She quickly wiped the tears away and went to the door in answer to the chime. "Come in, " she said, already knowing who it was and what this would be about.
Will Riker entered her quarters, dreading the task they both had to accomplish this evening. It had been two days since the Enterprise had resolved the matters concerning Lore and the renegade band of Borg he had almost led against the Federation. There were still a few loose ends in the final report that had to be tied up before the matter could be put to rest. Those loose ends involved Deanna and from the way she had secluded herself away for the last few days, Will knew he wasn't going to like what she would have to tell him.
"You're here about the report, aren't you?" she said flatly, her back to him.
"Yes, Deanna, " he said moving behind her, placing his hands gently on her shoulders. She flinched away from his touch and went to sit on the couch.
"Well, I guess we should get this over with," she said, her eyes never leaving the imaginary spot on the carpet she had been focusing on since she sat down.
He sat down, her body language making it clear she didn't want him too close.
"The final report of what happened during the time you were separated from the Captain in the Borg complex needs to be finished," he said and watched her reaction. "Also, the exact cause of your injuries is needed for Beverly to finish her medical report."
Deanna's hand went absently to her cheek. Beverly had done her usual wonderful job at erasing the dark bruise that had marred her pale complexion. What she hadn't let her see were the rest of her bruises. She had left quickly, before Beverly could discover them, assuring her that she was fine. She afforded herself a small smile, remembering how concerned Will, and later Beverly, had been when they saw her after the Borg had finally been brought down. Their strong emotions of concern for her well being had touched her greatly and had pushed the memories of why and how the bruises had gotten there from her mind momentarily.
But now she guessed she would have to tell them both what had happened. She was glad the Captain had remained silent, skipping over those few small details in his report, allowing her time to deal with what had happened before making her report.
"Deanna, the Captain's report states that soon after Lore left you and him, a Borg drone returned and escorted you from the cell," he said quietly, prompting her to finish with the details of where she had been taken.
She looked at him now, her dark eyes brimming with tears, "It's quite simple," she said, "The drone took me to Lore's chamber."
"And then what, Deanna, " he said, his heart pounding in his chest over what he feared she would say next. "And then? And then he raped me, Will. He hit me and he raped me over the next few hours until he tired of me and sent me back to the cell with the Captain, " she said matter-of-factly, her voice cold and toneless.
He closed his eyes; his heart breaking as he heard the words that he had prayed would not come from her lips. He moved to hold her, but she shrugged him away.
"So you can tell Beverly my injury was sustained from a rather nasty backhanded slap after Lore ordered me to get down on my knees for him and you can put in the report that I learned nothing other then what the Captain already knew about Lore's plan in the time I was away from him, " she looked away, her own heart starting to beat wildly. "If we're through, I would very much like to be alone now."
Will's fists clenched and unclenched, but he said nothing. Taking a deep breath, he stood.
"No!" she screamed, standing and moving towards the window. "That is all. Now, please leave." Will looked down at the floor, battling to keep his rage in check and to project the calm emotions he knew she needed. "Don't bother to try and hide it, " she said, holding herself as she looked out into the darkness of the passing starfield. "I can feel it. Your anger; your...disgust. Just leave me alone."
He went to her, standing inches from her. He could feel her body trembling even though they weren't touching. And he reached out to her, putting his arms around her, hurting as he felt her stiffen at his touch. She tried to shake off his embrace, but he held her firmly, turning her to face him. She fought against him, the tears flowing in earnest as she told him to leave.
"No, Deanna. I won't let you do this by yourself, " he said, pinning her against his chest.
And finally the tears and the rage and everything else that she had held in since returning to the Enterprise, came rushing out. He eased her to the floor and sat holding her as she rocked back and forth and released the pain that she had been so desperately trying to deny.
After Descent II
"I think this is exactly what we need," Will Riker said as he maneuvered
the shuttle craft away from the Enterprise and programmed the coordinates for
their destination. Deanna remained silent, but she gave him a small smile.
After the report had been made, with no "consequential differences", Beverly had arranged for Deanna to take a short leave. It had gone unvoiced that Will would be accompanying her. It had been a little over a month and Deanna was still not up to seeing people. Will, for his part, seemed o.k., but Beverly knew from the amount of time the first officer had been spending on the holo-deck and the several small injuries he had incurred there, that he wasn't fully coping with things either. She had felt that they both needed to resolve what had happened between Lore and Deanna before they would be able to return to duty at their full capacity. The Captain had agreed and given them both two weeks leave while the Enterprise underwent repairs.
"Data came to see me, " Deanna said, breaking the uncomfortable silence. Will watched her, waiting.
"He wanted to apologize for what Lore had done," she said, inspecting her nails quite closely, not wanting to look at Will directly.
"What did you tell him?" he asked.
"I couldn't tell him anything. I couldn't even look at him. I mean, I know it was completely Lore's fault, everything he made Data do and that they are two distinct beings, but when I tried to look at him all I saw was Lore," she let the breath she had been holding escape as she spoke.
He reached out to her and took her hand. They sat in silence the rest of the way to Genii.
They arrived just after nightfall and made their way to the cabin Beverly had arranged for them. She had made sure it was secluded so Will and Deanna would have plenty of peace and quiet, away from the other inhabitants of the lovely planet.
After Will had settled into his room, he went to see if Deanna was all right. He stood in the doorway of her bedroom, watching as she lay on the bed, her bag still as he had left it just inside her room, untouched. He let his head tilt to one side and rest against the door frame.
"Deanna, " he said quietly, "are you hungry? I could get us something to eat, " he offered.
"No, "she replied. "I think I just want to go to sleep."
He watched her curled on the bed, her dress tucked closely around her. It had not gone unnoticed that she had quit wearing her uniform after the incident with Lore. "O.k.," he whispered and left her to the darkness of her room.
He lay in the darkness of his own room, the hours seemingly taking an eternity to pass. He had picked at his food, realizing he wasn't really hungry either before quietly going to his room. Now in the stillness of the night he listened to her fitful sleep. It had been like this for hours; him trying to fall asleep, but unable to, imagining what she was dreaming of as she tossed and turned. When he heard her scream his heart leapt into his throat. He found her drenched in sweat and crying, holding her knees to her chest. She looked up at him, her eyes wide and unseeing. He went to her, putting his arms around her as she cried into his bare chest clutching at him for dear life. They sat until her crying finally eased and she looked up at him. Wiping her tears away she said,
"Shhhh," he told her. "I think under the circumstances it's perfectly all right. Do you want to tell me about it?" he asked, smoothing her hair from her face.
"It's usually not this bad," she said, letting go of him and walking to the window. "It's just, since leaving the Enterprise, I haven't taken any of the dream inhibitors Beverly gave me and I guess it's catching up with me." "Has it been that bad?" he asked, knowing Beverly wouldn't have given her anything unless Deanna had really needed it.
"It was...in the beginning. Actually, I couldn't even close my eyes without seeing Lore. But now he only comes in my dreams," she said quietly.
Will closed his eyes and let his head drop, shaking slightly. He wished he could take it away; everything that was hurting her, all the memories. He got up and went to stand behind her, gently placing his arms around her waist. She leaned back against him, letting her head rest against his strong chest. She placed her hands over his and closed her eyes.
"Ever time it's the same," she whispered. "I can feel his hands on me, cold, but his eyes, with such hate and evil, burning hot as he looked at me."
He rested his head against hers, his eyes closed, not wanting to hear, but knowing she needed to talk. He listened through all the horrible descriptions, descriptions of what Lore had forced her to do and his heart ached at the thought of what she had been through.
When she had finished, they stood there looking out into the peaceful Genii sky and just held each other until the sun started to peak over the horizon.
A few days passed and nothing else was said about that night. They both quickly fell into an easy, relaxed schedule. Deanna spent most of her time meditating in her room. Will busied himself with other things, but the thoughts of what Deanna had told him loomed ever present in his mind.
The sudden rush of pain from him jolted Deanna from her rest. She walked out into the living room to find Will cradling his hand in his lap.
"What happened!?" she said, rushing over to him. He winced as she took his hand in her own and inspected it. It didn't appear broken, but it had started to swell a little. He kept his eyes down, not wanting her to see the pain in them.
"What happened?" she repeated quietly.
"I hit the wall," he said looking away from her.
"You hit the wall?!" she asked incredulously. "Why?"
"Deanna, I was just mad. I felt like hitting something, so I hit the wall," he said.
"You were angry because of me," she said, gently massaging his hand.
"No...Yes...everything," he said, standing and moving away. "I should have been there, Deanna. I should have been able to protect you."
She watched him. "There's nothing you could have done, Will. I've spent the last month trying to figure out what anyone could have done; the Captain, Data...me. The fact is no one could have done anything. It happened and now we have to go on."
She went to him and laid her head against his back. "Will, you had no idea what was happening to me. You were trying to get us out."
"You never should have been there to begin with," he said. "Will, I accepted the danger of the mission the same way I accept the danger of anything we do on the Enterprise; it's how we live."
He turned around and took her in his arms. "I know, but I still have this feeling, this feeling that somehow I should have been able to do more for you," he whispered into her hair. He bent down and kissed the top of her head.
"I know," she said as they held each other while the sun went down.
That night when she woke up crying, as she had every night they had been there, and he went to quiet her, she asked him to lie down with her.
"Please, Will, please hold me," she said.
He lay down next to her and she moved against him, burying her face into the crook of his neck. He breathed in her scent and closed his eyes, trying to push the thoughts of what he'd like to do into the back of his mind. She drifted back to sleep safe in his arms while he stared into the darkness most of the night, gently running his fingers through her hair.
When he woke the next morning, she was gone. He followed the sound of the running water to the bathroom. He tried to look away, but couldn't. He pushed the door open a little wider and watched her reflection in the mirror. Soap ran down over her body as she gently washed herself. He could see the faded bruises on her thighs and felt another stab of pain as he looked up and saw her eyes looking back in the mirror.
"I'll be done in a little while," she said, moving her hands to cover the marks. He nodded and went to his own room to get dressed.
When she emerged later, she found him making breakfast, his hair still damp from his own shower.
"That smells good," she said. "Can I help?"
"You can sit down and keep me company," he said.
"Still don't trust me in the kitchen, I see," she smiled at him.
He smiled back. "What would you like to do today?" he asked, placing her plate of food in front of her.
"I think I might like to go out today," she said. "For a walk."
"O.k. then we'll go for a walk," he smiled at her.
They spent the day exploring the area around their cabin, walking down to the water and along the beach. Deanna took her shoes off and reveled in the feel of the warm sand between her toes. She looks relaxed, he thought as he watched her run to the edge of the water and jump back as soon as the small waves came in to lap the shore. She turned, catching him watching her, and began walking toward him, her white cotton dress wet from her play in the water and the breeze blowing her hair.
"Are you ready to go back?" he asked. She smiled, "Yes, I think I am," she answered and took his hand as they walked back to the cabin.
After dinner that night, Will made a fire in the fireplace for them and they watched the colors dance in the flames. Will gently ran his fingers up and down her arm as she sat with her legs across his. He leaned down and kissed the top of her head and when she looked up at him, her eyes luminous, without thinking he bent down and brushed her lips with his own. He moved his arm to hold her tighter, to bring her closer, his other hand cupping her face. He deepened the kiss and let his hand slide down to caress her thigh. He began to work his way up under the skirt of her dress when she suddenly pulled away. Her hand covered her mouth and her eyes were wide as she stood up.
"I can't, Will...I just can't," she said, as she backed towards her room, fear in her eyes.
"Deanna, wait. I'm sorry," he said, rising and starting to follow her.
"No," she said and quickly turned and ran into her room, slamming the door behind her. He followed her and heard the click of the door's lock just as he reached it. He took a deep breath and exhaled slowly before knocking gently on the door.
"Deanna, I'm sorry. I don't know what I was thinking. Are you o.k.?" He waited, but she said nothing. "Please talk to me." He waited a few more minutes and was about to give up, when he heard the lock click open.
She opened the door, her eyes already red as silent tears rolled down her cheeks. "Deanna, I'm sorry," he began quietly.
"I know you are. I know you wouldn't try to push me...to do things I'm...that we're...not ready for yet," she said. "I'm going to go to bed now. Everything's all right. I'll see you in the morning," she said closing the door. He hung his head down and clenched his fists. He felt horrible; how could he have done something so stupid. It had just felt...right...at the time. As he turned to go to his room, he heard her lock the door again and an invisible hand tightened around his heart.
He lay in bed, his hands behind his head, listening to her. He had awoken almost an hour ago to the faint sounds of her crying. He heard her door open and her bare feet padding across the wood floor. She stood in his doorway, her form silhouetted by the moonlight.
She watched him for several moments, but when he moved to sit up, leaning on one elbow and reaching a hand out to her, she disappeared back into her bedroom.
When he awoke early the next morning he found her door open, her bed neatly made.
"Deanna?" he called out, but the cabin was silent. Panic gripped him as he frantically began to search for her. After making sure she was nowhere in the cabin, he grabbed a jacket and began to search the area outside. He found her almost an hour later, on the beach, sitting a little ways from the water's edge. She sat; her knees pulled to her chest, her hair and thin nightgown damp from the morning mist. She was trembling, but seemed not to notice. He knelt down beside her and laid his jacket lightly over her shoulders.
"Deanna," he whispered, "Come on, let's go." When she didn't respond, he gently eased her up. She looked up at him, her eyes unseeing and then closed them, going limp. He picked her up into his arms and carried her back to the cabin. As he made his way back with her, a gentle rain started to fall.
As soon as he got to the cabin, he laid her gently on the couch and grabbed a warm blanket, wrapping it around her. Her eyes fluttering open, she watched him build the fire from the night before back up.
"Deanna, I have to get these clothes off you," he said, sitting down across from her. She looked at him numbly and nodded. She let the blanket fall away from her and accepted his touch as he undid the tiny buttons that held her nightgown closed. As his hands moved over her breast, she reached up and covered them with her own. He looked into her eyes as she reached out to caress his cheek. She let her hand slide down to the opening of his shirt and tentatively fingered the hair on his chest before slipping her hand inside, feeling his muscles tense under her touch. "Deanna," he said in a husky whisper.
She leaned up, pushing him back slightly and began to unbutton his shirt. She pushed it open and lowered her head to his chest, kissing him gently. He sucked in his breath, not knowing what to do; he closed his eyes and let his head fall back to rest on the couch. She stretched out on top of him, her gown still clinging to her and began to nuzzle his neck. He let his hands wander over her body and ease her nightgown over her head. As her hair spilled down over her shoulders, he reached up pushing it back, and leaned up, kissing her deeply.
He let her lead the way in their lovemaking and afterward, held her as they fell asleep in front of the fire. He awakened later when she jumped, the thunder from the rainstorm scaring her.
"Are you alright?" he asked, running his hand up her side.
"I think everything will be alright now," she whispered and cuddled against him, falling back into the first peaceful sleep she had had in a very long time.