Second Chances

Disclaimer: I don't own 'em, but boy do I wish I did.

Time-Just after the episode 'Second Chances'.

- - - - -

Will waited for Deanna to walk into his quarters. He had just COMMed her to join him.

Will was worried about her relationship with his 'clone', Lieutenant Thomas Riker. He also worried a lot about what would have happened if he had been on that planet instead of Thomas, but that's not why he asked Deanna here.

Will was aware of what was going on between Deanna and Thomas. Will was unaware of what he was going to do about it.

The sound of the door interrupted Will from his thoughts. "Come."

Deanna walked in hesitantly. "You wanted to see me?" She asked, unsure of Will's thoughts and feelings. Her inability to read him almost frightened her. She could always read him, but now his mind was jumbled, garbled, and disorganized. This was not like him at all.

"Sit down, Deanna," he said gesturing to a chair.

She sat nervously in a chair, across from Will, staring intently into his eyes, hoping to see what she could not sense.

"We need to talk," he said quietly. "We need to talk about Thomas."

"Will, you're right. We do need to talk. If-"

"Let me go first." He continued when she smiled in agreement. "I know how you feel about him. I can tell because I could once see those feelings directed towards me.

"Will, that's not true," she tried to explain,

"Are you saying you don't love him? or never loved me?" Will asked curtly, cutting her off.

"Will," she sighed as tried again. "I will always love you, Imzadi. I just don't know if what you and I have can ever turn into something really tangible." She paused for a moment.

"Thomas asked me to marry him, and all I could think of was the time you asked me the same question. I thought of what my life would be like if you and I had gotten married so long ago. I thought of what my life would be like if I said 'yes' then and there.

"I didn't have an answer for either question, which is why I told him 'no.' I couldn't imagine how things would be. I didn't know if I would be in Starfleet. I didn't know if you would have your command by now; if we would have children; be on the ship, or be millions of miles apart like my father was with my mother and me.

"What really scared me was what would happen if I said 'yes.' That would take me from the Enterprise, from you and all my friends. I didn't know what would happen between you and I. Our relationship has evolved. Into what? I don't know.

"Right now there are far too many unknowns for me to give a real answer; to either of you.

"We are all going to have to wait. -to wait to see how I feel after being from Thomas for a while. -to wait to see how you feel after being away from Thomas for a while, and how he feels after being away from both of us for a time.

"I'm trying not to feel like the thing that one brother wants because the other has it.

"I know that it is different, but I can't help but feel the same. For now I need time to answer my own questions, before I can answer any of yours."

"I understand, Deanna," Will said much calmer than he was before. He felt a little better that she was just as confused as he was. "I know that no matter how much time passes, I will always love you, and I suspect Thomas feels the exact same way. But we are different men now, our lives have shaped us, and I hope there is enough of a difference to allow you to choose one day."

- - -

"Counselor Troi's personal log. I am at a very important junction in my life. I have never had any 'romantic' problem that has kept me from sleeping before. Will was always okay with whatever fling or involvement I've had, but this one is different. Will is threatened by himself.

"Thomas Riker in most people's eyes is just a shadow Will. That's not true. I know them as different men. Will is the man who's supported me for six years and been at my side to help me. Thomas is an old love who's come back to try again.

"They are different men know, as different as one man split in two could be. They treat me differently, as differently as one man split in two could.

"Thomas asked me to marry him and I said 'no' in fear of the future. I was afraid of what life with Thomas would offer, but I live every day with Will and I am never afraid when he is there.

"I'm trying to decide what this fear means and if it will ever dissipate.

"I declined to Will's proposal all those years ago because I wasn't ready to marry Will, and he wasn't ready to marry me. Thomas is just like Will was all those years ago, but I'm not. Will and I have changed, and we have changed together.

"I think that is why I'm not afraid with Will, and why I think I want to hold out a little longer.

- - -

"Commander Riker's personal log. I can't sleep because my mind is fixated on Thomas and Deanna. I am trying to think of what would happen to her if she did marry him. Would she give up her post? Would they have the children that she and I should have?

"I simply don't know.

"All I know is that I promise now, that if I ever get Deanna, I will never let her quit something she loves as much as Starfleet. If I have to quit to make it work, better me than her."

- - -

Deanna saw Will sitting alone in Ten Forward. She requested some hot chocolate from the bar and went to sit with him.

"Good morning," she said, pulling up a chair and sitting down.

"Morning," he replied.

"Nights on this ship are really long if the only thing you can do is think about being stuck between to men," Deanna said.

"I couldn't sleep either," Will admitted.

"I stick with what I said last night. I thought a lot about it, and I still think I need more time, and I know that I need to feel that you're okay."

Will smiled. "As long as you're not leaving, I'm okay."

Deanna smiled back. "Alright." She stood. "I have an appointment."

As she walked away, he said her name and she turned. "Who knows, maybe we'll get a second chance."

Deanna nodded and continued out. "Second chance?" she thought. "I hope so, Imzadi."