Ian Troi pays a visit to Deanna.
Deanna Troi tossed uncomfortably in bed. Beside her, Will Riker moved his arms to birng Deanna closer to him. she tried to settle in his embrace, but there was something that just wouldn't let her sleep. She sighed from frustration. What could possibly be keeping her awake at such an hour?
Deanna had gone to bed more than two hours ago, but she was still unable to find rest. Meanwhile, she remained staring at the ceiling, trying to keep from going crazy. The trained empath attempted a breathing exercise to calm her restless spirit. Slowly she inhaled, held it, and then moments later, exhaled, releasing the tension that throbbed between her shoulders. Deanna closed her eyes and thought of a time and place that owuld comfort her in her present hour of unexplainable distress.
Within moments, she could instantly detect the smell of hot cocoa, fresh from the replicator. The air around her turned a bit warmer than usual, but not so that it bothered her. It was pleasant, inviting. Deanna could hear the sound of laughter-her own laughter from when she was a child-resonating in her ears. Along with it, she recognized someone else's voice, a male voice, one that seemed familiar...so soft and soothing. The man hushed the little girl's laughter, and sang 'Down in the Valley.' Then she knew-It could only be one person.
She opened her eyes and saw him standing before her. "Hello, my baby girl."
She brought herself to sit up and meet the man's gaze. "Daddy?" Deanna inquired.
"Yes, Angel. It's me. I thought I'd stop by and see how you were doing. I may not be the telepath your mother is, but I know there's something on your mind."
She looked down at her hands self-consciously, and then back to her father. "Yes, there is. I've...I've been busy these last few months, to say the least." Deanna turned to her sleeping fiance and casually brushed a strand of hair on his head with her fingers. "My Imzadi..." she whispered lovingly to him, "I've spent most of my life with him already."
"I know," Ian Troi said, "I've been watching you two for a long time. You both remind me of your mother and I once in awhile. But not too often," he added as a side note, "so don't worry." He smiled at her, making Deanna's heart fill with joy.
It had years since she'd seen him last, and Deanna had no idea if she would ever see him again. So she was going to take the most she could now. Her father came to her bedside and sat down next to her. He took her hand, resting at her side. "I know there's something you want to ask me...You've been holding back, I can sense it."
She couldn't help but think of the statement a little ironic, seeing as her father was neither a psychologist of an empath. "Well, the reason I was hoping to talk to you...was because, well..." She couldn't find the words.
"You want my blessing."
Deanna smiled shyly at him, "Yes."
"You didn't even have to ask, baby," Ian whispered as he kissed her palm, "You already had it. Your Imzadi bond with him already makes your union blessed. You don't need my consent to prove that."
"I know," she said, "but I wanted to hear you say it anyway."
He took his free hand and caressed his daughter's cheek, "You've grown up to be so beautiful. Just like your mother." The comment provoked a smile from her. "I am so proud of you, Deanna. For everything you've done with your life. I couldn't ask for a better daughter."
Tears welled up in her eyes, and Deanna embraced her father. He held her tightly. "Thank you, Daddy," she whispered in his ear.
"You're welcome, Angel," he said, rocking her in his arms.
"I wish you could be at the wedding."
"I will. I'll be there, don't you worry. The only thing that you need be concerned about it exchanging those vows. And don't bother about that mother of yours, either. She'll be too drenched in tears to have to fuss over you." They laughed softly together, and then Ian withdrew from Deanna. "I have to go," he kissed the top of her head and hugged her once more. "I love you, baby girl. Always."
As he walked away, small tears fell from her face, "I love you too, Daddy. With all my heart." He blew a kiss and waved. Within a flash of light, he was gone.
Deanna awoke with a start. Will immediately sat up beside her. "Imzadi? What is it? Are you alright?"
She took a deep breath, then just smiled and kissed him on the cheek. "It's okay, Will. Everything's fine." He gave her a look, and she reassured his suspicions. "My father sends us his blessing." He understood.
They settled down next to each other in bed again, and fell into a peaceful sleep. And as Will held Deanna close to his heart, she couldn't help but smile, grateful for her last moment with her father. *I love you, Imzadi.* And he returned, *I love you too, Imzadi. Always. *