You would think that I, Deanna Troi, working on the infamous Enterprise D,
with a responsible job, a personal insight to everyone on board, and I mean
everyone, would be able to get a man. Ive never considered myself to be
stunningly beautiful, but, Im okay - I think.
I have the perfect opportunity with every single male species that I chose
to make a closer acquaintance with, to move on to the next natural step in
a blossoming relationship. To take the bull by the horns and take on what
ever races through their minds whenever they see or speak to me. Thats
the advantage of being an empath. It is also the bane of my life at times.
You would be stunned at the images that fill the brain of the average male,
but, it didn't take me long to realise that it wasnt just me who inspired
those thoughts. it was just the female race in general - and sometimes,
they were aimed at other men, and other cultures.
But on the whole, its girls that cop the carnal desires of men, and thats
okay if you are looking for the same. But what if you arent? What if like
me, you dont want that kind of relationship? Dont get me wrong, I like
men, in fact I would go as far as saying I adore men, but I want more than
what the average man can give me.
I had it once. I had more, but lost it to a past full of regrets and a
future full of friendship, and right now, that friendship suits me just
fine. But sometimes, just sometimes I want a little more, but I cant have
it with my friend. My best friend. Not yet.
So I have to look elsewhere.
I tried George Jaradis not so long ago, what a disaster that was. He spent
the entire evening trying to get one up on me. I wondered if he even
realised I was an empath along side being intelligent. And I am, I know I
am. But he thought he was smarter. He was dumb compared to me. He was also
a lousy kisser.
Quite a few men have kissed me in my time, and I know a decent kiss when I
get one. I also know what a plunger feels like when it unblocks a sink. I
had been kissed by a plunger!
Before that it was Carran from engineering. I thought only octopuses had
eight arms. Well, I discovered (too late I might add) that there is a rare
species of male that also have eight arms, albeit that six of them are
invisible. If we had had an audience, they would have sworn I was having
some kind of fit. It was hard work defending my most vulnerable parts from
limbs that moved so quick they actually did become invisible.
I got my own back though. I made him visit Beverly for a thorough
evaluation and hes now under the care of one of the other Counselors on
board. A male Counselor.
I was still smirking when I felt Wills presence just before he slipped
into the seat in front of me. I groaned silently but still managed to keep
smiling, even if it was just because Will had taken the time to seek me out
and find out how I was faring, and not because the nosy tyke wanted to dig
into my personal life.
"Hi, youre looking very pleased with yourself. Anyone I know?"
I laughed out aloud at the comical face Will pulled as his eyes met mine,
laughter turning them a beautiful sapphire blue rather than the azure shade
that normally adorned his handsome face.
"Actually, yes. Tonight I am dining out with Lieutenant Spresh, remember
him, the one you had a run in with a couple of weeks ago?"
The sapphire eyes turned stormy grey, "Yeah, I remember him. Insubordinate
son of...sorry, that wasnt fair of me, Im sure hes a really nice guy."
I watched Will squirm in his seat as the idea of Spresh going out with me
clearly rankled. But then every man I dated rankled Will Riker. But heck,
if I took any notice of him, Id be living like a nun.
Perhaps thats what he wants.
I pushed myself to my feet and Will pushed himself back into his seat as he
continued to watch my face. I smiled widely at him, hoping to dispel not
only his unease, but my own too. Will Riker was the last person I wanted to
show my fear to. I hated first dates. I hated the unknowing. I hated the
unspoken lust that surged through men when they thought they were going to
get lucky. I sometimes hated having Will as a friend.
But that was what we wanted. That was what we agreed on, and thats how it
will always be.
Didnt mean I liked it though, but I sure as hell wasnt going to
"So how did it go then?" he asked as he ran to catch up with me on the way
to the turbolift. It was 7.55 in the morning. I was tired and I was cranky,
and the last thing I wanted was Will interrogating me about something that
he almost certainly knew about anyway. But it didnt stop him zooming in on
the dark shadows beneath my eyes, or the fact that I didnt seem all that
thrilled to see him.
My short, "Fine." spoke volumes.
His chuckle spoke even louder ones, and I had to halt my steps and stare at
him rather indignantly as he slowed his own pace and came to a stand in
front of me. He didnt lose the grin though and I knew I was doomed to tell
all before we could take another step if I let him.
Huffing dramatically, I reached out my arm, pushing him aside so that I
could at least proceed to the turbolift. He allowed that, even letting me
get into the lift before rounding on me again.
I could only stare at him beseechingly, but I knew that look. I knew that
stance. I knew Id lost. "Okay...we had a meal - a very nice meal I might
add, and then he took me to the holodeck."
The silence was deafening as he waited for me to continue. When he realised
I wasnt going to, he shifted foot and tried again, only with his arms
folded this time. "And?..."
I shrugged, but he caught the feint hue that rushed to my cheeks. But
luckily for me, and to my relief, the turbolift reached its destination and
I made a step to exit it. I stopped dead in my tracks when Will requested
the doors to close until he commanded otherwise.
He tried again, but I noticed the look in his eyes had changed. Gone was
the curiosity. Now they only showed concern and tenderness. I wasnt sure
which was worse,"And?..."
Will felt my embarrassment rather than saw it, and I heard him suck in his
breath before voicing his fears, "He didnt?..."
I could only shake my head in denial, lowering my face to stare at the
floor. I couldnt look at him. I couldnt let him see what was happening to
me. God, this was going to be hard.
But I looked up again when I heard his relief and wondered slightly at its
meaning. Did it mean he was relieved that Carran hadnt laid a finger on me
because he was concerned for my well-being? Or was he relieved that another
man had failed to get past the go sign, again? Or was he relieved because
he was jealous?
I had to believe it was the first one. I just had to. I liked that Will
cared enough to care. I hated knowing that he was probably right on the
second one. And jealousy? Never!
But it still didnt alter the fact that I was stuck in a turbolift with
man, who was intent on an answer, no matter how embarrassing it was. And
God, was it.
I gave up, "Okay, I confess. Carran didnt like me coming on to him.
freaked him out." I knew I had gone scarlet, and I knew I had to get out of
there. Coming to my full authoritative height, I dared him to drag out the
agonizing moment, "Release the damn door, Will, weve got a job to do."
By the time I had stepped around his stunned figure, the door was open and
I was practically running onto the bridge. But for the rest of the day, all
I felt was his eyes on me, and I knew his mind was running around with the
intriguing concept that I had tried to seduce a member of the crew.
And had failed. Miserably.
The last person I wanted to see that evening was William Riker. But then
knowing him as well as I did, I should have known that he would have come,
he always did when I was upset, or even when I was happy. Or when I needed
to talk, and sometimes when I needed none of those things and just wanted
some company. He was always there. He always knew.
But tonight I just wanted to be alone. To be able to lick my wounds, and to
regain some momentum on my strange life, and why it was so strange. There
were times when I truly felt like an alien, and now was one of those times,
and I was not in the mood to listen to calm logic.
But I knew I was going to get it anyway, one way or the other. All I had to
decide on was whether I wanted to listen to it on this side of the door or
the other. Either way, I knew Will wouldnt go away until I was normal
I let him in.
He only came far enough into my cabin to allow the door to shut. Id kept
the lights low hoping that it would defuse not only my features, but also
the situation at hand. Unfortunately, Will Riker looked even better in the
half-light and I struggled to keep my errant hormones at bay.
But whereas I was battling to keep my body at bay, Will seemed to only show
concern for my well being, "You okay?"
I had to lighten the mood, because I knew if I didnt, I would end up
blubbering all over his tunic and I would end up in his arms, right where I
wanted to be if I was honest with myself. And, I would have to endure and
wallow in the tiny kisses upon my hair that he couldnt seem to stop
himself from giving.
I had to believe that was just the way he was. It was a tender action. It
was an action for a friend. A friend in need. A desperate friend. I
groaned as I pushed myself to a stand, making my way behind the couch,
feeling the need to put something, anything in between us before I uttered
I used the same word as before. I even tried to make it sound the same,
"Im fine." but it came out in a croak, a croak that told a whole different
story. A croak that brought him nearer to me. A croak that had me stepping
back against the cool wall.
I forced myself to step back to where I was, conscious that he was
watching me closely. I cleared my throat and repeated my statement, a
little more convincingly this time, "Im fine, Will. Really, there was no
need for you to check up on me. I did something silly. I behaved
inappropriately. I can accept that, and I can learn from it. Now I just
want to forget it and move on."
My voice swindled off lamely, and I felt the surge of the tears that I had
managed to keep at bay rise to my throat, and then horror upon horrors, I
felt one sneak out and trickle down my cheek.
I swiped it away angrily, cross at it for revealing my true turmoil, and
even more cross that Will now watched me with pain in his eyes.
Damn, I didnt want him to feel this way about me. I didnt want
knew now would happen now. And it did. Will stepped slowly around the
couch, his arms already reaching out for me.
They were like a magnet, along with the pleading in his eyes. I couldnt
stop myself from moving into his embrace any more than I could stop the
love I felt for him at that moment. It was there, it was always there, just
tucked away for eternity. But every so often, it popped out for an airing,
a moment like now, and Will seemed to soak it up with relish.
I fobbed it off as pity, I had to otherwise I would be telling him just how
I felt, and I didnt want to, and I know Will didnt want to hear it
either. The love I had for Will was destined only for precious moments
like this. It was enough to show him how much he still meant to me after
all this time, and it was wonderful to return back to friends when that
moment had passed.
It was what we wanted.
I didnt realise how much I had cried until I felt myself hiccup and pulled
back slightly so that I could thank him for being there for me, again. I
stared at the huge wet patch, knowing that Will had glanced down at it too.
He responded by pulling me back into his arms, and began swaying me side to
side gently, rather like an infant that needed to be soothed.
I felt the rumble in his chest as he spoke gently, "Feel better now?"
noticing how he didnt release his grip as he said it.
I sniffed, reaching up to wipe the moisture from my cheeks. My throat still
hurt from crying so I just nodded. Im not sure what I did, but I was
surprised when Will groaned and moved me none to gently from his body.
My surprise must have still shown in my eyes as they looked up and met his.
But the precious moment had passed; I felt it go. I was hugely disappointed
when Will stepped away, his voice a little strangled as he spoke, "I think
wed better get some sleep. Are you sure youre okay now?"
I could only nod. Stepping away, I watched him walk away from me. I
thought I saw something akin to disappointment in his eyes. But he hid it
quickly; instead he had leant down and gave me a light kiss upon my cheek
before turning away.
What could I say? I wanted to say so much. I wanted him to stay with me. I
wanted him to hold me, and love me. Make love to me. I gasped as the
thought entered my mind. Will must have heard me as he glanced over his
shoulder just before the door opened. He momentarily paused his steps long
enough to search my face. For what?
I obviously didnt give him the answer he wanted because seconds later
was gone, and it hurt so much I cried out loud, the gut-wrenching wail
swallowed by the palm of my hand as I forced it against my mouth.
I dont know how long I stood in the middle of my room. Im not even
if I even did that. Im certain I must have circled the room at least a
hundred times before coming to a stand still again. Each time I had
circled, a different reason against us being together popped up. And then
it was a different excuse. And then it was another different reason for us
not to be a part of one anothers lives, until at last I had ground to an
exhausted halt when I had suddenly realised what was missing from the
I looked back upon moments of our friendship and wondered if there had been
as much in what he was not revealing. What if I was missing the obvious?
Maybe he wanted more than what our current relationship was offering. But
then again, maybe he didnt.
The thought of him not wanting me as much as I wanted him hurt more than I
ever dreamed. I couldnt help wondering what would happen if I ever
actually asked him. Would he say no? Even though we had agreed to not
continue what we left behind on Betazed, it didnt wipe away what wed had.
And we really had something special.
I knew that, but did he?
I had to ask him.
I was surprised to find him still dressed when I found myself on his
doorstep a few minutes later. I was even more surprised when he appeared to
be slowly and surely getting stoned from the bottle of liquor he swung
precariously from his hand.
But I wasnt as surprised as he was when he saw me there. He almost growled
my name, "Deanna?" He seemed annoyed to see me and I squelched down how it
made me feel. I had questions to ask and I was going to ask them, tonight,
whether he liked it or not.
I threaded my fingers together to hide my nervousness, but it didnt hide
the wobble in my words when I spoke, "Can I come in for a minute, Will?"
I thought he was going to refuse me at first. I could see the uncertainty
in his eyes, I could feel it in his mind, but only for a fraction of a
moment. Using the bottle, he swung his arm wide and allowed my admittance.
By the time I had sat myself on the edge of his couch, he had disposed of
the bottle, and had made his way to the other end of the couch, sitting
just as chastely as I did. I never lost my resolve when Will spoke, "This
isnt such a good idea, Deanna."
But it gave me the opening I needed instead of pouring out the thoughts
that had been running through my mind for the past half hour, "Why?"
I felt sorry for him as I watched him rake his hand distractedly through
his hair, struggling to put his answer into words, "Because..."
I waited for him to continue, but he didnt. I felt compelled to push
"Because what, Will?"
I watched him rub his hands along his thighs, a sure sign he was nervous,
"Because right now Im not myself, and I dont like you seeing me like
My surprise must have shown across my features when I blatantly asked the
obvious, "Like what?"
I thought he was going to answer me, but instead he shuffled forward and
took my hands. He felt hot against my coolness, but I didnt notice, I was
too busy watching his face for any sign that I was in trouble.
"Deanna, I...Im in love with somebody on board this ship. I want
her but Im too afraid. Im too scared its going to go wrong, and I lose
It really threw me. I mean REALLY threw me. It was the last thing I
expected, or wanted to hear. I had never considered that Will was even
dating let alone in love with someone. I racked my brains trying to
remember Wills latest conquest, but I came up stumped. Actually when I
think about it, I havent seen Will with a woman for quite a while now.
That was worse. That meant hed fallen for someone whom he wasnt
seeing. That meant he was in love.
That meant that both he and I were in serious trouble.
But we were friends. Above everything else, we were friends, and I had no
choice but to swallow my despair and be there for him, just as hed always
been there for me. I felt my heart pounding in my chest and wondered if he
could hear it too. I also wondered if he could sense my shattered dreams,
because at that moment they were exploding into a trillion particles inside
How could I have been so stupid and blind? I knew exactly how. I was too
wrapped in myself to notice that Will had a life too. It hurt to know that
that life didnt include me. I swallowed the rising tears and tenderly
kissed his knuckles, putting my pain away for the time being and prepared
myself for the worst moment of my life,
Gently, I said, "Do you think she feels the same way, Will?"
I watched him swallow and knew how much pain it gave him. I know because I
did exactly the same. I felt him squeeze my fingers as he tried to put into
words how he felt,
"I...I hope so. Every time I see her I hope and pray that she does. I
try...I really try not to push her into to something that she might not
want, but its so hard, Deanna. Its so damned hard. Its killing me to see
her. To be with her and not tell her how I feel."
That was it. His last heartfelt words brought the tears to the surface.
Tears that I didnt want him to see. Tears that I didnt want anyone to
see. Tears for him. He realised hed hurt me and he quickly shuffled nearer
still and pulled me against his shoulder. I clung on for dear life, even
when his whispered words filtered through the gulping sobs, "Sssh, its
okay, baby, Im sorry. Im so sorry."
I didnt notice that when Will had pulled me onto his lap until my own
position felt more comfortable and I found myself snuggling against his
neck. His arms had wound themselves around my waist, and he was lightly
kissing the top of my head.
It was now or never. I had to tell him. I had to let him know that I loved
him; That I couldnt deny it any longer. I felt awful doing it at probably
the worst moment of his life, but I had to do it. I had to let him know.
But I had to be clear in my head and in my words. It was many moments
before my wails had subsided to sniffles. It was a fraction or two after
that when I allowed my body respond to the closeness of his.
I felt him grow still as lips that were only moments ago were twisted in
pain began to nuzzle against his throat. As I lifted my hand to place it
against his pounding heart, my lips rose to his ear, breathing in the very
essence of him in, drowning in the wave of desire that poured from his
His voice cracked as he whispered, "Deanna?" against my own ear,
my hand higher and wove my fingers into his hair, pulling my face away far
enough to be able look into his. I wanted him to see how I felt about him.
I wanted him to understand how I felt about him.
Everything stood still as I opened my heart, mind and soul, looked deep
into his blue eyes and whispered as clear as crystal, "I love you, Imzadi."
He took our sacred name into his breath as I touched my mouth to his. We
both opened our lips together letting our tongues meet and entwine as
though by some miracle it was what we both wanted. Both needed.
I was surprised when Will kissed me as though it was me he loved instead of
someone else. I was even more surprised when he shifted my body so that I
sat astride his lap, not breaking the kiss that had now turned into
something more. Something carnal. Something sensual. Something desperate.
But when I felt him fumbling for the clasp on my tunic, I knew I had to
stop him. I knew I had to stop what was about to happen. It was wrong. It
felt wrong. I couldnt let Will use my body as a substitute for someone
elses. Not because I didnt want him to, but because I loved him too much
to suffer the consequences after.
I hated breaking away from his mouth even more than I hated severing my
mind and soul, knowing that it would be leaving a gaping hole that would
take more than an eternity to mend. But I had to. For us.
He didnt let me go. He didnt seem able to. Nor did he seem to want
he clung to my waist for dear life, I held either side of his head, and as
I looked long and deeply into his eyes, I couldnt miss the desire, or the
desperate need within their depths and at that moment, I wondered if I had
a chance. I wondered if I had the power to take Will away from the woman he
My eyes fell to his moistened lips as he struggled to control his erratic
breathing. I couldnt help leaning forward one last time and kissing his
waiting mouth with every ounce of my love. By the time I had pulled away
again, Will could taste the saltiness of my renewed tears that had begun to
flow when I thought about what I was about to lose.
I thought he would let me go. I thought he would realise that this was my
way of saying goodbye. But when I tried to move from his lap, I found
myself held fast. It was then that I stopped long enough to look into the
face of the man I loved and see something that I never thought I would
Desire, passion and love, and it was all for me. Every ounce of what he was
feeling, what he was saying with his eyes, and his heart was for me. I held
my breath asking him silently if it was true. He answered me with words.
"I love you too, Imzadi, Ive only ever loved you. Didnt you know that?"
For the third time that day, as he made love to me, Will became saturated
with my tears, but this time they were against his bare skin and they were
tears of happiness. For now and forever more, the tears I cry will be a
celebration between us.