Into the Future

Author: JanF

Rating: PG


The workout rooms on the Enterprise-E were smaller and darker than those on the Enterprise-D had been. Ship’s counsellor Deanna Troi stretched and went into the splits, waiting for Beverly Crusher, the ship’s Chief Medical Officer to join her. They’d started these stretching routines long ago…for a while they’d done mok’bara, the Klingon martial art, together. That had stopped after Deanna had broken up with Worf – too many painful memories.

Beverly was Deanna’s confidant and she was now running, for Beverly, incredibly late. Deanna could feel her agitation. Deciding that this may be a session that readily disintegrated into gossip, Deanna blocked out the feelings of her friend and immersed herself in the rhythms of stretching and bending.

Beverly eventually arrived in a rush – Deanna could already feel a different sense to that when she arrived late from a sick patient or from a performance appraisal with an incompetent sub-ordinate. Beverly emanated waves of elation and confusion as she settled into the stretching routine.

Deanna decided that tact was not called for.

"So what’s his name?"

Beverly resolutely continued on, taking an ever-so-slightly hurt tone.

"I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. Sometimes having an empath for a best friend is enough to drive you crazy".

They settled down into their dual stretches. Deanna’s curiosity, however, was piqued. During their sessions they’d discussed so much – Will (too many times to mention), Jack, Worf, Odan, Devonani Ral… well maybe so much about men. Ship’s counsellor or no, Deanna wasn’t about to let Beverly off the hook.

"So what is his name?"

Beverly blew a stray hair from her face and decided to try and maintain her dignity

"There is no him".

That brought Deanna up short. She was so used to reading her friends that she had been just about sure it was a man. She now realised she may have been treading on more private ground than Beverly wanted to reveal. It was always difficult – trying to draw the line between reading what someone wanted her to know and talk about as a friend and her professional capacity where she needed to know what was going on for the good of the ship. This obviously fell into the first category.

"Well if you don’t want to talk about it…"

Beverly sighed and stopped stretching.

"Promise you won’t tell?"

Deanna smiled "When I have I ever broken confidentiality?"

Beverly smiled back at her friend’s jovial tone.

"Let’s go sit, Counsellor Troi".

Deanna and Beverly moved to the side of the room, grabbing water and towels.

Comforted by her friend’s supportive presence, Beverly opened up.

"Did you know that they’re restructuring Starfleet Medical?"

Deanna hadn’t expected this. Starfleet Medical?

"I’d heard something, but I thought it was the command structure…" she trailed off as the implications sank in. Confusion and elation, expectation of something new. "But you hated that job last time!"

Beverly looked troubled.

"I know. Last time I was head of Starfleet Medical I just wound up pushing papers from one side of the desk to the other. I didn’t feel like I did anything useful. Never enough time for my research, never being on top of things…and then all the politics…"

Deanna’s long years as a ship’s psychologist weren’t for nothing


Beverly paused and ploughed on

‘This time they say they’ll leave the paper pushing to others. The head is to be a visionary leader. I set directions and tone. Think of all the good I can do."


Beverly smiled. She knew her friend was the best in Starfleet – it felt good to talk.

"I’ve already left the Enterprise once – but I missed Wesley and Jean-Luc… and you and Will and the others, of course. Earth didn’t have the pull…" Beverly paused "Deanna I’ve survived a crashed starship, the war with the Dominion, Wesley’s all grown up and Jean Luc…"

Beverly shook her head. Deanna took her hand and finished for her

"Jean Luc will never forgive himself for Jack’s death and no matter what his feelings for you are he can’t bring himself to act on them and would rather run into just about any other woman’s arms."

Beverly broke into a rueful grin

"Sometimes I think that a lack of telepathy is just false advertising on your part!"

Deanna looked into her friend’s troubled face. She could feel the anticipation.

"Beverly you need to do what’s best for you. Look inside yourself. What draws you to Earth? What keeps you here? After all in life it’s normal to quest for growth and change."

Beverly realised that time was getting on and got up to leave.

"Thanks Deanna. You’re right. I can’t expect things to go on the way they are. Look at all that Worf’s done – he’s been through so much. I’m sure you and Will have talked about when he will take his own command…" Now it was Beverly’s turn to trail off. She may not have been gifted with empathic senses but one look at her friend’s fallen face was enough to tell her she was on rocky ground. "…and all the other changes in the last few years."

Deanna stood up and gave her friend a quick hug.

"If you ever…"

"Need to talk!" Beverly finished with her and they left smiling together.

=/\= =/\= =/\= =/\=

Will Riker didn’t need to be an empath or to have Deanna project her thoughts to know she had something on her mind. Instead of their usual cheerful chatter as he cooked dinner she had been quiet and withdrawn. Now she barely touched her dinner and her uncommitted responses, so unlike her usual interest, told him that she was worlds away. It was time for drastic action.

"So when Data asked me I just told him to come along and we’d show him what ‘fully functional’ really meant."

That got Deanna’s attention.

"Will Riker you are a tease!"

He looked into the brown eyes he loved so much

"So what’s bothering you?"

Deanna pushed the food around her plate some more. Will’s concern grew. Usually Deanna was so in touch with herself, with himself. It was scary to see her this way.


She looked him in the eyes.

"Will, what are we still doing here?"

There are times in a man’s life when the woman he loves asks him a question. It is usually out of the blue, it is usually something fairly innocuous in its first meaning. The young and inexperienced human male will try and answer the question. It’s a natural response – she’s always talking about openness and honesty – she asks a straightforward question, he gives an answer. He finds himself with a weeping woman. Fortunately for Deanna, Will was well past being young and inexperienced.

"What’s wrong Deanna?"

Deanna was up and pacing. This got Will really worried. For Deanna pacing was always a sign of inner turmoil. He reviewed recent events. No arguments – things had been going well together. They had been comfortably sharing each other’s quarters and lives for nearly three years now. No conflict at work that he knew of. What could be going on?

"Will, what are we still doing here?"

He really didn’t know what she wanted. He threw himself on the fire, hoping she would realise it was just a ploy.

"Well, the Captain did want us to further investigate the Ultarian situation, Geordi wants to work on the engines some more…"

At least she’d stopped pacing. She knew. She even smiled as she shook her head.

"You know that’s not what I mean."

He took her in his arms and led them to her couch.

"So tell me."

Deanna looked away. She didn’t even know how to verbalise all that was going through her head.

"Do you remember when we decided to give us a second chance?"

He smiled his wickedest smile.

"It’s not likely I’d forget. Happiest day of my life. Here I was thinking you were going to go all Starfleet ‘Not on the same ship’ once the metaphasic radiation wore off, and there I was knowing it was far more".

She couldn’t help but snuggle closer. But still the question played on her mind.

"So why are we still here?" Deanna made sure she had his full attention and continued. "Years ago the thing you wanted most of all was to be a Starship captain. I wanted to make something of myself – use the skills I’d learnt and see the galaxy, like my father."

Will looked puzzled

"Aren’t you happy here with me?"

Deanna couldn’t meet his gaze.

"I am happy – but can you remember, years ago, you once told me that you didn’t want to get too comfortable?"

Of course he could remember. Commader Shelby had needled him and he had turned, as ever, to Deanna. For validation. For comfort. Could he do the same for her?

"I remember you telling me there was no such thing."

Deanna got up and started pacing again.

"Maybe I was wrong. Every time we get comfortable something changes. The ship is damaged. Someone leaves. Always in someone else’s power. Why aren’t we taking control? You are as fine a captain as they have in Starfleet. I’m more than a diplomatic sniffer dog. ‘I sense deceit’. ‘There’s only goodwill from this species’. I remember a time when I used to care for families. When we explored new places outside Sector 001. When we were part of more than just a Diplomatic ferry service.

"I miss it, Will. I miss the children. I miss the first contacts. I want to see you in command."

Will couldn’t quite believe what he was hearing. It really was out of the blue. Just where was this all heading?

"Will, any day things could change. The Captain could leave and be replaced – and not by you. Starfleet Command could order you or I away. We keep taking everything and everyone we have for granted. We’re too comfortable as we are to look ahead."

"You certainly don’t sound happy! What brought all this on?"

She knew she wasn’t being fair. She had to make him understand. She went to him and held him.

"That’s just it, Imzadi. I’m am so happy! I spend my days and my nights with you. I’m surrounded by my family. But that could change at any time. Perhaps it should change… we can both offer so much more than what we’re doing. Perhaps we could be even more happy."

Will held her tighter as she continued. Deanna paused and decided that now was the time.

"That’s why I think we should get married. I know how much I love you. I know, I can feel, how much you love me. I trust you with my heart and my soul, Imzadi. I don’t want to be split apart again at the whim of a desk-bound Admiral. I want to stand up in front of the universe and tell everyone that I love you and that now we’ve found each other nothing can tear us apart."

As soon as the words were out of her mouth he couldn’t stop the smile from spreading across his face. They’d spoken of marriage once before, over a decade ago. He had let her down so badly – choosing his career over her. On board the Enterprise-D he had spent eight years loving her from afar, always letting her set the limits, knowing he could never undo the hurt he had done before. Hearing her say to him "Not while we’re on the same ship" but watching her fall in love with Worf with none of those reservations.

When they found each other again he had decided to take whatever she would give him. She had given him her heart, but had spoken of so little else. He was happy, though. His career was still satisfying, there was always the hope that the Enterprise would be his one day. He had the one thing most precious to him in all the Universe – her love. Having hurt Deanna so badly before how could he ever ask again?

Now… now this brave woman that he loved was suggesting they step forward together into the future. Will knew that if he was going to stay worthy of her there was only one answer.

Deanna had braced herself for Will to withdraw in turmoil and surprise. When there was none she opened herself to him… and could sense relief, joy and that unwavering glowing warmth of love.

She took her courage and looked into his eyes again. Those blue eyes that sparkled with a love light just for her and she knew … always, only for her.

He nodded. She understood. Will finally found his voice.

"I want it, too. To be with you. For always."


They kissed with the happy knowledge that this time it really would last a lifetime.

=/\= =/\= =/\= =/\= =/\=

Deanna wondered if she really needed the stretching exercises today. Once she and Will had abandoned themselves to the moment the other night they hadn’t really gotten much sleep. She smiled to herself

"Something else to look forward to…even more sleepless nights!"

When Beverly arrived Deanna could sense a change. She, too, was more at peace.

They got straight into their exercise routine. Years of practice had made it smooth – they could still get down into the splits when they tried.

"You’re looking smug." This time it was Beverly’s turn to dispatch with the small talk. "Rumour has it a certain First Officer and a certain Ship’s Counsellor haven’t been seen outside each other’s quarters except for duty in forty-eight hours."

"Really Beverly, don’t believe everything you hear." Deanna smiled archly."I’ll have you know I’ve been to the holodeck with Will as well."

Beverly stopped moving and grabbed both of Deanna’s hands. "I don’t have to be an empath to know something’s changed. What’s going on? You’re not pregnant?"

"No! Don’t you think I would have been to see you before this?"

Beverly nodded.

"What then?"

"It feels kind of silly to say it out loud. Especially after Will and I have been together all this time."

Beverly gave Deanna a hard look.

"You don’t mean to say he’s asked you after all this time?"

Deanna blushed.

"Not exactly."

Beverly looked intrigued. Then a thought crossed her mind. After all, despite all the differences, this was Lwaxana Troi’s daughter.

"You didn’t. You, of all people, didn’t."

Deanna grinned at her friend’s consternation.

"It is the twenty-fourth century you know."

Beverly was flabbergasted. She wanted to know everything but could only find two, very obvious, words.

"How? Why?"

Deanna couldn’t keep her grin from getting wider.

"It’s all your fault, you know. When you spoke about leaving I realised – things could and maybe should change. I was just lucky Will happened to be in an agreeable mood."

Beverly hugged her friend

"So where to now?"

"Well there’s the matter of the wedding to work out – Earth or Betazed? If you asked my mother right now she’d probably say "wherever" but once it’s all had time to sink in…Besides we still have lots of friends on Earth. Now Will tells me about this place in Alaska he always thought he would get married…"

Beverly couldn’t help but shake her head.

"I think Earth would be good."

Deanna wasn’t so absorbed in wedding planning that she missed the double meaning of Beverly’s words.

"So you’ve decided?"

Beverly nodded.

"I thought about what you said – the things that are keeping me here. I can do good work here, I have done good work here. But there I have the potential to do so much more for so many more people. I have to give it a go."

Deanna stood up and helped Beverly up as well. She went over and grabbed the water bottles. It wasn't champagne, but it was the symbolism that counted.

"To new beginnings."

"New beginnings"

The two women left side by side - one to face her future on Earth, the other with her Imzadi.


Author's note: I just couldn't figure out why it took Deanna and Will three-four years to get married. And why on Earth was Beverly going back to a job she'd previously hated? I can only figure that being around Jean-Luc as he swans through the galaxy picking up everyone *else* was just too much for her. She's strong, she's sensible - and Jean-Luc's a fool! Maybe now he'll realise it. After all Deanna isn't dead, Worf and Will aren't at each other's throats - it's time for him to fish or cut bait! I've also been relishing TNG on DVD - I love Beverly and Deanna's egging each other on in matters of the heart.