This is one of my favourite bits for these two because, look, in the second gif, Deanna reacts as though Will’s said something provocative/ridiculous before he actually speaks. What was he thinking to make her react with that adorably scandalised face? From his self-satisfied expression, whatever it was, it was very much on purpose.
Because your P/C take was so awesome, I need to know your feels on Riker/Troi!
Hi! I answered them generally when this is all started and you may read that here. But given your kind words about P/C I wanted to expand on how I see it happening within canon:
Seasons 1-2: In these early seasons they are out of sync. At the beginning, Deanna is teasing out where he stands. She was more invested in their earlier relationship. He’s embarrassed about that, and also a little scared because she was and is important to him, and it’s a lot harder to ignore that when she’s right in front of him. Deanna can sense the attraction, confusion, and fear, and she decides, rightly, not to pursue a rekindled romance in the present. “Haven” and “The Child” are examples of Riker prioritizing his feelings over hers. But she would support him through stuff like “Hide and Q” and “Measure of a Man”. The episode they are most likely to fall into bed during or after is “The Icarus Factor” followed by “Manhunt". Parents bring this stuff up.
Seasons 3-6: “Ménage à Troi” is a turning point. The kiss on Betazed is evidence they are comfortable with each other, and they would almost definitely have ‘no strings attached’ sex after that mess. There are, of course, plenty of strings, but they are content with the stringless fiction, they don’t really want to explore more. They are comfortable.
Sometime post “Best of Both Worlds” (a very important arc for Will, that Deanna definitely helps him through), during the parade of episodes about what family means (“Family” through “Final Mission”), Riker realizes Deanna is his family, and it freaks him out. He’s not ready. This is why he’s randomly married to Minuet the hologram in the alien-created alternate reality of “Future Imperfect” — he’s specifically avoiding any Troi-as-wife imaginings, and any ‘this is real and permanent’ rabbit holes. The woman made of light and algorithms is literally the opposite of a ‘real’ relationship so he fixates on that and the aliens mistake it for the love of his life when it’s really him avoiding thinking about the love of his life. But from this point on he does start to consciously prioritize her. I would add extra Riker/Troi ship leaning scenes to “The Loss”, “Night Terrors”, “Half a Life”, post “The Host”, and “Disaster”.
Then we get “Violations”, which is confirmation of a casual sex arrangement, but is also terrible and traumatic and the next turning point. In my headcanon, they back off the sexual side of their relationship here. She throws herself into a sudden romance with Random Troi Date #12 in the very next episode (“The Masterpiece Society”) and then he immediately hooks up with Ro Laren while they don’t know who they are (“Conundrum”). “Violations” messed them up so they look elsewhere for physical comfort. In the end I think this allows them to really settle into their friendship, which is healthy and good. This set up continues all the way to “Second Chances” at the very end of S6.
Seasons 6-7: But “Second Chances” is another turning point. We get alternate Riker who is still in love with Deanna. Fixated, even, she’s what’s kept him sane. That’s huge for both of them. It’s confirmation that their initial relationship, all the away back pre-series, mattered and mattered to both of them. It’s a reminder of that relationship’s intensity. It results in my absolute favorite scene where Will tells her it’s okay to have a relationship with his other self. This is important because it makes it clear that they are supportive and respectful of each other’s relationships AND it makes it clear that even though this is awkward as Hell they are BOTH prioritizing the other over themselves. They’ve reached equilibrium.
In S7, Deanna and Worf start to flirt with a romance and Will dates another crew member but the universe seems to actively work against those relationships. Deanna and Worf only ever get together in alternate realities and Will ends up in a cactus. I think post “Second Chances” it’s Deanna who is worried about them getting together, and Worf is a good friend and a safe alternative. Will is biding his time, having casual relationships, but not putting much effort into them. He’s giving her what she gave him all these years: space to grow into the relationship.
Post-series: In a very ‘Star Trek’ turn of events, Insurrection’s happy planet radiation allows Riker and Troi to act on feelings they’d buried. But as Worf points out, those feelings were never really gone. And now, there is a foundation far beyond giddy dizzy first love. When they finally get married, they are Imzadi AND best friends who have loved and supported each other for years AND colleagues who have established a good working relationship separate from their close personal relationship. It took so long because they waited until they were both ready. And that is honestly beautiful, it’s what I want for all my OTPs.
Somebody should have attacked them with a steamer before they took pictures but this dress is a culmination of all things Princess Deanna and her fairy tale romance and I. Love. It.
I love that she picks a dress that would work just as well for cotillion. I love that it is pale pink. I love that it is satin. I love that it is covered with cascading roses. I love that it looks like a cake. I love that there are ruffles and asymmetry. I love that everyone else is in their dress uniform because this is a Starfleet wedding, and they are going to have another wedding on Betazoid, but it’s going to be traditional, as in naked, and she was like guys, I love you and I love Starfleet for bringing us together, but I am going to have a fairy tale princess wedding and you can’t stop me, and I love knowing that no one would even think to try because this right here is SO Deanna. And I even love that those silly Love Boat dress uniforms sort of fit in with the fairy tale (though they also sort of look like waiters but what can you do).
(Also I love Mrs. Riker and Mr. Troi and I wish the entire movie was about them because the only other thing I really like in it is Shinzon’s crey crey clothes.)