Title:  The Counselor’s Campout
Author:  Michelle
Series: TNG
Part: NEW 1/1
Rating: PG-13
Codes:  R/T, Short Story
Disclaimer:  Paramount owns it all except my story.
Summary:  This is my answer to the CAMPING challenge raised at ASC 7/3/99. Counselor Troi get more than she bargained for when she loses a poker bet to Commander Riker.  The setting takes place AFTER First Contact.

The Counselor's Campout
by Micaela


Deanna Troi stepped into Holodeck three stumbling under the burden of her overloaded backpack.  //How did I EVER get myself into this?// she questioned herself.

Will Riker was sitting there in front of a campfire enjoying the scene before him.

“Well, Counselor.  You are late.  I was beginning to think that you had chickened out on our bet!”

“Hey, Commander.  I play fair!  I do not gamble what I cannot afford to lose.  I just cannot figure out how I lost that hand with four of a kind!  But, a bet is a bet and
here I am.  What am I supposed to do now?”

Will smiled at her naiveté.  “Come over here and unload your pack.  You look like you are about to buckle under.  What the hell did you pack?”

She glared at him.  “You said it would be an overnight camping trip and to pack accordingly.  That is what I did.  You said replicators were off-limits, remember?’

“I know, I know.  I just wanted you to get a taste of the ‘real life’.  That’s all.  Since
Alaska is too far away at the moment, I have done my best to recreate my favorite spot here.”

Deanna took a moment to appreciate her surroundings.  It really was quite beautiful.  There was a snow-capped mountain in the distance.  There was a nip in the air although Will PROMISED this was summertime for Alaska.  The songs of the nocturnal animals and insects musically filled the breezes.  Deanna could the faintly hear the babble of a stream off in the distance.

“It is beautiful, Imzadi.”  She finally said.

“IMZADI?”  Will grinned from ear to ear.  “I haven’t heard that in a long time.”
She sensed his curiosity at her using that particular term of endearment.  “Well, it is just that this place – the outdoors.  It brings back some pleasant memories for me.”

“Pleasant for me, too.  Let’s get your stuff stowed in the tent and then we can roast some marshmallows.  Okay?”

Deanna nodded in agreement.  As they got her sleeping bag unfurled and her pillow and quilt unfolded, she wondered just what was going on.  She had been sensing some unusual emotions in Will recently.  He had seemed more flirtatious, more attentive to her since their trip back in time to battle the Borg.  She had passed it off as wishful thinking on her part.  A piece of her soul would never accept Will Riker as ‘just a friend’ no matter what her mind said.  The Imzadi bond between them was far too strong for that.  Besides, she loved him.  She had since the beginning and she knew that she always would.

Deanna had convinced herself that a platonic relationship was, however, what the Commander wanted.  Then came last week’s poker game.  She arrived early and they had exchanged a bit of harmless banter.  Will had been bragging about his invincibility when it came to poker.  She challenged him and he came up with the idea of the bet.  Whichever one of them had the best hand of the evening could choose the holodeck program they desired.  The other had to participate – no questions asked.  Deanna had been shocked at Will’s choice when he won – an old fashioned CAMPOUT!  She had halfway expected something a bit more sensual or lusty, especially with the added clause that it COULD be an overnight program if the winner so desired.

But here she was, fully clothed in the cold Alaskan night air with nothing but a tent and sleeping bag to keep her warm.  //He did this just to annoy me!//
As she finished unpacking her bag she heard him call out, “What’s taking so long in there?”

“I’m right here, Will.  I was looking for my sweater.  I am cold if you don’t mind.”

She sat down by the fire with her arms wrapped tightly around herself for warmth.  She noted with grim amusement that Will had nothing more on than a long sleeved blue denim shirt and khaki pants.  GODS!  He did look good there framed in the moonlight with the flames illuminating his bright blue eyes.
“COLD?  How can you be cold?  This is pleasant … now you should try this in the dead of winter.  Now that’s cold!”

“No thanks.”  She absent-mindedly slapped at a mosquito that had landed on her cheek.  “How can there be BUGS when it is this cold?”

“I told you this is summertime.  But I have just the thing to warm you up!”

Deanna’s heart had begun to race at his innuendo, but she was quickly disappointed as he handed her a mug of piping hot chocolate.

She tried to quickly cover her lapse, as she knew he sensed something.  “I need something more substantial than this.  I’m hungry here.  You got any food stashed away or am I supposed to go catch a fish or something?”

He grinned incredulously.  “I have a special treat in store for dessert.  But for the moment, how does fresh grilled salmon steaks sound?”

“Mmmmmm.  Sounds delicious.  But won’t that take a while?  Can’t I start on dessert first?”

“No!  It will spoil the surprise.  Drink your hot chocolate and I have some granola you can munch on if you want.”

“Granola?  No thanks.  I will just wait.  I had something more along the lines of …”

“CHOCOLATE!  I know.” he said as he finished her thought for her. “Just wait, okay?  I promise you will like it.”

She smiled at how easy they could slip back into their old relationship.  It was almost as if they were one being sometimes.

They ate in companionable silence.  The salmon was just as delicious as Will had promised and he had brought along a bottle of Chateau Picard to compliment it.  Deanna was curious as Will began to prepare the dessert.

“What exactly are you making, Commander?”

“They are called ‘smores.  We roast some marshmallows until they are melted and creamy.  Then we put them on these graham crackers.  Now, for the best part – the chocolate!!”

Deanna mouth was watering at the thought of such a yummy combination.  As he handed her one of the small gooey sandwiches, she readily took it.

Will laughed as she devoured it.  She savored each morsel with childlike enthusiasm.  He watched as her tongue darted out to lick the cream from her lips.  He gently wiped her chin free of crumbs.

They ate and talked with an ease that had not been present between them in quite sometime.  Actually since her romantic liaison with Worf.  Deanna knew that Will had been jealous of the situation, but he had never once mentioned one negative word.  He had been there for her when it had ended and Worf transferred to DS9.  He had never let on, although she had sensed his true feelings.

The hours passed and finally Deanna rose from her sitting position.

“I am rather sticky from that delicious concoction, Commander.  Where do I .. uh .. take care of things around here?”

He grinned mischievously.  “There is a large rock down by the stream and lots of trees around it …”  He raised an eyebrow at her predicament.  “Just be careful.  The creekbank can be slippery from the dew.”

“Thanks a lot.  I’ll keep that in mind.”

She rolled her eyes and went to fetch her toiletry bag.  She figured she might as well save a trip and go ahead and take care of her personal business now.  She reached the stream and placed her bag on the rock.  She decided on a tree and took care of business.  She returned to her bag and removed her necessities.  Her hair was a dark glossy mane shining in the moonlight as she brushed the tangles from it.  She then bent down to the water and splashed her face to remove what was left of the ‘smores.  As she stood up to grab the sweatshirt she would sleep in, her feet slid out from under her and she tumbled backward into the icy water.

Will was cleaning up the cooking utensils when he heard the scream and then the splash.  He grabbed a blanket and took off running.  He smiled to himself, as he knew just what had happened.  //She is going to blame this on me, but I DID warn her that it was slippery!//

When he got to the site, Deanna was pulling herself out of the cold stream.  “I suppose you find this amusing?  NOW I am freezing!  Can’t you take pity on me and just let me go back to my nice warm bed in my nice warm quarters?!?”

She heard in her head <<a deal is a deal, remember?>> and she gave him a ‘go to hell’ look out of her cold dark eyes.

He simply chuckled.  “Come here.  Let’s get these wet clothes off of you and wrap you up in this blanket.”

She started to protest, but decided it was the best course of action.  He held the blanket up as s modesty shield as she pealed off piece after piece of sodden garments.  Riker let out a strangled sigh as her purple lace bra and panties hit the ground beside him.  Deanna started to reach for her sweatshirt when she realized it had followed her into the creek.  //Now what am I supposed to do?// she thought to herself.

Will read her mind as he wrapped the soft blanket around her nude body and lifted her effortlessly.  He carried her in his strong arms back to the encampment.  She stooped as he entered the tent and laid her down on her sleeping bag.  She waited breathlessly for what she hoped would follow.  He simply said, “Crawl in there.  You will get warm in a few minutes.  I am just going to finish up the dishes and put out the fire.  I’ll be right back.”

His smile made her body tingle from head to toe.  As she slipped into the soft fluffy flannel, she could not deny the feeling coursing through her veins.  She wanted him.  She wanted him badly.  The sensation of her nakedness against the material of her sleeping bag was not helping matters in the least.  //Decisions … decisions …// She was going over in her mind the possible consequences of her next actions as he entered the tent once again.

“You aren’t asleep yet, Deanna?”

“I was waiting for a good night kiss!”  she purred.

Will Riker sensed intense desire as she allowed her passions to flow along their link.

“Really now?  How about this?”  He whispered as he knelt down beside her and caught her mouth with his.  She returned his intentions two fold as she pushed the covers away from her body.  Within moments his clothing lay in a pile by the tent entrance as he joined her inside the sleeping bag.  The cold was no longer a factor as their bodies emitted a warmth all their own.  Body, soul and heart – all were melded together as the lovers joined in complete ecstasy.

As the morning sun kissed the easternmost mountaintop, Will and Deanna remained wrapped in each other’s arms.  He kissed her forehead softly and said, “Good morning, Imzadi.  Time to wake up and smell the coffee.”
She smiled at him lazily as the confusion set in.  “Will, I don’t drink coffee.  Have you forgotten?”

“It is get an expression, Dee.  I meant that it is time to face up to what we have begun here.  Where do we go from here?”

She studied him for a long moment.  He opened up his heart to her as he felt her gentle probings.  She finally said, “Imzadi, I do not care where I go from here as long as I am with you.”

At that he rolled over to love her once more.

During next week’s poker game, Deanna overheard Will thank Data for his help during the last game.  Data responded, “Sir, you are welcome.  What I do not understand is this.  In the many years we have played this game together, you have never once requested that I deal you a certain hand of cards.  Yet last week you did make such a request from me.  Although it the action would have been considered deceitful if discovered by the other players, I did as you asked of me.  Might I inquire, did such action – the royal flush as it were – produce the desired outcome of the bet you made with the Counselor?”

Will’s face lit up and he grinned devilishly.  As he patted him on the shoulder, “Yes, my friend.  It certainly did.”

At that moment Deanna stepped around the corner into the room.  She mirrored his sentiments with her own, “Yes, it CERTAINLY did.”

Will was momentarily taken aback by her sudden appearance, but he quickly went and put his arm protectively around his love as Data simply cocked his head in confusion.