Summary: A sequel to Late Night Thoughts this time from Deannas perspective.
Paramount owns the characters, the ships and even Betazoid telepathic abilities. Im just having some fun.
Deanna lay cushioning her head on Will Riker's shoulder. She was surprised at how easily they had fallen into habits first found over a decade ago. She was still somewhat surprised that they were back together at all. So much and so little had changed during those years.
Will's entrance into her life had been a catalyst for change. Even when they had first been parted and he had failed to rendezvous with her at Risa she had been able to look at their relationship positively. It had been her first time off planet without her mother - and it was difficult to stay miserable on Risa for long. She enjoyed the company of non-Betazoids and started to wonder what a life away from her mother could be like.
It had been those thoughts that had led her into Starfleet, a career her mother had initially resisted but that had given her a wonderful life thus far. Even before she joined the Enterprise she had had wonderful experiences and had been grateful to Will for leading her into a wider galaxy than the social whirl of University and then Betazoid Society.
When they had first been stationed together on the Enterprise-D it had been difficult. What were they to each other? After she had first projected to him and he had failed to respond she thought that mutual avoidance except for work was the easiest way to handle things. But then, between his "romances" they had started to find that their initial attraction was still present. The problem was deciding what to do with it. "Just good friends" had a hollow ring when they used to kiss each other good-night in a decidedly unplatonic way. The Ferengi had interfered with their attempt to become lovers again. Eventually they settled into a pattern of concerned friends and fallback partners for social occasions. The only problem was that whenever Deanna looked deeply into those blue eyes she still saw a spark of the old attraction that would make her blush. Recognising this and knowing how difficult working together might be after a failed romance, she had put the romantic relationship to rest by declaring that they should put their friendship to the fore.
She still wasn't sure where her attraction to Worf had come from or how it had progressed. He was an honourable man but so different to herself. It had ended and he had married. She hoped that it would go well for him - he had been unlucky in love thus far.
It was when she was on her sabbatical to Betazed, while the Enterprise-E was still under construction, that she really took a good look at her life. The Enterprise-D being destroyed had been yet another turning point in her life. Her mother had, of course, taken it as a sign that she should return home and begin to take on some of the responsibilities that her birthright dictated. It was true, that if she was to leave Starfleet she had at least accomplished a great deal. So she tried to assume the role of a member of the Betazed Aristocracy - attending parties and socialising at charitable events.
She hated it.
The time she spent on Betazed showed her she was far from ready to give up her life among the stars. It was disturbing to find that her trip had evoked thoughts of Will - thoughts that began to invade her consciousness more and more frequently. Subconsciously, she began to seek out those places that had been special to the young Deanna and Will. Here was where they had laid and talked for hours about everything and nothing. Over there was where they had made love one warm, balmy evening. While she missed the others of the Enterprise family, it was Will's friendship she missed the most.
Of course there was no guarantee that Will would be returning to the Enterprise-E. His own command of the Melbourne was reportedly going very well. Although Deanna took little interest in Starship design she understood that the Intrepid class were exciting ships to command. So she kept on with her meditations and attempted to use them to clear her mind of thoughts of tall, dark humans.
When the Enterprise-E was first commissioned she could tell that her role would be different from when she was aboard the Enterprise-D. The wars with the Dominion and the Borg had shown that a Starfleet vessel was currently no place for families - at least, not for children. The number of crewmen with chronic stress related problems took up the time she used to spend with family counselling. There was no doubt in her mind that the Enterprise-E would never have that relaxed, confident feeling that the Enterprise-D had inspired amongst her crew.
The incident with the Borg had only reinforced that. Many of the crew had transferred off the ship after they had returned. She and Will had been liaising over crew assignments even more closely than usual - trying to reduce the impact of the traumas that had been experienced.
It was during these sessions that Deanna had begun to notice a subtle change in his manner. He had begun to flirt with her. Not just the usual buddy-buddy stuff they had always had. Real honest-to-goodness flirtation.
It was also noticeable that Will had not been up to his usual practice of 'a girl in every port'. Instead, he seemed to organise shore leaves for them together. At times it became difficult to keep their minds on the job at hand as Will seemed to come up with more and more outrageous ways to distract her.
Underneath all of the flirtation was a serious undercurrent. Deanna knew that she was not going to settle for an on-off romance again. Too much water had passed under the bridge. She was also not going to take second place to a Starship - she had her career and her life to live, too. They either went forward together or not at all.
It seemed Will felt the same way. This time when she felt his love she felt a strength behind it that had never been there for her before. For the Enterprise, yes - for her, no.
So she had returned his flirtation. She could still remember the look of pure joy on his face the first time she had flipped back a piece of paper, rather than just putting it staidly away in the paper recycler. As soon as she had seen that smile all her indecision was gone - it could work, it would work between them. It was wonderful. It was exciting. To have her Imzadi back in her arms, to love him without holding back. Their love radiated between them, making them whole.
Deanna laughed to herself as she ran her fingers through Will's furry chest. Her gentle movements were enough to wake him.
He opened one sleepy eye: "What's so funny?"
"I was just thinking. I'm glad my mother isn't aboard. She'd just know what was up."
Still groggy with sleep, Will started to say
"What's wrong with... oh my ..." He sat bolt upright.
"That's right. She'd have both you and I stripped and in front of the Captain before you could say 'future-son-in-law'"'.
Deanna was giggling aloud now as Will paled. "I vote we leave in an escape pod if there is even a hint she's coming".Will was wide awake now. 'Or else-'
"Or else what?" Deanna was enjoying his discomfort.
"We could always get married before she does find out". It was Will's turn to enjoy Deanna's look of surprise. Leaving her to contemplate his offer, he kissed her forehead and settled back down to sleep. He had waited a long time. He could wait a little while longer for her answer.