The Line

Rating: PG

Disclaimer Paramount owns them.


For fifteen years I didn't know. I had no idea. I was oblivious to
the fact that crew evaluations were something to dread instead of
enjoy. But for fifteen years Will Riker was by my side as we took on
the task, he made it bearable. No, he made it down right
pleasurable. I sigh as I remember those moments and it draws the
attention of the other officer in the room. I give him a smile and he
returns to his task. But it is hard for me to return to mine, for the
past seems to be calling me, silently begging me to step back in time
and remember. At last I lose the struggle and allow myself a small
moment, as my mind slips into the past.

It went unspoken but crew evaluations were always a special time for
Will and I. There was gentle touches, friendly kisses and soft
embraces that filled those moments. During those times it seemed
possible. Possible for Will and I to be more than friends. But it
never happened. We never took the chance. In essence we built walls
and hide our hearts from each other.

Then the Briar Patch happened. A tiny piece of space tore through
our walls and brought us together. And as Picard noticed crew
evulations no longer took three days but a week. He wanted to know
why and Will chalked it up to being more thorough. I stifle a giggle
as I remember the real reason behind the extra time needed. It was
the invention of the `make love after every promotion rule'. Will
invented it and I loved it. Though the haze of my memories, I hear
my name being called and it brings me back to the here and now.


I look up at the man standing before me and blush. It not Will
before me, its Commander Jameson, First officer of the U.S.S Titan.
We are on the Titan not the Enterprise. Will is no longer beside me
because he is on the bridge. His bridge. And I am reminded that
things are different.

"Yes?" I say.

"I believe we should stop for today."

`Thank God', my mind screams. But I just simple smile and say, "That
sounds fine to me."

"We are making good progress. We should be done tomorrow. So tell
me, why did crew evaluations take so long to complete on the

I blush again. My eyes move from his gaze to my desk, as I search
for an appropriate answer. "Will was very thorough."

A smile lights his face and his brown eyes gleam. "I sure he was.
No, I would say the former Commander was…distracted."

True. That was very true. I can't help it as the smile returns to my
face. Will allowed himself to be distracted then but not now. Not
since he has became Captain.

He smiles a knowing smile and I wonder if the man is telepathic or
empathic. Or if somehow he just knows. Knows that Will and I
struggle to find balance between our personal life and duty when in
front of the crew. It is an issue, one that we have not dealt with.
Or I should say not dealt with properly. But there is something there
in his smile that urges me to do so. Urges me to find a new balance
for Will and I to live by.

As I walk to our quarters, my mind is in a fog. The memories that
play in my mind now are unwanted. They are beautiful precious times
but they only serve to remind me of the simpler time after our
reunion. I remember how much simpler it was when we were just the
Commander and the Counselor. When we knew the lines that we could
cross and the ones we couldn't. Where there was no hesitation to
hold hands in public, a time when he would place his hand on the
small of my back and hold me close has we danced in Ten Forward. A
time when we would find a secluded area of the ship and make love. It
was wonderful and beautiful. And it was missed.

As I step in to our quarters, my heart warms. It has become our
sanctuary. A place where we can let our guard down and be with each
A place where there is no prying eyes, just us. A place where we can
touch and be close and relish in the feelings that we create.
Sometimes I wish we could just stay here behind this door where it is
just Will and I. It is wonderful here; our love is free and open.
There is no one to watch and no one to question. It is just us.

The problem is when we step outside and lose the protection of this
enclosure, a time when we build a wall between us to create a
distance. A distance meant to prevent distraction from duty. It's a
distance that allows me to be independent of him, to be an officer in
my own right. That's what I want. And he wants to see his officer on
an even playing field. Where my life doesn't mean more than
another. The bond is still there but it ignored and restricted.
It's the way it is. It's the way it has to be. There never was an
agreement to handle the matter this way. It just happened. I do
remember the event that brought this reality into existence. It was a
mission that almost ended my life and in that moment I felt his pain
and his struggle, his struggle to save me by risking the crew. In the
end he didn't have to make that decision because sometimes in the
darkest of hours things miraculous turn for the better. Yes, things
worked out but in those few moments in time the crew saw his
hesitation. I could sense their wonder and questions. They questioned
if my life was more important than theirs in the eyes of their
Captain. It made me feel… privileged. Privileged because I love him
and he loves me, privileged because of our bond and connection. It
brought forth in me the need to prove myself to them. So I pulled
away and put up a wall and Will did the same.

We have been doing this now for a few months and I realize we are
treating our bond like an old fashion light switch, on and off, off
and on. When I'm on duty now, I hear nothing but deafening silence in
my mind. A silence so loud that it is distracting. Distraction the
one thing we were trying to avoid in the first place. More than
anything it hurts. It hurts me. It hurts him. It hurts us.

Sometimes I feel like I can't continue with it. Sometimes I feel the
bond reach out for him, demanding a connection. Demanding for us to
not hide it away. Wanting to know why we have went backwards, instead
of forwards. But I know I must continue. For the ship and crew, Will
and I who are now husband and wife, have in essence become secret

To anyone who just came aboard ship, we appeared to be nothing more
than the Captain and the Counselor. Until some knowledgeable person
informs them other wise, after three months we we're that good at
hiding away our love. But it is exhausting to me and my heart tells
me it is to extreme.

But the reasoning of my mind drowns out the cry of my heart. After
all Will is learning to become a captain, a good captain, and I could
not do anything that would upset that process.

Slowly I dress, I am not eager to go to this ball. It is just an
empty meeting of diplomats and admirals. Empty because there will be
no `us', just to two professionals with a job to do.

As I materialized in front of the ballroom, I feel sad and a little
empty. I long to feel his touch and I remember a time when Will would
not miss a chance to escort me to an event like this. I remember a
time when he would have `help' me get ready. We always arrived late
surrounded in an aura. An aura that no one could describe, not even
us. It was always present, sometimes like a gentle falling rain,
other times like a downpour. Tonight, like so many times recently,
it remains locked away in our cabin. Held there by the keys in our

It would be distracting to bring it along, to allow it to surround
us. A Captain cannot be distracted not by me or by anyone.
But he is also my husband and he has forever been and always will be
my Imzadi. I try to steady my warring emotions as I step into the
room and I know with out a doubt that I have to avoid him. To see
him and to be close would be too much. The `understanding' we have
would be broken and I would kiss him with all the passion I have ever
felt for him.

I see him across the room and my heart leaps, God how I love him. I
close my eyes for a moment and take a deep breath. I can do this, I
really can. I just don't want to. I don't want to pretend anymore. I
want to be his wife, in our quarters and out. I want the silence in
my mind to be replaced by the whisper that only he can create. There
has to be a way to where we can make this work. A way to where the
love we share and the bond we have won't interfere with the jobs we
have to do. I want, no I need, to acknowledge it. I want him to
acknowledge it too.

I open my eyes and meet his. It's a look that crumbles our walls and
I feel so ashamed to do this to him. I am so afraid to upset the
delicate balance we have but it is to late, the bond will no longer
be silent. It will no longer be ignored. He is standing across the
room and I know he understands and he feels the same way. He starts
to approach me and as he gets closer, I panic. I don't trust myself
as visions of us kissing and making love roar through my mind.
Begging me to surrender this silly charade. Praying he will to.

Instead of waiting for him, instead of seeing what would happen, I
turn and run from him. As I make my way to the small balcony, I pass
Commander Jameson. He starts to stop me but spots Will in pursuit and
smiles that knowing smile. That damn smile, that brought these
feelings to the forefront in the first place.

I shiver slightly has I step out onto the balcony. Not from the
chill in the air but from the fact that he is fast approaching.
I look over the edge and pretend to admire the view but my mind is
on one thing only. Us.

"Imzadi." I hear the word; our sacred, precious word and I tremble.
It's the first time in ages it has been uttered outside the
protection of our cabin. It makes my heart race and sets my soul on
fire for him, for our love.

But I can feel the struggle that brews in his soul and he is
desperate to keep his focus.
I know that he is fighting for control. I know that he wants to take
me in his arms and open ourselves to the love that we share. I also
know that he is scared to do so.

There are no words said as we stand a whisper from each other. I feel
the heat start to build between our bodies the way it always does. We
stand looking out at the horizon searching for something to give us
focus. Searching for answers. As the sun kisses the world goodbye,
the bond surges forth, as if it's a living force inside of our
bodies. There is no choice; we step closer to one another. His chest
barely touches my back but it is enough to force me to turn to face
him. I can't help but turn to face him. I look into those eyes and I
struggle to breathe. He steps closer to me and I swear I can hear his
heartbeat and it begs me to speak. `Tell me,' his voice whispers in
my mind. It makes me shutter with delight for my soul is staved to
hear his voice in my mind. "I need more than what goes on behind our
closed doors. I need you in my mind and heart at all times. I need
us. I refuse to ignore a bond that has already spent to many years in
the dark. There has to be a way in which duty and love can co exist."

He is a whisper away and I want more than anything to take him in my
arms. But the curious eyes of the crew are watching from inside the
ballroom. The eyes of his crew. I see the battle play out in his
mind and his emotions engulf me.
He struggles, God how he struggles, to find a balance, to find a
peace between love and duty. It's a battle we will fight together as

I lose myself in the invisible whirlwind that is forming between us.

I am shocked when he yells, "The hell with it." And draws me into
his arms, crushing my body to his. His lips meet mine with a fevered
passion that makes me weak. Our love flows out and binds us together
and somewhere, somehow deep inside we know where the line is. What we
can and can't do. It unfolds in warm flash of light as it sweeps our
bodies and fills our mind with knowledge, the knowledge of how to
marry our private life with our duty. The balance we searched for,
the balance we wanted, is finally known. We just had to let go and
let our love lead the way. The love we had tried to hide.

I feel Will's joy as he sweeps me around and we begin to dance. He is
happy. I am happy. As we dance on the balcony in front of our crew,
I can sense their joy to. I realize that maybe, just maybe they never
doubted us at all. Maybe the doubt was born in ourselves out of fear,
a fear of failure and loss. All I know for now is that they can see
and feel our love and that they have been waiting to get a glimpse of
their Captain and Counselor as Imzadi. The glimpses into this area of
lives might be rare but they will exist. Our dancing slows to a pace
to which there is barely any movement and we melt into each other.
Out of the corner of my eye, I see Commander Jameson with a smile and
a tear in his eye. It makes me wonder why but the thought is gone as
Will kisses me breathless again.

Long after the dance, I lie in Will's arms as our naked bodies press
against each other. I watch him as he slips off to sleep and wish I
could do the same. I can't for mind searches for an answer; one that
I know is near. Carefully I rise out of bed and walk to the living
area. My heart lurches as I spy the blinking COM light. I know the
answer is there, one that is too painful for the Commander to speak.
My eyes sting with tears as I read the story of him and his love.
His love, a beautiful woman and a starship captain and him the first
officer. They fell in love in the Dominican War and it was
overwhelming and consuming. It was frightening. So they carried on
in the day, as if they where nothing more than a Captain and an
officer. Hoping that somehow it would make it easier, praying that if
the decision ever came down to life and death, the pain would be
less. They fooled themselves. Because in the heat of battle his love
was lose, the Captain died. The pain was real and overbearing. He
was left alone, without her and without anyone who he could share in
the remembrance of their love. It was all because they were secret
lovers. Hidden. Unseen. Painful. A secret he never shared until
today, until he shared it with me.

I wipe away the tears and I sense the Commander presence. He is
lingering outside our door and although he couldn't tell me the story
in words, he needs to see my reaction. He needs to know that I
understand. The door opens and he stops his pacing. His pain filled
eyes meet mine and I can sense his turmoil. I feel foolish for I
don't know what to say. There is no need for me to talk as his words
breaks the silence. "It's hard to know where the line is when two
officer love each other. Even harder when one is a Captain. You don't
want to bring too much of your heart on duty with you nor do you want
to leave it behind. I saw the Captain and you hide away your love,
not wanting it to interfere with duty. But you are always with him
and he his always with you; there is no way to deny that. Continue
what you started tonight. Find the perfect balance between duty and
love. Walk the line that your love dictates for it takes all into
account. It will lead the way. The crew will realize that the
Captain's heart and soul are contained in this ship and that will
gain him trust. And a crew that trust and loves their Captain would
move planets so that he would never lose his heart and soul."

He turns and walks away a little less burden and smiles that knowing
smile that was born from a secret.