Author:                        D. Destiny
Paring:                        T/R
Rating:                        G
Summary:                  Deanna reflects on her marriage.
Author's Note:   This story I've written on a request of Gloria; who kindly asked (thus: threatened) me to stop writing sad stories. This one's sweet and definitely Imzadi...but if it escapes the category 'sad' you'll have to decide for yourself. This story is in Deanna's POV style.
Timeframe:                  Distant future.


The stars are beautiful tonight I don't think I've ever seen them shine so brightly not even through a viewport of one of the Enterprises. But then I am of course biased. There is something about looking at the stars from solid ground, not a spaceship, but a planet. The stars, when looked at from a planet, seem more illusive, more romantic then when looked at from the bridge of a ship. Definitely different.

I have lived my entire childhood on a planet, never once travelling beyond its moons. In my adult years I have seen more planets, spacial anomalies, nebulas, clusters, moons, asteroids and other objects floating around space and have I met more people from various races and encountered more difficulties than most other people alive. And so planet-side life soon became an utterly dull prospect.

My life I lived to explore. And exploring is something I still do every day thought no longer out there, it's just as rewarding to explore in here. Perhaps I'm thinking in riddles again, perhaps it is just the truth. Exploration is a profession you can practise anywhere.

Take Captain Jean-Luc Picard for instance. He spend the greater part of his life exploring the unknown, 'boldly going where no one has gone before' or as we used to say '*baldly* going' which was of course a display of affection...maybe intertwined with pun but that is something I'd never admit aloud. When he was done exploring the unknown he spend a few years digging in old planets; exploring the past. And eventually he settled down and spend his time exploring himself and his wife.

An explorer in heart and soul. And perhaps that very quality is what brought us together in the first place. Six officers and a captain, a group that soon developed a bond of friendship and loyalty, but
most of all we shared curiosity and the want to explore.

It saddens me now, when I look upon the stars and find my gaze travelling along those which I dedicated to my friends. The bright blue one just next to the Iraika-sign I dedicated to Admiral Picard
(though in my mind he's still Captain Picard) who passed away nearly forty years ago. The red one next to it that's flickering so fervently is for Beverly Crusher who passed away only a year after her husband Jean-Luc. I hope they've found each other on the other side and will look back on their lives with pride.

For Worf I picked a star that seems a bit isolated from any other star, but that because of that isolation shines brighter then the others. Worf died with honour just as he wanted to. Unable to fight with his crippled ship he rammed the Romulan Flagship and saved the Federation in a war erupted when my first attempt to join the Romulan Empire with the Federation failed.

The closest star near him is for Alexander who died along his father's side, leaving behind a beautiful wife and two sons to carry on the heir line. The star nearest to my home planet is for my mother who left this world bereft of her uniqueness and eccentric presence, but did so before she had lost the ability to be exactly that. Which I am grateful for, for my mother always was repelled at the idea of becoming a ' helpless, toothless, ancient bitch', or so she told me.

There are more stars out there, fortunately more then the number of friends I've lost. There is one for Geordi LaForge, Tasha Yar, Thomas Riker, one for my father and the three little ones that seem
unreachable are for the three children I've lost. My first son Ian, who didn't really die but did. My second daughter Cordelia who I lost before she was even born, unable to protect her from an alien
culture. Tyken, my third son, died not long after his birth. He wasn't strong enough for the illness that had invaded is tiny body.

There has been a time when those losses were too great for words, and with each a period of mourning came. Thinking of them now only invokes a feeling of weariness and melancholy in me. Sometimes making me feel guilty. Those times my husband understands I need space and gives it to me willingly, but he never is far away. Almost lurking around the corner ready to jump in when I need his arms around me.

"Space, the final frontier," Jean-Luc had this little speech he would make whenever a new load of officers arrived on the Enterprise, that being one sentence of it. For years those words held true to me. After all, once you'd reached the end of space, where to go? Settling down on a planet however gave me a new point of view. For me space is a reminder of the past. A precious place where my memories are hidden yet exposed. But more than that space is for me a window to the future. So space really isn't the final frontier, for time knows no final frontier.

I know there are ships out there carrying my children, my grandchildren and my great grandchildren. I know there are planets out there however distant on which my offspring live or work. And whenever I look up at the stars and remember those who've I've lost it is only a matter of time before a moving spark reminds me of those who still live.

My life has been good, my career glorious and my family perfect. The universe is now more peaceful than it was when I started my journeys. The Cardessian have signed a peace-treaty that has been
holding for the past thirty years, the Dominion and the Jem-Hadar have been severely crippled and will be in no way able to be a thread to the Federation for at least another fifty years and the Romulan Empire no longer exists, Romulans are now well respected members of the United Federation of Planets, admissioned fifty-five years ago; five years after the Troi-Toreth agreement.

My eyes catch a falling star and track it as it penetrates my planet's atmosphere only to disappear a second later. When I remember the ancient tradition to make a wish when seeing a falling star I find I have nothing to wish, except for my husband's arms around me. But they'll be there regardless.

An empathic smile runs through my mind, accompanied by a familiar feeling of uninhibited love and affection at the same time as my ears pick up the soft footsteps approaching me.

~What are you thinking about Love?~

~You~ I reply grinningly, there's no need to explain it to him he knows. Our Imzadi bond has grown incredibly strong through the years we've spend together. Whether as lovers or as friends.

"You shouldn't stay out this late, you'll get a cold." I smile, despite being aware of his seriousness. He's taking good care of me, he always has. But we both know there isn't much time left before I'll be able to do much. An alien poison is slowly mastering my body and I am unable to control it much longer, two or three years at most. I have resigned myself to it and so has Will, despite his
unwillingness to acknowledge it.

"Come and lie down with me for a while." Mumbling some objections he lies down anyway, theatrically accentuating the objection his limbs and muscles make. Emphasizing the obvious: we're old. Although of course our children and friends keep contradicting that. My hair has been white for some years now, his still a darker shade of grey. The lines on our faces tell the memories our lives have invoked up on us and Will has lost the battle with his belly-muscles. But I don't mind, I still love him as much as the day we got married, possibly even more so. Putting up with a Riker as husband for eighty years is
in patience only equalled by creating the agreement with the Romulan Empire and raising three half-Riker kids.

"Kyleigh informed us that the mediations on Wij'ko are nearly finished and she and her family will  be back in four weeks, in time for the annual Festival off the Houses." Knowing there is no need to
I don't visibly acknowledge his words, but I do curl up against him, shifting my head from the grass beneath me onto his shoulder. Kyleigh is our eldest daughter and currently head of the Fifth
House, married to the son of the First House and mother of Cordelia and Ian. Cordelia married two years ago and is a Doctor on the USS Picard, Ian is still single and on his way to command much like his grandfather was at that age.

Our second daughter Beverly -or Verly, but never Bev, because she hates that nickname- has passed command of the Federation Flagship The Enterprise-G onto her son Thomas six months ago and decided to finally make use of her psychology degree.

Ian, our son lives on Earth and teaches at the Starfleet Academy, his granddaughter Deanna finished her psychology degrees five years ago (must run in the name) and her twin Lwaxana is well on her way to become a renowned musician. Their parents sadly died while on duty, therefore Ian and his wife Cassandra took the task of raising the twins upon their shoulders.

Our family is well scattered across the galaxy, the family names; Troi, Riker and M'wey will continue to be remembered for many years to come and personally I can't think of a better future.

We're supposed to see everyone again in four months, for we have a big family reunion every year. Just to see how everyone's doing and prevent them from growing apart, but if I'm being honest with myself and acknowledges the weariness and tiredness that has crept in my bones and soul I wonder if that reunion will be as joyous as the last one.

Will tightens his arms around my body, pulling me even closer against him undoubtedly aware of the shift in my emotions. Even after a century I can still picture him exactly as he was the day we first met at Chandra's wedding. I can remember the night we forged our bond, our meeting onboard the Enterprise-D. There are so many memories of him in my head I sometimes wonder if there's any place
for other memories at all. He still manages to surprise me and the deepness of his love can still make me cry. I've seen him injured so many times that when he doesn't get injured every once in a while I
become worried that the universe might have exploded without us noticing it.

It seems ridiculous, but at 120 years I still feel like a teenage girl in love. I love him so much that at unguarded moments my chest hurts because I can't express it verbally. The past eighty years
have been a pure bliss and I know for a fact that I can't be happier than I am today. We've weathered battles, severe injuries, the loss of loved ones and raising children together. We've done everything
there is to do and we've seen everything there is to see. We lived our live to the fullest and then a bit more. Defied death more times then I can count and still had plenty of time to love each other.

His palm cradles my face in his hands and he turns his head to brush my lips with his ever so tenderly. ~I know,~ whispers into my mind, ~I know Imzadi, let it go. We'll be all right.~ A tear slips from his eye and from mine. I tried so hard to keep it from him, to cover up the feeling that has haunted me for too long now, but he knew all along. I can't fight it anymore though, nor do I want to. I am where I want to be, in his arms. I am what I want to be, a wife and a mother and I have what I always wanted to have, my Imzadi and my family.

"I love you." Three simple words which I can all but utter with profound love.

~As I do you my Love. Let it go now, I'll be with you.~ Pressing myself closer to him I wave my fingers through his. ~Let it go.~ he whispers one last time and fills my mind with love, acceptance and
tranquillity. Our souls dance in the love as our lips meet in a kiss of forever and my body gives in to the tiredness hunting me.