Okay, I know, it's been ages since I updated or uploaded anything, I have no excuse (or actually I do, but not one that's suited to go public). So, anyhow, I'm working on the next chapter of Xiara, which should be up in a week, at most.

In the mean time, here's a short story I wrote in response to a challenge. The challenge was to use the quote "A woman laughing is a woman conquered"

I'll post the story in two parts, the first is rated PG-13, the second will be rated R- for sexual content and posted next week.

I hope you'll enjoy and please, review *sweet smile*

Oh, this takes place a little after Insurrection, the characters aren't mine, the ship isn't mine but everything else is.

The Dance of Imzadi

For the millionth time William Riker glanced around the reception area of the palace, searching for the familiar head full of dark curls. They'd been arguing a lot about how to deal with their resurfaced feelings now that they were well out off the Briar Patch; he had been taken aback by her uncertainty and it hurt that she still didn't completely trust him with her heart while his confident attitude had angered her.

He'd dared her to come to the party tonight and dance with him and had then left without awaiting her answer and right now he was so nervous he was sure she could feel it on the ship. Would she show up, or would she stick to her word?

But just then the doors opened to reveal Her, dressed…well, dressed to kill. She slightly turned her head to greet two people who addressed her, but kept walking towards him; the slit in her skirt revealing a large part of her right leg. The black fabric set off perfectly against her smooth, white skin.

Standing but a few feet away from him he was tempted to pull her into his arms, but as he recalled her words earlier he decided otherwise. He appraised her appearance, from her free mass of hair, to the solid diamond raindrop dangling from a black satin band around her neck to the glimpse of cleavage the dress revealed, to the sparkling, delicate silver chain around a slim ankle above high-heeled shoes.

A knowing smile curled around her full, soft lips as his feelings became clear to her, replaced by confusion as he slowly circled her. "Just making sure you didn't bring a phaser." He explained when he was facing her again. The smile that broke across her face and the short laugh that escaped her please him immensely as he recalled the Captain's words.

He took her hand in his and pulled her to him. Caught in the moment Deanna danced a quick pirouette, sending the skirt of her dress swirling around her legs. When they reached the dance-floor Will caught her in his arms, holding her close and breathing in her scent until she moved away.

Fire showed in her black eyes as they found his, but not the fire of fury he'd seen all day; the fire of passion had taken its place. As if prearranged the music changed and Deanna took a small step towards him. He recognized her stance and the flickering of the fire, she was going to dance and everyone was going to know it.

Three quick steps brought her flush against him and his arms shot out to touch her; one at the small of her back, the other against the junction between her shoulder and neck and as she began to move, he moved without thinking. Not knowing, but *knowing* how to follow her lead.

The first set of swirls were quick and furious, her upper body leaning against this as his foot stood between hers and his body twisted to pull her around him; it felt like flying. She pressed herself even closer when a quick combination of steps brought them to the other side of the floor, not paying attention to the other couples around them. He dipped her, his eyes on her face, and brought her back up. She was almost too close for comfort but all and every thought dissipated as her lips found his in a furious kiss.

Just as soon the contact was broken and she spun away from him. She danced with the same passion as before, only this time her steps and swirls where quicker, angrier; her hair flapping around her face as a lethal weapon, her shoes making contact with the floor almost as if trying to split it in parts. He followed her with a set of steps he wasn't even aware he knew, aching to have her back in his arms and trying to coax her to take his hand.

She refused, moving further away, but as the fury drained from her body she slowly brought herself closer; slowing her pace as he slowed his. Tentatively she took his hand but didn't step into his arms. Slowly now they danced at an arm's length apart, catching their breaths and getting used to these new dynamics for the dance.

Bit by bit, step by step, she moved closer, until after what felt like decades she was back in his arms. His hands took a gentle hold of her waist and hers slid around his neck, keeping him locked to her. But just as he settled into the slowness and intimacy of this new position she changed it yet again.

Dancing faster again her hips began to teasingly gyrate against his, pushing him to dance faster and faster without loosing the intimate contact. He didn't know what possessed him but what he felt was incredible and he swirled and twisted faster still, pulling her against him and then pushing her into a pirouette, yanking her back to him once she'd completed the move.

Passion blazed in her eyes; the fire leaping out and licking his face, telling him that his eyes were on fire too. Her leg came up around his waist, crushing him to her for a brief second before moving away, leaving him aching for her touch.

He went after her, hardly aware that he was still dancing to the beat of the resonating music and flaring passion. But Deanna was quick and darted away, teasing him with her eyes and body, always moving quicker and allowing only the lightest of touches. She danced a circle around him, her hands beckoning him to follow her, to try and catch her.

Every time he missed her, her laughter rang through his head, inciting him, encouraging him until he thought his head and body would burst with the passion flying inside of him. In a desperate attempt he lunged at her and managed to grab hold of her upper arm. She squealed when he yanked her backwards until she collided with his chest and the fire in her eyes almost exploded when one of his hands pushed itself through her mass of curls to the back of her head to crush her lips against him.

Her hands grabbed his arms as he assaulted her mouth, invading her with his demanding tongue, wanting more and more of her. The dance of their lives had brought them to this moment when nothing mattered but their love, their passion for each other. She kissed him back, deepening and quickening the kiss until it was as furiously passionate as their dance.

With a last rational thought Deanna hit the commbadge hidden under her dress, setting a transporter program in motion and within seconds a beam took hold of them and carried them back to the Enterprise without breaking the contact of lips.