By Carol Sandford


Chapter 09


As the rest of the senior crew slept and after he had ensured Deanna was safely tucked up in her bed, Will made his way down to the holodeck. Beads of sweat broke out on his brow as he relayed Deanna's secret code into the computer banks, relieved when the doors sprung open and shocked when he saw the scene playing out before him.

It was a beach, a tropical beach, complete with coconut trees, the softest sand he had ever seen, and a surf that just begged to be dived into. What really took his breath away was the sunset. He had never seen anything like it. A mixture of pinks and lilacs played across the sky, and the moon, so low you could almost touch it, glowed like a beacon. His attention was attracted by a movement from along the shoreline. As the figure approached, Will felt everything fall into place.

Deanna could not wait to escape into her own little world, this was the only way she was ever going to have the best of both worlds. Will as her best friend in real life, and Will as her lover in her secret life, and now it was time for her secret life.

She approached the holosuite and dished out her usual command. Tonight she had made a particular effort. She had replicated a sarong and her mane of black ringlets had been pinned back above one ear with a large lotus blossom.

Deanna entered in breathless anticipation. She never tired of this beautiful scene. Besides having Will to share it with, Deanna loved the peace and serenity she felt whenever she was here, which was becoming more and more frequent, especially since the wormhole incident.

Time had become precious and Deanna needed Will more and more to fill the void that the experience had left. Sadly she also knew she was going to have to cut back before it started invading her real life. She made herself comfortable on the sand and watched the surf roar to the beach, she felt herself relax, and right on cue, he came along the shoreline.

"Hello Will, here, come and sit down." She patted the sand beside her, and he plopped himself down beside her, throwing her a grin.

"Hi. This place is fantastic, isn't it?"

He saw her nod her agreement, and together they watched the sunset, marvelling at the array of colours that played before them. After a while Deanna turned and asked him,

"Will, don't you ever want to have a family some day?"

Her question took him by surprise, "I guess so. Why, do you?"

He watched her nod again as she looked into the distance, lost in thought,

"Yes, I do. Will, what would you say if I asked you to marry me?"

She turned to look at him head on, and knew that she'd caught him on the spot.

"Well, I'd probably say yes...I think! Why, are you going to ask me, Dee?"

She frowned at the shortened name, then thought better of it as she pondered his turned-about question.

"I don't know, what would you really say Will. I...I need to know."

Will reached across to gently caress her face, her sigh caught in his hand as she closed her eyes to wallow in the sensation that coursed throughout her body at his touch.

"Deanna, I love you. I want you to be my wife, I want to have babies. I want all of it Deanna."

As his lips touched hers, he gently laid her down on the sand, the kiss deepened, and they were lost once more to the magic of the moonlight.

Much later, they both stood to say goodbye, Deanna kissed him and turned away, her heart heavy. But she knew it would only be for a short time before he would be in her arms again. As she walked away from him she spoke to thin air.

"Computer, end programme."

The room shimmered back to its yellow squared grid. As the doors opened, something made her look back. She thought her eyes were deceiving her as she stared at the man standing in the middle of the room. Time stood still as they looked at each other, emotions played across their faces as the whole story unfolded before them.

Finally Will broke the silence.


He was left speechless when she turned and walked away from him. The holodoors closed shut as she disappeared around the corner out of sight. It was several moments before he berated himself and set off after her. Knowing that she would head back to her own quarters, he also knew that she would not acknowledge him until they were behind closed doors. He used his own override access code to enter her quarters. She would not have willingly let him in.

Will found her staring out of her porthole, her misery radiated all around her. Deanna's voice was quiet as she finally plucked up the courage to ask.

"How long have you known?"

Will was not quite sure if her problem was him knowing about the programme, or the lie. Whichever it was, he had to be very careful.

"Not long. You know, Deanna, it's okay, I understand how you feel."

She whirled around, her embarrassment giving her a faint pink glow as she stormed at him.

"How can you possibly understand Will? You don't want a relationship, you've never wanted a relationship with me. You left me behind Will Riker. You left me behind!"

Her voice broke on her last words.

Will was mortified at her outburst. He thought Deanna had understood why he'd left her and that they'd overcome that hurdle. He hurried over to her and caught her in his strong arms as she let her grief finally release.

"Oh, my god, Imzadi, I am so sorry. I never meant to hurt you. I thought we had something better than that. I swear to you, I wanted to, I truly wanted to come back for you, but I was too late. You had already left for the academy and I didn't want to ruin things for you, so I left you alone."

"I knew I had blown it and I also knew you would not have taken me back. But I never forgot you, Deanna. It was you who kept me alive on dangerous missions, and I was determined to find you again and put my mistakes to right. I had every intention of being with you again one day. Seeing you on the other side of that wormhole made me realise how much I want us to be together. I want us to be together 'til the end, Deanna. I want it to be you who comforts me as I take my last breath."

Deanna had stopped crying and watched his face intently as he poured out his heart to her. Will's truthfulness was unquestionably honest, and she found herself crying again as she thought of him dying in her arms. However, she too now would not want it any other way. Now they just had to deal with the dilemma that they were in. Will hugged her until she quieted and decided it was time to let her in on his own secret.

"Deanna, I want to show you something. Will you come with me?"

Will's eyes begged her to follow him. She sniffed and nodded. They headed back towards the holodeck, and Deanna stood with wonderment as Will entered his own personal access code.

"Computer, run programme, Riker, Gamma Echo one Alpha three, password dreams."

Deanna looked into his eyes as he spoke, her curiosity well and truly piqued. As the doors opened, Will added,

"Computer, remove Deanna Troi."

They entered Will's own fantasy world. Deanna stood in the centre of the huge room, surprised as she came face to face with a huge double bed inside a rustic log cabin. A roaring log fire blazed in the centre of the wall, and her eyes fell to the large fluffy hearth rug, her heart doing a little flip at the image that immediately sprung to mind. She looked up to Will«s face, her astonishment evident, his face apprehensive.

"Are you telling me you've been doing the same thing, Will?"

He nodded, his own voice breaking slightly.

"Y'see Deanna, I can't live without your love either. I wanted...needed, the best of both worlds too."

As they both walked into each others arms once more, they knew then that they had come full circle, and things were never going to be the same for them again, and most of all, there was going to be no need for any more secrets and lies.

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