~A Perfect Moment in Time~

Author: D. Destiny

Rating: G

Paring: R/T

Timeframe: Post Insurrection.

Summary: After leaving the Briar Patch Deanna and Will face their relationship's shift.

Disclaimer: Feel free to sue Paramount, because *they* own the characters; also they have more money to give you than I do :rolleyes:

Style: Short story, Deanna's POV.

Author's Note: This is my first attempt on a POV-story, so go easy on me okay? ;)

Review: Could you stop breathing? :o That's what I thought... :)

~A Perfect Moment in Time~

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I cannot believe it! I'm not even sure I want but than again, considering my position I don't have much choice...or do I? Ten Forward is quiet tonight I'm not sure why. It's not a special day to day....at least not one that I know off. Even Will isn't here and if there's someone who's here regularly it's Will.

Fortunately I have managed to avoid him ever since our last...well let's call it our last encounter. Though the word 'fight' is a better description. For eleven years we've been best of friends but during the two weeks we spend in the Briar Patch we rekindled our relationship and turned lovers again. The last month was like a summary of our relation.

I remember pushing him away from me only weeks ago, just like I had done thirteen years ago. I found myself falling in love with him all over again. And like I did back then I believed it would work out, so I pushed past the hurt and uncertainty I felt and jumped. Yes I jumped and fall flat on my face. 'It was the metaphasic radiation that made us feel what we did, you don't deserve that. I'm sorry.' I feel the tears welling up again, like that night when he said those words to me.

My mind screamed out that he should, for once, shut up but I didn't. I was still too tired, too disappointed, too sad and too angry to say anything. So I didn't. He walked out and for the second time I felt my heart breaking.

The tears are falling down, I can feel them like little fireballs burning my skin. Fortunately it's quiet; I don't need any gossiping now, not on top of my own turmoil. For a ship's counselor I'm doing a pretty lousy job dealing with my own emotions, but frankly I've never been good at dealing with them anyway. I don't think I've ever been this angry, this hurt before. Not even... This has no use! My hands wipe my tears away, almost automatically. I should leave...I will leave.

When I turn to leave I see, and sense him coming in. A slight smile forms as I look at him. My senses tell me that he is insecure, an emotion I'm not used from this man. He's brooding on something and I think I know what it is. Before he has the chance to sit down and ignore me I motion him to come over. The talk that will follow is one long overdue.

"Counselor." My rewarding to his characteristic short nod is a fake, but hopefully warm smile.

"Captain, please have a seat." He wants to talk, yet he doesn't. A funny 'state of mind' I must say. After having spend most of my life among humans that emotion still intrigues me. I know he's not sure whether or not to go back to Ba'Ku, to see Anij again. But I think that he, like I, knows that it isn't really Anij he loves.

The only thing remaining was the decision what to do with that knowledge. But for the first time in my life I doubt whether I am the one to help him through this stage. As I look him in his eyes I simply know that he has already guessed why I motioned him to come over. My scan of his emotions confirm my suspicion and thus I lean back in my chair and wait for him to begin speaking. He does so in a matter of seconds, which frankly surprises me.

"Counselor, have you ever experienced a perfect moment in time?" My head snaps up, I'm too late to stop it from doing so. When I face him again I understand why he needs to know. True to my training I answer him.

"Yes I have." He raises a corner of his mouth, like he always does when an answer to one of his questions satisfies him. I just hope he'll leave the subject at this. But he doesn't. He's obviously waiting for me to explain, but I can't, certainly not now.

"Excuse me if my next question offends you, but could you tell me about it?" His uncertainty grows and he starts playing with his hands. I find myself smiling and shaking my head. Jean-Luc Picard is more of a habit-beast than he'd like to admit. I swallow and raise my eyes, for a second locking them on those of my Captain and then lowering them to the suddenly oh so interesting surface of the table.

"My perfect moment in time was the moment I bonded with...." But before I finish he interrupts.

"Ah, Number One, why don't you join us?" For the second time my head snaps up. My eyes widen and my muscles tighten. Why didn't I sense him? The answer, as always is rather simple; he blocked me.

"Thank you Sir, but I'd rather not interrupt your conversation."

"Nonsense, Number One. I could use your opinion on this one." I clench my hands into fists; praying to all the deities not to let either man notice. My mind is already working on an escape route. Will is very reluctant to sit down, one does not need empathic abilities to see that. I'm pretty sure that he heard my last sentence, but I hope he didn't. Whether he did or didn't, I have the feeling this little 'meeting' isn't going to be an easy one.

"Tell me Number One, have you ever experienced a perfect moment in time?" My heart stops breathing. I realize that I'm afraid, but also curious about his response.

"Often Sir." I can feel Picard's curiosity and surprise very clearly, even more clearly than my own.

"You see..." His eyes lock on mine, but I refuse to meet his gaze, I can't. "...There is this creature, more beautiful than a sunset or a Risian butterfly being caught in a sparkling sun strand..." I raise my eyes meeting his. The minute our eyes meet I feel myself being pulled inside his mind, his soul. I can't look away.

He continues talking and while he does his gaze never wavers. "This creature has the most amazing eyes and smile..." He releases his block and immediately a huge amount of love, admiration and adoration wash over me almost causing me to gasp. "And every time I see those eyes, or that smile I experience a perfect moment in time." Finally he releases me and turns to face the Captain, I use the lack of attention to compose myself from his feelings and words.

"You're a lucky man Will." To my, our surprise he shakes his head.

"I don't consider myself lucky, I consider myself stupid." I can't help but frown. I think Will sensed my confusion because he immediately locked his gaze with mine again. "You see, I never realized just how perfect those moments were; I simply took them for granted. Considering just one moment perfect; the moment I met her." I swallow, hard but I don't think Will or Jean-Luc notices. I know the Captain is going to ask another question, his mind is filled with questions.

"What changed your perception of those moments Will?" The smile he throws us is fake but Jean-Luc is too preoccupied to notice.

"Missing them for a week, realizing that they weren't there and that they might never come back." I'm wondering why I feel so nervous...no, that's not it; I'm wondering why both men seem to have forgotten my presence.

I feel like I'm eavesdropping on them and that maybe I should leave. But I won't, this is my table, so why should I be the one to leave? I cannot believe I'm actually thinking that!

"Oh that's simple, or at least it sounds simple." Okay, this an answer to a question...if only I knew what the question was. "It took me quite some mistakes and one very upset, broken hearted and angry woman plus another nine years before I had enough guts to use the solution I had found many years ago." This is new, this is very new he is usually straight to the point, but now he's talking in riddles. And the worst part is that I know he's up to something, but I can't tell what. I can't get a single clear reading from him.

"So what is the solution Number One?" It's silent for a minute, very silent but then he suddenly starts whispering; another thing he rarely does.

"To create a moment that hopefully will be more perfect than any of the others or all the others together."

"Such a moment can't be created on command Will." Why does my voice speak up? I didn't order it to! I didn't want to say anything. I even don't want to be here, yet I am. Our eyes lock again, this time even more intense than the last.

"You're right, it can't. I just was foolish enough all those years to believe it could." The Captain is becoming impatient; Will on the other hand seems to be very much at peace. I...I want to get away, but remain frozen in my chair.

"All right Number One, out with it." I'm wondering what Will could be talking about, he seems to be pretty certain of his case.

"I'll ask her to marry me." WHAT?! I don't know *how* to react. What the hell is he talking about?! I'm not sure what to do or what to expect.

"Computer: open shipwide comm channel." Okay, I wasn't expecting *that* I admit to myself. I realize I'm staring at him...open mouthed I may add. But I'm too shocked to do anything about it. He kneels down in front of me and gently stretches my fingers before covering them with his own hand.

"Deanna Troi, will you help me creating *the* perfect moment in time? *The* moment that will last our entire lifetimes and the times that will follow? Imzadi...will you let me become your husband?" I sense his relief, his fear and anticipation. My mind is spinning with questions, some rhetorical, some irrational but all essential. Can I trust him again? Will he break my heart again? What will he do when he's offered another promotion? How would marriage influence my life? How would life be, being married? What kind of ceremo-

I suppose that my thoughts speak for themselves...they don't focus on the how's or why's, they focus on the results. Telling my rational side what my heart already knows. I can never be truly happy with another man. And thus, if I can't I don't have that much to loose after all...Or do I? If he breaks my heart again, I'm reasonably sure it will destroy me; one can only endure so much. But if it *does* work out, I'll be complete and will never be alone again. I'm loathing myself for giving in this easily, but I know that my heart never really allowed me to choose. And so my answer is predictable in a way. Nevertheless sincere.

I motion him to stand up, as I rise as well. In a marriage the two people who share such a bond should treat each other like equals and in my opinion they also should treat each other equal during the proposal. I don't care for the 'kneeling down' tradition, although it *is* romantic. As I look at him I realize that I've been silent for a relatively long time; his uncertainty and fear grows every second.

"Will..." He focuses, not wanting to miss a single thing. "...I have to think." His disappointment is overwhelming and almost sends me down to the floor. He bends his head and sadly shakes it before lifting it up to meet my gaze.

"I think I understand. I'll give you every time you need Deanna, you deserve nothing less." Wait a minute! Did I say I needed time?! Searching my memory I realize I did! What in the world was I thinking?! He's about to turn around. I can't believe I didn't say yes!

"Will..." My voice is barely a whisper, but he hears it, he always does. "...I'm done thinking." He's hopeful, frightened. As am I. "Yes. Yes I will!" I don't give him time to react, for some reason I fear his reaction, therefore I capture his mouth with mine, preventing him from any spoken response, any but one.

~Forever one~ His message rings through my head, eventually settling in the very core of my soul.

~Forever one~ I reply, washing away all my doubts. Someone's clapping; the sound is distant, as if it were a thousand meters away instead of less than one. It's becoming gradually louder, closer. I break my gaze with Will and look at where our Captain and friend is standing. He takes my hand and gently pulls me into an embrace.

"I can't think of anyone else who deserves this more than you do Deanna. May your marriage be a loving and everlasting one." I manage to smile back at him, not being focused enough to thank him for his wonderful words. What I'm sensing is beautiful and peaceful and addicting. There's so much love and joy around us, even relief. What I'm sensing from him, my Imzadi, my fiancÚ erases any further doubt I was carrying deep inside me, any fear or question. His love is warm and overwhelming, his admiration genuine and strong, his adoration healing and forgiving. And I realize that no matter what I thought before this is the true Perfect moment in time.

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The End?