A Dark and Stormy Night


PWP (or for me anyway:-)
The insane idea is mine; The rest belong to others much greater then I.

Chapter 1

"Ass-hole!" The man in his late thirties scowled at the open door and
rattled off a few more profanities. The door slammed in his face, leaving him deflated and in a more vile mood then he'd been in seconds earlier. "Editors," he grumbled to himself, rapping the door one more time with his fist. Turning towards the streets of Paloma City he drew a breath, the crisp night air alive with the salty spray of the ocean infused his senses, and destroyed his frustrated anger. Taking the long way home appealed to him, he headed across the street instead of hailing a shuttle, deciding walking home along the coast may help him to clear his mind...... Stimulate his imagination, or whatever the hell he was doing wrong with his latest novel. He zipped his jacket, tucked his manuscript under his arm, and walked slowly down the declining steps that led to the beach. He sat on the bottom step and took off his shoes and socks, his blue eyes the color of the stormy blue ocean staring down the long stretch of beach that would eventually lead him home. He ran a hand over his deep brown beard, and wiggled his toes in the ivory sand. After all, there was no one around, he could act like a kid, drag his feet about getting home to his wife. He frowned at the thought of her, wondering how and why he'd ever made a promise to love her forever.

<Hormones or alcohol.> he thought ruefully, setting his sights for the water.

It felt cool against his heated skin, and for a moment he just stood there, watching as the foamy crest broke against his ankles...... its power luring him forward with an undertow of death he found almost inviting.


He startled and spun around.

"Hi." He repeated her greeting, or at least he thought he had, and he hoped like hell he wasn't just standing there with his mouth hanging open and droll running down the corners.

Her eyes were like the night, and glistened with flicks of light from the moon, burnished curls of onyx hung over her lean shoulders, dancing in contrast with the silky white sarong that hugged her body. Her perfect body.

"I'm sorry if I startled you."

He jerked his attention upward, realizing at that moment he'd been staring at her breasts, mentally fondling the nipples that pushed against her dress, dark and tempting beneath the rippling white.

"You.....you didn't, I just didn't expect anyone else to be out here."

"My name's Deanna Troi." She stepped closer as she spoke, the scent of her catching on the sea breeze. She extended her hand to him.

"You really shouldn't be out here, it's very late and not safe." Her touch and her aroma impacted him in an almost haunting way, and he found his gaze drifting again.

"It's nice to meet you 'you shouldn't be out here'."

The legs he found himself mentally kissing, following tanned curves and smooth dips to their inevitable destination was jerked from his mind by her soft laughter, and a wave of guilt.

"I'm sorry, my names Riker, Will Riker." He gave a final squeeze to the hand he'd forgotten he was holding, and smiled, "I just don't think I've ever seen you around here, and usually the only people I run into on the beach at two in the morning are my neighbors."

"I'm just passing through, looking for someone......I thought he was here, but I think I was wrong."

The faint smile on her lips lapsed into a frown, a sadness he could have sworn he felt himself as it passed through her.

"Wherever you're staying I'd like to walk you back there, I'd feel better if I didn't leave you alone on a dark beach." A gallant offer, and one he wasn't sure he could pull off with the same amount of chivalry. He wanted her, here and now, consequences be damned......but deep inside he knew he wouldn't. He was destined to live with a restless soul until the end of his life, and even though his marriage and his life weren't perfect, he wouldn't ditch it. Not even for the most incredibly sexy, inviting woman he'd ever seen......Things
would work out for him, they always did.

"I'd like that." The two and one half steps she took towards him brought her so close to him her body brushed against his. .

"OK." He swallowed, and then again, her breath on his neck, hot, evaporating rational thought, "Where do you live?"

"Make love to me, right here, right now."

Did she actually say that?..... Shit yea...... and he was hesitating, ignoring her belly as it brushed against the part of his anatomy that was bucking at its restraint, dying to accommodate her.

"I'm married.....I...I'm sorry."

Inwardly he groaned, had he actually said that?

"Shut up and kiss me Riker." Her hand wrapped around the back of his neck, and amazingly enough had more strength then he had.
He protested only once before his lips met hers and his tongue buried itself in the moist heat of her mouth, his manuscript falling forgotten in the sand. Her touch, her taste, the feel of her body as he pulled it closer to his felt unfamiliar, and yet he felt he controlled it, knew what to do, where to to go to bring her already heated body into flames. Her hands moved over his ass, drawing him against her...... his followed suit, stroking the cool skin of her thighs he moved under her dress, and felt her need as strong and volatile as his own.

And an odd voice tormented the back of his mind, forced him to take a breath and pull away.

"I can't to this, I'm sorry........And you have no idea how sorry."
The hand he ran through his hair was deliberately harsh, and more sophisticated then smacking himself. He knelt down and picked up his manuscript, avoiding her eyes, avoiding looking at her at all. Not only was he a cheater, but a shitty one, and the slight pain in his groin reminded him of it at perfectly timed intervals.

"I'm sorry I pressured you, it was wrong of me." On his knees he looked up at her, the heated temptress now the epitome of innocent remorse. He found that turned him on too.....Leaving, getting as far
away from her as possible was his only recourse.

"Don't be sorry, you've redefined the word alive for me." He stood up and cradled her cheek in his hand.....a mistake he knew, but one he couldn't resist, "I'd still like to know you got home safely."

"I'm staying right over there," She pointed over her shoulder, but her cheek still nestled into the palm of his hand, "I hope we see each other again."

<Me too!> he thought, "We'll see." Left his mouth instead.

"Good night Will."

"Good bye Deanna." The tiny little sentence burned up his spine like a laser charge, and he turned away before he had time to question his sanity.

She watched him move away, shoulders slumped, and she shook her head.
Backing into the shadows and the rustling reeds that dotted the beach, her hand dipped into the only one that still retained its light purple flower. Drawing her comm-badge from the sticky reeds she tapped it without thought.

"Troi to Enterprise."

<Crusher here.>

"Beverly.....where's Captain Picard?"

"I'm his liaison, he's requested need to know only on this one.>

Deanna stifled her laugh.

<How's it coming Deanna?>

"Nobody's coming Beverly, I struck out....Beam me up and I'll tell you all about it."


Chapter 2

"This could be funny if it wasn't." Deanna wrinkled her nose, unfastened her sarong and let it ripple to the floor in a billowing pile of silk.

"I'm sure once we get him back we'll all laugh about it.....well, maybe not Will right away." Beverly's voice, muffled through the bathroom door brought a smile to her glum face. Pulling a thick fleecy bathrobe off the back of the door, one she only wore when depressed, she slipped it over her shoulders and opened the door.

"He was so close Beverly," she frowned at the auburn-haired woman sprawled across her bed, "She rewrote his life and left his damn ethics in tact."

"I wasn't aware Commander Riker had ethics when it came to women."

"Very funny Beverly." Mock disgust twisted her lips, but lapsed into a faint smile as she settled on the bed, "Maybe I should have drenched the dress first, left nothing to his imagination."

"Deanna, as far as he knows he's a married man, and has been for a long
time....I'm impressed you got him as involved as you did."

"He's very restless, almost hollow, it has to be very frustrating for him. She can change his memories, but she can't alter his soul......And Will lives for adventure in every aspect of his life." She drew her knees to her chest and hugged them tightly. "Poor Will." Her sigh was long and deep, and brought Beverly to her feet.

"He also loves a challenge if I'm not mistaken, maybe throwing yourself at him was the wrong course of action........Maybe he'd find the forbidden fruit more mouthwatering."

The look in Beverly's blue-green eyes was almost scary, but still intrigued her. Getting Will out from under Jade's control and back onboard the Enterprise was all she'd been able to think about since they'd found out his resignation, and his sudden disappearance had all been part of this woman's plan.

"She knows me Beverly, it's not like I can just join his social circle and seduce him......Although I'd like nothing better then to take him out from under her nose, sever her connection with him. Besides, he probably thinks I'm some kind of femme fatale now."

"Apparently femme fatale does it for him then. From the vague, and I mean vague details you supplied me with keeping the stallion in the paddock was killing him."

"Beverly!" She couldn't help laughing, serious as it was she knew her friend was finding more humor in this then not. Unfortunately Captain Picard curtailed her jokes and innuendoes, so she found herself on the receiving end of most of them. But then Captain Picard hadn't been comfortable with this since Data had stood at the head of the conference table and told the senior staff that the only way to sever Jade's hold on Commander Riker was copulation with another female. Needless to say he was still working with Data, looking for a more
cerebral way to restore Will's brain function, eradicate the endorphins Jade was using to control him.

"We'll alter your appearance, she's not psychic, she's sick.......she'll never know what hit her." Deanna's brows raised as Beverly's hands clenched into vindictive fists and issued a few blows to the pillows, "Until...or IF Jean Luc and Data ever figure out what kind of life form she is, there's little chance they'll be of any help......And this is so much more romantic, you riding in on
a white stallion, rescuing him from the wicked queen."

"Mmm, I do like the sound of that, but I can't alter my appearance so much that he won't recognize me," She uncurled her tightly wrapped body and scooted to the edge of the bed, "What do you have in mind?"

Beverly chewed on her bottom lip pensively, but Deanna knew it was all an act, her mind had been churning since before she'd beamed back onboard.

"This is just an idea, but you said he was restless, holding on to his
commitment out of loyalty .......If he thought you weren't a threat to his marriage, maybe because you were also committed, he might be more apt to to let the bull out of the corral."

"Bull out of the corral....where are these coming from?"

"I've been reading Commander Riker's romance novels....I'm still getting over that one I'm telling you." Beverly's shoulder's shook with silent laughter.

"You're enjoying this far too much doctor you're starting to frighten me." She turned away to hide her smile.

Truth was Will wasn't in any danger, and she understood Beverly's enjoyment more then she let on. Will's *bull* had gotten him into this in the first place even after she'd warned him about Jade....She'd never have wished for this to happen to him, but since it had, she was finding a certain satisfaction in being the one that could save him. But then there was that nagging little voice, the one that told her Will was nothing more to Jade then a toy, one she could easily destroy if she found out about her.

"Now, we just need to find you a husband." Beverly rubbed her palms together like a mad scientist devising a diabolical plan. "Picard's too threatening and he'd never agree....Worf, Data, and Geordi are out, the planets too primitive."

Deanna watched her pace and plot, wondering if she had a say in who her future husband would be. As Beverly spun around, 'idea' flashed in blue green lights across her eyes, "I know the perfect man."

Deanna stepped back, not sure she wanted to know, only because she thought she already did.


Crusher waved a finger in front of her Cheshire cat grin and tapped her
communicator, "Crusher to Barclay...... Reg, are you there?"


"That was incredible Will." The breathless praise of the woman beneath him brought a grin to his face and a pang of guilt to his heart, "Where did that little surge of energy come from?"

"It's the surge I get every time I look at you." He dropped a kiss on her damp cheek and rolled off of her, kissing her again as she curled in beside him. He'd convinced himself he wasn't really lying, she was the most enthralling woman he'd ever met, and she did turn him on. He'd be hard pressed to find any man that wouldn't agree. She was everything he'd ever imagined, as if someone had reached into his dreams and used only his fantasies to create her: A tousled mane of golden-copper curls framed a flawless complexion, enhanced her glistening green eyes and fell over the shoulders of a body so perfect, so smooth and firm, not touching it whenever it was exposed to him was next to impossible.

"Where are you going?" A delicate kiss on his chest and she moved away from him. The chill to his heated skin caused him to shiver and pull the satin sheet over him.

"It's Wednesday, I have a breakfast with the Myers, and then we have that luncheon and don't forget tonight is the party at the Stedman's estate."

His groan brought her back beside the bed.

"Don't whine Will, this is important for your career."

"How do you figure that, I write books....shit books no less sold to frustrated women that don't get laid. And fortunately for me they seem to be abundance." He slid his arm under his head and stared at her challengingly. "This is about you Jade, you and your career..... not mine. I could do my job in a little grass shack on a deserted island.....You're the publicity hound."

Just for a second her soft green eyes hardened, grew so dark and potent he could have sworn he felt a hand around his throat.

"I'll admit I enjoy the social life," she sat down on the bed beside him, and kissed him with her moist, still swollen lips, "But if it really upsets you, we don't have to go, I don't want to push you into something you don't want to do."

"No, it's OK, I'm just tired, I'm sure I'll feel differently later."

"Good, get some rest......I love you."

His eyes closed as her lips met his again, and the woman from the beach danced behind his lids. His body responded just as it had earlier. With a rough hand he dragged Jade down on the bed beside him, stifling her protests with his mouth, her struggle with his body, until she relaxed into his fantasy.


Chapter 3

In the last several hours he'd found himself standing here more times then he'd like to admit. Staring not at the ocean, and the swells that crashed like shattering glass against the jetty, but down the beach at the house she'd said she was staying in. He'd even gone running, something he seldom did unless he was angry, but the house seemed empty.

Maybe it was a dream, a dream that was making him the horniest son of a bitch on the entire planet. Jade had actually pushed him away when he'd stalked her in the shower, and maybe that was good, the name Deanna had been so close to slipping from him the time before that in the kitchen. He felt like one of the characters in his pitiful books.

He swept a hand through his hair, tousling it more then it was and looked down at his bare feet. Jade would be coming soon, wanting to leave and he was only partially dressed.....but it wasn't the shoes that bothered him, it was the black noose he was going to have tie around his neck to complete his monkey suit.

Digging his hand into his pocket he tugged out the pocket watch she'd given him on their wedding day........He groaned silently as he looked at the time.

"Will!" Her voice, even as she called to him sounded like a woman in throes of passion. He gulped a breath of air, the scent of the ocean bucking against the storm that hovered right over the horizon only serving to amplify his own turbulence.

"I'm almost ready." He turned as his assurance left him on a heavy sigh, "God, you look.....," he stepped back, admiring her as if she were a rare painting and shook his head in deep appreciation, "...edible."

She smiled, a half smile as cool and tantalizing as the icy-blue dress that traced the curves of her body.

"Is there anything you'd like to talk about Will?"

A simple question that caused his shoulder muscles to stiffen, his posture to straighten.

"No, not unless you want to stay home and let me ravage your body." An arched brow, a head to toe scan of her body, a deep concentration, and his bluff was complete.

"I think I've been ravaged enough for a few hours." Her response came easily, but seemed somehow strained. Maybe it was his own guilt, the fact that he'd almost banged some woman he'd never met before and had been replaying it in his mind for the better part of the day.

"I'll finish dressing." He kissed her on the cheek as he brushed by her and headed towards the sliding doors that led inside the house.

He stopped one foot inside, and turned to call to her, but she appeared to be somewhere else, staring up at the sky, almost glaring at the scant stars that had managed to shimmer past the rolling storm clouds.

"Are you coming Jade?"

"Be right there honey." The normally breathless voice was shadowed by a hard, almost distant tone. He purposely didn't push her, but moved inside, his own guilt he figured making him see more then there was to see.


The spiraling blue-white lights of the transport beam released doctor Crusher and Deanna Troi in the obscure lighting of the Riker's home.

"I'm not comfortable with this Beverly, and Captain Picard isn't pleased either."

"Captain Picard is actually allowing me to understand why Jade would want to convert a man into being something other then he is." The redhead's voice was still teetering on anger.

"You don't mean that Beverly." She found her hands against her upper arms, her thumbs massaging her skin, reliving the uncanny sensation she felt as she found herself standing over Mr. and Mrs. Riker's extremely large bed.

"Yes I do, think about it Deanna. I mean Jean- luc could be a perfect husband, handsome, intelligent, even romantic once every ten years or so....but first and foremost he's captain of a starship. If I had Jade's ability, I could make him a...," She hesitated, the pale lightening against her face making her expression appear even more demonic then it was, "an actor I think.....I've always thought an actor would be nice."

"You're nuts, ya know that.....and why an actor, you want to spend your entire life massaging his ego." Intermittent glances were all she afforded her friend. The huge mirror over the bed, the rumpled sheets and the assortment of sex toys on the bedside table caused what Will had been doing for the last six months to hit home with a driving force.

"And what would you choose?"

Deanna frowned at the bed, finally dragging her attention to Beverly and the sound of her rooting through Will's things.

"The first officer of the federation flagship."

"Liar," Beverly said, neatly putting away everything she'd pulled out of Will's dresser, "a man whose sneezes last longer then his relationships?"

"I'm not having this conversation Beverly, lets just find out what their social agenda is for the next few days and get out of here.......I feel like a thief."

"You are looking to steal something, but I'm not sure they call it thievery.... home wrecker, Jezebel...."

"He's a writer, shouldn't he have a study or something?" Interrupting Beverly's fun, she moved into the living room and looked up at the high ceilings, her gaze resting on the loft above her, "Upstairs." She didn't wait for her friend to acknowledge, or follow, she walked up the first five steps to the landing, then turned to move up the others.

Admittedly this was a little exciting, not rummaging through Will's home, but luring him away from the bitch he was calling a wife. But then Picard and Data were having some success as well, and if she were honest with herself, she had to admit that if they could find the formula to sever Jade's hold on Will, in the long run it would be less painful for her. She knew he loved her, but that didn't mean that once his memories were restored they wouldn't lapse right back into their relationship before Jade had come into the picture.

She found herself smiling as she stepped into what had to be Will's study, far from the light airy beach house below, the study literally radiated Will Riker. Fishing tackle and rods mounted on rustic pegs adorned the walls, a chair that had to be Jade's worse nightmare sat on the far side of the room, and a desk of dark cherry wood, scarred with age was blanketed with papers and a large computer.

"Find anything?"

She jumped, so pleased to find at least a piece of Will in this farce of a life he was living, she'd forgotten why they were here.

Covering her own wistful thoughts she hurried to the desk and dug through the contents, "These look like invitations," She sorted through the embossed envelopes, reading the yeas and nays he'd obviously written so Jade would know which to accept, "This one Beverly, this is perfect."

"Not as perfect as this," Beverly whispered, "And you thought femme fatale didn't do it for him."

Deanna snatched the sketch pad out of her friend's hand and flipped through the pages.....women, all beautiful, all different, but each capturing a different aspect of the word......But the last six pages, hidden in the very back behind the others caused her throat to tighten, "This is me."

"And more of you then you told me he'd seen last night?"

Ignoring the glib smile on her friends lips she looked again, "But Will can't draw a straight line Beverly, how could he do this?"

"I don't see any straight lines Deanna, but I do see you definitely got under his skin."

"I did, didn't I?" Her response, and the gloating smile on her face played out in all honesty before she could stop it.


"What a crock of shit!" Will Riker tossed the handwritten pages of the
manuscript on the table in front of him, and shot to his feet, mumbling a few Klingon curses under his breath.

"Keep your voice down Will!" Beverly Crusher stopped gathering up the loose white papers from the table and floor and flashed a look to Commander Riker, "She needs her rest, she's lost her memories....

"And her mind!" Will snapped, sneering at Beverly, then sending a look through the open door to the bedroom. Counselor Troi, covered only in a thin blue blanket lie sleeping, sable curls billowing over the pillow, a serene expression on her slightly parted lips....Even now, in sleep, the epitome of classic eloquence. He turned up his nose, "Who'd a thought under that aristocratic exterior beat the heart of a

"Will, you're overreacting," Beverly walked slowly towards the door to the bedroom, cast a maternal glance inside, then gently leaned on the switch plate, "You've hardly slept since you recovered her from Paloma, you're irritable, and worried and your pooh-poohing the only clue we have as to what's going on with her."

"I'm pooh-poohing it, " he said, glaring at the papers on the table, "because it's shit. The only one of us getting anything out of this is you, and it's a laugh, at my expense, I might add."

"If you'd put your ego to bed, you'd understand the significance of this."

"Sorry, " he grumbled, flopping in the chair across from her, propping his feet on the coffee table, deliberately wrinkling the pile of papers, "I guess my egos like my BULL, I can't keep it in the corral. What can I say, I'm a goddamn over inflated intergalactic gigolo."

Beverly's grin, one step away from shit-eating finally reached its full
potential. She held him with it for a second, then let it fall away and drew her legs up onto the couch, "She has no memories.....none, and yet she's managed to portray all of us just as we are," she held up a silencing hand, "*Almost,* as we are. You don't find that the least bit strange?"

"I don't know," he shrugged, the throw on the back of the chair falling over his shoulder. Rich with Deanna's scent, he inhaled a breath, appreciating the exotic fragrance, "She is still an empath, why wouldn't she be able to peg us all. My libido isn't a secret on this ship, and neither is the fact that you're a devious conniving redhead."

"If that was a jab, it fell flat. Bitchdom is something I've worked for since I reached puberty."

"Congratulations then," he replied dryly.

"I think we should talk to her and finish reading this. This isn't like her, and I think we need to read between the lines."

He blew out a disgruntled breath and slapped his hands against the arm of the chair, "And I think you're just getting off on this crap," he growled, pushing out of the chair, "You think the key to Deanna's psyche lies in those pages, go nuts," he snapped his beer glass off the table, "I'm taking my ego, AND my bull and going to my quarters. You can fill me in on your diagnosis later Sigmund." He took slow leisurely paces towards the door, opened it and pivoted around, "Oh and doctor, don't let the kitty out of the barn, she might get all wet."


Chapter 4

Beverly stared at the closed doors long after the unusually obnoxious Commander Riker had left, certain he was only hovering outside, waiting to catch her giggling over Deanna's sorted little tale.

"Computer," she finally said, relaxing back onto the couch, "Locate Commander Riker?"

<Deck eight, corridor B.> Oddly she felt disappointed, and more then a bit surprised at the computer's response. Shrugging one shoulder, she sighed silently and riffled through the papers, locating the last page she'd read. Rereading the last paragraph, she turned to the next page and continued.

(( Will Riker tugged cuffed knee-high boots over tight black leather pants, stood up, and glared at his reflection in the mirror. His silky white shirt, with its billowing sleeves still hung open in the front, how the hell he was going to tuck it inside the sprayed on pants seemed to be his dilemma at the moment. He turned away without even trying, looked momentarily at the sheathed sword that lay on his desk, and made a mental note to accompany Jade the next time costumes were in order.

Fumbling through the papers on his desk, he picked up his sketch pad and flipped to the back pages. He drew a breath, its release growled unsteadily from his lungs, and was accompanied by a storm of fire that twisted his gut, and gave him yet another reason to curse the pants Jade had chosen. He shifted uncomfortably and dropped the pad in the trash beside the desk, certain he could smell the mysterious Deanna Troi's perfume drifting through his study.

"You're loosing your mind Riker," he mumbled, stepping towards the large bay window, opening it, and gulping a deep breath of the cool salty air. .

Sitting on the edge of the tiled sill, he watched the dark hungry storm clouds seduce the unsuspecting moon. The milky beams, and the wisps of silver gray clouds intertwined, the moon's light shivering under the maw of the gluttonous storm clouds and the groan of thunder, together they swallowed the innocent light in a frenzy of desperate dominance.

"Oh God," he said, thumping the back of his head against the edge of the window frame, "I'm seeing sex in the clouds, I need help." He chuckled to himself and started to stand, a flash of lightening, and the woman standing on the beach choked his breath from his lungs.
It was her, illuminated in a halo of perfection with each flash of lightening that sliced through the angry sky. Like a starved animal he pushed away from the window and flew down the stairwell, no thought, only instinct driving him.

"Where are you going?"

Snagging the banister, stopping himself from plowing into her, he stared down at Jade, and stumbled for an answer.

"Well......Where are you going in such a hurry?" Her eyes as dark as a Paloman Cypress, arrested him with an almost tactile force that caused his blood to run cold, hot sweat to break over his shoulders.

"You," he said, swallowing twice over his parched throat, "I was looking for you."

"Really." she questioned, flipping a look over her shoulder towards the French doors that led to the beach, accentuating her disbelief.

The dark, almost poisonous tint in her eyes diluted to her normally cool emerald as she turned back to him. She moved up the two steps to where he still stood, dragged the back of her nails over his chest, then stepped to the stair above him. Her hands kneaded the muscles in his shoulders, he felt them instantly relax under her kinetic touch. He turned around slowly and rested his lips between her breasts, inhaling her scent, permitting it to infuse every nerve ending in his body with an inconceivable sensitivity.

"How do you feel Will?" Her breath kissed his forehead, warm and sweet, his body shivered, coercing his hands to snake around her waist, draw her against him with bruising fingers. Her moan of pleasure as he nipped her taut nipples through lacy silk fed him, drove him with a primal urge aggravated by the hand she used to caress his balls, stroke his erection. He pulled away from the painful pleasure she was giving him, and dropped to his knees in front of her. His mouth and tongue trailed over the firm curves of her belly, a two handed grip on her panties tearing pink innocence from her flesh, freeing her heady scent and a moist heat he could taste before his mouth devoured it.))

"Shit, shit," Beverly turned the page over twice in her hand as if she could magically make more words appear, slouched further down on the couch, and stared pensively at the closed door to Deanna's bedroom.

Will was right about one thing, this wasn't like Deanna, at least not the Deanna she knew. Tucking her hand behind her head, she reread the last paragraph, laid the paper on the table and tapped her communicator.

"Crusher to Commander Riker?"

<Riker.> His response was groggy, but instantaneous just as she'd thought.

"What are you doing Will?" she asked, glancing at the chronometer on the wall, her nose wrinkling in response to the time.

<Having sex, what the hell else would I be doing?>

She let his bitter, and sarcastic remark slide. "I think I found something in this story that means something."

His groan rumbled through the quarters before his response, "Geeze Beverly, don't you have any other friends? I've spent more time with you in the last week then I'd allotted you for your entire lifetime."

"I'm serious Will, I 'd like to run another scan on Deanna, then I'd like to talk to her.....I think you should be here."

She twirled a strand of hair in her fingers, tying to gauge his answer by the sound of his breathing.

<You're sure you really have something, this isn't stemming from too much of that Scottish spit you drink combined with Lurid fiction?>

"I'm sure."

Again he didn't respond right away, but the sound of his sheets rustling brought a smile to her face.

<I'm on my way......Riker out.>


Commander Riker knelt on the floor of Deanna's bedroom and slapped his
communicator, "Medical emergency, Counselor Troi's quarters!" He snapped.

<On our way Commander.>

He hardly heard the response as he scooped the unconscious woman off the floor and laid her on the bed, his narrowed gaze moving questioningly between a very frightened Deanna Troi, and a barely breathing ship's doctor.