Truth and Consequences
Counselor Deanna Troi sat in her quarters, reviewing her schedule for the next week. It was going to be a long trip back to Earth. They had no warp core and everyone seemed to be rethinking what they did from the effects of the metaphysic radiation, herself included. However, since the ship’s counselor was the one everyone turned to to discuss their dilemmas, Troi had not gotten the opportunity to have the discussion with the person she needed to talk with. Just then her door chime rang.
“Come.” And there framed in the open doorway was Will Riker, smiling from ear to ear.
“You know if I didn’t know any better, I’d say you were trying to avoid me, Counselor.” He said and walked inside before being invited.
Deanna stood up. “You do know better, though.” She let out a long exasperated breath and walked over to the replicator. “Hot Chocolate.” A mug filled with the steaming liquid shimmered into existence and Troi picked it up with both hands, inhaling its sweet aroma before taking a sip. She turned and leaned against the wall. “I’m sorry, Will. I’ve been extremely busy and totally unfair to you.”
Will walked up to her. Placing his left hand on the wall, he caressed her cheek with his right hand. “You haven’t been unfair, Deanna. With everything that’s happened these past few days, I understand how you could be busy.” He leaned in closer.
Troi slipped under Riker’s arm, walking away to avoid his kiss. “We need to talk, Will.” This time Commander Riker turned and leaned against the wall. “Yeah. I guess we do.”
Deanna turned and looked at Will. “We can’t just fall back into a relationship after all these years, Will. The metaphasic radiation may have brought our latent feelings to the forefront, but it didn’t resolve the reason we buried them in the first place.”
Riker stood up straight and pulled down on his tunic. Troi forged on; “Renewing our relationship would mean our link would grow stronger, and I don’t think I would have the strength to pull away this time.” Will moved closer. “Which means we would have to complete the bond.” Riker closed the gap between them even more. A hot tear rolled down Deanna’s cheek. “And we can’t… I can’t do that if you don’t tell me everything.”
William wiped the tear away with his thumb as he cradled Deanna’s face in his palm. Deanna never stopping; “as a friend, I can understand you wanting to keep certain things private, but Imzadi cannot.” She stopped to swallow the lump growing in her throat.
Will bent down and kissed her. Stop! He deepened his kiss. Deanna was forced to push him away. “Please don’t. Can’t you understand? I don’t want to be hurt again. If you are unwilling or can’t share everything with me.” Troi looked into Riker’s eyes. “I don’t want to lose the friendship we developed, Will.”
Riker finally backed off. “Deanna, humans don’t share every little thing they’re thinking. Even with their loved ones.”
“But that’s just it, Will. The Imzadi bond goes further than, deeper than any other love. I love you too much to lose you. If you’re not ready, yet, I’d rather have you as a friend than lose you totally.”
Will looked down at the floor. “I” He looked up at her again. His eyes turning glassy. “Deanna, I can’t.” Leave. He thought her heard her plea. “It’s not that easy for me.”
“And you think this is easy for me? You think I enjoy tormenting you? You need to go, now, before I stop you.”
“Deanna, if you don’t want me to leave; then why?”
“Because I can’t do this unless you’re willing to go all the way. Be totally honest with me, Will. And yourself. If you value our friendship, you’ll”
“leave.” Will completed. Riker turned and left Troi’s quarters. And Deanna melted to the floor, sobbing uncontrollably.
* * *
A few days later, Commander Riker walked into his quarters exhausted after a long shift on the bridge. Tensions were definitely running high. The metaphasic radiation affected everyone’s behavior, and the after effects of numerous individuals taking action, consequences be damned, became a different story when those consequences began to hit home.
Will collapsed in a chair. Home. Earth was still more than two weeks away, crawling like they were with no warp core. And then what? He totally screwed up with Deanna. Consequences? Hell, he just wanted to hold her and feel her warm skin touch his and. Snap out of it, Commander. He rebuked himself. He sat up and raked his hand through his hair. Stop torturing yourself. He glanced toward the table, noticing something odd.
There on his table was a vase with a Betazed orchid in it and lying next to it was a book. Riker got up and went over to the table. Picking up the book, he saw the title was Betazin. He opened up the cover. I wanted you to understand where I’m coming from. I hope this helps. Sorry about the vernacular. Deanna. Will turned to the first page and was accosted by Betazin words. He let out a long sigh through his teeth. He never did become as fluent in Deanna’s native tongue as he would have liked; however, he really did want to understand her better. So book in hand, he returned to the chaise lounge and began reading.
* * *
As the days were long for Commander Riker, they were excruciating for Counselor Troi. When people don’t like the bitter taste paying for their actions causes, more often than not they seek the counselor’s advice and her appointment schedule was swamped. Deanna fell on her bed asleep before her head hit the pillow.
After a few hours sleep, Deanna awoke to a familiar tingle. “Damn” she said. Swinging her legs out of bed, she put on her robe and left her quarters.
After entering the access code, the door to Will’s quarters obediently slid open. And there was Will asleep in the chaise lounge. Deanna walked over to him and sat on the edge of the chair. She brushed the hair off his forehead and then picked up the book that fell open upon his chest.
Riker stirred in his sleep, feeling a familiar presence touch his thoughts. Opening his eyes, he saw someone standing beside the table. “I do remember enabling the door lock.”
Troi turned and smiled at him. “If you don’t want me coming in uninvited you should consider changing the access code.”
Riker sat up. “Quite an interesting book you gave me, Counselor.” He stood up and walked towards the replicator. “I didn’t think I’d see you until I finished it.”
“It’s too late, Will.”
Will whirled around. “How can you say that? I thought we were.”
Deanna played with one of the book’s corners. “I mean the link already returned.” She put the book down and turned to leave.
Your feelings for her haven’t changed, Commander.
“Deanna wait.” Troi paused at the door. Before she could react, Will was across the room and kissing her. His one hand on the small of her back; his other hand supporting her up turned head. At first, Deanna resisted, but only for a second. Why fight it? It was too late to prevent it, so she returned his kiss and there were fireworks.
Riker pulled away to break the kiss. “Tell me you felt that, too.”
“I felt it.” Deanna relented. “I told you the link was reestablished, but I can’t.”
“I know.” Will answered before she finished and stepped away.
“What made you stop me from leaving?”
Riker moved further away still. “I remembered some advice someone gave me back on the Ba’ku homeworld. Nothing about how I feel for you has changed from the first day I met you, Deanna. I love you and want to.”
This time Deanna interrupted him. “For over a week, I’ve been telling people they can’t ignore what they did while we were in the Briar Patch. The metaphysic radiation essentially took away our inhibitions and we all did something we regret and would never do under normal circumstances. But I still can’t be with you, Will, if you’re not going to be honest with me. Your career comes first; it always has and always will.”
Riker walked over to his dresser, opened one of the drawers, and took out a box from the box he pulled out a holographic frame. He turned it on and walked back to Deanna. “You come before anything to do with Starfleet, Deanna. My career first was an excuse; an easy way out for me.” He handed her the frame.
There was a picture of a bride and groom; a mother and baby; the same mother holding a toddler; and the last picture appeared to be the same woman quite younger, probably late teens.
Deanna looked up at Will, bewildered. “Excuse me?”
“You were wondering what her name was. Elizabeth.” Will’s eyes glazed over. “I never even told you that much; did I?” He walked over to the viewport careful to keep his back towards Deanna.
Counselor Troi shook her head and glanced at the pictures once more. Setting the frame on the table, she walked over to Will.
Riker stared out at the stars, ignoring the fact Deanna wrapped her arms around him. Troi took in a deep breath and swallowed hard. She didn’t want to ask; she knew it would cause him more pain, but she had to know.
“How did she die?”
Will’s head dropped. He could no longer hold back the tears that threatened to fall. His sadness hit Deanna like a load of bricks. “I’m sorry. It doesn’t matter. I shouldn’t have”
“A stupid accident. A goddamn stupid accident!” Will spat out. “She went mountain climbing and because it was a cliff face she climbed numerous times before, she didn’t use any safety gear. She felt safe and” Will turned around and grabbed Deanna a little tighter than she would have liked. “I’m sorry. I shouldn’t have asked.” She hugged Will back and they stayed that way for a long time.
* * *
Finally, Commander Riker pulled away from Troi. “I feel like I should apologize to you.”
“Don’t you dare, Will Riker. Losing control isn’t always a sign of weakness.”
Will let go of her and sat down on the couch. “Not for that. For all the pain I’ve caused you.”
Deanna sat down next to him. “Us. No more pretending you don’t feel this pull too.”
Will let out a long breath. “Alright us.” He admitted and he looked into Deanna’s dark eyes and placed her cheek in his hand. “But I have a feeling it caused you more hurt than me.”
Troi returned Will’s gaze. “Only because I know the real potential an Imzadi link can have. That’s why I gave you the book on the Imzadi bond. You should know what true Imzadi is beyond the surface meaning I gave you years ago.”
“Ah. So you’ve been keeping something from me as well.”
Deanna smiled. “Yes I suppose I have.” And she reached over and gave Will a kiss that spoke volumes.
When they pulled apart, Will brushed aside Deanna’s hair and blew tender entreats in her ear. Deanna sighed feeling her body heat up with desire. “Stop teasing, Will.” She purred. On cue, Will stood up and taking Deanna in his arms, he carried her off into the bedroom.
* * *
Sometime later, they laid together, mutually exhausted. Deanna’s head lay atop Will’s chest and she idly played with his chest hair. Will was smoothing out Deanna’s long, dark hair with his fingers, inhaling her sweet perfume.
“There’s no way we’re going back to being friends.”
“I don’t think we could even if we wanted to, Deanna.”
Counselor Troi lifted up her head and looked into Will’s eyes. They sparkled back at her. She couldn’t remember the last time she felt Will this happy and content. Content. He really didn’t mind staying here. He was willing to remain a commander on the Enterprise as long as she was here. She was the one who. Deanna smiled at him.
“Nothing.” She said and brushed his lips with hers.
“I know that look, Deanna. It’s not nothing; you find something amusing.”
“You gave up the Captain’s chair.”
“On more than one occasion.”
“Why is it after all the years we’ve spent together, on the Enterprise, I just now realized you’ve stayed here for me? Your driving goal isn’t to become a captain, anymore.”
Riker smiled at her. “Not as simple minded as you thought; am I?”
“I never called you simple minded.”
“No. Just unintellectual.” Will got up from underneath Troi and went into the bathroom. Deanna followed.
“It’s just that when we first met, I found you made more decisions on gut feelings rather than”
“overanalyzing every detail. Before you make a decision to do something, Counselor, everyone else has gone out and done it.”
“I do not over analyze everything, Will Riker.” Troi huffed back, letting Will’s remark get the better of her.
Will turned to face her. “The only reason why you’re standing here, now, is because our stint in the Briar Patch made you react to a gut feeling.”
At that Deanna swung her arm, making contact with the pit of Will’s stomach. She thought to him - How’s that for gut feeling. Troi spun on her heels and left, leaving Will on the floor gasping for breath.
Deanna felt a certain satisfaction when the door hissed shut. The nerve he had saying she over analyzes every. Gods, he pissed her off! He deserved the… She spun around again and the door slid aside. “You did that on purpose!”
Riker looked up at her still gasping for air. “Yeah.” He slowly pulled himself off the floor. “Well if I knew you were gonna get physical, I wouldn’t have.” He stood facing her.
“You really don’t know?” Riker looked at her astonished.
Deanna shook her head. “No.”
“I spend all those hours reading books on Betazoid philosophy, trying to understand your culture and who you are. And you stand there telling me.”
Deanna walked up to him. “You hope to bring me up to your level so you won’t feel bad coming down to mine.”
Will grinned. “That sounds vaguely familiar.”
Deanna laughed. “I did; didn’t I?”
Will bent down and kissed her. “We’ve both changed, Deanna. Time has a tendency to do that to you; even if you fight like hell.”
Deanna pulled away. “I didn’t fight it. I honestly had no idea”
“that the goal driving your life changed. Here I am content to be a Starfleet commander and you” Will smiled at her. Deanna laughed again. “and I’m chasing after a position in command. I think I’ve been hanging around you too long. Pretty soon I’ll want the captain’s chair more than you.”
Will laughed at that. “It’s not as horrible as you imagined; is it?”
Will wrapped her in his arms. “Coming down to my level?” He pressed his lips firmly to hers.
No; it isn’t. Riker heard her reply in his head as he led her back towards the bed. And once again they found themselves relieving their pent up emotions under the bed covers.