By Carol Sandford


Chapter 02


Thomas Riker shimmered into life before her very eyes, barely waiting for the transporter to finish it's job before rushing off and straight into his beloved's waiting outstretched arms. They briefly gazed longingly into each others eyes before Deanna grasped the back of his head to pull him down for a long awaited, almost desperate kiss. Tom's heart soared as he delved deep into her mouth, feeling the moan rise up within him. Crushing her body close to his, he couldn't help himself as he swung her round in a complete circle before gently replacing her feet back on the floor.

Will watched the couple from a few feet away and was surprised to find that he wasn't jealous. But the feeling that invaded his very being was one of loneliness, and he didn't like it, at all. The heaviness of his heart made him wish that he was jealous. Anything but this awful feeling. He would have done 'anything' to have got out of this meeting, but Picard had insisted that he welcomed his 'brother' aboard. So here he was, watching his entire universe crumble before his very eyes.

Two very happy faces finally turned to face Will, and before anything was said, he stuck out his hand to greet his greatest adversary. Managing to keep the bitterness out of his voice, and aided with an over-bright smile he welcomed him back, 'Hello Tom, good to see you again. How's life back on the Ghandi? Enjoying being back among the stars?'

Tom warily took his brothers hand, relieved that Will had taken the first tentative step. He knew it was going to be awkward, and he also knew Will was putting on a huge front, for Deanna's benefit he suspected.

As he plastered his own similar grin across his face, he barely kept the pride from his voice. He'd won Deanna's hand over Will's and right at that moment he was gloriously self-satisfied. 'Hi Will, Life is just great. I'm chief of security now, and best of all, I've got everything I've always wanted...nearly.'

Will again watched the look between the two lovers as Tom pulled Deanna close to his side, his arm fixing around her tiny waist. His own heart sank again as Deanna's hand came to lightly caress his cheek as adoration shone from her eyes. And once again he sadly reminded himself that she'd once had that look for him.

God, it hurt.

He unconsciously sighed and turned away before they saw the pain that he was sure showed in his eyes. But seconds later, he looked down in surprise as Deanna linked her arm in his, threw him a tremendous smile, and all three of them, arm in arm, set off down the corridor. Members of the crew did a double take at the comical sight.

Will managed to excuse himself as they reached Deanna's quarters. The hurried pace between the two as they all neared their own private sanctuaries gave him the unwelcome thought of what was going to happen as soon as the door closed on them. Will's steps grew heavier with each step as he visualised the frantic removal of clothes, the frenzied hands reaching out to touch everything. Whispered words of lovers desperate to reunite.

By the time Will had reached his own quarters, the erotic thoughts that were assaulting him reduced him to a heap on the floor. His head fell to his hands as he tried to shut them out, his own moans of misery joining in.

'You can't do this to me, Imzadi. I Love You. Please! Don't do this.'


Along the corridor, Deanna stilled as Will's anguished cries filtered through the sexual haze of Tom's own sensual thoughts. She sat up, still intimately locked to the man beneath her. Tom reached for her breasts, but she pushed him away. Tom looked up to her face in surprise when she stopped his movements.

He watched her face crumple before she burst into tears. Tom sat up with him still embedded within Deanna's body and enveloped her within his arms. Assuming that she was crying from the sexual relief like he knew some women did, he whispered loving endearments that he thought she'd want to hear after, what he'd considered to be his best sex since...well, since the last time he'd made love her. Before he'd left to join the Ghandi.

'Shhhh, Dee, it's okay, sweetheart, I'm here. It's going to be okay.' He fell back with shock as she pushed him away and climbed off, her words cutting him to the core

'Oh, my God, Tom, I can't do this.'

As it dawned on Tom that Will had managed to come between them again, his quickly risen anger made her jump as he snapped, 'Oh, just great, I'm screwing you and your thinking about HIM!

Deanna turned startled, horrified eyes to him and the tears continued to run unchecked down her face at his brutal remark. 'How could you, Tom? After everything that's happened, how could you be so cruel?'

Tom swung his legs round to sit beside her, his anger now vibrating throughout his tense body as he snarled, 'I got cruel after being dumped on that lousy planet with only your undying love to keep me sane. Only to find that HE was playing 'happy families' instead of me, and he hadn't even got the balls to take up where we'd left off on Betazed! What an asshole!'

By the time he'd finished his tirade he was shouting and pacing around the room butt naked. Deanna watched him with a growing sense of dread as she began to realise what a mistake she had made. Tom being stuck on that planet for eight years had turned him into a bitter version of his counterpart. He obviously resented everything that Will had become, and the fact that the friendship between herself and him had indeed become better than the intimate relationship that Tom so desperately wanted. Now she seriously began to wonder if it was just spite that made Tom come back for her.

Deanna quietly rose, picking up her dressing gown as she did so. The need to cover herself up became paramount. She now felt invaded. This wasn't Will making love to her, and finally as the cloud lifted, she knew where she belonged, and it wasn't with this stranger.

With his hands on his hips and still naked, he watched her cover herself up. When she went to leave, he instinctively knew where she was going. With a roar, he rushed to block her path. 'NO! Your not going to him!'

Deanna looked up into his face, but she wasn't afraid. She knew he would never hurt her, but she desperately wanted to see Will, 'Let me go Tom, I don't belong with you.'

Tom took a step towards her. He went to reach for her hand as his anger abated and turned to desperation, knowing that he'd blown it once again. 'Please, Deanna, can we at least talk about it? Please!'

They both turned to the door as it hissed open, surprise clear on their faces. Will stepped in, quickly assessing the situation to make sure no harm was being done, his posture ready for anything that might have happened when he made himself known. 'I think the lady wants to leave.'

His voice held a veiled threat that Tom knew only too well. No one in their right mind tackled a Riker when it involved a woman, especially when that woman was Deanna Troi.

Deanna edged around Tom, never taking her eyes from his face. Will took her hand and pulled her the rest of the way towards him. He gave her a gentle nudge to indicate for her to go ahead without him. She carried on walking, nervously watching over her shoulder as Will re-entered her quarters and closed the door.

Both men stared at each other for some time, before Will finally quietly and deliberately dished out his orders. 'I want you off this ship before 0900 hours tomorrow. You will never, ever, come on board again, and don't EVER try to take Deanna away from me either. I think she has made it very plain which Riker she wants to be with, and it isn't you!'

As Will turned to leave, Tom flew at him with the howl of an injured man, 'You Son of a Bit....!'

Before he had finished cursing, Will had swung round and landed the hardest punch he'd ever hit anyone with on Tom's jaw. The last thing he wanted was a fight with himself as his opponent! Will looked down at Tom as fell backwards to the floor, clutching his chin, sure he saw admiration in his eyes as Tom looked back to him in a different light. No words were said, just an understanding look between the two men before Will turned and walked out of the doors, without looking back once.

Deanna was waiting around the corner, her worried look turning to one of relief when she saw her Imzadi walk towards her with no obvious physical damage. Will barely halted as he reached her. Deanna fell in step beside him and he casually slung his arm across the top of her shoulders, giving her a quick hug to reassure her, both lost in their own thoughts and recriminations. And for once, the first in a long time, both felt a sense of peace.

Once they had entered Will's quarters, they stood uncertain in the middle of the room, both sensing each others thoughts, both saying exactly the same thing, together. 'I'm sorry.'

Smiling at the irony of the situation, they walked into each others waiting arms. Time ceased as the fated couple finally come to realise what they both missed, wanted and cherished. Will voiced the question they both were desperate to ask, 'So, what do we do now?'

Deanna pulled back and looked up to his face, now seeing it in a totally different light. Her realisation that everything she ever wanted was standing there, right in front of her, and had been all along, made the tears spring to her eyes once again, 'Oh, Will, how could I have been so stupid> I love you so much. Can we start over again?, properly this time?'

Will gently kissed her nose, his love radiating through the very essence of her being. As his arms enveloped her, he hoarsely groaned, 'Deanna, you don't know how long I've waited for you to say that.'

As they tentatively touched each other's lips, not knowing if the spark they needed to re-ignite the fire they required to make them become one again. Only time would tell. Breaking the gentle kiss, they looked deep into each others eyes, seeing the love that shone from their depths was more enough to cause that spark, and as they finally opened their hearts and souls once more, they knew that they had been given a final chance to get it right.

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