The Wedding

h Katara-Trilogy


Author:             D. Destiny

Summary:         Six years ago Deanna caught Will in bed with another woman the night before their wedding. Hurt she called off the wedding and left the Enterprise to assume a teaching post at the Starfleet Academy on Earth. Will took the Captaincy of the USS Titan. Now both return to the Enterprise for a long awaited wedding. Second story of the h Katara Trilogy

Paring:             Guess…

Timeframe:        Six years after The End

Author's Note:   I know, I know...but I *had* to write at least one story like this.

Disclaimer:       The characters belong to me...oh wait, to Paramount . The story *doesn't* belong to                      Paramount ; THANK THE DEITIES. And if they ever adapt a story line anything close              to this I *will* kill the writers personally :o

Archive:            Sure, leave my name on it and for all I care you throw it into the fireplace ;)



In 'The End'



"I understand that you aren't coming with me to the Titan. But you don't have to leave." He didn't say what he had planned to; in fact he said pretty much the opposite. But as always Deanna knew. She stood up with the elegance of a swan and walked to a window. He wanted desperately to go to her and wrap her in his arms, smell the sweet scent of her hair. As if she knew his thought, she locked her dark, luminous eyes on his. Conveying her desire and love to him. In her eyes he also saw her pain and distrust.

"I do." Her voice was barely a whisper, a faint reminder of her usually bright and cheery voice. “Everything here is a reminder to what was and could've been.”

- - -

With pride, love, sadness and guilt in his heart, he watched her shuttle move away from him. He watched until the red lights at the back of its warp engines were no longer visible. Things would never return to the way they once were between them, but someday, somewhere, they'd see each other again. And he'd be waiting for that day.


The Wedding



In the Enterprise 's lounge, several engineering teams where busy decorating and furnishing the large room to accommodate the guests for the wedding. Their actions carefully supervised by Lwaxana Troi; the eccentric Daughter of the Fifth House of Betazed, Holder of the Sacred Chalice of Rixx, Heir to the Holy Rings of Betazed. In the far corner, near the viewports, Jean-Luc Picard and Beverly Crusher watched the scene before them.


"God, I feel sorry for Deanna." A sharp look of the Telepath in their direction kept Picard from commenting and instead he grabbed Crusher's arm and led her out Ten-Forward.



"Kyleigh Felisia Troi, you'd better get over here and in this dress or I'll leave you at home tomorrow!" Almost instantly a little dark-haired and black-eyed beauty came running into the living room.


"I'm here Mommy! I'm here! I'll promise I'll be good! Please don't leave me here tomorrow!" Deanna smiled and swept the girl in her arms to give her a big hug.


"Alright then, you can come. Now..." Putting her daughter on the couch Deanna grabbed the dress that hung behind her and laid it next to the little girl. "...Let's see if this fits." Quickly Kyleigh began to undress; not wanting to miss the wedding that'd be on the next day for anything in the galaxy.


"You must wear your dress too, Mommy!" Troi chuckled at the child's enthusiasm and nodded her agreement as she walked to her bedroom to get her own dress. While she dressed she watched Kyleigh struggle with her own clothing. With her five-and-a-half years Kyleigh Felisia Troi, usually called Lishia, was an extremely bright and cheery child and according to Lwaxana very much like Deanna had been at that age. Deanna loved her daughter dearly and enjoyed motherhood just as much as she always thought she would. In her struggle with her dress, Lishia lost her balance and landed on her behind on one of the large, furry cushions on the couch. Chuckling, Deanna walked to her and picked her up to put her back on her feet.


"Having a little trouble with the dress, Little One?"


"Yes Mommy; the holes are all in the wrong places." The girl replied seriously. Laughing Deanna shook her head and helped her daughter put on her dress. When she was done, she turned her back towards the little girl.


"There Little One; now it's your turn to zip me up." Carefully she studied the zipper of her mother's dress. Determined to fulfill the task up ahead. Her tiny fingers grabbed the silver zipper and pulled it up.


"Mommy! Pull your belly in, I can't get your dress closed!" Deanna's eyes widened briefly at her daughter's command, but she did as asked. With her five-and-a-half years, Kyleigh had her mother, grandmother, Auntie Beverly and Uncle Jean-Luc wrapped around her little finger.



"Captain, incoming message from the Enterprise . They want to know our ETA."


"McKenzie?" The young female at the helm turned around to face her Captain.


"Fourteen hours and thirty-seven minutes, Sir." Nervous, Riker nodded at her and instructed his communications officer to rely their ETA to the Enterprise . He couldn't wait for the ceremony, yet at the very same time he dreaded it immensely. His suit had been hanging in his bedroom for the past three weeks now and he had gotten at least four communiqués from Lwaxana Troi about what to do and what to say and perhaps more important; -when- what to say or do. Curiously, the woman at his left watched him.


"Nervous for the big day, Will?" With a lopsided grin, he regarded his CMO.


"Very." Serah smiled and squeezed his arm assuring.


"There could be worse fates y'know."


"Yeah, I know." She almost believed him, were it not for the desperate look in his eyes.



Beverly Crusher raised her hand to tap the panel in front of her, but before her hand was even at the same level, a musical voice came though the Commsystem and invited her in. Immediately the doors in front of her slid apart and allowed her access into the quarters of her closest friend.


Upon seeing the scene in front of her, Beverly placed her left hand over her mouth to keep herself from laughing out loud. Deanna was kneeling on the floor; her long dark curls spilled over her face and behind her a red-faced tiny copy of Deanna was trying to get Deanna’s zipper up, the tip of her tongue caught between her teeth in the process.


Beverly , maybe you could help Lishia out?”


“I can do this Mommy! I can!” The two adults exchanged a knowing look, and Deanna reached behind her to squeeze her daughter’s hand.


“I know you can, but we’ve got to get ready; your grandmother is expecting us soon.” Putting on a pouting face, Kyleigh jumped of the couch and motioned Beverly to take her place. Within seconds, Deanna's dress was zipped up and she was being pulled to her feet by Crusher. Smoothing the skirt of her dress, Deanna glanced at her daughter and then at her friend.


"Bev! You're not wearing your dress!"


"Which is my very right. Now let's go before your mother comes hunting for us." The women exchanged a knowing look and each grabbed one of Kyleigh's tiny hands in their own and headed to the door.



"My, my, this must be my lucky day." Broadly grinning, Jean-Luc came walking up to them. "Three beautiful ladies and they're all mine." Defensively, Kyleigh jumped forward.


"No! Mommy's mine and Daddy's." Surprised, Beverly and Jean-Luc diverted their gazes to Deanna, who quickly turned her head to hide the solemn tear that slid down her cheek. A silent message passed between the two officers and together they walked away; giving Deanna the opportunity to compose herself.


Troi looked down as she felt short tugs to her skirt and looked into the large black eyes of her daughter. She wiped her tears away and lifted the child up to hug her closely. "I'm sorry Mommy, I didn't mean to make you sad."


"It's alright Little One, and I'm doing better already." Giving her daughter the most genuine smile she could manage, Deanna hugged her again. "Why don't we go and see your grandmother? She must be really anxious to see you in that pretty dress." The words had barely left her mouth, when Lwaxana's voice rang through their heads.


~Well of course I am! Come here Flower Girl and show me that beautiful dress. Oh and Little One, I'd appreciate it if you'd teach your daughter some traditions before the ceremony tomorrow.~ Kyleigh rolled her eyes and looked up at her mother.


"Hurry on" Deanna whispered, "Before she comes after you!" Giggling the child left off and Troi wisely decided not to answer her mother.



"She hasn't told him, has she?" Beverly shook her head sadly while answering her Captain.


"No, she hasn't." Both watched Kyleigh as she ran towards her grandmother.


"Kyleigh is a very beautiful child. So much like her mother."


"Yes. And just as stubborn." The couple chuckled softly. When he heard Beverly 's soft sigh he turned towards her and captured her face in his hands.


"What is it?"


"Nothing...I was just thinking how different Deanna's life was six years ago."


"Yes...tomorrow promises to be an interesting day."


"Oh it better!" Crusher accompanied her answer by a playful poke between Picard's ribs and then grabbed his hand to drag him towards the three Troi women. "We'd better put Deanna out her misery." It was obviously to the Enterprise officers that mother and daughter were having yet another argument; a sight not as uncommon as they would've liked.



The Wedding 2/5



"Pfeww, I'm glad this day's over." Deanna and Beverly walked into Deanna's quarters. The Betazoid was carrying Kyleigh, who was almost asleep; exhausted by the day's events. When Deanna started walking to Kyleigh's bedroom, Beverly stopped her.


"I'll do it. You look just as exhausted as she does." Thanking her friend with just a look, Deanna handed her the treasure she was carrying and then headed for her bedroom to change. Quickly she peeled her dress off and slid into a silk bathrobe. While walking back to her daughter's room she pulled her thick, dark hair back into a ponytail and fastened it.


Reaching Kyleigh's room, she leaned against a bulkhead and watched as Beverly tucked her goddaughter in. "Goodnight Lishia." Quietly the Doctor backed away, making a place for Deanna. The empath gently caressed her daughter's face before leaning down and placing a tender kiss on her forehead.


"Sweet dreams, my Angel." Watching the little girl for a few more seconds, she eventually turned around to follow Beverly into the living area.


At the same moment that Deanna let herself fall onto the couch, Crusher returned from the replicator with a mug of hot chocolate and a cup of tea. She handed Deanna the mug and sat down on the other end of the couch.


"So, all set and done for tomorrow?"


"I think so. And if not, we'll find out soon enough." Smiling, Troi shook her head.


"You're taking this so easy. If it'd be my wedding, I'd probably be wound up tighter than Jean-Luc at the annual Admiral's banquet." Beverly decided not to reply and instead studied her best friend's features for a while.


"What about you? How do you feel about tomorrow?"


"Oh, I'm thrilled! You two are *long* overdue and I *know* the ceremony will be very special and beautiful." But the Betazoid refused to look at her friend; knowing she'd find the unvoiced question in those blue eyes. But Beverly was Beverly and there wasn't a chance she'd stop prying.


"And further?" Deanna sighed deeply and reluctantly raised her eyes.


"And further. I am nervous, scared to death and angry. I'd like to be able to predict how we'll react to each other, but I can't. I don't know him anymore; it's been six years since we've seen each other, or said more to each other than standard pleasantries." Angrily, Deanna wiped the fresh tears off her face.


"You haven't told him, have you?"


"No, I tried and gods I wanted to, but I couldn't. Not back then, not now and I'm not sure I ever can." Without saying another word, Beverly moved to Deanna and enveloped her tiny form in her arms. In the safety of her friends embrace, Deanna let her tears flow freely after keeping them back for far too long. "I don't know if I can face him Bev...It still hurts...*so* much!" Harsh sobs racked the Empath's body, interrupting her words. "I-I still miss him...l-love him...but I *hate* him!"


Crusher stroke Troi's hair in rhythmic, soothing moves while she listened as the Counselor finally let out the emotions she'd hidden for almost six years. For the first time did Beverly begin to remotely understand the agony Deanna had been through the first months after she'd left, the shock when she had find out she was pregnant. Beverly had been in touch with her best friend at least once a week through her pregnancy, but the distance between them --Deanna was stationed at Earth at the time-- had put some kind of strain on their talks.


At the end of the term, Deanna returned from Starfleet Academy to the Enterprise . She was seven months pregnant at the time and Beverly insisted on being the one to guide her through the last months. Beverly knew all too well that the child was just about the soul reason that kept Deanna going at the time.


Not only had Will's betrayal robbed her of her trust in him and in love altogether, it had also forced her to leave the only home she'd known for the past decade and a half. Leaving her with nothing but memories of what once had been.


About to be married herself, Beverly could only imagine how she'd feel and react if Jean-Luc would pull the same stunt on her as Will had on Deanna. Keeping her temper in mind, she smugly admitted to herself that she'd probably kill him or do something *very* painful to a certain part of his body.


She was pulled from her thoughts when movements behind her drew her attention. Before turning around she looked at the dark haired --and now sleeping-- beauty in her arms. Only to find herself staring at her replica when she did turn around.


"Lishia, why aren't you a sleep yet?" Without saying a word the little girl, clad in an ankle-length, white nightgown, walked towards them and kneeled next to the face of her mother. She studied her features for a while and gently wiped away the paths tears had made before she even acknowledged Crusher's presence.


"Why does she hurt so bad?" The sorrow over her mother was clearly visible in Kyleigh's soulful eyes, eyes so much like her mother's. Beverly slid a comforting arm around her goddaughter and hugged her tightly.


"Your mother has some sad memories..." The Doctor diverted her gaze from child to parent and back and let out a soft sigh. "The wedding tomorrow made her think about that a little more."  The girl nodded her understanding and bent to kiss her mother on her forehead. A nostalgic smile crept over Beverly 's features as she recalled how Will Riker used to do exactly the same thing when Deanna needed comfort.


Careful not to wake the Betazoid, she stood up and scooped Kyleigh in her arms. "Why don't you go back to sleep as well? I do need you to rise and shine early in the morning, Flower Girl."



"Geez Bev, calm down!" Half-smiling, Deanna watched her best friend furiously trying to get a stubborn lock of auburn curls to go where she wanted them to be.


"Now you either stay put or I'm going to cut you off! You hear me?" But instead of doing as ordered, the lock simply fell back in front of Beverly 's eyes. "Argh!!!"


Kyleigh left Crusher's side and walked to her mother. Covertly she whispered in Deanna's ear "I think Auntie Bev is a little nervous." Deanna stifled a laugh, "I think so too," she whispered back. Deciding it was time to make an end to Beverly 's frustrations; she walked to her friend, took the stubborn lock between two fingers, and twisted it around another lock which already had been fastened.


For a moment Beverly was rendered speechless, then she turned back to the mirror and studied her hair. "Thanks Dea." The empath smiled and picked up the make-up. She began to apply the different colors to Beverly 's face, humming while she did so.


"We're never going to make it, I'm sure."


"Make what?"


"The aisle," Crusher answered on a sigh, "we'll never make it." Deanna barely managed to contain a chuckle. "Why wouldn't you?" she questioned.


"Why not? Well, I'm sure some 'ship's-business' will come in between, or a medical emergency, or new orders from Starfleet Command, or we run into a hostile vessel, a new space anomaly..." Troi was about to cut in, but just then Beverly seemed to end her sum. "*But*, most likely I'll sprain my ankle and break my neck as I fall. I'll *never* be able to walk on these high-heeled shoes!"


Dumbfounded, the empath stared at the reflection of her best friend in the mirror, but soon she couldn't help but laugh at the bride-to-be's defeated eyes and her desperate words. With her arms folded across her chest, Beverly impatiently waited for Deanna to stop laughing.


"I'm sorry...Bev, but you should hear yourself talking." Deanna was still chuckling when she heard her daughter calling for her. "Mommy, may I have some of those pretty colors as well?" With pleading eyes, Kyleigh pointed at the little boxes of make-up scattered on Deanna's wash-table. Thoughtfully, the elder Troi looked at the make-up. "All right, because it's such a special day today." Excited by her mother's agreement, little Kyleigh jumped up and down.


Seeing the little girl so happy made Beverly forget about all that could go wrong and for the first time that day she smiled genuinely.



~Little One, the ceremony starts in ten minutes dear.~ Deanna rolled her eyes and she fastened the last tendril of Kyleigh's dark curls. This was only the tenth time her mother had given her such a warning and it was becoming pretty damn annoying. "All right Little One, you're all set and done." Thrilled and hardly being able to wait for the ceremony to start, Kyleigh ran to the adjoined room to get her flower petals and dress.


Slowly Troi walked over to Beverly, the latter was anxiously looking out the window, watching the final preparations being made in Ten-Forward. Deanna sat down on the bench next to her friend and picked up a package from a nearby shelf.


"Beverly Howard Crusher," at the mentioning of her full name Beverly turned so that she was facing the small Betazoid. Deanna opened the package and carefully took out the golden bracelet within it. While holding the bracelet in her right hand she reached for Beverly 's left arm and made her turn her palm towards herself. Crusher somehow sensed the empath was performing some kind of ritual and therefore she kept silent and docilely followed Deanna's unspoken instructions.


Troi bent forward and placed a tender kiss on the inside of Beverly 's wrist, then she fasten the golden bracelet around it. "This bracelet is given to each Betazoid bride by her best friend at the day of her wedding.  I give you, Beverly Howard Crusher, this bracelet today.  For you will always remember that, aside from your husband, I will always be there.  If you need a shoulder to cry on, someone to laugh with or to be angry at, I'll be there. Just as this bracelet will always be within reach."


As Beverly looked into Troi's dark eyes, a sudden feeling of content and peace flooded through her body and mind, taking away her anxiety and fear over the upcoming ceremony. "Stryhila, Ktariy kai betajhin. Forever friends and confidants." Her last words were spoken on a breath of mystique and calmness, making Beverly feel almost light-headed. The two women hugged each other tightly as a tear slipped from each black and blue eye.


The Wedding (3/5)



"There he is, there he is!" Both adults smiled at the enthusiasm of the child who was pointing at the man behind the window. Kyleigh ran over to Beverly and grabbed her hand, trying to pull the bride along to the door that would lead her to Ten-Forward.


"Not yet, Lishia." Pouting, the girl let go of the slender hand of her 'aunt'. Deanna's chuckle abruptly stopped, as her eyes fell on the second man to step onto the platform on which the ceremony would be held. Her breath halted in her throat and her eyes remained fixed on the tall man.


He was still very handsome, his eyes perhaps even bluer than they were six years ago. His hair and beard began to get grayish and perhaps a bit thinner. The tuxedo he was wearing enhanced his authoritative charisma and strong features. Only now, for the first time in six years that she actually saw him again, she realized how much she had missed him. It took her every bit of discipline not to break down in tears. Deanna's heartbeat accelerated suddenly as Will Riker turned around and seemed to stare right at her. 'Don't be ridiculous Deanna, he can't know you're here, he can't even see you.'


Noticing her friend's struggle to keep her composure, Beverly placed an encouraging hand on the smaller woman's shoulder. "Are you sure you're up to this?"


For a few seconds the Betozoid remained silent, but then her musical voice clearly rang through the room. "Yes. Yes I can handle it." She managed a weak smile and returned her gaze to the people already in Ten-Forward. She let their joy and happiness wash over her senses, readying herself to face her doom.


~Deanna, it's time.~ Lwaxana's voice announced it was time for them to come out of their hiding place. Troi took a deep breath and nodded in response to Beverly 's questioning eyes. "Okay Lishia, time to go."


"Yes! Finally!" Excited to no end the little girl ran to the doors, impatiently waiting for them to open. Just before she ran out she remembered she was supposed to walk. With her nose up in the air she began her way to the aisle, not once looking back to see if the two adults were following, too caught up in her moment of glory as a flower girl.


Beverly swallowed as she set the first step outside the 'brides-room'. The look of anxiety on her face was soon replaced by a genuine smile as she saw Jean-Luc Picard's reaction to her looks. She wore a traditional white gown, the bodice tightly fitting her upper body, was low cut and decorated with dozens of little diamonds and pearls. The skirt was wide and free floating, consisting of several layers of lace and silk. Around her neck hung the necklace she had inherited from her grandmother, an ancient and handcrafted golden band, set with green emeralds. Her auburn hair hung loose around her face and shoulders, accentuating her sharp features and bright eyes.


Behind the dumbfounded Captain, there stood another, equally dumbfounded, captain. Only the latter's attention was fixed, not on the bride, but on the beauty walking behind her. After his eyes had slid from, to him, the unknown girl, to the bride behind her, (and Beverly *did* look radiant he noticed), his eyes fell on the woman behind the bride. He barely managed to contain a gasp. Deanna looked...gorgeous. A simple floor length lilac gown hugged her small but sensual body in all the right places, accentuating her natural grace. Her hair was pulled back in a ponytail fastened high on the back of her head. A dozen or so tendrils framed her face and caressed her shoulders. A solid silver necklace sparkled around her slender neck. It seemed to him she hadn't aged at all.


Their eyes locked across the distance that separated them, but almost immediately Deanna lowered her black gaze to the floor. She couldn't bring herself to look him in the eyes, afraid for the memories and pain they'd evoke.


Her unwillingness to look at him called back the guilt he had felt over betraying her in three-fold. The intensity of the love he still felt for her surprised him. He tore his eyes away from her, noticing her discomfort under his staring gaze.


As he glanced around the Lounge his eyes met the green ones of Serah Justman, his CMO and wife since six years. Her lively eyes conveyed strength and love to him and grateful he smiled at her. She knew practically everything about Deanna, about their history together. He had told her nearly everything in the first couple of months that he knew her.


Serah had lost her husband three months before he'd become Captain of the U.S.S Titan. Having both lost their loved ones they had found solace in each other's company, and he realized that opening up to her was almost as easy as talking to Deanna. Serah's always understanding eyes and the air of tranquility around her reminded him of Deanna, and she'd told him his boyish smile reminded her of her late husband Raya.


In appearance, Deanna and Serah were quite different. Where Deanna's features were delicate and soft, Serah's were sharp and rather stern. Serah's green and small eyes were almost the opposite of Deanna's large black ones. His wife was slender, like Deanna, but she was also tall, about 5"9', and she had shoulder length blond hair. He loved Serah with all his heart, but both knew he was still in love with Troi.


A small waving hand besides his wife caught his attention and he saw Ian Raya waving enthusiastically at him. He smiled back, resisting the urge to wave back to his six year old son. The boy was undoubtedly his mother's son with bright green eyes and dark blond hair. He was tall and already broad-shouldered for his age and extremely bright. Will, on his turn, was very proud and enjoyed fatherhood very much.


He turned is attention back on the bride, for she had nearly reached the aisle. His eyes fell again on the little girl throwing around purple petals. She would definitely become a very beautiful woman one day. He studied her for a while, coming to the conclusion she’d be perhaps one or two years younger than his own son. Her eyes were black as coal and long dark brown curls spun down over her back. ‘Deanna must have looked like that as a child,’ he thought wistfully. As the thought repeated itself in his mind, he felt as if he’d been struck by lightening. ‘Could she be Deanna’s daughter?’ He questioned himself.


It wouldn’t be unbelievable for her to try and build a new life, but for the sake of his male ego he hadn’t been willing to even *consider* the possibility that she’d found happiness with someone else, even though he had. He couldn’t bare the thought of his Imzadi lying in the arms of another man. Making love to her husband, someone else than himself. But the longer he looked at the little girl preceding Beverly and the longer he compared her with Deanna, the more obvious it became that she really was her daughter.


What would her husband look like? What kind of job would he have? Was he a Starfleet Officer as well? Was he Betazoid, like Deanna, or perhaps human like him? Or another species? Would he love her the way he himself loved her? How would he comfort her when she’d had a bad dream? How would he help her relax after a tough day? Would they make love the way he and Deanna once had? All those questions spun around in Riker’s mind as he became more and more convinced of the little girls heritage. However, before he could think of more questions Deanna’s musical and still so familiar voice broke his strain of thoughts. She had taken a position between Jean-Luc and Beverly and behind her stood a matured Wesley Crusher, holding a white satin pillow on which a golden ring sparkled in the light that fell upon it. Undoubtedly, that ring was an exact replica of the one he was carrying in his pocket.


“I welcome everyone today, for this special and -long- over due marriage,” He barely heard the chuckles behind them, his gaze fixed on Deanna. Deanna, on her turn, was very much aware of his gaze, but for the sake of herself and her friends she ignored him best she could. “...between two officers, well respected and well known throughout the Federation and beyond. I’ve had the pleasure-“ Again people throughout the lounge chuckled as Deanna’s facial expression contradicted her words and he noticed the look of mock confusion that the bride and groom exchanged. “ watch Captain Jean-Luc Picard and Doctor Beverly Crusher dance around their feelings and each other for nearly two decades.”


Riker grinned and shook his head at Deanna’s words, but when he saw her loving smile directed towards the couple next to her, his heart ached. “Following an ancient Earth tradition, the bride and groom have each made their own vows." Will suddenly found it impossible to tear his gaze away from her face. The words she spoke became more and more distant as his eyes traced every line and curve of her face. His mind drifted away on memories of another lifetime and he became oblivious to the happenings around him.


"Today I will seal my love for you in the sacred bonding of marriage and give you this ring as a symbol for the continuity of my love." Jean-Luc turned towards Riker, with that movement bringing the younger man out of his reverie just in time for him to hand the groom the wedding ring he'd been holding. He glanced back up to Deanna, only to find her black eyes turn way the second they met his. Inwardly sighing, he refocussed his attention on Beverly Crusher, who was just about to make her vow.


"I pledge my life to you from now onward and am confident that our mutual love will guide us through times of anger, fear and hurt. I promise today never to leave you and to support you where I can. Together, I hope we'll become older and wiser than we already are. Life is a continuous learning progress and I can't think who else I'd rather be learning with than you. I too will today seal my love for you in the sacred bonding of marriage and give you this ring as a symbol for the continuity of my love."


Wesley stepped forward on cue and held out the pillow on which the golden band was laying. Beverly carefully picked it up and slid it around Jean-Luc's ring finger. Will couldn't help but notice how both their hands were quivering. A huge smile spread across Deanna Troi's face, as she witnessed how the couple being joined in marriage looked at one another. It was a look that could only be described as fear. As the only empath in the room, she was the only one totally aware of the strong love flowing beneath that fear.


"I now, with the powers granted to me by all planets joined in the Federation, pronounce you wife and husband." Beverly shot her friend a curious glare as she noticed the changed order in the last three words, surprised that Deanna had actually remembered it. "You may now kiss the groom." She had to stifle a laugh, she couldn't believe Troi had actually kept her promise! A promise made in not an entirely sober mood even, but she more than gladly obliged.


The bride bent forward, bringing her face closer to that of her husband. A feeling of joy so intense, it nearly knocked her off her feet. It spread throughout her veins as they drew their kiss deeper and it grew more passionately. The applause of the guests behind them faintly rang through their minds, for both were too occupied in their first kiss as husband and wife.


That was until a small, but surprisingly clear voice uttered one single word, "YUCK". Deanna mouth fell open in horror, hearing the word coming out of her daughter's mouth. The crowd seated across from her found it obviously adoring and chuckled delightedly at the young girl's boldness. Kyleigh, on her turn, was obviously pleased as Jean-Luc and Beverly broke their kiss and turned their attention to their goddaughter. Deciding to put an end to the official ceremony before something more disastrous could happen. She went to stand between her two friends and made them turn to face the crowd.


"I hereby introduce all of you to Mr. Jean-Luc Picard and his lovely wife Mrs. Beverly Picard." For the ceremony, Beverly had opted for just the use of her first and last name, rather then her full name, Beverly Felicia Howard-Crusher-Picard. Dutifully the couple bowed and then stepped down from the platform to receive the congratulations from their guests.


Pleased, Deanna watched the couple mingle amongst the guests, this was the very first wedding ceremony she had ever conducted and she had to admit it felt wonderful. It didn't hurt that the couple were two of her best friends either, of course. She smiled to herself and grabbed Kyleigh's little hand. ~Come Flower Girl, let's dance.~ Her daughter's eyes lit up with expectation and they began their way to the dance floor where the newlyweds had just finished their first dance. All the while, Deanna tried her utmost to ignore the piercing eyes of Captain William T. Riker that seemed to follow her everywhere.



The Wedding (4/5)



Most of the guests had left, giving the Troi’s compliments for the ceremony and asking Deanna to pass their greetings on to the Picards, who'd long since left the room. Deanna was sitting on one of the tables discussing the latest ship's gossip with Guinan and Katherine Pulaski. Lishia was curled in her lap, desperately trying not to fall asleep.


A few tables away, the Rikers were catching up with Geordi and Data.  Will's son was proudly sitting on his father's lap, determined not to fall asleep. He wasn't much more successful than Deanna's daughter.


"She's a beauty Deanna, she looks a lot like you." Troi looked at her little treasure and smiled gratefully. "Yes, she is. Though I think she needs her beauty sleep now." The two other women grinned and they exchanged goodnight wishes.


Deanna walked across the room and stopped by the other still occupied table. "Thank you for coming, I'm sure Bev and Jean-Luc loved it. Now, I think I'm going to put the Flower Girl to bed." She grinned slightly as everyone diverted their eyes to Kyleigh's sleeping form. Geordi stood up and kissed her goodnight. Except for Will they all told her the ceremony had been beautiful and in response she briefly locked her dark eyes on everyone possible, except for Will.


As her eyes fell on his son a dagger of pain stabbed her heart, but she managed to keep smiling. "It looks like Lishia's not the only one who's tired." The boy's mother grinned at her, her green eyes loving and understanding. "It's been nice meeting you, Serah."


"Likewise, Deanna." The Empath sensed Will's surprise; obviously he hadn't noticed they'd talked before. Suddenly, her legs became weak under her body and she swayed as a sharp pain sliced through her head. Lasting for less then a second, so short she wasn't even sure if it had really happened.


When the others saw her sway and her face contort in pain, they jumped up and in no time, Data and Geordi stood at her side. "You all right, Deanna?" She nodded warily, suddenly overcome by tiredness. "Yes, yes I just lost my balance for a second." In her arms Kyleigh stirred slightly and turned, her sleep intruded by the happenings around her.


"I'll walk you to your quarters, all right?"


"Yes, thank you Geordi." He just nodded his response and lifted Kyleigh out the arms of her mother. She settled back against his chest, totally unaware of the world around her. As they left Ten-Forward, Deanna was painfully aware of Riker's piercing eyes on their backs and was surprised to feel a pang of jealousy from him.


She shrugged the feeling off and sighed of relief as the doors closed behind her.


"You all right, Counselor?"


"Yes, just tired, it's been a long day." Her companion nodded his understanding and they walked the rest of the way in companiable silence.


Once inside her quarters, Geordi gently laid 'little Deanna' --as they had dubbed Kyleigh-- in her bed. "Thank you Geordi," the engineer was startled by the Counselor's sudden exhausted appearance, but managed to hide his concern and replied to her cheerfully "Anytime Doc." Smiling, the Betazoid shook her head and moved to the replicator. "Can I get you something?" For a moment he considered accepting, but then he remembered what happened earlier and politely declined. "No, I think I'll retire for the evening, I'm pretty tired." Troi smiled, realizing what he meant with the words and walked him to the door. "Goodnight."



Reluctantly, Deanna opened her eyes. Dismayed by the light they encountered, she closed them again and turned on her belly, pressing her face in the soft pillow. She had the day off and no matter what time it was, it was too early to get up.


Two hours later she woke up again, this time by a small, dark-haired girl who was pulling the sheets off her bed. "Mommy, Mommy I'm hungry, can I have breakfast?" Deanna groaned and tried to pull the sheets back, but her daughter wouldn't yield and mercilessly yanked the sheets away. "Mommy, Mommy, can I have a hot-chocolate?" At this Deanna couldn't help but grin. 'Definitely her mother's daughter,' she amended.


"Oh, all right then. But first give me my bathrobe, Little One." Before she had finished, the girl already returned with the silk purple robe and handed it to her mother. Deanna slid in it and walked to the replicator, ordering two hot-chocolates. For a moment, she regretted that Lwaxana had to return to Betazed the evening before. It had been a while since they had the opportunity to share a couple of hours together without having to do anything. "On the other hand," she murmured, "I doubt Jean-Luc and Bev would've managed to leave the party earlier, had she been there."


Having finished their drinks, mother and daughter started on the task of getting ready for the day that lay ahead. After having taken a shower herself, Deanna bathed her daughter and dressed her in a blue dress. Together they sat down in front of the mirror and started brushing their hair. Deanna marveled over the softness of her daughter's hair. Kyleigh's hair was a shade lighter than her own and each year it seemed to straighten out a bit. She was grateful that it was nearly the only visible sign that Will Riker was her father. She recalled how relieved she had been --and still was-- when it became clear that Kyleigh had inherited her mother's eyes rather than her father's.


When both were satisfied with their appearance, Deanna replicated a typical Betazoid-breakfast and put it down on the table, where mother and daughter ate while Kyleigh happily told her mother all her adventures of the night before. How she had danced with Uncle Jean-Luc and with Geordi and with Data and with Reg and with a boy who's name she couldn't remember. She told her mother all about the compliments she had received from various people and that she wanted to be a Flower Girl again sometime soon. Deanna was pleased her daughter had enjoyed the evening and gladly listened to her tales.


The young girl was just clearing the table when the door chimes went, giving her a welcome excuse to abandon her task. The doors slid apart and revealed a tall muscular man standing on the other side. "Hello," her cheerful welcome brought a genuine smile to the man's face and he bent down to make it easier for her to look at his face.


"Hello. You're the Flower Girl from last night right?" Kyleigh nodded proudly. "A wonderful job you did. Tell me, what is your name?" She looked at him hesitantly, not sure if she could trust him. It was then that she heard her mother's voice in her head. ~Who is it, Little One?~


"Don't know, Mommy!" The man instantly realized mother and daughter could communicate telepathically. Deanna had told him that if she'd ever have a child with someone who wasn't telepathic or empathic, the child's mental abilities would be nearly negligent. Therefore he dropped to the conclusion she must have married a Betazoid man, just as the Daughter of the Fifth House of Betazed is supposed to do.


Hearing her daughter's unusual reply Deanna dropped the padd she'd been reading and walked to the main room, curious about who their visitor was. When her eyes fell on the form in front of her daughter, her breath held in her throat. She'd hoped she wouldn't have to face him, apparently the powers that be didn't quite agree.


Both Kyleigh and the visitor were as yet unaware of Deanna, both studying each other's face. Will noticed the small girl in front of him was nearly an exact copy of Deanna. Onyx eyes, delicate features and a wild mane of very dark brown, wavy hair. Her hair seemed one or two shades lighter than Deanna's and was definitely less curly, two traits she'd probably inherited from her father.


"Why are you here?" He smiled again and leaned slightly towards her.


"I wanted to talk to your mother." At his word Kyleigh spun around, suddenly becoming aware of her mother's close proximity and her pain.


"No." She answered resolutely. "You cause her pain, go away!" Her stance had become rigid and the smile that had played around her lips disappeared. Confused, Riker rose to his full height, towering above the youngest Troi. His form, however, didn't impress her the slightest bit and she remained standing across from him.


"Lishia," Deanna's quiet and almost cautious voice rang through the quarters, "it's alright, let him in." Again Kyleigh turned to her mother, her mouth opening to object, but as their eyes met she closed it and stepped aside. Cautiously, Riker entered the room and let the doors close again. "Why don't you go check on Willy?" Sensing it wasn't a simple suggestion; Kyleigh nodded demurely and began to leave. "Oh and maybe you can give Kate a hand, it's busy in Sickbay now that Aunt Bev is on her honeymoon."


"Yes, Mommy."


"Shoo, Little One, you worry too much. I'll be fine." ~If I can handle Uncle Jean-Luc, surely I can handle this man.~ The girl chuckled at her mother's joke and stepped to the doors which opened at her approach. She exited the quarters and headed for the Turbolift as she heard her mother's voice ring through her head again, accompanied by an empathic hug. ~I love you.~


"She's very pretty, she looks just like you." Putting up a happy front, Deanna smiled and motioned him to sit down.


"She's a precious gift." Will marveled at the love and affection with which she spoke, it was obvious the little girl meant the world to the woman sitting across him. Being this close to her again brought back all the ache his heart had endured over the years. It had been six long years since he'd seen her in person. She hadn't been there when he took command of the Titan and she hadn't been there at any other major event in his life, including his wedding. And he had no one to blame but himself, for he hadn't invited, hadn't even told her he was going to get married. Basically, they hadn't spoken for six years and he still missed her every day.


"'s life aboard the Titan?" 'This is ridiculous,' she said to herself. We've got six years to catch up with and I don't know what to say.'


"It's been wonderful so far. We've become a close family." Inward Deanna winced at his words. It would make her feel better to know he had been miserable as well, but even when she probed him she encountered feelings of mainly contentness and love, with a slight twinge of guilt, remorse and miss.


"What about you?" His simple question startled her even though she'd expected it. What was she to answer?


"I've been fine. I stayed on Earth six months then moved back to the Enterprise ." Her answer was so vague she never expected to get away with it, but she couldn't have been more relieved when she did.


"Glad to hear that." For the first time since she'd known him, an uncomfortable silence fell between her and Will, leaving her nervous and anxious to talk.


"You're wife is a very sweet woman...and your son is very handsome." His eyes briefly closed to hide the regret he felt. Not that she couldn't know feel it anyway. "You love them deeply." He swallowed and made sure not to look in her eyes as she spoke.


"Yes, yes I do. They're a god's gift." She smiled, happy he was happy, but at the same time hating him for it.


"Will," her soft whisper of his name coaxed him to lock his eyes on hers, and he was shocked when he found that for the first time in his life, he couldn't read them, "why didn't you tell me when you got married?" He swallowed harshly and she sensed him debating how to answer her.


"I-uhm, I didn't want to press your nose in it, I didn't want to hurt you again." She noticed how he actually believed himself, if only she could believe him as well. Her black eyes remained fixed on his blue ones, giving him unintentionally the opportunity to study her. Her expression seemed blank, but the longer he looked at her the more he saw.


"You're hurting." Knowing he could read everything in her eyes, Deanna tried to divert them but she found she couldn't break the hold his eyes had on her. He seemed continue his quest to find out how she was feeling, but when he saw the pain that action itself caused her, he dropped it and instead told her how he was feeling.




"Will don't." Her quiet voice was meant to interrupt him, for she had sensed what he was going to say. Only he didn't seem to hear her.


"I still miss you." She closed her eyes at his admission, not wanting to hear the words she'd longed to hear. "And I--" This time Deanna rose to her feet, creating as much physical distance between her and Will as she could. Her movement made him hold back what he was going to say, for now.


Deanna moved to the window and fixed her gaze on the stars outside. She wrapped her arms around herself, bracing herself for the waves of emotions she felt from Will. It was impossible for her to ignore him, their link which only seemed to grow stronger wouldn't let her.


Riker recognized Troi's stance as one of hurt and turmoil and almost instinctively moved to stand          right behind her. The hairs on the back of her neck rose at his closeness. She wished she could lean back against his broad chest. She hated him, although she still loved and missed him. She couldn't allow him to see what she felt. For him, she was happy and content with her life, as she was for everyone around her, even her own daughter.



The Wedding (5/5)


The truth was that Deanna Troi was miserable. She needed Will Riker more then she was willing to admit. She needed someone to love her and to love in return. The thought to ask Will to give their relationship yet another try had crossed her mind numerous times during her pregnancy and the first weeks after Kyleigh's birth. But her own pride and hurt had kept her from doing so. And then Riker had gotten married and not soon after his marriage his wife bore him a son; who was she to take him away from his family?


The worst part for her was that she simply couldn't bring herself to trust someone again. She had tried to start several relationships, but they all had failed. Her insecurity, her partner's frustration over her uncertainty and at least a dozen other reasons, the most important being that never, ever had she loved someone remotely as much as she had loved Will.


And then there was their link; it no longer allowed itself to be buried or ignored, making her aware of his presence 24/7. Not able to block him, she felt his mood swings even when he was on the other side of the quadrant. Would they have been together, it would've been wonderful and solacing. Now, however, it was sheer torture.


He broke her string of thoughts by placing his hands on her shoulders. Where once that gesture would've been made with confidence, it was now made with caution. Her posture became even more rigid at his touch and she tightened her grip on herself.


"Deanna, I still love you." If possible his words hurt her even more. Why didn't he realize she didn't want to hear it? That she didn't want his pity or his love anymore?! Will nervously waited for her reply, his hands still resting on her shoulders, her luscious curls spilling over them. The sweet scent of her had long since drifted to his nose and intoxicated him, making him oblivious to Troi's discomfort.


When no reply came he spoke again, determined to tell her everything. He needed to tell her how he felt, for he still couldn't stop thinking about her or about them. "If I could change anything about the past I would prevent ever hurting you. I may be married to Serah, but my soul belongs to you, Imzadi." Deanna moved ever so slightly at his use of the sacred endearment. With his hands still on her shoulders he gently but firmly forced her to turn around.


Looking up into his pleading eyes was too much for her and just for a second she lost her composure. "If *I* could change anything, I would never have met you!" She almost smiled when his eyes widened slightly.


"You don't mean that." 'Yes, YES I DO!' she wanted to yell at him, but instead she bent and shook her head causing her long curls to fall forward.


"No, no I don't." His relief washed over her, accompanied by...a sense of arrogance? So caught up in trying to find out exactly what she had felt from him, she didn't notice him moving away.


"Deanna," hearing her name she lifted her head, "there's something about my family I think you should know." Troi closed her eyes, wondering how Riker managed to bring up exactly those topics she desperately wanted to avoid. "I love them deeply." he continued, "My son’s are a god's gift; bright, loving..." His voice trailed off as he witnessed the first tiny teardrop making its way down her cheek. "Oh Deanna, please don't cry. I didn't mean to...I'm sure you understand. You and your husband must be very proud of your daughter."


Deanna noticed how he almost spit out the word 'husband'. She was extremely glad their bond had become a one way street, for now he couldn't feel the pain that surged through her. For a reason she couldn’t quite comprehend she was glad he thought she’d married someone else. Because Kyleigh looked younger than she actually was he had dropped to the conclusion she must have married are year or so after they split up. He believed she had been able to go on with her life, just as she thought she would nearly six years ago. It had become clear however that she couldn't, not then, not now and not ever again. Forever linked with William Riker, her soulmate and in a sense her nemesis. Linked by a bond that should've been a blessing, but became a curse.


She was about to nod in response to his remark when suddenly a sharp pain shot through her head, so intense she could swear her head was being split in two. Unlike the night before, the pain wouldn't fade and seemed only to increase. Her hands flew to her temple as if by pressing them, she could force the pain out her head.


Shocked by the terror that suddenly etched Troi's delicate features, Riker froze. When she fell to her knees, desperately clutching her head between her hands, he could all but whisper her name. But when the pain became too much for her to bear and caused the Betazoid to faint, Will's rationale took over and he tapped his commbadge, "Riker to Sickbay, medical emergency, Counselor Troi's quarters!"


"On my way." For a moment he was surprised to hear Kate Pulaski's calm voice, but then he remembered she'd fill in for Beverly while she was on honeymoon. In the background he could hear the desperate cries of a child for her mother. He knelt down besides Deanna's unmoving body and tenderly stroked her hair out her face. Her skin was paler than he'd ever seen and her features were silent reminders of the pain she'd felt.


Will's mind didn't register time passing, totally entranced by the face of the unconscious woman who's head was resting on his thigh. The way she looked reminded him of an image he'd once seen of Snow White, an ancient earth fairy-tale character. The waves of ebony curls framed her face in such a way that her skin seemed even paler than it actually was.


He barely noticed the doors opening behind him and nearly jumped out his skin when someone touched his shoulder. "What happened?"  The doctor's soft eyes were fixed on Deanna and without waiting for his answer she knelt down, pulled out a tricorder and began scanning the unconscious empath. "Nothing, we...we were just talking when suddenly she...collapsed." He swallowed and looked up at the doctor with pleading eyes. It was only when Pulaski turned around and addressed the two ensigns behind her that he noticed they were there at all. Quickly, they lifted Troi on the anti-grav unit they'd brought with them and left for Sickbay, Riker following them in their wake.


Once inside the medical facility Kate gently, but firmly shoved Riker into her office to keep him out of the way. Will watched the doctor and nurses tend to Deanna and after a few minutes resigned himself to the fact there was nothing he could do to help.


When he turned around to look for a place to sit, his eyes fell on the small child occupying the chair behind the desk. Her eyes were closed and tears were trickling down her young features. He regarded her for a long time in silence, not knowing what to say or do. Suddenly she opened her eyes and immediately looked straight into his. Before he could stop himself, he tensed.


"You're scared of me." She stated matter-of-factly, surprising him with the ease with which she could read him. "Why?" Why indeed? Why was he scared? And of such a little and innocent looking girl even. But the look in her eyes now was anything *but* innocent. He could see a flicker of hatred --or perhaps 'blame' would describe it more accurately-- in her obsidian eyes, eyes so much like her mother's.


"And you're angry," he finally countered. The child's reaction was different than he'd expected, for she confirmed his words instantly, unlike Deanna would've done. "Yes, you hurt my mother." The curious tone in her voice had faded and been replaced by one of well controlled anger. It amazed him how much of Deanna he could see in this little girl. Not only in appearance, but in behaviour as well. Tiny, often unconsciously made, gestures like the way she tucked her hair behind her ears and folded her hands in her lap were so characteristic to Deanna Troi, that he could almost make himself believe he'd actually traveled back in time and was talking to Deanna when she was five years old.


He was about to say something, when suddenly the child's face lit up with joy. She jumped out her chair, exclaimed “Mommy!” and before he could do as much as blink she bolted out of the office and into Troi's room. The latter, he saw through the window, was just waking up. Kyleigh climbed onto the chair next to the bed and hugged her mother fiercely.


Riker walked over to mother and daughter, but kept a distance as not to intrude upon their reunion. "Deanna?" he queried eventually. Slowly she raised her eyes to meet his, a brief flicker of pain in their depths. "Are you all right?" Her eyes left his, looking at someone standing behind him. "Yes," she murmured, "yes, I am" and smiled. Only half believing her, Will turned around and questioned the doctor behind him with his eyes.


"If you'll excuse us," she practically ordered him when passing by, not giving him much more than an iced smile. A bit taken aback by the coldness in Beverly s voice, he timidly stepped back and left the room, soon followed by Kyleigh who apparently had been kicked out as well. He was about to ask her if she knew what was going on, but the daggers that came from her eyes made him shut his mouth.



“Bev! You’re on honeymoon! What are you doing here?” Close to being furious at her friend Deanna tried to sit up, but a wave of dizziness brought her down before she managed to look at Beverly .


“Kate called me in. She doesn’t have enough experience with half Betazoid/human physiology to determine what’s going on.”


“Why are you looking so defeated?” Beverly swallowed and took a step towards her patient. The seriousness Deanna sensed from her doctor worried her more than her expression and a fear crept around her heart.


“Dea, I want you to listen closely to what I have to say and then give me your opinion.”



After what seemed like an eternity, he decided to just step back inside and find out what happened himself, the waiting part was killing him. But just when he took a step toward the doors, his commbadge chirped. "Titan to Captain Riker, sir emergency transmission from Starfleet Command." "Damnit" he hissed under his breath. "Riker here, I'm on my way." No reply, efficiency. The crew on the Titan may never have achieved the sense of family he'd experienced on the Enterprise , but they needed only minimal words to communicate.


Will knelt down in front of the girl, his eyes filled with guilt. "Tell your mom I'm sorry and that I hope she'll feel better real soon and that I love her. I have to go now..."


"Priorities." She finished for him, her eyes even colder than before. "Erm, yes." Extremely uncomfortable under her scrutinizing glare, he quickly stood up and walked away.  And until he'd beamed over to his own ship, he could feel two eyes staring holes in his back.



"Mommy, Mommy, I'm so glad you're home! I made you a painting." Happily smiling, Kyleigh flew into her mother's arms as she entered their quarters. For a moment, Deanna was slightly confused by hearing her daughter's words in Betazoid in her mind, but in Standard aloud, then she realized the ship's translator was still activated out of courtesy to possible visitors. Like herself, Kyleigh could speak Betazoid as well as Standard fluently, but when excited she tended to speak in her maternal language.


"Really? Well show me Flower Girl." Taking her mother's hand, Kyleigh guided her to a cloaked painting at the far end of the room. She went to stand beside it and imitated the sound of drums, while slowly pealing off the sheet that covered it. In genuine awe, Deanna stared at the painting. There were flowers *everywhere*, dozens, or maybe even hundreds of flowers with the most varying colours and shapes. Definitely, her daughter's finest work up to date. Of course *all* her daughter's painting and drawings were masterpieces, for a five year old. Pride beamed off her small face when Deanna gave the painting a special place at the middle of the wall.


When Kyleigh was finally sleeping, Deanna skimmed through her messages. One in particular caught her attention.


"Deanna, I'm sorry I had to leave without saying good-bye, but we received new orders and had to leave immediately. I hope you're really all right and that what happened was nothing serious. You have a beautiful daughter, Dea. She looks so much like you, it's almost scary. You must be very happy. I--I want you to know that I meant what I said. I *do* still love you, Imzadi. Will." Deanna remained staring at the screen with intense eyes and then suddenly grabbed the nearest thing within reach and hurled it against the wall, tears streaming down her face.


"I hate you, Will! I HATE YOU!!!" Having vented her fury she collapsed on her bed and for the first time since a long time, cried herself to sleep, allowing herself to feel miserable about her life. Her heart and soul were empty, Kyleigh filled part of that void and she would give her life for her daughter. But Deanna Troi needed more and yet she knew she would never get it, her past haunted her and often enough seemed to asphyxiate her. But she had survived before and she would again, if only to prove she *could* handle life without William T. Riker.


Kyleigh would grow up knowing who her father was, admiring him for his career and if she wanted to, she would be free to look him up, to tell him she was his daughter. And when that day would come, Deanna would be prepared. She, after all, couldn't avoid Will Riker. Some day, some where they'd meet again and she'd be prepared for it.


~The End~


~You won't find no tears in my eyes now~

~if you think I'm sad that you're gone now~

~then you're wrong now~

~if you ask I'll say that I'm happy~

~I'm free~

~tell you that's the way I wanna be~

~and all those nights we shared together~

~well they don't mean a thing~

~oh baby since you left me~

~you might think my world's been torn apart~

~but if you'll see me~

~you'll see nothing's broken~

~nothing's broken but my heart~