Intimate Strangers
Paramount owns rights to all characters
(this little vignette assumes that the events chronicled in Imzadi 2 did not
all come to pass-and it takes place after Insurrection.)

Will was wildly, uproariously drunk. Ten-Forward seemed to tilt, like a
planet on its axis, affording him the unusual view of Guinan floating sideways.

"I believe you've reached your limit, Commander."
"Naw, I'm just getting started. Want to come to my quarters for a little
game of poker?"
She tried to frown, but a tiny smile lifted the corners of her lips. "I've
heard about your poker games, Will. Rumor has it, Counselor Troi lost most of
her clothing when you decided to play "strip poker" last Saturday. Good thing
you waited until the Captain left the room."
His eyes twinkled and he winked at her. "You should've been there. No doubt
you're a damned good player yourself."
"Good enough to get you down to your jockey-shorts in two hands, Commander."
Guinan's grin seemed to tilt, and Will realized that his backside was slowly
sliding off the barstool. "Two hands, huh? Why don't you put your money where
your mouth is? I hereby challenge you to a game-tonight."
"Tempting, very tempting, Will, but I'm afraid only one man gets to see this
old body naked-and it isn't you."
"New boyfriend?"
Enigmatic as ever, she replied, "Something like that."
"Alright, I give up. Since you won't accompany me, have you seen Deanna
tonight? She was supposed to meet me here two hours ago."
"Not since lunchtime. Guess you've been stood up, Commander."
"I wonder what the hell happened?"
"Why don't you go to her quarters and ask her yourself? You might just find
yourself a poker partner." Her hairless eyebrows rose suggestively and Will
burst out laughting.
"Excellent advice. I'll get right on it." As he tipsily walked out of the
room, Guinan snuck a peek at his firm backside and found herself envying their
lucky ship's counselor.
"If only I were a few hundred years younger," she murmurred.

In a darkened room, pink candlelight flickered in dancing rows. Every
surface was covered with candles, every light fixture draped with purple silk
scarves. Strains of soft, jazzy music filled the air, and the couple swayed to
the tune in each other's arms.
The petite brunette filled her lover's arms like a tiny doll. Her hair in a
cascade of curls down her back, caught at the nape of her neck with a
rose-colored hair band. Her dress was of the same color; a sheer gauzy fabric
that clung to her figure in light folds. She smelled of lavender and musk,
tasted sweet like Terallian wine. He couldn't get enough of her.
"Kiss me..." she whispered, and he obliged, willingly. Their lips touched
and caught fire, enveloping them both in dizzying passion.
"I want you, Deanna," whispered her lover as he trailed gentle kisses down
her neck.
She looked into his indigo eyes and smiled. "I want you too, Imzadi."
His heart was racing, throbbing as though he'd just finished a round of parisi
squares. Other parts of his body were awakening as well, throbbing in tandem
with his heart.
Laying Deanna on the bed, Riker allowed himself the pleasure of staring at
her beautiful face, lit like a Bottecelli angel by the flickering candlelight.

"You are so beautiful, Imzadi." She smiled again, and proceeded to drink in
Will's own masculine beauty.
His handsome face was flushed with desire and she could see the evidence of
his arousal within his tight black pants. Gods, how she wanted him. Needed
him. "Come here."
He undressed quickly, needing to be near her. When the last piece of
clothing hit the floor, he slid under the lavender flannel blankets and ran a
knowing hand up her soft thigh. They kissed, and as it deepened, he removed
her dress. He unlatched the delicate lace bra that barely covered her bosom,
and one by one, kissed her beautiful breasts. She caught her breath and softly
whispered his name. "Will..."
The tiny, purple lace thong was next and he removed it quickly, dying to touch
the softness beneath.
Deanna moaned in earnest now, becoming aroused as Will touched her most
sensitive places. Wanting to please her, he forced himself to slow down, but
inside he was going slowly insane. He pressed himself against her thigh, barely
muffling a curse. "I...can't take it, Imzadi. I need you."
"Yes, Will, my love...I need you too. Make love to" With her ebony
eyes begging him, he gave up the struggle for control and rose above her.
Covering her body with his, he gently filled her with himself, inch by velvet
"Will!" She pulled him closer, matching her rhythm to his, and together they
moved so perfectly that it seemed they'd been making love since the beginning
of time. The love in Will's eyes reached out and wrapped around her heart,
filling her own completely.
Suddenly, their breathing quickened as the exquisite pleasure threatened to
envelope them both. "Deanna, baby, I can't..."
"I know, Imzadi. We'll reach it"
And as the pleasure deepened, as their cries filled the room, every thought
disappeared in the lovely explosion that burst through their bodies at the same
"My God!"
"Gods!" They laughed and hugged one another tightly, breathless in the
blissful aftermath of their loving. It had only gotten better with time, and
Deanna had a feeling it would continue to do so. She only hoped she wouldn't
die from the ecstasy in the meantime.

Will Riker stood at Deanna's doorway, ringing her chime insistenly. After a
few tries, he realized that she must be asleep. "Computer, override-code Riker
Alpha 212 Beta."
"Override confirmed." He'd sneak in and crawl into bed with her, surprising
her when she woke the next morning. A secretive grin filled his face as he
imagined her reaction. Well, she had stood him up-she deserved to find him in
her bed in the morning.
The doors whooshed open silently, and Will tiptoed into the candle-lit
darkness. Candlelight? Deanna must've planned a romantic evening for the two of
them and then fallen asleep. Poor thing. She really had been working overtime
Quietly, he made his way to the bedroom and peeked inside, looking for her
beautiful face. As he walked into the room, he froze in his tracks.
My God. Deanna. She was naked, and enjoying a very erotic moment with another
man. Their soft cries reached his ears, and as they finished, he felt his
heart break and fall out of his chest onto the floor.
"Deanna. NO!" Startled, the Counselor pulled the covers over her body and
looked up into the face of the man who currently shared her bed.
"Will? I don't...I don't understand."
Will's twin kissed her and spun to face the Commander. "Welcome, dear brother.
Aren't you going to say hello?"
It was Tom. His transporter-accident twin. But how?
"What the hell are you doing here?"
"Isn't that obvious, Will? I was making love to my Imzadi. Until you
interuppted us."
Deanna's dark eyes were haunted as she stared at Tom, shocked beyond reason at
the realization.
"Gods, Will, I thought he was you. I had no idea..."
"It's true, brother. From the moment I rang her door chime tonight, Deanna
has been certain that she was with Commander Will Riker. Surprise surprise."
Will's fury mounted and he swung, landing a blazing punch on Tom's left cheek.
"Bastard. Who the hell do you think you are?"
Tom smiled, looking eerily like Will. "I think I'm you, Will. And so did your
Imzadi. In fact, she rather enjoyed it. Didn't you?"
Deanna looked away, disgusted with him and with herself. "Get out of here, Tom.
"Yes, Tom, why dont' you get the hell out of here before I beat the living
@#$% out of you."
"Deanna, I'll be back again. We'll pick up right where we left off," said Tom
as he tossed on his clothing.
She tured her dark eyes on him. "I don't ever want to see you again."
"Funny, you seemed to enjoy me a few minutes ago, Counselor. In fact, I'd
say..." But his words were cut off as Will slammed another punch into his
arrogant face. "Get out before I call security. Now." Finally, Tom moved to
leave, after blowing a kiss to Deanna. "Until next time, Imzadi." Deanna
curled into a ball on the bed, covering her face with her hands.
"I'm so sorry, Will."
"Did you really think it was me, Deanna? I have to know."
Abruptly, she rose off the bed and glared at him. "Of course I did. Gods, do
you think I'd just jump into bed with Tom for the hell of it? The last I knew
he was in a prison camp on Cardassia-I never imagined we'd see him again.
Especially not like this. Will, I love you. I'd never hurt you-not
His face softened. "I know, I'm just stunned. How the hell could he do
She lay a gentle hand on Will's arm. "I'm sorry, Imzadi. I don't know why he
decieved me."
"I do. He's wanted you ever since he came aboard this ship years ago.
Apparently he found a way to get off that hell-hole of a planet and found you
again. He's probably been planning this for years."
Her stomach knotted at his words. They rang true.
"Will, I need a few moments, alright? I'm going to take a shower. We can talk
more when I get out."
He nodded and then covered his face with his hands, mentally replaying what
he'd seen in his mind over and over again. Did she like it? Was Tom a better
lover than he was? Questions with no answers filled his head and drove him
insane until Deanna came back out again.
"Will? Are you alright?" she asked as she walked in a few moments later.
His eyes lifted to meet hers and along with anger and hurt, she saw another
emotion entirely.
Desire. Saying nothing, he pulled her to him and kissed her deeply.
"Will, I..."
"Shhh..." he murmured and captured her mouth again. Parting the folds of her
blue robe, he bared her breast and caressed them softly. She gasped with
pleasure and held his head in her hands. Gods, he wanted to make love. But
how could she after what she'd just done with Tom?
As the warm familiarity of Will's tongue touched her own, she found herself
responding to the kiss. His hand traveled to her belt and undid it. The robe
fell off her shoulders, bareing her completely. "Lay down, Imzadi. On your
stomach." Curious, she aquiesed.
Will undressed and when his uniform hit the floor, he climbed on top of her.
Her rounded buttocks pressed against his erection as she lifted her hips
gently. Will groaned her name aloud, softly, like a curse. "I need you,
She merely whimpered and he took that as agreement. Gently, he entered her
soft, silky warmth, and she cried out as the exquisite pleasure tingled through
her lower body. Will's pelvis, rocking gently against her backside, drove her
into a frenzy.
"Yes! Gods, yes, Will!"
Her sweet cries carried him into the abyss, taking his sanity completely.
Their sounds met, became united and carried throughout her quarters as they
climbed toward ecstasy.
Will's deep throaty moans excited her, almost as much as the feel of him
inside of her body.
"Imzadi, I'm going to..."
"Yes, baby, do it...come for me." Her sweet screams shattered the air and
sent Will tumbling over the edge. They came together and as the crescendo
passed, they fell back onto the mattress panting in unison.
"Imzadi...that was amazing. But, why Will? Why did you want to make love,
now, of all times?"
Their eyes met and suddenly she understood. Tom had taken something that was
his, and he had just reclaimed it for his own. Reclaimed her. Some barbaric,
caveman-like male game had just been played, but deep inside she forgave him
and understood.
The only question now was, where did they go from here? Could Will ever
forget about Tom?
As they began to fall asleep in each other's arms, another question filled her
Would she?


Part 2

His thoughts tumbled over and over each other, as the memories filled
his mind. Satin sheets, starry night, soft erotic moans. That night had
haunted him for over a week; and he hadn't seen her or touched her since. He
was going crazy, but she refused to see him. Didn't she know how badly he
wanted her? How much he still loved her?
Soon, the Enterprise would be in orbit around Earth, and he would
have to leave. Captain Picard had understood the danger he'd be in if they
took him back to Cardassia now. Hell, he'd probably be shot on sight the
moment he left the ship. A man like Picard couldn't do that to a fellow
human being, even if he was an escaped criminal. Instead, he'd spoken with
his old friend Admiral Jensen at Starfleet Academy and finagled a position
for Tom. He should feel grateful, but how could he when it meant leaving
Deanna? Leaving her forever to Will.
As Tom Riker counted the evening stars, his mind worked furiously.
He would find a way to stay with that he'd held her again,
touched her again, he couldn't just let her go. The only problem was going
to be getting Will out of the way.

In Deanna's quarters, she and Beverly sat across from one another,
sipping from a fat bottle of kanar. "I never knew you liked Cardassian wine,
Deanna. You are full of surprises tonight."
The Betazoid smiled ruefully. "There are more where that came from."
"I'm listening," she murmured, a raised reddish eyebrow indicating her
"You must promise me never to tell a soul, Bev. I mean it."
"For God's sake Deanna, we've been friends for twelve years, I think you
can trust me. Now spill it! "
"Alright, but it's not an easy story to tell. Last Saturday, Will and I had
a rather intimate evening."
"I'm all ears." She was smiling, clearly engaged, dying to hear every
"Well, things became romantic rather quickly and we made love. It was only
afterward that I realized what had happened. Gods, Beverly, I don't know what
to do."
"What do you mean? What happened, Dee?"
The soft onyx eyes filled instantly with tears. "It wasn't Will I was
making love to, Bev. It was Tom."
A deafening silence filled the room as the bombshell dropped, and Bev's
mouth hung open in shock. "What? Tom Riker? But I thought..."
"Yes, so did I. Apparently he's got connections we know nothing about
because he escaped."
"And he somehow found the Enterprise. Let me guess, he impersonated Will to
come aboard and used his access codes all over the ship so no one would know
he was here."
"Exactly. And, that night, he pretended to be Will and we..."
"I see. You must've been furious when you realized what had happened.
Does Will know?" Deanna stared into the empty wine glass and on cue, Beverly
filled it instantly.
"Will...saw us. He, snuck into my quarters to surprise me and saw
Beverly nearly dropped her glass, but caught it, and took a gulping swallow.
"Oh, God, no, Deanna. Are you two alright? I imagine he's not taking this
"To say the least. Right afterwards, after he kicked Tom out, he made love
to me. Because of that I assumed we'd be alright, at least, eventually. But
since then he hasn't touched me. Suddenly the relationship is strictly
professional, and he's doing his best to distance himself from me."
"So you slept with them both, in the same night?" The idea actually wasn't
completely alien to Bev. After all, twenty-five years before she'd often
fantasized about Jean-Luc...about Jack. About loving both of them, having
both of them in her life.
"You make it sound so sordid. But, it wasn't. I love them." As soon as the
words were out, she covered her mouth with her hands. "Oh, Bev, I mean, I
love Will." Her friend's eyes were full of compassion and complete
"It's alright, Deanna. I understand better than you might think. You see, I
loved my husband. Dearly. But I also fell in love with Jean-Luc. And, even
though we never let anything happen between us, we loved one another. It is
possible to love more than one person at a time."
"Gods, why did this have to happen? I can't hurt Will, not after all we've
been through. But I can't get Tom out of my mind. He reminded me so much of
the way Will used to be, when we were young. There's something wild about
him that I can't help but feel attracted to."
"Then, my dear, it sounds like you've got a decision to make."
She was right. Tonight, she'd talk to Will, she'd find a way to bring him
close again. Soon Tom would be gone for good and they'd be able to put this
behind them.
Later, after Bev left and Deanna lay tossing and turning in her bed, she
wondered if it would really be possible.


Part 3

The look on Will Rikerís face couldíve melted a bar of latinum. His
eyes, so blue and normally full of mischief, were instead blazing with anger.
As he nursed his fifth Terran ale, he stared sheaths of ice through his twin
"brother". Tom sat across the room, apparently amusing Beverly Crusher with
some wild story, as he plied her with synthehol. Well, it could be worse.
At least his drinking companion wasnít Deanna. In fact, Will hadnít seen his
Imzadi in over a week, and it was driving him crazy. After their night of
passion, heíd wanted desperately to put the incident with Tom behind them.
But it was impossible. Deanna was a loving, compassionate person, and sheíd
tried to help him deal with it; but there was one thing that she couldnít do.
Hide her feelings for Tom.
Didnít she realize that he could sense her feelings for him? Once
theyíd renewed their relationship, their bond strengthened and deepened, so
much so that Will could very nearly read her mind. He was all too aware of
Deannaís emotions, and heíd cut off contact completely with her; except for
professional, shipís business. Sheíd steered clear of him as well, probably
out of guilt, but heíd never explained to her why he was so distant. Hell,
if he could read her mind, feel her feelings, then she could read his. Let
her figure it out for herself.
"Commander? You look like you could use a friend right about now."
"Guinan. What would I do without you?"
"Letís hope you never need to find out. Why the long face? Didnít
you and the Counselor have a romantic evening last week? Surely that would
put a smile on your handsome face." Her hairless eyebrows lifted
suggestively and he tried to smile in response. "Actually we did, but things
didnít work out the way I imagined."
Her brown eyes searched the room and landed on Tom. Understanding
dawned on her face, and she gave him a sympathetic look. "I see. A little
competition again, Commander?"
"That son of a bitch. He never shouldíve came back here. Why now,
Guinan? Why, when we were finally back on track? Do you know that I was
going to ask Deanna to marry me? Damn it, we were so close, and nowÖ."
"She has feelings for him, doesnít she?" The question sliced into
his soul and he drained the pale gold liquid in front of him, hoping to numb
the pain.
"I donít get it, Guinan. I mean, for all intents and purposes, he is
me. Physically weíre no different. Except for his beard. What could she
feel for him that she doesnít feel for me?"
"Why donít you ask her?" she responded and moved her head in the
direction of the doors. Deanna Troi had just walked in, looking very lovely,
but very vulnerable.
She wasnít attempting to look desirable; in fact, she merely wore her
usual working uniform, and had a wild mass of curls tumbling down her back.
Her only make up was soft sandy blush and matching lipstick. But the look on
her face made his heart twist.
She was so lovely. So perfect. She was hurting, he could sense it,
and with everything inside of him he wanted to go to her and take her in his
"Then, why donít you, Commander?" asked Guinan, startling him with
her perception.
"Because it isnít me she wants, old friend. Itís him."
Just then Deanna noticed Will at the bar, and stared at the back of
his dark brown head until he turned around. Their eyes locked, filled with
unspoken emotion and a single tear fell down Deannaís cheek. "Imzadi. Iíve
missed you so."
"DeannaÖ. I havenít been able to stop thinking about you."
"Neither have I. Will, I know why youíve been so far away this week.
I know that youíve sensed something thatís hurt you, and Iím sorry. Iím so
sorry, Imzadi."
Will gave into the urge to hold her and crossed the room, standing
in front of her. The love in her eyes was evident to him, to everyone in the
room. Especially to Tom.
"Will, we have to talk. Come to my quarters with me, please."
"I think we both know that we wonít get much talking done in your
quarters. Either weíll argue, orÖ.something a bit more physical."
Her eyes lit with amusement. "Yes, youíre probably right. But come
with me anyway. Itís too public here and I donít want anyone to hear what I
have to say."
He sighed. "Alright. Lead the way." She spared a glance at Tom and
Beverly as she walked by and tried to ignore the looks in both of their eyes.
Tomís was possessive, longing. Bevís was filled with compassion and a bit of
amusement. They both watched Will and Deanna leave Ten-Forward, knowing
exactly what the couple had in mind.

In the dim light of her bedroom, Deanna held Willís face in her hands
and stared into his eyes, trying to project all of her love inside of him.
"Itís you I love, Will."
"I know that. But, I couldnít get the two of you out of my mind. And
Iíve been driving myself crazy wondering what it was like, if he was a better
lover than me, if you had feelings for him. Then, one morning I saw him
watching you on the bridge and I caught the way you looked at him. You do
feel something for him, donít you?"
"Will, I never expected that night to happen. You know that. When I
found out I was devastated and furious. I havenítí spoken to him since, and
I donít plan on it. It was a mistake, and if Iíd known who he was , I never
wouldíve touched him. But, in many ways he is you, so yes, of course I feel
something for him."
The hurt in his eyes broke her heart, but she couldnít lie to him.
He knew her too well. "Tell, me, Deanna, Iíve got to knowÖ you still
want him?"
Oh, Gods. Her conversation with Beverly came back to her and a dark blush
stained her cheeks. She did still desire Tom, but with everything inside of
her she attempted to cloak those feelings. Will did not ever need to know.
He might suspect, but there was no need to hurt him any further. "No,
Imzadi. I desire the beautiful man I see before me. My Imzadi. The only
man Iíve ever loved. Make love to me, WillÖ.now."
His pain dissolved as it was replaced with sudden heart-racing
desire. His beautiful Betazoid was standing before him, removing her
uniform, letting her hair fall across her bare shoulders. When she was down
to a beautiful dark blue bra and panties, he found that he was more than
ready to make love to her. For hours, for days, for weeks. Taking her slim
body in his arms, his hands raced along her curves, enjoying the delicate
silk of her skin.
She removed his uniform shirt, and pressed her chest against his,
feeling their hearts beating together. The crush of her full breasts drove
him mad and he bent to remove them from her bra. Each soft mound filled his
hands and he kissed her there, again and again, sending tingling shots of
arousal down her body. Deanna pulled his face up toward hers and tasted the
warmth of his mouth. He was delicious. The exotic scent of his masculine
cologne tickled her nose and filled her with the urge to cover his body in
"Lay down, Will. I want to make you feel good." Good God, how was
he going to contain himself? He didnít know or care, so he did her bidding
and stretched out on the bed, eagerly awaiting her next move. Feather-light
lips pressed against his own, then trailed along his neck, tasting him.
Moving down his shoulders, his chest, she warmed him with her lips. His
black slacks were in the way, and she deftly removed them, enjoying the
tortured look in Willís blue eyes.
Beneath the dark uniform pants, he wore a sexy pair of blue briefs
and she removed those too. Gently she moved her lovely mouth down the
length of his body and up again, finally moving towards the one place where
he was dying to be touched. In response, he muffled a curse and grabbed the
beautiful spill of curls in his hands, holding her there. It went on and on
until he couldnít take it any longer, and finally he begged her to stop. "I
want you to lay down, Deanna. I believe itís my turn to make you feel good."
The wicked gleam in his eyes excited her beyond words and she relaxed
on the bed, feeling him remove her tiny panties. Then it began, his eager
exploration of her body. The roomís lighting seemed to pulse along with her
heartbeat and her mind detached from her body, slipping away into a pleasant
erotic dream world where only Willís mouth and hands existed. It was perfect
and powerful and soon waves of desire crashed inside of her body, demanding
release. Demanding that she have him inside of her. Now.
"Please, I need you so badlyÖ."
He stopped his tongueís loving assault, and raised his body above hers.
Then, he gave her what she so desperately craved. As he covered her body
with his, they joined completely, and both gave voice to the incredible
ecstasy it brought. Eager moans and soft cries filled the room as the two
lost themselves in one another. Will felt so good in her arms, so perfectly
masculine. She met his thrusts with here own, and urged him on as he
brought them both close to the edge. In her mind, she could hear his voice,
"Youíre beautiful, so perfect, I love youÖ"
"I love you, I love you so muchÖGods this is incredible"
"I donít think I can last much longer, my loveÖ"
"You donít have to.." and as theyíre minds communicated, as their
rhythm increased, they both felt the wild, ecstasy burst over them at the
same moment. The crescendo lasted forever, bringing them to a perfect union
of mind, body and soul.
"YesÖ" they both said in unison. Then they came back to reality as
their hearts slowed, and bodies fell back on the pillows, completely and
utterly spent.
"I told you we wouldnítí get much talking done, Imzadi."
"Somehow I donít think you mind, Will." she said, looking into his
"Youíre right. This wasÖamazing. Youíre amazing. Iím sorry for the way I
acted this week. You just canít know how much it hurtÖ."
"Shhh. I know, I know. Do you think weíll ever be able to put it
behind us?"
"I want to. More than anything. Once we get to Earth, once he gets
off this ship, itíll be a lot easier to forget. Seeing him everyday makes it
worse. Iíve wanted to take him on the holodeck and beat him to a bloody
"Oh, Will. What stopped you?"
"Itís not easy to smash your own face in. And, as much as I hate
him, I know that you care about him. Hurting him would only hurt you too.
So, I guess the answer to your question is, my love for you. If it werenít
for that, Iíd take the bastard on right now."
Deanna stared at him, wondering if heíd really be able to reign in
his anger until Tom left the ship. The young Will Riker wouldíve killed him
by now, or at least incapacitated him. But he was older, more mature, and
had gained some control over his impulses. She hoped that it would last-the
last thing she wanted was for him to ruin his career over this.
As they both stared at the ceiling their thoughts took similar paths.
They were both thinking of Tom.

In his own temporary quarters, Tom was thinking of Deanna. They
shared a bond also, though not as strong as the one she shared with Will.
Still, it was strong enough to detect her thoughts of him, and he smiled.
Even though she had just made love with his twin(yes, he could sense that
too) her thoughts now were of him. He wanted her so badly it was a physical
ache in his body. How could he get close to her again? Tom knew that Deanna
wanted him, he could feel it. The only question was, how could he get her to
give into those feelings? A slow, cocky grin crossed his face as a plan
formed in his mind.
Walking to the bathroom, he stood in front of the mirror and stared
at the familiar reflection. "Will, you and I should really look more alike.
After all, we are the same person, arenít we?" Slathering on a thick
mountain of white foam, he reached for the antique razor blade that he always
carried for luck. Then, with swift, short strokes, he rid himself of the
dark, brown beard. He smiled at the bare-faced reflection. Yes, that was
more like it. Now for the final touch.
The replicator spit out a uniform, a Commanderís uniform. Tom
affixed a commbadge above the breast pocket and changed swiftly into it.
"Tonight, Deanna. You will be mine againÖtonight." Winking broadly at his
reflection, he left the room and disappeared in the crowded corridor among a
sea of uniforms.

Part 4

Deeply asleep, nestled in the crook of Willís arm, Deanna dreamed.
She dreamed of the hot, sweaty jungles of Jalara, the crisp, cold sheets of
water spilling from Janaran Falls, and the wild kisses of a young Will Riker.
In the dream, they embraced, and proceeded to act out their very first
romantic interlude all over again. She sighed in her sleep, enjoying the
blissful taste of Willís kiss, losing herself in the sky-blue of his eyes.
It was perfect-exactly as it had been so very long ago. As that thought
flickered through her mind, she began to realize vaguely that she was
dreaming. No, she wanted to hold onto this moment of pure perfection. A
time when she was young, head-over-heels in love and ready to make love for
the very first time. Dream-Will stared at her, about to lay her down among
the leafy green grass and tangled vines. Perfect.
And as the dream progressed, as she teetered on the edge of sleep and
wakefulness, another person entered the dream. He walked up behind the young
couple, and over Willís shoulder, smiled at Deanna. It was Tom. But, Tom
didnít exist-not on Betazed, not so long ago. She was waking for good this
time, but not before she heard his voice inside of her mind. "I love you,
Deanna Troi."
Her eyes flew open and her heart was racing; whether from the
imaginary lovemaking or Tomís sudden appearance, she didnít know. Next to
her, Will snored gently, his hands tucked beneath the pillows as his boyish
face pressed into the soft fabric. Deanna looked at him and felt all of the
love in the world rise and fill her heart like it never had before. The
dreamÖ.it was telling her something. But what?
Getting up, she tossed on a purple velvet robe and crossed to the
replicator. For a change, she ordered Earl Grey-hot, just like the Captain
liked it. Then she curled in a chair and stared at the star-lit ceiling,
wondering what her subconscious was trying to tell her.
She allowed herself to remember the night sheíd inadvertently made
love with Tom, and then recalled her dream. What sort of random connections
were her mind making? Then, slowly it dawned on her. Will, Betazed, their
youth, Tomís appearance in the dream. Of course. Embarrassed, she realized
why the encounter with the other Riker had intrigued her so. Although they
looked identical, they were in truth, two very different men. Tomís life
experiences had been vastly different after having been stranded alone for
eight years. Heíd retained the very qualities that in the young Will, had
once vexed her. The cocky arrogance, the boyish enthusiasm, the wild need to
go tearing off for parts unknown and explore the galaxy. Yes, that was it.
The one difference between them that she hadnít been able to put her finger
on. It was simply this-Will had matured, had grown-up. Tom hadnít. Not
completely. Not when his selfish desire for her could have let him lie to
her and then take her to bed. Will would never have taken advantage of her
like that.
She sipped her tea and frowned. The more she thought of it, the
angrier she became. At first, the utter embarrassment had been enough to
deal with, not to mention Willís hurt feelings. And then, her own confused
desires. Right now, she felt anger slam into her gentle Betazoid mind like a
summer storm and she wanted to have it out with Tom. Now. But first, she
had better get dressed. It would not do to be seen wandering around the
Enterprise in her robe and nightgown. She pulled on the uniform sheíd worn
earlier and wound her hair into a thick bun. Slapping her commbadge she
murmured, "Troi to Tom Riker."
There was no response. She tried again, but he didnít answer her.
Damn. Where the hell was he?

Tom sat in Ten-Forward, ignoring the chirp of his commbadge. For all
intents and purposes, he was Will Riker. He just hoped that he could fool
Guinan. "Hey, there, pretty lady. How are you tonight?" She smiled, then
frowned. There was something different about Will tonight. "What can I get
you, Commander? You know itís past closing time."
"I know but I had to have one for the road. How about a Terran ale?"
That should be safe, heíd seen Will drinking it earlier.
"So, you just couldnít stay away from me, huh Commander?"
"You know I canít." She smiled slightly and when he wasnít looking,
closed her eyes and probed him with her mind. Her face fell as she realized
what was going on. It was not Will Riker sitting in front of her. But he
was certainly pretending to be. What kind of game was he playing? She
wasnít sure, but decided to keep mum for the moment, playing along. Perhaps
she could figure out where he was going with this.
"So, why arenít you on a hot date with our shipís counselor tonight?
When I saw the two of you leave earlier, it looked as though youíd patched
things up."
"Weíre getting there. We had a wonderful night-but she wanted to go
to bed early-evaluations in the morning. So, since I couldnít sleep, I came
down here."
"I see. Have you seen Tom tonight?" His eyes widened slightly, then
he stared into his glass. "No and I hope not to. If he comes anywhere near
me, Iíll kill him."
"If this is too personal, you donít have to answer, butÖdo you think
Deanna wants to have a relationship with him?"
"I certainly hopeÖ..not." He caught himself just in time. Damn,
maybe this wasnít a good idea after all. Still, this was the hand he had
dealt, might as well play it out.
His commbadge chirped again, and he jumped. Ignoring it, he sipped
his ale and diverted his gaze from Guinanís. "Hadnít you better answer
"Iím not in the mood. I am off-duty, Guinan."
"What if itís the Captain? There might be an emergency situation
that requires your presence." Damn the woman. He slapped the badge, having
no other choice and said, "Riker here."
"Itís Deanna, Tom. I need to see you right away. Where are you?"
Shit. Guinanís frosty gaze chilled him from the inside out. "I donít like
liars, Thomas. Youíd better get the hell out of my bar-now."
"Yes, I will. Iím sorry. You donít understand."
"I understand more than you think. You see, Iím aware of your game
and Iíll be very happy to see you leave this ship once we enter Earthís
orbit. You happen to be messing with two people that I care about and I
donít appreciate that."
He stared at the bar, torn between chagrin and pure anger. "What are
you going to do to me? Lay a curse on me?"
"That would be tempting, had I that kind of power. No, I think Iíll
just watch you hang yourself with your own rope. Liars have a way of being
found out, Thomas. Remember that." She turned from him and dimmed all of
the lights. Time to go.
He asked the computer Deannaís whereabouts and found that sheíd
already left her quarters. She was on her way to the arboretum, from the
looks of things. Good. It would take her awhile to get there and back. Just
enough time to put his plan into action. Slapping his badge he called for
Will. A groggy voice called back. "Riker here."
"Itís Tom, Will. Look, I canít sleep and I really need to talk with
you. Will you meet me in holodeck two?"
It seemed like minutes before he got a response. Then a tight voice
replied, "Iíll be there."
Good. It was working. Now, all that he had to do was slip off to
Deannaís quarters while she was searching the ship for him. Then, when she
returned, in her bed would lay a very handsome, beardless man. Surely, her
Imzadi. He laughed aloud at the simplicity of it and imagined what he was
going to do to Deanna tonight.

Will paused at the doors of the holodeck, rubbing his eyes and
wondering what in hell he was doing here. Heíd noticed Deanna wasnít in bed,
but saw her steaming cup of tea on the table-she was probably in the
bathroom. He was anxious to get back to her, to her warm bed, her loving
embrace. What did he and Tom have to say to each other anyway? The man took
his Imzadi to bed. Heíd touched her, in the most intimate ways a man can
touch a woman. Now, was he supposed to forget that? Was he supposed to play
"big brother" offering forgiveness and absolution? "Screw that," he
Not bothering with any sort of program, he called for the doors to
open and stepped inside. Before he could turn around, he felt something
heavy slam against the back of his head. He cursed violently and fell to the
floor. "What the hell is going on?"
The answer to his question came in the form of another crashing blow;
this one designed to send him off into oblivion. His head cracked against
the floor and Tom grinned. In his pocket lay a hypospray full of a narcotic
agent. Dear Beverly had been so helpful during their conversation. Sheíd
even given him a tour of sickbay. He grabbed the metal object and lay it
against Willís neck. "This should give Deanna and I plenty of time," he
said, and then the doors silently opened and he left Will lying in the
middle of the floor.
The codes to open her quarters were rather easy to obtain. He just
"happened" to be standing near when Will used the override procedures one
day. Now, he called the numbers and the door flew open. He quietly slipped
across the room and into Deannaís bedroom. God, it smelled like her.
Wildflowers and musk. Memories of her body, her hands, her mouth assaulted
him and he closed his eyes, reveling in the fantasy. As he undressed, he
layed his uniform across the chair and hid Willís underneath the bed. Naked
now, he curled under the sheets, pretending to be deeply asleep. A slow grin
crossed his face as he imagined her crawling into bed next to him. He was
going to spend the remainder of the night making love to her. Bringing her
to ecstasy again and again. And, then, when Will was safely out of the way,
he would take her to Earth to be with him. Deeply satisfied, he lay on his
stomach, and waited for the sound of her footsteps.


Part 5

In the middle of the night, Deanna paced the corridors of the ship,
unable to find Tom. Where was he? Sheíd checked every conceivable place
where he might have waited for her, but came up with nothing. He continued
to ignore her hails via the commbadge, which was puzzling, to say the least.
For weeks heíd followed her like a puppy around the ship, declaring his love,
stealing kisses, leaving notes for her to find on her PADD when she came into
work. Apparently now he wasnít interested in hearing what she had to say.
If their link still held, then heíd probably picked up her anger and decided
to steer clear of her until morning.
Sighing, she padded in slippered feet back to her quarters, ready to
crawl into the warmth of her bed next to Will. She slipped into the room
quietly, undressed and climbed naked under the sheets next to Will. He was
smiling in his sleep, and her heart turned over as she watched him. Giving
into temptation, she kissed his soft cheek and whispered, "I love you." in
his ear. His eyes opened slowly, and met her own. "Love you too, Imzadi.
Come here, snuggle with me." She obliged, wrapping herself around his large,
warm body. His mouth captured hers as he wound around her like a big warm
teddy bear.
"I know itís late butÖ..I want you again." Her eyes danced with love and
more than a little lust. "What am I going to do with you? Canít you ever
get enough?"
"Not of you, love. Never. Iíll need to make love to you at least once a day
for the rest of my life."
"Hmmm, I think that can be arranged." His hands cupped her firm bottom and
he reveled in the smoothness of her skin. "I need you, Deanna. PleaseÖ."
Will Riker rarely asked permission for anything, let alone said
"please", but it was rather endearing and she agreed, relaxing into the
warmth of his touch. Long, slow strokes covered her body, set it on fire
with desire. She wondered briefly how they couldíve possibly stayed apart for
so long, how they served side by side for so many years without giving into
the temptation of this. As he kissed her breathless, it no longer mattered.
All that mattered in the entire universe was loving Will.
He was so unbearably excited it was nearly impossible not to lose
control completely. Heíd needed her, wanted her for so long. Suddenly
memories of that long-ago place entered his mind. That hell where heíd spent
eight long, lonely years of his life without her. Remembering how they met,
fantasizing about their reunion; those things had gotten him through the
hardest point in his life. Now, she was his, and Will no longer mattered.
She may love him, but she still wants me. And one day, she will love me
again. One day soon, sheíll leave this ship with me and together weíll start
a new life. Sinking into the gentle moistness of her body, he filled her
completely. Moaning softly, she pulled him closer, bridging the distance
between their upper bodies. Soon, they found a matching rhythm, and as he
made love to her, he prayed that she could not read his thoughts. It was
becoming hard to control them as he became more and more aroused, but he
maintained the shield. Hearing her voice calling out Willís name nearly
killed him, but he forced himself to ignore it. After all, this was part of
the plan. His own plan. Heíd just have to learn to live with it.
Deanna rose above him, taking the dominate position and strove to
find her own satisfaction. Will was so wild tonight, almost rough in his
handling of her, but it was surprisingly arousing. She closed her eyes, and
sought his mind with hers, wanting to make their connection complete.
"WillÖGods I love you."
In her mind, a voice came. "Imzadi?? Deanna, help me, I need youÖ"
Shocked, she stopped moving. As she stared at the man beneath her, hot shame
flushed her cheeks. It was Tom. Again. Will was calling her, but where was
he? She broke their contact and desperately tried to grab for her clothing.
"You bastard. I cannot believe you would do this to me again. I thought you
cared about me."
Tom yanked the sheets around his waist and let his pulse slow to
normal before trying to speak. "Deanna, my Imzadi, I love you. I always
have. But you love him. The only way I could be with you was to lie."
"Youíre disgusting, you know that? Get out of here before I call
security and have you thrown out."
His eyes filled with pain and a blazing hint of anger. "If you had
come with me, when I left the Enterprise D, none of this wouldíve happened."
She was furious, but kept calm by tapping the cluster of nerves below
her ear.
"If I had gone with you, I wouldíve ended up on a Maquis ship, and
possibly spent the rest of my life in a Cardassian prison camp. Is that the
kind of life you wouldíve wanted for me? You claim to love me, Tom, but itís
not love. Real love is when you want the other personís happiness more than
your own. Itís when you want them to be happy-even if that means not being
with them."
He grabbed her by the shoulders and shook her. "Damn it, Deanna,
donít you understand? I need you. I want what we had when we first found
each other. I want another chance. To start over. I do love you."
"Let go of me! Youíre hurting me!"
" Do you really think he loves you? More than I do? For Godís sake,
he just spent the last 12 years serving beside you on the Enterprise and
never touched you. He probably had scores of conquest along the way,
sleeping with Risian prostitutes to boot. And yet, this is the man you
love?" She pulled away, holding her stinging arms and rubbing them gently.
"You donít know him at all, Tom. You just described yourself. Willís
changed, and unfortunately, thatís something you donít seem capable of
DeannaÖ.are you alright?
Will? Gods, Will. Iíve been so worried. Are you okay?
Yes, yes, Iím alright now, just a bit of a concussion, thanks to my
brother. But you, I can sense something.
Itís TomÖ.heís in my quarters andÖ Before she could finish the
thought, she felt a stinging slap across her face. "Youíre talking to him
arenít you? In your head. Just like we used to do."
She began to cry, and curled on the floor like a child, shielding her
body from him.
"GetÖout.!" Reaching for her commbadge, her hand was slapped away.
He ripped it off the bodice of her uniform and flung it across the room.
" I donít think security can help you now, Deanna." The look on his
face was frightening. This was suddenly a stranger standing before
her-someone she obviously knew nothing about.
"Gods, Tom, whatís happened to you? When we first met, when you
came aboard the "D", you were so different. So gentle and likable, such a
gentleman. Youíve changed, Tom."
He laughed a bitter, sarcastic chuckle. "Iíve changed? You know
prison can do that to a man. Out there, busting my ass in the hot sun,
working for 18 hours a day for those Cardassian son of a bitchesÖ..never
knowing where my next meal was coming from-or the next prodding jolt from a
Cardassian weapon. They abused me, Deanna. They hurt me, over and over,
calling it punishment. Well, it wasnít-it was torture. Do you know how many
men I watched die in front of me at their hands?" Suddenly he sat on the
floor, covering his face with his hands.
Deanna shivered, not wanting to hear anymore. Needing to get to Will.
But Tom continued, and she was held in place by the painful sound of his
"I hated them. I wouldíve done anything to get off that hell-hole of a
planet. And, one day, I lucked out. For six months Iíd made friendly with a
Cardassian woman-Morelle Dorin. She thought I liked her, wanted to romance
her, so I played along. Over time, she started doing favors for me. Little
things like extra food on my plate at dinner, or a clean pair of pants from
the replicator. Soon, I began to trust her, and told her of my urge to
escape. She promised to help me, if I would give her information on the
Federation-I agreed. One night, we stole a shuttle out of the dock and
searched for the Enterprise. The rest, as they say, is history."
"You gave information about us, about the Federation, to the Cardassians?
How could you?"
"How could I not? It was my only chance to get out of there-alive."
"You have changed, Tom. I donít even know you. More importantly, I donít
think I want to. Iíve listened to your story and I understand what youíve
gone through, but I want you to leave. You need help, and I canít give it to
His eyes twinkled briefly, like Willís always did, and her heart
ached. "Youíre the shipís counselor, arenít you? Maybe I could stay here,
aboard the Enterprise, and become your patient."
"When hell freezes solid." The loud voice came from the living area and
filled the bedroom. Will stepped across the threshold and held a phazer in
his hand.
"Will. Youíve really got bad timing. I was justÖ"
"I know what you were doing. Youíre going back where you belong, to a prison
cell. We just happened to have one empty for the occasion."
Tom was not unprepared himself. Pulling a phazer from the waist of his
pants, he turned it on Will. "Letís see who gets the first shot. What do
you say?"
"This isnít the old west. Drop it now, before I fire."
"But mine is set on kill, while yours is only set on stun. Donít you think
youíd better be the one to drop it?" Deanna froze, staring at the angry twin
faces above her, then she quietly snuck to the back of the room and grabbed
her commbadge. "Security team to Counselor Troiís quarters." Theyíd be here
soon, all she could do for the moment was pray that Will didnít get hurt.
"Donít do this, Tom. Donít hurt the man I love." It had been the wrong
thing to say. Tom stared at her with glowing hatred. "You bitch. Youíve
really disappointed me, Deanna. Do you know what kept me going all these
years? It was you. I knew youíd be here, I knew that the two of you were
finished. It was finally going to be my chance. Well, youíve made this
harder than it had to be. I think its time to kill your Imzadi.
"No!" She rushed at them, darting between them, grabbing Tomís
wrist. The phazer shook and spilled jets of bluish flame as it went off.
The cutting blast sliced through the ceiling, missing Will completely.
"Drop it, Tom. I donít want to kill you in front of her, but I will." He
trained the weapon on Tomís solar plexus and smoothed a thumb around the
Suddenly, Tom wrenched back his arm and placed the tip of his phazer against
Deannaís temple. She screamed. Staring at Will, she begged him with her eyes
not to fire.
"You wouldnít hurt her. Not after everything you went through to find
her. What good is she to you dead?"
Tom smiled grimly and kissed a stray black curl on her forehead. "Iíd rather
see her dead than end up with you."
Gods, he really was insane. Whatever sheíd found attractive about
Tom had died, disappearing under the violent personality heíd managed to hold
in check.
The doors swished open behind the three officers, and a sturdy Bajoran
officer trained his phazer on Tomís back. "I suggest you lower your weapon
and let the Counselor go."
"Or what? Youíll kill me? Come on, I know Starfleet protocols as
well as you do and I know that your phazers are only set on stun."
The man came closer, filling the doorway with his shoulders. "Are you
certain of that? This is a hostage situation now, and you must know as well
as I that in those cases, it is within regs to set on kill."
Tomís eyebrows lifted and he gave the man a hellish grin. "Try me."
Moving quickly with Deanna in his arms, he spun around and raced for the
door. Two blasts caught him as he ran; one in the stomach, one in the back.
Like a graceful ballerina, he pirouetted once, dropped Deanna, and fell to
the floor. Will and the security officer raced to her side. She wasnít hit.
But Tom lay unmoving next to her, and she wondered if he were still alive.
She struggled to sit and stared at the empty eyes of her former
lover. They had indeed, set their phazers on kill. Tom was dead.
The weight of everything that happened hit her like the sun going nova, and
she collapsed into Willís embrace.
They both watched in silence as the officers carried the body out of the

The Enterprise danced around Earthís orbit like a silver butterfly.
Picard stared out of the viewscreen, staring at the revolving beauty before
him. Home. He wanted nothing more than to put and end to the continual
chaos that had reigned on his ship recently. Wanted to go to France and take
up vineyard keeping. Ruefully, he smiled at the thought. He wasnít going
anywhere. Not while he had the Enterprise.
As the ship drew closer, a slice seemed open out of the space in
front of him as a Cardassian freighter uncloaked. Shocked, he murmured to
Data, "Hail them"
A lovely Cardassian woman appeared on the screen, looking desperate and
"What business do you have here?" he asked.
"Captain. You are not in any danger from me. Iíve come to pick up a
passenger from your ship-Tom Riker is his name."
Tom. He wasnít sure where this was going, but was not looking forward to
telling the woman that her passenger was dead.
"I suggest you come aboard, MissÖ"
"Morelle Dorin."
"Yes, well, Miss Dorin, I think it would be best if we were to beam you
aboard. There is some information we need to give to you and it would best
be done in person."
"No, no, I donít have time. Just beam him over to my shuttle and then I will
leave. We must be back on Cardassia by tomorrow."
"Well, Iím afraid that wonít be possible. You see, Tom Riker is dead."
Her gray face lost its color, turning an interesting shade of puce. "Dead?
What happened to him?"
"He attempted to kill two of my officers and was shot by a phazer at
point-blank range."
"Dukat is not going like this. He was expecting me to bring the prisoner back
to him."
"I donít know what to tell you, Ms. Dorin. Except that Gul Dukat will not be
receiving his prisoner today. Give him my regards, wonít you?" He cut the
link and watched the shuttle tumble away from them, almost angrily.
Sighing, he brought his attention back to the beauty in front of him, and
wondered how the Counselor was doing.

In Ten-Forward, Deanna and Beverly sat across from each other, picking at
their food. Neither was very hungry. Today, Captain Picard had held a
funeral for Tom Riker, and after the service, his body was jetted out into
space, wrapped in a long, black probe designed to be his coffin. Even now,
he probably was orbiting Earth along with them, and the thought gave Deanna
chills. "I canít believe heís dead."
"Neither can I. But, you know, he was never happy, Deanna. He never
wouldíve been. Maybe this was for the best."
She nodded, remembering the young boy sheíd fallen so helplessly in love
with, knowing that Tom could never have been that person again. Unwanted
tears fell from her eyes and Beverly held her hand. "May I join you?" They
looked up and Deannaís heart filled as she stared at her Imzadi. He really
was the person sheíd fallen in love with. That boy had been shaped into a
loving, mature man, someone she could always count on. Recalling all of
their memories, their beautiful beginnings, Deanna saw the young man whoíd
captured her heart, staring out at her from behind Willís face.
She stood and in front of the entire room, took his face in her hands and
kissed him deeply. "I love you, Will. I have always loved you."
He kissed her back, ignoring Beverlyís thumbs-up. "I love you, Deanna. Now
more than ever."
Will scooped her up into his arms, to the surprise of everyone in the room,
and held her like a baby. Then, he kissed her again. "What are you doing?
Where are we going?"
"Itís a secret." All eyes watched them leave and Beverlyís smile was the
biggest in the room.
He took her to the holodeck and called out a name and number. The doors
opened to reveal a sweet-smelling jungle. Jalara. In the background soft
bird calls cut the air and endless streams of clouds swept across the tree
tops. It was so perfect.
"You knew."
"That youíd been living in the past, wishing you could go back in time, and
begin again? Yes, of course I did. Iíve wanted that too. But since we
canít, why donít we watch this?" He called out a series of words and as
Deanna watched in silence, a very beautiful young woman walked through the
trees. Along side her was a young man, a dark-haired, blue eyed boy.
Deannaís heart lurched at the sight, lost in the memories.
The couple kissed gently, and she could hear their words.
"I love you, Imzadi." said the girl
"I love you too," murmured her young lover. And as the tears raced down her
cheeks, Deanna looked into the eye of the man she loved .
"Thank-you, for this. Iíd nearly forgotten."
"No, you didnít. You just needed a reminder. This is us, Deanna, this is
how we began, and even though we canít go back and change things, we are
still those kids. In here." He touched his heart, and drank her in with his
Yes, they were. She knew he was right. All that sheíd needed was a reminder
of it.
"Seen enough?"
"Yes. Computer, delete holos of Troi and Riker." The young pair
disappeared, leaving the jungle empty except for Will and Deanna. Leading
her to the vine-covered grass he whispered, "Shall we?"
The love they made took them across the decades, bridging the distance
between their past and present. In Willís arms sheíd found what sheíd been
looking for in Tom-it had been here all along.