It has been a while since Will and Deanna moved to earth, he was still working at Starfleet but Deanna resigned as soon as she knew she was pregnant, Will tried to convince her about not doing it but she had made her mind.
And here she was, a brand new mom, Dezanna was only a month old and to Deanna's eyes she was the most lovely girl in the universe, or at least as far as she went on the Enterprise she has never seen a girl who looked better than her daughter.
Lwaxana was more than pleased with her granddaughter and she couldn't wait until she heard the baby's first word and she hoped it was granny.
Will was the model of a father, he took Dezz, as everybody called her, everywhere, to his office, to his classroom and even to official dinners, Deanna was more than pleased with him, she loved him more than ever and she was certainly their love will last forever.
She was thinking about all this when she hear her daughter screaming from the nursery and felt immediately her fear, Deanna ran as fast as she could until she got in and saw her daughter's eyes filled with tears.
"Come on Dezz, everything is all right, mommy is here and nothing is going to happen to you, you'll see everything is going to be "
And she felt it too, all the fear that her little daughter was having was now in her, in her head and mostly in her heart, and then she knew.
Deanna walked out of the nursery with her daughter in her arms and went to the study room, she opened a channel in the view comm and waited for somebody on the other end to answer her hailing, and she was surprised when she saw the person in front of her.
"Captain Picard! What is it sir? Please tell me." Deanna begged and Jean-Luc knew she knew, or at least she sensed it.
"Hello Deanna, I wish this conversation after all this time was for something better than this one is going to be. Deanna, Will has disappeared, Starfleet can't find him anywhere, we have tried but we can't find him either. Data is looking for some life signs all over the sector but we have nothing yet. I'm sorry."
Dezz started to move frantic on her mother's arms as if she knew what was happening. Deanna felt her heart go down to the ground and then up again to it's place, for the first time in her life since she got married three years ago, she had no idea of what she was going to do.
"When captain?" Was all she managed to say.
Picard knew what she was asking and he answered her as fast as he could. "Three hours ago, Deanna, that's good news, we have time to find him, he could be just transported to another place or maybe he is in trouble but we can help him, chin up, we are going to find him, I promise."
Deanna smiled at the Captain and tried to believe him, but deep inside her she knew that it was not going to happen, their link was broken and she had no sense of him at all; she was alone with her daughter and Will was not coming back, not this time.
Two months passed quickly and all the effort of the Enterprise's crew was in vain, they couldn't find him in the entire quadrant and they doubted they were going to do it. Deanna was living again aboard the ship and she could feel the crew was sorry about her lost, and so was she.
Six months after the investigation was closed, they knew by now that William Thomas Riker was missed and was never ever going to be back, Deanna was once again on her place as ship's counselor and life was better, not good, but better.
* * *
"Happy birthday to you, happy birthday to you, happy birthday Dezanna, happy birthday to you!"
The lovely girl turned of the candles and all the crew and her friends started to clap and shout.
"She looks happy, really happy." Beverly said looking at Dezz when she was receiving a big hug from her little friends.
"Yes, she looks happy, and she is happy. Jeez! I can't believe she's four, it seems like yesterday when she was for the first time in my arms and " Deanna stopped.
Beverly knew it was because she remembered Will, for everybody his disappearance was a mystery and Deanna accepted it hardly.
"Deanna, you are doing a great job on her, look at her, she has the best qualities from you and from her father, she's smart, beautiful, and tender, she loves the space and she loves you."
Deanna smiled and knew what her friend was trying to say, her daughter was a living reminder of the love of her life and nothing was going to change that.
"You are right Beverly, and besides, who can forget Will looking at those eyes!"
And it was true, when Dezz was born she had dark eyes, everybody though they were going to be like her mother's but when she was 7 months her eyes started to become clearer and clearer until they reached a bright blue, Deanna didn't knew why nor did Beverly, but she appreciated the gift on her daughters eyes and was grateful for it.
"Mommy, look, Gavin gave me a doll, and she can cry and eat and does everything that a real baby does!"
"Really dear, well, that's great, now I have to take care of two babies, you and your doll!" Deanna laughed and Bev followed.
"Mom, I'm not a baby!" Dezz moved her hand to her hip and that was something Beverly could say was a Troi heritage.
"You are right dear, I'm sorry, you are my little lady and certainly not a baby." Deanna knew at the moment she called her "little lady" she earned a hug and before she knew it Dezz was holding her legs looking at her eyes.
"Gavin told me he's going to have a little brother or sister in this year, his parents told him last night. I want to have a brother or sister too."
Deanna looked at Beverly and all she could do was look back at her with the same 'I don't know' expression.
"Well Dezz, that's going to be a little difficult because I can't have a baby on my own, I need a husband and your daddy, well, we don't know where he is and without him I can't give you a brother nor a sister, I'm sorry dear, I wish I could but I can't."
"So I'm going to be alone forever?" Dezz looked at her mother with tears in her eyes.
Deanna went down to her knees and moved her daughter into her arms.
"Listen me Dezz, you are never ever going to be alone, I'm always going to be with you no matter what and remember I love you forever times "
"Eternity." Was the kid's answer with a big smile on her face.
Dezz loved that phrase because she really didn't knew how much it was, but she knew her mother's love for her will always exist.
"Now, if you remember this is your party and you have guests here so go ahead and play with them, have fun. Not all days a lady turns six years old." Deanna tried to make her daughter smile again and was rewarded with a tiny kiss.
"Jesus! This girl gets smarter every day, and all her questions are tougher." Deanna said with a serious tone and face to her best friend.
"Well, that's normal, but I have to say something."
"What is it?"
"She's right. Deanna, you deserve a life on your own, you live because of that girl, but you also need to live because of you, to be happy."
Deanna knew where this conversation was going and she didn't liked it.
"Bev, I don't need anything else, I'm perfectly fine, I have my daughter, my career and my friends, what else could I ask for?"
"A man." Was Beverly's simple response.
"I do not need a man!"
Maybe the music was over or the people stopped talking at the same time or maybe she shouted but everybody was looking at her and all she could do was smile at them and take her friend by the arm to lead her out of the room.
"Beverly, look, I do not need a man, I'm fine like this, you know of all people that I can't be with another man, I gave myself to one a long time ago and I'm not going to change that, I can't give anything to any other man because I have nothing else to give, once you give it all there are no leftovers. Will received everything from me and that's it. He was the first, the only and the last for me." Deanna moved to sit down on the floor and Beverly followed her.
"Deanna, I know you gave it all to Will, but that girl inside needs to give the same to a man she could call father, she needs a model to follow and she asked you a brother for god's sake! She needs it, nobody ask for something that it's not needed and you of all people should know that."
"Then I have to work harder on make her know how much I love her. I have always give her what she wants but this time she's going to have to learn to live without a father and a big family and that's it Beverly. I love her, but I'm not going to betray the love of my life and if someday he comes back "
"Dammit Deanna! Will is not going to be back, he's missed! When are you going to understand that, I know it's hard, but if you keep going like this your life it's going to be a misery, someday Dezanna is going to leave you to live her life and you are going to be alone, if you keep going like this someday you are going to be missed also and because of your fault!"
"Then so be it."
Deanna entered the room and Beverly was left outside crying, she knew her friend loved him, but she never knew she loved him to the point where she choose to dye slowly day by day until he came back, if he did.
After the party was over and all the guests left Deanna went to her quarters carrying her sleepy daughter into her room. Dezz was already in her room and Deanna made herself comfortable with a cream nightgown and was just about sipping her hot chocolate when the door chime rang. It was late to have visits but she knew she couldn't pretend she wasn't there, that was one of the disadvantages of living in a starship so she went to the door.
The man in front of her was the last person she thought would be there at that time, she knew him and had a good relationship with him, but it was strange to see him after their service hours.
"Commander Hathaway, what are you doing here so late, is there something wrong?" Deanna's surprise obvious in her voice.
"Oh no, not at all, is just that well I was around here and I decided to step here just for a few moments " He stopped talking.
"You know that I know when somebody is telling the truth right?" Deanna asked him smiling tenderly at him.
"I know, you're right, there is no point for me to pretend that I can fool you with my feelings right?" He smiled. "I came here to ask you to be my date tomorrow on the Captain's dinner party; would you honor me with your company?" He finally finished.
Deanna was surprised by his question, not because she didn't knew he liked her, she knew from the very first moment but she never thought he would make a move on her and here he was, in front of her asking her to going with him to a party. It was sweet from him, but she was definitely not going to accept, she thought everybody had it clear, but it was obvious that Allan Hathaway had missed something on the part of 'I don't want nothing with anybody'.
"Commander Hathaway, I'm overwhelmed by your invitation but "
"No buts Deanna and you can call me Allan, I really want to go with you to that dinner and if I don't then I'm not going either and I suppose that you are not going to aloud the First Officer of the Enterprise to miss the party. Would you?"
Deanna could only smile at his question that was more an affirmation than a question but she thought it was nice of him, after all, she had to attend to the party and well, maybe it was not so bad to go with somebody and it won't harm anybody.
"Okay 'Allan', I'm going with you, pick me up at 1900, I'll be waiting." Deanna said smiling.
He smiled back at her trying to give her his best smile and he did, she was amazed of how beautiful his smile was, he was a serious person, nothing to do at all with Will, but even when he was different, he was nice. Really nice.
"Thank you Counselor, I'll be here tomorrow at 1900 hours, be ready."
"I will." She smiled back at him.
"Oh by the way, nice nightgown." He said smiling and left a very puzzled Deanna. She looked at herself and realized that she didn't' even had her robe on so her face turned into different colors until she finally reached a bright red and the courage enough to close the door.
"Brilliant Troi, just brilliant."
* * *
Deanna was everything but peaceful, she thought she was going to be totally calmed for this dinner but she wasn't. she had changed three times, made her hair in six different ways until she finally thought she looked good enough to have everybody's attention but not so good like to have Allan drooling all over the place.
She finally was convinced when she saw herself in a white dress, it was a simple but elegant dress and she looked good in it, it was a long dress without sleeves cut low at the back, her hair was hanging in soft curls that made it look longer and she was pleased as she looked now.
She was just adding some touches of makeup to her face when a hurried child entered her room.
"Is it true mom?" Dezz asked looking surprised at Deanna.
"What Little One?" Deanna turned to face her daughter and was surprised that she couldn't read her daughter's feelings. She had taught her to block her feelings and Dezz was very good at it but she had never done it to her mother till today.
"I heard an ensign say to another woman that you are finally going out with somebody else, is it true?" The child looked at her mother straight to her eyes with her tiny arms folded in front of her.
"Well, yes, that's true. Dezz, I know it's confusing but we are just going to the Captain's party, that's all. He's a good friend and we didn't want to go by ourselves, can you understand that?" Deanna looked at her daughter expecting a reaction.
"You are going to marry him?" Dezz asked and Deanna knew that was the original question she was going to make but didn't have the courage to say.
"Course not dear, come here." Deanna asked and the child didn't hesitate, she climbed her mother's legs and sat in her lap.
"Are you sure?" Dezz asked with her back against Deanna's chest.
"Course I'm sure." Deanna answered securely enough to convince the girl.
"Good, because I asked you a little brother but I don't want a new dad." Dezz said and went down to the floor and out of the room.
Deanna was surprised, she never thought her daughter would say something like that and she never thought her daughter would feel so much love for her father specially when she never met him and that made her feel even worse about going to the party with Allan.
When she was recovering of all the things in her mind she heard someone calling at the door and she knew it was time for her to go. She moved quickly from her room but not as quickly as Dezz, who was already at the door with Allan in front of her.
"Hi, Dezz, how are you today?" Allan asked smiling at the little girl and she just watched him without saying a word.
"Hi, Allan, I'm glad you are here, I'm ready and we can "
Deanna couldn't finish, she was finishing her sentence when she heard her daughter's voice saying something and she immediately froze when she did.
"You are my mommy's friend right?" Dezz asked still serious and without smiling or frowning.
"Yes I am." Was all Allan said.
"I want to say that we don't need a new daddy." Dezz said now even more serious than before.
"Dezz, please dear, go to your room, Anne is going to be here any minute to baby-sit you and I'll be back as soon as the party is over." Deanna said and Dezz looked at her and nodded.
In that moment Anne, a young ensign who was Dezz favorite baby sitter arrived and Deanna was glad. She just gave her some instructions and then she was out of her quarters escorted by Allan.
"What was that all about?" He finally asked and looked strangely at Deanna.
"Well, first of all I want to offer you an apology for my daughter's behavior a few minutes ago but she thought that because I was coming with you to the captain's dinner we were a couple and she thought that if we were you would be her daddy and she was not pretty fond to that idea." Deanna tried to smile but she was embarrassed enough to fail.
"I see. Well don't worry, she's a child and it's logical that she doesn't take my presence so good, but I have to say something." He stopped and took her hands between his.
Deanna looked at him and felt a little bit uncomfortable but let him continue.
"I'm going to win her love as I'm going to win yours." He finished and kissed her gently on her cheek.
Deanna looked at his eyes and said nothing and when he saw her nervousness he just let her hands and offered his arm to her.
"Shall we continue?" He smiled.
Deanna grabbed his arm and they continued until they reached holodeck 3.
* * *
The holodeck was perfect for this event, it was decorated as an ancient castle ball saloon, it was perfect and bright, the candle lights surrounded all the room and everybody was smiling.
Captain Picard was wearing a black tuxedo and Beverly, who was his official
date for the evening was wearing a wine dress that suited her perfectly. They
didn't have to say anything, everybody knew they had a relationship and that
they were perfect for each other and if they wanted to keep it secretly then
their decision had to be respected.
Deanna thought it was funny, she never thought she would feel so comfortable with Allan and she was even more surprised when she thought about all the things in common they had, he loved to read as much as she, he loved to meditate and she knew that was just perfect and difficult to find in a human, let along in a man and he even had the bright idea to wear a white tuxedo so they were the white couple.
The evening went smoothly and fast and before she knew it the party was over and she was at the viewpoint with Allan, with two champagne glasses and talking about anything as they watched the stars pass by.
"It's beautiful isn't it?" Deanna said letting out a breath she didn't knew she was holding.
"Yes it is, but they are not as bright and not as beautiful as you are tonight Deanna Troi." Allan said and Deanna giggled at her full name.
"You know, I don't think it's necessary to say my whole name when I'm the only Deanna on this ship and in this place." She smiled at him and turned her head back to the stars.
"I know, but I love your name. Deanna "
"Yes?" She looked back at him and he stared at her.
He got lost in her ebony eyes, gods he loved her and he wanted to be with her. He had never felt something so strong for anybody before and she had to know, she had to know how much he loved her and needed her.
He kissed her. He was surprised when she didn't resist and didn't move so he continued. He had no idea of how long it had been but they stopped until they breathed for air.
"Deanna, I " He started but she interrupted him.
"I know Allan, and I have feelings for you two. I never knew I had them until now, I guess that I just needed to have the opportunity to let my heart be. I can't promise anything, I can't say I would be here for you forever, but I want to try to be here for you for as long as I can, that's all I can give you, if you take it." She finished and looked at his green eyes.
"That's all I need and all I want." He said and held her in his arms until she moved.
"Well, I think it's time for me to go now. Thank you so much for this night Allan, I would never forget it." Deanna smiled and left him standing looking at her leave.
"I love you Deanna." Was all he said in the lonely room with the silence as his answer.
* * *
"Dezz, hurry up dear, you are going to be late for school!" Deanna said while she was setting the table.
"Coming mom!" Dezz answered and Deanna smiled. Her daughter always acted as a younger lady, she didn't knew why but she found that funny.
"I'm ready, we are going to do a model of the Enterprise today mommy, I'm so excited I just can't wait for you to see it, you'll see, it's going to be the best one." Dezz said climbing her chair to have her adored cranberries pancakes.
"I bet it's going to be like that sweetie, now hurry up or you are going to be late. Remember, I have some patients this evening so when you come out of school go straight to my office, not home." Deanna said and sipped her chocolate.
A few minutes latter they were ready and leaving, they reached Dezz school and just when she was about enter she heard Deanna call her.
"Yes mom?" Dezz asked smiling.
"Where are we going to meet me after school?" Deanna asked smiling.
"Your office, jeez mom, you should trust my memory a little bit." Dezz said pretending to be mad at her and after a few seconds of her act blew a kiss to Deanna.
* * *
This day was the craziest day in Deanna's life since she saw her mother for the last time.
She had had patients all day, no one cancelled and she even had Beverly as an appointment. Of course Beverly was not looking for professional advise but for the load down of her date with Allan last nigh and after all the details a very happy doctor left her office with a 'told you so' before leaving.
She was just enjoying her free of patients hour when she heard her door chime, she thought it would be Dezz but she has the access code of her office so this has to be another patient who had no date.
"Come in." Deanna said as she moved to her desk.
"Hi." He saw Allan in enter her office and a huge smiled took her face control.
"Hi, what are you doing here, I thought you had to be on the bridge at this hour." She said and moved to kiss him and he responded happily.
"I have to be on the bridge, I just came to say hello and to see if you are missing me even a little." He said and held her in his arms.
"You know I have." She said and kissed him.
They got lost the moment their lips touched, she was so happy to see him and so happy to be in his arms, he was feeling the same, he never thought the must beautiful woman on the ship would be in his arms someday and he was happy that day was today, he was kind of a hunk and knew many girls on the ship would kill to be on Deanna's place but she was the only one he loved.
"I thought that was something only moms and dads do." Dezz said from the door.
They immediately moved apart and Deanna was so sad when she saw her daughter's eyes filled with tears.
"Dezz, dear, let me explain this." Deanna said moving to her daughter.
"No!" Dezz shouted to Deanna and she was taken aback, then Allan tried to say something and they knew it was the worst thing he could have done when they saw her reaction.
"Don't talk to me, I hate you. You said you were her friend and you said that too mom! I hate you too, I don't want to be with you and I don't want to be with him either, I wish I was with my daddy, he would have never changed me for another person! I hate you both!"
Dezz went out running and Deanna behind her but the little girl was fast and Deanna lost her when she moved around the corner.
Allan was running behind her and when he saw her stop he reached her and took her back to her office.
"What am I going to do now? She's so mad at me, she blocked me again and she said she hated me, oh Allan, I'm so sad!" Deanna went down to the floor and Allan held her before she hit it.
"We have to be patience, she's going to think about what she said and you'll see things would be fine, just calm down, we will talk to her once she's calmed down and she will hear us." He said and kissed her forehead and she cried on his shoulder until she felt better and only a few sobs went out.
"I have to know where she is, it has been half an hour since she left and she hasn't come back." Deanna moved to her feet and said. "Computer, localize Dezanna Riker."
"Dezanna Riker is at sickbay." Was the cold answer of the computer.
"She's with Beverly now." Was all he said and Deanna nodded.
* * *
"Dezz, you have to understand, your mom needs someone to love her and take care of her." Beverly said and looked at her god daughter cry.
"But I love her and I take care of her. Doesn't she know that, I do love her." Dezz said from the couch where she was crying right in front of Beverly's desk.
"Course she knows that, and she loves you too, but she also needs the love of a man and Allan loves her and he cares about you too." Beverly said moving to sit on the floor in front of Dezz.
"But he's not my daddy!" Dezz shouted and started crying even harder.
"No, he's not your daddy, he's never going to be like your daddy but he loves your mother as your daddy used to love her and he wants her to smile and be happy, don't you want her to be happy?" Beverly asked and Dezz nodded still crying.
"Well, then you have to let her feel his love. Dezanna, I know it's going to be difficult for you, but he's a good man and he can make your mom even more happy that was she is now."
Dezanna looked at Beverly and for a moment she thought Dezz would shout at her and leave sickbay, but a few minutes after, Dezz finally spoke.
"You think that's what my daddy would have wanted?" Dezz asked looking at Beverly's eyes as to see if when she answered she was saying the truth.
Beverly thought about what she was going to say and once she was sure about her answer she moved to the couch next to Dezz.
"I'm sure that's what he would have wanted. He loved her so much that he would do anything to make her happy, even accept somebody else in her life if he was not able to be here for her." She said stroking Dezz hair.
"Thank you aunt." Dezz said and moved out of sickbay.
Dezz moved as fast as she could to her quarters and once she was there she entered and saw them in the sofa, she was not happy to see him there but was not angry anymore, she just moved closer and said.
"Can I have a word with my mom in private?"
"Sure thing kiddo." Allan said and was relieved when she smiled at him, it was a short smile, but a smile at the end.
When Allan was out Dezz moved to sit where he was and looked at her mother.
"You think he's going to be a good guy? Wit you I mean." Dezz said now looking at the floor.
"I think so." Was all Deanna said as if she were the kid and Dezz the grown up one.
"And do you think he's going to be a good dad?" Dezz asked now looking straight to her mother's eyes.
"I think he would try."
"Fine then." Dezz said and leave to her room.
Deanna could do anything but smile and felt relieve.
Four years had passed quickly; Deanna was living a peaceful life now as a remarried woman. She was happy, her daughter was bigger and smarter, her emphatic abilities were stronger and for Deanna's surprise she had telepathic abilities, week and few but she had some and above all this, everyday she looked more like her father, she loved the space and spent hours talking to her godfather about it, Picard was proud and he loved to talk to her as much as she did.
Jean-Luc and Beverly got married last year and they had a little daughter named Celine. Dezz adored her and looked after her all the time; she was like a big sister to her and couldn't wait to have a little brother.
Dezz relationship with her stepfather was better, she was tender with him and loved him but he was still not in her father's place and Deanna knew he was never going to be in it.
They had tried to have kids but failed every attempt, even Beverly was surprised because of it but they were still trying and waiting.
Deanna was thinking about all this when her daughter entered her room.
"Mom, can I go to Celine's? Please, I want to see her, my duties are finished and I have nothing else to do for the moment." Dezz said with begging eyes and Deanna couldn't do anything but smile.
"Okay Dezz, but be here for dinner, you have to go to bed early, school tomorrow." Deanna smiled at her daughter.
"Thank you. But you forgot something." She said with hands on her hips.
"Oh, sorry. You can go to see her 'Dezanna' but be here in time to have dinner with us." Deanna smiled.
"Thank you, see you latter." Was all she said before she ran out of their quarters.
It was funny, when she was younger she loved to be called Dezz, but since last month she asked to be called Dezanna, not that she was mad about it, after all, Will choose her name, it was a Deanna hidden behind a Z but she found it funny that she wanted to be called by her full name now. maybe it was just because she was growing up.
Dezanna was walking towards the hallway a few feet from her destiny when she sensed it.
It was funny and she stopped right the moment she felt it, it was not her mother, she was so used to feel her that she knew the sensation pretty well and this was definitely not her mother, but it was not a strange sensation it was as if she had felt it before, but she didn't knew when.
She continued and once she saw her little sister, as she called Celine, she forgot about the sensation she had.
"Hi little sister, how are you today? Missed me a lot?" She said and moved to were Celine was crawling.
"Dee!" Was all the baby could say.
"You know, if I didn't love you so much I would kill you for calling me Dee, but you are the only one who could do it okay?" Dezanna smiled and moved to sit on the sofa.
"Well, I have seen you love my daughter a lot but don't you think I deserve at least a 'hello aunt'?" Beverly said watching her niece from the door.
"Oh, sorry aunt Bev, is just that she called me first." Dezanna smiled and walked to kiss her aunt.
When Celine saw Dezanna move to the door she thought she was leaving and shouted while she stand up and tried to walk to catch her.
When they heard her shout 'Dee' and tried to walk they turned to look at Celine.
"Come on little sister, you can do it, come here!" Dezanna said trying to encourage Celine and it worked.
"Look aunt, she's walking!"
"Jean-Luc, come here!"
A very hurried Jean-Luc came from their room and when he saw his baby walking he smiled proudly.
"There you got it! Welcome to the walking world!" Dezanna said now giving a hug to the baby who finally made it to her arms.
"All we have tried all over this months was to make her walk and it took just a little girl to achieve on it." Picard said moving to his wife side.
* * *
"And then she was in my arms." Dezanna finished proudly as she took another peace of chicken to her mouth.
"Well, I bet Beverly and Jean-Luc must be really happy." Allan said looking at Dezanna who only nodded as she ate.
"That's now, when they realize all their freedom is over to look after a little girl, they are going to see why I used to say that look after a new walking baby is more difficult that to achieve warp 11." Deanna joked looking at Dezanna and when she saw her daughter's face she smiled.
"Well, now you will have to find out if it's easier to achieve warp 11 or to look after 2 walking girls." Dezanna said and both Deanna and Allan smiled.
And then she felt it again, in fact she had felt it three or four times today since the first time and now she had to make it clear.
"Mother, please stop doing it!" Dezanna said.
"What, I'm not doing anything." Deanna answered surprised.
"Then it's you?" Dezanna looked surprised at Allan.
"Then it's me what?" Allan asked.
"What are you talking about?" Deanna asked her daughter now getting worried.
"Well, since I left this afternoon I have been feeling somebody, but I thought it was you trying to fool me to see if I know when you are calling me or something but I see it was not you." Dezanna said and Deanna was immediately silent.
"Do you think it's your grandmother?" Asked Allan.
"No, I know her, when she wants to say something to me she just says it." Dezanna said taking another piece of chicken.
"Then?" Allan said, "You know I can't say anything to either one of you even if I tried hard."
"I know, that's why I don't know who this person can be." Dezanna said.
<Get out of my mind!>
Deanna and Dezanna looked at each other when they heard the voice inside their heads and now they were sure that it was somebody else. Dezanna looked at her mother even more surprised, she didn't know the voice she heard in her mind but her mother certainly did.
"Mum, my aunt asked me to tell you if we can go see her after dinner, she needs to talk to you and while she does I look after Celine." Dezanna said trying to sound as truthful as ever.
"Really?" Deanna asked trying the same her daughter did.
"Well, then go there girls, I have to be on the bridge so I would not be here tonight. See you tomorrow."
They stand up and moved to leave living him alone, they walked to Beverly's quarters and once they were there they talked.
"Hi Deanna, Dezanna, please; come in."
"Hi again aunt, where's Celine?" Asked Dezanna.
"She's asleep, she had been walking all afternoon and she's pretty tired.
"Beverly, we came here to talk but not to you, we came to talk between us." Deanna said and Beverly looked at them surprised.
"Okay, you can stay here, and I'm going to take the chance to go to sickbay, can you please check up on Celine?" Beverly asked.
"Course, don't worry." Deanna said.
After Beverly left Deanna looked at her daughter and took a deep breath.
"You heard that too right?" Deanna asked.
"Yeah, ho was it mom, it was my father?" Dezanna asked with tears in her eyes and hoping her answer was a yes.
She didn't needed her mother's answer, when she saw her crying she knew the truth. Her father was alive and near and it was all that mattered.
"Do you think he will come?" Dezanna asked.
"No, I don't think he will come. He's here." Deanna answered and saw her daughter's smile.
'Counselor Hathaway to sickbay' She heard Beverly's voice through the comm system.
"I guess we have to go there." Dezanna said.
"They just asked for me, not you." Deanna said.
"But mom, that's not fair!" Dezanna started.
"That's an order young lady and besides, you have to watch over Celine."
"Fine, go then." Dezanna finished and moved to Celine's room.
Deanna walked fast to sickbay, but feeling him again made her stop and filled her eyes with tears. She finally reached sickbay and when she regained all her strength she went in.
And there he was, William Thomas Riker, the man she loved more than life, the man who made her touch the sky with her hands and found what love is, the man who made her a mom and the man who left them when her daughter was just a baby and that hurted even more.
"This is Counselor Hathaway; she used to be Troi, Deanna Troi. Does the name sound familiar to you?" Picard asked and after a few minutes of him looking at her he finally answered.
Deanna felt her heart ripped down into a thousand peaces once again but she was not ready to give up her heart again for the same person who broke it long time ago.
"And you are?" Deanna asked to a boy sitting on the next biobed.
"Maxwell Riker." The little boy answered and she let out a gasp that Will immediately noted.
"Could you please tell me what's going on? What are my son and I doing on this ship?" Will demanded looking at Picard.
And then she knew. He had no idea of who she was or who he was or who all the people in sickbay were, he just had no idea.
"My name is Jean-Luc Picard, I'm the Captain of this ship, it's called Enterprise and you are William Thomas Riker, a Starfleet Officer and you used to serve on this ship before you moved to earth and disappear." Picard finished.
"What are you talking about, my name is Arthur Riker and I have always lived on Arevir, a planet on the Gamma quadrant with my family so I guess you've got the wrong man." He finished moving to sit next to his son.
"Captain, I think that the best for now is to leave him recover from his wounds and then perhaps we should try again." Beverly said and Picard nodded.
"Well then, we will let you here to get better, do not worry, you are in the hands of the best doctor in the fleet." Picard assured and Will nodded.
Deanna was speechless and left without looking back, she had no idea of what she was going to say to Dezz or what she was going to do with herself and all the fears she was feeling.
After they applied a hypospray on Maxwell and he fell asleep Will decided it was time to talk.
"Yes Will?" She responded looking to his eyes.
"Is it true? I used to live on this ship and then on earth?" His fear and doubts obvious in his eyes.
"Why did I left here to go to earth?" He asked and she was silent for a moment but decided to tell the truth.
"You get married and had a child."
* * * * *
"So, is it him? Is it really him?!" Dezanna asked and Deanna was really scared about her daughter's reaction.
"Dezanna, I'm going to say something important and I'm going to do it because I think you are mature enough to understand and to help but you have to be calmed okay?" Deanna said and smiled tenderly at her daughter.
"Dezanna, your father is back but he's not as he used to be."
"What do you mean?"
"Well, he came back because the Enterprise found his capsule traveling without direction and they tracked it. He can't remember who he is or that he used to live here and the most important thing is that he doesn't remember you or me." Deanna finished and watched as her daughter's eyes filled up with tears.
"What, why? I mean he most remember you and I thought he will remember me , why not?" Dezanna finished crying moving to her mother's lap as if a child.
"We still do not know sweetie, your aunt is making some exams on him to find out what's wrong with him and as soon as she's done with them she will tell us, but there is something else you have to know."
Dezanna just looked at her mother waiting but already knowing because of reading her mind.
"He has a son."
Dezz only cried harder and after an hour she fell asleep.
Morning came fast, in fact too fast for Deanna. She had to carry her sleepy daughter to her room only to have to be back after five minutes because Dezz was crying on her sleep, she barely closed her eyes and every time she did it she saw Will saying he had no idea of who she was or where he was.
And just when she thought that she was finally done for that night it was morning and she heard Allan calling after her.
"Hi beauty, are you all right? I've heard about " And he stopped.
"Hard to tell right?" She said and sat down on the nearest chair.
"A little, but how are you? And more important, how is she?" Allan asked looking at Dezanna's door.
"Well, considering that her father came back after eight years not remembering who he is or who am I or her plus the fact that he has a son I think she's ok." She finished and sighed.
"And?" He asked looking at her eyes.
Deanna smiled and then answered.
"Well I'm okay, confused but fine." She said.
"I just want you to know that I love you and that I'm here for you."
"Thank you, I appreciate it. Now I have to go, I said I will be back at sickbay in an hour and I still have to take a bath." She smiled and left.
Half an hour latter she was walking to sickbay feeling better after a quick hot bath but she knew that the worse was yet to come.
She entered slowly straight to Beverly's office and felt his gaze on her but she just couldn't look back at him.
"Welcome Counselor, we were waiting for you." Picard said and she smiled and take a seat right in front of him.
"Well, we finished our tests on him and we know by now that he's a healthy man, there is nothing wrong with him, his mind and his body are perfectly functional." Beverly said looking at Deanna who looked to the floor as if thinking he did it on purpose.
"But we found a sot on hi brain which says clearly that he had an accident or was hit with something on his head and I think that's the reason why he lost his memory, I guess that we just have to help him to remember and everything will be fine." Beverly finished and looked at Deanna waiting for her answer as Geordi, Data and Picard did.
"And what if he doesn't remember?" Geordi asked.
"Then we will let him go." Was Deanna's answer.
After a few minutes of complete silence Picard spoke.
"Okay people let's get this job done, as you have to know Deanna you are our best hope to make him remember, we are going to try to help as much as you want us to do it and as long as you think is the best."
Deanna nodded and then remembered.
"What about his son?"
"What about him?" Beverly asked.
"Is he okay?"
"Oh right! Yes, he's okay, his levels of adrenaline were high yesterday but he's completely recovered by now.
"Good." Was Deanna's simple answer.
"Well, let's get moving, Counselor, I so not have to tell you that your
presence on the bridge is not necessary by now while you work with Will and
that I have ordered to cancel all your appointments for this week."
"Thank you Captain."
Deanna walked to the biobed where Will was laying and sensed as everybody left the room, the kid was still asleep and she though it was the best moment to act.
"Commander, are you feeling better?" She asked politely and when she didn't received and answer she tried again.
That got his attention.
"Oh sorry, I'm not used to the Commander thing nor the Will but you got me there." He smiled and she smiled back.
"There was a time when you did." She said and took a chair to sit next to him.
"I still can't believe it, I mean, I think I'm one person and the next moment you tell me I'm another." He sighed and she smiled.
"I understand you, I know this is going to be difficult but you have to try, we have to try."
"I guess so." Will said and sat up.
"My name is Deanna " She couldn't finish.
"Hathaway, I remember."
"Well, I'm not so sure about it anymore." She sighed and looked to the floor.
"Why is that? Getting divorced?" He asked.
"Still do not know."
"Well I have to say that if a man is letting you go being such a beautiful woman then he's nuts." He smiled and make her laugh a little.
"William Thomas Riker, even when you can't remember who you are you are still the same." She said smiling.
"I will take that as a compliment." He smiled back.
"Well, I have to go now but I will be waiting for you at Ten-Forward at
1300 hours, don't be late." She smiled and then stood up to leave.
"I won't, I promise."
Just when Deanna was about to leave she heard him call after her.
"Deanna, the Doctor told me that I left this ship because I get married and had a child. Is it true?" He asked with begging eyes and she knew it was time to tell the truth, but not just yet.
"Ten-Forward Commander, don't forget." And she left.
Deanna was sitting on her chair looking at the space waiting and for some reason she was unsure, unsure of his arrival and unsure of herself, she had no idea if she will be able to help him to remember when all her life this past eight years was about to forget.
"Counselor, may I join you?" Will said and Deanna jumped a little at hearing his voice.
"Oh sorry, I didn't mean to scare you." He apologized and sat down in front of her.
"It's okay, you just took me by surprise." She smiled. "So tell me, how was the tour with Geordi?" She smiled looking at the bartender placing two drinks in front of each one.
"Well, I have to say this is the biggest ship I have ever seen, it's wonderful and powerful and for some reason it sounds familiar to me." He smiled and Deanna was surprised.
"Really? Do you feel like you have been here before?"
"Well, I'm not so sure but it is familiar. Now if you don't mind I would like to talk about something else." Will said and took a sip of his drink.
"Whatever you want to."
"I will like to talk about my family, course I have always had Max but his mother died when he was born and it has been only him and me since then but now you told me that I was married with children and that changes everything." He said and look at the window.
"Does it change it in a good or in a bad way?" Deanna asked and she
could tell her heart stopped a little.
"Well, that depends on the information you can give me." He sighed and closed his eyes.
Deanna saw that moment as her opportunity, it was now or never and she thought now was better so she closed her eyes and cleared her mind and did it, as the first time long time ago on Betazed.
<Welcome back Imzadi>
Will opened her eyes and they looked bigger if that was possible and then he knew.
"It was you, I mean, it is you! Since I can remember I have heard that voice in my mind, it sounded so familiar and so lovingly that I actually liked it but after a while I thought I was going crazy so I tried to take that voice out of my head until yesterday when I was on this ship; I sensed somebody so familiar and yet a stranger but that feeling didn't talked to me so all I can do was scream in my mind to it, I begged to be alone and now I know it was you." He looked at her and then at his drink and then at the window.
"Will, I can see you are troubled and that was not my intention but if we are going to try to make you remember then you have to be strong. Yes it was me, for the first years after you disappeared I tried to look after you with our bond and thought I will succeed until you blocked me and I was totally out of your mind. But the feeling you had yesterday was not coming from me but from our daughter." Deanna smiled surprised.
"She's here?" Was all he could ask.
"Yes. Her name is Dezanna Riker, she's 8 and she can't wait to meet you." She smiled.
"And I can't wait to meet her either."
"But we have some work to do first." Deanna said and stood up.
"Where are we going to?"
Data planned a program collecting memories he had about the life of Commander William Riker aboard the enterprise and with Deanna's help he filled the blanks about his personal life, Dezanna's birth and his years as an academy teacher.
For four days straight they visited the holodeck, Deanna decided that it was better for him and for hear daughter to meet until he had enough information about himself so he could accept everything about her.
Max on his side was completely pleased with that because he had time enough to study and read. Everybody, specially Picard were surprised about this little kid, he was four years old and he loved to read, according to Will he learned at three and since then he had books in front of his nose all the time.
Dezanna couldn't wait to meet her father and every time her mother came back she asked for the load down of the complete information. But this day was not like any other day.
"So he said?" Dezz asked impatiently.
"He said that he remembered that day when I was totally possessed and died and Beverly brought me back to life." Deanna smiled and Dezz jumped.
"Then I guess he's going to be able to remember everything, we are getting close mom!" Dezz jumped and laughed and Deanna joined her.
"I can see you are extremely happy." Alan said from the common room.
"Well yes of course! My father seems to be remembering everything we show him." Dezz jumped and smiled again. "Well got to go, uncle Jean-Luc asked me to look after Celine, bye."
"Bye sweetie!" Deanna said to a closed door.
"So?" Alan asked.
"Well, I have been thinking that you spend too much time with Riker, I think that the rest of the crew could also help and not just you."
And then Deanna knew where this conversation was going to.
"Well yes, they are doing the same, but I'm the counselor of this ship and his wi "
And that was the drop that spilled the glass.
"No, you are not his wife, you are MY wife! And I think it's silly to try to help a man that obviously has made his life somewhere else."
"Yes, but not because he choose to made it like that!" Deanna yelled back at him.
"And I don't care, all I care about is you and Dezz, you have become my life and I don't want to give up to that. You think I haven't thought about it, with Will back on the scenario we're not married, I'm just the guy who you lived with for the past four years and I want to be something more than just that!" He screamed and sat down on the sofa with his face on his hands.
"You are much more than that. I love you, I truly do but I also love him and I told you that when I said, that all I was going to give was as much as I could and that's what I have been doing all over this years. I know you are troubled about his return but you shouldn't have." Deanna said now on her knees in front of him.
"So that means you are not going to leave me?" Alan asked almost pleading.
"I'm not going anywhere."
But she knew that was a lie.
* * * * *
When Deanna told her daughter that she was not aloud to see her father yet she was mad, really mad, she thought that she deserved to see him but obviously the entire senior crew thought different.
She accepted it at the end. She was looking after Celine everyday and now she was getting used to the idea that she was going to meet him only when he was ready.
"Come on Celine, we have to go to your room, it's time for you to sleep and you are not getting any lighter."
Dezanna walked inside the turbolift with a very sleepy Celine on her arms and
didn't notice when the turbolift stopped to let somebody in.
"Too young to be a mother right?" Will said and that got Dezanna's attention.
"I'm not her mother, I'm her baby-sitter, ant that's the funniest thing I've ever " And she stopped.
She was looking now at him and she knew who we was.
"Heard." He finished for her.
Dezz was quiet and silent and somehow Riker was worried about her so he stopped the turbolift and talked.
"Are you okay?" He asked looking directly at her eyes.
"It's you! It's really you!" Dezz said and walked to her father.
Will had no idea of what was she talking about but somehow he knew he had to embrace her and that sensation of having her in his arms was somehow familiar, and he liked it.
"Do we know each other?" He asked and she looked at his eyes.
"Oh really, we do not know each other, well, we do but not, then again I think we don't." She started and finished laughing joined by Will.
"Okay, we should start again. William Riker, I think." He reached out his hand and Dezz took it with her free hand.
"Dezanna Riker." Was all she said and he turned white.
After a few minutes in silence and a profound exploration of her by his eyes he talked.
"So, I guess you are my daughter."
"I guess I am." Dezz said smiling shyly.
"Come here!" Will said and she didn't hesitated. It was the most special moment in their lives and it felt so good, so correct and they both knew they were meant to stay together no matter what the Counselor of the ship ordered.
"You are so beautiful! How old are you?" He tried to talk clearly between tears at the sight of his daughter.
"Eight, I'm eight and she's my sister Celine." Dezanna pointed to
the sleeping baby.
"Your sister. Well I certainly didn't waited that one." He said with a sad tone and she immediately knew about his feelings.
"So, you do remember my mom."
"Well Dezanna, not exactly, you'll see "
"Please, call me Dezz." She smiled and walked out of the turbolift. "Wait, I have to take her home, they are waiting for her you know."
Dezz walked inside Beverly's quarters and came back a few minutes latter and suggested to go to a peaceful and private place.
"This is a beautiful place, so quiet and beautiful." Will said looking as the stars passed by.
"So, you were saying something about my mom." Dezz said placing herself on his lap.
Will was surprised about the way she already trusted him and was smiling even before he knew it.
"Well, I was saying that I do not remember her but from the very first moment I saw her it felt right, as if she were the part of my soul that was missing and well, I don't know, it sounds stupid but that's just he way it is, she feels right." He said holding Dezz closer as she made herself comfortable on his chest.
"That has a simple answer, you two are Imzadi, that's the way it should be but you have to talk to her about that but I have to say something first, Celine is not my sister, sister. She's my uncle's daughter but I take care of her and I love her as if she were my sister. I don't have any on my own." She said letting out a breath she didn't knew she was holding.
"Well, I have a son so he's your stepbrother." He said kissing her hair.
"How old is he? What's his name?"
"He's four and his name is Maxwell but I call him Max."
"I'm looking forward to meet Max but for now I have to go. I guess mom is waiting for me to have dinner."
"Okay kiddo, take care and see you soon I hope." He released her from his embrace and she went down to the door but just before she was gone she turned.
"Dad, I have always wanted you to come back, I never doubted you will be back." She threw him a kiss and left.
Will smiled and then turned back to see the stars in peace for the first time in eight years.
Dezz looked at her watch and saw that she already was 25 minutes late for dinner and her mother should be preoccupied and perhaps angry so she ran as fast as she could till she reached their quarters and went in.
"I'm so, so sorry, I lost track of time and came as soon as I noticed the time, sorry." She sat down looking at her mother's who was right at her left and smiled intently.
"Dezanna, I thought we have been clear about dinner time, sometimes is the only chance I have to be with you both before I have to go back to the bridge, you should be aware of that by now, you are not a kid you know." Allan said seriously.
"I said I'm sorry." She said again looking at him.
"Well, sometimes that's not enough." He said again not even looking at her.
"Well, for me it is and if you don't like it then it's not my problem, and let me tell you something, when I talk to you I look at your eyes, you should do the same you know!" Dezz said louder and it was then when Deanna knew she had to do something.
"Dezz, don't talk to your father like that." She said calmly and looked at her daughter's eyes and saw in the second she talked how all the sadness and anger took care of her daughter.
"And there you go again, taking his side, you know that I was really sorry, you can feel what I feel and you still take his side? He's not my father, he has never been and since the very beginning of your thing with him I said he will never be my father and he's not right, I AM a kid but you have not realized that and think that just because I accepted that you changed me for him that doesn't mean that I will accept him talking to me like I worth not even his sight or that I'm not afraid every time I come here just because I sense that he hates me because I'm not his daughter and you can't have kids on your own."
Deanna was speechless at seeing her daughter like this and feeling all the things that were hidden inside her for so long.
"Dezz, you know that is not true, Alan loves you. You felt it when you were little and that's the reason I married him, because he loved you and cared about you, that was important for me, I have always placed you first." Deanna said holding hr hand.
"Your mother is right, I care about you and you are right, sometimes I feel look at you and wish to have kids on my own because that means that obviously your mother is not the problem, I am but I love you and I have been your father since four years ago, it has been a hard work but I have done it and I'm satisfied with the result."
Now even Deanna looked surprised at him after he finished.
"A hard work, I have never felt so bad before, all my life I thought I was something else but definitely not a hard work. Thanks Allan, now I know I should have been lost with my father years ago."
"Dezz, he didn't mean that "
"You know he did mother. Now if you'll excuse me I have to do some things in my room."
Dezz went inside her room without even touching her food and it was then when Deanna had to clear some things out.
"A hard work?!" She asked looking at him with ice cold eyes.
"You know what I meant, I didn't wanted to make her feel that I was sorry about being with you girls and she has been a hard work in the aspect that I had worked hard to win her love and respect and you know that Deanna." He said moving his plate away.
"Well, it didn't sound like that to her or me." Deanna said standing up to her daughter's room.
"Where are you going Deanna? Let her be, she's just having a bad moment, she will be out as if nothing happened in no time at all you'll see."
"I can't believe I haven't seen this before, you really think she's and adult. She's only 8 for god's sake! And she needs me now so if you have nothing else to say "
Deanna walked inside Dezz room and saw her packing some things and was then when she thought she lost her daughter.
"What are you doing little one?" Deanna said almost crying and her daughter smiled at her.
"Don't worry about me mom, I have talked to my aunt Bev to ask her if I can go to spend the night there and she said it will be great, I just need to be away from him for a while, I'll be back tomorrow, don't cry." Dezz caressed her mother's cheek with her tiny hand.
"I'm so sorry, I never thought this will be this way, I really thought he loved us, I'm sorry if you ever thought you have become the second more important thing in my life, you have always been the first and it will always be that way." She said holding her daughter.
"I know mom. Oh, I was going to say this at the dinner table but things went kind of different. I met my father today." Dezz smiled and Deanna was taken aback.
"I though I made it clear that for your father's own sake you should not look after him before the time was right." Deanna said looking at her daughter's eyes firmly.
"I know an I didn't look after him, we met each other in the turbolift when I was taking Celine back home."
"And what happened? Are you alright?" Deanna said sitting on the bed waiting for her daughter to join her.
"Well, he looks better than the picture!" Dezz said smiling and placed her head on her mother's lap.
"Well, we talked about me and about you too and that he felt right when he was close to you and that he had a son named Max, he's four years old and he's my brother."
"Well, it sounds to me like you had a good talk with your father."
"I did. Could you please take my to my uncle's, they should be waiting for me and by now Celine most be waiting too.
"Sure little one."
Deanna took her daughter to her best friend's house and told them about their incident with Allan and they understood how disappointed she was so they said she could stay with them longer if she thought it was necessary.
She finally walked out of their home and went to take a walk, Allan was on the bridge and she had nothing to do at her house but a lot to think about outside.
And before she knew it she was at the view port, thinking about everything and nothing specific.
And she felt him, it was strange that she had the capability of feel him even after all those years between them and she felt safe and scared at the same time.
"Good night Will." She said still with her back to him.
"Good nigh. I had the feeling I was going to find you here."
"Really? Is there anything you need?" She finally turned and he was speechless when he saw her.
"Well, I went to your quarters before but no one answered then I came here, and no, there is nothing I need I just wanted to see you."
"I understand you met Dezanna today right?" Deanna went to sit down and signaled him to join her.
"Yes, and I had no idea she was so beautiful and smart, she's so fantastic and tender and "
"And she's just like you." Deanna finished for him.
"It is like look into a mirror." They both laughed.
"When she was little her eyes where just like mine but as she grew up they turned into blue and every time I looked at them I remembered you and they gave me strength to keep on going without you." She said looking at him.
"It's strange, I told her about this but when I'm close to you I feel so good and happy and you are not going to believe this but since I came back to the ship I always can hear your voice inside me even when you are not near and I feel your strength and your emotions and "
"And you're scared because it feels right and because you are falling in love with me again so fast that it scares you and you don't know how to be near me when you can't." Deanna turned to face the wall at her left.
"Deanna, I know this is not correct with you being a married woman and me not knowing anything about us in the past but I " He took her left check forcing her to look at him.
"I missed you so, so much Will." She was crying and placed her slender arms around his neck.
Time stood still when they touched and they lost themselves inside each other. Will was the one who ended their embrace and talked.
"I guess it's time for me to go, Max will miss me if he doesn't see me when he wakes up."
"Sure, I'll see you later at your session."
They looked into each others eyes and went silent again before they felt their lips touching, but this time Deanna was the one who stopped.
"I know." Was Will's answer and he caressed her face before he stood up and left.
"So, what are you going to do now?" Beverly made herself comfortable on her sofa after she gave her chocolate to Deanna.
"Well, the truth is I do not know. I'm so confused, I know I love Will, you know I have always loved him but I also love Allan, he has been so good to us and he has helped me to race Dezz, he has been a great friend and a trustable husband. I just don't know." Deanna sipped her chocolate and placed it on the coffee table.
"Well, it sounds to me like you love to have a best male friend but you really do not love him as a man."
"What are you talking about? I love Al; he has been a great husband and a father to Dezz."
Beverly walked to sit right next to her friend and once she was comfortable again, she looked at her eyes.
"Deanna, you know that he has been great, as a husband and perhaps a great stepfather but he has never been a father to Dezz and she made it clear to you since the beginning and I think he has never been as important to you as Will has."
"Bev, you of all people should know that, you loved Jack so much has Captain Picard ever taken his place in your heart? Has he?"
Beverly was surprised about her friend's question, in fact she had never asked that to herself but as soon as she thought about it for a while she knew.
"Dee, I truly loved Jack for as long as we were together and actually I haven't asked that question myself before. You are correct, Jean-Luc will never be the same Jack was, but he certainly has earned his place because he loves me too much and the must important thing, I love him exactly the same way he does. That doesn't mean that I do not respect Jack's memory but it does mean that even when I loved him so much, now there is somebody else in his place and I'm happy about it." Bev said taking her legs up and holding them in front of her with her arms.
"So this means that Allan, doesn't loves me as much as Will used to love me and that's the main reason I do not love him?" Deanna said sarcastically to Bev.
"No Deanna, it means that you have never loved him as much as he does to you because you have never been up to leave Will behind, and you never will."
Deanna was silent for a moment and then decided to go, Bev knew she had so many things to think about and she just let her go.
* * *
"Tell me everything about it! Did you kissed him?... course you did! I can read it as my own mind! So this means you are going to be back together? We are going to be a family again as when I was a baby?" Dezanna asked in one breath without stopping and made Deanna laugh about it.
"You know, sometimes I think you are really funny. You are right little one about one thing, we kissed but, we are not going to be back together." Deanna said trying to smile but Dezz immediately frowned.
"What do you mean we are not going to be back together? He's my father and I want to be with him, clearly you love him and you want the same thing because I can sense it so don't say you don't! So what's the problem?" Dezz said folding her arms in front of her taking a defensive position.
"Dezz, you know the answer to that question." Deanna said pretty seriously.
"What? Is it about Allan? Come on! You can always leave him and be with my dad."
"Dezanna Riker! I though I have taught you better than that! You can't just dismiss somebody who cares about you just because your father came back to the scene. Allan had cared about you and raced you with me for the last four years and that certainly indicates that you owe him some respect don't you think?"
"Mom, don't talk to me as if I were a little baby!" Dezz said even louder than Deanna.
"Then don't act like one!" Deanna answered matching her tone.
<Argh!> They both heard in each others mind.
"Okay, let's take this calmly and rationally." Deanna started. "Look Dezz, we can't be like this about the two of them, you certainly deserve to have some time with your father and Allan deserves to have some time with you so what do you say about you spend half the week with your father and the other half with us." Deanna offered and Dezz smiled immediately.
"That sounds great to me mom but there is only one problem." She smiled.
"And that is?"
"Well, a week has seven days and how are we going to split 7 in two fair parts?" She said seriously.
"Well maybe we could "
"That's exactly what I was thinking!" Dezz interrupted her, "I'm going over my father's for four days and here four three! You are so smart mom, thanks!" And she left to her room.
Weeks passed quickly and they went into a routine, Dezz spend 4 days at Will's and 3 at her home and things seemed to be going fine but things are not always what they seem.
"So, you are going to your father's today?" Allan asked to a rushing Dezz while she carried some things.
"Yapp, we are going to visit holodeck 3 to have some fun, things aren't going so smoothly with Max you know and perhaps we can make things right between us today." She smiled.
"I hope so kiddo."
"Well, mom is waiting or me at her office, she will be back as soon as I'm at my dad's. Take care Allan."
"You two kid."
* * *
"Excited about your day?"
"Well, actually I'm more nervous than excited." Dezz answered to her mother waiting on the couch.
"Why? Mmm, let me think, it is about Max right?"
"Yes, he hates me!" Dezz said lying down.
"He does not, he's just confused and you have to give him time." Deanna said walking to sit on the floor in front of her daughter's face.
"I'm confused too and I'm not mean to him." She answered back.
"Sure, what was that all about leaving him trapped on a Jeffrey tube or the other one when you pretended to be dead just to scare him or my favorite one, when you painted his hair with rainbow colors when he was asleep?" Deanna said pretending to be confused.
"That was your favorite? You are right; I surpassed myself on that one." Dezz smiled at the thought but her smile faded away when she saw her mothers face.
"Dezz!" Deanna said seriously.
"Oh come on! He asked for it, he started it all when he threw me on the lake in the holodeck. Course he didn't knew I was so smart."
Deanna only smiled at seeing her daughter giggle, and when she was just about to get to her feet the door chime rang.
"Come in." Was Deanna's order as the door hissed open to revel Allan.
"How are the two most beautiful women on earth?" He said handing a white rose to Deanna and a peach one to Dezz.
"We are just great thank you." Deanna said kissing him briefly.
"I'm glad to hear that. So, what are you up to now?" He said sitting next to Dezz.
"We're waiting for my father, he said he was going to pick me up here and he should not take longer than this." Dezz answered looking at the timer on Deanna's desk.
At that the door rang again.
"Coming!" Dezz said hopping down the sofa and running to the door.
"Hi daddy, I missed you!" Dezz said holding his legs so hard to the point of made him go to the floor.
"Wow, my strong little lady. I have missed you too." He said smiling.
"Hi there." Was the simple salute of Max.
"Sup?" Was Dezz vague answer.
"They are great at communication." Was Will's observation to Deanna.
At that Will walked towards her and took her hand in his and kissed it. Allan was not at all pleased with that action and moved immediately to stand next to Deanna.
"Oh Allan you really shouldn't have come to me, I was on my way to say hello to you." Will said smiling and taking his hand out to him.
"Sometimes William I can't see why people like you so much." Was Allan's cold answer and just because Deanna was right there he answered Will's hand shake.
"Because he is not such a jerk like you." Said Max from the door.
Everybody was silent and Will was frozen at what his son said but somehow Deanna found herself smiling. It was not hard to believe he was Will's son.
"Okay we have to go now, see you tomorrow guys." Will said as he pushed his kids to the door.
"I have to admit something Max, I have started to like you, you are not as fool as you seemed to be." Said Dezz to her brother.
Max only smiled.
* * *
"I can't believe you did it!" Max said to Dezz.
"You dared me! Course I was going to do it and I have to say that it was really fun." Dezz smiled taking his father hand on her tiny one.
"Well, I certainly can't believe you hide your uncle's pipes while he was asleep but what I REALLY can't believe is that he laughed about the way you caught him, as far as I remembered he was not a fan of kids and now look at the righteous Starfleet Captain laughing at your play on him." Will said smiling.
Dezz was frozen at what her father said and stopped just right there.
"What's up pumpkin? Is there something wrong?" Will said and Max just looked at her rolling his eyes.
"You said you remembered! You said you remembered my uncle's behavior before I was even born! Your remember dad!" Dezz said smiling.
"That's truth! Well I guess it's time for me to talk to my counselor.
As a temporarily no member of the federation Will had not a personal intercom in his power so he had to do it the old way.
"Computer, open a channel to Counselor Troi." He ordered.
'Can't complete your request, please check the data is correct.'
Dezz rolled her eyes and laughed out loud.
"What?" Will asked surprised.
"You have been without technology way too much dad." She said seriously. "Computer, open a channel to Counselor Hathaway."
"Counselor Hathaway." Was Deanna's response through the communicator.
"Hi, it' me mom, we need to see you immediately." Dezz said seriously.
"Is everything all right dear?" Deanna said, by the time she said that Allan was at her side listening carefully.
"Everything is more than just right mom, my dad remembers!" Was everything Dezz said.
Deanna felt as if the world had colors again and her heart trembled just at the thought that maybe he will remember who she really was and what was between them before he came back.
Allan on his side was not so happy about it cause he knew that this meant he will remember who he was and more important, who SHE was.
"I'm on my way, Hathaway out."
Deanna put her dinner aside and stood up, grabbed a padd and was ready to leave in less than three minutes.
"Allan, I have to go now, I'll be back as soon as I can and "
"Go on, run to him! In fact if you want you can stay over his place tonight I really don't care." Allan took a defensive position from the table looking at her seriously.
"What are you talking about?" She asked leaving her instruments on the coffee table.
"You know damn right what I'm talking about. I'm talking about the way you put everything second when it comes to have him first!" Allan shouted walking in front of her.
"This is not the first time I leave to go to a patient and you know it. What's wrong with you?"
Deanna moved to retrieve her instruments from the table but Allan grabbed her arm hardly and forced her to drop her things to look at him.
"You are hurting me Allan, stop it!" Deanna more as an order than a request.
"Oh so now you are going to talk like that to me? Who do you think you are? So he comes back and suddenly you are disrespectful to me?"
And then she felt it, she felt the anger building inside him and just then she felt his hand on her face. And then she went to the floor.
"Deanna, I'm so sorry! Please let me help you "
"Don't you dare to come near me!"
"Deanna, you have to understand, it was not my intention, I just lost control and, please forgive me."
"Right now Allan all I want is to go away and please, don't look after me."
Deanna stood up and grabbed her things and left before he could do something else.
She practically ran to her office trying not to cry, she walked as fast ash she could earning glances from the crew members she found on her way and tried to calm herself as she entered the turbolift to reach the correct level. Once she was out she was partially calmed and raised her shields up in order to block her feelings from her daughter.
She entered her office and as soon as the doors hissed open at her command she felt a pair of hands on her waist and looked down to smile.
"Hello Little One, so what is this all about?" Deanna asked smiling already knowing the answer.
"Well, we were walking and talking about the about uncle Jean-Luc and my daddy said he remembered how much he used to dislike kids and " Then Dezz froze at seeing her mother's face. "What is thins on your face?"
As soon as Will heard that he turned to see Deanna's face, he walked over to where they stand and traced her face where the bruise started to form with the palm of his thumb and at feeling his touch Deanna closed her eyes and he knew just then when did that bruise came from.
He left her office almost running and she saw that look in his eyes and he recognized it, it was the one he used when somebody he loved has been hurted by someone and then she knew where he was heading.
"Will please stop!" Deana shouted from her office's door and he turned to see her but instead of convincing him to stay he saw the even reddish color on her face and turned again into the turbolift.
Deanna re-entered her office and tried to calm herself and then decided to follow him.
"Kids, I need you to stay here while we are out and where are you going?!" Deanna yelled as she saw Dezz and Max walk to the door.
"To watch our father hit that little brat!" Max said looking at Deanna holding Dezz hand and they ran to the turbolift and Deanna followed.
"You know this isn't the wisest thing to do kids." Deanna said looking at her daughter to emphasize her sentence.
"Mother, I want to make thin clear, he hit you and I want to make him pay, but after my father started of course so, don't try to stop us, he deserves that."
They went in silence the rest of the way.
"So you think you can hit her and that nobody is going to do anything about it?!" Riker shouted from the door once Allan commanded them to open.
"What the hell are you doing in my place!" Allan said standing up and walking to the door.
"What the hell do you think I'm doing here!"
Will moved to stand just a few inches form him and the he slammed his fist against Allan's face throwing him against the floor.
"So how does it feel no, huh! Does it feel good? Because I'm sure as hell Deanna was not happy at all when you hit her!" Will moved to stand a few inches away from Allan.
Allan was in obvious pain but he still managed to slammed Will to the floor by moving his leg in order to make him fall and as soon as he succeeded he threw himself up Will to hit him square to the face.
Deanna and the kids entered to the room when that was happening and as soon as the kids saw what was going on they threw themselves to Allan's back in order to help Will. Dezz was the one who hit him harder and then Allan moved his right arm to threw her off his back straight to the coffee table knocking her off.
"Dezz!" Deanna screamed from the door to where her daughter laid unconscious and Max followed her fearing to end the same way.
Will glanced to where his daughter was and then fury built inside him and with all his strength the came up Allan and hit him so hard he felt his bones break as soon as his fist touched his face.
"You bastard, how dare you hit my daughter!!" Will said, ire in his voice.
A few minutes latter, Allan was out of his conscious being.
"How is she?" Will asked moving to sit next to his son.
"She's out by the hit she received but I think she will be fine, I still think we need to call sickbay." Deanna said with tears in her eyes looking at Will.
"Is she going to be all right?" Max asked hiding his face in his father arm.
"Yes Max, she's going to be fine." Deanna answered caressing his cheek softly.
"Counselor Hath Counselor to sickbay." Deanna talked to thin air through the comm system.
"Sickbay here, Counselor. What's the emergency Deanna?" The familiar voice of Beverly cam through the other end of the communicator.
"Beverly, Dezz was hurted and so does Allan; we need an emergency team in my quarters." Deanna said with crying voice.
"I'm on my way." Was all Bev said and then the communication ended.
"I never wanted this to happen Deanna." Will said looking straight to her eyes.
"I know." Was all she said with a faint smile on her face.
A few minutes latter Beverly was in Deanna's quarters and while she checked on her niece the emergency team was with Allan who was obviously the most hurted one.
"Well, she seems to be all right, she doesn't have a concussion or any brain damage but she's still a young girl and the surprise and strength of the hit caused her to faint, she'll be all right just after I use this little hypospray on her." Beverly smiled and relieve came to Deanna and Will's faces.
A few seconds after the medication was inserted in her system Dezz recovered herself.
"Hi." Was all she managed to say with a smile on her face. Deanna held her close and Will stroke her hair smiling.
By the time they did that Beverly was with Allan who was still unconscious and bleeding.
After a few minutes they stabilized him and took him to sickbay.
"Well Riker, I must say you did a great job with his nose and jaw, they are both broken not to talk about three broken ribs and bruises and scars all over his face. You've outdone yourself this time." Beverly said smiling at him.
"Oh that sense of humor of yours, I have missed that." Will said taking Beverly by surprise.
"You remember it?" She asked looking at him, then at Deanna and back again.
"I do, but that's a long story, is my little girl going to be okay?" He asked worriedly looking at Dezz who was now sitting on a sofa next to her brother who was holding her.
"Yes she will, now if the two of you care to elaborate about what happened here " Beverly started and then noticed the bruise in Deanna's face. "What the hell is that?"
Beverly took her tricorder and moved it to where her friends bruise was and as soon as Deanna tried to stop her she noticed the marks on her wrist and then scanned it too.
"Well Troi, you have a great deal here and we need to take you to sickbay." Beverly said placing her tricorder in place and introducing her hands in her pockets.
"What are you talking about, besides this little bruise and the tiny marks in my wrist I'm completely fine."
"Well, perhaps the adrenaline makes you think that due to the fact that it inhibited your sense of pain for the moment but I have to inform you that you have a tore check and a fractured wrist." Beverly said not smiling at all.
"Really? Well, I can't feel the pain." Deanna said surprised.
"Did you do this also?" Beverly asked looking straight at Will.
"What the hell, don't you know me at all?!" Was his frustrated answer.
"It was Allan Bev, Allan did this to us. By the way, he also hit Will, is he alright?" Deanna asked seriously.
"And here we go again." Beverly said moving her head in total reject to Will's behavior.
"He asked for it." Was all Will said as he watched his friend scan for something wrong in his body.
"And not to my surprise, you are as good as new." She said smiling to him. "So, ready to go to sickbay?" Beverly asked Deanna and she nodded.
"Will could you please stay here with the kids, I don't want them there, I'll be back as soon as I can." Deanna said and Will nodded.
<I love you> She heard in her mind and then she turned to face Will, and she smiled.
* * *
By the time they reached sickbay, the Captain, Data and Geordi were already in the room. As Deanna entered with Beverly she saw them and in that moment she felt the pain in her arm and check and after watching Allan now conscious on the bed next to her she frowned.
"Counselor, we have been waiting for you." The Captain said and she looked at him seriously.
"I knew you will. I'm sorry about all this, sir."
"Well, after all you would understand that it was not nice at all for me to hear that my First Officer has been hit by someone in your quarters."
"I know sir, but with all due respect, my delay was because I needed a doctor for my daughter," and then she turned to face Allan "and for Will."
When Jean-Luc saw the bruise in her face and her hand being cuddled by her other one he was surprised.
"Deanna, what happened to you and why did you needed assistance for Dezanna and Will?"
Then all the rage inside Picard came to the surface when he understood what had happened and he talked with his deep tone at Allan.
"What the hell happened there!" Picard demanded.
Allan remained silent.
"Counselor, I can see that you husband here is not going to say anything so I'm ordering you to do so." He used the same tone on her and she obeyed.
After telling them the whole story while she was being treated from her injuries Picard looked sadly at his First Officer.
"I'm sorry to do this but there is no other way." He said seriously. "Commander Hathaway, I'm relieving you from your duties until we arrive to DS9 and there, your future in the fleet will be decided.
"But Captain, this is a mistake, it was a fight between my wife and me and that sort of klingon mad man, that has nothing to do with my career!" Alain said seriously and scared from the biobed he was in.
"I'm sorry but first of all this is my ship, I decide what to do with the officers on board and second, that wife you are talking about is like a daughter to me and that sort of klingon human is my best friend not to talk about that little girl you hurt so don't give me that bullshit about family fight because this goes farther than that!" Picard ended mad and everybody looked at him when the rude word came out of his mouth.
"We will be arriving to DS9 in approximately 10 hours sir." Data informed to his captain.
"Very well, then I guess we have to get started packing." Allan said looking to Deanna.
"Oh no, you have to get started Commander, Deanna and her daughter are not leaving this ship." Picard said looking coldly at him.
"What! She's my wife captain and she has to be where I am, that's it!" Allan screamed.
"Captain, if I can have a word with the Commander I will really appreciate it." Data said looking to his captain and when he nodded he proceeded.
"Commander, what we have here is clearly a misunderstanding. As you remember, you came to this ship after Commander Riker disappearance, in order to take his place. Then you married Counselor Troi here. Now with the return of the Commander and as I understand now, with his memory back, he remembers everything he was and who he was with, but clearly you do not. You are not married to Counselor Troi, Commander Riker is." Data finished.
When he finished his last sentence everybody was looking at him surprised, specially Deanna.
"What the hell are you talking about!" Allan demanded.
"With the return of the Commander Riker, you marriage with Counselor Troi is not valid due to the fact that he is still alive and he was married to her before you did so their marriage is the valid one." Data finished and then Allan remain silent on his biobed.
"Well, then I guess you have to start packing as soon as the doctor thinks you are ready to do so. Deanna, come with me if you are done." Picard ordered and at a nod from Beverly she followed him.
Once they were outside they walked silently until they reached his cabin and once inside, something she didn't expected happened.
Picard held her close and gave her a big hug. Deanna was shocked for a moment but after a few seconds she returned the hug and they stood like that for several minutes until he ended the hug.
"Deanna, I'm sorry you have to get through this to make me take this decision." He aid sadly motioning her to sit on the couch.
"Captain, what are you talking about?" Deanna asked seriously.
"You'll see, since the day he came to this ship and he saw you, I knew he liked you but you were so fragile then that I thought he will bring some peace and love back to your life, but once I really knew him I should have stopped your marriage with him, I knew he was mean and sometimes cold even to his friends, I learned that after working with him a few times on the bridge but I remain silent because I had no right to say anything about your life decisions, and I know that." He looked sadly at her eyes and all she could do in order to urge him to continue was to hold his hand in hers.
"But today, when I knew what happened to Dezz and to you, I feared the worst could have happened. You'll see, as you know, for a long time I denied myself the pleasures of marriage and fatherhood but I have always looked at you as my daughter, even now that Celine is here and I'm happily married to Bev. I was afraid of loosing you and that little girl who played jokes on me and who hide my pipes and was the reason for Celine to start walking," He paused and laughed shortly. "but today, I really knew what you mean to me and I just wanted you to know that even when I'm not your father, I want you to look at me that way." Picard finished smiling at her.
By now Deanna was deeply drowning in her own tears, she had never hoped this to happen and she was glad it did.
"Captain, I have always looked at you as a father to me, even when we are both serious and not so affective, I really love you, I have had this space in my heart since my father died and you filled it completely just now." Deanna said smiling and placed her arms around his neck to hold him and he held her too.
"Well, I suggest you go home now, I bet both Dezz and Will are waiting for you." He smiled and lead her to the door.
"Thank you Cap " Deanna stopped herself and smiled. "Thank you father." She said and left.
* * *
"Mother! Are you alright?" Dezz ran trough the living room to held her mother with a big hug.
"Yes I am, in fact I'm better than ever." Deanna smiled at her daughter and then noticed how Will's figure came out of her bedroom.
"I hope it's okay with you but I put Max on your bed, he fell asleep and
so did Dezz on her bed but I had no idea that little princess was awake now."
He smiled at her daughter.
"It's okay Will. Now Little One, you should get back to bed, I'm all right and you have to go to school tomorrow, remember?" Deanna said lovingly to her daughter.
"Okay mom, good night and sweet dreams." Dezz kissed her check and turned to face her father. "Good night to you too dad." Dezz smiled and kissed him the same way she did with her mother.
"Well, I have to go now, let me pick up my son and will be out of here in no time at all." Will smiled shyly.
"Will, wait, I think we have to talk." Deanna said looking him straight to his eyes.
"About what? Look, I know what I did was wrong but just the idea of him putting his hands on you that way was horrible." He said frankly letting out a breath.
"Not about that, about us." Deanna said seriously and waited in silence.
"Deanna, as much as I would love to be with you and believe me, I do, there is no way we can manage it. You are married." He said sadly.
"You are right. To you." Was all Deanna said moving to sit on the couch.
"I beg your pardon?" Will said joining her.
"Well, Data informed us that my marriage with Allan was completely invalid since the moment you came back due to the fact that our marriage never finished. Believe me it was quite a surprise for me as it is to you." Deanna said looking at her hands.
"I have to say that it is good to hear that." Will smiled at her the moment she turned her eyes to see him.
"Also Allan is leaving, the Captain relieved him from his duties until we reach DS9 where they will decide a future for him, he leaves in a few hours." Deanna sighed heavily.
"And how do you feel about that?"
"Safe. I never knew he could be so aggressive to me and less to Dezz, he seemed to love her so much. I suppose that I should have known he wouldn't love her that much if she was a constant reminder of his incapability to have kids on his own." She looked at Dezz room.
"That's why I lose control, he hurted my daughter, our daughter. And since the first time I saw you when I came to this ship I loved you even when at the time I couldn't remember you, I know, it's kind of silly but I did and I still do. He deserved what I did to him and more for hurting you." Will took her hand between his and smiled tenderly.
"That is kind of logical, we are Imzadi." Deanna smiled. "Will, I want you to close your eyes ant think about anything special, I want you to clear your mind and breathe, and to concentrate just in one thing. Me." Deanna said as she reached for his hands.
Will did as she said and after a few seconds, when she sensed his mind was clear, she send to him, images of their life together, the first time they saw each other, the rush of emotions they felt on the Janara Jungle and so on until they reached the day their daughter was born and the day he came back. And then he remembered without a doubt what Imzadi meant, and what she was to him.
"Oh my God." Was all he could say before opening his eyes again and
looking into Deanna's tearful eyes, he kissed her.
Time stood still when they lips touched for the second time since he was back but something was different, he knew who he was and he knew he belonged to her and she to him. And that simple fact made them feel completely joyful and happy but above all, in peace.
"So?" He said breathing heavily after they ended their kiss.
"I don't know." She answered frankly and trying to smile.
"Well, at least now I do not feel uncomfortable about kissing you due to the fact that you are my wife." He smiled close to her and she returned her smile.
"So, together again?" She asked waiting for an answer she already knew.
Months traveled fast and news as well. Deanna and Will were back together and after a re-training period he was a full Commander of the United Federation of Planets again and took his well deserved place as the Number One of the Enterprise.
Max and Dezz were still fighting but now not to win Will's attention but fights as if they were truly brother and sister and that made both Deanna and Will extremely happy.
"Little brat -genius -book - eater, could you please give me back the book you took from my room?" Dezz asked faking politeness to her brother.
"No." Was his simple answer.
"Look little freak, I want that book right now!"
"Why do you want it for if you don't read it, in fact do you know how to read oh wait first of all, do you know how to open a book?" He said smiling on the opposite side of the living room.
"I'm going to take your head off!" She screamed and ran to him.
"In order to do so you would need to know where the head is and due to the fact that you don't have one you can't find mine!" He laughed again.
This time Dezz was running after him and they didn't notice their father standing next to the door.
"Now that's it you two!" He ordered and they both stopped on their tracks.
"Father, he has my book!" Dezz shouted.
"Why would she want it if she doesn't read it." Max said desperately.
"Because it is mine and you didn't asked for it before you took it!" She screamed back.
"Your sister has a point there." Will said and Max nodded.
"Okay, well, let's do this the right way. Here you go; you can have your book." Max said giving the book to his sister.
"Now can you borrow it to me?" He asked pleadingly and smiling.
"No!" Was Dezz answer.
"Why?" He stumped his foot on the floor.
"Because it's mine and I don't want to." She said and ran to her room.
Max looked at his father and immediately started to laugh.
"I can't believe she's like that!" He said anger.
"And you are not a teenager yet, just wait until you turn 12 and you will not laugh so much about not understanding women.
Max was left in the living room with a serious and meditative look.
"What were you guys talking about?" Deanna asked walking closer to Max.
"Women." Max said seriously.
"Well, don't let your father tease you, we are not so difficult to handle." Deanna smiled and caressed his cheek. Max smiled widely at her.
"I'll be in my room."
Deanna nodded and Max left.
"You are not so difficult to handle? Come on Deanna! It took me half my life to handle you!" Will smiled and walked closer to her, took her in his arms and laughed.
"Perhaps, but there is something you should know."
Deanna kissed him gently on the lips and after a few minutes she proceeded talking.
"You have not handled me yet."
She walked away from his embrace and went to their room and then, when she was just about to get inside completely she spoke again.
"But you can still try."
Will smiled widely and with a mischievous grin, he followed her.