The Second Element

By Seema

Characters and places belong to Paramount. No infringement intended. Story is for enjoyment purposes only.

"The Second Element" is set after "Tears of the Prophets."

Dedicated in loving memory to my sister-in-law.

Reformatted 01/02/01

This story is inspired by the song, "The Second Element," by Sarah Brightman, found on the "Dive" album.

Always you'll be
blood soul part of me
The second element
I am longing for you

Always you'll see
you reflect on me
my second element
are you missing me too?

excerpt from "The Second Element"


He remembered everything clearly. Her touch, her smile, the way her hair framed her face and those dark, beautiful eyes. Not for the first time he wondered at the power of this woman who had such a hold on his heart.

Years. It had been years and still he loved her.

Will Riker turned away from the window, from the memories which still haunted him. To this day, he did not know how Deanna felt about him. Yes, she cared; he knew that much. But did she love him as he loved her? That was what he wanted to know. What he needed to know.

Deanna had once told him it wasn't worth holding onto regrets.

"You could spend your whole life thinking about what might have been," she had said. "I think that's a terrible waste of time."

But Riker could not help it; he could not forget what he and Deanna had once shared together.
Now, in the sterile confines of his quarters, Riker traced the smooth curves of the window, his eyes focused on nothing and his thoughts only of Deanna.

"That's funny," Deanna Troi laughed. Her companion ventured a small smile; the first smile he had offered her in a long time.

"I suppose it is," Worf said quietly. "But at the time, I was so amazed. I would have never thought that she would love me. Nor did I ever imagine that she would challenge me, right there. And I remember later, thinking how foolish I had been, chasing after a woman like Grilka when Jadzia Dax had been there all along. She had been there all the time."

Troi covered his big hand with her smaller one. She leaned forward, her mind gently probing the depths of the Klingon's thoughts. He winced slightly from the touch but her smile reassured him.

"I hate it when you do that," he said ruefully.

"I don't mean it to be invasive," she answered. "But I can tell when you're lying to me, Worf. We know each other too well for these games."

"I do appreciate you coming here," Worf admitted uneasily.

"You knew I would come. The moment I heard, I knew I had to come."

"I miss her terribly," Worf dropped his head. For a moment he could not speak because the sobs choked in his throat. "When Jadzia and I first began our relationship, I didn't know what would happen. She could not make any guarantees and I never thought that I would love her as I did. As I do."

"It is difficult to predict the heart," Deanna said gently. "And Worf, you cannot continue to keep your grief to yourself. It is much too difficult, I know."

"There are many things that are hard," Worf said slowly. "This is just one of them."
Deanna eyed her old friend with concern but she said nothing. She withdrew her hand slowly, knowing that when Worf was ready, he would open up to her.

"How is he?" Riker asked.

Deanna's face stared out at him from the computer console. He could tell by the expression in her eyes that she had been enormously affected by Worf's loss.

"Not good," Deanna admitted. "He would be the last person to say so though."

"Worf has always been like that, keeping things to himself."

"I know. But this... losing his wife. I don't know how he'll bear it."

"It's difficult to lose someone you love. I know."

Deanna's face softened, "Will..."

Riker shook his head, "Would it help if I came there?"

"To Deep Space Nine?"

"Yes. I knew Jadzia Dax and... well, I would like to offer my condolences."

"What about your current mission?"

Riker shrugged, "Routine survey. Deep Space Nine is only a day out of the way."

"Then I think you should come. Worf would like that."

"I will see you in a few days then."

"Good. I look forward to it."


Deanna Troi closed her eyes, reveling in the quiet of her quarters. The emotional assault of Worf's grief had affected her greatly and now she appreciated the time to center herself again, before she met with Worf again.

It had only been three weeks since Jadzia Dax's death and when Troi had heard the news back on Betazed, she had grabbed the first transport off-planet. Which in itself was a challenge, she thought now. Now that Betazed had fallen to the Dominion, it was difficult to get off the planet and once you were off, there was no guarantee you would reach your final destination in one piece.

But Troi could not ignore her friend. He would need her now, more than ever before. And the sooner the healing began, the better.


Riker stepped off the ship and into the airlock. His eyes fell immediately on Deanna Troi. She smiled at him, a smile that made his heart stop for a moment. He walked over to her and dropped a light kiss on her forehead. She rested her head on his chest for a second.

"Does Worf know I'm here?" he asked.

"Yes. He appreciates it."

"Is he all right?"

"When he keeps busy, he does not think of her. I think nights are the worst for him."

"Does anyone know what happened?"

Troi shrugged, "Just that she was in the wrong place at the wrong time. Sisko left her behind on the station during the invasion of Cardassia because Worf and Dax were not allowed to serve on the same mission together."

"I heard about that."

"Worf is upset about that. He thinks that maybe if he had disobeyed Starfleet and insisted that Dax come, this would not have happened. I've talked to all of the senior staff and they all have varying degrees of guilt over what happened. It's terrible, Will. I've never felt such an intense sense of loss since we lost Tasha."

Riker draped his arm around her shoulders, "I'm sure Worf appreciates you being here."
"I know he does."

Riker did not say anything. He knew once that Deanna had had feelings for Worf; now, he wasn't sure. Dare he ask? He knew Deanna well though, and knew she had not come for personal reasons. She had come as a friend and she would stay as long as Worf needed her.

"Take me to him," Riker requested.

Troi turned those dark eyes up at him, "Let's go."


Riker marveled at the change in his old friend. The Klingon, though physically still strong, appeared weak in ways that Riker would have never thought before. To be defeated by love, Riker thought mournfully, was the cruelest torture of all.

The Klingon poured Riker a glass of bloodwine. It was a beverage for which Riker had an acquired taste, along with gagh and other Klingon delicacies.

"You did not need to interrupt your mission," Worf said, a bit stiffly.

"It was no problem," Riker said. He immediately regretted the words the moment he said them. Problem? His biggest problem at the moment was whether to stop at Andoria or Risa for his leave. That, and of course, Deanna. Telling Deanna that he loved her. But those "problems" paled in comparison to his friend's obvious suffering.

"It was a routine survey mission," Riker went on. "And I knew your wife, Worf. I met Jadzia Dax and she was wonderful. I'm sure you loved each other very much."

"We did."

A discernible shudder ran through Worf and Riker made no comment.

"I replay those last moments," Worf said quietly. "Our last words to each other, the last touch, the last kiss. And sometimes, I wonder if it was enough. And all that time, she was dying, did she know I was trying to get to her? And if so, did she know that I loved her?"

"She knew," Riker said awkwardly. "She did not seem the type to be insecure."

"No. I always doubted her. She never doubted me."

"Were you with her...?"

"Yes," Worf nodded. "I was with her when she died. I think she waited for me."

Riker did not know what to say. Instead, he finished the rest of his drink and put the glass down on the table. Worf picked up the empty glass and stared at it for a long moment. Then, in a fit of rage, he slammed it into the table, shattering the glass into thousands of pieces. Riker stared, almost afraid to move. And then the Klingon sat down, his body shaking with sobs.

"It was terrible," Riker told Deanna. He had arranged to meet her at the replimat after his conversation with Worf. "I've never seen him like this before. Not even after K'Eylar's death."

"It's going to take time," Deanna said gently. "Lots of time and the support of good friends like you."

Will nodded dumbly. Deanna eyed him in concern.

"This station," Deanna said quietly. "There's a lot of stress here, a lot of grief. It takes some getting used to, doesn't it?"

"I always thought of the war as being so far away," Will admitted. "When I heard about Betazed, I thought about you immediately and now, looking at Worf, I realize this war is not happening to someone else somewhere else. It's real. Very real. And it scares me that I never noticed it before."

"But we don't notice things until they affect us. It's always that way, Will. If you break your leg, suddenly you notice that there are so many people with broken legs, whereas before, you never noticed at all."

"Will it be all right?"


"That's not what I meant."

"War is not a gracious mistress, Will. She takes and takes and what she does give, it's often not worth the battle."

They sat there in silence, understanding instinctively the need for comfort one could only find from within.


Will rented some holosuite time from the Ferengi and went upstairs. He had chosen to escape to the 1940s, the era of the big bands. Once inside the night club, Will found himself a seat. He tried to relax to the music, but he found himself unable to. What he and Deanna had talked about really struck a nerve. He thought about the vicissitudes of war, realizing how quickly things could be gained or lost in a moment.

He thought of Jadzia Dax, remembering her as a vibrant woman with an easy and quick laugh. How she had tamed Worf would have made a great story, Riker mused, if she had lived. Now, that anecdote would be simply footnoted as another tragic love story.

"Not me," Riker said suddenly. "Not me."


Will. Deanna smiled at she picked up her cup of coffee from the replicator. He had looked so tragic during their meeting at the replimat.

"How can I help you understand?" she asked out-loud. But the truth was, she did not understand many things herself. To be honest, Will Riker was her best friend and sometimes, he was more. They shared a bond, deeper than anything Deanna had ever felt before, and it hurt her to see him like this.

Deanna stood by the window, eyeing the stars blinking in the distance. There must be a thousand stars out there, she thought, each one with its own light. She saw two stars far off, each glowing in the light of the other. Deanna's attention was transfixed until one of the stars suddenly went dark, leaving the second star alone and dull.

Deanna gasped as she pressed her hand to her forehead, trying to calm the pain which was slowly encroaching upon her temples.

"Not for me," she said. "Not for me."

She was getting ready for bed when the chimes sounded at her door. Deanna frowned and stretched her mind to feel who was outside. Will. She smiled to herself.


Riker entered the guest quarters and took a look around.

"I see your place is as spartan as mine," he said with a grin. Deanna nodded.

"Cardassian architecture doesn't lend much for comfort, does it?" Deanna asked. Will did not answer her. She watched Will walk around the room. She knew that walk, the way he held his shoulders slightly hunched, the uneasiness of his gait and the way he held his head so he would not be looking at her; he was nervous. She considered probing his mind to discover the reason why he had come, but she knew that would be unfair.

"Something on your mind?" she asked quietly.

"I've been thinking, Deanna, that I've been a terrible fool."

"A fool? What have you done now?"

Will stared at her, gazing deeply into those liquid brown eyes. He moved hesitantly towards her and touched a tendril of hair which had escaped from her barrette. Deanna sucked in her breath.

"I care for you, Deanna. I always have."

"And I for you. That's never been a secret."

"I've been turning things over in my mind and now I want to tell you before it's too late."

"Will! What are you talking about?"

"It's always been you," Will answered simply. "It's always been you."

Deanna took a step back, nearly colliding with the wall. She stared into Will's eyes, seeing an intensity there she had not recognized in a long time. There was something else there too and for a moment, she thought about searching his mind again, but held herself back. In his own time, Deanna, she thought to herself. In his own time.

"I don't want any regrets, Deanna," Will continued. His voice trembled slightly as he spoke.

"Things happen. Unspeakable things and we don't know what's going to happen in the future. Look at Worf. How could such a thing happen? I don't know, but it did. And I think it's time to stop denying things and just go with what you feel. What I feel."

"What is it?" Deanna breathed the words. Will's face was close to hers now and she could feel his breath on her own skin. She reached up and touched his cheek lightly. Her fingers moved gently to his lips. Without thinking, he kissed her fingers.

"I think we've loved each other long enough now," Will said slowly. "I don't think we should wait anymore."


"We belong together, Deanna. We always have. Not matter what's happened in the past, somehow we've always found each other again."

Deanna thought of the stars she had been staring at earlier. She did not want to feel the abrupt extinguishing of a flame again.

"I don't want to be without you, Deanna. Not again. If I'm wrong, I want you to tell me and I'll leave. But I have to hear it from you. I have to know what you feel."

Deanna wrapped her arms around his neck, "Are you proposing to me, Commander?"

"If you will have me."

Deanna kissed him, "How can I refuse an offer like that?"


Worf nodded stiffly as Troi and Riker broke the news to him. They did not know how Worf would react, but Deanna had felt that it would be best to tell him right away.

"I hope you will be very happy," Worf said quietly.

"You will come to the wedding?" Troi asked anxiously.

"Of course," Worf said, but Troi could not miss the sadness in his eyes.

"We would be honored," Riker said. "If you were there."

Worf nodded, "I will be there."


Deanna had already left, heading back to Betazed. Riker tried to keep the worry out of his voice as they had said good-bye, but he knew he had to let her go.

Later, he met Worf at the replimat.

"You will be very happy with the counselor," Worf said. "Appreciate every moment. Tell her you love her often."

"I will."

"I am happy for you."

"I was worried you might not be enthusiastic, because of your past relationship with Deanna."

Worf stared off into the distance, "That was in the past, Commander, and I cannot live there. And you two have always loved each other. That kind of love is hard to find and once you find it, you should hold on to it."
Riker lifted his eyes to meet Worf's and a moment of understanding passed between them. Will pushed back his chair.

"I should go," he said. "My ship will be here to pick me up anytime now."

"I will walk you to the airlock. I am grateful for your support."

"And I for yours."

"For what it's worth," Worf said quietly. "I never loved Deanna as you do."

Riker nodded, "Understood."


They were on a beach, somewhere on Risa; Will had lost track of time and place. All he knew was that he was deliriously happy. Deanna turned to look at him, the wind blowing her hair into face, He laughed, brushing the stray hair away.

"This is wonderful," she said. "We were right to come here. It's like we belong here."

"Not here, to each other," Will corrected her gently.

Deanna smiled at him. Something caught her eye and she bent down.

"What is it?" he asked.

Deanna opened her hand to show him two little grains of sand, each blinking in the light of the Risian suns.

"Look," Deanna said. "See how they glow together."

She handed one grain to Will and immediately, both grains turned gray and lifeless.

"Let's not separate them," Will said. He placed the second grain back in her hand. "Not ever again."

~The End~

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