"The Reason Why"
Author: Pia Pedersen

Rating: PG/PG-13

Timeframe: Post Nemesis

Disclaimers are in force.


He is across the room from me, joining in on the senior
officers' poker game. I smile at the sight, feeling
relieved that he is finally completely at ease around them,
and vice versa. I had no concerns about Will's ability to
take on the command, but during the first months, close to
the first year, actually, I realized that for all his
courage and self-confidence, William Riker was insecure.
This was new territory, and we were all just doing our best
to adjust. It took its toll on both Will and I and our new
marriage. I sigh, remembering. It still hurts. We spent too
many hours apart, too much time fighting for those precious
moments where it was just he and I. Sometimes we fall back
into those routines, relying on our unique connection to
make sure that no matter what we do - or don't do, rather -
we will always come through. I'm happy for Will, but I
can't help wondering if he realizes what is happening to


I look up at him, surprised. I'd been so caught up in the
memories that I hadn't even sensed him approaching. He
straddles the chair next to me. He's smiling, but there is
something in his eyes. It's just a hint, but it's there all
the same. He's worried - for me.

"I'm fine," I reassure him, matching his almost smile. "I

"Deanna --- don't. I know you aren't. Everyone here can see
it. I can feel it. You can't hide from me." His eyes search
for mine. I loves those eyes, I always have. Every emotion
inside him is mirrored in their depths, they're all there
for you to see, if you look close enough. If he let's you
in close enough.

"I'm not trying to."

He nods, seriously. "I know." He stands quickly. "Walk with

"Mm." I comply; linking my arm with is as we leave the
recreational lounge. Once we are in the turbo lift, he
kisses me. Softly. Sweetly. Lovingly.

"I miss you," he whispers around the kiss. "Not just this;
you." I smile inwardly. "I'm in love with you, Mrs. Riker."

"I'd hope so," I manage. The man is talented, very
talented. "Will, we can't ---" It is only now, as he has me
trapped against the wall of the lift and his increasingly
hard body, that I realize we have yet to call a deck.
"Will," I try again. This time he moves away, breathing

"No." He called out, and the lift moved silently as he
looked at me again. "I'm *in love* with you, Deanna. You
have to know that."

The lift stops, and we slip inside our quarters. He smiles
again, and I settle in close to him on the bed. We don't
say much in the next few hours; it isn't necessary. That is
one of the blessings of having known each other as long as
we have. I feel him reach for me, and I surrender. The bond
sparks as we come together in silence, without the passion
that so often consumes both of us in these moments. Instead
he loves me with such reverence and complete adoration that
I feel him touch my soul before I give in and let go.

"I love you, Imzadi." The whispered words warm up my soul
from within. He soon drifts off to sleep, but I stay awake.
My thoughts won't let me find rest. I turn to him, letting
his relaxed feelings wash over me.

"In love," he'd said. Does he know how much that means to
me? Of course he does, he must. But that doesn't matter.
He'd meant it. He loved me. I knew that already, but being
in love is different from that. Not better, not worse -
just different. It offered me a calming feeling of hope. We
would be fine. The fact that he still felt that way about
me after all this time, and the fact that I felt just the
same way about him, would be the deciding factor. We would
come through.


"I thought you were sleeping?"

"I was." His strong arms envelope me, and I smile against
his chest. How can I not love this man? I close my eyes,
wanting more than anything to hold on to this moment of
contentment as I feel the change in him. It shakes me, it
always does.

"Can you believe that it has been two years tomorrow?" He
whispers. His voice shakes a little. "Where did they go?"

"I don't know." I look up at him. His eyes shine. I start
to drown. "Gods, Will ..." I don't know where they come
from. The tears. But they fall softly, nevertheless, and I
do nothing to stop them. He looks down at me.

"You're crying." He dries the tears away. "I'm sorry."

"It's not your fault. Things happen, Will. Time passes. We
can't stop it."

"No," he acknowledges, and I watch him get out of bed. He
is so handsome, still. To me he always will be. My eyes
follow him as he heads for the adjacent room. The nursery.
I put on a robe and follow him in there. "Do you know how
often I come here?" he says, his eyes so full of pain that
it clutches at my heart. I only nod. I do know. We're both
in here more than we should be. "There will be time." He
closes his eyes. "That's what we said."

"There is time, Will." He turns to me, a hint of the hope
in his eyes. It matches the one I'd felt mere moments ago.
"We will have a family."

"Why would you even want it anymore?" The hope is gone. I
wonder if I just imagined it there? "Why, Deanna?"

"Because I love you, Will." I reach out to him. "Because I
am so much in love with you that it hurts. Because this is
want we both want. Because ---" I make sure he looks at me
as I go on. "Because you will be a wonderful father."

"Deanna, please ... I can't even take care of you. How will
I ---"

"Will Riker," I say seriously. "I've never needed anyone to
take care of me!"

"No." He actually laughs softly, but it is so brief that I
find myself desperately trying to hold on to the moment.
"No, you certainly don't. I'm such an idiot, Deanna, I
really am. Here I am - I have everything I ever wanted, and
I'm throwing it away."

"Will, don't do this to yourself."

"Why not?" He's angry - at me, at himself, at everything. I
stay silent. I have no words that he will listen to. I
know. This isn't the first time we're having this
conversation. But I hope it will be the last. I hope this
time he will understand. I freeze at the next words he
speaks. "Maybe you would be better off with ..." He doesn't
have to say his name, and he knows it. I can feel the
regret in him, the feeling of repeating past mistakes. I
can feel his hurt, and I know that he feels mine as well.

"Is that what you want?" My heart breaks as I watch him
crumble in front of me. The great William Riker. He's
falling apart, and there is nothing I can do to prevent it.
He won't let me. Not now. Sometime I can't grasp the
magnitude of the power I hold over him, and I am certain
that he isn't aware of his over me, at least not entirely.

"Of course it isn't!" He is shouting. "But I am so tired of
this, Deanna. I'm tired of seeing you drift away, of
feeling your pain. I have no idea what I'm doing, and I
hate it!"

"Then figure it out," I say, calmly. He blinks. I smile
inwardly, happy to have his attention. "Will, talk to me,
stop feeling like you have to do everything on your own."

"I want to protect you," he says. I nod. It's what he
always says, but this time there is more. "If I lost you, I
--- can't lose you."

"Then don't."

He smiles. "This is why I love you," he says, and I have no
response to that. "I'm trying." I nod; feeling his love as
clearly and strongly as I ever felt anything. "Deanna?"


"I think it's time."

"Will ..."

"Deanna ---" I'm surprised when he kisses me. The softness
is gone, and I close my hands behind his neck. When did I
step into his arms? When did he push my robe down my
shoulders? I don't know. I find that I don't care, either.
"I am figuring things out, and ---" His lips caress my
shoulder and continue down to my breast. I press into him
closer. The soft moan escaping my lips urges him on.
"You're right. We both want it."

"We should ... " There is a lot of things we should do, a
lot of things for us to talk about and work out before we
start a family, but I suddenly can't form the words to tell
him what they are, nor do I want to, because he already

"Look at me," he asks, pleading almost. I can't refuse him.
"This ---" He waves his hand. "This doesn't mean anything
if you're not here to share it, live through it."

"Live through?" I smile. "You make it sound like it's an
ordeal, Will."

"It is," he says, "but I still love it. I just --- if it
ever came down to ... you have to know that I would never
hesitate in my choice." His eyes are so blue, and I have to
concentrate in order to focus on his words. "After all, I'm
seasoned. Right?"

I smile. It was a long time ago I used that word to
describe how he'd matured. "Right."

He responds eagerly to my kiss, and we both sink into it
until it develops into something else, something more. When
I drift off to sleep, I feel his eyes on my face and his
lips soft on my neck. I feel safe. Loved. Treasured.

This is why I love him.

This is the reason why.