The Protector

Rating: R

Disclaimer:Paramount owns them

Standing on the deck of the small boat Will Riker smiled remembering
the past few days of their honeymoon. The memories that flooded his
mind make him smile and filled his heart. Looking around the deck, he
realizes that there probably wasn't a place on board this small ship
they haven't made love. It had been a dream; she had been open with
him in all ways, with her heart, soul and mind. He knew it must be
hard for her, considering all that had happen during the last few
days on the Enterprise. But still she laid her pain aside and let
herself be consumed by him, by their love. With all his heart Will
wished they could stay here, on board this boat. Where he could see
that no harm would come to her but that was not meant to be. They had
to return to the endless sea of stars and an early morning COMM call
had confirmed his worst fears. They were going back. Back to the
Neutral Zone, a place where he had failed.

Failed. The word sounded in his mind and he tried desperately to
block it out but he couldn't. In an instant his emotions changed from
joy to sadness, as the word played over and over in his mind. No
matter what he did, he couldn't stop the feelings that rose in him.
They battered his soul and wished he could have stopped the events of
that night. The night the viceroy invaded Deanna's mind and he was
powerless to stop it. Closing his eyes he is meet with the fear that
shone in her eyes and it haunts him. Right now as his emotions bare
down and grip at his heart, he finds it hard to breathe. Hard to
think, of anything but the event he couldn't stop. He feels weak; a
word his father had uttered to him in his youth. The sky grows
gloomy, a match for his emotions. A rain begins to fall and he
wishes he could hold back his tears. At last he surrenders as a tear
runs down his cheek.

The gentle falling rain causes her to stir in her sleep. Stretching
she reaches for him, finding only the coolness of the sheets. Through
the haze of her mind, she searches the small cabin and finds it
empty. Sitting up in bed, Deanna starts to call out for him, when his
presence wraps itself around her. She is instantly saddened by his
emotions. They are familiar, steaming from a recent experience.
They are unwanted. A gentle brush of his mind was all it took for her
to confirm the turmoil he had never voiced to her, a turmoil that he
had battled with ever sense that night. Deanna walked to the foot of
the stairs, knowing that above deck, the man she loved battled with
himself over what he perceived as his failure. A wave of emotions hit
her and she sank down to the steps as she rode the storm out.
Sadness. Anger. Guilt. It was all there. It was all connected with
her. Will blamed himself for not being able to stop the attack. She
had felt it time and time again in his emotions and in the way he
sheltered her in his arms. . In this instant Deanna cursed herself
for not facing it sooner and letting him linger in the pain t. But
the honeymoon had been perfect and she hated to awaken the memories.
Standing she started to ascended the stair when the she saw the Comm
light blinking. She wondered if it was somehow connected to his mood.

The warm rain falls gently on her body as she approaches him. She
focuses on him as he stands looking out at the sea unaware of her
presence. "Will?" She gently called and her heart breaks when he
turns. His feeling roll from him to her, like the soft waves on the
sea. He tries desperately to block her but with the soft touch of
her hand, he realizes that it is to late.

She looks utterly beautiful, as the rain makes her white silk
nightgown cling tightly to her body. The wind gently blows her hair
back and the image is almost enough to make him forget the reality
they must face.

"It has been like a fantasy. Hasn't it?"

He smiles and nods and reaches to take her in his arms. Snuggling
against his chest she waits for him to continue. "I'm afraid reality
called this morning though."

She looked up into his eyes. "Did we receive our orders from

"Yes." He hesitates and brings her closer in his arms. " The Titan
is beginning sent to the Neutral Zone for the peace talks."

A sense of dread filled her but it died the moment it was born.
Instead as she stood there regarding him a thought occurred to her.
Of all the Captains in Starfleet, Will was chosen to lead this
mission. Suddenly she was filled with intense pride for him, but she
sensed he did not share her enthusiasm. "Will, you should be
honored this is a wonderful mission for any Captain. I am so proud
of you."

He released her from his embrace and walk to a large lounge chair,
the thunder rumbles in the distance and the rain begins to fall
harder. The rain, the thunder echoed his feeling within. Sitting on
the edge of chair, he rest his head on his hands as his gaze falls to
the deck of the boat watching the rain dance against the hard floor.
Walking to him, Deanna lowers herself to her knees. "Will." His
eyes rise to meet hers. "Tell me. Let me hear what troubles you."

She knew, he could tell. Still the human side of her like to hear
the words and the Betazoid side like to feel the emotions and he
could deny her neither. As she looked into his eyes Will was
overwhelmed with love. She was so concerned for him; he could feel it
and see it in her eyes. It was almost tangible. No one had ever loved
him like her and no one ever would. He couldn't ask her to go back,
could he? Will feels her gentle mental probe and it comforts him.
He can feel her pride in him and something inside of him awakens. He
realizes a small part of him wants the mission but now that part
battles with a larger part of him. A husband. A husband who had seen
his wife awaken from dreams, shaking and scared. A husband who
blamed himself for the pain she had suffered. The pain she still
dealt with.

Finally he spoke, "As a Captain, I am thrilled with this mission.
But as a husband whose wife was……hurt, I am not."

Tears formed in her eyes. The fact that he thought of her first
over Starfleet meant so much to her. He wiped the tears as they ran
down her face and she shivered at his touch. "Maybe we should go
inside," he said. He started to gather her in his arms but she
stopped him.

"The rain feels nice, lets stay out here." He nods and lowers
himself to the chair.
"Will, your concern for me means more than you will ever know.
But the threat is gone. It will be okay. I will be okay, with you by
my side."

It wasn't the words she said rather it was the look of complete trust
that broke the dam of emotions he tried to hold back. She trusted
him as a Captain and as her husband. She trusted him to protect his
ship and his crew. She trusted him to protect her.
It was a trust he felt he didn't deserve. He knew he didn't deserve.
He tried to keep his words low and quiet but failed as they erupted
from him.
"It should have never happened in the first place! I should have
been able to protect you. Less than twenty four hours after our
wedding, I failed you. I finally marry the woman I love, the woman I
want to build a family with and I failed her." He ran his hands
through his hair and she could tell the tears he didn't want her to
see was about to surface.

Deanna battled with her own tears, as the memory of that night came
back to her. Most of all she felt his guilt and she struggled
against it. "Imzadi," she said her voice low. When he didn't
respond she cupped his face in her hands, "You didn't fail." Their
eyes meet and she could sense that he wanted to believe her but

"I don't know how you can say that. I was there in the same bed and
I was powerless to stop that damn bastard! He got to his feet and
walked to the rail of the ship. He was trying to control his anger
but it was hard. "I just keep thinking if I was.."

"If you where what Will? Do you think that if you where telepathic
or empathic it would have helped? It wouldn't have made a

He was silent, as he watched the sea. But he was listening.

"You know what made the difference?" She didn't wait for him to
answer as she began to speak again. "It was you and the bond we
share, the bond that stood with us through most of our life. It was
there when we where friends and when we became lovers again. It grew
as we did during those years. Its strength was proven that night.
Through the bond I used your power, your resolve, your love to battle
him. We won, Will and you where the source of strength that made that
happen. Sometimes you protect someone with your hands and physical
force. Other times, like that night, you protect through your mind,
heart and soul."

Her words filtered through his mind and he tried to hold on to each
whispered phase and believe but it was hard. It was hard to sense her
with his emotions in a mess. So he clung to his disbelief.
"Look at me Will. Please."

He heard her plea, whispered softly into the wind and he was
powerless to stop himself from looking at her. Her beautiful dark
eyes greeted him and he was drawn into her soul. He was lost to her
and powerless to stop her as she nurtured his broken spirit.
The sincerity of her words wrapped itself around him. It began to
fill his soul with each breath he took and his burden began to
lessen. Her words coupled with her empathic touched finally made him
see the truth. She loved him. She trusted him. She felt safe with
him. He felt relieved. A small smile spread across his face and she
returned it in kind. She was in his arms in an instant and he
breathed in her scent, amazed at quickly his emotions could shift.

It was all her doing, the power she had over him. He relished in it.
He pulled away slightly looking at her. He asked a question to which
he already knew the answer. "The nightmares, they are less frequent.

Deanna nodded losing herself in his eyes.

"Are you sure your okay?" I don't want to put any pressure on you to
go. I don't want to make it worst."

"I'll be fine Will. It just takes time. It will take time for the
both of us."

Deanna laid her head on his chest and he said, "I guess it is
something to be proud of. Being asked to go to the Neutral Zone for
peace talks."

"It certainly is." She looked him in the eyes and ran her fingers
through his wet hair. "Has anyone congratulated you yet, Captain."

"No, not really." He saw the sensual look in her eyes and felt his
desire stir.

Pulling herself from his embrace, she extended her hand to shake
his. "Congratulations Captain." Her voice was low and sultry as she
said his rank. It sent shivers down his spine and prayed he wouldn't
remember this moment when he stood on the bridge. It would be to…

He smiled and took her hand, rubbing his fingertips across her palm
as he did so. "Thank you, Counselor". He held to her hand when she
tried to remove it. He couldn't let go. He needed more. "Not just
yet, Counselor." He pulled her flush against his body. She smiled.
His hands trailed down her body making the wet silk of her gown cling
tighter to her. "How about you congratulate your husband, Imzadi."
His hands cupped her bottom and brought her closer to him. Deanna
groaned as she felt his hardness pressing into her. She gazed into
his eyes, eyes that held passion for her. "Gladly," she whispered as
her lips meet his and she opened her mouth to his probing tongue. .
In the distance thunder rumbled and it brought a sense of urgency to
them. He broke the kiss and begins nibbling her ear, smiling as he
felt her body shiver.

Her hands moved to the belt on his robe and in an instant Will stood
naked before her. She slowly licked her lips as Will's eyes slide
down her body, the wet fabric of the white gown, leaving very little
to the imagination. She felt his hands on her shoulders and soon the
gown lay on the wet deck of the boat, along side the robe. Slowly
they stepped together and a surged of electricity swept through their
bodies as they touched bare flesh to bare flesh. Their lips touched
again brushing gently over and over as Will reached up and caressed
her breast and Deanna moaned. He gently kissed her on the neck as
his hands rubbed her breast, making the nipples hard. Deanna smiled
and reached down and took his arousal in her hands. He gasped and she
continued to stroke him. Slowly she moved her hands up to his
shoulders and wrapped a leg around his waist. He reached down and
cupped her bottom in his hands and lifted her up. Wrapping both legs
around him, she brings him closer. The thunder rumbled again and
the rain began to fall faster. Will watched as the rain ran down her
body and he bent his head to kiss of few raindrops from her breast.
She shivered and it was hard for him to tell if was from pleasure or
from the chill in the air. Moving to the large lounge chair he
gently laid her back before covering her with his body, his body
serving as shelter for her from the rain. They looked at each other,
absorbing the feeling that coursed between them and slowly Will
entered her. Making them one, making them complete. Their bodies,
along with the rain demanded urgency as Deanna's hips arched to him.
Their paced quickened as rain fell harder and soon a wave of desire
crashed over them bringing them release. Panting they drew together
in each other's arms. He placed soft kisses on her face while she
gently stroked his back with a touch that was barely there. The rain
and weather grew chilly as Will carried her below to the warmth of
the cabin.

Will watched as Deanna lay in his arms sleeping. He could tell she
felt safe and secure. That simple fact made him feel proud.