Note: this story assumes
that Riker and Troi stayed together after their little tryst in the jungle,
and it is now the season for being jolly.

//Hark how the bells
  Sweet silver bells
  All seems to say
  Throw cares away//

The voices of the youth choir were almost angelic in the cathedral. The
atmosphere was practically ethereal. There was no electricity, save the
heating pipes under the pews, and the church was lit completely by candles.
No one spoke, no one moved, no one even dared to breath as the teens’ voices
would crescendo and glide back down, over and over in waves.

The tableau was hypnotizing to Deanna Troi. She had never heard anything
like it, not even as a child. This whole holiday itself was new to her, and
even though at times she was skeptical, Deanna was becoming more and more
spellbound by the whole thing.

This holiday, it changed people. They became kinder, more giving; spirits
and morale seemed to be at an all-time high, and so far she had seen nothing
able to penetrate the ambiance. It would make an interesting paper for her
human behavior course back at the university when it was all done, but that
would come later, once everything had climaxed and everyone came down from
their highs.

She glanced over to her left where her fiancée was sitting. Will Riker was
completely relaxed. His eyes were closed, and his head lay back as he basked
in the voices of the children. She knew it held a special importance for
him, having been in the choir as a boy.

A month ago Will had explained that he’d been learning all about her family,
culture, and traditions. Now he wanted to share some of his traditions. He
had told her that an Earth holiday was approaching called Christmas, and
that he wanted her to share this joyful time with him. She was unsure at
first; Deanna had not really cared for any of the Earth traditions she had
so far been exposed to, all of which stopped shortly after her father’s
death. But seeing how much it meant to Will she agreed and never voiced her
concerns. Now she was happy she had gone along with everything.

Some of it seemed odd with all the buildup to one night/day, and then
suddenly it was all over; she could do without all that. And this nonsense
with fruitcakes, she did not understand that tradition at all. She had asked
Will why people bought food that everyone hated, and he had replied that it
was used as gifts for others they knew.

“But why give friends a gift that they will not like or want?”

“Well, its sort of a gift for those you really don’t like.”

“But then why give them anything at all?”

“Because, you don’t want to be rude. You don’t want them to KNOW you don’t
like them.”

“But again, why such a horrible gift? If I got something like this I would
definitely know I wasn’t liked and would prefer nothing at all.”

He had sighed, shook his head, and gave up on the issue. Well, he didn’t
exactly get all of her traditions either. One of them she considered just
mean, like that whole Santa business. Why tell a child that if he were good
a fat, happy, red old man would bring him gifts? It was bribery. What
happens to the poor child when he finds out that Santa doesn’t really exist?
That his parents had lied to him?

Will had tried to explain and even show her, and though she slightly
understood this ritual more than some of the others, she still thought it
was mean to the children once they had grown old enough to know the truth.
Perhaps once they had a little boy or girl, she would understand and it
wouldn’t look so terrible to her. If not, she was sure they could just leave
out this part of the celebration.

But on the whole Christmas was not all that bad, especially that mistletoe
thing… she liked that. She had gotten ahold of some and it was in her bags
back at their cabin. She had gotten ideas from that ritual, and tonight she
planned on tying her piece above their bed.

The choir had finished their performance and was receiving a standing

~~ That was simply beautiful Will. Thank you for bringing me. ~~

Will smiled. ~~ It isn’t over yet. Now there is a short play; it’s called
The Nativity. ~~

~~ What is it about? ~~

~~ Well, it’s an old earth folk tale, from a book called the Bible. It’s
what they celebrated Christmas for. ~~

Deanna was intrigued, old religions were a fascination of hers, and Earth’s
were so diverse that she was constantly learning new things or a new cult
was popping up for her to dive into. Will’s enthusiasm in this holiday had
interested her, and she had begun studying the many Jewish and Christian
religions. She couldn’t believe she was actually going to see one of the
stories acted out; Christmas just kept getting better and better!

It was a… different… play; the actors didn’t speak, they merely moved on
their cues, but the older man, the ‘priest’ Will called him, spoke out loud
the story as the people performed the actions he was narrating. It was
different, but equally effective.

When it was done, again they gave the performers a standing ovation, and the
audience began to shuffle towards the exits.

“Will, this was wonderful. I’m so glad you shared it with me.”

Will smiled as they made their way outside and to their flitter.

Once inside he set a course for their cabin and the controls to autopilot,
and then pulled Deanna into his lap. He held her face in his hands and gave
her a soft and gentle kiss.

“I’m glad you liked it. I must admit, you took to this whole holiday better
than I thought you would. I mean, I had some difficulty with some of your

She eyed him and he grinned sheepishly, “Alright, I had a LOT of problems
with your customs, but you haven’t said one bad thing so far… except for the

“I still don’t see why…”

Will shut her up with another kiss, this one more enticing as he teased her
lower lip.

“Mmm, do that again.”

Will laughed and complied; it was always a sure fire way to make her forget
what she was going to argue about.

They had gotten back to their cabin and inside the foyer when Will got a
devilish gleam in his eye. He rocked back and forth on his feet, smiling
from ear to ear, with his hands behind his back.


“Well, I was wondering just HOW much you had gotten into the holiday

Confused, Deanna couldn’t resist.

“Well, I don’t know. How much do YOU think I’ve gotten into this, holiday

Will’s eyebrows went up, she saw that he was clearly amused.

“I have just one question.”

Deanna nodded, should she be scared?

Will brought out what he was hiding behind his back.

“I was just wondering what in the world one person needed with THIS much