Commander Riker stood outside Counselor Troi’s quarters without the faintest idea to why he was hesitating.
She wrote you. She asked you to come.
Riker took a deep breath and released it slowly. He had thought he read the signals right. She was flirting with him in the library, but then she pushed him away in her office.
Did she really say “yuck”?
And now, she wanted to see him in her quarters. Riker ran his hand through his hair and started to feel sick to his stomach.
Meanwhile, Counselor Troi sat unmoving on her couch. She knew Will was standing on the other side of the door, but she was too nervous to stand up. She felt lucky she was remembering how to breathe, even if it occurred only with a constant reminder.
Why did I tell him to come here? I hate playing games, and I pushed him out of my office for a reason. I’m not ready.
Troi enjoyed flirting with Riker in the library. It was safe. There were other people around and she knew he wouldn’t reciprocate in public. However, she didn’t foresee the visit he would pay her later.
Counselor Troi folded her hands and wrung them nervously in her lap. The way he reciprocated when they were alone in her office. Deanna didn’t know if Will was playing cat and mouse or if he really…
I’ve been such a fool. Has he really kept his distance all these years because I asked him to? How could I have been so blind not to see, to sense, his feelings for me have grown stronger over the years - not diminished? Well, you opened this door, Counselor, and now you either have to step through or shut it again.
Counselor Troi knew how to test her theory and found her resolve. Taking a deep breath, she stood up and walked over to the door.
As the door slid open, Riker gave her a sheepish grin. Idiot. She knew you were out here the whole time. He rebuked himself.
“I got your note.” He said simply and walked inside as Deanna stepped aside.
Deanna tried to reply; however, she lost her voice when she came face to face with Will and saw the look of total dread in his eyes.
Will returned Deanna’s gaze and tried to get rid of his nervousness by swallowing the lump in his throat. Deanna swallowed with him.
Gods, what am I doing to him? He’s afraid he didn’t read the signs I gave him correctly and that I don’t want him to…
Riker recovered and spoke first. “Deanna if you don’t want to”
Deanna looked intently into Will’s gaze and quickly closed the space between them. She took his right hand and placed it on the small of her back, and then enclosed his left hand within her right. Troi’s eyes never wavered from Riker’s, and when she pressed against him, Will took in a sharp breath and held it for fear any movement would end this moment.
God she felt good. This felt so right.
When Deanna saw she once more had Will off guard, she knew this was the point of no return.
This is scary. Will heard Deanna’s voice in his mind and was taken aback.
“Deanna you…” He began in surprise. However, Troi put a finger to his lips. No words.
Riker took in a deep breath to clear his mind. Deanna are you sure you… However, before he had a chance to finish, Deanna dropped her shields and walked through the open door.
In response, Will’s hold on her grew tighter, bringing Deanna’s face within a hair’s breath of his own. Riker leaned down and kissed Troi full on the mouth.
Troi clenched her fingers, grasping Will’s hand tighter. She returned the kiss while intermingling her thoughts with his.
When they broke apart, Will looked at Deanna with confusion. “What are we doing here?” He asked.
Deanna looked at him and smiled. “You don’t know?”
Riker shook his head. “To be honest, Deanna, I thought you asked me here to tell me not while we’re serving on the same ship.”
Troi let out a chuckle. “You know women hate to be predictable, Commander.”
“Yeah I figured that out after you flirted with me one moment and then turned me away the next.”
Deanna pulled away and went over to sit on the couch. Will followed her. “I’m getting too old to play games, Deanna.” He said and looked her in the eyes and took hold of her hand. “I love you and I’m not going to pretend otherwise anymore. Now either you feel the same way or”
Troi looked at Riker astounded by his confession. “Will, I” she took in a deep breath to calm herself. When did Will Riker become so confident in his feelings? No more games this is all happening too… Troi shook her head. “Will this is all happening too fast.”
Riker reached up and caressed her cheek. “I’m not saying we have to move in together or anything, Deanna. And I didn’t mean to take you off guard. I just want to know if you feel the same way.”
Will dropped his head and studied the hands they had folded together. “Unrequited love stinks” he murmured to himself.
Deanna followed Will’s gaze to their laps and smiled. She knew all too well how an unrequited love felt and how good it would feel to finally hold hands in public. “You don’t need to tell me that, Commander. I know.” When she looked up again, she found Will staring at her with expectation. “I’ve always loved you, Imzadi.”
Will gave Deanna a loving smile. “I’m sorry it took me so long to see how important your love is to me. I will understand if you don’t want to…”
Troi put her finger to Riker’s lips once more and her eyes filled with tears. “Not while we’re serving on the same ship was just an easy excuse for me not to admit my own feelings, Will. But I’ve opened the door now.”
Riker let out an audible sigh. “You’re right. This is scary.”
Deanna laughed. “Especially since my little test didn’t scare you off.”
“Oh is that what that was? A test?”
Deanna averted her gaze from Will and then looked back. “And I wanted to see if you remembered.”
Will’s eyes sparkled with their usual joviality. “Did I pass?” He asked and leaned in to kiss her.
However, Deanna put her hand on his chest. “Actually there is one more part to the test.” She said as she caressed his cheek.
Will placed his hand over Deanna’s. “You did say ‘yuck’ last time; didn’t you?”