He's lounging in bed but engrossed in a report, not exactly expecting company, so he doesn't hear her come in: but then Deanna can go anywhere aboard without needing to ask. It's only when the lights drop to a particularly intimate level and one of her favorite soft Andorian jazz pieces starts to play that he realises he's not alone in his quarters any more.
He looks up just as she walks into the bedroom. She's wearing the black Interface biosuit designed for long-term connection, skin-tight because it has to be, and he can't help thinking - as he always does, getting to see her in that outside the confines of her Chair - that she looks as incredible in it as she always has.
He smiles up at her, laying his padd to one side. "Hi."
Deanna smiles back at him, reaching up with one hand to let her hair down. She's taken to wearing it back but loose, in a tumble of curls down her back, and frankly it just makes him want to run his fingers through it. He wants to do that now, and he can tell from the way she's looking at him that she knows it.
"Hi." She shakes her head, letting her hair fall free around her shoulders. He watches as she rubs at her neck, and frowns slightly.
"Stiff?" She's been in her Chair for five full days, for her warp core overhaul. She hides it well, how much it can take out of her, and he doubts Geordi or Data will have noticed, but he can tell.
"Mm." She sighs and rolls her head to one side. "Maybe a little."
He slides off the bed, puts his feet on the floor and crosses to her. "Come here," he says gently, stepping behind her, and he's guessed right: her shoulders are solid rock under his hands. "I hope you weren't thinking of sleeping like this," he says quietly, probing as gently as he can with his thumbs either side of her neck.
"Mmmm..." The lights flare a little, but at least it's only here, in the bedroom. She rarely loses control over her internal systems any more, though after five days straight he can hardly blame her. "That feels nice," she murmurs, rather than answer, and he leans down to kiss the top of her head.
"It can feel even better." He gives in to that ever-present urge and runs his fingers gently through her hair. "Come and lie down."
Deanna reaches up as he lets her hair fall and takes his hand. "I bet you say that to all the women."
He chuckles quietly and squeezes her fingers. "Ship's prerogative. I promise." He tugs gently on her hand. "Now, come and lie down?"
She nods and lets him lead her over to the bed, and he can tell she's given up on hiding her exhaustion: in exchange, he deliberately doesn't call her on it again, because he knows it's as ridiculous to hound Deanna over her devotion to duty as for her to do the same to him. He's always known what comes with her chosen line of work, and he'd be a hypocrite of the highest order if he objected to it.
It's enough for him that she'll let him take care of her, when she needs it. She still has her own cabin, however much time they spend together: but straight from her Chair she's come here, to him, and he's both grateful for and humbled by that.
"Here." He turns her around and sits her on the edge of the bed, reaching behind her neck to open her biosuit. The dermaplastic fabric is designed for weeks of wear, if necessary, but all the same it peels easily away from her skin - soft and smooth and naked underneath, just waiting for him to touch.
She draws in a breath, not entirely a pleasant one, when he runs his fingertips down her spine because he just can't resist; he sighs ruefully and pulls his hand away.
"Sorry." It can be intense in any number of ways, being back in a normal body after an extended Interface, and Deanna's always been acutely sensitive.
"Mm, no, it's all right." She takes a deeper breath and then leans back a little, toward his hand. "It's passing. It's just been a long week, that's all."
He smiles sympathetically, leans in and drops another kiss onto her hair before standing up again. "Why don't you take that off, while I get you something to help you relax."
Deanna nods tiredly, reaching back to finish what he's started. He leaves her there to get undressed and walks back through into the other room, heading for the replicator -
There are two glasses, cool and frosted and iced tea by the scent, already sitting in the materialisation slot. He rolls his eyes at her; from the other room, he hears her laugh. She's lying on her stomach on his bed when he walks back in, the sheets tossed back and her arms crossed under her head; her biosuit is tossed haphazardly on the floor.
"I'm trying to help you relax," he reminds her, and sets a glass down beside the bed.
She turns her head to smile up at him. "I knew what I wanted."
"You could have just told me. You don't have to operate every food slot you have." He sits down carefully and reaches out to tidy her hair to one side. This time she only shivers a little at his touch, and he smiles.
"How does that feel?"
He chuckles at that, takes a quick mouthful of tea - iced Jestral, from the taste, sweet with a citrus tang - and puts his own glass down beside hers before moving into a better position to get his hands on her. He's not willing to trust that sitting across her hips won't get him into a lot of trouble, or even be too intense for her right now; he settles for sitting beside her instead, leaning across and forward to put his weight to use. When he puts his hands on her shoulders again, Deanna twitches.
"Your fingers are cold."
He smirks and digs into the knotted tension at the base of her neck. "Then you should have made hot chocolate."
Deanna smiles, then moans softly as he gets to work in earnest. "Oh, that feels..."
He strokes along her shoulders. "Nice?"
She shifts under his hands and hums into the pillow. "Amazing."
He grins. "Do something for me."
"Shut off your environmental systems control."
He knows he's going to get a reaction to that; Deanna doesn't like to separate herself, for any reason, even her own comfort. Sure enough, she frowns, if only faintly. "Why?"
He starts small, hard circles with his thumbs as he leans down to her. "Because the whole crew doesn't need to know what we're doing," he murmurs in her ear, and Deanna shivers again, very softly.
"All right." She closes her eyes, for just a moment; he knows better than to think he'll notice the change from Interfaced to automated control, but some part of him still expects something to happen, waits for the lights to flicker or a change in the air -
"You'll never be able to tell, you know," she says, tired but still playful. He shakes his head, smiles.
She flutters her eyelids at him, and the lights dip a little darker for just a moment. He glares at her in mock despair. "Deanna."
She puts her head back down, but she's smiling, he can hear it in her voice. "Only in here, I promise." He finds a particularly deep knot of tension in her right shoulder, digging into it with both hands, and she shifts into his touch. "Oh - mmm, right there."
"No more engine overhauls for a while," he says, gently teasing. Deanna smiles.
"I hope I won't need any."
He chuckles ruefully. "You hope." They do seem to have a habit of getting into some strange situations, far too many of which also seem to end with repairs or extended maintenance or, on too frequent an occasion, limping home to the nearest starbase. It's no wonder, he thinks, that she's gotten so tense - he would be, too, if he spent as much time in sickbay as she has in maintenance recently.
It takes long enough that he finds a rhythm, a slow, hard rolling of the offending muscles under his hands, digging his fingers in, kneading with his thumbs, and then back all over again - and then suddenly Deanna gasps, sharply, and he winces along with her as that angry ball of tension unravels under his probing fingers. "Oh..."
He grins, pleased to have worked some small wonder for her when it's so often the other way around, and leans down to press a kiss in that exact spot. Warmth grazes across his mind, warmth and gratitude and a tenderness to echo his own; he smiles against her skin, drops another kiss on the back of her neck, and then turns his attention to her other shoulder as she puts her head on her arms and just breathes quietly under his hands.
When he's finally done there, too, he almost doesn't even want to stop: Deanna feels so warm and so relaxed, for once, he's not all that eager to let that go. Instead he just changes his approach; he sits up a little, shifts around to put both hands on her lower back and strokes up, a long slow push with the heels of both hands that draws a quiet moan from her throat.
He does pause, then, just for a moment, just to make sure. "Too much?"
"Mmm, no." She arches into his hands, and takes a deep breath when he carries on that's nothing but pleasure this time. "No, that feels - oh, that feels good," as he starts back down, a slow, firm stroke of his palms down her sides. "Oh, yes, Will..."
He chuckles at the tone in her voice. "That really does feel good, huh?"
He can't see it, but he's fairly certain she's rolling her eyes. "Yes, incredibly... good, oh, yes," as he repeats the same pattern, slow and measured, over again. He can feel the room temperature going up at least a degree or two, just right to completely allay any need for finding the sheets: she turns her head to look at him and her smile would light up the room, even if she didn't. "Will..."
He puts a finger on her lips before she can say the thank you hanging in the air between them. "What else are first officers for?"
She laughs softly. "Oh, I see. It's all in the line of duty."
He rests one hand in the center of her back and just strokes his thumb into the curve of her spine. "Well, I'm sure the Captain appreciates having a more relaxed ship..."
"Mmm. A dirty job, is that it?"
"Something like that."
"And how much you enjoy touching me has nothing at all to do with it."
He sits back and grins. "What do you think?"
Deanna rolls over and pulls him down onto her, her dark eyes sparkling, and the lights go out as her mouth meets his.