This story takes place 5 years after The Icarus Factor and assumes Will went on the Ares. Some of the characters are Paramount’s and some are mine.
BACK FROM THE ARES
Captain's Log Stardate 7349.3. We have just received word that in three hours, the Enterprise will rendezvous with the USS Ares to transport Captain Riker to his new command, the USS Monroe, Starfleet's newest Galaxy class starship which will be commissioned in three weeks.
Jean Luc Picard turned to Counselor Deanna Troi Keller. "Counselor, it will be good to see Captain Riker again won't it?"
The Betazoid counselor smiled. "Yes it will. Beverly and I are arranging a "Welcome Home" party." She had missed Will Riker more than anyone else on board the Enterprise. Deanna had often wished that Will had been there when her husband had been killed two years earlier. He would have helped her get through those first few months. Deanna had been six months pregnant with her son when her husband was killed leaving her alone with the unborn son and year and a half old daughter, Maria. Ever since she had heard Will was returning, she hoped that they would get together and that Will would be willing to be a father to her two young children.
Deanna's com badge beeped. She tapped it. "Keller here."
Beverly Crusher's voice came over the intercom. "Deanna, I need your help in Ten Forward.
Picard nodded at Deanna's unasked question.
"I'm on my way." She left the bridge.
Picard watched her go. Riker told him that he had a surprise for them all. Picard hoped that Will wasn't married. He saw how happy Deanna was when they found out Will was coming back. She had even submitted a transfer request. Because he knew she would be devastated if Will were married, he was reluctant to grant her a transfer to the Monroe until he found out what Will's surprise was. Deanna had confided that she hoped Will would be willing to become Andrew's and Maria's father. <<Deanna, I hope your dreams don't get dashed.>>
Three hours later, Deanna was in her quarters dressing Andrew when Picard's voice came over the intercom.
"Counselor, Captain Riker is ready to beam over. Would you like to greet him?"
Deanna smiled. "I'm on my way." She picked up Andrew and she, Andrew and Maria made their way to the Transporter Room.
Deanna nodded to the transporter chief. She put Andrew down so she could hug Will as soon as he materialized. The lights of the transporter process began to take the form of two people -- Will Riker and a young boy of about 4 with dark auburn hair and blue eyes. Deanna was stunned. Will was also stunned when he saw Deanna with her two children. He had been hoping that Deanna would be willing to be a mother to his 4-year old son, Willie. His wife, Jenny had been killed in an attack when Willie was 4-months old. When Willie saw Deanna, Maria, and Andrew, he hid behind his father. Andrew reached up to Deanna who picked him up.
"It's good to see you again, Will." She said stiffly. She looked away. She had tears in her eyes and didn’t want Will to see them.
"It's good to see you again." He noticed the tears and realized she was obviously disappointed in seeing him with Willie.
"I'll take you to your quarters. We will be arriving at Earth in 10 days."
"Thanks." He turned to the transporter chief. "I gather our things have been transported to our quarters."
They walked toward the quarters assigned to Will. Will decided to break the ice first. "How've you been?"
"Fine." Deanna answered stiffly. She was wondering where Will’s wife was but didn’t have the heart to ask. <<She’s probably getting their non-necessities together for transport to the Enterprise.>>
Willie pulled at Will's hand. "Daddy, why are their eyes not like ours. Aren't they human?" He whispered rather loudly.
Will smiled. Willie was a quite curious child, much like his father had been when he was a child. "They're Betazoid. Betazoid's look human except for their dark eyes. They're like Vulcans, a telepathic race."
"They can read minds?" He glanced at Maria.
"Deanna can't. She's only half Betazoid. She can only sense your emotions. As for her children, they're too young still." He was convinced that Deanna was still married. He didn't know if her husband was Betazoid.
"She knows we miss mommy?"
Deanna looked up at Will. She reached out with her senses and felt sadness and loneliness from both Will and Willie. <<His wife must be dead.>> She felt guilty for her jealousy.
"Will, can we talk?"
"I'll take Maria and Andy to Day Care. If you like...."
Will smiled realizing that in the awkwardness of the moment neither he nor Deanna had introduced their children to each other. "Willie."
"Willie can go too."
"He hasn't had his nap yet. I'll put him down and we can talk in my quarters."
Deanna left Will and Willie at their quarters and took Maria and Andy to the ship's Day Care Center.
"Mommy, where's Willie's mommy?" Maria asked.
"With your father."
"Is Willie sad like me?”
“Yes, both of them are.”
“Do you think Willie wants a new mommy?”
“Maybe we can all be a family and then I can have a little sister.”
Knowing Maria didn’t like boys much she asked. “You know Willie would be your brother”
Maria shrugged. "He's OK."
Deanna smiled. She had a feeling that Maria and Willie would get along like any brother and sister. They would fight but they would love each other too. She knew she could love Willie as a son. He seemed to be a charming little boy. She was willing to bet that Will was like that when he was a child.
Meanwhile, Will was tucking Willie into bed.
"Is that lady going to be my new mommy?" Willie asked. Will smiled. He didn't know if Deanna was married or not. She reacted a little too stiffly to him almost as if she was disappointed to see him with Willie. He thought that perhaps Deanna was thinking the same thing he was.
"I don't know. She may be married."
The door chimed. "OK, you take a nap and then, maybe I can convince Captain Picard to let you see the Bridge."
Will went out into the living room as the bell chimed again. "Come in."
The door opened revealing Dr. Beverly Crusher who had been at Starfleet Medical when Will left the Enterprise. She came in the room and hugged Will.
"It is so good to see you again!"
"Same here." He gestured to a chair. "Have a seat."
Willie was curious as to who this new woman was and got out of bed. Beverly spotted Willie first and raised her eyebrows.
"Is this your surprise?" She asked.
Will nodded with a smile. "Yes." He turned to Willie. "I thought you were going to sleep."
"I can't sleep." Willie said.
"Come here. I'll hold you." Beverly said as she patted her lap.
To Will's surprise, Willie went to Beverly and climbed on to her lap. He was usually shy around strangers. Suddenly, Will realized that Willie noticed that Beverly had red hair like his mother.
"What's your name?" Beverly asked.
"I'm Beverly. How old are you?"
"4" He looked up at Beverly with sad eyes. "You look like my mommy."
Beverly glanced up at Will and realized that his wife was dead. He nodded slowly to her unasked question.
"Jenny had strawberry blonde hair and blue eyes. She was a bit shorter than you are..." His voice trailed off.
“Daddy gets sad when he thinks about Mommy. I miss her too except I was a baby when she died."
Beverly hugged Willie close. "My son was little when his father died."
"Can I meet him?"
"Maybe when we get to Earth."
"He's not here?"
"No. He's at Starfleet Academy. He's 21 years old."
"Last year?" Will asked. He knew Wesley would get in to the Academy.
Beverly shook her head. "Third Year. During his second year, his flight squadron attempted a Kolvoord Starburst and one of the cadets was killed. They were convinced by their leader to lie. Wes finally told the truth and the leader was expelled. The others had to repeat the year."
"At least Wes did the right thing."
"He had some good role models especially on the Enterprise."
"Captain Picard is a good role model."
"You were also. He really missed you when you left. He always thought of you as an older brother."
Willie looked up at Beverly. He really liked Beverly and could see that she and his father got along well. "Will you be my new mommy?"
Will unsuccessfully attempted to stifle a laugh. He was expecting Willie to say something to Beverly especially since Beverly had red hair like his mother.
Beverly looked at Will, smiled, and shook her head. She could certainly learn to love Willie but she also knew that Deanna was hoping to get back together with Will.
Willie could see Beverly's hesitation and pressed her further. "I really want a big brother."
Will smiled. He knew that Willie wanted a little brother. "I thought you wanted a little brother."
Willie turned around and looked at him. "What I want most is a new mommy. If I can have a big brother too..."
Beverly laughed. "Wouldn't you want a new mommy and a little brother too?"
Willie shrugged. Beverly smiled mischievously. <<Why not help Deanna's cause a bit?>> "Wouldn't you also like a little sister too?"
Willie wrinkled his nose. "I don't want a sister. I don't like girls."
Beverly looked over at Will who was trying in vain not to laugh. "Your son doesn't like girls?"
"I didn't like girls until I was 10 or 11." He knew he was now in for some major teasing from Beverly. He decided to change the subject. "When did you rejoin the Enterprise?"
"A couple of months after you left. I was really happy to hear that you had accepted your own command but sorry that I wasn't there to congratulate you. I gather you got my message?"
The door buzzed. "It's probably Deanna." Will got up and started to move to the bedroom. "Come on. You have to take your nap. If you do, I'll try to get you on the Bridge tomorrow. If not, forget it."
Willie jumped off Beverly's lap and ran to the bedroom as fast as his little legs could carry him. Will looked at Beverly and shrugged. "It's amazing how that works. After today, I'm not sure how much longer it will work however." Will followed Willie into the bedroom and the door buzzed again.
Beverly opened the door. Deanna was only slightly surprised when she saw Beverly at the door. She smiled. "Did you two have a nice reunion?"
"Yes." She decided against telling Deanna that Willie had taken to her like his mother. She figured Deanna would sense that she was hiding something and she was right. Deanna sensed that Beverly was hiding something from her but wasn't sure what it was. She made a mental note to find out later.
Will came out of the bedroom and closed the door.
"Will he stay there this time?" Beverly asked with a smile.
"Oh yes. I told him he can't see the bridge tomorrow unless he behaves today." He glanced at Deanna. "It's amazing how that has worked for the past week. After that, I don't know what I'll do."
"With Maria, threats of no dessert work well." Deanna said with a smile that was more real than Beverly had seen since Andrew died. Beverly said a silent prayer that her two friends would find the comfort they both sorely needed. She could tell that Will still missed Jenny and she knew that Deanna still missed Andrew.
Will smiled mischievously. "If she's anything like her mother, I'll bet it works best with the threat of no chocolate."
Deanna laughed. "Of course. However, Andy is like his father. He doesn't like chocolate." She smiled again. "Of course, anything else sweet is a different story. He actually has more of a sweet tooth than his sister."
When Deanna mentioned Andrew, her smile faded. Will noticed and realized that her husband must be dead also. He moved from the chair he had been sitting on to the sofa next to Deanna. "When did your husband die?"
Deanna looked down at her feet. When she looked back up, she had tears in her eyes. Despite the fact that Andrew had been dead for two years, she still missed him. "Andrew died two years ago. I was six months pregnant with Andy when he died."
Will took her hands. "Deanna, I'm sorry. I wish I could have been there for you. It must have been difficult to raise two young children alone."
Deanna looked up at him and smiled. This was typical of Will, forgetting his own problems for her. "How old was Willie when your wife died?"
"Was it difficult for you?" She knew Will was capable of a lot of things but didn’t think handling an infant alone was one of them.
"Sometimes. I had a lot of help."
Beverly knew her two friends had a lot to talk about. "I better go. Deanna, do you think Terry would be willing to take Willie too."
"Sure." She looked at Will. "We've planned a 'Welcome Home' party for tonight."
Beverly hugged Will once again. "It's good to see you again."
"It's good to be home."
Deanna turned to Will. "It must have been difficult for you knowing how your father treated you after your mother died hoping you wouldn't act the same way."
Will smiled. "For the first couple of days after Jenny died I basically neglected Willie. I had two really great friends, our CMO Joanna Young and her head nurse, Katie Campbell. Joanna and Katie took care of both of us. They fed Willie and forced me to eat. Katie threatened to forcibly feed me."
"That's good that you had such good friends."
"Katie and I grew up together. She knew what my childhood was like. She has no brothers so I was her brother and she was like my sister. When we got back to my quarters after the memorial service, she said that I had two choices - I could be like my father or I could not be like my father. I thought she meant that I should not attempt to raise Willie alone - that I should give him up to adoption. I orally let her have it. She just stood there calmly and let me yell. Then she said, 'That's not what I meant. You could love Willie and always be there for him or you could neglect him like your father did to you.' I realized I had neglected Willie over the previous couple of days and since then, I've done everything I could to make him feel loved and wanted."
"In other words, he's spoiled rotten." Deanna said with a laugh. She knew deep down that Will could never be like his father. She was grateful to Katie for making him see that he couldn't be like his father.
"Not spoiled rotten - just spoiled. Of course, Katie and Joanna have helped me spoil him."
Riker's com badge beeped. He tapped it. "Riker here."
"Will, welcome home" Captain Picard's voice came over the badge.
"Thanks. It's good to be home."
"I thought you might like to know that we will be rendezvousing with the Endeavor in two hours to pick up your two friends who will be joining you on the Monroe. The Endeavor has been given new orders."
"OK. Thanks." He turned to Deanna. "Katie and Joanna will be joining me on the Monroe."
Deanna became concerned about Will's relationship with his two friends. Was one of them more than just a friend? <<I'll figure it out later.>> She knew she would be able to determine Will's relationship with his friends later.
"OK, Deanna, enough about me. It must have been difficult raising your two alone."
"It was. Like you, I had a lot of help. Beverly was a godsend." She smiled. "Even my mother was a big help. She stayed with me for six months. Captain Picard was extremely sensitive to my needs."
Deanna debated whether she should tell Will how she was tempted to contact him after Andrew died or how her mother tried to encourage her to contact him in the hope that they two of them could get back together.
Will was also debating whether he should tell her that he had written her a letter after he and Jenny were married and after Jenny died but sent neither letter.
Will broke the silence first. "Deanna, are you OK?" He could tell that she still missed Andrew but there was something about her reaction to Willie and his mentioning of Joanna and Katie that he couldn't quite put his finger on. He began to wonder if they were both thinking the same thing.
"I'm fine." Deanna got up from the chair. She was starting to feel emotional again and did not want Will to see it. "I've got to go. Bring Willie to my quarters at about 1930 hours."
"Sure." Will got up and stepped toward Deanna. He could tell she was on the verge of tears and was deliberately trying to avoid his seeing them. He turned her around. She looked up at him and started to cry. He pulled her into his arms as she sobbed. He settled back on to the sofa still holding the crying Deanna.
"Will, I still miss Andrew so much. It's been so hard for me to look at my children and see so much of their father in them. Maria looks very much like him and Andy has so much of his personality. Andrew's mother said she reminds her of Andrew when he was Andy's age. I wanted to contact you when Andrew died."
"I wish you had. I would have made an attempt to come back to see you - or at least called you as often as possible to check up on you."
Deanna looked up at him knowing he was being completely sincere. She smiled through her tears. "I know you would have. You've been such a good friend over the last few years. In fact, my mother encouraged me to try to contact you. Of course, my mother had other reasons for wanting to contact you."
Will laughed. "I'm sure she did."
Deanna got up. "This time I really will leave. I'll see you later."
"OK. How 'bout if you, Andy, and Maria come over for dinner. I'll cook."
"OK. They eat almost anything."
"I was thinking spaghetti."
"Sounds great. How 'bout 1800 hours?"
"OK. See you then."
After Deanna left, Will went into Willie's room to check on him. He was still sleeping soundly with his arms around a blue bear that Jenny had gotten for him the morning before she died - a four-month birthday present. He stroked Willie's hair. *I think you may get your number one wish.* Willie's number one wish had been for a new mother.
Several hours later in Ten Forward, Will was busily renewing acquaintances with old friends and making new ones. Deanna and Beverly were watching him when Joanna Young and Katie Campbell came over to their table. "Mind if we join you?" Joanna asked. Joanna Young was a tall brunette who had been an acquaintance of Beverly's at the Academy and medical school. Katie Campbell was a blonde of average height.
"I'm so glad you'll be joining us on the Monroe." Katie said. When Beverly told Picard about Will and Willie, he knew the best thing for both his friends would be for them to be together. He immediately granted Deanna's request for a transfer. Will, upon hearing the news from Picard, was thrilled that Deanna wanted to join him.
Deanna decided to broach a subject that had been bothering her for the last several hours. "Katie, Joanna, you perhaps can tell me how Will is dealing with single parenthood."
Katie smiled. "Better than his father did. For the first few days, he was extremely grief stricken. I finally convinced him to be a good father and not like his father had been to him."
"He told me you what told said. He said that you two grew up together and were practically like brother and sister?"
Yes. The two of us and Jenny were all at the Academy together. Jenny was my roommate at the Academy. The three of us were inseparable. We had one classmate who was Betazoid who swore that Will and Jenny were more than friends although neither would admit it. Things changed dramatically when Will came on the Ares. When he first arrived, he shook hands with all the other senior officers except for Jenny and me. He hugged us. As Jenny and I were heading back to our posts, Jenny said to me 'I felt something when Will hugged me.' I didn't think anything of it until 3 weeks later when they told me they were engaged. I didn't even notice the obvious signs -- how Will would volunteer to help Jenny clean up after dinner or she would volunteer to stay and help him. He would walk me to my quarters and then Jenny even if it meant walking by hers."
"Others noticed right away." Joanna volunteered. "I noticed how Will hugged Jenny a bit closer than he did Katie that first day and his reaction when Jenny pulled a good joke on him during our first staff meeting the next morning. It was not the reaction that would come from a friend only. They were very much in love. It's a pity they had so little time together - just over a year"
"How was Will after Jenny died?" Beverly asked. She still had memories of her feelings after Jack died and caring for Wesley as a single parent. She knew Will would have it tougher because Willie was only four months old.
"Jenny died when her tactical console exploded. We got the call from Commander Flaherty and I thought something had happened to Will. The turbolift door opened and we saw Will sitting on the floor holding Jenny. He looked up at me with tears streaming down his face and said 'She's gone.' Katie burst into tears. I almost did but was determined to try to save her. At the time of her death, Jenny was almost 6 weeks pregnant. I don't think Will knew. I only gave her the official word that morning. After trying to save her for almost half an hour, I gave up. As you can imagine, Will was devastated. He hadn't a clue how he was going to tell Willie. He wasn't even sure he could take care of him alone. I told him that he would have plenty of help from Katie, me and probably every person on the Ares. We had to put both shuttles into synchronous orbit with the Ares so everyone on board could attend Jenny's memorial service. The Ares crew had become a very tight-knit community. We all knew it was because of Will. Everyone loved him."
"Joanna relieved him of command for a week and asked me to stay with him and do whatever was necessary to help him cope." Katie offered.
"I knew it would be therapeutic to both of them."
Deanna smiled. She was glad that Will had such good friends when he needed them so badly. She realized that Katie and Joanna were indeed just good friends, a fact of which she was glad. Deanna jumped at a hand on her shoulder.
"Don't let them tell you things that aren't so." Will said as he pulled up another chair and sat down.
"We only told the truth." Katie said with a smile.
The group chatted amiably among themselves - Deanna getting to know her two new crewmates; Will renewing acquaintances with Beverly.
When the party ended, Will and Deanna started back to Deanna's quarters. All evening, Deanna sensed that Will was having a difficult time telling people about Jenny; although to everyone else, Will was the same joking, smiling person who had served on the Enterprise for almost 2 years. Deanna glanced at Will who smiled tiredly.
"Yeah, we've been up since about 0530 hours. I have a feeling Willie gave Terry no trouble about going to bed." He laughed. "Of course, I'm the only person he does give trouble to about going to bed."
"Maria will give Terry and me trouble; and if she's really wound up, Beverly. Andy rarely gives anyone trouble." She smiled. "They all appeared to get along well."
"Yeah, I'm a bit surprised. Willie's usually very shy. There were only 5 children on the Ares so he's not used to being around other children."
"What's the school like?"
"Right now, there really isn't any school. Willie is the oldest child by one week over Melinda Bennett, the daughter of the current Chief Tactical Officer, Dave Bennett. The other children are 3, 2 1/2, and 6 months. We were going to put a request in to Starfleet for a teacher."
"Who watches the children when their parents are on duty?"
Will laughed. "The parents of the children would rotate babysitting duties. When Willie and Melinda were infants, Jenny and Patty were quite skeptical about Dave's and my abilities to deal with infants. We shocked them with our abilities."
Deanna smiled. It was obvious to her that Will was a wonderful father to Willie. He seemed to be a very bright, well-mannered little boy. When they walked in Deanna's quarters, Terry looked up from her homework and smiled. "How was the party?"
"It was nice." Deanna said. "How were the kids?"
"Very good. Willie and Andy fell asleep during the holofilm. Maria was actually cooperative. I just looked in on them. They're all sound asleep."
Deanna turned to Will. "Why don't you let Willie stay here. You can come over for breakfast."
"Are you sure it's OK?"
"OK, I'll see you in the morning. What time?"
"We have a staff meeting at 0730. How 'bout 0630?"
"OK. See you then." He left.
"So, how'd it go?" Terry asked. Deanna had confided in her that she hoped that she and Will might get back together.
"Very well. I found out that Dr. Young and Katie Campbell are, indeed, just friends."
"Deanna, I didn't want to say anything with Captain Riker here, but Willie cried himself to sleep. He fell asleep on my lap. He wouldn't say exactly what was wrong only that he misses his mother."
Deanna nodded. "Will seemed to have a tough time tonight talking about Jenny. I wonder if today may be the anniversary of Jenny's death."
"That's what I was figuring." Terry got up. "I better go. I'm really going to miss Maria and Andy when you leave -- you too."
"We'll miss you too."
Several hours later, Deanna was awakened by crying. She reached out with her senses and felt fear, loss, and sorrow and realized it was Willie who was crying. She went into Andy's room, picked him up, and carried him into the living room so they wouldn't wake Andy. She settled into the rocking chair and rocked Willie hoping he would go back to sleep. Soon, he stopped crying and looked up at Deanna. <<He looks so much like Will.>> She smiled. "Do you feel better?"
“I want my Daddy.”
“Do you want me to take you to him?”
“No. I want him to come get me. I don’t want you to take my anywhere.”
Deanna became concerned. Willie seemed to suddenly dislike her. Earlier he seemed to like her. He struggled to get off her lap.
“Let me go. I want my mommy!” He screamed.
“Your mommy isn’t here.”
“I want that lady who looks like mommy.” Deanna couldn’t figure out who Willie was talking about.
“Who looks like you mommy?”
“I want her.” He started to struggle again.
Deanna let him down and he ran to the door and tried to reach the button to leave. “Keller to Crusher.”
A few minutes later, Beverly answered groggily. <<What’s up Deanna?>>
“Could you come over. Willie’s screaming for you or Will.”
<<I can hear him. I’ll be right there.>>
“Beverly’s coming. Could you be quiet so you don’t wake Andy or Maria up?
Willie turned around and sat on the floor next the door. A few minutes later, the door buzzed. Willie stood up and looked unsteady on his feet. Deanna became slightly concerned. “Come in.” She called. When the door opened, Willie moved unsteadily toward Beverly, who picked him up. He wrapped his arms around her neck. He seemed to warm to her. He felt his forehead.
“He’s burning up. I better get him to Sickbay. You call Will and have him come to Sickbay.” She turned and hurried out the door.
“Keller to Riker.”
A few minutes later, he answered groggily. <<Yes, Deanna.>>
“Will, can you report to Sickbay. Willie’s running a high fever.”
<<On my way.>> He answered calmly - too calmly.
Beverly was trying to examine Willie who was still upset and screaming for Will. She was reluctant to give him anything because she wasn’t sure of any allergies he might have.
“Calm down, honey. Your father will be here shortly.” She noticed his fever was 40°. He appeared to have some muscle aches as well as a rash on his leg. Upon closer examination, she noted that the rash surrounded what looked like a sting mark. She began to scan the sting to determine what it was. A few minutes later, Will walked in. he walked over to the biobed. Willie calmed down as soon as he saw his father. He handed Beverly a tube of ointment.
“To treat the rash.”
Beverly looked at him quizzically. “I gather this illness isn’t unexpected?”
“Three weeks ago, Willie was stung by a Cargon beetle, which is very similar to an Earth mosquito. The venom is very slow acting. It can take up to a month to shown up in an adult. The doctors on Cargon 3 gave me this ointment to use if the rash appeared.”
Beverly administered the ointment to Willies’ leg. The rash started to disappear instantly. She smiled. “Will the ointment cause the other symptoms to disappear as quickly.”?
“No, you can just treat the other symptoms as you normally would.”
Beverly smiled. “Is he allergic to anything?”
“Not that we’ve ever seen.” He smiled. “Except to cleaning his room, of course.”
Beverly laughed as she treated the fever and muscle aches. While Beverly was treating Willie, he fell asleep. After she finished, she motioned Will into her office. They sat down.
“What is it?” Will asked. He was hoping Beverly hadn’t found something else wrong with Willie.
“Nothing directly related to this. It was pretty obvious tonight that you and Deanna appear to be headed toward getting back together.
Will nodded. “It was that obvious?”
“Yes.” She took a breath. “What would happen if Willie didn’t like Deanna or if Andy and/or Marie didn’t like you?”
“Willie does like Deanna and Andy and Maria appear to like me - especially Andy.”
“Will, when Deanna called me, Willie was screaming for you or me.”
Will sat quietly for a few minutes. It was unusual for Willie not to go to anyone he liked no matter how sick he was feeling. “I better talk to him.” He got up. “Can I take him home now?”
“Let me see if his fever is down.”
A few minutes later, Will had Willie wrapped in a blanket and was carrying him back to his quarters. Beverly told him to keep Willie quiet for a day or two. Beverly headed to her own quarters topping first to update Deanna on Willie’s condition.
Later the next morning
Will was laying on the sofa reviewing the crew list from The Monroe when he heard stirring in Willie’s room. He got up and went in the room. He hadn’t slept well since brining Willie back - what Beverly said concerned him. He realized that he had never fallen out of love with Deanna despite the fact he loved Jenny with all his heart. He knew he had to find out whether Willie liked Deanna. When he walked into the room, he found Willie laying in bed crying and clutching his photo of Jenny. It broke Will’s heart to see his son missing his mother so much. He knew how much Willie wanted a new mother. Wills at down on the bed and pulled Willie into his arms.
“I miss mommy.”
“I do too.”
“I want a new mommy. Can Bevlee be my new mommy?”
“I don’t know. What’s wrong with Deanna?”
“She doesn’t look like mommy. Bevlee does.”
“I almost had a new mother and she doesn’t look like my mother, but I liked her any way.”
“I like Deanna.”
“I know you do. So do you want her as a new mother?”
“OK.” He smiled. “Can I be ring bearer?”
“Sure, you and Andy can if Deanna wants to marry me.”
“OK. I bet she will.”
The door chimed. Will got up to answer after making Willie promise to stay in bed. It was Deanna.
“He’s fine. Have a seat.”
They both sat down. Both were quiet for a few minutes each debating how to tell the other how they felt. Deanna could tell that Will was still very much in love with her. She still loved him but was concerned that Willie’s apparent dislike of her may cause Will to have second thoughts about beginning a relationship with her. It was obvious to Deanna that Willie like Beverly. <<Maybe it’s just Beverly’s resemblance to Jenny.>>
Will knew Deanna could sense his feelings toward her. He wasn’t trying to shield his feelings from her. He knew, from what Beverly said, that Deanna knew that Beverly resembled Jenny, but also knew it was only hair and eye color. He also wasn’t completely sure if Deanna had the same feelings for him that he had for her.
Deanna picked up the Padd containing the crew roster for The Monroe. She recognized some names of classmates from the Academy including her roommate who was to be First Officer.
“I notice that my academy roommate is going to be First Officer.”
“Carolyn Adams was your roommate?” Will was a bit surprised. He had known Carolyn for a long time. She was his cousin’s best friend when they were growing up. “Carolyn is my cousin, Marianne’s best friend.”
Deanna smiled mischievously. “Carolyn is quite attractive has a terrific personality…”
“Is happily married and has 2 kids - the youngest of which is Willie’s age.” Will added.
She continued down the list and recognized a few other names including Academy classmates and crewmates from her various assignments. She decided to find out where she stood with Willie. “Are any of the women red heads”
Will smiled. He knew where she was headed with this particular line of questioning. “Willie does like you.”
“What about his feelings for Beverly?”
“It’s just the red hair and blue eyes.”
Willie heard the adults talking in the living room. He liked Deanna and didn’t want his father to be alone any longer. He knew Deanna liked him and that had had made her think he didn’t like her. He had heard adults who liked each other a lot talk and to his ears, it sounded like his father and Deanna liked each other. He remembered his dream about his mother where she had told him that she want his father and Deanna to be together and for Deanna to be a mother to Willie. He decided to go out and tell Deanna and his father about his dream. He went out into the living room.
Will looked up and smiled. “What are you doing up?”
He went over, climbed on to Deanna’s lap, and hugged her. “I like you. I want you to be my new mommy. I want you and Daddy to get married.”
Deanna hugged him back. “I thought you didn’t like me.”
“My mommy told me I should like you and that she wants you two to be together.”
Deanna looked at Will. Will told her that he used to make believe his mother was still alive until his father and a teacher convinced him that he shouldn’t do that. Will smiled. “We’ve both had dreams about Jenny lately. In them, she’s told us things that she wants for us.”
Deanna smiled and hugged Willie again. She glanced at Will and smiled mischievously “There’s also one other thing.” When Willie looked at her questioningly, she smiled and said “Your father hasn’t asked me yet.”
Willie got off Deanna’s lap and went to Will. He tugged at his hand until Will stood up and followed Willie’s not-to-gentle tugging to Deanna. Deanna and Will smiled at each other. They both knew what Willie wanted. They both wanted it too.
“OK. Daddy, ask her.” Willie demanded. He smiled sweetly. “Please. Mommy wants her to be my new mommy.”
“Do you really think it’s fair that you’re here if I ask Deanna to marry me but Maria and Andy aren’t?” Will asked.
“Let’s go get them.” Willie grabbed Deanna’s hand and started to pull her also. When Deanna got to her feet, Willie put Deanna’s hand in Will’s and took Will’s other hand and started to drag them to the door. “Computer, where are Maria and Andy…”
Will whispered. “Keller”
“Maria and Andy Keller are in Day Care Center 1.” The computer responded.
Willie looked at Deanna. “Where is Day Care Center 1?”
Deanna smiled. “Ask the computer.”
“It can tell me?”
“Computer where is Day Care Center 1?”
“Day Care Center 1 is on Deck 12, Section 15.”
Before they could reach the door, Will let Deanna’s hand go and picked Willie up. “You’re supposed to keep quiet for a couple of days.”
“But we have to get Maria and Andy.” Willie pleaded. Willie looked at Will with his big, blue eyes. Deanna wondered if Will would give in.
“No, you’re going back to bed.” He turned around and started to carry him to his bedroom. Willie started to fight to get down but Will held on tighter. “If you don’t behave, you’re not going to see the Bridge.” Willie still didn’t quiet down, but Will stood his ground and took Willie into the bedroom. He came out and clo9sed and locked the door.
“Is he still mad?”
“Yes, he’s got his mother’s temper.” He gestured to the sofa. They both sat down.
“And not yours?” Deanna said with a smile.
Will smiled. “Jenny had a much quicker temper than I have. You know how I’ll fume for a while then let loose. Jenny didn’t fume at all.” He laughed. “We had a fight the day after we got engaged.”
Deanna looked at Will. “We really do have to make a decision about us without assistance from a 4-year old, a 3-year old, and an 18-month old.” She smiled.
“Yeah, I think it’s pretty obvious what we both want but is it the right thing for all five of us?”
“I agree. The children seen to like each other and my two like you. I guess Willie likes me.”
They both were quiet for a few minutes lost within their own thoughts. Will knew that Willie needed a positive female influence in his life. His friends were good influences but Willie needed a full-time mother. Will knew what it was like to be raised by a single father. If he had his mother when he was growing up, maybe he would have been different, maybe he would have allowed himself to commit to someone long before he met Jenny again. He was in love with Jenny at the Academy but doubted anyone knew it. He thought often that maybe he would have admitted his love for her if he had grown up having a mother. He knew the single-minded, goal-oriented lifestyle his father pushed him toward hurt his relationship with Deanna.
Deanna knew that both Maria and Andy needed a father. Andy needed someone to do “guy things” with. Her father enjoyed camping and fishing as did Andrew. Deanna knew she had her father wrapped around her finger and wanted Maria to have the same. Maria also showed some tendencies toward being a “tomboy”. Since Deanna wasn’t the athletic type, she knew Maria needed someone who cold nurture her “tomboy” tendencies.
Will took Deanna’s hand. “Deanna, I love you and want us to be together. Willie, Andy, and Maria need two parents. We both grew up with a single parent and no siblings.”
“We’re fine despite that. You’re right. Andy needs someone to do “guy things” with.”
“Willie needs a positive female influence.”
Deanna smiled. “Maria’s best friend has her father wrapped around her little finger and she wants that.”
“I’m willing to let her.” He took her hands in his. “Of course, it would be easier if we were married.”
“I’m willing if you are.”
Will didn’t answer. Instead he pulled Deanna into his arms but stopped short of kissing her. “Was that a yes?”
“It was.” She pulled him closer and kissed him.
“I love you, Deanna.”
“I love you too.”
He kissed her again.
“So, when do we tell the kids?” Will asked when they parted. He still sat holding her.
“How ‘bout over dinner tonight?”
“Sounds good. How ’bout here?”
“OK, How about 1800 hours. I’ve got some appointments and have to start making notes for my replacement.”
“OK. You also should start working on studying the crew for the Monroe. I’ll copy this crew list for you.”
“OK.” She got up. “See you later.”
He kissed her again and she left.
During dinner, Willie was extremely quiet while Andy and Maria chatted with the adults. Andy insisted that will should help him with his food. After dessert, Will and Deanna cleaned up while Andy and Maria played. Willie just stood on the sofa looking out the windows watching the stars fly by.
Deanna glanced over at him. “Is Willie OK?”
“Yes. He’s angry with me for this morning.”
“Does he know?”
“How ‘bout if you let him tell Maria and Andy? He knows you were going to ask me.”
“I could.” He smiled as an idea occurred to him. “I’ve got an idea. How ‘bout if I propose formally again with them all here?”
“Do you mind finishing up? I want to run out for a few minutes.”
“OK” She had a feeling what Will was up to.
“See you in a few minutes.” He kissed her on the cheek and left.
Deanna finished cleaning up and went to sit on the sofa where Willie was still looking out the window. “Your daddy does that when he’s upset.” She said.
“I know.” Willie said quietly.
“Are you still angry with us?”
“No.” Willie turned around and sat on Deanna’s lap. She hugged him close. “Where’s Daddy?”
“I don’t know where he went but he’ll be back soon. Don’t be angry with your daddy. He doesn’t want you to be sick.”
“OK. Is he going to ask you?” Willie whispered.
“I think so. But don’t tell the others.”
“Are you going to say yes?”
Willie hugged Deanna and then climbed off her lap and went to play with Maria and Andy. Deanna realized she loved Willie as a son already. She was pretty sure that Will thought of Andy and Maria as a son and daughter too. A few minutes later Will came in carrying three packages. Deanna was curious as to what he was up to. He set the packages on the coffee table. The children came over to investigate. Maria picked up one of them. “Are these for us?”
Will took the package from her. “It depends on your mother.”
Willie grabbed Will by the hand and lead him around the coffee table.
“Oh, you’re not mad at me anymore?” Will said.
“Nope.” They stopped next to Deanna, “OK. Do it now.”
“Do what?” Will asked with a mischievous grin. Deanna stifled a smile. She sensed Willie’s exasperation before he rolled his eyes.
“You know. What you were ‘sposed to do before.”
“Oh that.” He got down on one knee.
Maria started clapping her hands. When Andy looked at her questioningly, she whispered to him. He started to jump up and down and clapping his hands. Willie just smiled. Deanna decided to play a trick on the children.
“Deanna, when we first met, we were young and immature, but we’re both older and more mature now. We’ve both been through so much over the last 5 years - losing our spouses and being single parents. I think Willie, Maria and Andy need 2 parents.” He took her hand. “Will you marry me?”
Deanna thought that was one of the most heart-felt proposals she had ever heard. She smiled at Will then winked hoping the children wouldn’t notice.
“No. I won’t.”
Will tried to hid his amusement. He knew what she was up to. The three children ran around the coffee table and attempted to climb into Deanna’s lap all the while pleading with Deanna go change her mind. She was starting to lose her serious look and could tell Will was finding it more difficult to maintain his disappointed look.
“Actually, I might have said yes if I were getting a present too.”
“You didn’t get her a present too?” Willie asked.
Will snapped his fingers. “I forgot. I got you something too.” He pulled a small velvet box out of his pocket and handed it to Deanna. She opened it and gasped when she saw the 2.5 carat diamond ring inside. Will took the ring from the box and took her left hand. He noticed that she had removed her engagement and wedding rings from Andrew.
Deanna smiled. “Yes.”
Will kissed Deanna as the children cheered wildly. When they parted, the children took turns hugging Deanna and then Will.
“Does this mean I’m going to get a little sister/” Maria asked as she hugged Will.
“I forgot to tell you about that.” Deanna said with a smile.
Will pulled Maria closer and said “I’ll see what I can do.”
“Can we open our presents now?” Willie asked.
“Yep.” Will handed the larger one to Maria and 2 identical packages to the boys. Willie looked disappointed when he discovered his present was a pillow. Andy looked confused with his pillow. Maria was curious about her basket.
Deanna smiled. “Willie and Andy, you two need pillows if you’re going to be ring bearers and Maria, you need a basket to be flower girl." The children were all happy with their assigned roles. They then insisted on calling their grandparents and telling them. The parents were all thrilled to hear the news - even Will’s father who saw his grandson for the first time.
The next 10 days were spent with making wedding plans, reviewing personnel for the Monroe and fort he soon-to-be family generally getting to know each other. By the time they reached Earth, Will and Deanna had decided to get married a week after they arrived in Alaska at a point overlooking Prince William Sound. The reception would be held at Will’s family home where will and Deanna would spend their honeymoon while the children all got to know their grandparents.
Three Weeks Later - Valdez, AK
“By the power vested in me by the United Federation of Planets, I now pronounce you husband and wife.” Picard smiled. “Will, you may now kiss your bride.”
Will did so as the guests cheered - the loudest cheers came from the children. During the reception as they had during the ceremony, Jenny’s mother and Andrew’s father substituted for Will’s mother and Deanna’s father. Everyone thought that would be a wonderful way for Will and Deanna to pay tribute to their late spouses.
“You know Jenny would be happy for you.” Jenny’s mother, Mrs. McKenzie said as she danced with Will.
“She is. She came in a dream last night and told me so. I have a feeling that won’t happen too often anymore.” His voice cracked.
Mrs. McKenzie noticed tears forming in Will’s eyes and smiled. “You’re probably right. You still miss her don’t you?”
“We all do, but you’ve got a new life. You’ve got a beautiful new wife and 2 adorable stepchildren…”
“Who seem to love the fact that they’ve got two more sets of grandparents to spoil them.”
“As does Willie.”
Will nodded with a smile as Deanna and Mr. Keller came close. Mr. Keller let go of Deanna and took Mrs. McKenzie’s hand and led her away. Willie kissed Deanna gently. “I love you so much. Thank you for brightening up my life again.”
She smiled. “I love you too.”
Several hours later, the guests all left leaving Will and Deanna alone. Deanna sat on the sofa in the living room with her feet on the coffee table. Will came over with some synthetic champagne. After drinking the real thing during the reception, they both decided on synthetic. He sat down next to her, put and arm around her pulling he close and handed her a glass.
“This was a tough day, huh?” Deanna asked.
“Yeah, despite how happy I am right now, I found myself missing Jenny.”
“I missed Andrew also.” She laid her head on Will’s shoulder.
“I had a dream about Jenny last night. She said she was glad we were getting married and said we were destined to have a long life together.”
“I like her thinking.” Deanna said as she turned and kissed Will.
One Year Later
Willie walked slowly into the eating are of the Riker’s quarters on the Monroe and climbed in his chair. Deanna looked at him with a bit of concern. He usually was wide awake in the morning - a trait he had picked up from his mother. Will turned from the replicator and put Andy’s breakfast on the table.
“What do you want for breakfast?”
“Do you feel OK?” Deanna said and reached over and felt his forehead.
“Yeah, I don’t want to go to school today.”
“My mommy came in a dream last night and said my baby sister was going to be born today.” He said. Maria clapped her hands.
Deanna looked at will. Joanna had told her at her appointment the day before that she thought the baby would be born any day.
Will just shook his head. “Your mother never could keep a secret.” When Deanna looked at him curiously, Will smiled. “Jenny wanted to know Willie’s gender before he was born but I didn’t but I told her she could find out but not tell me. Needless to day, she slipped and told me the night before Willie was born.
Deanna smiled. “I hope she’s right, but you three are going to school.”
“Are you going to work?” Maria asked. She had heard Will’s and Deanna’s disagreement the night before about Deanna’s working until she had the baby.
“Yes. I worked through the early stages of labor with both of you.” Deanna said with a smile remembering how Andrew had been so worried about her he couldn’t concentrate on his work while she had very little trouble with her concentration.
Willie looked over at Will with sad eyes. “Did mommy do that?”
“Actually, you weren’t born in Sickbay. You were born in my Ready Room and came pretty close to being born on the Bridge.” Will said with a laugh as he remembered how Jenny had kept the fact that she was in labor from him during most of her shift. She begged her assistant not to tell Will. When she couldn’t hide it any longer, it was too late to get to Sickbay. Will had barely gotten her to his ready Room and Joanna there before Willie was born. “Your mother kept joking that you were going to be born on the Bridge.”
Deanna grinned mischievously and winked at Willie. “Maybe I’ll try that too.”
“Yeah right. Our bond will prevent that. It couldn’t even prevent my experiencing your morning sickness despite your best efforts to shield me from it.”
“Who said I was trying?”
Will shook his head and set Willie’s breakfast on the table and then got himself a cup of coffee and sat down.
Later that day - Monroe Bridge
Alpha Shift was just ending. First Officer Carolyn Adams had just arrived on the Bridge.
“Anything to report, Sir?”
“Nothing to report.” Will said as he got up and offered Deanna his hand. She smiled, took it, and stood up as gracefully as she could. As soon as she straightened up, she doubled over and gasped.
“Are you all right?” Will asked anxiously. She had told him earlier that she was having irregular contractions and that they were fairly mild. To Will, this did not seem mild.
“The baby’s coming.” Deanna said after the contraction ended only to double over as another hit. Will picked her up and started toward the turbolift. “We won’t make it to Sickbay.” Deanna managed to gasp.
Adams tapped her com badge. “Bridge to Sickbay. Dr. Young could you report to the Captain’s Ready Room immediately.”
“On my way.” Dr. Young responded with a slight chuckle.
When Will laid Deanna on the floor, he went and got a pillow from the sofa for Deanna’s head.
“Try not to push until Joanna gets here.”
“I have to push.” She started to bear down as another contraction hit.
Will was scared, as scared as he had been when Willie was born under eerily similar circumstances.
Moments later, the Ready room door opened and Joanna and Katie came in. As the doctor took her position at Deanna’s feet, she smiled at Will. “Deja vue all over again?”
He smiled slightly and nodded and turned his attention to Deanna. Minutes later, the Ready Room was filled with the cries of a newborn baby.
“It’s a girl.” Joanna said ash she held the screaming infant up for her parents to see. “Will, do you want to cut the cord?”
Will nodded and took the scissors and cut the cord. Katie laid a blanket on Deanna’s chest and Joanna laid the baby down and wrapped her in the blanket. “I’ll request a beam out to Sickbay. Katie, I believe the Bridge crew is waiting for the news.”
Katie went to the Ready Room door, opened it and called out. “It’s a girl!” The Bridge crew applauded. Will and Deanna smiled their thinks which Katie relayed on to the Bridge. Joanna then requested a beam out to Sickbay.
After everyone settled in Sickbay, Joanna took the baby and give her a physical. When she finished, she took the baby back to her parents. She handed the baby to Will.
“She’s healthy. She’s 3¾ kilos, and just over ½ a meter. Now, what’s her name so I can put that in her record.”
“Jennifer Andrea.” Deanna answered.
Joanna smiled. “That’s great. I’m sure Jenny and Andrew would have been thrilled.”
Will grinned slightly. He had been quiet subdued since the baby was born. Now, that her empathic sense was starting to come back, Deanna noticed. “What’s wrong?”
“It’s just that Jenny here was born under similar circumstances to Willie. I guess I’m scared that something will happen to you.”
Deanna smiled. “Didn’t Jenny tell you that we would have a long life together?” He nodded. “I don’t think she meant 16 months.”
He smiled. “You’re right.”
Katie poked her head in the door. “Deanna, Will, I’ve got three people who want to see their little sister.”
“Sure, bring them in.” Deanna said with a smile.
The three children all came in the room. Will, who was still holding Jenny, sat down in the chair. The children gathered around and looked at their sister.
“What’s her name?” Maria asked as Jenny wrapped her hand around her fingers.
“Jennifer Andrea.” Will said.
“After my mommy?” Willie asked.
Will nodded. “And Maria’s and Andy’s father.”
“I think they will be happy.” Willie said.
Deanna noticed Maria’s silent tears and the sadness in Willie’s voice. On the other hand, Andy was unusually subdued. “would you like to take turns holding Jenny?” She asked.
The three children nodded. “How should we decide who goes first?” She asked Will who still seemed subdued. She knew he wouldn’t get over his concern until Jenny was more than four months old and Deanna was still alive. She felt the same way when she was six months pregnant with Jenny. She worried practically all the time during that month whenever Will wasn’t around. Fortunately, the month was quiet and Will wasn’t off the ship very often.
“I think Willie should be first “cause he’s the oldest.” Maria said. “Then me and then Andy.”
“OK” Will said as he got up. Willie climbed on the chair. Will put Jenny in Willie’s arms making sure that her head was supported. Willie looked at Jenny and started to cry a little. “You are so cute. I’m going to tell you all ‘bout my mommy ‘cause you have her name and are pretty like her ‘cept you have hair like mommy and daddy.” He kissed her on the head. Jenny opened her eyes and looked at Willie before closing them again. “Maria’s next.”
Will took Jenny and Maria climbed into the chair. Will put Jenny in her arms. She also told Jenny that should tell her about her and Andy’s father.
Willie watched crying silent tears. Will knelt down next to him and pulled him into his arms. “Is mommy going to die like my mommy did?”
“No, she won’t.”
“Good.” Willie started to climb on to the bed with Deanna. Will glanced at her and she nodded for Will to help him. Willie hugged Deanna closely and told her. “I love you, mommy. Thanks for my little sister.”
Andy hugged Will’s leg and Will knelt down so Andy could hug him. “I love you.”
“Now, can I hold Jenny?”
Will laughed. “Sure.” He took Jenny from Maria and Andy and Maria switched places. After will put Jenny in Andy’s arms, Marie demanded her hug from Will and told him that she loved him and thanked him for Jenny.
Jenny started to fuss while Andy was hold her. He become worried. “She doesn’t like me.”
Deanna smiled. “Sure she does, right now she’s hungry.”
Will took Jenny from Andy and handed her to Deanna. “Come on, we have to call the grandparents and eat too.”
The children left the room. Will turned to Deanna. “I’ll come back later.”
“Don’t bother. Spend time with them, Marie felt left out when Andy was born. I have a feeling Willie and Andy may feel a little left out when we come home.”
“OK. I’ll see you tomorrow.” He went over to the bed and kissed Deanna.
Four months later, Deanna gave Will and Willie breakfast in bed much like they had done for she, Maria, and Andy when Deanna was six months pregnant to celebrate the fact that history had not repeated itself.
As the first Jenny Riker had predicted, Deanna and Will had a long and happy life together with their four children.