Disclaimer: You know the drill, right? They’re not mine, yadda, yadda, yadda.
Synopsis: Even I don’t know why I thought of the title, it just sounded strange enough to try it I suppose. This is post-Insurection, closer to Nemesis. Just a little ‘exercise’ as QD would say. Hope you enjoy.
The darkness of the room seemed to quiet her voice even though he knew that scientifically it wasn’t possible. Instead of analyzing her voice further, he decided to ignore it, hoping it would go away. There was only one problem with that. He knew it wouldn’t. She wouldn’t let it.
She watched him as he leaned against the observation lounge table, his arms crossed, and his face only slightly illuminated by the stars passing by. He was angry and frustrated, although she hadn’t a clue as to why.
Only five minutes ago, he had stormed from the captain’s ready room and onto the bridge, completely ignoring the questioning look that she threw in his direction. He continued his haste walk until she watched him disappear behind the doors that led him to this spot, where he was now.
She knew that he didn’t want her there. He wanted to be left alone to think, as he would say. Only that wasn’t an option. It hadn’t been for a long time. Had this been ten years ago, she might have done just that, left him alone and then tried to talk to him once he had cooled down a bit. Neither of them could do that anymore. It was part of their agreement, their promise.
“Will,” she said his name a little more forcefully, hoping to communicate her seriousness to him. He wasn’t just angry, he was mad. She knew this because he still refused to even acknowledge her presence.
Inwardly she smiled, despite the emotional upheaval he was projecting to her, not on purpose, but through their bond she could feel it. Deanna knew him well enough to divert to another tactic, one that she knew would get him to talk.
She carefully walked around the table and stood by his side, mimicking his stance. She would stand like this all day if she had to in order to find out what had him so bothered.
Looking up she watched his jaw twitch, again she inwardly smiled. At least it was a reaction of some kind. Instead of taking her gaze away from him, she opted to keep watching him, his reactions. Finally, after about thirty seconds of this, she felt something break inside him.
He blew out a breath and sharply turned his head to her, however, changing nothing in his stance. “What are you looking at?” The tone of his voice was one of annoyance, but that didn’t matter to her at the moment.
Deanna narrowed her eyes and appeared to be looking at him more closely, her eyes fixed on the side of his face. “Your jaw,” she stated simply. A little too simply for his liking.
His eyebrows scrunched in confusion, but then quickly he looked back at the large windows before them. “Why? Is something wrong with it?” It twitched again. Again she smiled, but not to where he would catch it.
“Not really,” her voice carried a light quality with it only serving to irritate him further. “I was just counting how many times it twitched before you said anything. There it goes again,” this time she failed in hiding the slight smirk that played on her features.
“Deanna,” he sighed, frustration clearly in his voice. For a moment he looked as if he was going to say something more. He stared at her for what seemed an eternity before turning back to the stars again.
The smile on her face faded and this time, she also turned back to the windows. “Will, obviously something has upset you to a point that I haven’t seen in a long time. I’m just concerned about it, that’s all.”
“Is that your professional opinion, Counselor?” he shot at her, knowing she hated it when he brought up her job like that in the middle of a conversation, especially one like this.
At first Deanna thought about telling him exactly what was on her mind at that time, but she knew that one of them had to remain calm to get through this conversation. She had to remain calm if she wasn’t going to waste her time coming in here. “Possibly, Will. It’s not exactly healthy for the crew to see their First Officer storm across the bridge looking like he’s ready to take on a ship full of Romulans. On the other hand, you know that I come in here first as someone who cares too much about you to see you stay angry when we could talk about it and maybe straighten out whatever might be wrong.”
Will snickered at her comment, “How come you think you can fix everything that goes wrong, especially where I’m concerned? I can’t even have five minutes to think about something without you coming to my rescue!”
That stung. It hit her squarely in the chest and she was sure that if she wasn’t leaning against the table, it might have knocked her over. Her eyes were large and suddenly she felt her jaw begin to twitch. A few deep breaths were all she needed to stay calm. She desperately wanted to sit down, but it might appear as if she was backing off and that was something that she did not intend to do.
Closing her eyes, she centered herself once again. He was now standing by the windows, his back to her. “I’m sorry if it looks like I’m trying to fix everything. But I’ve been trained very well to help people sort out their problems so that they could figure out how to solve them. It’s second nature to me, it’s who I am. You should know that by now. I don’t want to fix everything, Will. It just hurts me when I see you unhappy.”
Will closed his eyes, but she couldn’t see them from where she was standing. “I just wanted some time to myself to think, that’s all. I wish that you would at least give me that.”
“At least? Will, I have given you my entire life for the past three years. We made a promise to each other that we would always be there no matter how badly the other person wanted us gone. That’s what marriage is all about and you had better learn that lesson before we walk down the isle in a few months.”
In a way, her voice almost sounded threatening. But he knew she was right. He remembered the night on the beach that they had made that promise. It was the night he had proposed on the sands of Tiburon. Suddenly he felt like a total cretin. He had blown his top and it hadn’t seemed to affect her in the least, although he knew that he had hurt her. He also knew that he had lost this argument long before it started. He wondered if that would always be the case.
Riker felt her eyes like laser beams on him and in a moment he swallowed his pride and ego and turned toward her. However, he couldn’t bring himself to look directly at her eyes.
“I was going to talk to you about this tonight. I’m sorry, Deanna. There are just some times when I do need to be left alone. I needed to gather my thoughts before I talked to you.”
Deanna pursed her lips and glanced down for a moment as if thinking about what to say to him next. Riker felt that for sure she was going to hit him with some profound statement like she usually did, but was surprised when he heard…
Okay? That was it? He shifted his weight from one foot to the other and quietly cleared his throat. He felt a certain uneasiness overcome him. “Yeah…okay. So, I’ll see you tonight?”
“Mhmm,” he heard her soft answer but she just stood there, looking at him, her arms still crossed, her lips still pursed.
Riker’s expression turned into one of confusion. He looked away but she still hadn’t moved an inch. “Now what are you looking at?”
“Well, I can’t leave now. You’ve practically confessed to me that something’s bothering you so you might as well go ahead and tell me. That ‘okay’ was for next time. Next time, I’ll let you be—for a short time, but we’ve already come too far in this conversation for me to leave now, don’t you think?”
She felt his anger begin to swell again, but this time he bit back any negative remark. He stared her down and for just a brief moment she felt like she was at a show down, high noon, accept this time it was real and not a holodeck fantasy.
He was the first to look away and he plopped himself against the table once again. For an entire five minutes that’s the way they remained, watching the stars and listening to the hum of the ship’s engines. It almost startled her when she heard him speak.
“My problem is Starfleet,” he said it with such a quiet conviction that she was actually convinced that she was about to turn his back on his career. But the rational side of her told her that it was a ridiculous assumption.
“The captain informed me that they want me to take command of the Titan as soon as she’s out of the Utopia ship yards. They’re forcing me to go, it’s not an option this time. The only other option I have is…” he trailed off, unwilling to say the alternative.
Deanna let out a slow breath and moved in closer to him to where she was barley brushing his arm. “I don’t understand, Will. I thought that you would welcome the opportunity.”
He reached up and rubbed his eyes, keeping the slight contact with her. “It’s what I’ve worked for. It’s what I wanted. I guess it’s just the fact that they’re forcing it on me when I have so much else to consider now. Even the captain seemed about ready to kick me out of the airlock.”
He let his hands fall to the table beside him, “I don’t know, Deanna. It just made me mad that we didn’t get to make the decision together…whether I take it or not. It made me mad that they’re forcing me away from the only home I’ve known, the only family I’ve known for the past fifteen years. Fifteen years ago it wouldn’t have bothered me, but now…”
Deanna brushed her hand along his back and leaned her head against his strong arm. “You’ve changed a lot in the last fifteen years, Imzadi. We all have. It’s not any easier for the captain to let you go than it is for you to face this. For us to face this. It’s a big decision.”
Will looked away, “I don’t like having to force this on you. You love the Enterprise and your family is here too, you’re career.”
Deanna stood up straight again, taking his hand, she moved in front of him. “Will, my real family is my mother, brother and you now. I don’t want to leave the Enterprise, but I also don’t want to leave you. It’ll be hard, for both of us, but we will get through it together. I can be a counselor on any starship as long as you are there with me. You’re going to take that commission because you deserve it and because I think you’ve set a new record for the longest time as first officer onboard a starship.”
Will allowed a small smile at that, and he gripped her hand tighter. “Are you sure?”
Deanna leaned forward and touched his face, “As sure as I am that I want to marry you. As sure as I am that I love you.” She kissed him. It was a kiss that had them both melting into each other in a matter of a couple of seconds. He kissed her back, projecting as many thankful thoughts as possible to her.
When they disengaged, he brushed her hair back away from her face, “Did you get a new hair cut?”
She laughed and it sounded wonderful to him. “Not many men would notice.”
Will smiled down at his fiancé, “You’re hair is too incredible for me not to notice. I like it. Now, if we could just do something about that uniform…”
Deanna silenced him with another kiss. “Are you all right now?”
Will’s expression turned to one of solemness and he let go of her, looking at her eyes. “I’m glad that you stayed, even though I was a complete jerk about it. I didn’t mean what I said…at least not the way it sounded.”
Deanna smiled and wrapped her arms around his waste. “I know, Imzadi. From now on, I promise to give you your space when you need it. I just know you, and I knew that this time around, you needed to talk.”
Will grinned at her and shook his head in awe, “I am so glad that I’m marrying you because I’m going to need someone for the rest of my life to keep me in check.”
He felt Deanna pinch his side and he let out a mock yelp, “Just as long as that’s not the only reason,” she said right before she kissed him again.
He pulled away from her, only enough to stand up fully and wrap an arm around her. “How about lunch?”
Deanna returned his gesture in kind and they began to walk to the door, “That sounds nice. Tell me about the Titan, she’s scheduled to be ready about the time of our wedding right?”
Will glanced down at her surprised that she would know that, but he didn’t say anything about it. Instead he told her about their new ship. “She’s a galaxy class starship, so you’ll have your work cut out for you…”
The sound of her musical laughter could be heard down the corridor as they made their way to the turbolift and the observation lounge doors closed.