Ghost of Times

Rated: G
Genre: TNG-R/T
One of One


“I can’t stand this need! I don’t want to be tied
down!” William Riker exclaimed defensively. In his
confusion, he refused to see the pain he was causing
Deanna Troi.

Tears welled up in Deanna’s eyes at this outburst.
She had simply told him she loved him. To her,
expressing emotion was as natural as breathing.
Deanna thought she and Will had reached a point where
they could express themselves freely to one another.
Things had been going so well since the renewal of
their romantic relationship.

Sensing Will’s confusion, Deanna tried to read his
feelings. It was no use. Will had closed himself to
her. In fact, he had shut down his feelings
completely, even to himself. William Riker’s fear of
commitment and vulnerability had resurfaced, building
a wall that only he could tear down.

Deanna felt herself being overwhelmed by grief and
wanted to get away before she broke down in front of
this stranger. “William, Imzadi, I will always love
you but I cannot save you. I thought our love would
flourish, but your stubborn independence has
prevailed. I hope you will be happy, my love. Good

It took all of her strength to raise her head high as
she walked out of his cabin and out of his life. Will
had spurned her love once again. She could not help
what she was – a creature of life, love, and hope.
However, this time she felt no hope – only pain,
overwhelming pain.

Beverly found her passed out in the hall and quickly
put Deanna into sickbay. Oblivious to the world
outside of his cabin walls, Will Riker drank himself
to sleep.

Sometime during the night, Will felt himself being
watched. He woke up to find himself face to face with
Q. Will tried to shake off his drink-induced
grogginess and act like an authoritative Star Fleet
commander. “What do you want, Q?”

“Oh, you don’t have to call me Q today, my fellow!
What have you done now? Why are you alone, and why
are you so stupid?”

“Q, if you are referring to my personal life, it is my
business alone.” The tone was heartless. ‘Go have
your fun elsewhere” Will replied dryly.

“Well, I am not here for fun, Commander. I am here
out of a sense of duty. I am feeling a little
Dickensian today and I thought that I’d show you what
an ass you are. Hold on to your pajamas because we
are going on a little trip.” Q was not going to let
Riker off the hook. Why indeed was he so stupid? Q
could only dream for such a love that Riker spurned.

“Dickensian? What are you up to, Q?”

“I’m up to your own good, you fool! You are making a
mess of your life but for some reason, you may be
redeemable. Call me the Ghost of Times Past, because
that is where we are going.”

“Q, I make my own decisions. Don’t pretend you know
what is good for me. I’ve wasted enough time thinking
and feeling. It’s time to act.”

“Well, act, then. Tell me what you see”

Will saw himself 20 years ago as a Lieutenant on
Betazed. Full of attitude, he had just rescued Deanna
from the Sindareen raiders. There she was, young and
beautiful. My god, she glowed with serenity. “She’s
still just as beautiful“ Will thought to himself
before angrily pushed away the sentiment. ‘That’s
behind me, now. It could hurt too much, and I’d never
progress in my career.” Still, he could not help
himself from looking at the scene of the two young
people touched by love. He saw them kiss and
remembered how the “earth” moved when he held her in
his arms.

“That was your past. What potential. What love.
What did you do? Let that love go the sake of your
ambitions. I could understand if you postponed your
plans, but did you have to give up on her? What a

“I was not a coward. I just didn’t feel the same for
her anymore!” Will protested too vehemently. “I
didn’t need her then, and I don’t now!” he said
angrily.” Q smiled to himself. He was getting under
Riker’s skin.

“Off we go again, Riker. Now I will play the part of
the Ghost of Times Present. Now tell me what do you

“It’s tonight. I went to bed, and Deanna. She must
have gone to see Beverly. But…she’s asleep – is
something wrong with her?” Will felt his love for
Deanna trying to break free, but he pushed it down.
She wasn’t his problem and he wasn’t hers. Beverly
would take care of her.

Deanna stirred and Beverly took her hand. “What
happened, Deanna? You were found passed out in the
hallway. You’re safe now, in sick bay.” Beverly looked
worriedly at her friend.

“Beverly, I think my heart will break inside my body.
Will doesn’t want me and I can’t help but to love him.
Gods, this hurts. I can’t feel him or sense him –
he’s completely shut me out of his life. I can’t
sense anything – just this hurt. Please make it go
away!” As she said that her bioreadings went haywire.
Deanna’s body was so in tune to her emotions that the
pain from her heart was spreading to her body. The
Imzadi bond, usually a fount of strength, had become a
source of pain for Deanna. Beverly had no choice but
to sedate her.

“Damn you, Will Riker! You are killing my friend.
Wasn’t one heartbreak enough for you?“ Beverly was so
angry she clenched her teeth. She had to help Deanna
– no time to cry now.

Will watched the scene coldly. He wanted to sound
flippant – “Deanna can be so dramatic. She will
survive – we all do. She’ll find someone to marry
her.” If Riker weren’t in so much denial, he would
have realized how callous he sounded.

“Commander Idiot, Counselor Troi is too good for you”
Q replied, not believing how obtuse William Riker
could be. Q continued, “I do know is that she doesn’t
need to ‘find’ a husband. Most beings would be
honored to have the love of Deanna Troi. However, she
doesn’t want anyone but you, her Imzadi. Yes, I know
of Imzadi. Even the Q honor this sacred bond. But
poor little William Riker is scared of what he can’t
control. You like control, don’t you Will? Do you
like the control of saying no? No, I don’t want you,
Deanna. No, I don’t want that promotion - I want the
Enterprise. No, I don’t want love – just

“No, Q, I don’t know what you are talking about.”
Without realizing it, Will proved Q right.

“Riker, this denial of yours is making you more stupid
than usual. What kind of captain would you be if you
can’t see the truth?” Q surprised himself at his
sincerity. “Enough of this. You need a look at the
future. Let’s see what happens when you get what you
want. Tell me, Riker. How do you like it?”

Will saw himself, sleeping in his dress uniform. How
sloppy of him to fall asleep on duty. He admired the
gray in his beard and hair. “Glad to see I age well,”
he said flippantly. What he saw next did not make him
smile. He saw his body slid into a torpedo tube. He
was witnessing his own funeral. Old friends and new
faces were there. The faces looked grim and
respectful. He heard Beverly talking to Jean Luc.

“Jean Luc, I don’t know what I am mourning. I mourn
for the Will Riker I knew 20 years ago, not the man he
had become. He became a captain and an admiral, but
without a family like we have.” It dawned on Will
that Beverly and the captain would be happily married
in the future.

“Will was a fine officer. Pity his career as a
captain was so strained. After Deanna left the
Enterprise, Will lost his heart. It’s as if he forgot
that compassion is the guiding force of the
Federation” Picard replied.

“His career was strained? I though he was successful”
Beverly was confused.

“He commanded the ships and won the accolades, but his
crews turned over frequently” Picard said sadly. “He
did not inspire loyalty and seemed only to attract
officers who were ambitious and self-serving. I don’t
know how he could enjoy being captain without respect
and trust of his officers.” Beverly squeezed his hand
in understanding.

Then Beverly saw Deanna. Deanna was composed, but
lacking in the serenity of her Betazed heritage. She
was controlled, impartial - not like the Deanna he
loved. “No, Riker, you used to love her. You don’t
love her” Will said to himself. Q knew about the
battle raging in Riker’s heart and smiled.

“Look at the scene. You don’t want to be late for
your own funeral” Q could not resist saying.

“Q, whatever became of Deanna? Did she leave Star
Fleet?” Riker asked.

“What do you care, Commander? Observe and you shall

“Hello, Deanna” Beverly greeted her old friend warmly.

“Live long and prosper” Deanna replied, her fingers
formed in a v-shaped greeting.

“How are your studies on Vulcan?”

“Satisfying. I have become an apprentice to the
Master Sar-Elth. My control of emotion continues to
improve. The silence in my soul is welcome.”

Will could no longer look. What happened to his
Deanna? Her warmth was gone, as was the sparkle in
her eyes. She had turned away from her Betazed
heritage of emotion and chose to deny her very
essence. Sadness escaped his locked-up heart. As
Riker looked at Q, he saw three lights flitting about.
They sparkled yet grew dimmer as he watched them.

“What happened, Q?”

“I thought you knew, Commander Ignorant. You broke
her heart. Betazeds are so in tune with their
emotions that on some occasions, this harmony of body
and soul can turn deadly. Deanna Troi offered herself
and wanted nothing more than to love you. You
rejected her – twice. Oh, you did a great job the
second time! You made her feel secure, like it was
going to work. Your Imzadi bond was strengthened even
more than before, and then you ran away! Do you like
control, Riker? You literally broke her heart. To
survive, she had to suppress the emotions that defined
her. She was quite the pioneer – a Betazed converting
to the Vulcan ways.”

“Did she ever find happiness?” Will wondered.

“What’s happy to a Vulcan? She never married. I
wonder if she feels anything now?” Q mused.

“Q, what about these lights? They seem so familiar.
Are they are fading?”

“Oh, it’s nothing to you since you don’t care. These
are simply the souls of the children you and Counselor
Troi were meant to have. They would have been very
special. They will reappear at another time and
place, but it won’t be the same.”

Will felt himself go limp. He told himself it didn’t
matter, but he could not escape the images. Deanna
without emotion. Children he would never know.
Himself an old, unloved man. This was what we wanted
– not to need anyone. Not to be tied down by
commitments. Why did it feel like hell?

“NoNoNonononono….” Will finally collapsed to the
floor. If only he could go back in time. Why didn’t
he learn his lesson? How could he tear down these
walls in his heart? ‘Take me back, Q. Let me fix

“Sorry, my fellow. I won’t let you change the past or
the present. You need to accept responsibility for
what you have done. But…it’s not too late to change
the future,” he said with a wink! With that, Q
disappeared and Will woke up in his bed. He had a
horrible headache but hope and fear in his heart. He
needed to feel Deanna in his arms. Need. Will
wrestled with himself. The wall was creeping back,
feeding on itself, jealous of the treasure it hid.
Will struggled and imagined himself tearing it away,
stone by stone. The effort was exhausting and
painful. His heart pounded as he battled the demons
of his past and fears of the future. At last he could
feel a ray of light emanating from inside. There was
hope. He felt the stirrings of need and love and felt
strangely renewed by this vulerability.

As he won this victory he had one thought – “Deanna”.
Without changing clothes he rushed to sickbay. Would
she be all right? He did not expect forgiveness – it
might come in time. That would not stop him from
loving his Imzadi.

Will’s inner battle also affected Deanna. When the
walls within his soul were pierced, the invisible line
of the Imzadi bond reached to Deanna, calling her and
soothing her pain. The breaks in his walls were
standing strong. He had taken the steps to save
himself. Deanna was right. She could not do it for

“Please, Deanna. Wake up. I need you” Will half
shouted, half sent from the doorway of sick bay.

“Will Riker – get out of here. Do you want to twist
the knife a little more? How did you know Deanna was
here? What’s going on?” Beverly was taken aback at
this image before her – Will, looking fatigued and
vulnerable? She rubbed her eyes.

“No, Beverly. Please let me stay. I need to be with
Deanna until she tells me to go. I need to ask her

Deanna heard this exchange as she approached
consciousness. The pain was fading from her body. It
was as if her heart, of its own accord, accepted
Will’s pleadings. She felt the life in the Imzadi
bond again, however it was more than it was before.
Will was more…there.

“Deanna!” As she slowly opened her eyes, Will rushed
to her side and fell to his knees. “Oh, Imzadi – I
have been blind. I am so sorry. I love you. Please
try to forgive me!”

Will stopped a moment to look into her eyes as he
caught his breath. “Please let me do
something…anything… for you. I want to spend the
rest of my life making it up to you. I promise to
never betray you again.”

Deanna pondered these things and reached out for Will
with her empathy. She was surprised at what she felt
– a wall with gaping holes of light that were getting
bigger as she watched. Will had waged a battle with
himself and won. ‘Come in, Imzadi. All that I am is
yours.’ Deanna ventured forth, slipping beyond the
wall to see Will’s naked self, scarred by fear and
healing with love. His soul was beautiful, vulnerable
to her. She let herself bask in the love she felt
from him and met it with her own, filling both of
their hearts with healing power.

The feeling was incredible. Will felt acceptance,
hope, calm, and strength – not fear or weakness, “What
happened, Deanna?”

“The synergy of the bond, my love. When we give
ourselves wholly as Imzadi, we become stronger
together than we would be apart.”

“The truth shall set you free” Will thought to

~Yes, Imzadi. It has set us both free~ replied
through the link.

“Does this mean you will have me, Deanna?”

Beverly stood in the distance, tears of happiness in
her eyes. Both of her friends had survived this

“Will, I love you with all my heart but I want proof
that you will not run away again.”

“What do you want, Deanna? I’ll do anything for you!”

“I want to get married” she said, with a smile. She
wanted an end to games and this little test would be
all the proof she needed.

“We’ll do it today! Won’t the captain be surprised!”
Will and Deanna happily made plans for the day,
knowing that they would finally be together forever.
At oh-eleven hundred hours, the Enterprise’s First
Officer wed the Counselor in a small, spontaneous, and
completely perfect ceremony. Will, who told Deanna he
would explain later, even invited Q.

A week later as Will Riker slept, he had the most
wonderful dream. He was captain of the Starship
Roddenberry and head of a fleet of ships. His
beautiful wife, Commander Troi-Riker, served as
counselor-general of the fleet. It was evening as the
Rikers snuggled on the couch. The image broadened,
and William Riker saw three other bodies with them.
Handsome twin boys about fifteen years old were
building a model. A little girl, about ten, was
reading a story to her parents and her brothers as she
sat next to her mother on the couch.

“Listen, Andrew and Kyle! This is the good part!” the
little girl demanded.
Her adoring brothers looked at the moppet with the
dark ringlets and blue eyes. “Yes, Joanna” they said
in unison.

“It was said that Scrooge knew how to make Christmas
merry. He became a second father to Tiny Tim….”

“Very good, Joanna” Deanna said after the story ended.
She stroked her daughter’s hair as Will beamed with
contented pride. He saw the book in his daughter’s
hands – “A Christmas Carol” by Charles Dickens. As
understanding dawned on him as his dream faded to a
happy memory. The future could be changed and Will
knew he had no need to fear the Ghost of Times Future.