Dealings of the Heart - 1

"So, you going on the ski trip?" Geordi sat across from one of his
best friends in the lounge. They were both off duty, waiting for their dates
to arrive for dinner.
"Are you kidding? I live for skiing. I used to go all the time when
I was a kid. I even took those group lessons.....we had a real hottie as the
instructor.....I was in ski heaven. She had the cutest..."
Geordi cut him off abruptly, "Hi, Rachel! Glad you and Tonya could
make it." He pulled out the seat next to him for Tonya and smiled at his
companion. As for AJ....well he was having a bit of a problem. Slowly, he
turned to see his girlfriend behind him.
Rachel looked down at him, not bothering to sit just yet, "She had
the cutest what?" AJ smiled up at her, trying to play innocent, "Umm, we were
just talking about skiing, and I was saying that my instructor...which I had
when I was like 10 okay....had the cutest little... ski hat that she wore."
"Uh, huh," she replied sarcastically and sat next to him.

One deck down, two couples were having there own dinner party in
Will's quarters. Jean-Luc and Beverly were invited for dinner this evening by
Deanna....much to Will's surprise. He had been annoyed at
first that he wouldn't get to spend the evening with Deanna alone. It had
only been a couple of months since that day they let their feelings out for
one another and they were still learning how to handle the
Deanna had promised to make it up to him though if he would let them
come over for the evening. Reluctantly he agreed, trying not to sound to
pathetic in the process.
Deanna and the Captain were engaged in a thorough conversation in
the living area from what Will could tell. Beverly had offered to help him
in the kitchen with the food....the thought was scary to say the least, for
Will...but she wasn't half bad in the kitchen.
"So....when are you going to pop the question?" Beverly asked as she
sliced some onions. Her eyes were filled with excitement as she waited for
Will's response.
"Why do you keep asking me that? You do it everyday," he said,
dropping some spices in a near-by pot.
"I ask because time is of the essence. Do you realize that if you had
gotten past your pig-headed attitude on the D and married her'd
have like 3 kids by now," she concluded.
Will stopped suddenly and looked at her, "Are you serious? Kids? We
haven't even talked about marriage yet!" He saw Picard and Deanna glance in
their direction and they lowered their voices.
Beverly looked at him for a moment before dumping the onions into
the now boiling water, "You do want kids? You'd be a great dad.....and a
great husband at that." She brushed her hands through a towel and resumed her
cutting of carrots.
Will began mixing the home-made cake he was making for desert. "Well,
maybe so...but in it's own time. I think she and I need to at least talk
about some of this stuff first."
Beverly nodded, "'re right. Just do it soon or I'll come
after you myself...and I have just the knife to threaten you with too," she
said, holding up the chopping knife she held.
Will just shook his head, "You know, why do you keep making my life
your business? Do you not have one of your own or something?"
"Not since Jean-Luc went off on that, Anij. I honestly thought we
were going to get together again, and then the Ba'ku show up and all my
hopes and dreams are shot right out the window."
Will snickered, "Well, if you ask me, you didn't exactly show special
interest in him to keep him from going to Anij."
She put a shocked expression on her face, "Are you kidding? Of course
I did. I guess he's just not interested....and I didn't ask you. Don't worry
about me...worry about you and that beautiful woman sitting in the other
"Believe me, Bev...I wasn't worried." She shot him a daring look, but
let the remark slide.

In the other room, Picard and Deanna were busily discussing the last
mission. It had been a diplomatic one which always promised a lot of work
for them both. Picard took a deep breath and leaned
back into his chair, "I must thank you for inviting Beverly and I tonight,
Deanna. It's been a while since we've done this."
Deanna smiled in her usual hospitable manner, "Of course, Captain. It
was no trouble at all. Will and I are glad for the company. He's been so
distracted lately, he won't talk to me about it. I hope tonight will help get
his mind off of it."
Picard smiled knowingly, "Yes, I did notice that today. It might have
something to do with the new crew postings. I know Alexander Jameson...the
new bridge officer...was one of Will's best friends at
the Academy, not to mention a fellow Nova pilot. It's not hard to get
distracted when old friends show up after many years."
Deanna sighed, "You're probably right. I hadn't thought about that.
But then...I don't really know about how close Will and him were. I guess I
need to find out."
Picard nodded, "Yes, please do. I would like to hear about it as well
after you talk to him. As his could prove useful in the future."
Deanna silently agreed and was about to say something else when a
loud she recognized well...came from the kitchen.
"No! Come on Bev...there is no way I'm going to do that," Will
carried a try of appetizers into the living area and set it down.
Beverly did the same and followed Will back into the kitchen, "Come
on's not as bad as you think. You'd be great!"
Deanna and Jean-Luc exchanged confused and amused expressions as the
other two made their way into the kitchen again. After a couple of minutes,
the chefs for the evening came back out carrying
drinks with them this time.
They handed them to Deanna and the captain. Will sat next to Deanna
on the couch and Beverly took a seat opposite Picard in a separate chair.
Beverly took a sip and eyed Will, "You know, are so
perfect for the part. I guess I'll just have to badger you and pester you
until you say you'll do it. Will you do it? Will you do it? Will you
do it?" she got increasingly faster as she said it.
Will set his drink down and practically shouted, "Okay! I'll do it!"
Beverly smiled to herself, "Alright...if it'll make you happy," she
said in a pensive tone.
Will rolled his eyes and decided to change the subject. He could see
the hint of amusement on the captain and Deanna's face. Beverly had the
reputation of practically forcing people into a part of one of
her plays or shows. So far...Will had been her favorite. Better him than me,
Picard thought to himself.
Ignoring their expressions, Will spoke, "So, Captain, will you be
taking shore leave with the rest of the crew in a couple of days?"
"Of course, Number One. I have well over 300 days owed to me. I plan
to take advantage of every opportunity. I hope you're planning to do the
Will glanced at Deanna, "Well, Deanna and I haven't decided on
anything yet, but we do plan to take it easy for a few days." Deanna smiled
at him and took his hand in her own, giving it a light squeeze.
Will returned her smile and for a moment, they forgot that there were other
people in the room.
A sudden swell of love filled his heart as he looked into her eyes.
He was sure that she was feeling the same things
he was. They broke out of the trance and continued the conversation with
their guests.

Three hours later, Will and Deanna were on the couch, engaged in a
very intimate kiss. Deanna was almost on top of Will and had him pinned down
very well. He didn't seem to mind though. Both relished in the feelings they
brought each other...especially in moments like these. Their hands couldn't
stay still and Will felt Deanna's tongue make it's way into his mouth. His
breathing quickened along with Deanna's as they felt their love for each
other engulf them both.
They reached out for each others minds and Will heard her voice in
his head....Imzadi.
Flustered, he tried to send it back, but he hadn't had that much
practice in the past two months. Instead, he just said out loud, "I love
you." His voice was muffled though by Deanna's mouth as it closed down on his
own once again. Deanna responded by an intimate brush of her mind on his.
The door chime sounded.
Will wanted to kill whoever was out there. Deanna broke the kiss and
longingly looked into his eyes. She began to sit up, straightening her
clothing as she did so. Will sighed audibly and sat up as well, "Come in."
AJ, stuck his head through the door, “Hey, Willie! Oh...I'm sorry, I
didn't know you were entertaining a guest," he said with a grin. "But
then....when has a night gone by that you haven't."
Will rolled his eyes and pulled his fiend into the room, "Not now,
His friend smiled and cast a look in Deanna's direction,
"Whoa.....she's a 10. You never settle for anything less do you?" he added
Deanna smiled what AJ said and decided to cut Will a break, "You must
be Alexander Jameson if I am correct?" She stood as the two men made their
way back to the couch.
"You are very correct, ma'am. But please, call me AJ. I'm the new
bridge officer in the command program....but then you probably already knew
Deanna smiled and locked her hands over a knee of her now crossed
legs. "Yes, I'm Deanna Troi, ship's counselor. Will has told me a little
about you."
He smiled, "Apparently that's not all he's told you..."he said,
noticing the disheveled appearance of them both. Will elbowed him and AJ
stopped in mid-sentence. Will threw him a look to kill. Quickly, he decided
to let that topic go.
AJ cleared his throat, "So Will...this is where you've been hiding
for the past twelve years. The Enterprise."
Will forced his mood into a more positive one, "The best hiding spot
in the galaxy. What have you been up to?"
AJ sank back into the couch, "Oh...just working those 40 hour weeks
on the test runs. Best work you can get piloting."
Will's eyebrows went up in surprise, "You told me you would never
test dangerous."
AJ laughed, "Yea, well. You take the jobs you can get. I told Fleet I
wasn't ready to settle down on a ship yet so they gave me the job. I didn't
even get one scratch.....and had the time of my life. Starship
life can't even compare."
Will smirked, "It does if you live on the Enterprise."
AJ smirked back, "So I've heard....and discovering. Well, I'll let
you two get back to umm........well, get back. I'll see you later, Will. Nice
meeting you too, Counselor."
They both said goodnight to AJ and watched him leave. Will turned
back to Deanna, "That boy's mouth is going to get him in trouble one of these
She brought her hand up and gently stroked the stubble on his cheek.
"I thought he was sweet. But...I do need to be going, honey. I've got an
early bridge time tomorrow and I need to get some rest."
He sighed and leaned forward to kiss her, but she stopped him with
her hands on his chest. "I'll see you later, sweetie.....get some sleep." She
kissed him and stood up to leave. "Good night, Imzadi."
Will smiled regretfully, "Night, sweetheart." He winked at her as she
left, watching the doors shut behind her.
Deanna was making him wait until their wedding night before they
spent the night together. It was something he didn't want to agree to, but
had anyway because she insisted. She promised him it would be much more
special if they waited.....which he understood in a way. She also had
promised him
the most memorable night of his life if he agreed to it. Maybe he should pop
the question...and soon.

"Dealings of the Heart" - 2

The next day was going rather smoothly for the first officer. Today
was the last day of duty for a week or so. Tomorrow, he and Deanna would be
going......well, they hadn't talked about that part yet.
He walked through the doors of sickbay....he swore that he'd never
step foot in here unless he was dying.....and yet he was doing so as we
speak. He looked around and spotted Beverly in her office talking to
someone....her specialty. He knocked on the door frame and she waved him in.
His suspicions had been right....Deanna was talking to Beverly...girl talk,
no doubt. The kind of talk men wanted nothing to do with, but unfortunately
were the object of discussion most of the time.
Deanna smiled up at him as he kissed her on the cheek and whispered
in her ear, "Good morning." She took his hand and held it tightly, "Good
morning to you as well, Commander."
Beverly smiled at the won't be long now she thought.
"Yes, Will?" she asked.
Will turned his attention toward the doctor, "I read the script."
"Oh! Good! I was hoping you'd read it this morning," she said
"I'm not doing it." He handed her the padd of the script.
"Will, you said you're perfect for the just
don't know it."
Will sighed and took a seat next to Deanna, "Yea, Beverly...but that
was before I knew it was a kiddy show."
Beverly set the padd down on her desk, "It's just a few harmless
little kids, Will. What's the matter? Afraid they might steal the spotlight
from you?"
Will rolled his eyes, "No..I'll stick out real good. I'm the only
adult. And you want to know something else? I'm not doing it."
Deanna fought to keep down her laughter. These two sounded like a
brother and sister fighting over a coveted toy. She felt inclined to speak
up, "We'll decide all of that later....Will and I need to talk about
She grabbed Will's hand and pulled him towards the door in a rather
forceful manner, "I'll talk to you later Beverly...and I'll talk to him for
you as well. Bye-bye." They waved at each other and Deanna escorted her
beloved out of the office.
Deanna linked her arm in Will's as they traveled down the meandering
corridor. "What about lunch in the lounge?" she asked, looking up at his tall
"Sure..that sounds great." Deanna eyed him quizzically. He was
feeling distracted again. Maybe she should solve this over lunch today.

The lounge was full of people but Deanna spotted a table in the back
of the room by the windows. "Come on...over there," she pulled him in the
direction of the table.
She sat down, still refusing to let go of his hand. When he was
seated, she squeezed it, "Are you okay?"
Will looked surprised at the question, "Of course, I'm fine. What
makes you say that?'
Deanna shrugged her shoulders, "You've just been kind of distant a
little in the past few days...I was just wondering, that's all."
Will looked out the window, deliberately ignoring her concerned gaze.
He didn't know what to make of the situation really. On one hand, he wanted
to marry her more than anything. But on the other, there was an annoying
prick on the back of his neck as if he had just received a haircut. It told
him to hold it off....he wasn't ready for such a big commitment.
He wished there would be some kind of person he could confide in on
this matter....the ship's counselor would be perfect, only that it was his
first and foremost problem. Reluctantly, he looked back at her...his find an even more concerned look gazing back at him. Did he ever
hate that look.
"Will?'re beginning to scare me. What in the world is
wrong? I need to know."
He ducked his head down, still not meeting her gaze like he usually
did. That was a sure sign something was wrong. Deanna decided to go out on a
limb, just to wet her suspicions, "You and I need to be totally honest with
each other if we're going to be married." That was it....she was sure of it.
no sooner had she said that, he projected a wave of uncertain emotions.
Carefully, she watched his reactions and he brought his eyes up to meet hers.
His gaze was disturbing to say the least.
He was intently serious when he spoke, "Honestly.....I don't know.
This whole...marriage thing...I don't know what to make of it. And kids?
Me...a father? I've never really thought much of it until recently. Don't
take this the wrong way....but I don't know what I'm getting in for."
She reacted the total opposite from what he expected. She laughed.
"Will....we don't have to rush into anything. I'm not pressuring you to get
married, but I do hope it will happen in the future?"
Will's mood seemed to lighten, "Of course it will. Just as soon as I
figure everything out in my head."
She smiled and took his other hand, "Well, Imzadi...I'm here if you
ever need to talk about it. Besides, it does involve me too." She leaned over
and kissed him just as the waiter was ready to take their orders.
They ate together in happy silence. Just the presence of the other
was enough to satisfy them both.....for now.

"Dealings of the Heart" - 3

"You know...I have never seen anyone who needed more medical
attention than you." Beverly Crusher crouched at Will's feet in the ski
lounge. He was leaning back on the couch with a twisted ankle. Everyone had
decided to go skiing...much to Deanna's protests of the cold weather which
she wasn't used to. Will had his heart set on it though, so she relented.
"It's not my fault, Bev. Ouch! Think you could be a little more
careful?" Will replied. The painful look on his face eased up as Beverly
She put her tricorder back in it's place and stood up, "Well, that
should do it. It'll be sore for a while, but I'd stay off of it for the rest
of the day. That means no more skiing, Will."
"Right." A frown came to his face and Deanna sat down next to him,
"It'll be okay, Will. I'll stay and sit with you if you want."
Will looked at her with an unreadable expression, "No....go on,
Deanna. I don't want to spoil your fun. provide the comic
relief for everyone out there skiing."
She swatted him on the shoulder, "Maybe I just will leave then if you
going to talk like that."
AJ joined in, "'re the only one that I've seen so far that
skied right into a pine tree. It was the perfect example of what not to do
going down the beginner's mountain. Or any mountain for that matter."
Beverly couldn't resist, "I'm surprised you didn't end up with the
bad ankle instead of Will."
Deanna sat opened mouthed at their words. "So, now everyone is
ganging up on me? And you call yourselves friends."
Rachel stepped in, "Hey...Tonya and I haven't said anything. I
thought you were great for never having even stepped foot in snow before.
Will's been skiing his whole life."
Will shot her a look, "I never liked you did I?" She shook her head
the negative.
Rachel and AJ were together at the Academy and had requested the same
postings on ships together as well. When Will went over the reviews of
requests for the Enterprise, he saw they were together and knowing their
background, he recommended both to Picard. The amazing thing was, they
weren't married yet after all these years. It kind of reminded himself of
another relationship....
"Will?!" Deanna broke him out of his thinking, "We're all going back
out. We want to make another trip up the mountain before lunch. Are you sure
you don't want someone to keep you company?"
Will shook his head, "I'll be fine. It'll be nice to just sit by the
fire and relax for a while." Deanna kissed him and followed the others to the

An hour had passed since the others left to resume their skiing. Will
was thoroughly warmed by the fire, but his ankle still released a dull ache
everytime he tried to move it. He really wished he was able to be out there
spending time with Deanna, showing her some of the tricks to skiing....up
close and personal. He noticed a movement out of the corner of his eye and
turned to see what it was.
"Hi," a woman...not much younger than him...was smiling at him. "I
don't mean to disturb you, but I work here and I just wondered if there was
anything you needed. You've been sitting down here for a while."
Her voice was soft and automatically trusting. She seemed to be more
of the quiet type, Will noticed, but not too quiet to be interested in a
conversation with him.
He looked at her more fully now, "Um, yea...I sort of hurt my ankle
out on the slopes. It's fine though, just resting. The rest of my group
should be coming back for lunch soon though."
"'re here with a group? They just went off and left you here
by yourself?" She talked slowly and with such a sweet voice...he found it
intriguing to say the least. He hadn't met to many girls of this type
before...probably because they never were interested in such a fast player as
"I told them's nice to have some peace and quiet for once.
It's been kind of hectic lately."
She smiled back at him, "Wow...I love your eyes. Blue is my favorite
color. Well...I'm sorry. If you would like to be alone, I'll get back to
She turned to leave but Will wasn't sure he wanted her to just yet,
"No! If it's okay for you to, I'd appreciate the company. I can't stand to be
alone for too long."
She was about to comply when AJ led everyone else into the lounge.
The girl looked at Will, "Looks like your group's back from skiing. Maybe we
can talk again sometime before you leave." Will nodded just before she walked
AJ found his way over to Will and sat down, taking off his gloves,
"So...who's that girl?"
Will shrugged, "I don't know. She never told me her name. She works
here and asked me if I needed anything...then we kind of started talking."
AJ raised his eyebrows at Will. Riker clapped him on the shoulder,
"Come on. I don't even know her. But I do know.... that she's easy to like."
AJ sighed, "You better be glad Deanna didn't see her. She's outside
shaking the snow off her boots. What about Deanna anyway?"
"I love her," Will said pointedly.
AJ indicated the girl, "What about her?"
Riker looked in her direction, "I don't know her."
AJ nodded, "And you plan to keep it that way too, right?"
Riker nodded back, "Right." He suddenly felt a pair of hands touch
his shoulders and begin to massage some of the tension out. He knew it was
Deanna. She stopped after a couple of minutes and slid her arms down across
his chest. "Ready for lunch?" she asked in his ear."
He smiled up at her, "I'm starving."

"Dealings of the Heart" - 4

It was now evening at the ski lodge where the Enterprise crew
resided. They had voted on staying inside for the afternoon, keeping Will
company. Besides that, there was a heavy snowfall outside that had begun
right after lunch. You could hardly see 5 feet in front of you.
The fire in the fireplace was providing adequate heat for the entire
room, especially the people gathered close by it. The lounge was darkened and
the only light provided was that of the fire and the miniature desk light at
the check-in counter. Hot chocolate was passed around as well as a light
Will was still in his position on the couch with his arms encircling
Deanna. She laid her head on his shoulder and gave a soft sigh of
contentment. Deanna was glad she had joined them on this trip. The snow
hadn't made a very good impression on her at first, but she was quickly
warming up to it. A smile crossed her lips and it prompted Will to look down
into her eyes. She met his gaze head on, and stretched her neck upwards to
kiss him.
Will bent down to meet her kiss halfway. This is what he had waited
15 years to do. How much longer he would wait until it was permanent? He
didn't know...but he did know that it will be, in time. The couple had
forgotten that AJ was enthusiastically telling a story of a time in the
Academy days. Nonetheless, one that he and Will risked their positions at the
school for some dumb, heroic, ego trip. As he finished, Will smiled slightly
at the memory and Deanna gave him a tight squeeze.
Everyone laughed at the conclusion of the story, finding it amusing
and astounding at what the duo went through. As the room grew quiet again,
Deanna turned her head to the source of light on the check-out desk. She saw
a figure leaning over a data padd, studiously working on something. As the
figure's face moved more into the light, she saw it was Lauren, the girl who
worked in the lounge. Deanna had taken the time to get to know her over the
last couple of days and found her to be a very sweet and intriguing person.
She was intelligent, but quiet...never the one to rush into anything.
"Lauren!" Deanna called over to her. Lauren's head snapped up,
slightly startled. When Deanna had her attention she added, "Why don't you
come over and have some hot chocolate with us? We'd love to have your
The offer sounded so inviting and she had been working for almost 3
hours straight without a break. "Okay, sure. I'll be right over." Lauren laid
down the padd and walked over to join the group. Deanna made room on the
couch beside her for Lauren to sit.
"Thank you. I really needed a break," she said quietly. No one had
ever asked her to join them in there group before. She had always been the
one who served and was hardly ever served herself. It was that way with her
family too. They never did care much about her...she was always the
outcast...never part of the popular crowd. Oh, she was pretty, but her quiet
spirit seemed to keep the more boisterous people away. That man sitting by
Deanna was the only man she seemed comfortable around. The only one who took
time to have a real conversation with her.
Deanna immediately sensed Will's anxiety level go up a notch. She
hadn't a clue why, but she wasn't going to bring it up in present company.
Instead she placed a reassuring hand on his knee and sent comforting feelings
to him. He seemed to respond positively to the action and smiled back at her,
giving a silent thank you.
Another 2 hours went by filled with conversation of all sorts and
stories told. The crowd dwindled down though, as most went back to their
rooms to settle for the night. The crew would be leaving in the morning after
a 5 day leave. They wanted to be sure and get enough sleep for the shuttle
trip home.
The Enterprise had been dispatched to a different mission while the
main crew took their time to relax. They had to meet with the ship by 1700
hours tomorrow in order to make their next destination assigned to them, on
Beverly stood up and stretched, "Well, I think I'll call it a day.
Are you coming Deanna?"
Deanna sat up from Will and yawned. Will laughed, "Looks like that
skiing wore you out today. We leave in the morning, so get a good nights
rest, okay?"
She chuckled at leaned down to him, "Yes, sir. You take care of that
ankle so that you can walk tomorrow, okay?"
"Yes, sir. Good night sweetheart," he said. She leaned in to kiss
him....a long, lingering kiss, mind you.
"Good night, Imzadi," she whispered magically in his ear. She wanted
to stay in his arms for the rest of the night. Will watched as the last of
the bunch made their way up the stairs to their rooms. He didn't notice that
AJ and Lauren still remained. He looked at AJ first. His friend stood up,
"You coming?"
Will let out a long breath, "No, I think I'll stay here for a few
more minutes. I don't feel like turning in yet."
"Okay....just remember what we talked about before," he reminded the
first officer. Will nodded the affirmative. AJ exited the lounge, leaving
Will and Lauren sitting on the couch.
She looked at the fire, "You want me to put another log on the fire
if you're going to be down here?"
He glanced toward the flames that were dying down. "Yes...that would
be great. So....your name is Lauren?"
She smiled, putting a log on the fire. "Yes...and yours is?"
"Will." When she finished, she sat back down. Will had expected her
to go about her usual business, leaving him to his thoughts.
"So, Will....what starship do you serve on?" she asked.
He thought better of talking with her again, but she seemed lonely,
working here by herself, especially at this time of night. "I'm the first
officer on the Enterprise."
"Wow...I had no idea. Are you all from the Enterprise?"
"Yes....most of us are senior officers on board. It's the best place
you can work."
She smiled, "Well...I've heard some incredible stories about you
guys, but the best place to work? I don't know about that."
Will returned her smile, "Oh, really? And how would you know that?
Have been on the Enterprise before?"
She tilted her head, "No."
"Then how do you know? That's not a fair assessment if you ask me."
Lauren laughed, "Well, I wasn't asking you now, was I, Commander?"
"I usually give my opinion if you ask for it or not," he stated.
"That could be a bad thing......or a good thing too, I guess."
They stayed that way for all of the night hours and on into the
morning hours. She had told him of her troubles....the only time she had felt
free to talk openly about them. He had told her of his early ambitions and
goals and how they had changed over the years. The story between him and his
dad made her feel better about her family and her story made him feel like
they had something in common.
The clock chimed 6 times letting them both know that the early
morning crowd would soon be coming down for breakfast. Will was shocked when
he realized that he had stayed up all night talking to this woman.
The expression on Lauren's face made her look equally as shocked, "My
goodness! I'm sorry, Will. I didn't mean to keep you up all night long....I'm
afraid you'll be sleeping most of the way home."
"Just the way like it," he replied. "I guess I better go and get my
gear together for the shuttle trip."
"Yes, and I'm back on work." Their was an awkward silence between
them for a minute until she suddenly broke it. "Well....thank you for
listening. You have no idea how long I've needed someone to talk to. You're a
great guy. Most of the ones I meet are kind of lousy...but, you're different.
I wish we could talk all the time." She moved in closer to him and took his
hands. Will was frozen...he didn't know what to do. His mind screamed 'run
away!', but the other half told him to stay where he was.
She leaned up and kissed him, full on the lips. Will's muscles and
brain locked up for a few seconds before he gained his bearings again. He
broke the kiss and pulled away.
"Lauren...what are you doing? Why did you kiss me?"
"Because, Will...I think we'd be great together.......wait, I know,
it's not fair, right?" She broke the gaze and looked at the crowd forming
for breakfast, "Look, I need to get to work. I hope I can see you
again....even if it's not for a long time. I have to go."
Will stood there, not able to move. What had just happened? Why
didn't he see this coming? What happens now.....or worse, what if Deanna
finds out she had kissed him? he'd have to deal with one angry counselor for
a couple of weeks probably.
"Will! What are you still doing down here? You didn't go to bed at
all last night?" Will turned his head and saw AJ coming at him.
He stood up...a slight ache still in his ankle, "She kissed me, AJ. I
didn't even know she felt that way about me...what am I supposed to do?"
"Don't tell Deanna.....rule number one. That's a sure way to ruin the
Will ran his hand through his hair, "If I don't tell her, then she'll
find out anyway. She's an empath, I can't keep something like that from her."
AJ moved a little closer, "Can't you just ignore those thoughts or
block her out or something? Forget it ever happened. We're leaving today
anyway, so this little problem will be light-years away in a few hours. Until
then....don't say anything."
Will nodded and saw Deanna and Beverly making their way into the
lounge. Deanna immediately went to Will and kissed him. he was afraid she
would taste Lauren's mouth on his, but his fears were in vain...she seemed to
act normal.
"Will....didn't you where that yesterday?" she asked.
"Ah..yeah. I guess I spent the night in them down here. I didn't make
it to bed last night." It wasn't a lie...he just didn't say what he was doing
last night.
Deanna dismissed the idea and went with Beverly over to the breakfast
AJ blew a sigh of relief, "Close one."

"Dealings of the Heart" - 5

"Will!" Will's head snapped around as the sound of Lauren's voice
startled him. The bag that was draped over his shoulder slid off at his
sudden movement. He grasped at it to keep it from falling to the floor. As
Lauren approached him, he hurriedly looked around to see if Deanna was
nearby. He didn't see her and gave a sigh of relief.
"Lauren, you know you shouldn't do that," he said, putting his bag
back onto it's former place.
The woman opposite him gave Will the most peculiar look. "Do what?"
"Go around scaring people like that. It's a good way to put them in
the them a heart attack or something. Look...what do you
want? Deanna's going to be coming down those stairs any second, I know it."
Lauren glanced at the stairs he was referring to, but was not waved in the
slightest. "Okay, I'm sorry....I didn't mean to scar you. We never got to
finish our talk last night, and I wanted to tell you some things I never got
around to...."
Will put up a silencing hand as Deanna entered the room, "Look, I've
got a transport to catch."
Before he could get too far, Lauren stuffed a small paper note into
an outer pocket of his bag. Feeling the slight pressure that she applied, he
turned to see what she was doing. he saw the note and tossed one last
confused glance in her direction.
Nothing more was said or done. She walked off leaving him to Deanna.
Will tried to clear his mind of Lauren and anything that had to do with her.
As Deanna made her way to his side, he stuffed the note farther down into the
pocket. What he didn't know was that Deanna had watched the exchange from a
distance. Not knowing exactly what the situation was, she decided not to
bring it up.
She went to him and pressed a kiss to his cheek, "Good morning. Ready
for that long trip home?" her smile was contagious and he caught on.
"Sure...I'm glad it is long though. It'll give us time alone before
we go back on duty tomorrow. I'm going to go check on the transport and see
what's keeping it." There was that distracted feeling again.....stronger this
time. Much stronger. She glanced down at his discarded bag on the floor as he
went outside to check on things.
She felt like a total cretin for what she was about to do, but if it
would give her any insight as to what was bothering him, she would have to do
it. Deanna reached down into the bag's pocket and pulled the note out. She
was going to try and read it, but she saw him coming back in, and stuffed the
envelope into her own bag before he could see.
"Okay everyone! The transport is here....load up!" Will called to the
group that was scattered about the room, engaged in conversations and last
cups of cocoa before they had to leave. As everyone piled out, including
Deanna, he went to the check-out counter and made sure everything was taken
care of. He looked over to the cafe area and saw Lauren taking breakfast
orders. She didn't see him, but he had a feeling she knew he was watching.
Will sighed and left the lodge.

On the transport, Deanna was finding a place to settle for the next
twelve hours and saw Beverly across from her doing the same. "Beverly!"
Deanna whispered. Beverly turned around slowly as if not sure she heard
anything at all.
"Deanna," she whispered back, "why are we whispering?"
They were so busy concentrating on what the other was doing that they
didn't hear AJ sneak up behind them, "Because you don't want anyone to hear
what you're saying!" he whispered to them as well.
Both women rolled their eyes and waved him past them. When he was a
good distance away, Deanna continued. "I'm whispering because I don't want
Will to hear."
"Hear what?"
"You know that Lauren girl who works at the lodge?" Beverly nodded
the affirmative, "Well, I thing she was trying to get on Will's good side, if
you know what I mean!"
Beverly's mouth dropped open, "You are kidding! She seemed like a
nice girl to me. Will would never let her come into his life romantically.
You of all people should know that."
"Maybe I don't know him as well as I thought Bev. She left this note
for him to read. I took it to see what it said...I thought it might explain
some of his strange feelings I've been sensing lately. And boy, does it. This
is the most passionate love letter I've ever read."
"Deanna! You took the letter! What if Will finds out....he'll really
be mad then." She looked around, "Well.....what did it say?!"
Deanna lowered herself into a seat and Beverly did the same, "It said
that she loved his eyes, and his kind heart....and that she'd never met
someone like him. She wants to get to know him better and hoped that they'll
have a chance together...a future. Can you believe the nerve! She knows that
Will and I are together!"
Beverly sat there stunned, she couldn't believe what she was hearing.
"I can't believe what I'm hearing. Are you sure about this? What are you
going to do?"
"Nothing. If he's the man I think he is, he'll tell me and explain
everything, say he's sorry, and then I'll forgive him. he comes."
As Will walked to the back of the transport, Deanna caught his
sleeve, "Where do you think you're going? Sit with me, please?"
Will looked down into her eyes, "All right."
For the next twelve hours, not much was said between the two. It was
if hey both knew a secret about the other that was being kept.....and they
did. But no matter what, they both knew that they would never lose faith in
each other.
Needless to say, it was a long trip home.

"Dealings of the Heart" - 6

Will slammed a padd down onto the table in his quarters. Where was
it? He was sure that he didn't do anything with it. Last he knew, e stuck it
into the outside pocket. Maybe it fell out somehow without him noticing. Just
as well, it would be a poor shame if anyone other than him were to read it.
Giving up the hopeless search, he tiredly plopped down on the couch,
stretching full length upon it. He wished that Starfleet issued longer
couches. His feet were practically hanging of the end.
Thoughts about the trip home found their way back to him. It had been
a twelve hour trip with virtually no conversation between him and Deanna. She
knew. She knows about Lauren...he was sure of that. But there wasn't any
reason to be concerned. After all, she was hundreds of light years away by
now. It was all in the past. Now he faced another delima....asking Deanna to
marry him. His hands slid down over his face, smoothing the weariness that
laid upon it. The door chimes sounded, but in hopes of whoever it was,
leaving, he ignored it.
After a few moments, the door slid open and immediately he knew who
it was. Only one person on the ship knew the access code to get in. With that
in mind, he didn't remove his arm that was know resting over his eyes,
blocking out the starlight that shone through the window. He heard her sit
down in one of the chairs across from him.
Deanna watched him for a minute before speaking. When she did, she
made sure it was a gentle, but forceful tone. "I need to talk to you, Will."
She waited patiently for his reply but nothing came from him. He just stayed
in one position, waiting for her to continue and talk about whatever she
needed to.
"When were you planning on telling me about Lauren's letter?" This
quickly got his full attention. He slowly sat up, meeting her straight in the
eye. "How did you know about her?"
"Will, I met her. I knew that she was attracted to you, but I thought
you were perfectly capable of handling the situation yourself without me
hounding you about it.......are you?
Will clasped his hands together and leaned forward on his knees. "Am
I capable? Deanna, their never was anything to handle in the first place. The
attraction was not mutual."
Deanna could feel his good intentions. He really believed that he was
never romantically attracted to her. But she knew better...she had felt
certain things from his when she was around. She wanted so badly to let it
go, but wasn't sure if she should.
"'s okay to tell me that you had certain feelings for her.
I understand that you two share a lot of the same background and interests. I
even liked having her around. Remember that we said we'd be honest with each
other?'s the test. The question is...are you going to pass?"
Will stood up and went over to the chair she sat in. He sat on the
arm and took her hands in his own. "Okay, you want the truth?"
"The truth is.....I was attracted to her. But the keyword is 'was'. I
have you in my life, and I don't need other distractions like Lauren or any
other woman. I love you for who you are, and that will never, ever matter what happens."
She looked at his azure eyes and saw the sincerity in his words. But,
there was still that feeling that she couldn't place. He was sure...but not
100 percent. "Will," she began quietly, "You kissed her and I read the
letter." Tears began to form in her eyes as she tried to get through the next
few painstaking words. "I know how strongly she felt about you and that's
hard to ignore. For the first time since I've known lied to me.
You didn't tell me about any of this even though I had a right to know. Did
you just think I wouldn't find out?"
Will's heartbeat went up a notch as he listened to what she said. He
didn't want this to be going where it was going. Breaking her gaze, he looked
down at his hands, still holing hers.
Deanna continued, "Will, I know what you want, but I can't accept
that right matter how much I want to. I'm just so disappointed in
you and I don't know how we're going to work this out."
She reached behind her and pulled the letter into his view. Placing
it in his hand, she got up and left without saying another word.
Will watched her go, too surprised to say shocked to go
after her. He just sat there like a bump on a log holding the letter.
Bringing his thoughts back, he opened the letter and read over it. "Oh,
know," he said, as he read word for word that which had just made his life a
whole lot more complicated.

"Dealings of the Heart" - 7

Three days had gone by since Will and Deanna's last encounter.
Neither were sure of what to say to the other, and neither fully understood
what was happening. Will was seated at the bar in the lounge, knocking back
his fifth glass of synthehol. Boy how he wished it was the real stuff. he
set his empty glass down and pushed it away. One of the waiters came up
behind the counter and asked if he wanted more. Will nodded yes and placed
his head in his hands.
"You alright, Will?" Will was startled at the voice, but realized who
it was as Geordie sat down next to him. Geordie ordered a drink himself
before turning back to look at his fellow officer and friend.
"I don't know. Thanks," he added as the waiter returned his now full
glass. Geordie took a sip of his own and sighed.
"Well, whatever is bothering better fix it, and fast.
You're depressing to be around."
` Will looked at him, "Oh, thanks man."
Geordie shook his head, "Look, I'm just saying that for your own
good. People are purposefully avoiding you. Listen, I know I'm not half the
expert on women that you are...but even the experts need a little guidance
now and then. Just talk to her and explain everything. I mean, how could you
even let her read that letter?"
Will darted a look at him, "Does like the whole ship know about that
or something? I never said anything to you about that."
"AJ told me, you told him....I haven't told anyone else."
"I thought I'd lost the letter. The bad thing is, she read it before
I did....I'm not sure how, but she did."
Geordie raised his eyebrows in his characteristic manner, "That is
bad. I've got to report soon. Do something before the situation gets stale,
huh?" he clapped will on the back and exited the lounge.
No sooner had he left then AJ came and replaced Geordie in the seat
next to Will. "Deanna's coming in a minute, Will. I asked her to give you a
chance to explain. She's giving you her full attention, so don't blow it."
Will looked incredulous, "What?! Now? AJ..I don't even know how to
"Just tell her that Lauren came on to you, and it was flattering, but
it didn't mean anything. As far as the kiss goes...she kissed you."
Will looked down at the counter of the bar, "I can't AJ. I love
Deanna more than my own life, but I actually felt something with Lauren....I
don't know how to explain that. She felt it too...she's an empath. I can't
get away from that."
AJ looked away in thought for a minute, "No, you can't. Just don't be
nervous, she's coming to forgive you, that is if you don't screw up."
"Will...hi," both men jumped slightly and turned around. Will's
eyebrow so big, they looked as if they were about to pop,
"Lauren! What are you doing here?" he tried not to look too surprised
and make a scene in front of his crew.
"I came on board when the Enterprise docked at the starbase this
morning. I was traveling to meet some old friends of mine and I thought I'd
come aboard and see you. We never finished our talk, and you never answered
the letter."
"Look, Lauren...Deanna's going to be here soon."
"Sweet talker. I just want to know if what we had was because of the
mountains and the snow....or something else."
Will sighed, "Look, I don't want Deanna to see us together." As soon
as he had said that, he would have given his life to take those words back.
Deanna walked into his view.
She stopped beside AJ, "Too late. You just failed the test."
She began to walk off and Will darted after her, "Deanna....wait.
This isn't what it looks like. I had no idea she was going to be here."
Deanna stopped and faced him, looking into his eyes, "Will, she came
all this way to talk to you, so maybe you should afford her that opportunity.
If you need some time to sort out your feelings, then yes, take it." This
time, Will made no effort to stop her. She was serious in her words and she
really did want him to take time and think it through carefully.
He walked back to Lauren, AJ had discretely left. "Why don't I assign
you to some temporary quarters and let you settle in."
She nodded and followed him out of the lounge.

"Dealings of the Heart" - 8

"Let me ask you something. How do you feel about me?" Will and Lauren
sat in her temporary assigned quarters. She had invited him in to 'finish
their talk' when he escorted her there. They sat now on the couch, each
enjoying a cup of coffee.
"Well, I...I don't know, Lauren. I mean, I think you're a wonderful're very easy to talk to. People just feel like they can be
themselves around you....especially me. You're the first girl I've ever met
that had a lot of the same background and who would know how I feel. This is
just all lousy timing. If this had been six months ago, I would have come up
to you myself...but, it's just that Deanna - "
She cut him off, "Will, I'm sorry if I've seriously damaged your
relationship with her. I never meant her to know. I wanted to see how you
felt before I said or did anything out in the open. I would have left you
alone that first night, but you seemed interested in me in a way....I wasn't
sure what that was. So, I tested you, and you responded pretty, I thought I'd give it a try."
Will set his drink down and ran a hand over his eyes, "Lauren, at
first I was just interested in someone to talk to. Then I found out that you
grew up much like I did, and I was the conversation."
"But, the more we talked....something clicked. I felt like I could
trust you, and I didn't want our conversation to end. I told you things that
I've never even told Deanna. Maybe it's just because I haven't gotten around
to it..but she never was really interested in the same things about me that
you are. I don't know...maybe I'm just confusing things. I'm sorry."
" don't need to apologize to me. I understand. Deanna's a
big part of your life and I would never ask you to leave her. I just needed
to know. Aren't you having fun with me?"
"Yea...that's the problem. I enjoy being with you just like I do
Deanna. Look, I've got to go. I'll meet you for breakfast in the lounge?
"That sounds nice. Thanks for the talk. You look tired...get some
sleep." She kissed him quickly before disappearing into her bedroom. Will
just sat there looking at her doorway, thinking of what Deanna was doing
right now. Even though he's just had a fairly intimate evening with another
woman...he still thought of Deanna. Amazing. He'd never been able to do that

Instead of going to his quarters, he decided to take a detour. He
blew some air threw his open lips as he rang the chime. "Come in," was the
He stopped short when he saw the scene before him. "AJ...didn't know
you'd be entertaining a guest tonight. But then, when has a night gone by
when you didn't?" AJ politely excused himself from his more sensual endeavors
and crossed over to Will.
He grabbed the larger man and pulled him into the bedroom. "What? I'm
in the middle of something really important."
Will looked away for and instant before looking back into the AJ's
face. "Look, I've just had a rough evening and I need to talk to
know, like we used to all the time."
AJ almost protested but when he looked at Will again, he saw a
desperation that he'd never seen before except once...when something had come
up with his Dad while they were at the Academy.
"Yea....okay, Will. But this better be good for me to give up what
I'm giving up." He walked back into the other room and Will waited until the
woman had left before walking in himself.
AJ ordered them both drinks and sat down opposite Will. "So...what's
going on in that crazy head of yours?"
"A battle. I don't know why I'm having this problem really. I was
going to ask Deanna to marry me, and then....this it's kind of like the Civil
War. The North has everything under control, right? But every once in a
while, there's a southern uprising."
"Let me guess which is which."
"That's the problem....I can't, not anymore. I still feel closer to
Deanna because of the bond thing we've got going on, but if that wasn't wouldn't feel much different from Lauren."
AJ sighed, "Yea, Will...but it is there and you have to deal with it.
You've known Deanna a lot longer than Lauren."
"But that doesn't make any difference in how I feel about her now.
Well....I guess it could in a sense."
AJ set his drink down and leaned forward, "You know what....we're
going to settle this scientifically. Okay...Which one would you rather have
deep, serious conversations with?"
Will leaned back, pondering the question, "Well, I've told Deanna
just about everything. She and I tell each other everything, serious or not.
But, Lauren is also easy to talk to. She and I talk about things that Deanna
and I rarely talk about."
" a draw on that one. Next..this one is very key.....which
one do you feel is the most honest with you?"
"Well....Deanna has never lied to me. She's always talking about how
an honest relationship is the best thing. But Lauren has been honest with me
from the very beginning."
"Tie again. Alright....which has the know," he waggled
his eyebrows for additional effect.
Will smiled, "You can answer that one. Deanna's got it all with a
little yada, yada to go with it. But, there's nothing like the feel of
Lauren's lips on mine and've seen the rest."
AJ smiled, "Yes I have. Looks like you've got a problem. You like
Lauren just as much as you like Deanna and you can't live without either of
Will raised his eyes to AJ and then looked back down at his feet.
", AJ. Yes, I like Lauren...but I can live without her. I can'
without Deanna. I'm glad I came to talk to you tonight. It helped to put
things in perspective."
"So, you know what you're going to do?"
Will jumped up, 'I know exactly what to do. Thanks...good night."
AJ walked him to the door, "What are friends for? Glad I could
help...but Will, you are definitely going to pay fir me kicking Rachel out."
Will held up his hands, "hey, it's what you get for interrupting
Deanna and I that one time."
He walked through doors and into the corridor. He only had one thing
on his mind now....hoping for Deanna's forgiveness.

"Dealings of the Heart" - 9

The lights were low in Deanna's quarters. She felt extremely mellow,
yet she was hurting very deeply. Exhaustion from worry, fear, anticipation,
and trepidation was weighing heavily on her soul and body.
Her legs were casually tucked under her as she curled up against the
soft cushions of the couch. The faint glow of the stars providing little
illumination on the picture she was studying so reverently. It was a picture
taken just before they had all parted their separate ways after the
destruction of the D. She had practically forced him to pose for one - not
knowing if she'd ever see him again, or where he was particularly going.
They both stood on a street corner in downtown San Francisco. She and
Will both had huge smiles on their faces and huge ice-cream cones in their
hands to go along with them. That was the last day she'd see him for almost
an entire year. They had spent the whole day together. She could remember
what seemed like a thousand other days like that when they had been together
before. Oh - how she missed him.
Deanna kept reminding herself that this situation wasn't her fault.
He had flirted with Lauren. He had kissed her. Then he had the nerve to
actually spend time with her, trying to get to know her better, instead of
smoothing things out between themselves.
She knew that he loved her...and she loved him. But Will just didn't
realize how much power that love can have between two people. Maybe he did
realize it though...maybe that could be what scared him off? He seemed to be
so committed this time and yet didn't follow through. Instead, he wanted to
play these games and test his love for her and his feelings for Lauren. That
was something she could not be a part of. He should have done that before
they made a commitment to each other. Now, he's doing the same thing that he
did 12 years ago....leaving her for other pursuits. By now a person would
feel just plain used. She was beginning to get that feeling.
Angrily, she almost slammed the picture back down onto the table in
front of her. Why was she even bothering looking at him, thinking about him,
wondering if he was alright? Deanna plopped her head back against the couch
and let a long breath out. She couldn't let this get the best of her. She...
Her thoughts were rudely interrupted by the door chime. At first she
ignored it..she knew who it was. Upon the second chime, she heard his voice,
"Deanna? Are you okay? I want to's really important. I - " the
doors slipped open as Deanna quickly turned away from the control panel and
walked back to her previous position. All he saw was her back until she
finally settled on the couch. Whether that was deliberate, he didn't know.
Will waited for what seemed like an eternity for her to say
something...anything. She clearly was angry and didn't have the slightest
intention of starting a conversation. This was going to be harder than he
thought. He took the initiative and sat down on the couch beside her. He was
careful not do sit too close and make her feel crowded or intimidated.
He uncertainly fidgeted with his hands and stared a hole into them,
not daring to look her in those cold, dark eyes. "Deanna.....I am so sorry
for everything, right from the beginning. Remember when I told you I wasn't
sure about what I was getting into?" No response. He continued anyway, "Well,
I wasn't. But, I know now what I need....and I know that I will always love
you, no matter what happens in this crazy life. And...yea, it scared me that
I had feelings toward another person, but I realized that I only went after
that because I needed to make sure that nothing could come between us."
Deanna turned her eyes and glared at him, "Is that supposed to be one
of those macho contests? Let's see if I really love this person enough to
keep from being drawn to another?"
Will was taken back by her words. She had never said anything like
that to him before. He didn't know what to say, so he simply said all he
could, "I don't know what it was. I'm, so sorry, Deanna." He wanted to reach
out and comfort her, but wasn't sure she'd appreciate it to much right now.
"Deanna...I'm going to be honest with you....remember the honesty
thing? I spent time with Lauren, and I enjoyed it....I had fun with her."
Deanna looked at him with sincerity in her eyes, "I knew you would,
Will. She's a nice girl and has a wonderful personality. I can see how you'd
be drawn to her....but not romantically."
"When I was with her, I realized how much I missed you. She couldn't
fulfill me like you do. I know now that I love you....and you alone."
Deanna looked down at the floor, "You know that now?"
Deanna looked up at him, beginning to get a little restless. She was
trying to force all of her feelings down for these next few moments...but was
having little success. "Is their anything else that you need to say?"
Will set his jaw in his characteristic manner that indicated he was
thinking. "No...that's it, "he finally told her.
Deanna sat up straight now, her hands tightly folded together. Her
knuckles began to turn white under the forced pressure. She almost startled
at his voice again.
"So...can we make up now? I really can't stand this much longer."
Deanna felt hot tears slowly cascading down her face. She remained
silent for a moment and tried to find the strength to speak. "Will.....I
can't see you anymore."
Will's eyes shot up and looked at her fully, "What?"
Deanna gave up on holding the tears back, although she cried
silently. "Do you have any idea on how many men want a chance with me?"
Will looked confused, "What are you talking about?"
She continued studying her hands as if what she needed to say was
written on them. "I never needed to test my feelings for you. I gave up the
traditional Betazoid life because of your influence. I would have given you
everything, Will."
Will found the courage to scoot over to her and put an arm around her
shoulders. She leaned into him slightly. He spoke, " so sorry, Deanna.
I don't..." he trailed off, not sure if he could say anything at this point.
She took a deep breath through her tears, "I forgive you. I forgive
you for lying to me. I forgive you for kissing her. I forgive you for the
letter....which I read, and I know how intimately she felt about you.
But...that you needed to see her to test your feelings for me....I don't
forgive you for that - "
Will stood, "No! You told me to see her, Deanna! You told me to see
how I felt!" Instantly, Deanna grabbed him by the waist and pulled him into
the tightest hug she'd ever managed. She let him go and held him by the
shoulders, looking directly into his now tear stained eyes, "And you
Will diverted his eyes quickly, and just as quickly, walked out the

"Dealings of the Heart" - 10

The lights danced in different colors on stage and the crowd had all
settled in their seats at their tables, eagerly watching the performance
taking place. A big band orchestra played in the background. Two singers
stepped up to the old-fashioned microphone. Will knew them well. They were
Tex Beneke and Glenn Miller himself. Tex began to whistle a tune. Glenn was
the first to speak, “Hello there, Texas! What you say? Are ya whistlin’ in
the dark just to scare the ghost away?”
Tex began, “I know there’s somethin’ followin’ me that I can’t see.
Someone sure laid an awful hex on me.”
Glenn laughed, “A hex? Aw, Tex - that’s a little far-fetched. Man, I
think you’re just a little bit tetched.”
Tex again, “If you’d got a load of what I saw last night, you’d have
past a Yankee clipper on it’s maiden flight.”
The band began playing an interlude in the music and the two singers
stepped back. Will laughed at what the two said as he knocked back another drink.
This was his third. Heck, he knew where this was going, but the woman he
loved - the only woman he loved had just rejected him. How else was a man
supposed to take that? The bartender walked up and Will signaled for another
The bartender shook his head, “Sorry Babyface, but ya told me not to
let you go past three. That was you’re third that ya just knocked back.”
Will looked at him incredulously, “Listen pal...when did I tell you
The man thought for a moment, “Oh...a few months ago when ya first
made this program. Ya told me this was you’re joint when ya wanted to feel bad and not
have anyone hound ya about it. But ya don’t want to go out those doors drunk do
“I don’t care anymore.”
“Ya cared when you were sober. You’re mind’s a little groggy right
now, huh?
Just wait a while, then see if ya care.”
Will grabbed the man by the shirt and almost pulled him over the
counter, “I said give me another one - now!”
The bartender put his hands up, trying to touch his feet back to the
floor. His New York accent spoke again, “Sure, sure...anything ya want,
Babyface. But if ya get drunk, just don’t tell the Captain I helped ya, huh?”
Will smiled, “You don’t have a thing to worry about.” He turned back
to the stage as the bartender filled his glass again. Taking another drink,
Will listened in...
Tex sang out, “Last night I saw upon the stairs, a little man who
wasn’t there. He wasn’t there again today....oh, how I wish he’d go away.
When I came home last night at three, the man was waitin’ there for me. But
when I looked around the hall, I couldn’t see him there at all - go away, go
away. Don’t you come back anymore. Go away, go away....and please don’t slam
the door!”
He continued on with his singing, and Will with his drinking.

Will was flat passed out with his head resting on the bar. Glenn
Miller strode up to the bar and pulled Will’s face up to look at him. When
he’d had his look, he let it fall back onto the counter. Glenn shook his head
and laughed, “Must be one of his girls. Nothing gives a man more trouble than
a woman...isn’t that right Skippy!”

The bartender came up to them and nodded, “Hey..nope. But we know
worth it.”
Glenn smiled, “You know I’ll drink to that.”
Skippy smiled back, “What’ll ya have?”
“Just a soda...I’ve got another set to do. You know, it’s a shame
too. I saw Will in
the audience and thought how helpful he’d be on the bone tonight. I guess a
man’s luck can run out though.”
Skippy filled a glass for himself, “Aw, come on, Glenn. Ya know he
only comes in here when he’s got some kind of troubles. Normally he passes
them along to me, but he was as quiet as a mouse tonight....except for that
yell he had at me, but I was just tryin’ to look out for the poor fellow.”
Glenn clapped him on the shoulder, “Tell him next time he comes -
stay sober. I
want him to play if he’s going to hang out on my program. See ya around.”
Skippy waved, “Yea sure...I’ll tell him.”

Hours...or days later for all he knew, Will awoke in the holodeck. No
one was
there except a maintenance guy sweeping the place. Will called out to him,
Joe....what’s the time?” His faced cringed...boy did he have a hangover.
“It’s almost seven in the’ve been asleep on that stool
all night. You need some ice for that head?”
Will stood and almost lost his balance. “How’d you know?”
“Hey, I get hangovers almost every night. I know when someone has
one. I’ll get
some ice - “
“No...I’ll just go home and rest. Thanks anyway.” Will exited the
holodeck and
shut down the program.

“You did what?! Deanna! I can’t believe that you’d just turn him
downlike that!” Beverly and Deanna sat in Beverly’s office in sickbay. They
had just eaten breakfast and were engrossed in a very enthusiastic
Deanna sat back, “Because, Beverly...he can’t just turn his back on
me and then come running back, expecting me to forgive him. If this had been the first
time, then maybe I would have. But it’s not. It’s already happened too much, and I will
not sit around wasting my life away for a man who can’t commit his life to anyone!”
Beverly was taken aback by the furiously in Deanna’s voice. Rarely
did Deanna get this angry over something. “All right, I’m sorry. Just calm
down. I understand...but he was sorry and said he wanted to be with you.
Doesn’t that count for anything?”
“He’s said that before Beverly. I know he meant it, but he always
means what he says. He just doesn’t follow through on it half the time. I don’t think he’ll
ever be ready to settle down, get married, have kids. It just doesn’t fit his
lifestyle. He’s an adventurer. He likes to see what’s out there....not what
he’s already discovered.”
“Have you talked to him about that, Deanna? Have you told him that’s
how you see him? Have you asked him to settle down?”
Deanna looked away and sighed, “I didn’t think I’d have to. I
actually thought that we’d go through with it. I was so sure he was going to
propose - this time, I was going to say yes. But, what I don’t get is - “
They were interrupted by the doors whooshing open, “Beverly -” Will
stopped short when he saw Deanna sitting in the chair. “Oh...I’m sorry, I’ll just go.”
He turned to leave, but Deanna grabbed his arm that held his hand
against his aching forehead. “Will? Are you okay? Maybe Beverly should look at you.”
Beverly jumped in  “Don’t worry, Deanna. I know what this is. It’s
not the first time he’s come in with a hangover.”
“Will! You were drinking?! You know I don’t like you drinking!”
Deanna blurted out. Beverly pressed a hypo-spray to his neck, " There,
that should relieve all the symptoms. I’ll um....I’ll just leave the two of
you alone. Excuse me.”
Beverly left her office and Deanna pulled Will out of sickbay and
escorted him to his quarters.
Will was still clutching his head, but the pain was fading. Deanna
let go of his arm and pointed at the couch. “Sit down,” she said sternly.
Will sat without saying anything. She walked over to the replicater
and ordered black coffee. “Here, drink all of this. Don’t leave a drop.” She sat next to
him and watched as he took a sip.
“Will, why would you go and get yourself drunk? You know it’s against
“I don’t care. Look, I had a lousy night last night and I have duty
in half an hour, so if you don’t mind...please leave.”
He stood up and walked into the bedroom, leaving her to sit by
herself. She walked over to the bedroom door and watched as he went through his drawers.
“This is why I told you all of those years that we shouldn’t get involved
again, Will. I knew this would happen. Only, it wasn’t my fault.”
Will glared at her, “I said I was sorry! What else do you want me to
do, Deanna?! I can’t change things now - no one can!”
“You could at least follow through on a commitment once in a while!”
she retorted.
“What?” he dropped everything he was doing and looked at her.
“Commitment? I’ve committed my life to Starfleet, and have done the best job
anyone has ever done! Just look at all of those medals and honors on the
table in there - look!”
Deanna instead looked down and snickered, “I know...all of your
precious awards to go along with your precious career. When did you ever have
a place in your life for the people you cared about? What about the ones you
Will took a step closer...just enough to intimidate her a little.
“Don’t you ever talk to me about that! I know what it feels like to be rejected! My father never
had time to commit to the son who needed him! All he cared about was his precious I know first hand what you’re saying!”
He threw a shirt he’d taken out of the drawer onto the dresser and
sat on the bed, quickly covering his eyes with his hands. Deanna didn’t know
whether to be angry or feel sorry for him. Suddenly, she heard a sniffle
escape from him and she knew he was crying.
Her psychology training knew that he’d not had the best example of commitment
growing up, so it was natural to adopt that same lifestyle as an adult. But,
no one could use that as a total excuse.
She just stood there, listening to him cry. Then he started to speak,
“I swore to myself that I’d never be like him.....he never stayed with anything exept his
job. I never saw him. When I did, I knew he was just being polite by spending
what little time he had with me. God....I can’t believe I’m doing the same
thing now. I hate myself for it....just like I hated Dad for it.”
He started crying a little harder now, and Deanna acted on impulse
and went to him. She put her arms around him and kissed him above his ear. “It’s
okay....I understand. You’re nothing like your father. I’ve met
trust me on this. I’m sorry, Will. I should never have said anything like
that. I didn’t know it would hurt you so much.”
Will wiped his eyes and took a deep breath, composing himself.
“No...I’m glad you did. It gives me a chance to fix it. God....I can’t
believe I’m crying....and in front of you.”
Deanna smiled, “Even the bravest of men are entitled to a good cry
now and then. You’d be surprised at how many men cry...I see it all the time
during counseling. Now, if you want someone to talk to about this, I can
recommend a good counselor to you. But I shouldn’t be the one you talk to.”
Will looked up at her, “Why not? You’re exactly the one I need. Can’t
you realize
“I did realize that. Sixteen years ago I knew we’d be together. It
just took you a little longer.”
Will snickered, “Yea...sixteen years. I can’t just give up you know.
Even though I’m angry, I still love you.”
She smiled and patted his back. “I know. I didn’t expect you to give
up. That’s one thing a Riker’s good for.”
“I’m not sure how to take that.”
She stood and walked toward the exit, “Take it in good stride,
Commander. Let me know if you need someone to talk to.”
Will watched her leave and wiped the rest of the moisture from his
eyes. Feeling a little better, he went to check for any messages before
cleaning up for duty. He had two messages. One from Beverly, checking up on
him - the other was Lauren. He’d missed their breakfast date! He needed to
catch her and explain before she left.
Without reading the message, he asked the computer where she was.
“Lauren McKinley is not on board the Enterprise.”
“Great. Computer, display message sent by Lauren McKinley.”
The screen came alive with her image. “Will, I just wanted to say
goodbye. I have to catch the early transport this morning so, I have to
break our date. I can tell that you’re heart belongs with Deanna, so I’m
leaving. It’s been fun. Keep me posted on things between you and Deanna. I
sent her a message this morning, trying to apologize. I don’t know what good
it did, but I’m very sorry for everything I caused. I’ll be thinking about
you. Bye, Will.”
Will sighed, now Lauren was gone. He could concentrate on Deanna
fully. He still had wished he could have said goodbye to Lauren. He’d send
her a message in a few weeks perhaps. Looking down at his chronometer, he saw
that only ten minutes remained until his shift. He hurried into the bathroom
to get ready for what had to be an interesting day that lied ahead.

"Dealings of the Heart" - 11

Will Riker looked at himself in the mirror. His hair was loosely
spiked and laid down nicely in the back. He wore a black, newly designed
tuxedo. He was sure to put the rest of the men to shame tonight. That was
just how he wanted it too. Not another man was to catch Deanna's eye other
than him.
He was freshly shaved and he smoothed his hand over the
semi-roughness of his jaw. Just the way she likes it. He was decked out and
ready to go...only for the first time, in a long time, he would be going to
the annual Enterprise dance without not only his Imzadi, but a woman. It was
a little embarrassing to tell the truth because he was always the guy who had
no trouble getting a girl.
Oh, he could have easily done it this time too, but that wouldn't go
over well with Deanna if he were to try and get her back. Yep, this
definitely was a new experience for him. Even when he was a kid and they had
those school dances, he always had girl on his arm. One time he remembered
having two....but that was another story. He smiled at the memory. How easy
it was back then.
The alarm beside the sink sounded, letting him know it was time to
go. Well, this was it....tonight, he was going to get his Imzadi back. He was
sure of it.

The lounge held at least two hundred people from what Deanna could
tell. Looking at the dance floor from where she was sitting, she could see
Geordi and his date, then AJ and Rachel together as well. She laughed when
she saw that AJ had missed a dance step and almost caused himself and his
date to fall over. Shaking her head, she saw a man, dressing rather
handsomely make his way to the table. "Here is your drink Miss Troi. You
know, I didn't think starship life could be" He turned and gave her
a smile to remember.
She took the drink and smiled, "Well, it isn't all fun and games.
There is a darker side. That's why we do things like this whenever we can."
Clay Michaels had encountered Deanna in the corridors earlier in the
day. Deanna couldn't take her eyes off of him. He seemed so
mysterious as the stars....he would say. Clay was human, from Australia. He
had the neatest accent she had ever heard. A few words he said were a little
hard to understand, but not too much. He had dark eyes, like her own, and
sandy, blonde hair.
"Yea, I guess. You know, I almost went to the academy, but I decided
better of it. I just wasn't cut out for all that stuff. The classroom I could
handle, but the strenuous exercises I've heard about....couldn't do it. I'm
not one of those blow up and be blown up, kind of guys. So, naturally, I
admire you for going through all of it. It takes a lot of courage. Especially
going through the voyages of this ship I hear?"
" could say that. Actually, courage is probably an
understatement. I don't know how I handle it really."
"You're trained for it...that's how. I never told you, but I'm a
journalist. I travel around the Federation and write down all the interesting
stories. I even do a job or two for Starfleet every now and then. I wrote all
about how the Enterprise was the key ship in fighting off the Borg, and how
Riker and Laforge made the first warp flight with Cochrane. Then, just
recently the incident with the Son'a and Ba'ku. It was great how Captain
Picard lead them against the Son'a....oh, and my favorite part...Will Riker
invented the Riker Maneuver. I read exactly how he did everything. You've got
to admire that kind of intelligence. Only Kirk could be that original. I
would love to meet him....will he be here tonight?"
Deanna was stunned, trying to take in all the information at once.
"I..I'm not sure. He never told me. You know....I was in charge of the
control room on Cochrane's flight. And, I also helped lead the Ba'ku to
safety - "
"That's fascinating. So, you and this Riker....I guess you two don't
spend a lot of time together. I mean, if you did, you'd know if he was
supposed to be here tonight."
Deanna opened her mouth to speak, but didn't quite know how to
respond. "He and I...have an understanding. No, we haven't been spending much
time at all together."
"Does that mean that the senior staff isn't as close as they're
rumored to be?" He saw the blank look on her face and chuckled, looking down
suddenly. "I'm sorry...the journalist in me is coming out. I...always do that
around someone I like and I think is very beautiful. So, you were in charge
of the control room at the first warp flight? Tell me about it."
Deanna waved him off, " don't want to hear about it. It
wasn't really important or flashy as actually flying in the craft."
He took her and gently squeezed. "I would love to hear it. I have
learned over the years that the best stories are usually the unheard. People
like me tend to concentrate on the big and the flashy, as you said. We
sometimes look over the part no one knows about. Sometimes, we forget that
it's part of our job to expose that side of the story to further educate the
readers. So...what was it like traveling back in time in the first place?"
Deanna smiled at him affectionately. He was being sincere, "
first, we didn't know what we were getting into...."
She talked of her adventures for a while longer until her eye caught
an extremely good looking guy coming through the doors. Will....

Clay turned to see what had caught her eye and saw that it was Riker.
Politely he asked, "Is that the famous Will Riker that I hear about so much?"
"Oh...I just lost you, didn't I?"
He turned back to her and looked her in the eyes, "You my beautiful
will stay in my eyes forever. But, under the circumstances, would it be too
much to ask if he were to share a quick drink with us?"
Deanna laughed, "I'll see what I can do." She waved Will down as he
spotted them and he slowly approached the table, eyeing Clay suspiciously.
"Commander, you may not believe this, but this man has heard about
you," Deanna said. Will raised his eyebrow.
"Really? Who is he?" he said, sounding a little like a father
protecting his baby girl from the big bad boy friend.
Deanna recognized his tone and just smiled, "This is Clay Michaels,
he came on board when we were docked at the space station."
"I see."
Clay chimed in, not noticing any resilience, "Commander Riker, I have
studied you and you're training for many years. You are the most incredible
officer I've seen since Kirk. Well, I never saw Kirk, but I did study him
too. I would love to have a drink with you."
Will smiled and sat down, drink in hand, "Of course. I don't exactly
have a date to drink with."
"Ah...not one of those ladies' men? Maybe I could give you a few
Will smiled, wanting to knock the living daylights out of him,
"Actually, I just didn't feel like coming with anyone else tonight." He
looked to Deanna directly when he said it. Clay noted the exchange.
Will continued, "Well, Clay, I see you've found yourself quite a date
for this evening."
"Yes, she's a beauty is she not?"
Will glared at him, but smiled nonetheless, "That she is, but I don't
think she's your type, Clay." He felt Deanna's kick right in the shin. When
she had caught his attention, she added, "I don't think it's your place to
judge that, Commander. There's a cute blonde watching you like a hawk over
there. Why don't you take you go and entertain her. She looks pretty lonely."
Clay tried to hide his smile. Obviously, these two didn't get along
very well....or former lovers perhaps? Will glanced in the direction that
Deanna had indicated and sure enough there was a woman watching him. He knew
that Deanna expected him to go to her, but he was going to disappoint her
"Sorry to be hasty, but the Captain wanted to go over some mission
details tonight. If you'll excuse me." Will stood up and made his way out of
the lounge. That went great, he thought to himself.
He walked down the corridors and had almost made it to his quarters
when he heard footsteps behind him. He knew who it was from the sense. "Did
you dump, Clay too?" he asked without turning around.
She stopped short when he did, "No...he had to go back to his
quarters to finish an article before morning."
"You both looked kind of cozy tonight."
"Yes, we did didn't we? He even kissed me before he left. Then, he
invited me to the holodeck in the morning before we reach Gamod II."
"Have a good time." He pressed the door mechanism and entered his
quarters. He swept around before Deanna could step foot inside. "Maybe you'd
better go get some sleep so you'll be nice and rested for the morning. I'm
sure Clay wouldn't like for you to be falling asleep on him....literally."
Deanna lost all control and slapped him hard, across the face. Will
jerked his head back into place glaring at her in utter shock. "Please, go."
He closed the doors leaving her standing there, watching them close.
What she did after that he didn't know, nor did he care. Not anymore. First
Worf, then Clay. For all he knew, after what happened tonight, she'd leave
with him and spend the rest of her life with that egocentric scum. He slammed
his fist into the wall and didn't feel any pain because the pain of his heart
overshadowed it greatly.

"Dealings of the Heart" - 12

"Ah, Deanna, finally decided to show up for lunch?" Beverly smiled at
her. She was busily working on a data padd behind her desk in her office.
Deanna had asked to have lunch with her in the lounge to 'talk'.
"Clay fixed me a wonderful breakfast and kept me talking a little
longer than I had expected," Deanna said as she took a seat opposite Crusher.
Beverly had a very familiar smirk on her face...the one she always used when
dealing with secretive information.
"You really like to beat around the bush, don't you? I mean, you
could at least tell me what you were really doing....couldn't you?"
Deanna folded her hands in her lap, "Well, dear doctor, that's what
lunch is for. Now hurry up...I'm dying to talk to someone!"
Beverly laughed, "You are way to enthusiastic about this. can you dismiss, Will, just like that?"
Deanna fained an innocent look, "I'm not dismissing him, Beverly.
But, how can I not be excited when I've met the man of my dreams and I'm
dying to tell someone about him...let alone the whole universe."
Beverly raised her eyebrows and put her padd down, "Come on, lets go.
I've got to hear all about this, then try to talk you into smoothing things
out with, Will."

In the lounge.....

Deanna rolled her eyes, "Listen, I've made up my mind. I have finally
met the one person in my life who makes me feel beautiful by just giving me a
look. He's strong, intelligent, not exactly the most profound person in the
universe, but he's got a great loving, caring heart. His sense of humor is
wonderful too...he makes me laugh in a way no other man has. He's my dream
come true...the man I'm going to marry."
"Deanna! He didn't..."
Deanna laughed, "No, he hasn't asked me yet, but I have a surprise
for him. He's not the kind of guy who makes quick decisions when it comes to
dealings of the heart. But I intend to speed things up a little."
Beverly sat openmouthed, "What are you going to do?"
"I'm going to ask him."
Beverly blinked back her surprise, "Deanna, you can't just rush into
a marriage like this!"
"Why not? I love him."
Beverly sat back, exasperated, "Because....because, you're starting
act too much like your mother. Going around, picking up men you've never met,
or don't really know.....that's don't really know him." Beverly
sat back satisfied with her answer, knowing that it wouldn't last long.
Deanna smiled and pushed her empty plate away from her, "Beverly, I
know him," she said softly, "I'm in love........I'm in love with, Will Riker.
Nothing else matters, our past is forgotten as far as I'm concerned. Life is
centered on the future, although we learn from our past to make our future
better. I'm going to ask him to marry me tonight. I think the time is right."
Beverly jumped out of her seat and embraced her friend in a fierce
hug. Deanna's breathing was almost cut off. "Oh, Deanna..I couldn't be
happier for you!" She pulled back, "And, Will, too."
Deanna smiled, laughing inwardly at the doctor's excitement, "You are
way too enthusiastic about this."
"For very good reasons! you think, Will, will forgive you?"
"I'm sure he will. Once I forgive him. At least I hope he will be
open to what I have to say."

Will sat in his favorite holodeck program. It was in Valdez, on a
rock structure overlooking the landscape that his house resided on. It was
almost dark out, he had been sitting there ever since his duty shift had
ended, watching the sun go down. As he sat there, he began to realize that
the sun resembled his life. It starts out fresh, bright, unyielding. Then it
seems to move around a bit, casting shadows on new things every once in a
while. Then after a while, it's brightness tends to get a little darker, less
intimidating. Then it does as it is sets, leaving everything to
itself, not caring about what happens when it's gone.
He tucked his legs up against his chest, draping his arms over each
knee and locking his hands together. Sighing, he rested his forehead on his
raised knees, closing his eyes and taking in the breeze that flowed over the
terrain. Without knowing it, he dozed off. After a few sleepless nights, he
couldn't seem to help it.
A few minutes later, he felt a gentle hand on his back, and a warm
body sit down next to him to go along with it. His head snapped up, looking
into the eyes of Deanna Troi. "How'd you get in? I set up a password."
She smiled, "I guessed it. It took a few tries, but I got it."
Will raised his left eyebrow, "Well, I guess I need to come up with a
new system of passwords if it's that easy."
"Well, it would have stumped anyone else. But, RaBeem, is something
that I can figure out easily. So...what are you doing way up here by
Will laid his head against his knees again, "What do you care?"
That comment stung like a supernova. Deanna took her hand off of his
back and looked out across the mountain side. "I don't know, Will. I don't
know why I care. It just felt like the right thing to do...I wanted to see if
you were okay."
Will still ducked his head down. "I'm fine. Although, I think I still
have a red mark from that slap last night."
Deanna cringed at the memory, "About that, Will....I shouldn't have.
I let my anger get out of check, and I acted badly. I'm sorry."
Will still didn't look up. He didn't say anything either. Deanna was
trying to be patient with him, but he wasn't responding to anything. She let
an angry tone creep into her voice a little, "You're not going to make this
easy are you?"
Will looked up, "Make what easy, Deanna? Why are you here?" He asked
equally as angry.
Deanna looked away, "Clay left this morning for his conference...he
won't be back. Just to make you feel better, we didn't do anything. He kissed
me, and he was a good kisser, but he didn't come close to you. I realized
that I'm not going to be happy with any other man but you."
Will's eyes were locked onto her and he held his gaze as she turned
her head back to him. He sighed, "I guess I don't have a reason to get mad at
you. I did the same thing."
Deanna brushed his hair back, nothing more needed to be said, "I'll
forgive you, if you forgive, I do forgive you, Will. Even if you
don't want to forgive me," she quickly changed her mind.
Her hand cupped his stubbled cheek and he leaned into it, savoring
gentle her touch. He smiled at her, "Can we make up now?" he asked, bringing
a boyish tone.
Deanna knew that he had forgiven her and she laughed, "Yes,
Imzadi...we can make up now -- but, I want to settle one more thing before we
start into the celebrations." She took his head into her hands and forced him
to look her in the eyes.
"Will Riker, I love you so much. I know you love me. I want you to
understand that no matter what our past is, we can put it behind us and look
toward our future."
He looked astounded and confused all at the same time and she had to
smile at the look on his face. She bit her lip in thought, "Let me put this
in a way I know you'll understand. Will you marry me?"
Will's mouth dropped open and he glued his eyes onto hers. He sat
there for a whole minute without saying anything...finally Deanna did, "Will?"
Will blinked, "Did I just ask you to marry me?"
Deanna smiled, "No, I did."
"Oh." He looked away as she brought her hands down to his. "I always
thought I'd be the one to ask."
Deanna laughed, "Well, I beat you to it."
Will looked back at her, "So you did. Okay....well, you proposed."
Deanna looked at him sympathetically, "Will, I'd like an answer."
"Deanna, it's not everyday that I get asked a question like that -- "
He was cut off by her lips abruptly meeting his in a breathtaking
kiss. He had forgotten how much he missed this part.
She pulled away and a challengingly met his eyes, "So?"
Will smiled, "So you got a ring for me, or what?"
She laughed again, and playfully hit him on the chest, "That's your
department." She wrapped her arms around his neck, "So, are we engaged or
He leaned in and kissed her, "Very much so."
They laughed and danced in the moonlight, carrying on like teenagers.
It had bee a long time since they both had felt so carefree, so now, they
took full advantage of it.
Will laughed as Deanna stood up, spread her arms wide and screamed,
"We're engaged!" Her voice echoed throughout the Alaskan countryside.
He stood up as well, and grabbed her hand, racing down the slope to
the open field below. "Computer!" he yelled, "Change summer program to
winter!" Before their eyes, a blanket of snow covered the ground and Deanna
pulled her hand away.
"Will! You know I hate snow! I'm just wearing a light jacket!"
Will laughed, "Don't worry, you'll get hot enough if you move around
a bit."
She put her hands on her hips, "Why in the world would I want to move
around a bit?"
Will smiled and pulled a huge snowball from behind his back. "Because
of this!" The snowball hit her on her shoulder as she held out her hands
protecting her face. "Okay, Mr. Riker! You want to mess with me...I'll show
you the proper way to throw a snowball!"
The expression on her face was serious, although he knew she was
having a good time. Nonetheless, he wasn't going to take any chances. He took
of running as fast as he could through the deep snow. He didn't get too far
before he felt a wet ball of snow strike him in the back of the head. He
turned to see Deanna with a triumphant look on her face.
It was short-lived, however. He ran back in her direction with an
evil smile on his face. She screamed and laughed at the same time and took
off running herself. They chased each other for the next hour until both were
so exhausted, they tumbled into the snow together and laughed.


"Will! Would you please grab Tommy before he makes it out the door!"
Will agrivatedly shut his book and ran out of his office. Tommy had almost
made it to the door but was caught by Will latching onto the back of his
shirt. He pulled Tommy up by the shirt and carried him to the couch in the
same way.
The five year old kicked and squirmed trying to rid himself of his father's
Will sat the boy on his lap, "Just where do you think you're going?"
Tommy frowned and crossed his arms. No information was coming out of
his mouth if he could at all help it. The stubborn look on his face convinced
Will enough.
"Okay fine...if you won't talk, you won't walk. In your room until
you decided to deal me out some information." Will set the boy down and gave
him a look that said 'If you try one move, you're as good as dead.'
"Dad!" He wined, "That's not fair! Why can't I stay in here and not
talk?" His eyes pleaded with his father, but Will would not back down.
Will gently, but forcefully turned the boy to look at him square in
the face, "Ssh. Your Mom is in there trying to get your baby sister to sleep.
Now, we've got to be the men of the house and help her out. Okay? Your mother
is kind of tired from having to take care of Lesley and keep appointments.
The last thing I need is to go chasing you around everywhere."
Tommy still held a stubborn frown on his face. "But I wasn't going
everywhere. I was just going to the holodeck. Josh and Gabe are going there
to dig up worms."
Will scrunched his eyebrows in confusion, "Dig up worms? Why?"
"Because we have to learn how to catch them and cut them up to look
inside for science tomorrow. We wanted to practice so we could get better
grades than everyone else," Tommy proudly stated.
Will sighed, "You can't go to the holodeck right now. You'll just
have to learn how to dig up worms with everyone else tomorrow. Why don't you
go quietly into your sister's nursery and kiss her and your Mom goodnight."
Tommy knew that is wasn't a suggestion but a command. Nevertheless,
he still tried to get out of it. "Why can't I go for just a little while? Do
you want me to look dumb tomorrow when haven't practiced?!"
Will's stern look was enough to shut the boy's mouth, "Okay, I'll
go say goodnight."
Riker smiled to himself as he watching his son walk into the
nursery. Just as stubborn as his dad, he thought.
Will followed him into the nursery and arrived in time to see him
kiss Deanna on the cheek. "Night mommy."
Deanna smiled at him from her chair where she was rocking Lesley.
"Goodnight sweetheart. Sleep well." She winked at him and caused a slight
smile to spark onto Tommy's face. He turned to walk out the door, seeing his
father standing there, watching. His frown returned and he quickly walked
past Will.
Riker watched him, making sure he went to his room and not the door
this time. When he was satisfied, he walked into the nursery and knelt at
Deanna's side.
Deanna leaned her head back and smiled at her husband. She reached
and ran her hand through his hair in soothing motions. "Hello to you too. Did
you have much trouble with our escape artist?"
Will smiled, "Not anymore than usual. He was headed to the holodeck
to dig up worms."
Deanna frowned, "Dig up worms?"
"Don't ask. So...anything you need...want?"
Deanna sighed and closed her eyes, "I need a hot bubble bath, some
hot chocolate, a full body massage, and the perfect husband to go along with
Will quietly laughed, "I'll go start the bath water. But first, let
me take this little lady off your hands."
He ever so gently lifted the baby from Deanna's shoulder and kissed
her head. "Goodnight Les.....daddy loves you."
Deanna smiled at the exchange and placed a loving arm around Will's
waist. She watched as he laid their daughter in her crib and covered her with
a blanket. Will embraced his wife and kissed her on her forehead.
Deanna looked up at him, "We have everything we ever needed right
here. The perfect family, the perfect friends, the perfect ship to serve on,
I'm glad that we finally got married. I know it was almost seven years ago,
but it doesn't seem that long."
Will smiled, "I know. I was thinking about that today."
Deanna squeezed him lightly, "You were, huh?"
"Yep. I'm glad that I finally learned how to deal with my heart
rather than the intellectual. It's a lesson worthy enough for every man to
"Well, Imzadi, you were the one who taught me how to deal with my
heart...a long time ago on Betazed. It just goes to show how much we've
learned from each other. Now...if you hurry and start that bath water, I'll
teach you a few new lessons that are definitely worth learning."
She seductively smiled at her husband and kiss him rather
passionately. Will drew back and returned her smile.
"I can't wait to our learning session to begin. You get the hot
chocolate, I'll take care of the rest."
They shared one more kiss and each scurried their separate ways,
anticipating the lesson.

First officer's personal log. It's three in the morning and Deanna's
sleeping with Lesley in our bed. I, however, can't seem to get comfortable,
which is why I'm doing this. Looking back over the past few years has made me
come to realize how much has changed in my life and how much I've changed as
a person. Deanna's helped me become what I am today. I've learned how to deal
with my heart when it comes to personal matters. Now that we have kids, it's
almost required. It's made me a better man, and a better husband. I hope
that I can pass that onto my children and them to theirs. Well, I hear Lesley
starting to wake up, I better take care of her so Deanna get some much
needed sleep. Riker out.