A Promise Of Forever

formerly Cloaked in Darkness




Settling back into his favorite armchair, regarded by many as singularly
the most hideous piece of furniture ever to grace the Enterprise, Will felt
himself relax.


God damn he hated relaxing, relaxing hurt. Relaxing was something that men
did with their loved ones. Relaxing was a married man's pleasure. . .

And a lonely man's hell.

Quickly he stood up, turned, and with contempt stared at a chair that had
at one time been a measure of great solace. Many nights he had ended
double shifts by crawling from the door to his quarters, dead tired, to his
chair and collapsing. And many morning-afters, he would wake to find a
blanket lovingly thrown over his chest, a pillow underneath his head, and
his beautiful wife curled up on his lap, with her head tuck comfortably in
the crook of his arm.

But, when Deanna had left, the mysterious blankets had ended. . .and Riker
found himself regarding the chair with less and less satisfaction.

* * * * *

"Beverly, " the slightly winded Captain Riker slipped into his new desk
chair just seconds before losing his nightly call, "What do I owe this
impromptu communication. Not checking up on me again I hope."

Chuckling, Will attempted to get comfortable in his newly replicated desk
chair. A cold hard steel that was impossible to get comfortable in - which
had been exactly the effect he had been hoping for.

"Will, did I catch you at a bad time?"

Avoiding the eye of his best friend, and self-appointed keeper, Captain
Riker leaned over in his chair to grab the top PADD from his stacks of
PADDs. Lately his conversations with mother hen Crusher were not only
happening on a nightly basis, but they were taking longer and longer.

Being stuck in one position to long was bad, but being stuck in one
position while being interrogated by Beverly on a life he really didn't
have, but didn't dare tell her he really didn't have, was down right
frustrating and his work was his only means of getting though the event in
one piece.

* * * *

"It's never a bad time to hear from the lovely Dr. Crusher."

"Do I want to know what has gotten you so out of breath? Are you sick?"

Barely withholding his usual sigh of regret (remorse), Will shook his head
no, as his eyes continually scanned his desk for the PADD he wanted
(needed), throwing the one that he grabbed, the one which held his personal
entries, on the floor in disdain. "No ma'm, just getting to some spring
cleaning. I had this old chair that just had to go."


Finding his desired PADD, a long lengthy crew evaluation that promised to
keep him blissfully busy for hours, under a stack of un-recycled dishes,
Will guiltily sat back down and faced Beverly. "Sorry Bev, did you say

"I know for a fact that you only have two pieces of furniture in that bare
hole you call home as it is. What the hell did you get rid of now?"
Beverly's clear voice reeked with a concern that made Will flinch.

"Don't worry mom." Striking a grin, Will quickly recovered and slid the
PADD he wanted on his lap, safely out of Beverly vision. "And like I told
you before, I don't spend anytime at home to require the necessity of
filling it with stuff I will never use. I've made my office home. . . a
Captain's work is never done."

Beverly Crusher's green eyes flashed a look on annoyance and Will counter
attacked with a wink.

"Your incorrigible" finally relenting, Beverly shook her head, barely
suppressing a grin that would have admitted defeat.

"And my dear, you need a new hobby. Between running a space station and
keeping tabs and both Wesley and I, you don't have anytime for yourself. I
worry about you."

Not getting a response to a comment that usually gave him an earful, Will
let his eyes wander from his work, to the screen before him. He noticed
Beverly's attention seemed distracted on something off to her left, just
outside his limited range of vision.

"He will be able to help."

Confused Riker looked up to see Beverly was no longer talking to him. Will
watched the tension in Beverly's face mount as she carried on a
conversation with someone apprently in her office.

This was strange, but not an unusal occurrence, be it Beverly now headed
her own space station and her workload tended to equal out his own.,

"I take full responsibilities for his actions."

<<Ohh, serious.>> Will leaned even farther into the screen, feeling like he
was watching one of those damn soap operas from earth.

He couldn't be sure, but he swore Beverly's eyes kept diverting back toward
his direction. Whatever she was talking about, he was sure had to do with

"He's a highly decorated Captain, he will be on his best behavior."

<<She is talking about me. . .what the hell is going on.>> Will silently
wondered, outloud he conspicuously cleared his throat, "Can I be of any
service, or would you like to continue like I can't hear anything?"

"Will," Beverly's cheeks flushed slightly and her normally even voice took
on a hint of something that caused Will's eyes to narrow suspiciously.

"Sorry." Beverly whispered thoughtfully, "I was easing into something,
before I was interrupted."

"Easing into something, with me? Surely your kidding." Feeling a lump form
at the pit of his stomach, Riker puffed his chest outward and attempted to
be the rock Beverly obviously thought he couldn't be.

Beverly was worried about him? What the hell was wrong?

"Will, I would trust you with a fleet of Cardassians without so much as a
bat of an eye. . . but I'm calling on behalf of a friend on a delicate and
personal issue."

"A friend? A delicate issue?" Immediately Will's thoughts went to Deanna.
If it was his friend and Beverly's friend that required assistance, then it
all likelihood it was Deanna's friend as well. Deanna was the one who
dealt with the delicate issues. Why wasn't she calling Deanna?"

"I'm a Captain Beverly. I deal with Cardassians, I don't deal with
personal issues." Riker practically growled.

<<Especially since I lack both a personal life and the ability to think
positively about anything.>> he added silently.

Hesitantly Beverly seemed to gaze at Will under a veil of suspicion,
causing Riker to wonder if an apology was in order. Beverly was Beverly,
and she had called him, over Deanna for a reason. She wasn't dumb, she
knew she had called him.

"Beverly. . ."

"Troy called. . .Troy's here."

Troy. To most it would sound like the good doctor was referring to either
Deanna or her mother, but Will knew. The once greatly respected name hung
over Will like a black cloud.

"Deanna's Troy," appalled at the very thought of the short humorless
looking fellow with the shifty eerie opal colored eyes, Will felt his nose
crinkle. The name Troy . . .Wilkerson made his stomach curl. "No."

On screen, Will noted Beverly's shoulder's noticeably slump, "Will you
don't even know what you are saying no too."

"I don't care, if it has to do with that. . .that. . .Betazoid and her, I
don't want
anything to do with it. He's slime." Will retorted hotly, probably a little
to hotly, and to emphasize his point he began to wipe his hands off on his
uniform sleeve. "He's. . .dirty and I swear to God Beverly if you called me
to tell me she's pregnant I will not accept a transmission from you ever

Will looked up just in time to see Beverly lean into her machine, "Your
confidence in me and my friendship is overwhelmg, do you frisk your family
before you let them on your ship."

"I have no family."

"Will, she's not pregnant, but she is sick."

* * * *
Deanna. . .sick.

He shouldn't care, but oh god his chest felt suddenly on fire and he had
the urge to hurt something, punch something, hard.

"Will, I called you because I know you still love her and because no one is
as close to her as you."

Close. Maybe once upon a time. Maybe once long, long ago.

"She hates me." He whispered, "Is she. . .is she dying."

* * * *

Finally seeing she had gotten through to Riker, Beverly slumped back down
in her chair. She had planned this so differently earlier in the day, she
was going to ask for his help gently. . .not so sudden, and not with so
many outburst on both her and his side.

She should have known the subject of Deanna would never be gentle.

"It's nothing serious, at least from initial scans and conferences with her
Betazed doctors. But its her memory, and its gone."

"Memory?" Confused, Will felt the relief of Deanna's health overtake him,
despite the news erupting another, equally larger fear. If she had no
memory, was there (unused) bond gone as well. He knew she didn't care
about it, but god it was the one thing she couldn't take away. . ."I don't
get it."

Just out of screen view's sight, on Riker cluttered desk, sat a holographic
depiction of Will Riker's first wife, and his eyes inevitably drew to her
silhouette. He loved that picture, many night drawing peace from that
smile, his smile. . .

"Her memory. She woke up yesterday morning with the last five years wiped
from her memory."

"Five years. . ." Will repeated his friends words, as he calculated in his
head where exactly that placed Deanna.

< Let's see. . .we married seven years ago, I got commission of the
Enterprise five years ago. . .we were divorced three. . .>>

Inevitably his eyes flew to Beverly's as a realization dawned on him, "She
doesn't know we are divorced?"


Breaking his connection with Beverly, Will quickly commissioned his First
Officer to his bridge duty, and in a trance like state stumbled to his
quarters. All the while wondering how he had let himself be drawn in to
taking shore leave to see her, agreeing with Beverly's ludicrous plan to
pretend to be still married to her, and proming not to kill that asshole
husband in the process.

"I'm going to see Deanna. . .I'M GOING TO SEE DEANNA?>

Sighing he punched in his access code, and solemnly walked into his
quarters. He didn't bother turning on the lights, Beverly was right, his
quarters was nothing but a bare hole in the wall. Tripping on something
just wasn't feesible when there was nothing to trip on.

Riker shook his head, home sweet home consisted nothing, which freed him
from meaningless attachments of a past that haunted him constantly.

<<I should get furniture.>>

Sighing, he found his bed, and heavily sat himself down on the edge,
feeling twice, if not three times older then he really was.

He wasn't kidding anyone including himself with the furniture statement, it
had been three years since his divorce and if he hadn't gotten furniture by
now, he wasn't ever going to get it.

It had been almost three years to the date. . a lifetime ago, which he had
told (yelled) at Deanna that she could have everything because he wanted
nothing that remineded him of her.

Laying back on his bed, his eyes stared blankly at the darkness looming
above him. He could still hear her voice, thick with an anger he hadn't
(still doesn't) understand, rhetorically responding that the Entprise was
both of theirs, then she wondered what made him so special that he got to
stay where he was and she had to go.

Hasily, in a moment of true Riker hot-headness he had responded he would
gladly give her the ship if he thought she could handle it, without
crashing it.

Needless to say, that was not one of the more civil points of their divorce.

But at the time, despite the anguish nights he suffered since, the hurt
look in her eyes had stroked his ego. He had been determined to make sure
the painfully empty feeling he had inside his chest was not spared on her.
At the time he had wanted her to feel his pain threefold. Suffer his
sleepless nights.

At the time he was an idiot.

Rolling over, finding his train of thought, his memories, increasing
unbearable, he focused in on the present - on the fact that his beloved
Deanna was oblvious to all the pain he lived with every day.

<< Why does she always get the breaks?>> Despite what Beverly said, he
found himself feeling Deanna's amnesia was incredibly unfair, he would give
anything to have those last moments of their crumbling marriage wiped from
his memory. The good was. . .god it was phenomenal. But the bad had been
the worst thing he had ever experienced.

They knw each other to well, a curse of their bond, and although they could
make each other a laugh like no one else, in turn they could make each
other cry like no one else.

He wasn't ashamed she had made him cry - he was ashamed he never knew why.

Sighing he shut his eyes, squeezing away the wetness that two easily seemed
willing to fall.

Usually to numb the pain of all these too vivid, too hurtful memories, he
would try to imagine Deanna laying next to him in bed, like she had used to
during the happier times of their marriage.

But tonight, and until she full recovered that practice was forbidden.
Before it was harmless because she laid in the arms of another man, with
mental blocks aplenty to keep his wandering thoughts out.

But tonight, tonight if he thought just right, he knew he could get himself
in trouble. Even now, with his own poorly constructed blocks around his
mind, he could feel her thriving presence. If he thought just right, he
knew he could contact her, touch her in a way only Imzadi could touch.

But that was a big fat no-no and as logical as inviting some borg for a
piping cup of Earl Grey. She was off limits, despite this little charade
Beverly wanted him to star in, to hopefully jog her memory. She was off

Beverly had said (pleaded), he would pretend to be her husband, and if
that wouldn't work he, with no doubt the aid of the all to eager Troy,
would sit down and explain...

God that sounded so easy, to impossibly fucking easy. Damn Beverly for
asking him to do this. How could he possibly be expected to explain
something he didn't understand,was truly beyond him.

He knew more then likely he would end up giving her his version, (you
killed me for no apparent reason Dee), which would more then likely raise
rukus from Troy

. But he would give her his version if necessity called upon him to do
such, and then he would leave.

He never had the chance before to give her his take on their. . .on their
untimely demise, and a little part of him felt intrigued by this adventure.

And because he was a pansy, he swore to Beverly if Deanna didn't remember
on her own, and he was forced to have the dreaded conversation, that once
he was done he would leave before things got overly complicated. And in
all honesty that was one promise he intended to keep. Living through
loosing Deanna once was hell, twice was intolerable, so consequently three
was not something he was willing to do and he knew Beverly felt the same

Silently he closed his eyes, knowing sleep was not going to come.

* * * *

What he would have given to be wrong, to have fallen asleep immediately,
having one of those rare nights of dreamless sleep.

Sleep would be a blessing from his racing mind. . .his aching heart.

The smell of sweet chocolate wafting from the empty side of Rikers queen
size bed, made the cowering man open his eyes.

He couldn't get over how ridicilous he felt to still be convinced there was
a chocolate smell on that side, her side, of the bed. Countless times he
had dragged Geordi into the room to confirm that smell, that godawful
heavenly smell, and each time Geordi told him he couldn't smell anything,
except maybe Riker's need to change the sheets.

Most people were haunted by skeleton's in their closets - he was haunted by
the smell of chocolate.

* * * * *
"I'm going Nuts." Riker announced to his empty room.

Sighing, he turned to face the empty side of his bed. He wasn't surprised
to find himself automatically rolling to this position, he had conditioned
himself throughout their marriage to face this side, and he hadn't the
heart to break himself of the habit since she had left.

Ridding himself of the habit would force himself to admit she wasn't coming
back. . .

Silly thing was, unlike most nights when all he saw was the vast painfully
unslept in space, tonight he could almost see her laying next to him. He
could perfectly imagine her long brown hair swept into a high pony-tail,
dressed a pair of his boxer shorts she had swiped from his dresser and one
of his old Federation Football Jerseys.

God it seemed like forever since she had first appeared to bed with that
on, little Deanna in that ratty jersey that hung loosely off one shoulder,
and his ruby silk boxers that barely stayed up on her petite waist.

His first inclination that night was to laugh, Deanna Troi in anything but
some elaborate form fitting outfit, or her uniform, seemed comical.

But then something had made him look closer, deeper into what she looked
like, and he realized a whole different side to his Imzadi. A side that
wanted to come out, wanted to show him she could be playful as that young
girl he had met all those years ago, or as intelligent as the woman who had
proved herself as his equal on more then one occasion.

She had smiled then, a smile that had added a wisdom without age and Riker
had been instantly taken. Never before had he seen her look so happy,
animated to the point of total intoxicatation.

Somehow that comical look had become sexy. In a period that could have
only been fifteen seconds at the most, that ratty jersey had manged to
change his whole perspective on attractivness.

At that moment he felt as though he had fallen madly in love with her all
over again.

He guessed maybe the onslaught of new emotions was because she had pulled a
typical Deanna, taking things that would not be associated with her, but
important to him, and making them assoicated with her. Or maybe it was
because she just looked damn good in that jersey.

He thought she had reached perfection at that moment, but she proved him
wrong. Leaning against the doorframe of his bedroom, she asked him in her
serious counselor voice if he wanted to play offense or defense.

That comment, so trivial, so off the point, such a cheap pick-up line had
somehow reached her to perfection in his mind, and at that moment he had
lost all self control.

Not thinking, only feeling, he dropped before her, engulfed her hand into
his own, and asked her to marry him.

God now it seemed stupid, so unplanned, so unriker, but at the time it had
seemed so right. That moment he had fallen so hard for her, he needed her
to know right now, before circumstances changed and he lost his cool.

And to his utter amazement she had said yes to his half-assed proposal
immediately. Joking to her friends later that he only anted a girl that
liked football.

But after she had said yes, he had felt immediately ashamed that he hadn't
done it right, with wine and romance. After the intial celebration of her
answer had passed, he had grown somber with the realization that he had
taken what was suppose to be the one of the most romantic night of their
lives and cheapened it, cheating his beautiful Deanna out of what she

He asked her then, quickly setting her down, if she was upset that he
hadn't surprised her, done it right. Vowing somehow he would make it up to

And to his relief, with those beautiful large brown eyes glistening, she
had said no. Taking both sides of his face into each of her hands, she had
stared deeply into him and with strong conviction told him any proposal
that was overly planned out did not come straight from the heart and lost
its strongest emotion in the shuffle for perfection.

She had said his was perfection and she wouldn't have wanted it any other way.

Of course, a year later she would change her mind and say his proposal had
started their marriage off a path of destruction.

But of course, he had said a lot of stupid things too.


He gave up on sleep a hour and a half or so after retiring to his quarters,
finding the silence in that room to deafening in loneliness to allow him
any peace, and had quickly jumped into a shower, dressed in a new uniform,
and headed back to duty. Only stopping once to stare at the man in his
bathroom mirror, the stranger with the dark circles of insomnia around his
eyes, and the dull glazed expressionless glare.

The mirror would have to be removed before his next shower. That man had
no future, and Will refused to believe that man was him.

* * * *
"Captain, aren't you up bright and early."

Smiling sheepishly, Will shrugged, "Or up late, it all depends on if you
look at the glass half full or half empty."

<<Damn, he hated when Deanna's sayings slipped out.>>

Cautiously Geordi nodded, "How do you see the glass Captain?"

"I don't Geordi, no time when you've got a crew to run. Join be for

"Captain, it's only 0400 hours, I was thinking bed."

"Nonsense, come on, my treat." Clasping his first officer on the back,
Captain Riker steered him in the direction of the Ten Forward Lounge.

* * * *

"So why are you up at this ungodly hour? And are you sure you don't want any?"

"Because you made me? And no, watching you devour that. . .that combination
is more then I can handle " Geordi smirked, watching with distaste as Riker
poured a mound of ketcup on his scrambled eggs.

"Cute, no really?"

"Small engine malfunction," yawning Geordi laid his head back on the wall
behind him.

"Engine malfunction? Really?" Riker perked up his him chair, "Is it
anything serious?"

"No. . ." Geordi shook his head, "I've just got an inexperienced crew down
there, they beep me for anything. Once an Engineer - always an eningeer"

"Are you sure it wasn't anything more serious?" Riker's voice pleaded, and
cocking his head back up, Geordi noticed the odd look in Riker's face, a
mixture of hope, and fear.

"Sir, did I do something wrong?

* * * *

Riker's eyes blinked back Geordi's words in surprise. Now it seemed not
only were his emotions interfering with his sleep, they were interfering
with his work.

And alienating Geordi LaForge, the one person on his ship he could sit down
with and discuss issues of his past, was not an option. Geordi was the
last link on the ship of the old crew, of happier times with Deanna.

"No of course not Geordi, how could I ever be upset with the best engineer
and First Officer in Starfleet history, well besides me of course? "
Smiling, a forced but sincere smile, Riker stabbed at his eggs, "Hell I
swear you read my mind and complete orders before they ever leave my mouth.
I guess I was just doing some wishful thinking. . ."


"Geordi. . . I've promised to do something I don't know if I have the
strength to do." The commanding tone of Will's voice faded to an
uncharacteristic murmur.

Geordi face relaxed at the praise from Riker, but as his Captain's voice
faded to a whisper, and his blue eyes glassed over, a sickening realization
ran over Geordi. This look, this intensified look of Riker's normal somber
appearance could only be caused by one thing, the only thing Riker cared
about anymore.

"Did you talk to Deanna?"

A faint faraway smile erupted on Riker's face. "I wish it was that simple?"

"Excuse me?"

"She needs me Geordi, she's sick and she needs me." Aimlessly Riker
exchanged his fork for his cup of hot chocolate.

Old habits die hard.

"That's good, right?" Finding himself growing more awake, Geordi leaned
in, "I thought. . .you know."

"That is would be good she needs me. Yeah, you would think." Will shook
his head, "But this is different, there are extenuating circumstances that
. . .oh hell Geordi she's lost five years of her memory and although she's
got a new husband she wants me."

"I'm lost?" Geordi replied helplessly.

"You and me both. Beverly's wants me to pretend to be her husband and I
don't know if I can. I may have to retell her all the details of our
divorce, which I haven't straightened out myself. I have to tell her I
love her and in the same breath I have to tell her she no longer loves me."

"Sir, I still don't understand."

"I know."

<<Beep-beep, Captain.>>

Absently Riker tapped his communicator, "Yes, Commander."

<<Top personal priority message coming in from Deep Space Seven, are you

Apologetically Riker nodded to Geordi, "You can reach me in the ready room,
Riker out."

* * * *
Sliding into his chair, Riker wondered sickly if Beverly was awaiting him
on the other side of the screen, with more news.

Trying to brace himself, Riker flicked on his monitor.

* * * *

Oh my god.

Deanna, it was really Deanna. Beautiful Deanna. His Deanna.

Not his Deanna. . .not his Deanna. . .he had to remember that.

* * * * *
"Why are you blocking me?"

Before her image fully appeared on the screen, Deanna's voice came loud and
clear through Will's terminal. No malice laced her voice, just

She was hurt, Will didn't have to feel if, he could see it written all over
that ageless face. The impression of sheer confusion that her wide eyed
terrified stare gave, the colorless cheeks, or the dark circles of
sleeplessness prominent on her face.

And this hurt brought him a pain, a pain in his chest and a pain in his
heart. A much different feeling then the guilty joy he usually derived
from their post-divorce name calling.


"Blocking. . . "

On the other side of the screen, Deanna Troi, not Wilkerson, he would never
call her Deanna Wilkerson, nodded her head emphatically, her brown eyes
shining in the glow of the small desk light she was huddled under.

"I tried to reach out to you numerous times and I just can't feel you. I
depend on you William, why aren't you here?"

Deanna was trying to sound curious, but Will sensed the pleadings she was
unsuccessfully trying to hide from him, and it pulled, pulled heart strings
he had thought long shriveled up and died.

And without much concentration, Riker could sense she was trying to deduce
whether he was in trouble. At one time in their lives, trouble would be
the only reason he would ever leave his wife's side.

"Will I know Beverly is here, but. . .but I feel so naked without you. I
feel like everyone is whispering behind my back."

Will nodded, his tongue tied in knots in his mouth and he stumbled on what
he could say to combat what she was feeling.

I'm sorry I can't be there for you. . .what comfort could she draw from
such a pitiful statement?

And he had to remember that the Deanna facing him, raining down her fears
upon him, was not the woman he divorced. The Deanna begging to be let into
his conscious was the woman he married - for now.

"Beverly is hiding something from me. She won't tell me why I am here, why
I'm not on the Enterprise, with you."

"But she let you call me?"

Guiltily Deanna glanced behind her shoulder, and her voice dropped a couple
of notches before she continued, "She doesn't exactly know about this

"Deanna!" Genuine shock, combined with his own guilty pleasure, rattled
though Will. This was wrong. . . and it felt so right.

"You shouldn't have done that."

"I know. I'm sorry Will. It's just things around me seem so strange.
Feelings from people around me seem so foreign and I'm not sensing anything
from the one person that I care about who isn't around me. Will, I think
I'm scared. No. . .I know I'm scared, as irrational as it sounds I'm

As Deanna words trailed off, Will felt his tongue unknot. No longer was
his uncomfortablness with the current situation important. Wide eyes,
skittish, this wasn't normal Deanna anytime, and the genuine fear he sensed
from her gripped his heart. There had to be more then what Beverly had
told him.

"Dee. . ." sighing Will felt his heart beating pulled in more directions
then he could possibly handle. Part of him contemplated the idea of
getting a message through to Beverly, telling her where to find Deanna and
stopping any possibility of having to answer to Deanna, to feel anymore of
this conflict in Deanna.

And yet the other part of him, a larger more persistent part of him, wanted
to lock onto his ex-wife's coordinates, and beam her aboard. Beam her her
aboard, and attempt to shelter her from all the outside forces that were
heaving the stress upon her that he saw in her eyes. He wanted to again to
have the ability to shelter her, to shield her, to keep her as pure and as
happy as she once had been, as he could see she could possibly be again.

And despite all these alienating emotions, Will felt his posture straighten
to the height it once was, and in spite of the resounding black cloud of
doubt hanging over him, he felt himself for the first time in a long time
with a genuine purpose.

Yes, Deanna could at any second snap back into the woman who couldn't stand
to be in the same room with him, but it may take hours, days, weeks, and in
that time maybe he could find the closure he so needed to get on with his

And maybe, maybe he would allow himself the sinful pleasure of thinking he
could somehow right whatever unjust she was feeling, and win her back.


"Will, Riker to Riker can you hear me?"

Blinking back into reality a small crimson rose to Will's cheeks. It had
been a long time since someone had the audacity of teasing him. It had
been even longer since he had heard the phrase Riker to Riker.

"I'm sorry Deanna, pressing ship business."

Smiling, a genuine smile that Will knew was his and his alone, Deanna shook
her head, "Don't let that captaincy go to your head. We still know whose
Captain of our quarters."

<<Always you Deanna. . .always has been. . . always will>> Will thought to
himself, but outloud, following Beverly's strict orders of pretend, he did
what Deanna expected him to. Waggling an eyebrow, Will leaned into the
screen, "Me."

He expected to get a jovial Lwaxanaesq response, but Deanna, his beautiful
Deanna, grew suddenly somber.

"I'm kidding. . ." Will offered, he always thought Deanna had knew his bluff.

But Deanna just shook her head, and drew back as if slapped.

"Deanna, it was a joke?"

Turning her eyes towards Will, a startling retort reverberated, not from
the speakers in his room, but within his head.

<Do you find blocking me a joke?>

* * * * *
Only few people could ever get away with forcing an answer out of William
Riker and Deanna happened to be president of that elite few.

So, much to Riker's dismay, as taken back by her question as he was, he
felt his mouth opening and a response, un-thought-out, defiantly unplanned,
fly out. . .

"Deanna, its safer if I block you out right now."

Which was true he reasoned, being that if he left her in, Will knew he
would never be able to force her back out. Something that went far beyond
what he knew even Beverly would find acceptable.

Besides, in his head held things, feelings that would undoubtedly overwhelm
Deanna. Lords knows they overwhelmed him, and he had learned for the most
part to tune them out.

* * * *

"Safer?" Deanna repeated Will's words painfully slow, obviously analyzing
his phrase for something she could grasp onto, something that would
undoubtedly clear the confusion Will's cryptic response caused. "Are you
in trouble?"

<Possibly> Will thought fleetingly, but clearing his mind he busied himself
with a loose PADD on his desk, "Deanna, I'm fine, just busy. I plan to
beam down first thing in the morning, and we will all sit down with Beverly

Sneaking a glance at the screen, Will painfully noted Deanna's face had
failed into a look of helplessness. It really wasn't fair Beverly and Troy
hadn't given her anything, making him out to be the abandoning husband.
Leaving him to answer her questions with whatever falsehoods he could
imagine, despite the fact he had prided himself on never lying to her.

Although she didn't say a damn word, he could feel her questions, and
although he knew she would never forthright ask him if he was lying, her
silence cut more deeply into him then the words ever would. Deep enough
to let the miscellaneous PADD slip from his fingers and crash to the floor

... * * * *

"Is five minute s soon enough?"

Damn Damn Damn. He was weak and his only consolidation was the
transformation in Deanna's face, from worry to unbound happiness.

"And only if you promise me you will return to your bio-bed before Beverly
notices your gone. I'm not taking responsibility for your misconduct."

Her face, her eyes . . .damn damn damn, it wasn't fair, he was a mere
prisoner to her every desire.

Will was sure once Beverly found out about this impromptu visit,
unsupervised, she was going to kill him. No doubt in his mind.

"Thank you Will."

Looking up, up into his angel's face, Will nodded mutely, trying to get
past the rising emotion welling in his throat. Trying to ignore the look
that was forcing a rising blush into his old cheeks and quickening a heart
he thought had forgotten how to beat.


Silently he berated himself for not shutting off the secret fast enough.

"Yes Deanna."

"I love you."

Stunned, Will felt his jaw drop open. He had been kidding himself when he
kept insisting he was over her. Her affects on him hadn't lessened one bit
since the divorce.

He would never be over her.

So seeing clearly, Will took his own well being into his foolishly reckless
hands, feeling like he was launching his heart on a suicide mission.
Fining a smile, he replied in a low husky tone to Deanna the only way he
knew how. Without lying, he responded the only way that felt right,.

"I love you too."


<<I LOVE YOU TOO????>>

Feeling like he was waking from a heavy duty phaser blast, Will found
himself momentarily paralyzed, unable to tear his eyes away from the blank
screen that once held Deanna's image, and now. . .now held nothing but
darkness. A darkness that seemed all to representative of the loneliness
that had consumed his life for way to long.

<<What the hell was I thinking?> he wondered to himself.

Shaking his head, he walked to a near by window, unable to sit in that
intolerable chair any longer, and blankly stared out at the stars all
around him.

Sadly he knew what he had been thinking, not even fooling himself with the
possibility he didn't. He was thinking he had been given a second chance,
finally getting to right his destiny where it had gone so horribly wrong.
He was thinking somehow, in the great cosmic scheme of life, his door to
happiness had finally swung open and it was now his right, his obligation,
to jump through.

The prospect of such he found to be both very exhilarating and at the same
time very scary.

* * * *
"Geordi, can I see you in my ready room?"

"Sure Captain, I will be right in."

"Thank you Geordi - Riker out."

... * * *

Walking into his Captain's Ready Room, Geordi braced himself to see the
broken man who had come to him of o desperation only moments before. Being
who Will's communiqué was from, Geordi assumed the call had not gone over
how his Captain had hoped.

Communiqué's from Deanna Wilkerson never went how Riker had hoped. Since
their divorce, the only reason Deanna ever sent word was either to wish
Will a stiff birthday greeting, or a short brief request for Will to send a
communication to Deanna's aging mother, who refused to acknowledge the
couple's divorce.

However, due to the deep depression the Captain slipped into after each one
of these calls, Geordi had adapted a calendar of sorts, and he therefore
knew it wasn't even close to his Captain's birthday, and the monthly
communication to Lwaxana Troi just took place a little over two weeks ago.

Given that little information he knew, Geordi could only deduct one logical
reason that Deanna would call. She had retained her memory and now wanted
Will to stay on his ship and away from her.

Geordi had a sinking feeling his Captain, his friend, had let himself
fantasize a reality that was not intended to be, and now, just when he had
started to build himself back up, had been shattered again. And assuming
such it was a safe bet Will was is need of an informal counseling session.

Refusing to use Deanna's replacement, refusing at times to even acknowledge
the psychology major who had made home in Deanna's office, Riker had in a
matter speaking chosen Geordi as interim counselor and Geordi, being the
nice guy he was, had learned in essence to deal with it.

* * * *

But, to Geordi's utter disbelief, Captain William Riker no longer looked
like a man in desperate need of a one-on-one conversation. If fact, the
inherent strength Riker had trademarked in his younger days was again
apparent in his face.

Like in their early days, Geordi found himself once again awe struck by
Riker's commanding presence.

"Sir. . .did things go well?"

Still engrossed in the passing stars, Will Riker jumped slightly at the
sound of his Engineer's voice, "Yes and no. They went well and at the same
time they couldn't have gone worse."

"Riddles again sir? Are you okay?"

"No," Riker answered matter-of-factly, shrugging his shoulders in
resignation and yet smiling at the same time, "I am not okay but this is
the best I have felt in years. I'm thinking I need to be committed."

Winking at Geordi, Will tilted his head back and laughed. A laugh that
reached far back into his eyes, and seemed to make the worry lines around
his face momentarily vanish.

Baffled Geordi started toward a chair across from his Captain, "Sir, if I
may be so blunt I am starting to agree with you."

This made Will's laughed deepen to a baritone, "Ready to aid me in my one
last adventure Commander?"

"Maybe?" Geordi shrugged, and eyeing his Captain he continued, "I mean,
what is the mission sir? What happened?"

"No time Geordi, and I'm afraid if I tell you I will loose my nerve,"
feeling quite giddy, with a good case of the nerves, Riker walked to his
Engineer's chair, and with the reflexes of his younger days bent down so
that the two were eye to eye, "I will be beaming down to Deep Space seven
tonight, it seems my wife needs me as soon as possible."

"Wife sir?"

Geordi phase made a smile spread on Will's face, wife. Yes, that was his
wife down there.

"And as ridiculous as it sounds, I want you to beam me there to be with
her. I want to have minimum logs of my departure, and I want no one to
know why I left."


"I told you it was strange." Waggling his eyebrows Riker smiled, "but all I
can tell you is I'm not coming back to this ship alone."

The severity of Riker's words brought a cold smack of reality into Geordi,
"Sir, Will, what if. . .I mean. . .what if. . ." unable to put into words
the sudden fear grasping him, Geordi threw his hands up in exasperation,
"She's sick and she can get over it. What if. . . "

Understanding the meaning behind Geordi's words, having served together
long enough to read the genuine concern etched in his face, Will clasped
him on the back, "What if she says get lost? I'm not going to do anything
stupid Geordi, if she won't take me back I will somehow put it past me.
However, this place, this ship is not the way to do it. If Deanna decides
to turn me out for good, then I need to pursue to other endeavors, ones
that will not consist of constant memories of us."



Will could sense Geordi displeasure with the situation as the two men
silently made their way down to the transporter room. Will had known going
into that conversation Geordi wouldn't turn be able to turn down his
request whether he morally agreed with it or not - and Will knew Geordi
knew Will knew he wouldn't be able to turn down his request.

If Will had time to feel guilty about the exchange between him and his
friend, more than likely he would have. However time was the one thing
Will didn't have at his disposal, so he opted to let the silence between
them remain.

Things between the two men had been strenuous before. . .

* * * * *
It seemed like only yesterday. Will had started off the morning with a
clear head, believing things were finally back on the up-and-up.

Looking back on that now, Will felt he had never been more stupid in all
his life. It wasn't exactly the morning after a thriving night of passion,
but she had managed to at least stay in the same room with him for more
then twenty-minutes, spending a nice uneventful evening in their marital
quarters, drinking wine, remininassing, and even laughing.

It had been the best night in a long time, and Riker had woken up with her
curled up protectively in the crook of his neck, with her one arm draped
across his abdomen.

Okay, so they hadn't had sex. Sex wasn't everything.

They had instead opted for the more easy approach of stripping down to
nothing and trying Deanna's "nude therapy"

And like that night of so many nights ago, as crazy as it sounds, it seemed
to have actually worked. For the first time in months, Will had found
Deanna willing to talk, talk about their therapy, a nice simulated holodeck
program which had given them the confidentiality they both desired, and
although Will had thought it to be a lost cause, had actually seemed to be
working. They talked about her mother, and how despite her disappointment
in their inability to produce grandchildren, had seemed more than happy to
continue doting and butting in on them for the rest of her days. They had
talked about work, and chocolate, and the wonders of nude therapy.

God he had been such a fool. He had let her hold on to him till the
wee-hours of the morning, and had fallen asleep with the belief that things
were back. Hell they had appeared to be back, she was laying next to him
naked and for him, that had meant she was coming back.

And in the morning, when he had found her snuggled up next to him in
typical Deanna Riker fashion, he had found a smile long forgotten. Easing
his way out from under her hold, he had made his way to the bathroom, and
then to the bridge, with a spring in his step and a fresher outlook.
Humming . . . he had actually began to hum.

* * * *
Geordi had buzzed his ready room forty-five minutes into his shift that day.

That day.

God he had thought nothing of it. Hell he wanted his buddy to come in,
because he was dying to share his news with someone. His news that the
amazing duo of Riker and Riker were back in action.

That day.

Geordi had walked in with obvious dread written all over his face, but he
had refused to see it. And with trepidation, Geordi had delivered with
that fateful blow.

Deanna wanted off the ship, and she wanted off the ship now.

Damn. For a while he had actually pretended Geordi was a dream and had
ignored him, sitting in his desk chair he had actually picked up a PADD and
began to work.

Geordi was wrong, Geordi had to be wrong.

But Geordi stayed, and stared, and the longer that man stared the harder it
became for Will to not acknowledge the sentence laid out before him.

So letting all rational fly out the window that day, and refusing to
recognize the slight tremor in his steady hands, Will had announced to
Geordi he was wrong, and his information was outdated and that he and
Deanna had never been better. His voice raising to octaves he hadn't even
known were possible.

Geordi quietly, in even tone, replied steadily that he had just talked to her.

Really, Will had heard his voice respond, and throwing the PADD down on the
desk he had questioned his first officer with the fierceness of an
interrogation. He refused to bring Geordi's impeccable experience or
loyalty into the equation that day. He had ignored the nagging feeling in
his gut, rising to his chest, reminding him he hadn't kissed Deanna, or
heard Deanna tell him she loved him all the following evening.

Geordi had only continued to stare into Will and later Will realized with
the rashness of behavior he had been exhibiting, he couldn't blame Geordi
one damn bit. He would have done the same thing in a similar situation.

God that day had been bad. . .

* * * *

"Are you sure Captain."

"No" Will squared his shoulders, and eyeing his feet on the transporter
deck one last time, he raised his head to meet his first officer eye to
eye, "I'm only human, last I checked I'm allowed to second guess myself for
the rest of my life."

Shaking his head Geordi's gaze fell back to his counsel, "Is she worth it

"Deanna, god yes." Will smiled, "Minds made up, I've got to go."

Nodding, accepting no different of a response, Geordi turned his face up,

"Yes Geordi, Energize"

* * * *
The transporter deck of Deep Space Seven hummed to life, and within seconds
Captain William T. Riker image formed.

And someone stood anxiously by, awaiting his full arrival.

* * * *

Be it luck, good or bad, the voice awaiting Will actually stood behind
Captain Riker's line of vision, so although visual was a moot point, audio
reverberated on his ears like a sweet sonnet. And a voice called out to
him, so full of the warmth and love his life had been so absent of.


His eyes inevitably closed for a moment, as he let the sweet melodic voice
call his name. His name.


It was closer, and still he found not the strength to either open his eyes
or turn toward her. He was so damn frightened, frightened he would turn
and she would not be there. Frightened that he would turn and she would
not be there alone.

"Silly, I'm right behind you, don't I get a hug?"

Hands, her hands, suddenly clasped around Will from behind and although her
petite form disallowed her the ability to encircle him, she had never let
that stop her valiant attempts to try.

And Will, despite the overwhelming feeling that he should probably stop
her, fell powerless to the jasmine scented arms that held him.

"Dee. . ." throat tight, tongue tied, hands with a mind of their own,
inevitable going to hers and hugging her tighter to him.

"I thought I was never going to convince you to come down here."



He had been letting himself indulge in the finer art of fantasy when Deanna
had left, and the anger had subsided into pain. Fantasy was a wonderful
tool, that much like the right hypospray, could turn a roaring pain to a
dull aching annoyance, for as long as one indulged itself.

However, no amount of fantasy, be it holodeck programs, finely tuned to
Will's every waking memory, or the dreams that invaded the few good hours
of sleep he got at night, ever alluded to the utter joy released by having
Deanna pressed up behind him.

And the crazy thing was, he hadn't even laid eyes on her yet.

"Honestly, coming from you, it doesn't take much convincing."

Which Will knew to be the honest to god truth and to support his point he
raised that beautiful manicured hand to his lips and he kissed it.

Okay, maybe the action was not so much for her as it was for him. It was
the closest contact he had with her in to long. It would be a conciliation
prize if once their eyes locked, she suckered punched him and broke his
jaw. . .Again.

Long story.

"My husband the charmer. Tell me again why they haven't prescribed a tall
dose of Will Riker to cure whatever ails me?"

She was joking with him. Joking with him and flirting with him, in one
delightful enjoyable combination. It was almost for his human heart to

If he lost her again, after this, he feared he most certainty could die.

He had to see her.

"Because my dear, to much Will Riker can ONLY lead to trouble." Turning,
preparing himself for anything and everything, he turned to. . .to Deanna.

And because his actions were so long, slow, and laborious, she was prepared
to pose. At least Will assumed she was prepared, because when his eyes
laid on his goddess he swore she never looked so beautiful.

Bare feet, blue "sick-bay" uniform (as stupid as the concept was to cloth a
patient, Starfleet had recently enacted it) to big, hiding the figure he
knew on first hand experience laid awaiting inside, hair still straight,
still that caramel brown, but now reaching the middle of her back, same
magnificent brown eyes, but with that old glow that had extinguished
sometime after their marriage, same radiant smile, and arms open. . .

God he wanted to take her up on that offer. A hug. A hug from Deanna..

"If what you say is true, I would have been dead ages ago." Winking, she
turned her fingers up and started to urge him forward, "Doesn't your wife
deserve a hug, a kiss, come on?"

Beverly would kill him. Will had not one inkling of worry when it came to
Deanna new husband, but Beverly was not a force to be reckoned with and
although he knew she would be the first one to urge them back together, she
wouldn't appreciate it done on the sly while Deanna was not thinking
clearly. And of course, she was right. Will didn't want to win Deanna on
lies and falsehoods. She deserved to be treated with respect.

Still. . . how could a hug hurt?

"I missed you Will," tilting her head inquisitively to the side, in a
fashion that caused Will's heart to stop, Deanna quickly closed the gap
that Will had been so leery of, "Every minute away from you feels like a
lifetime, my love."

Unable to speak, sensing the sudden change of power, Will found himself
only with the ability to shake his head. Things were going to get out of
hand, he was almost positive now, finding himself without the ability to
actively participate in what he was positive was about to happen. The look
in Deanna's eyes screamed what she had in mind for him went farther than
the harmless hug, and the way his body was responding let him know that it
wasn't about to let him fuck up his chances at receiving what Deanna had in

* * * *

What seemed like slow motion action, the woman's arms moved upward, now
encircled the shaking commander's neck.

"Will, you act like this is our first date?" Deanna teased, and Will
noticed her voice had dropped down an octave or two, leaving her normal
voice for what he remembered fondly as her bedroom voice.

Forbidden thoughts suddenly flashed through his mind. Thoughts of a raw
animalistic nature and only highlighted how long it really had been since
he had her companionship. Thoughts that also highlighted how truly wrong
it would be to let her carry out what he knew she wanted nearly as bad as

"Deanna. . ."

Leaning on her toes to meet him eye to eye, Deanna threw her hand over
Will's mouth pressing his lips close and stopping his words short.

"Shut up Will, your constant talking is giving me a headache." Winking to
him in good faith, Will watched in a mixture of utter horror and deep
arousal as Deanna removed her hand only to place her lips firmly against
his own.


Will had always fashioned himself to be a strong man, deeply intune with
his moral and ethical values and in charge of himself enough that he was
able to differentiate between the needs of the body and the needs of the

Having Deanna's lips firmly pressed against his own, her body pressed
against his, her arms roaming the expanse of his back with her long
manicured nails - threw this theory completely out the window.

He found himself joyfully without the ability to move . . .well to rephrase
that, to move away. He could move just fine; move his hands around her
waist to pull her tighter into the kiss, move his hands to her hair, to
once again feel that amazing softness he thought he had forgotten, move his
hands to her rear, to indulge himself the quick thrill of pressing her
firmly into him like she had only dared in their bedroom, late, late at

She was to damn intoxicating for her own good.

"That's the husband I remember." Deanna whispered huskily, breaking away
from the kiss to begin her descent on his ear.

At her words, Riker froze. He probably could have continued at this pace
all night if she hadn't said that. Remember. Remembering needed a memory
and she didn't have one, he did.


Deanna's eyes widened at Will's use of vulgarity, a rarity, and Riker,
feeling like a sudden prick, began to disheartedly disentangle himself from
her grasp. He was going to do this the right way.

"Did I do something wrong?"

Looking up at Deanna, Riker felt his heart break. But damn it, he wasn't
the husband she remembered. She didn't remember anything.

"No, of course not. . .its just, well, were in the middle of a hallway. . ."

"And that's bad?" Deanna giggled, her hand wandering up and down his chest.
"At one particular therapy session I remember a certain then First Officer
relaying his secret fantasies of public places."

<<NO, THAT NOT BAD AT ALL>> Riker thought inwardly, while outwardly nodding
his head in contradiction, "Yes, very bad. . .things are different Deanna.
I'm a Captain and I've got a reputation to maintain."

Pulling away Riker blushed at Deanna's peculiar gaze. That was definitely
not a Riker maneuver, stepping away, and she knew it. He could sense the
immediate rise of her fear again, as soon as her arm slid off of him, and
back to her side.

"Is there someplace we can talk." Stepping away Riker safely stuffed his
hands in the pocket of the casual khaki slacks he had grabbed and changed
into on a whim. He didn't want to draw attention until he had too.

"Well. . .your guess is as good as mine." Noticeably bothered by Will's
brush off, Deanna mildly shrugged (obviously hurt) and crossed her arms
over her own chest, hugging herself, "The layout of this space station
isn't up to regulation standards. I didn't think I'd ever find the
transporter room."

"Not up to regulation standards? That. . ."Will's voice trailed off.
Regulation standards had changed two years ago, and of course Deanna had no

"Strange. . ." quickly recovering, Will drew his gaze back up to Deanna,
and finally getting over the initial shock of her standing there, he began
to take a closer, more inventoried look, and noticed a slight quiver in her
lower lip, which she obviously was trying to effectively cover by biting it.

"Are you cold?"

"Why are you blocking me?"

Riker flinched. She was so damn persistent. At once he had thought it
cute - man, he had been so naïve.

Quickly Riker slipped out of the jacket he was wearing, and stepping up to
Deanna's small (smaller then he remembered) form, he wrapped it around her
shoulders, keeping a strong grip on both sides of the jacket.

"It's a rather moderate temperature in here, is something wrong," Riker
unintentionally leaned closer to Deanna to stare deeply into her eyes. At
this close distance, he saw a blankness that he hadn't noticed before, an
almost drugged like stare, "Deanna, does Beverly have you on something?
Should you be laying down?"

Clenching her jaw, to what appeared to Will as an attempt to stop the soft
chattering of her teeth, Deanna again questioned, more demanding, "Why are
you blocking?"

He couldn't help it, he had hold her again, if only to lend her the body
heat she so desperately needed. Pulling on both sides of his jacket, Will
drew Deanna's form to him, and he clutched at her shaking body with his

"It's a long story beautiful, and I'm afraid its not all mine."

He felt her nerves melt against him at his words, she obviously had found
some comfort it them, and her arms desperately held on to the blue button
down shirt he was wearing.

If he would have thought about it, he wouldn't have worn this particular
item of clothing. It had been a gift from her on their first anniversary.
She had always told him she loved the feel of the soft blue fabric
underneath her fingertips.

She had also told him it looked better crumpled on the floor of their
bedroom, but was definitely another issue itself.

* * * *

Breaking into his thoughts Deanna whispered, "I don't have any plans for
this evening."

* * * *

Riker sighed, could she possibly know what she was doing to him, and he
laid his cheek on the top of her head.

"Deanna, I'm not going anywhere, can we keep the heart to he. . ."

Riker words fell short as Deanna's head rolled behind her, and her leg's
gave out, causing the woman to completely fall forward into Riker's arms. .
. unconscious.


It wasn't like he couldn't pick her up, hell she was lighter then he
remembered, almost too light for her own good.

It wasn't like he minded picking her up, or that at this moment he really cared to greatly
about the ruckus he was sure to follow when the two entered the sickbay,

It was probably selfishness. . .

But as he hoisted her into his arms, and felt the way a semi-consciousness
Deanna nestled her head into his chest, like she used to when crawling onto
his lap late at night, he felt a decision far beyond all rational be decided for him.
He was not going to return her to that medical unit until she fully awoke,
and knew he hadn't abandoned her. 
Her pulse rate was returning back to normal. He was sure there was no immediate threat of medical danger.
Accept maybe his heart breaking in two.

There was no doubt in his mind that Beverly was going to kill him for this little stunt.

Troy would probably court martial him.

But somehow at his very moment those idle threats seemed far away and all
that seemed close was the feel of THIS woman, the smell of THIS woman, and
the needs of THIS woman.

He could always return her before daylight, before anybody knew.

* * * *
Riker took back entrances, hid in crooks of doorways, but because it was so
late at night (or early in the morning depending on how one looked at it)
he made his way to his guest suit practically unnoticed.

The unlucky people who did notice, got a look that made them wish
they hadn't.

* * * *
Punching in a previously provided access code, (which Geordi had been so
kind to arrange in the minutes it took him to shave off his three year old
scruff), he watched the doors slide open, and he quickly entered.

If things turned out well, Riker decided this would definitely be a story to tell the grandchildren.

The night grandpa kidnapped grandma for the sake of love.

* * * *

"Now what Riker?" Will clutched Deanna tighter to his chest as he entered
the rather elaborate suite. 

Looking around he noted Beverly obviously had went all out for his arrival, the suite size almost doubling his own quarters on the Enterprise. 


Startled, Riker looked down into the drowsy face of his captive, his blue eyes met
her brown ones, and he noticed a small smile of enchantment touch her lips.

"My prince. . ."

Riker sighed, she was so unaware of the captivating picture she made when
she smiled. That was always part of her charm, her total awareness of
everything and everyone - except herself.
"My Deanna." Worried Riker hesitantly carried his precious bundle to his bed, and gently laid her down. 
He savored the feel of her arms lingering around his neck a precious second or two before they dropped to her side.
"I need to examine you Deanna."
"I need to hold you Will."
That could have easily done him in, a comment so beautifully simple. 
"Deanna you passed out. . ." Riker reasoned, becoming business like again, and his hand brushing up against her forehead for what he convinced himself as a check of her temperature, although it lingered on her cheek before ever making it up to the top of her face.
"I did?" Cautiously, before he could stop her, Deanna lifted herself up slowly to a sitting position and as Will jumped to possibly prevent her, he fell short at the sight of her bare arms, crisscrossed with prominent blue veins.
"Deanna, I don't think you should move." Alert by the sight of her arms, and what possibly could be the reason for them, Riker sunk down on the bed next to her. 
If anyone had unnecessarily harmed one hair on her head, he was not going to be responsible for his actions.
"Why shouldn't I move, I feel fine, and if you were to terribly worried about me, I don't think you would have brought be here." Raising an eyebrow playfully, Deanna crossed her arms again across her chest, hiding the marks that Will was straining to see.
"Deanna. . ."
"Will. . ." releasing her arms she let her hand go to his face, and her fingertips gently caress the deeply ethched lines that now resided. "What happened to me. . ."
Riker closed his eyes, her touch was always so soft, her gentleness was like nothing he had ever experienced before her, or since her.
"I don't know. . ."
The guilt of his voice cracked under her scrutiny, and he bowed his head. 
"Your so scared of me. Why?" Deanna's hands went from his brow to his hair, "I feel you are not blocking to protect me, but be protected from me."
It was obvious she could read his mind. It was almost comforting in an odd sort of way. Like her hands, that still wandered over him with her fairy like touch.
"I'm not scared of you. . .it's just very hard for me to hold you at this distance."
He couldn't lie to her. He could never lie to her. A curse. 
Her hand now wandered down to his chin, and by pressing up she steadily raised his gaze to her, "Why do you hold me at a distance?" 
Her fear was back, he could almost smell it on her, but she still maintained her cool like typical Deanna.
"Because. . ."
He had dug a very deep hole by bringing her here. . . 
He should have never come.
"Because things have changed."
Her lip now trembled again, and her big brown innocent eyes glassed over.
Damn it, Will felt like he was the bad guy, she didn't deserve to cry. 
Deanna body began to shake, and her head curled down into Riker's lap
"I knew. . .when I woke up I knew. . ."
She began to silently sob.
Riker had to do everything in his power not to join her.
"What did you know Deanna?" His voice wavered and his hands began to rub her back in soothing circles. Was it possible she knew more then she had let on to Beverly.
"I knew that you were gone." Her voice came out muffled from where her face was pressed against his pant leg, but Riker didn't need clarity to feel the emptiness in her heart. He had been privy to the same emotions for far to long himself.
"I'm sorry. . ." Will bent down and kissed the top of her head, knowing in the great scheme of life this amnesia had placed her in the very same position he was in.
His words seemed so pointless to him, but she had lifted her head once again at his voice.
And he knew how shattered he had been when they had finally separated, her disbelief was probably unfathomable.
He swore her red swollen eyes would haunt him forever.
"It must have been pretty bad if we are really apart. . ."
The open ended statement craved him to fill in details.
Details he only wished he had.
"I don't know."
He figured she would be shocked by his reply, but she nodded her head as if accepting such an answer, and her hands again entangled with his own, which had been knotting aimlessly on his lap.
"I've cased you pain."
Her voice came out so regretful, so sorrowful, so apologetic.
"I may have deserved it." He wouldn't let her take all the blame, even if she deserved it. Not this Deanna.
"I'm sorry."
"You don't know what you did." Riker rationalized.
"I know what I did to you."
So simple again.
Now Will's hands sought out her face, which had bowed, and he felt her sigh of relief as he closed his grip on each side of her cheeks.
Likely damning himself to hell, he leaned forward, and kissed this face with the true passion he felt he could contain no longer.
And when Deanna began to return the kiss, with a startling fierceness to match his own desires, he didn't stop her, he encouraged her, running his hands all over her.
Caught up in the heat of the moment, Riker never realized when his mental walls faltered. 

Chapter 10
It was there and then it was gone. . .
She was in his arms and she was kissing him, driving him to the brink of utter insanity. . .
And then she was gone. Her lips pulling away from him faster then a blink of an eye.
"Deanna." In a state of utter chaos, more mental then physical (although at the moment the physical was slightly more apparent) Riker jumped from the bed.
She was shaking again, and Riker found himself struck with an overwhelming case of dejavu. 
This was exactly how the last month of their marriage played out. She would cuddle up next to him like things were ideal, they would laugh, share, and everything would be picture perfect. . .almost. When the physical part of there relationship finally came into play, she would heavily participate for the first thirty seconds or so and then she would freeze. More often then not, she would pull away from him in the same fashion as she just had done, always when Riker had finally let down his defenses to really enjoy the moment, and she would slowly back away from him like she just so happened to be doing now, with her eyes trained on his every move.
Riker tried to calm the panic rising through his chest.
"Honey," he just had a sickening feeling she was going to start screaming at any moment, "Honey, are you okay?"
He felt ridiculous, but he held his hands out, in surrender so to speak, and he slowly walked towards her, waiting for what he felt to be the inevitable explosion.
God he loved her. . .it just wasn't fair. He had hardly a chance with her, and now she was going to throw him back out.
Deanna Wilkerson glazed brown eyes seemed to soften slightly at the sound of Will's voice. But her arms continued to shake.
Turning her head slightly, the woman looked not at Will, but through Will, "I have a husband?"
Her voice wasn't necessarily asking Will, sounding more as if she was attempting to convince herself of the fact, but Will felt the first cracks in the destruction of their happy reunion.
"You remember?" 
<<Please no - God please no, if you never grant me another wish, please grant me a little more time. . .>>
As if hearing the man's silent pleas, Deanna mutely shook her head, "No. . ."
Relief flooded over Will for a brief nanosecond, and he relished in it. . .but then it passed and reality again struck confusion on him, and pulled at him, "Then how. . . ?"
Deanna looked at him, really looked at him with her disbelief apparent, and without a sound passing between them, neither one of them even releasing even a breath, she tapped at the side of her head.
"Shit. . ." No more words or actions from her were necessary. The tapping on the head, and the fulfilling feel of having another presence in his mind and his heart could not be denied.
He had let the walls come down that blocked Deanna from everything that would overwhelm her, and she had obviously taken the opportunity to enter his mind, with the purpose of seeking answers to all the holes in her memory.
He had screwed up.
And by the deathly pale look of her face, he realized she had found the answers, all the painful answers of their less then happy past.
Maybe remembering would have been easier on her after all. Damn it, ironic how this would the first time his God decided to actually grant his prayers. . .
"Deanna, I think I should call Beverly."
He was over his head. 
Again a realization overtook him, he should never have come.
"No." Her voice rose, strong with a conviction Will found himself jealous of. "I may have seen things, but I don't necessarily understand them."
"I really think I should call Beverly." 
He was chicken, suddenly Will Riker found himself extremely frightened by being in the same room with her, now that the tables were turned and they really were on equal footing, images and all. 
Maybe, he thought to himself in a moment to only be described as a mad man's gibberish, maybe he didn't really want answers after all. Maybe if he always had his doubt, he always had a reason to believe that everything that happened was irrational and that it wasn't his or her fault, and there was still hope.
What if there really wasn't hope.
Yes Beverly would be his savior, Beverly would be the rational to explain everything.
"No." Deanna shook her head, and with her back against the wall, she slid down to the floor. "Will I want to talk to you about what I saw."
"I have no answers. . ."
Indignantly, Deanna let a smile rise to her lips, "I haven't asked you anything yet, Captain."
A smile - the woman knew how to work him.
The woman still loved him.
He was so spineless that when she smiled he let his fears take a back seat to his recklessness.
"I have to take you to Beverly before morning or she will have be banned from the ship."
He felt himself blush when he saw that desire and appreciation rise back into her newly focused eyes.
Focused on him.
God he had missed her.
"Will, I can't think of anything that would drive us apart."
This was music to Riker's ears, and despite his better judgment, he walked over to where she sat, and sliding down next to her, he grabbed onto her hand, and rose it to his lips.
"Deanna, promise me if something triggers your memory, and you again feel about me the same way you did days you did before our divorce. Promise me you will tell me why."
He brought her hand to his lips, and kissed it, letting it linger for a moment before he placed it back on her lap.
He didn't let go.
"I love you Will."
"Please," he needed her word. He had many I love you's, but she had never given him a straight answer.
This could be his last chance.
She looked at him then, like only she could look at him, and he knew that when she remembered he would know. 
His doubt obviously affected her deeply, and he was sorry. But he had been through to much to not be able to doubt her.
"Of course Imzadi, you have my word."
His eyes closed and he let the moment wash over him. He let the word wash over him. Imzadi.
She really did complete him.
"What confuses you?" he finally whispered, realizing that right now they had everything, but time.
"Everything, all the images I have from you. I don't understand how they happened." She instinctually moved closer to him, and he felt her squeeze at him hand, "Please don't spare me any details."
Spare her details - she had everything in her head.
Still, because he made her give her word, he would do the same, "I will tell you everything that has been rattling through my head." He lowered his head to his right side and laid it atop of hers.
He figured they probably made a pretty pitiful picture, her in a medical gown, him in blue shirt that had happened to loose half its buttons, both dazed, nauseous and more then a little overwhelmed, sitting in luxurious Captain's suit, on the floor.
"Where do I start." He moved his leg under hers, determined to touch her as much as possible, if nothing more then to soften the blows of this story, for the both of them.
And she, he figured, more then likely knew what he was doing, because without letting go of his hand, she wiggled onto his lap, and laid her head on his chest.
For a moment, it was like nothing had ever happed. 
"Let's talk about the beginning. . .Will, in your own words, tell me what happened that night."
She had picked up his terminology when she had peeked inside his head -to him, it was and always would be "that night."

Chapter 11
>The morning of "that day":
>"Computer _ please set snooze alarm for five minutes."
>Rolling over on his side, Will Riker watched the rise and fall of his wife
>_s chest.
>She could sleep through anything.
>"Dee. . ."Lightly he began to tap at her right shoulder. He really hated
>to wake her up when she looked this peaceful. . .but since their
>marriage, and since they were basically on the same schedule, someone had
>to sacrifice a half hours sleep every morning to accommodate two showers.
>And to Riker, it seemed he had been doing way to much sacrificing.
>"Deanna Riker I believe it is your turn to get up early."
>Rolling over on his side, and propping his head on his hand, he began to
>intently watch her face for signs of life.
>She wasn _t budging.

Was he surprised, no. Was he ready to admit defeat and jump in the shower,
>"Honeymoon _s over baby," Riker whispered in her ear playfully, and
>although not completely convinced, he thought he saw a facial muscle
>twitch in response.
>If she wanted war, then damn it, he was going to give her war.
>Teasingly, he began to pull the covers, which she always managed to have
>bunched up in her corner, away, exposing her bare skin to the less then
>pleasing crisp morning air.

This produced another muscle twitch in her face, and suddenly the covers
stopped moving.
> Deanna hated to be cold.
>Eyes were still closed, but Riker saw definite movement under her eyelids.
>The little minx wanted to play.
>"My my. . .it _s amazing how my wife can sleep through anything." Riker
>announced to no one in particular.
>The covers were coming off her if it killed him.
>Sitting up, forgetting about that damn thirty minutes, Will rolled over
>and straddled over his wife.
>For a moment, he sat still and watched her.
>Since their marriage, he had found himself becoming a full time Deanna
>watcher, finding himself spending more and more time admiring her from
>afar, from up close, starting his vigile in the morning and going all
>through the day and into the night.
>She truly was flawless, how could he not.
>And best of all, this immaculate creature was finally his.
>"William Riker, are you becoming soft on me."
>Breaking his gaze he looked down, those beautiful brown eyes were intently
>staring at him, and they were sending him one message loud and clear.
>They were going to be late today.
>"Deanna when I _m around you I am a lot of things, but soft is definitely
>not one of them."
>Okay at the time he had to admit that was pretty damn crude, even for him,
>but the way she did this cute full body blush, he decided it was worth it.
>To prove his point he leaned his lower body into her.
>She squealed, and attempted to wiggle out of his grasp.
>Riker noted she wasn _t trying too hard.
>"I think your late, I think you need a cold shower."
>Leaning farther into her, he ran his hand along her bare side, leaving a
>trail of goosebumps on her perfect skin.
>"I believe a shower can wait Mrs. Riker."
>She was gasping now, and he could see her shivering.
>He could also sense her anticipation, and it fueled his growing fire.
>"I suppose I will go take my shower."
>That was mean of him. . .but as he lifted himself up, he felt her
>heartbeat quicken and her hands shoot out from under the covers to his
>waist, where she held him tightly in place.
>It was nice to be the hunted sometimes.
>"Don _t you dare," she whispered, in that bedroom voice that drove him
>mad. Deep, sensual and inflicted with her need for him.
>He loved that voice.
>"Was that a threat Mrs. Riker."
>He loved the sound of that _ Mrs. Riker.
>Leaning forward again, his nose hovered maybe an inch away from hers,
>their breath intermingling, making things even hotter.
>God he loved her _ the complete package.
>Leaning forward, he tilted his head to the side, unable to take this
>foreplay any longer, and he kissed her.
>Deanna met him halfway, going so far as to run her tongue teasingly across
>his upper lip.
>That was definitely something new.
>"Do you know what you do to me. . ."
>She knew, but she played anyway, "No _ why don _t you show me."
>Will smiled, if she was going to try something new, he was going to try
>something new too. Grabbing both her wrist in his right hand, he pinned
>them down above her head.
>"Well. . ."
>Deanna eyes widened, and her pupils dilated to almost three times their
>He thought it was in anticipation.
>"Stop it Will."
>It came out kind of demanding, his immediate thought was she was playing
>the part.
>"What I can _t play."
>He went to kiss her again, but she turned her head, making his lips land
>in a mass of hair.
>"Get off me Will."
>Her forehead had erupted in a thin layer of sweat and she began to wiggle
>against him again, only harder.
>"Deanna, what _s wrong?" he leaned up to release her legs, but he kept his
>hands on her wrist. He wasn _t an idiot, something was wrong, and since
>she was apparently not talking, he tried to get a clear image of what was
>going on in her head.
>For some odd reason if she stayed still, he could focus better.
>Nothing was clear.
>Her breath began to come out in erratic burst.
>"Will, I am warning you, oh please stop. . ."
>"Deanna, what _s wrong."
>God one minute they were playing and the next minute she was screaming.
>"Will I need you to get off me."
>"What _s the matter?"
>Thrusting her newly freed leg up, she made contact with groin.
>Shocked, his hands fell away and he fell over to the opposite side of the
>Deanna ran to the bathroom.


Will stopped at this point of the story, hesitantly looking at Deanna for
any signs of her possibly remembering.

"Dee. . ."

She had grown quiet, awfully quiet, and her head was now leaning against
him, her face turned so he couldn't see her head on.

"Deanna does this strike up anything for you?"

Wrapping his arms around her abdomen, he gave her a gentle squeeze.

"Anything?" he asked again.

"No." she responded, definitely quieter than earlier.

"Are you sure?"

She nodded, her hand meaninglessly picking at the carpet underneath her.

"Yes Will."

She felt sort of distant from him, and his first notion was to interrogate
her on why.

Instead he continued. Remembering all to well the last time he had
questioned her.

* * *
"Deanna, Deanna let me into the bathroom."

"I'm fine Will," Deanna's voice wafted through the door, over the sound of
the shower's running water.

"I'm not fine. . .Deanna, you just kneed me in the groin." Shifting
uncomfortably, Riker balled both his fist and began to bang on the door,
"Deanna I would like an explanation."

"Sorry Will, I can't hear you over the shower."

Bullshit. Riker laid his forehead on the door. She wouldn't be fucking
responding to his every question in she couldn't hear him.

What the hell had just happened?

* * * *
Hearing the water of the shower finally shut off, thirty-five or so minutes
after she barricaded herself in the bathroom, Riker stood up and waited for
her entrance. Placing himself firmly in the middle of the doorway.

He was not going to let her get past him without some answers.

The door slid open.

And directly on the other side, stood Deanna. She was perfectly poised,
groomed to her usual perfection, uniformed, with her cheeks a rosy shade of

"I've got to get to work, I have a patient waiting." She smiled, smiled as
if nothing ever happened, "so can you please move."

"No." Riker angrily stood his ground. She kicked him in the god damn
groin, he was not going to just let things slide.

"What the hell just happened?"

She flinched, it was subtle, but because he was so worried about her he
picked up on it right away.


"I just don't like to be pinned down like that."

Robotic, to Will her voice sounded like the fucking ship computer, accurate
and cold.

"I thought we were playing. If you didn't like it, you should have said

Her hand went to her chest and she started carelessly fiddling with her
communicator. Her eyes avoiding her husband's stare.

"Geordi's waiting for me."

"Geordi can wait, and he's not waiting because I haven't relieved him of
bridge duty yet."

Deanna's hand moved up to her hair.

At the same time Will's anger began to slowly dissipate into worry.

This was strange behavior for Deanna.

"Did I do something to make you mad?"

"No Will, I'm claustrophobic. Your actions, although seemingly harmless,
caused a negative , almost panic reaction. I'm sorry."

Now she looked at him in the eye, not Deanna the wife, but Deanna the

"Thank you Counselor." Sarcastically Will leaned one hand against the
doorframe, and with the other hand he reached out and grabbed her shoulder.

She instantly became rigid under his grasp.

To hell she was fine.

"What was that?"

He tried to sound calm, but his voice betrayed his frustration.

"Nothing Will." She smiled. It was fake, plastered and forced. "You
should jump into the shower, your going to be late.

She leaned forward, threw her arms around his neck, and hugged him. To
Will, it felt similar to hug from Jean-Luc Picard, not a hug from his wife.

Stiff and obviously not what she wanted to do.

"I'll catch you at lunch Will, Ten-Forward lounge, be there."

* * * *
"Geordi," slipping of the turbo-lift forty minutes later, Riker stepped
onto the bridge.

"Sir," Geordi stood up from the Captain's chair, "I was getting worried
about you."

Will smiled, stiffly, and took his seat, nodding to Geordi to do the same,
"I'm sorry, I got delayed."

"It's okay, but I'm afraid I missed a morning appointment with Deanna."

Deanna, man what the hell happened.

"No Geordi, you didn't miss it, I'm afraid she was detained with me."

"Oh, really." Geordi raised an eyebrow in amusement, "married life agreeing
with you two then?"

Riker felt his blood pound, his face growing hot with humiliation.


"Oh. . ."

Riker dismissed the surprise in Geordi's voice with a shake of his head,
"It's nothing, I'm here, you can go."

"Are you sure sir?"

"Yes. . .no," Riker turned the counsel in front of him away, something
nagged on him from his prior conversation (one-sided conversation) with
Deanna, and maybe Geordi could help.

It was worth a shot.

"You know that problem we had with the turbo-lift about a week ago?"

"The one where we had some crew members stuck for thirty minutes or so -
yeah?" Geordi nodded off handedly, "It was a stupid problem - quick fix.
Is something wrong with it."

"No. . .how many people were in that turbo-lift?"

"Five, six. . .you should ask Deanna, I know she was one of them."

That was one thing Riker did know.

"Did you help everyone out."

"Yeah, why? What's up."

Riker felt stupid.

"Did Deanna seem upset when she got out?"

Geordi seemed mildly bewithered. "She seemed like Deanna."

"I'm asking because she doesn't like small spaces." Riker explained.

"Really, she looked fine to me. In fact she was calming the nerves of a
few ensigns who weren't taking the space limitations very well. Why? Did
she say something to you?"

"No. Go get some sleep."

Chapter 13

Thirty minutes before noon - Geordi relieved him of his bridge duty.

Fifteen minutes before noon - he stepped off the bridge, feeling confident
that his crew could spare him the afternoon off - to focus in on personal

Five minutes before noon - he walked away from his quarters, showered,
shaven, armed with chocolates and centered on one goal.

He was going to put whatever happened this morning, as confusing and
bothersome as it was, behind them. He was going to disengage his pride,
and he was going to apologize until he turned blue in the face or until she
forgave him - whatever happened first.

Yes, he had questions, lots of questions. Yes he had issues with her
actions - especially the one which had provoked physical retaliation.

But there was something, something overshadowing all his complaints,
something he couldn't quite put his finger on, but something that had
nagged at his fears and made him determined not to let the distance between
them grow any further.

He felt scared that he was going to loose Deanna. It made no sense in
context of their fight, as compared to other more serious disagreements the
two had experienced in the past. But this morning, as he sat on his bridge
and went through all the motions of pretending he wanted to be there, all
he could picture was her, seconds before she had kneed him and he had
eventually let go.

She had verbally begged him to stop. . .and her verbal cries had
overshadowed what he had felt coming off of her. . .

That he had remembered.

But as he sat on the bridge, and played the scene again, and again, and
again. . .

He heard something else, not from her mouth to his ear. . .but from her
mind to his heart. Something that had got lost in the chaos of the moment.

He had heard her cry, sob, two phrases over and over in her head.

"I promise never to forgive. I promise never to forget."

* * * *
He found himself almost hesitant outside the Ten-Forward lounge.

"I promise never to forgive. I promise never to forget."

No, he had no clue whatsoever of the meaning of such cryptic unsettling words.

'* * * *

Riker stopped mid-way into the story, because Deanna had lifted her back
off from him, and started to scoot herself off his lap and onto the floor.

"What's wrong?"


Riker watched her successfully push herself off of his lap with minimal
touching and without having to ever meet his curious gaze eye to eye.

"Deanna, you promised me you would tell me if you remembered?"

He watched her back, and he watched her knees slide up to her chest.

He wondered if the head she bowed had that glare of hate, or that look of

He wondered if those beautiful dark eyes were still filled with a need to
understand, or if they now filled with tears of remembrance.

He wondered if he really truly wanted to know what the hell she was thinking.


"I don't remember everything."

Statement, not counselor standoffish, but. . .innocent, scared, unsure.

"What do you remember?"

He was probing. He was probing and he knew she hated it, but she wasn't
on his lap anymore and the loss of her nearness made him loose his patience.

"Not much."

He gritted his teeth. He wasn't mad, but this story went only down hill
from this point. If he could he wanted not to have to repeat it.

He wanted her back on his lap, or at least to look at him. Give him the
strength to continue.

"Deanna . . ."

She held up her hand, stopping his request at his lips.

"I can't. . .I can't look at you now."

It wasn't disgust, it came as a statement.

Another fucking statement - when the hell did she become so damn numb that
her voice lost all infliction?


"I don't know ."

More riddles.

"I don't understand. . ."

"Nor do I."

Damn if he didn't love her so much. . .

"Deanna I love you."

Inappropriately placed in the evening, but Riker swore he saw her shoulders
lift, if only slightly.


Riker so desperately wanted to hear the words back.

"Please continue Will. . .please continue the story."

* * * *

Riker wanted to tell her to fuck the story. The story was again driving
them apart.

But he didn't.

He didn't walk up behind her and take her in his arms either - even though
he wanted too.

He was locked out of life, she was the key to set him free.

If it meant the story. . .it meant Riker would suck up his pride and relive
the nightmare that he knew all to well as his life,

If only he didn't love her so much.


It took five, "Are you okay?" before Riker could engage his legs to move on
there own.

But finally, telling himself over and over that causing rumors was probably
not in his best interest, he tightened his hold on her chocolates and he
entered the Ten-Forward Lounge.

And of course, once he entered the hustle and bustle known as lunchtime, he
had no problem locating her, back in their both, engrossed in a PADD that
no doubt held work.

She looked - content.

Riker felt foolish for letting his imagination get ahead of him. This
morning had to have been -- a mistake. A simple blown out of portion

Feeling better - Riker veered to his left and instead of walking directly
to his wife, opted to take a detour and come up from behind her.

It wasn't often he found her so totally enthralled with something that he
could surprise her. . .

* * *

Remarkably, Riker found himself behind a still deeply preoccupied Deanna.

He was shocked, having been sure a passing by crew member would blow his
cover, greeting their captain loud enough for the whole room to hear.

It usually went with the position.

But surprisingly, everyone had ignored his arrival. He had been able to
actually walk right up behind Deanna without so much as having his name

Silently he stepped up behind her, taking a moment to smell her enticing
Lavender perfume.

God he loved her.

Slowly, so not to give her to much of a shock, he laid his hands on each
side of her shoulders.

* * * *
She jumped, the PADD in her hand crashing down unto the table with a
startling bang.

Her eyes widened, and her breath caught in her chest.

... * * *
<<I am having a heart-attacking - I'm going to die.>>

Riker's chest suddenly began to beat at explosive levels as a flood of
blood shot up through Riker's body into his head with one sickening rush.

For a brief moment he couldn't focus his eyes, he couldn't remember where
he was, who he was.

A cold sweat broke across his forehead, and a trickle ran down the side of
his face, into his eyes.

It stung like a bitch.

But as he tried to wipe the offending substance away, he realized his hands
and arms wouldn't move.

He couldn't move.

The Ten-Forward swam in front of him, in a chaotic mix of curves and colors
that made absolutely no sense and in fact made his stomach quiet nauseous.

Far off in the distance he heard crying, a woman crying, but it was faint
and easily drowned out by a distinct hum in his ears.

Hot breath invaded down on his neck, but when he turned his head towards
the feeling, he saw nothing.

And then, as fast and furious as the feeling overtook him - it ended.

His heart returned to normal, his vision cleared, and he once again found
himself with the ability to move.

Immediately he looked down at Deanna.

Deanna looked up at him startled.

"What are you doing to me?" she mouthed silently.

What is he doing to her? What the hell was she doing to him.

* * * *

Will stopped again in his story, because he heard sobbing. Sobbing that
was strangely similar to the sobbing he had heard that day on the
Ten-Forward Lounge.


This time he did move towards her.


Wrapping his arms around her, he was shocked when she didn't shrink back,
but instead pulled herself tighter into his chest.

"Deanna what was that?"

"I don't know. . ."

Her voice hitched and she gasped for breath.

Riker obediently tightened his hold around her slight shoulders.

"Deanna I don't want to go on anymore. Let's just forget about remembering."

This response caused the woman in his arms to flip around and face him.

"I want the rest of the story."

"Why?" Riker wiped the stray hairs off her face affectionately. "Its not
worth any pain it may cause you."

Catching his hand, Deanna brought it up to her lips, "I need it."

The urgency in her voice clued Riker in on one thing.

"You remember something."

Guiltily a slight blush rose to Deanna's cheeks, "Not anything that makes

She turned her back again towards him, and snuggled her body into his
chest, "but I need it to make sense."

"Deanna you were crying? Why were you crying"

For a moment she didn't respond, and Riker felt maybe she decided not to
answer him. But then she did, and he really wish she hadn't.

"Because I remember how much I hated you that day. I don't know why I
hated you, but I now remember clearly thinking if I had a phaser I would
have shot you dead."

Her words were cold, absolutely emotionless, and it chilled Will, chilled
him down to his very core.

But then it broke, broke into gut wrenching sobs.

"But I love you. . .how could I love you and feel that way."

>There time was growing preciously shorter with each second, but Riker found that he couldn't go on with the story quiet yet. Deanna's confession had soured him. 
>He knew she had hated him towards the end, she had made it obvious to him and everyone else around them. Still, what he had known or thought he had known paled to her words of a moment ago.
>She could have shot him dead.
>Even her comforting sobs of regret, as wonderful in meaning as they were, failed to compensate for what the prior utterance had done to him. 
>How could he go on with this story if it would only lead to Deanna hating him was such a ferious passion that he'd not only have to watch his heart around her, he'd have to watch his back as well.
>How could he go on. . .period.
"Will. . .I've said to much."
>He felt her knees buckle, and instinctually he tightened his grip around her so that she wouldn't fall to the ground.
"Will I shouldn't have said that, I might be wrong. Will please don't hate me. I don't know what I believe anymore."
>Her voice lacked the conviction her words tried desperately to portray. She was grasping at straws because she had felt his immediate shell shock. She was trying desperately to say something, because she wanted that damn history so bad.
>And because right now she did love him with that intensity and his hurt was hurting her.
>God how in the hell did he find himself in this situation?
"Will, would you feel better if you handcuffed me? That way is psycho Deanna comes back I won't be able to hurt you?"
>Deanna's attempt at humor failed, with the crack and hitch of her voice. It had meant to be a joke, but the graveness of the situation had dampened any humor.
"Dee. . ."
>He forced her to look at him, cupping her face in each one of his hands.
"Deanna you had plenty of times to kill me if you wanted to. I don't think its something you actually planned on carrying out."
>Those big brown eyes glassed over.
"You don't know Will, I could have."
"No Deanna, you may have wanted to, but I don't think you would have. I know you, and you wouldn't hurt a fly?"
"Never mind, I just know I am safe around you. I know although your feelings may change if I continue this history, I know in your heart you wouldn't hurt me."
"You don't know." Deanna countered, but her voice was deflated somewhat, as if she really believed more in his words then his own.
>He smiled, wrapping his arms around her waist, and laying his cheek ontop of her head, "I'll continue, but you've got to look at me. If I start to loose you, I want to at least have those last endearing looks to remember you by."
>This was kind of corney, and Will was surprised his good sense had let it leave his mouth, but she seemed to draw a little comfort from it.
"There is sometimes a fine line between love and hate Will."
>That was sheer Deanna, and he let a chuckle escape his throat.
"Thank-you Counselor."
>She pulled away then, taking his hand in hers, and instead of leading them back to their spot on the floor, she lead him over to the bed. 
"Sit down Will."
>Well the bed was more comfortable then the floor, damn his age.
>He sat, and patted the seat next to him, "Are you going to join me?"
>She smiled, leaned forward, and grazed her lips softly on his unsuspecting lips.
>This had caught Riker completely off guard, and his breath caught in his chest.
>He suspected she would pull-away at any moment, and insist on the rest. . .
>But she didn't, opting instead to move forward, deepening the kiss while simultaneously pushing him backwards on the bed.
"Deannnn" her name was cut short as her lips muffled his words.
>Something about this situation rubbed Will the wrong way. As physically pleasing as this sudden turn of events was, and as much as his body urged him to let her continue, his mind screamed out for him to stop.
>Once he was laid back completely, Deanna, without moving her lips from their almost bone crushing lock, let her hand began to roam the expanse of his chest, in large almost brutual like caresses.
>This was definitely something new and Will couldn't help but wonder if old Troy had turned his sweet innocent Deanna into some S&M freak.
>This was not a pleasing thought, and had killed what physical part of him had wanted her to continue. Grasping both of her shoulders in his hands, he attempted to lift Deanna's rubbing body off of him.
>Her lips were the first to leave, and an almost guttural snarl left Deanna's throat.
>Will's eyes widened, as Deanna's face hovered just inches above his own.
"Don't you want me?", Deanna asked, her voice coming out in a gravely hiss, her eyes to Will not seeming to look at him anymore, but through him.
"Deanna?" Concerned he watched her facial features tense, "Deanna, what the hell are you doing?"
"Don't you like it rough Captain? I distinticetly remember you liking it rough?"
>He moved to touch her face, and she took the opportunitity to grab his wrist in her own hand. Using leverage to her advantage, she threw it above his head and pinned it down.
>He could have gotten out if he wanted to too. 
"It's not fun to be on the receiving end, is it Captain?" she practically spit.
>On the receiving end of what?
"Captain, don't you like this Captain?"
>Her voice was so damn icy, it cut through him with ease.
"I have a name Deanna."
>He was scared, his heartbeating wildly in his chest, but he refused to let her see him flinch.
>For a moment they just stared at each other.
>Will couldn't help but wonder if this was the end?
>But after a second, a long agonizing moment, he felt Deanna's hand slide off his wrist and go to her mouth. Her eyes releasing all the pent up hate he had seen, and slide into shock. After about a minute she retreated off of him, pushing her feet unto the ground and standing up.
"What are you doing to me?"
>Her words chilled him. Why in the hell did she have to say that? Why the hell did she have to do that?
"I didn't do anything."
>He unconsciously wiped his hands across his sore lips.
>She was shaking slightly, but he didn't dare go to her. This look was all to familiar.
>The stay-the-fuck-away-from-me look.

Chapter 16

"Deanna?" Cautiously Riker gathered himself, as best as could under the
circumstance, "Deanna, if that was your attempt to seduce me, it didn't


Riker's eyes widened. He didn't recall a time EVER having heard Deanna say
that word, something she had deemed as barbaric talk.

He found her utterance a bit on the disturbing side.

"What was that?"

He tried to remain neutral, tried to hide the hurt in his voice.

Failed miserably.

"I wasn't in control Will."

She was cowering against the Wall, that same look of "get near me and I
will kill you" painted all over her face.

Her voice however was contrary to her body language, it wasn't quiet as
harsh as he had pictured it might be and held a tinge of what Will thought
maybe regret.

"Deanna, you scared the shit out of me back there."

Riker sighed. He hated the sound of his own voice bearing his soul,
especially when it had to do with a weakness.

But quite frankly at the moment he couldn't think of anything else to say.

"I'm sorry. . .you shouldn't have done that."

Crossing her arms across her chest, Riker watched Deanna fix her gaze at a
spot right above his head. It was an old trick of hers, back from the days
of throwing hurtful words.

This trick used to piss him right off. There she would be, supposedly
"discussing" a topic with him, and she couldn't even look at him. Of
course if he ever tried to call her on it, she would tell him she was
looking right at him but because he was an insecure Alpha Male he couldn't
see it.

He felt the old anger well beneath his breast.

"Damn it Deanna, would you look at me, please."

And as he suspected, Deanna responded just like she had when they were
married, "I am."

"Your not."

She set her face, readying herself to continue the argument and that's when
it dawned on him. Like a brilliant flash of light in a dark room,
something rang familiar to Will, a sense of overwhelming dejavu.

Deanna was stalling, changing the subject, trying to get him so pissed off
that he would quit grilling her about her current situation.

This trick always got to him, and she knew it, she knew it like no one
else. And she knew this would distract him enough to change the subject.

She had always known this would distract him.

What exactly has she been hiding?

Stepping up, he opted to take his chances with her looks of death, and
gently he wrapped his arm around her.

She went rigid. This was something new in the routine and the shock was
apparent in her body language.

He had broken the chain. Instead of getting mad and barging out of the
room, he had dropped the subject and instead taken her into his arms.

"What was that Deanna?"

"I don't know." Her voice came in a rushed whisper.

He could almost see the wheels in her head spin.

"You acted like you were going to rape me back there."

He shook his head, dismissing the thought.

"You must remember something? Or did you turn into a raving, spouting sex

That was harsh un-thought-out words. He expected her to be shocked, and
angered, and he expected to become barraged with the anti-will rhetoric she
had grown famous for in the last months of their marriage.

Instead, he felt her body lax somewhat in his arms.


Surprisingly she didn't sound mad to him, almost relieved. Under the
circumstance he would be mad at himself.

"Hell yes."

She sighed, closing those eyes that looked older then they should, and laid
her head on his broad chest.

"I don't remember how I got with you on the bed. . .I remember you sitting
on the bed, getting ready to tell me the rest of the story . . .and then I
remember you holding me above you and telling me. . .screaming to me that
you have a name. . .I don't think I was in control."

Her voice was hitching again, he couldn't remember a time she had cried so
much before.

She wasn't lying. It didn't take a genius or an Imzadi bond to know the
words she spoke, were words from her heart.

So what the hell was going on.

"Deanna, do these blackouts happen often?" Pulling her away he forced her
to look at him.

Those brown pools looked so haunted, so incredibly sad, so incredibly

"I don't know."

She was growing frustrated, she felt so guilty. . . for him.

"Deanna, darling, quit focusing on me. I want to help you."

He saw a wry, almost sardonic smile appear on her face, "I'm not your wife
Will, why should you care."

Now she really sounded defeated. And it scared him worse then the show
before. Deanna didn't get defeated.

"Deanna, you are my wife. Traditionally Starfleet may no longer recognize
us as husband and wife, but I never felt that marriage truly was anything
but formality anyway. We were married that day on the Jahalra Jungle,
don't you forget it." His hands were tangling her in her hair, "Don't
forget Imzadi, we are one, forever."

"You mean that Will. I am really confused Will."

God when did she become so insecure?

"Deanna I am not leaving until we get some answers, both of us."

"Then tell me the rest, obviously the story provoked something in me.
Please tell me the rest."

Oh god. . .he was going to have to tell her the rest. . .


"After the Ten-Forward incident, I knew something had changed between us.
The way you looked at me no longer held anything remotely resembling love.

Riker sighed, shuddering inwardly at the memory, a memory to vivid for his
own liking.

Deanna sadly let her eyes turn away from him, "I'm sorry William."

"Don't be."

She turned back, her eyes shyly resting on his shoulders, "Was anything
else said. . .after we touched?"

Riker hesitated, really wishing Beverly was an option right about now.

"Will, are you going to tell me, or do I need to attack you again?"

She was teasing again, teasing with that tone that said she really did want
to know but was kind of afraid of the answer.

And as always, the humor she poorly interjected was solely for his benefit.

"I sat down with you. . ."

* * * * *

"Deanna, what do you mean what am I doing to you?"

Removing his hand off her shoulder, Will made his way around the booth to
face her. Trying to shake off whatever that was that had overtaken him
moments ago.

Surprisingly, he surmised once he was directly in front of Deanna, that he
had fared much better then she.

Frankly, she looked like shit. Her face was blank, her eyes were wide, and
her hands, her hands were shaking wildly against the table and her chest,
where she was obviously trying to hold them still.

"I'm not hallucinating, you felt that too?"

Partially relieved, partly more worried then before, he sunk into the seat
across from her.

"Deanna, what was that?"

His first thought was possibly a foreign airborne illness, but they had
just gotten off from a shore-leave on earth, and usually the crewmembers
that would most likely suffer from an earth induced virus were the one's
that did not originate from the planet.

"Is this an illness Deanna? Are you suffering, I know you felt that. Right?"

He watched intently for a response.

Curiously without removing her eyes from the tableside, she grabbed at a
cloth napkin, and slowly begin to unfold it, her eyes devouring every fold
coming loose as if it was the most fascinating event going on in the room.

After a few moments of unanswered silence, Will leaned across the table,
"Deanna. . .Deanna are you okay?"

Hearing his voice, Deanna's eyes snapped up, as if leaving a trance.

"I don't know what you are talking about Will. I didn't feel a thing."

"Nothing," Will shook his head in disbelief.

Her voice was again that stagnant impassionate computer sound, but it
didn't register with him right away. He was to utterly stunned that she
hadn't felt what he had felt.

He swore that whatever had overtaken him had occurred when the two had
become in contact with each other. Upon his recollection, he swore that he
had felt more her in the moment, then he had felt himself.

And he had known that she didn't like what had passed between them.

* * * *
Trying to make her understand what he had felt in his heart, Will found
himself beginning to ramble, "Deanna, you must have felt what I just did. .
.god, I felt you ."

In that cold, uncaring voice, she snapped, "Shut-up Will."

His words died off in surprise. "Shut-up Will?"

Had she ever asked him to shut-up before?

"Yes, shut-up." Her eyes rose from the napkin, and that's when he saw it,
dead. He saw nothing in her eyes, which was an impossibility for an empath.

At least for his empath.

"Deanna," Riker racked his brain for what he could have possibly done now,
first this morning and now this?

"Deanna, what's wrong. I had only come up behind you as a joke." He leaned
over the table with full intention of grabbing her hand.

She pulled away quickly, lacking the gracefulness he had always associated
with her, and clumsily scrunched her body in the corner of her booth, her
hands drawing around herself.


"Everything you do is not funny Will. Life is not funny Will."

"What?" thoroughly confused, Will attempted again to grab a loose hand
without success, "I didn't think I did anything wrong."

"You never think, do you." Narrowing her eyes she cocked an eyebrow like
she accepted him to answer the question.

"Deanna, what the hell is wrong with you. What the hell did I do to you?"

His earlier predicament forgotten. It was her that she was worried about.

"Yes Will, what the hell are you doing to me? You never did answer that one."

He felt his mouth go dry. How in the world had they come full circle, and
why did he fell that she expected him to know all the answers.

"I thought it was nothing."

* * * *

He wasn't quiet sure why he all of sudden went from offense to defensive,
but it worked. She tripped over her own tongue for a few moments.

"I. . . I. . . I don't think you know what the hell you are talking about."

She was hiding something, he knew then she was hiding something because she
was slipping in her speech, (a Deanna never) and because she was turning

Secretes never settled well with her stomach. It was one curse he found he
really didn't mind.

"Then what do you mean by your question?" he probed further, he was so
totally aware of her, so totally worried about her, he didn't see the
approaching figure to his right.

"I mean. . .I mean this morning Will."

"What about this morning?"

"Yes dear, what about this morning has you so in a tizzy."
to their right, Deanna with a surprising look of joy on her face, and Will
feeling a flare of frustration at his mother-in-laws typical poor timing.

He hadn't really recalled her even coming aboard the ship.

"Won't you join us mother, please. . ." Deanna practically bolting out of
her seat, grabbed at her mother's wrist.

Both Will and Lwaxana watched the action with a look of bewilderment.


"Well with a greeting like that, how is a mother to refuse."

Smiling, looking across to her son-in-law with a questioning glance before
turning to Deanna, Lwaxana seated herself at her daughter's side.

"I hope you were discussing babies, I find that to be my favorite subject

Feeling awkward by Deanna's reaction to her mother's arrival, a cold stab
of inexplicable jealously at the way his wife's attention seemed so totally
focused on a woman who he remember being a thorn in her side, and so
totally oblivious to her own husband and what he viewed the very serious
discussion which was far from over, Will felt himself reply tartly, "Oh,
are you thinking of conceiving again?"

He had never felt jealously where Deanna was concerned.

He had never felt the need to compete for her attention though either.

"No dear, not MY babies, although I suppose I'm just beginning to hit my
second prime. . .I'm talking about your babies, my little grandbabies.
Little Troi-Rikers or maybe little Riker-Trois."

This was typical Lwaxana blather, harmless and nosey, and Will wouldn't
have paid much attention accept for the fact he had heard an audible grown
escape from Deanna that moment Lwaxana had uttered "your babies".

He felt as if a thousand-pound weight dropped from the ceiling and onto his
head and his attention left Lwaxana and focused back on Deanna with a snap.


Deanna, as if actually remembering there was someone sitting across from
her, looked up in bewilderment at the sound of his voice.

"What? What was that?"

He felt his voice crack like an adolescent boy, high-pitched and loud
enough to attract the curious stares of crew members all around them.

He really didn't give a flying fuck.

"What?" Deanna stared at him blankly. Deanna stared too blankly, a fake
washed-out blank stare that made Data's eyes seem warm and compassionate.

"You just groaned."

His voice reduced now to maybe a winey five-year old being pulled away from
seconds on desert.

Again he didn't care.

"I didn't."

She responded quick and tried not to make to much of the fact she was
almost doubled over in pain.

But he noticed, and it only fueled the angst he was feeling.

* * * *

She was acting so strange; Will found his thoughts run to Q and possibly
another one of his pranks.

But sadly Riker, as much as he wanted to grasp his hypothesis, couldn't
back it up for the sick fact that even Q's humor never fell this short,
never stung this deep.

"Lwaxana," turning to his mother-in-law, he now begged, "Lwaxana did you
hear it."

The woman dressed from head to toe in fuchsia and black, opened her mouth
and nothing came out.

Never in Riker's life span of knowing the outlandish Troi had he ever seen
such an obvious torn look appear on her face.

Another spark to Riker's growing worry.

"Mother," Deanna now begged too, Riker heard it, and found himself
suppressing the urge to leap over the table and somehow force these two
women to let him in on whatever they were hiding. Facts were facts, Lwaxana
hadn't been on this ship before he was almost sure, after here he was going
to back up with ship's transporter logs, and now she was and Deanna
behavior seemed only to be depleting where he was concerned.

"Maybe it was you stomach dear." Lwaxana offered lightly, taking her hand
she gently placed in on Deanna's temple, brusing away stray hairs from her
loose ponytail.

Riker felt Deanna's mood lighten and even before she began to nod her head
in agreement he knew it was going to be the story she was going to throw at

"You know, this day is only going from bad to worse, and for the love of
god before I say something I really don't mean, I'm going to leave."

Will stood up from the table after giving his speech, his
please-god-stop-me-and-say-something-before-I-go insane-speech, and turned
away from where Deanna had again involved herself with that godforsaken

He hesitated, wanting that counselor persona to demand they go back to her
office to talk.

And damn it today he would to, without throwing up that "I'm to important
and to busy to be bothered with psychobabble from my wife". He would go
and if she wanted to talk all day then Geordi would have to just have a
crash course in Commanding Bridge 101.


It was her voice, composed, and Will wondered if he was going to be able to
lock his knees before he fell over with relief.

"Yes," he didn't turn, didn't want to look too eager in front of Lwaxana,
he still had his pride after all.

"I'm going to work late. . .real late, why don't you catch dinner with
Beverly or something."

Just when he thought things couldn't get any worse, William Riker got the
hard cruel truth -- they could. And as much as he wanted to turn around
and fall to his knees, lay his head on her lap and beg for any sort of
forgiveness that would explain this day, that vision, and the absence of
any emotion from her, he didn't.

He left instead, hoping that anytime now the ship computer would wake him
up, telling him to get out of bed. . .telling him this bizarre trip was a


"Will wait."

He was angry right now, angry and hurt.

"Bridge duty Lwaxana, a Captain's duty is never done."

The words fell from his mouth in a rehearsed fashion, although in all
honesty he really didn't know why. He didn't understand even his own
actions at this point.

He had. . .no he did want to talk to Lwaxana, he knew he did, but try as he
might he couldn't stop his legs from their forward march to the bridge and
he couldn't stop his mouth from rattling the insults that he knew
eventually would even drive her away.

"William I demand you stop."

The harness of her voice, the commanding, arrogant-less tone Riker found
startling. And clumsily the man began to trip over his own feet as they
made the halt he had been unable to force only moments ago.

"Lwaxana I swear to god if you give me another line like you so graciously
provided your daughter back there, I will have no problem throwing you off
this ship for improper diplomatic procedures.

He closed his eyes, the woman was wearing high-heels, he could hear her
approach from a mile away.

"William Riker, I have never heard of being thrown off the ship for
improper diplomatic procedures before in my life, are you pulling mother's

Her arms clasped around his shoulder, which Riker knew had to have been a
stretch, and the woman, in her teasing voice, cleared her throat, "That is
no way to talk to the daughter of the fifth house of Betazed."

Riker sighed, he hated this woman right now more than usual. Why? Because
he loved her, he loved her so deeply that the anger he had wanted so badly
to place on her dissipated. . .dissipated back into the helplessness he had
been feeling this morning, and again seconds before she arrived at the

"Lwaxana. . "

"Hush," her voice softened slightly, cutting off his apology in
midsentence, "I like you William, I like you because you don't expect the
frailty niceties like my daughter and that Jean-Luc Picard, apologizing and
analyzing. . . blah, highly overrated. I like you because you understand
that people like us do things that we regret and I also understand, like
you, that people like us don't say were sorry unless it's the only way to
get back into the marital bed. And since we are not married, like you and
my daughter, please don't apologize."

She was wagging her eyebrows, Riker really wasn't in the joking mood.

"Mother. . .I'm really not in the joking mood."

She stopped, and despite her slight frame leaned forward and stared him
down, "I'm not either?"

God he loved her. . . and hated her.

"What? Are you saying I should apologize to Deanna?"

"William people like us have to make sacrifices when it deals with people
like Deanna, and her father. People with golden hearts, annoying golden
hearts that can't look past a harsh word need to be treated with a gentle

"I didn't say a harsh word, damn it Lwaxana I'd apologize if I knew what I

His vulgarities lit a sparkle of "I-told-you so," behind Lwaxana's eyes
"Well William, you must have done something, I could have cut the tension
back there with a phaser and now your on defense more then Worf."

Riker rolled his eyes, realizing that this person he had embodied to be the
one holding the magic key was as clueless as he.

God he hated her.

"You gave her a way out, what was with that stomach excuse. You heard her

Lwaxana's cheeks flamed up to match her dress, "I couldn't sense anything
from her, so I imagined that whatever she was bottling up inside was a big
screw-up on your part. My daughter doesn't just bottle things up . .

Passing by crew members stared at their Captain and his well known
mother-in-law with curious interest, rarely were the two seen together
without Counselor Troi running interference.

"Lwaxana, I tried to make love to my wife, she locks herself in the
bathroom. I surprise my wife at lunch and she clams up and refuses to
share anything with me, you bring up the baby she had told me she wanted
more than anything two nights ago, produces an audible groan today. What
the hell did I do?"

Indignity Lwaxana Troi shrugged, returning to the matriarch persona she
always attempted to pass off, "I don't know, but I intend to find out."

"Really?" Strangely Riker found comfort from his mother-in-law's words.

And to solidify her words, Lwaxana leaned forward on her toes, and kissed
his cheek lightly, "Your frustration radiates off you like a heat
conductor, I know the words you speak of are the truth. I can read your
thoughts like an open book. . .and your fears my son, are also now my own."

She winked, and at the same time squeezed his hand, "You return to your
bridge and do those captaincy things you always pawn off as excuses. I
will get to the bottom of this little mystery."

Riker, for the first time that day, felt the feeling of genuine relief wash
over him.

God, sometimes he loved that woman.




"What happened next Will. There has to be more to this story."

Riker watched Deanna, who had moved directly in front of him, sitting 
on the floor cross-legged, attempt to swipe hair out of her face. 
Attempt in that her hair was perfect, and the stray hairs she was 
correcting were non-existent.

She was nervous.

"As for what happened between you and your mother, I don't know. I 
returned back to my bridge."

Riker watched her hands become insistent on swiping the invisible 
hair, her motions were almost frantic.

For a fleeting moment, Will wondered if he should stop her. . .but 
opted not to. If frazzled hair swiping kept her emotionally level he 
could deal with the twitch.

"You must have saw her again?"

"Yes but much later, and she wasn't much help."

"Much later? There is more," Deanna eyes mirrored his own sadness, 
utter sadness.

"Well we did get a divorce Deanna."

"I know. . ." barely a whisper Deanna let a sad smile grace her 
face, "I guess I was just hoping that maybe we just slowly 
disintegrated like normal couples. . .I was hoping that it wasn't a 
big blow out fight that has marred your memory for all these years 
apart. Disintegration can be fixed"

She was thinking of him again. She was thinking of them again.

"We were never a normal couple Deanna," Riker shook his head, "and 
unfortunately that night was the big blow out. But I don't want you 
to worry, I only let the good memories stick, and I have to believe 
if we want things to get fixed we can fix them.

The part about good memories was a lie. All the memories were 
treasures, the good right along with the bad.

"Your a liar Will. . ." Deanna lovingly scolded, her voice thick with 
loneliness, "but because I'm only a passenger to this story we will 
let is slide."

God what had happened to his Deanna.

"Its not a very good story." he reasoned.

"Maybe not, but its our story Will, a story that could explain 
things, I need it."

She was right, she did need it, especially if he ever wanted an 

"How are you feeling?" he question nervously.

"You mean can I control myself right now, yeah I think so."

He nodded.

"And no, I can't explain my behavior." she continued matter-of-factly

Was he thinking that?

"Yes Will, you were."

Shit, he had to watch his thoughts around her.

"No, please don't, I like the concept of people being honest with me."


"Will," she was looking all knowing again, "please don't shelter me 
because you think I'm an invalid. I'm just . . .quirky."

Quirky - damn if that didn't bring a chuckle.

She smiled, "Please continue."

How could he ever resist those big brown eyes, who knew him better 
then he knew himself.

"What happens when the story's over Deanna?"

He knew there really wasn't much left to the story after that, they 
remained together after that night, but only in concept, never ever 
again in reality.

"We start problem solving, as I remember you reign supreme on that." 
She winked, "That is right behind me of course."

Damn, her humor was getting better. Will felt a smile break across 
his face despite everything.

"Why Ms. Deanna, I do believe you made a joke."

He felt his bravery grow looking into those rosey cheeks, she was 
enjoying the moment just as much as he was.

They obviously needed a break from reality, and as far as he could 
tell this was his Deanna.

Carefully, trying not to be to abrupt, he leaned forward, "Do you 
know what I do to alien woman who outsmart me?"

This was play, and he saw she was getting into it my the way she was 
beginning to fidget, like the old days.

"Alien? Why Mr. Riker I haven't heard such a barbaric phrase like 
that in a long time."

He was moving in now, slowly, crawling on his hands and knees to 
where she was.

"No, me from earth, me is good." he growled like a caveman. Deanna 
had always found early earth ancestory to be quiet amusing, the fact 
that early man walked on fours before they walked on two.

He always had to remind her that the funny history was in fact half 
her history. That fact always sobered her up some.

Coming to her, he stopped when their faces were only inches apart.

"Pretty lady give Riker a kiss?" Will deepened his caveman voice.

Deanna eyes softened, and Will noticed her breath quicken.

He still had an affect on her, god that felt good because she always 
had an affect on him. Always.

Deanna raised a hand to cup Will's cheek, "Pretty lady usually dates 
more evolved specimens. . .but" her voice was teasingly low, and her 
tongue subconsciously ran over her red lips in anticipation, "your 
kind of cute, in a brutish sort of way."

God she was irresistible - Will felt his heart leap into his throat. 
This, unlike earlier on the bed, was what he wanted. Intimate 
contact. Contact with the woman he remembered.

Sensing she was ready, Will leaned in, slowly and tilted his head.

He was so afraid she wasn't going to let him continue. . .but she 
did, moving in and meeting his lips with her own.

It was perfect, Will felt immediate gratification as those soft lips 
brushed up against him not hard, but demanding, and unlike before he 
felt those soft brushes of her mind against his as well.

This was complete.

In Will Riker's mind, this is what he had stayed faithful for, going 
so far as to honor their marriage when there wasn't one.

The physical and the mental, combined, something that he couldn't 
share with anyone but her.

* * * * 

He was shocked when he felt the brush of her tongue against his 
teeth. A good shock.

Rarely would Deanna be the aggressive one - although more likely was 
the fact that rarely did he let her.

He felt her hands move on his chest, and slide their way up until 
they were around to the back of his neck.

She broke the kiss, her voice pleading out, "Don't let go Will."

God, he knew that wouldn't be difficult to obey.

He pushed forward, as he lowered her on her back, her hair fanning 
out beneath her on the floor.

All this time Deanna's arms remained firmly around his neck.

"Darling, your going to choke me," he chided.

Balancing on one arm, Will reached around for one of her hands and 
clasping the wrist he brought it back around to her side.

He watched her, she seemed enthralled with his actions, her eyes 
urging him to continue.

He brought the hand to his lips, where he gently laid his lips to the 
soft porcelain skin he remembered and ran small kisses down the link 
of her arm.

He saw her breath had grown more erratic, but hell, so had his.

He placed the hand down at her side, and switching his balancing arm 
he moved to her other hand, which was currently playing with the 
small hairs on the back of his neck - driving him insane.

Repeating the process he took her hand to his lips, and again ran 
small kisses down the length of her arm.

* * * *

Running to the end of her second arm, Will stopped and lifted his 
head to meet her eyes.

"I love you Deanna, god you don't know how much I've missed you."

Her eyes burned into him, "I do know Will."

He smiled, kissed her captive hand one last time, and placed it at 
her other side. 

She screamed.

Off in the distance, a security bell sounded.


I think he hurt me.

When Will had heard that, a gigantic weight had lifted off his shoulders. .
.and landed squarely in his stomach.

Knowing was half the battle.

But knowing Deanna thought he had hurt her was not the relief he had been
hoping for. Seeing her terrified eyes barely able to register his presence
was not the answer he had wanted.

Hating would have been better, if she left him because he snored then he
could at least walk away from that.

* * * *

"I would never hurt you."

His argument was weak, his voice was weaker, and as the man who was suppose
to have all the answers, he found none and stumbled over his own tongue.

He loved her.

* * * *

But she looked at him with such utter contempt, when her eyes finally
landed on his face, that he couldn't help but wonder if he did somehow
unjustly wrong her. She, who was everything right could not look at him
the way she looked at him now without having a reason. A damn good reason.

So now he hated himself.

* * * *

"What did he do Deanna?"

Beverly. Beverly was still in the room. He had almost forgot.

And she had somehow made her way to Deanna, and was attempting to comfort
the frazzled woman.

This was good, in his mind he knew Beverly's inference was what she needed,
that Deanna needed something, someone right now.

But in his heart, as he watched Beverly lead the woman into an embrace, he
couldn't help but feel that she was somehow making it worse. That she was
feeding Deanna's panic by letting her be a victim.


* * * *

Riker watched them with that thought lingering in his head. This had
happened before. This almost exact scene had played before.

Had Deanna thought she had hurt him then?

When exactly had he hurt Deanna?

* * * *

"How did he hurt you Deanna?"

Beverly was being persistent so Riker refused to interfere. Despite new
questions forming.

Something told him if he pushed her, she would revolt.

Deanna eyes began to dart nervously across the expanse of the room.

"I don't want."

"Tell me Deanna, as you doctor and as your friend I need to know."

This was different now - before Beverly had faltered under Deanna's panic
and had just let her drop the subject. Obviously Beverly had decided that
she wasn't going to do it again.

"I can't."

"Deanna, if you want me to keep Will out of here, you have to give me a
good reason."

The harshness of Beverly's tone surprisingly did not hide the caring.

But Deanna's eyes shot daggers at the woman and Riker realized she didn't
want to, under any circumstances, to talk.

"Beverly maybe. . ."

Without breaking contact with Deanna, Beverly Crusher raised her hand in
Will's direction stalling his words.

"I thought you wanted answers Will."

Beverly's voice sounded all knowing, Riker was insanely jealous.

"Beverly, she's been through so much, I don't want to cause her any
additional pain."

Deanna uncomfortablness subsided somewhat at Will's words, and almost
looked grateful.


However, surprisingly Beverly didn't flinch.

"No Will, I think our mistake last time is the reason we are here now, we
move forward. . ."
... * * *
Last time. . . .

"Beverly, I think she is having a break down."

Will Riker looked pleading across to the woman he had practically dragged
into the Ten-Forward lounge for coffee.

"Will, I'm suppose to be training the new doctor."

Riker groaned, throwing his spoon in his coffee for effect, "Don't remind
me of the new doctor."

"Will, he's wonderful."

"He's a Vulcan Beverly, who in the hell am I suppose to get love advice from."

The red-headed doctor snickered, a keen mental picture coming into view of
the new doctor trying to deal with Will's demanding need for advice of the
heart on a constant basis. A fearless Captain with only one weakness - his
fear of losing his greatest accomplishment, his wife.

It was quiet humorous if one could get past the utter overwhelming
sweetness of it all.


"Will, sorry." Guiltily she let a small smile slip, "but you know I can't
pass up this promotion. It's a chance of a lifetime, running a complete
medical space station/research facility. In my position you would do the
same thing, even faced with loosing the opportunity to patch up the
infamous Riker squabbles."

Yes, in a heart beat, Will knew for a doctor this was the chance of a
lifetime. But he was determined not to let her guilt him out of his latest
need for advice. Especially since this one, unlike the "bad haircut"
comment, or the "let put off kids for one more year" fight was serious.

This one actually made him feel scared and he needed Beverly's expertise as
a woman to help him figure out how to patch things up.

"Beverly, she looked at me today like. . ."

"Barclay." Beverly teased.

"No, Barclay got compassion even if he was a pain in her ass. No, the way
Deanna looks at me. . . . hell I can't explain it because she always looks
at people and sees at least one redeeming quality. The way she looked I
could tell she no longer saw anything redeeming."

"Will," Beverly raised an eyebrow suspiciously, surmising that somehow, in
likely one of their pitiful fights about who loved who more, or some
equally useless argument, Will had suffered a wounded ego. A wounded ego
that now caused his brain to inflate whatever happened to out of proportion.

"You don't believe me." Will's eyes boar sadly into Beverly, "I thought you
would understand."

"Understand what Will? That Deanna, the most caring individual ever
created, who loves you more than life itself suddenly turned a 180 and now
thinks your evil incarnate? Oh Will, what part of that wouldn't I doubt."

She laughed heartedly. Will didn't laugh at all.

Rolling her eyes, seeing her companion was not going to fess up to the
absurdity of his worries, Beverly Crusher shook her head playfully, "Okay
Riker, you dragged me away from a pile of PADDS that must be done before I
leave. . .let's hear the L-A-S-T story."