Pattern of Behavior

Disclaimer: Not claiming ownership, or any of that other stuff, just some harmless fun.

Timeframe-Anytime after 'Second Chances' but before 'Insurrection'

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Commander Riker lie in his bed, still awake. He had had a disagreement with Deanna earlier. It was really about nothing. He had had a bad day and hers wasn't much better. He guessed he had really started it. It wasn't really her fault.

Will could feel the pain in her and see it equally on her face. He didn't like hurting like that. He knew he loved her. But women were so . . . so something.

They were so . . . infuriating. Especially the ones you wanted to love.

So he lie in bed, thinking about the most beautiful woman he could ever know. He smiled at the thought of her beautiful brown hair, and those luxurious legs. He longed to have those legs in his bed again, the way he did so many years ago.

She was beautiful.

But why did he always have to hurt her? He was so in love. Why did he always hurt her?

There was a chime at the door. He groaned, he didn't want to get out of bed. He was thinking about . . . her. It was her, Deanna was at the door.

Will rolled out of bed and hit the panel to open the door. It opened to reveal her face. She seemed upset in more ways than one. Her face was a plethora of distraught emotions, as was her unshielded mind.

"Are you alright?" he asked quietly, already knowing the answer.

Deanna stared at him for just a short moment before flinging herself at him. She wrapped her arms around his neck, and pushed him in his quarters just far enough for the door to close.

"I'm sick of it, Will. I don't want to fight anymore. I want to love." Deanna stood on her toes and kissed her Imzadi with all the fiery passion she had felt boiling up inside her for years now.

Will pushed Deanna back. He put his finger on her lips, where is own had just been. "No, Deanna," he managed. He really did want to, he really did love her.

"What?" she asked, bringing her arms from around him and dropped them at her sides, suddenly not knowing what to do with them.

"I just can't do this again," Will said looking away from her eyes. He couldn't stand to look in her beautiful, irresistible, eyes.

"Do what?" Deanna put her hand to his face, returning his gaze to her penetrating eyes.

"Hurt you," he said in a quiet tone. Will turned from her and walked to the far side of his quarters. They both stood in silence for a few moments. He stared out the port to the stars passing by.

She stared at the back of his head, trying to feel what he was thinking. Deanna felt nothing from him, a void of thought and feeling. "What do you mean?" she asked through the large space between them.

"You once told me that everyone has a pattern of behavior . . ." he sighed angrily at himself. "That's mine: hurting you," he explained painfully.

"One instance is hardly a pattern of behavior," she replied, not really understanding what he was trying to say. She slowly advanced on him.

"Oh, but it was more than one instance, Deanna. You know that," he said turning to meet her gaze once again. "You of all people know that."

"No, I don't," she put her hand on his arm. "I don't know, Will."

"So long ago, when I left, and then again with Thomas," he tried to explain.

"But Thomas wasn't really you," she argued softly. Will could tell that she really wanted this. He knew that he just had to stop himself from hurting her once again.

"Maybe not. But when it comes to you, we felt the same. We felt exactly the same," he gritted his teeth. "And he hurt just as I had."

She could feel what he was feeling. She almost wanted to shield her mind, but this was Will and she literally couldn't do it. "It wasn't you," she whispered, looking up into his eyes and smiling to calm him.

"It was more than that, Deanna. The other women, and the little fights about nothing, they hurt you so much more than they should; and it's my fault."

"All relationships have chips in the road," she tried to explain, her hand firmly on his arm.

"We're not like that. We were either widely passionate or just friends. There is no gray area for us. I want there to be, but there just isn't." Will closed his eyes and hung his head. "I'm sorry, Deanna."

Deanna stared at him for a moment and decided to change her tactic. She became Counselor Troi once again. "Why?" He chocked his head, not understanding. "Why do you hurt me?"

"I . . ." he shrugged in frustration, "I don't know." Will turned from her gaze once again. "I do care for you, Deanna. I even . . . I probably even love you. I don't know how I keep doing these things to you." Will sat down on the arm of his couch, staring out into the oblivion out his window.

There is was; he poured his heart out. Now he had to clean up the mess. There was always something to clean up. Usually it involved getting Deanna a sundae. It was more complicated now; much more complicated.

He had finally told her how he felt and he hoped that she would understand. One way or another, she had to understand.

Deanna didn't know what to say. She thought for a moment, and then approached him. Deanna sat on Will's lap, putting her arms around his neck. "I love you too, Imzadi." He didn't meet her gaze. She cupped his cheek in her hand, making him look at her once again. "If you don't want to hurt me, then don't. Be with me now, love me now, and we'll never be apart."

"That's what we said all those years ago on Betazed," he whispered, not taking his eyes off hers. That's was she said before, he was going to hurt her again, just as he had before. He didn't want to let that happen, he loved too much.

"We're both adults now. We know what we're getting into. Imzadi is forever." She smiled at him, kissing him lightly on the lips.

Will seemed to look past her eyes, trying to discern if what was happening was really happening. "Forever, eh?" The smile on Deanna's lips grew. Will wrapped his arms firmly around Deanna, and stood up with her. She clung tight to him, and he walked towards his bedroom. "I guess I'll need a new pattern of behavior."