Deanna." He searched for the words to
express just how much he had regretted what he had said before she had left.
"I can't say that I didn't mean it, because I did, at that time, and I
will probably ---" She returned his smile, and Will continued. "Who
am I kidding? There will be times when I will be very hard to live with."
know that," she nodded, "I remember."
is different. I'm different."
nodded in agreement. "I know; we both are."
you think we can make this work?" he asked, and Deanna realized that he
was truly uncertain. There was a part of him that still was unsure of her
affection. She looked at him seriously.
she said with a conviction, which wasn't only for his benefit, but for her own
as well. She needed to believe in this, in him, and the two of them together.
stay," he asked, "I love you, Deanna. Let's stop running."
you sure?" She swallowed, not wanting to ask but knowing that she had to.
"What if Cecily comes back, Will? She is your wife. She's Melinda's
always will be," he said, "and I will always care for her. But I
can't live my life like this. I can't pretend anymore. I love you with
everything I am. That is the way it has always been, and it will never change.
It hasn't changed in all these years ---
I think you know that, too."
she said, and they stood there for a few minutes, both feeling past hurts
dissolve and fall away. It simply ceased to matter, and they were both
breathless with the magnitude of that realization.
he whispered, "Imzadi."
more was said, because no further words were needed. The weight and importance
of this one word was clear to both Will and Deanna, and when they made their
way to the kitchen, Melinda still resting in Will's arms, they both knew that
they were now on the way to become what they always should have been: a