"A Friendly Affair: Two Lost Souls"
by trylikeafool@gmail.com.

The writing bug hit me tonight and I decided to start on an Imzadi
series that I've been wanting to do for a while now. It chronicles
Will and Deanna's time together through the various stages of their
lives/relationship. I will warn you that while I do incorporate parts
of Peter David's background into their relationship, I also like to
stay true to the way the show told their story, which is slightly
different. This is part one of the first story in the series, and it
takes place at Starfleet Academy. Even though we know that they met
for the first time on Betazed, according to their bios, they were at
the Academy together for three years. So, I wanted to play with that
a little, while still keeping to their established background. Liana
actually challenged me to do this, so here it is.

A Friendly Affair Series
"Two Lost Souls" Part 1
by Sarah

"Hey, Scott!" The noise of a hundred people talking and loud music
made it hard for Will Riker to hear his own voice. An end of the year
party wasn't the best place to have this out, but if he didn't do it
now, he would probably not get the chance later. He leaned toward the
slightly shorter man's ear as he approached. "Scott, I want to talk
to you for a minute," he said in a louder than normal voice. He was
sandwiched close to the makeshift bar in one of the student
recreation centers at Starfleet Academy, people pushing past him for
refills on their drinks. Scott had been engaged in conversation with
another cadet when Will spotted him at the bar.

He stopped talking to his companion and glanced over his shoulder at
Riker. A look of dissatisfaction crossed his face, and he lifted his
shot of ale, drinking it down before turning to face a man he hadn't
particularly liked his entire four years at the Academy. He and Riker
had been competitors for a position on the Academy's elite flight
squadron, Riker ultimately winning out on the coveted prize.

"What do you want, Riker?" Scott asked, deciding to stand a little
straighter. They nearly stood eye to eye, both built fairly well in

"I know what you're doing behind Lisa's back, and I don't appreciate
it," Riker said over the noise. Scott smirked, shook his head, and
turned toward the bartender, indicating that he wanted a refill.
Tapping his fingers impatiently on the counter, he locked his gaze on

"I don't know what you're talking about. I haven't been doing
anything," he said, accepting his new drink.

Riker smiled incredulously at him and inched closer, "Don't be a
smart ass, Scott. You've been hooking up with another girl, plain and

Riker's close proximity did nothing to threaten Scott, and in fact,
Scott challenged it by stepping closer to his accuser. "What do you
care? You and Lisa broke up. Our relationship is our business, and I
don't know why you find it necessary to impose yourself on it."

"I happen to care about Lisa," he said, but continued when he saw
that Scott was trying to interrupt him. "Even though we're not
together anymore, we're still friends, and I don't like seeing my
friends get hurt."

"You should have thought of that before you two broke up. You think
that didn't hurt?" Scott said, taking a swig of his drink.

"All I know is that she doesn't deserve to be treated like this,"
Will said.

Scott put his drink down on the bar and squared his shoulders at
Riker. "So what? You going to tell her or something? That's not your

"I'm not promising anything," Will shrugged.

Scott laughed and leaned against the bar. "Dude, you're just being

"Dude, you're being a jerk," Will mocked him in the same tone.
Scott's amusement faded and he stood back up to look Will in the eye.
Their faces were mere inches apart.

"I think you better leave before things get too heated, Riker. What
happens between Lisa and I is our business, not yours. Just stay out
of it, don't bother me anymore about it, and I better not catch you
talking to Lisa. When we're off duty, I don't mind a scuffle here and

A smile broke across Riker's face before he turned serious again.
"You're right, Scott. I better leave. Lisa wouldn't like to see you
with a broken jaw." With that, Will turned and pushed his way through
the crowd, wanting to get some fresh air so that he could breath. Not
far away was an outdoor deck, overlooking a wooded area below.

Hoping to be alone for a few minutes, he was disappointed when he saw
the the deck was occupied by someone. Still, it was better than being
squeezed like a sardine and acquiring a headache from the merciless
pounding of the music.

"Hello, Will."

His head shot in the direction of the woman who had been nursing a
drink, looking up at the stars. "Lisa?"

Lisa set her drink on the deck railing, and smiled back at him. "I
see that you still recognize me now that we don't spend every
waking...and sleeping moment together."

Will chuckled and went over to stand a short distance from her. "I
don't think I'll ever forget you. We have been together for most of
the year, ya know."

"I do," she said solemnly, though a hint of tease was in her voice.
"I saw you talking to Ben."

"Ben?" Will asked, using the rail for leverage as he pulled back
slightly, stretching his arms muscles. "Oh, you mean Ben Scott. I
still can't believe you would go over to the enemy like that."

"Your enemy, Will. Not mine. He happens to be a very nice person,"
she said.

"Only to people with breasts," Will said, earning him an indignant
smack on the arm.

"William Riker! I can't believe you just said that," Lisa said,
before appearing to think it over. "Actually, I can."

Will didn't smile at her joke. Instead he considered her seriously
for a moment, before leaning his elbows on the rail. Taking in the
twilight of the evening, he spoke softly. "He's sometimes too nice to
women," he paused, "other women."

Lisa's countenance fell. Even though she didn't quite understand what
Will was saying, she was starting to become alarmed at his tone.
"Will, what do you mean by 'other women'?"

Will stood back up and hesitated before looking into her eyes. "Look,
Lisa, I'm taking a risk just by being out here talking to you,
according to him. But you and I have shared a lot together over the
past year and I feel like I should tell you something, even if it's
none of my business."

"What is it, Will?" Lisa's voice was becoming more impatient.

Riker took in a deep breath and slowly let it back out again. He
nearly lost his nerve, but when she placed a hand on his arm, his
nervousness melted into a genuine desire for her well-being. "He's
been hooking up with another girl behind your back. I saw him with
her a couple of nights ago, and some of our friends have seen them too."

Utter shock registered on Lisa's features. Her fingers gripped his
arm tighter, and he was sure that her fingernails would leave a mark.

"I'm sorry, Lisa. Maybe I shouldn't have said anything, but I thought
you would want to know," he said. His hand reached for the hers that
was clamped on his arm. He managed to pry it loose and hang onto it
while she processed the information.

"I just can't believe it," she said, extracting her hand from Will's.
"I mean...he's been the most caring, sensitive man I've ever been
with over the past few weeks."

Will rolled his eyes and took a step back, "Oh, thanks a lot."

She, however, didn't hear his remark, and turned toward the doors
leading back into the party. "Are you sure, Will? This isn't some
kind of joke you're trying to pull to mask some kind of jealousy is it?"

Will's eyes found her looking at him again, a hand on her hip. He put
his hands in the air, "I didn't do anything! Don't get mad at me."

Lisa grabbed her drink from the rail and faced the trees again.
"Maybe it isn't your business."

"What is it with you two? Neither one of you seems to care much about

"You know what, Will? I don't appreciate you confronting Ben about it
before even telling me. I can take care of myself without my ex-
boyfriend interfering," she said, the liquid in her glass shaking
ever so slightly in her hands.

"I thought it was called being a friend," Will said.

"It's just damn embarrassing is what it is," she shot back.

"Ben is the one who caused the embarrassment," Will said, crossing
his arms in front of him. "I'm just looking out for you, that's all."

Lisa closed her eyes to calm herself, then took a few steps towards
the door leading inside before turning back to him. "You and I are
done, Will. I appreciate you trying to look out for me, and believe
me, I will deal with Ben about this. But you have to let me go. That
was our agreement. A month from now, we'll be on opposite ends of the
quadrant, doing God knows what. We'll probably never see each other
again. It was a fun year, but it's time for me to take care of myself."

Will watched her leave the deck through the doors. She brushed past
another woman who was standing there, looking a bit chagrined at
witnessing what was apparently an intimate conversation. He didn't
care though. He didn't care about much anymore. Lisa had captured his
heart, and for eight months of the academic year, they had been
inseparable. That was, until things had started to get a little too
serious between them. Will had never thought about getting married to
a particular woman before, but he'd found himself starting to
entertain those thoughts in regards to Lisa. She'd admitted the same
to him. The problem was that they were both career officers, neither
one willing to take on the demands of a long-distance relationship
once they graduated. They decided it would be easier to just break it
off and start with a clean slate on their first assignments. That had
been five weeks ago, and it hadn't taken her long to find her next
fling. At least he'd had the decency to not flaunt another girl in
her face...not that she had flaunted Ben. They hadn't really seen
much of each other since their break up, a fact which did nothing to
make him care any less about her.

He missed her. They used to study together, eat lunch, spend the
weekends exploring San Francisco. One particularly memorable week was
during the spring break when they went to a secluded hotel nestled on
the northern California coast. There was hardly anyone else in sight
their entire stay, accommodating many intimate moments.

Will shook his head, trying to clear away his thoughts. Yep, if there
was a girl he wouldn't mind marrying, it was Lisa. However, Lisa
wasn't a part of his future anymore and it would take some time for
him to fully accept that. He leaned over the deck railing again, and
brushed his hands over his face.

He didn't notice that the woman standing in the doorway had taken a
few tentative steps onto the deck. The next thing he knew, there was
a quiet, lilting voice interrupting his self-loathing. "I'm sorry, I
didn't mean to overhear. If you would like to be alone–"

Will glanced back at her briefly, and cut her off, "Do whatever you
want, that seems to be the way life works these days." He didn't
afford her any more attention, and after a minute of silence, he
walked past her and back into the party.

Part 2

"What are you doing all the way over here? I haven't seen you for the
last hour," said a high-pitched voice, full of impatient concern.

Deanna Troi looked exasperated, her empty cup tucked under chin, arms
crossed, ankles turned slightly outward. The fact was that she felt
trapped. Her dress that usually provided freedom of comfort, kept
rubbing her the wrong way. Her hair style that she proudly wore
everyday felt messy, and her stomach muscles were tightened, barely
allowing her to breath.

"I thought you said that there were going to be just a handful of
people here, Kit," Deanna said to her friend. "This is not what I
need to be doing right now."

Kit reached forward and tugged on Deanna's arm, only slightly
managing to move the Betazoid before Troi locked her heels in place.
"Deanna, you're right. You don't need to be standing here in a corner
all by yourself. It's an end of the year finals party! Relax! Let
loose! Dance–I saw a really cute guy over there–"

"Forget it! I have a final tomorrow and I should be in our room
studying, not watching a bunch of animals gyrate to loud music, and
drinking themselves into a stupor. They're going to get in trouble
for that anyway."

Kit eyed the stiff form of her roommate, determined to get her to
have some fun. This was their third year together at the Academy and
she had not been able to get Deanna to go to a single party in those
three years. If there was ever a poster child for an academic brat,
Deanna would be it. She felt sorry for her in a way. Not that Deanna
was inept on the social scene - in fact it was quite the opposite.
Kit had never seen someone with Deanna's ability to interact with
other people...as long as it didn't interfere with her official duty,
which was making perfect grades and living up to the expectations of
the fifth house of Betazed, whatever that really meant.

Kit nodded, "You're right. They probably are going to get in trouble
for it, but that's part of the fun! Come on, I'll get you a drink
that will make your hair stand on end!"

Deanna pulled her arm out of Kit's grasp again and signaled, rather
than yelled, 'no' over the loud music. Kit sighed deeply, shook her
head, then shrugged as she wandered back into the crowd.

Deanna looked down at her cup, and was harshly bumped by a rather
large fellow who had been carelessly dancing with another young lady.

"Sorry!" he yelled at her, then was on his way.

Deanna scowled at him...at the whole situation. Parties, she thought,
were supposed to be fun, but this was anything but fun to her. Her
final exam in the morning happened to be about engineering physics -
her worst subject. It had taken a semester of studying just to keep
her grade above passing, and here she was, stuck in the middle of
disorganized chaos, every minute contributing to her failing that exam.

Rolling her eyes at her inability to see things her friend's way, she
started meandering through the mass of people, and instead of ending
up at the exit to go back to her dorm, she ended up by another door
leading out to a deck of some sort. As soon as she saw her mistake,
she tried to push her way back into the crowd, but was unable to get
past the wall of bodies blocking her.

She closed her eyes, pinching her nose, trying to quell the rapidly
building headache. The music, the stressful situation, and the sum of
so many undisciplined minds infiltrating her mind all at once was
beginning to get to her. With the door to the deck open, she felt a
light breeze brush against the side of her face. It was just what she
needed to get away for a few moments and center herself. Maybe there
was a way to leave from the deck.

Deanna opened her eyes and turned, but stopped short when she saw two
people standing rather close to the railing on the opposite side.
Wonderful, she thought. More people. She was about to try her luck at
getting through the crowd again, but something caught the attention
of her empathy. There were strong emotions, one confused, the other
hurt. Again, she took in the two people on the deck. She noticed that
the man was trying to explain something to the woman, but wasn't
having much success. The woman, while feeling gracious toward him,
was also angry and resentful.

"I'm just looking our for you, that's all," he said. The look on his
face was incredulous and pained at the same time. His hands seemed
desperate to grab ahold of something...anything. His heart was aching
for her to understand, but his mind was telling him that he was not
wanted, again.

The woman turned her back to him and began walking Deanna's way.
Deanna immediately felt like an unwelcome eavesdropper, but she
couldn't escape before being caught. To her relief, the woman didn't
seem to notice her, and spun back around, looking pointedly at the man.

"You and I are done, Will..." his name was Will. Strange, Deanna
thought. He didn't look like a Will.

"A month from now, we'll both be on opposite ends of the quadrant,
doing God knows what..." so, he was about to graduate. They both
were. Something in his heart soured at the mention of moving on to a
real assignment, but he also felt torn. He really cared about this

"We'll probably never see each other again." Panic. It rose from the
core of his being, as if the reality of those words had just hit him.
But just as quickly as those emotions rose, he slammed down a wall
between the woman and himself, stopping his heart from bleeding such
uncontrolled emotions at her words. She was abandoning him...at least
that's the way he felt. Even though they had apparently made the
decision together, he felt like an important part of his life was
being ripped away, and there was nothing he could do about it, or at
least was willing to do about it. That, perhaps, hurt the most.

"It's time for me to take care of myself," the woman said. This time
when she began walking toward Deanna, she didn't stop. Her body
brushed against Deanna's sleeve and she muttered an excuse for
herself as she passed by. Troi watched her force her way through the
crowd by the door with ease, and frowned at it. If she had enough
sense, she would follow her right through the party-goers and out the
door. However, she felt the urge to step outside. Whether it was the
fresh air, the breeze, the stars peeking through the clouds, or a
forlorn man, she didn't know.

By now, Will was hunched over the rail, his head bowed into his
hands. The psychologist in her wanted to approach him and try to
offer some token of comfort. Her mind screamed at her not to do
anything at all, but she found herself taking step after step across
the wooden boards of the deck until she was within a close distance
to him.

Her mouth opened to speak, and she couldn't stop the words from
coming out before she realized that she was actually talking to this
complete stranger in such a personal moment. "I'm sorry, I didn't
mean to overhear. If you would like to be alone–"

His head snapped sideways in her direction. He barely looked at her
before he angrily interrupted her. "Do whatever you want, that seems
to be the way life works these days." His gaze turned back to the
play of the moonlight on the tree tops for a moment before he pushed
off of the railing and left her suddenly standing alone on the deck.

For nearly a full minute, Deanna didn't move. There was something
about that man...about Will...that wouldn't allow her to move. She
felt genuine despair at his situation, and for whatever completely
irrational reason, wanted to bandage his wounds and tell him that
everything was going to be all right.

"What are you doing out here?"

Kit's voice shook Deanna from the cobwebs of her thoughts and
abruptly brought her back to reality.

"We're not doing this again," Deanna said, eyeing her friend cautiously.

Kit laughed and leaned against the door-jam. She slyly pointed at
Deanna, "You, were just out here all alone with a man." Deanna rolled
her eyes. "And not just any man," Kit continued, "Will Riker. You
were out here, all alone, under a moonlit sky, with Will Riker. And I
was worried that you would never find the nerve to ask the average
Joe for a dance."

"What are you talking about?" Deanna asked. "Who's Will Riker?"

Kit's eyes grew big. "You don't know? You know! Will RIker! He's only
like one of the most popular guys to ever hit the Academy campus.
Smart, witty, funny, ladies man, hell of a pilot, life of the party..."

Deanna frowned. She couldn't be talking about the same man that was
just out here. "Well, if he's the life of the party, he's sure
missing out on this one. I don't think that was the same guy."

"That's your problem, Deanna. You stay up in our room like a hermit,
you never go out, all you do is study, and you don't even know who
Will Riker is. Practically every girl on campus would love to be out
on a deck alone with him....at night."

Deanna sighed and plopped on a nearby bench, burying her face in her
hands. "Will Riker...I think I've heard of him before," she raised
her head, "but Kit, I really could care less. I'm not here for men.
I'm here to get a degree so that I can help people."

"Particularly men," Kit said. At Deanna's glare, Kit stood to her
full height. "Fine, I give up. I've come to accept the fact that
you'll be single and lonely for the rest of your life if you keep up
this attitude."

"Thank you," Deanna said, standing up. "Why don't you get back to the
party? I need some time to clear my head."

"Oh," Kit said, understanding Deanna's plight in dealing with her
empathy in situations like this. "I'll see you back at our room, okay?"

Troi nodded and waved her friend off. When Kit had disappeared back
into the crowd, Deanna let out a deep breath, hugging herself, then
turned to look up at the stars. For a moment, she wondered if fate
had let her see a side of Will Riker that even those closest too him
would never see. For a man with such a widespread reputation, there
was a part of him that wanted so more from life. She hoped that one
day he would find it. She truly, honestly, did.