By Rachel Ch 1
Deanna Troi leaned over and buzzed her intercom, “Do I have any more appointments today?”
Her assistant buzzed back, “Commander Riker is your last appointment today, but he has not arrived yet.”
“Hmmm . . .” Deanna mused, as she tipped back in her leather chair and stuck her feet on her desk, “it’s not often Will Riker schedules a counseling appointment . . .wonder what’s up? Or better yet, what he has up his sleeve.”
Before she could ponder the question any further, the doors of her office slid open and Will Riker confidently strode in, “Hey Doc, ready for you next appointment.” He arrogantly walked over to one of her examining chairs, turned it around, and straddled it in usual Riker fashion.
Deanna let her feet fall to the floor as she sat back up business like in her chair, “Somebody’s in a good mood today. Which makes me even more curious on why you scheduled a counseling appointment.”
“Well,” Riker started, as he ran his fingers through his thick brown hair, a move that always set Deanna’s heart beating a little faster, “you see I am having problems in the love department.”
“You? I didn’t think that was possible.” Deanna chided, giving him an over exaggerated shocked expression.
“Ha Ha, I thought coming to a counselor was suppose to help me, not to humiliate me.” He gave Deanna a dirty look.
“I’m sorry,” Deanna apologized, “What seems to be your problem.”
“My problem is I have finally realized that the woman I want to spend the rest of my life with is here on this ship, and well . . .I’m not really sure on how I let her know this.”
Deanna felt a wave of dizziness try to overtake her body, “Really, and how do you know she is the right one.”
Inside, Deanna desperately tried to get a hold of her emotions. “Was he trying to start a romance with her?” She quickly shoved her shaking hands under her desk, before he could see her nervousness.
Will Riker, heavily wrapped into his own problems, failed to see Deanna’s growing jitters, “Dee, she makes me feel so special . . .so important. She is all I ever think about lately. She consumes me, intoxicates me. I can’t think straight when she is in the room.”
Deanna nodded her head for him to keep going, secretly fearing that if she opened her mouth nothing legible would come out.
“Deanna, she makes my miserable life worth living. I know, deep down, that if I never made Captain I would be okay if she was there beside me.”
“Well.” Deanna started, quickly licking her dry lips, “in my opinion the best thing for you to do is to be straight forward and honest with this mystery girl. You know, just let her know how you feel.”
“I love him.” Deanna happily admitted to herself, “Five minutes ago I cared about him, but now, after seeing a small glimpse of the emotional side of him, I know I love him. Even more now then I did all those many years ago on betazed. I am, and now I know he is, ready to carry our relationship to the next level.”
“Deanna” Will’s voice cut into her thoughts.
“I’m sorry, I drifted off a second,” Deanna guiltily admitted, “What did you say?”
“I said, as friend not a counselor, do you think I have a chance with Jennifer?”
Deanna sat in her chair, all the color draining from her face, “Jennifer?”
Will shook is head in agreement, “Yes, ensign Jennifer Mathers. She came aboard the ship two or three months ago. We have been dating for about three weeks.” He began to happily spin in the chair he was sitting in, “Isn’t she great.”
“Ensign Jennifer Mathers.” Deanna repeated, distastefully annunciating every syllable of the name, “Isn’t she the little blond thing in Engineering.”
“That’s her. What do you think she will say if I propose to her?
“Propose, as in marriage?” she tapped her fingers on her desk, wishing she could stop the aching feeling she was having in her chest.
“Yes.” he eagerly responded.
“Honestly, I don’t have the slightest clue to what she will say, I can’t say I’ve ever talked to the girl.” Her eyes narrowing in on Will, “ However, I do know that you will turn into the ship idiot.”
The smile that had graced Will’s face only moments ago began to change into an angry scowl, “Excuse me.”
Deanna, reeling from the hurt his news had caused her, began to laugh hysterically, “Please Will, you can’t be serious, she’s like what 15? And you, are like what 50?”
Will shot up from his chair, and leaned over her desk, “YOU and I both know I am 37, and Jennifer is 27.”
“Will she is a kid, an ensign and you . . .you are her superior officer.” Deanna shook her head, “Will, I knew you were desperate but come on, an ensign.”
He slowly backed away from her desk, “Deanna, I thought you of all people would understand that you don’t chose who you love or don’t love, it just happens.”
“Obviously” Deanna muttered under her breath.
“Excuse me, I didn’t hear you,” Will walked over closer to her desk.
“I said times up, now go run along and play with your playmate.”
* * * *
Deanna, in her foul mood, stalked off the transporter and headed straight for Beverly Crusher’s office.
Beverly smiled at her approaching friend but quickly sobered up as she saw the look on Deanna’s face, “Rough day?”
Deanna, without saying a word, grabbed her friends forearm and forcefully pulled her into the empty supply closet, slamming the door behind them.
“TWO OR THREE WEEKS BEVERLY.” Deanna yelled, “Did not anybody on this ship care to clue in the clueless counselor, or did you all think it was overly funny to laugh behind my back?”
Beverly’s eyes opened wide surprised by her normally calm friend’s sudden outburst, “I’m not real sure what you are talking about Dee, care to fill me in?”
Pacing back and forth inside the small area of the room Deanna, near hysterics, continued to rave to the extremely confused doctor “You can bet if I started a fling with Wesley everybody would have gone running to Will, but not vice versa . . .noooooooooooo.”
Beverly heavily contemplated slapping her friend in the face, to bring her back to reality, but decided to try to talk her down instead. “Fling with Wesley? What are you fuming about?”
“Will’s making an ass of himself, that is what I am fuming about. None of my so-called friends filling me in on Jennifer Mathers, that is what I am fuming about.” her hands wildly swinging around her body as she talked, “Did I mention Will making an ass out of himself.”
“Yes a couple of times.” Beverly slipped past Deanna and started for the door, feeling a bit of nauseous from the small confinements of the closet. “You didn’t know?” Beverly turned to her friend asking incredulously, “the two of them have been hot and heavy for quite a while.” She opened the door and motioned Deanna to follow her back to her office.
“No I didn’t, I figured . . oh never mind.”
“Come on Dee, talk to me.” Beverly coaxed.
“He came to my office today to tell me about how in love he was with a girl on this ship, and well, I just figured it was me.”
Deanna sat by herself at the Ten-Forward Lounge, tucked away in a corner booth hoping that nobody would notice her. In front of her, untouched laid Guinan famous chocolate sundae.
“Your wasting all that wonderful chocolate, there must be problems in your life.” spoke up a voice from behind her.
Deanna let the spoon she was holding in her hand clatter against the table, “Will, I think I said all I need to say to you.”
He silently walked over to the other side of the booth and slid in across from her, “Maybe so, but I haven’t had the chance to say all I want to yet.”
Deanna sighed and focused her gaze intently on the sundae in front of her, fearing that if she looked directly at him, he might notice her red, swollen, cried out eyes. “Well since you insist on barging in on my private time, fire away Commander cradle-robber.”
Will took a deep intake of air, “Deanna you are purposely baiting me, please stop.”
“Oh no, I’m not baiting, I’m just worried that if I let you sit here long enough you will ask me for my unborn daughter’s hand in marriage.” Deanna sarcastically replied, never letting her gaze drift off of the melting ice cream in front of her.
“Damn it.” Will angrily slammed the wall beside him, “I would have thought you, my best friend, the person who knows me better then myself, would be happy that after all these years I have finally found love.”
“Spare me the details Romeo.”
Frustrated, Will reached over the table and grabbed Deanna’s chin, forcing her to meet him eye to eye, “I wanted you to be my best man. I know it’s not conventional but neither is our relationship so I thought it was fitting.”
Deanna looked at him incredulously, “You must be the most clueless man that has ever lived.” she grabbed the completely melted sundae sitting in front of her and threw it directly into his lap.”
She bolted up from her seat and ran from the lounge.
* * * *
Deanna had retreated from the Ten-Forward Lounge to the holodeck, hoping that Will hadn’t followed her. After shuffling through her various personal holodeck programs she had finally chosen the one of her bedroom on betazed.
The room was done in a calming shade of lavender and yellow, the two colors that always seemed to lift her spirits when she was down and her room window showed amazing views of the city down below. Today however, none of that seemed to matter.
<<Knock, Knock>> came the sound of rapping knuckles on her door.
“Go away” Deanna called from her bed where she had thrown herself face down to sob just moments ago.
The door opened and holographic version of Lwaxana Troi flamboyantly strode in, “Little one, that is no way to talk to your mother.”
Deanna smiled despite her rotten mood, sometimes these programs could be just a little to life like for her own liking.
“I’m sorry Mother, but I’d really like to be alone.”
“Well dear, that is going to be kind of difficult with Commander Riker attempting to break into here.” Lwaxana Troi answered in her most mater-of-factly way “so may I suggest you freshen up your face before he finds his way in. Troi women don’t cry in front of their men, it shows a weakness.”
“He’s not my man mother, and further he can’t come in when I have prohibited visitors, it’s against policy.” Deanna answered, getting up from her bed to check that the holodeck’s computer was prohibiting visitors as she requested.
Lwaxana smiled, “That is unless he has reason to believe you may be trying to harm yourself.”
Deanna relaxed back into her bed, “He doesn’t.”
The fictitious older Troi raised an eyebrow, “Am I to believe your behavior around him lately has not been extreme.”
Before Deanna could answer, a panicky Will Riker came busting through the door.
Will busted through the door of the holodeck with full intentions to find out why Deanna had been acting so peculiar as well as assure himself that she was not going to do anything drastic. However, all thoughts flew out of his mind when he looked around at the projected surroundings of the holodeck.
“You have a hologram program of Lwaxana?” he shook his head in amazement, “I would think the real thing would be more then enough.”
Deanna quickly sat herself up and began to straighten up her uniform, “Not that it is any of your business, but this program main focus is Betazed not my mother.”
“Home sick?” Will inquired, sitting on the bed beside her.
“No, just sickened by certain members of the crews behavior lately. Occupational hazard.” She said.
“Certain member being . . . me?” Will asked.
Deanna sat thoughtful for a moment, before nodding her head, “Yes you seem to be the only one I can think of.”
“Dee,” Will sighed, “you don’t even know her. I can guarantee she is very mature for her age.”
“Will, it’s not Jennifer I have the problem with, it you.”
He stepped up, “I fell in love, is that so wrong? Is that a crime that I deserve to be punished for?”
“Yes Will, when it sets a bad example for the crew - its wrong. When its because your having a mid-life crisis - it’s wrong. When the only reason your dating her is because she is from Betazed, and in your sick little mind that brings you closer to what we could have have - its wrong.” Deanna shut her mouth abruptly, not really sure where that last point had come from.
After a couple of minutes had passed, Will got up from the bed and crossed over to the holographic window and peered out at the bustling activity in the holographic city, “Deanna that was the most self centered, egotistical comment I have ever heard come out of your mouth. Yes, at one point I may have held out that the two of us could get together, but you said, and I quote, “we have to set a good example for the crew” a.k.a. I only want to be friends. Well Deanna, you can worry about the crew all you damn well like by being the perfect officer. However, I have decided I’d rather be human rather then perfect, and get on with my life.” He turned back to Deanna his eyes blazing, “Jennifer is only the beginning of the new Will Riker.”
Deanna eyes narrowed the sadness that had consumed her body only moments ago suddenly transforming into rage. “When she trades you in for a newer model with better features, don’t you DARE come running back to me, Will. Because, you old fool, I will laugh you right off this ship* * * *
Captain Picard stepped into his conference room curiously gazing at his officers seated around the ships table, “Did I miss the memo regarding new seating arrangements?”
Worf stood up, “Captain, from a security standpoint I have to say this is the best arrangement.”
“How so Mr. Worf?” Picard asked, as he took his usual seat next to Will.
Worf looked nervously between Deanna and Will, “Let’s just say you missed quite a screaming match.”
Picard looked at both Deanna and Will, “Is this something the three of us need to discuss alone.”
“No sir.” Will immediately responded.
“The three of us, no.”
“Good,” the Captain shook his head, “now the first order of business is to discuss the suggestion of Commander Riker’s that Ensign Jennifer Mathers be promoted to lieutenant and I would like to get everybody else’s opinion.”
Deanna began to exaggeratedly laugh, as she hit her hands on the table, “Oh Will only honest intentions there, huh.”
Beverly nervously got up from her chair to maybe get Deanna out of the door, but Picard waved his hand for her to sit back down. “What to you mean Counselor?”
“Why Captain, were you also left out of the loop? Geez, I thought I may be the only one who didn’t know about Will’s little affair with the considerably younger then he is ensign.” Deanna shook her head, “Will, Will, Will, will, Will, it is your job to keep the Captain informed.”
The Captain cleared his throat, “I think I can see where this meeting is going. I would like to dismiss everybody except Will and Deanna. We will re-schedule our meeting for a later time.”
“Captain,” Worf began, “are you sure you don’t want me to stay and . . .referee.”
The Captain smiled, “No, but I will call you if I need you.”
Captain Picard sat in silence, watching Beverly, Worf, Data and Geordi, slowly file out of the Ready Room. All of the group, besides Data, slightly dragging their feet in leaving, hoping that they might be able to catch an earful on the conference that was about to happen. Deanna and Will remained in their seats at the opposite ends of the triangular table, glaring death stares in each other directions.
At last, when the doors of the room safely hissed closed, Picard stood up and cleared his throat, “We seem to have a problem here.”
Riker sat motionless while on the other side of the table Deanna shook with wildly with anger, “Yes we do, Captain, and I am so relieved that you finally aware of it and can stop him. My professional opinion is that he is having a mid-life crisis. If you want, I can work with Beverly in prescribing him something that might bring him back to his senses.”
Will laid his head in his hands, “Captain, she has gone completely nuts, in my not-so professional opinion.” He looked up and focused his relatively calm blue eyes on Deanna’s furious dark brown ones, “and as to you Doc,” he pointed his index finger directly at Deanna’s chest, “ I went into your office yesterday, as a patient and told you something very personal and very private. You took this information and practically leaked it to every willing-to-listen ear on this ship. I believe that means you broke the patient-doctor confidentiality rule and now I, if I wanted to, could easily get you disbarred as well as thrown off this ship.”
At that comment, sanity reached Deanna eyes for a brief second and she genuinely looked fearful at the possibility that Will had mentioned, however rage quickly won back control, “Oh what, does your little girlfriend have her eyes on my job too.”
“Deanna, Will, for this ship to operate successfully I need my two right hands to back me up and be able to work together as a team.” He looked seriously at his two senior officers, “Can I count on you two to put your differences aside and work together like you used too? Or do I have to call Starfleet and arrange some personnel changes.”
An irritated Will Riker stood up from his chair and began to pace back and forth in the room, “Captain I can’t answer that until I figure out what I exactly did. She won’t tell me what I said that set her off into this schizophrenic tale spin.”
The Captain looked over to Deanna and saw the sheer emotional pain Will’s words were causing her, “Now come on Number one, you can’t think of anything that might cause her to become upset with you? Will, I am coming in late on this whole story and I can think of a things you have said.”
Deanna glared at the Captain, shocked that he was being so blunt. “Captain, if he doesn’t get it, I don’t want to get into it.”
The Captain leaned over and squeezed Deanna’s hand, “I’ve been sitting quite for over ten years while you two lull in a “safe spot”, not interfering and minding my own business. However, now that you two have suddenly drifted into “enemy territory” I feel it’s my duty as Captain to assist you back to the “safe spot” or even maybe bring you into an even better location.”
Deanna gave the Captain a weak smile and squeezed his hand back in appreciation.
“Excuse me, does anybody want to fill me in on your secret?” Will asked, anxiously tapping his fingers on the table.
Exasperated, Deanna rolled her eyes, “He talking about our relationship, Will. Have you really separated yourself from me so much that you have no clue to what he is referring too.”
“What relationship? We haven’t been anything more then friends since we’ve been serving together on this ship, so frankly I have no idea what you are talking about.”
Deanna and Jean-Luc stared at Will amazed at his genuine lack of understanding. Will stared blankly back, thoroughly confused on how the normally socially inapt Captain seemed to get whatever was bugging Deanna and he didn’t.
Suddenly the realization of everything that had been going on hit Will like a hard slap in the face, “Oh my god, I’m an idiot.”
Picard gave Will a sympathetic look, “Well, I think my work here is done, you two feel free to stay here and talk as long as you need.” He gracefully stood up from his seat and exited.
“I’m an idiot.” Will groaned, repeatedly hitting his head on the table to emphasize his point.
“Yes you are.” Deanna agreed, with not so much venom as she had been displaying towards him earlier. Will stopped the banging to look at Deanna, “You did tell me that you just wanted to be friends.”
“Yes I did tell you that, TEN years ago, when we first came aboard this ship. Did it ever cross your mind that the subject could be approached again? That I might have changed my mind?” she asked. She got up from her seat and walked over to her usual empty chair next to Will. “You should know that when a woman makes up her mind she ALWAYS leaves open the option to change it.”
Will shook his head, “Most women yes, you no. Your rock solid, and I have never once heard you change your mind about anything you have decided. As much as I wanted you, I figured there was no changing your mind. I mean your the most practical, predictable person I know” he snickered, “Well except for the past couple days. Boy you have burned me with every insult in the book.”
Will enjoying the way the blush brought a glow about her face, continued, “I think we could put you head to head with Q for a battle of words. Odds are you’d send him away crying.”
“Will stop” Deanna pleaded.
“In fact you reminded of a little Lwaxana.”
“Okay, okay you there is need to insult me now.” Deanna waved her hands up, “I surrender, I surrender.”
Stretching out his arm, Will grabbed her left hand and brought it up to his lips, “I am sorry I treated you so poorly, you deserve SO much better.”
“Will, I’m the one who should be sorry, you came to me seeking professional advice and I responded with only jealously and contempt. I was just so taken aback that you could replace me.” She looked down, “I guess you were right when you said I was acting selfishly. I’m sorry, and if the invitations still open I would love to be your bestman.” She smiled as bravely as she could, considering that she was offering to be in the wedding of her imazdi and another woman.
“She said no.” Will quickly muttered under his breath, embarrassed.
Deanna’s jaw dropped, “Why? And why didn’t you tell me?”
“It’s not important.” He replied defensively, “the point is this whole fiasco is over, and . . .”he pulled her up from her chair, “I believe the Captain has given me his approval to move into new uncharted territory.” He pulled her into his arms, leaned her back, and gave her a long passionate kiss.
She broke away, a dreamy expression entering her eyes, “Oh no Commander, I don’t think this is how our Captain envisioned it.” She stepped up onto her chair, which brought her height just slightly above his. She pulled him into her arms, attempted to lean him back to the best of her ability, and gave him a long passionate kiss. When finally the two broke away she smiled, “I am taking command of this mission Commander.”