isclaimer here...

In the midst of surveying the Zolian nebula, the enterprise had received
emergency orders to return at warp nine to starbase 36. Upon docking all
enterprise crew had been ordered to remain on board, ships systems set to
minimum, all communications closed. After several hours of speculation the
captain and his first officer were beamed directly to the conference room,
where they both sat now.

The room was a flurry of sounds, apparently Riker and Picard not the only
ones perplexed by the present state of events. Will leaned closer to his

"I don't recognize half these lifeforms." Picard nodded, noting the familiar
members of the federation counsel, along with at least thirty unknowns. Both
Picard and Riker stiffened as the doors to the conference room slid open to
reveal their guest. The familiar Klingon to Picards right quickly shot to
his feet.

"What is that doing here?" Gowron's roaring voice causing all in the room to
shift in their seats. Admiral Roberts quickly met the Klingons glare, and
ordered him at ease. The Admiral then escorted the visitor to the table and
introduced him as Commander Morach. Riker squinted his eyes mistrustfully at
the Romulan, feeling just as unnerved as Gowron but able to conceal his
feelings . But as the Romulan began to speak Riker felt his body relaxing,
the story he was weaving far to interesting to be drown out by suspicion.

Admiral Robert's reinforced Morach's words as the romulan took his seat at
the table.

"This will be a risky mission, but one we must undertake. If all goes as
planned none of us will remember this meeting, nor will we have any reason
to. The Romulans studies of Quantum electro excelorated transfer called our
attention to the problem.....and it is our only hope of changing our
outcome. An outcome that I must remind you will impact all in this room."

Picard shot a quick look to Riker, both wondering with all the leaders that
filled the room, how their presence would be of any importance. Riker raised
an eyebrow and cocked his head, silently acknowledging his understanding of
the Captains silent question. Will jolted quickly to attention with the
words of the Romulan officer.

"You, Commander Riker have been chosen to actuate the plan." Riker
straightened in his chair, Captain Picard Immediately questioning the order.

"Your asking me to sacrifice my first officer Admiral.....I will not agree."
Commander Morach met the captains steady gaze.

"I do not believe your permission is what we seek. We need an officer
familiar with the Betazoid armory compound. Commander Riker had access while
stationed there as a lieutenant."

Riker stood to face the penetrating scowl of the Romulan and the concerned
gaze of the Admiral.

"With all due respect, my admissions to the compound were over twenty years
after the fact. There must be some one else more qualified." The Admiral
walked to stand beside Riker, placing a reassuring hand on his shoulder.

"I'm sure there is Commander......but we need someone like you. Someone who
thinks quickly on his feet. Someone capable of making swift decisions, that
to others would appear unorthodox. I can't order you to do this, but if you
refuse we will be forced to choose someone less qualified. It's your
decision Will, but remember if we fail we will all cease to exist." Will
scanned the faces of the lifeforms around him, His thoughts turning to
Deanna, he thought of their future, the one they were planning together now.
If there was a way he had to try.

"When do I leave?" He heard the growl of respect from Gowron, and met the
worried eyes of his captain. "I have to do this. Sir" Picard nodded, fully
understanding his decision.

The Admiral dismissed the conference Commander Riker receiving well wishes
from all.

As the room emptied only Morach, Roberts, Picard and Riker remained.

"You will leave in one hour, The Romulan shuttle has been fitted with the
quantum phase accelerators. It will bring you to Betazed within six hours of
probe launch. You must stop the launch, and return to the shuttle by 0800
hours Or...." Will grinned, the tension in the room far too thick.

"Don't tell me, my carriage will turn into a pumpkin, and my horses into
field mice." Picard smiled, admiring his first officer's ability to always
find humor in any situation. Morach did not share the Captain's amusement,
he leaned on the desk his face so close Will could smell the Onar he had
eaten for lunch.

"Do not interfere in the past. Accomplish your mission and return. Is that
understood?" Riker met the look of the Romulan, unwilling to allow him
success at the intimidation he was trying for.

"No problem." He patted Morach hard on the back, the look of disgust that
pervaded the Romulans face drawing a smile from Admiral Roberts.

"If you feel you are able to shield your mission, I will allow you to return
to the enterprise to say good bye to your fiancé." Morach started to
protest, but was silenced by the Admiral. Picard and Riker quickly exited
the conference room. After the doors closed behind them Morach voiced his
concerns. The admiral waved off the commanders warnings, and spoke gruffly.

"You, yourself said he had a ghost of a chance of returning....I will not
deny him a final pleasure, he is risking his life for all of us."

Deanna was relieved to see the Captain and Commander stroll onto the bridge.
She could sense a certain amount of apprehension from the Captain, but
Will's feelings seemed obscure. She met them as they were half way down the
ramp Picard nodding to Riker approving his unspoken request to leave the

"We have to talk." Will whispered, Deanna nodded and followed him into the
turbo lift. He grasped her hand tightly as they walked through the corridor
that led to Will cabin. Deanna still sensing nothing from him, but slightly
amiss by his open display of affection in public. As the doors slid shut to
conceal them in Will's quarters, Deanna slid her arms around his waist. Her
inability to break through the shield over his mind, quieted slightly by the
steady beating of his heart.

"I have to go away for awhile Deanna." Her breath caught in her throat, not
so much at the fact that he had to go away, but the fact that whatever was
calling him had to be kept from her. She looked up into his eyes,
appreciating the twinkle of love that shown in them.


"Now....I have to leave now." She felt an unwarranted panic welling inside
her, tears came from nowhere and streamed down her cheek.

"Your not coming back." The lines around Will's eyes deepened with her
words, tears of his own threatening to break. He cradled her face in his
hands. "Of course I am Imzadi....I'll be back in plenty of time for our
wedding. Maybe by then you'll have worked out the arrangements with your
mother." She laughed through her tears, and held his promise close to her

"Not likely Will." She wanted to shout to him, beg him to tell her
everything, stop him from leaving. But instead sent him a reassuring look,
that she would be fine.

"I'll miss you." He reached down to kiss her, stopping for a moment to lose
himself in her eyes. As his lips touched hers, her body responded to the
sadness in her heart. She pulled herself as close to him as she could,
hoping he would never let go. She tried to compose herself, as he pulled
from her, and wiped a tear from her eye.

"I love you, Deanna. I'll be back so soon, you'll never miss me." he brushed
one last kiss over her lips. "I love you too." She spoke the words in a
whisper, as the doors slid shut behind him. She stared at the closed doors,
stroking her fingers over her lips, attempting to focus on the feeling, seal
them in her heart. An unknown in her mind screaming it would be the last
time she felt him..


Chapter 2


After being issued a uniform, instructions and coordinates, Commander Riker
stood on the transporter pad that would take him to the hidden shuttle base.
He nodded his readiness to the Admiral, and Commander, the Admiral turning
his attentions to the transporter chief.

"One last word of warning Commander Riker." Commander Morach joined him on
the pad. "If you return from this mission, and are successful, only you will
retain a memory of any of these events. This mission, this unlikely alliance
will all be forgotten. It is imperative that you destroy the shuttle upon
your return, and never speak of this again. I wish you well, for all our
sakes." Riker nodded, the word *if* sounding through his mind....he felt the
gentle stimulation of transport, and they were gone.

He materialized in a vast field of dying foliage, he assumed the devastation
to his surrounding caused by the experiments of the Romulans. It took him
only moments to find the well concealed hanger bay, the lone shuttle deep in
it's core. He stood in awe for a moment at the design of the shuttle, and
the mysterious portal he needed to fly through.

"OK Will, no time to appreciate the craftsman ship, time limit, remember."
He spoke to himself, his words echoing off the stone walls of the hanger. He
quickly programmed the coordinates into the portal controls, and strapped
himself into the ship. The color coded control system of the shuttle was as
simple as Commander Morach had said, and he finished his programming
quickly. He closed his eyes, giving himself an instant to allow Deanna's
concerns to wash over him. She had been such a constant in his life for so
long, he needed one last gentle reminder of what he was leaving behind.
Because where he was going there'd be no Deanna, or at least no Deanna that
knew him, the thought was disturbing, he quickly hit the activation button
for the shuttle, fearing he would change his mind.

His neck lurched back, as the shuttle shot forward into the activated
portal. The void consisting of wisps of blue and purple clouds, the pressure
that filled the cabin causing him to feel lightheaded. He held on tightly to
the controls of the shuttle, all his strength used to stay on course. He
felt the speed increasing, the colors muting into a veil of misty gray. With
the stabilization of the shuttle he found himself invigorated by the ride.
His enjoyment quickly coming to a halt with the shuttle.

He steadied himself for a moment before trying to stand, his head was still
swimming from the intense ride, and losing consciousness was not in his
plan. He checked the chronometer on the forward panel. "Star date 2336.
Perfect." He spoke to himself, exiting the shuttle, and filling himself with
the outside air. He quickly cloaked the shuttle and marked the precise spot
into his tricorder. He scanned the scenery, Betazed just as beautiful as he
remembered. The gentle fragrance of lavender filled his nose, his thoughts
again turning to the woman that filled his heart. He knew about now she
would be terrified, their eternal bond severed by the cross in the time
space continuum. He felt the haunting void in his own mind, and wished their
was some way he could have protected her from this unnecessary feeling of

If his memory was right the compound was camouflaged in the hills behind
Lake El-Nar. He started to activate the armband that would cloak him, but
stopped himself.

"Why waste it." He looked around, there seemed to be no one around for
miles, he could safely make it to the compound unnoticed. He walked as
swiftly as he could, stepping back a little at the sound of a young couple
by the lake. They looked so happy and content, their small infant playing at
their side. He continued on, hoping he and Deanna could be like that

He recognized the Manaro ferns that led to the entrance to the compound. He
turned suddenly to the tiny cries coming from the lake, reacting on instinct
he dove into the cool water. It took only a moment to pull the little girl
out of the water, and return her to the screaming woman on the shore. He
felt the color drain from his face, as the woman he knew all too well pulled
the trembling child from his arms..

"Kestra." Lwaxana's hysterical voice sounded over the water, the name Kestra
sounded through Will's heart.

"You've saved our daughter, Ensign. How can we ever repay you." Will looked
at the young man who spoke, the accent he carried just as Deannas. He felt
his head start spinning, his stomach churn, his entire world spiraling out
of control. He looked down in response to the gentle tug on his shirt.
"Thanks Mister." The little girl choked on her words.

Will offered a comforting smile, he didn't feel. and turned away.

"Wait." The man touched his arm. "You can't just leave."

Wil sent a quick look to the wide dark eyes of the baby cradled in her
fathers arms.

"I must go, I'm sorry." He turned, and broke into a run, wishing he could
escape whatever he had just done to the future.

He had no trouble figuring out the acceptance code to the compound, or
finding the location of the probe. He reprogrammed it as quickly as
possible, hoping Moroch was right in his calculations. If the settings were
too far off, the Betazoid officials would recall it, it had to appear to go
exactly where they thought. He shuttered at the outcome if he were wrong.
The probe had fallen into the darkness of a black hole, the frequencies that
bounced in its inner sanctum causing the hole to wax, swallowing all in it's
path. It's strength and size increasing at such a phenomenal rate, in time
it would destroy all in it's wake. Silencing the universe, so to speak.

He exited the compound quickly, keeping his cloak activated. He slowed only
for a moment as he passed the spot, where he had saved Kesta. He started
back to his ship a sparkle of light catching his eye. Deactivating his
cloak, he picked up the small charm that rested on the pink sand. He turned
it slowly through his fingers, a disquieting fear overtaking him. He stuffed
the charm in his pocket, and returned to his hidden shuttle.


Chapter 3


Will returned to the shuttle quickly, he felt the change in wind direction,
and noticed the dense storm clouds that hung over the hills behind the lake.
He secretly wished he had more time, he loved storms on Betazed. They were
generally short lived, but the light shows in the sky, combined with the
array of colored petals that swirled on the winds a sight he would love to
stay and see.

"Wouldn't be the same without Deanna." he spoke, his voice drowned out by
the rumble of thunder in the distance.

He decloaked the shuttle, and stepped inside. Pulling his tricorder from his
pocket he tried to access the coordinates for his return. Again and again he
attempted to access Morach's settings, and again and again he was met with
the same reading.

"Never trust a Romulan." He said, slamming his palm into the forward panel.
He quickly scanned the color coded flight system, and his recollection of
his previous coordinates.

"OK, think Will. Colors represent numbers. But what numbers?" He ran his
hand through his hair, trying to ignore the chronometer display. He punched
his theories into the ships computer, no response.

And then with the magnificent flash of lightening that cracked over the
lake, a light went off in his mind.

"That's it! eight colors. Base colors corresponding to numbers zero through
eight. All numbers have to be multiples of eight, adding and subtracting the
base colors to assume the difference." He waved his fist triumphantly in the
air and started to program his return path, hesitating at the last moment.

"No way, Morach. I'm not as stupid as you hoped." He quickly changed his
destination. Earth, two months prior to his departure date. The enterprise
had been recalled for a one month ship wide upgrade. "Uneventful....perfect
time." He programmed his path and hoped that the Romulan portal wasn't an
essential part of returning safely. Upon initiating his commands he was
immediately rewarded with the familiar swirls of muted colors he had seen
before. He tried to concentrate on the controls of the ship, but his
thoughts unwillingly turned to Kestra, and what he would be met with upon
his return.

The shuttle came to an abrupt halt, he looked through the window and
recognized his surroundings.

"Home sweet home." He exited the shuttle, the cold air slicing through him.
He recalled Morach's warning to destroy the ship, but instead initiated the
cloak, and hoped everything was the way it should be.

It didn't take him long to trudge through the light dusting of snow that led
to the federation base, where the enterprise was being overhauled. He knew
he needed to get on board unnoticed, and change out of his present uniform.
He shot a quick glimpse around the hanger, it appeared deserted....he headed
swiftly up the ramp that led to where the enterprise hung in dry dock.

"Costume party Commander?" The color washed from his face, his heart rate
increasing in response to the voice. He tried to calm himself before turning
to face her.

"Something like that Tasha." He heard his voice crack, and met her concerned

"Are you all right Sir? Your pale as a ghost."

"Fine...Fine, just tired. I Gotta go." He headed as fast as he could to his
quarters, as the doors slid shut behind him, he accessed the computer.

"Computer, call up records Vagra 2" The hum of the computers thoughts
sounded through the cabin.

"There are no mission records for Vagra 2." Will felt his legs grow weak,
and sat quickly on the bed. He buried his face in his hands, trying to
understand how saving Kestra could have saved Tasha.

"Computer, list all senior officers on board the enterprise." He listened
attentively to the computer run down of the crew.

"Captain, Jean Luc Picard. First officer, William T Riker. Head of security
Tasha Yar. second officer Commander Data. Chief Medical Officer, Kestra
Troi. Chief engineer Geordi...."

He shot to his feet, his head swimming in response to what he had just
heard. "Computer repeat name of chief medical officer."

"Doctor Kestra Troi." And then it hit him, the chilling silence in his mind
had never been replaced by the gentle presence he knew so well. He closed
his eyes and opened his mind, his hands trembling in response to the

"Computer, name ships counselor."

"Alana Keaton." He laid down quickly, trying to curb the waves of nausea
that pulsed through him.. It all made sense now....Tasha was alive because
Deanna wasn't on board to be trapped on the planet.

"Computer, check star fleet profiles...locate Deanna Troi." He was still
unable to get up from the bed, the tears that pulled at his eyes increased.

"There is no Deanna Troi, on star fleet records." He held in his breath as
he awaited an answer to his next question.

"Search Betazed Databanks, military and civilian. begin search stardate
2336." The computer's response a hollow echo that sounded through the
room..... and through his heart.

"Deanna Troi, born March sixth, Ian and Lwaxanna Troi, died in
Civilian shuttle accident January fourth 2347."

"State cause of accident."

"Inexperienced Pilot. The shuttle was piloted by Kestra Troi... solitary
survivor. Passengers Deanna Troi, and Chandra Xerx killed on impact."

Will leaped to his feet, the initial wave of grief that permeated him,
paling in comparison to the rage that filled him now.. Rage at himself, and
at this travesty of a world he had created. He changed his uniform, and
headed out of his cabin, he stopped short as the doors slid open.

"Good, your here." A slightly modified accent, but still a familiar one
filled her words. He swallowed hard, looking into the deep blue eyes of the
woman in front of him. Eyes so blue they reflected almost black in the
artificial lighting. But it was the little girl by her side, that took his
breath away. Her large eyes as black as coal, wisps of ebony curls hung in
disarray over her shoulders.

"You act you've never seen her before Commander." He quickly sought

"She just gets more beautiful everyday." Kestra smiled proudly, and looked
down at the little girl.

“Say thank you Deanna.” Deanna giggled slightly, before offering a thank you to ‘mander Will’ and disappearing down the hallway. He waited for Kestra to speak, his facade was unraveling.

“My parents are here to pick up Deanna. I hoped you could meet them before they go. It will...” Kestra’s words dissipated into the background, an unsettling sensation sweeping over him. Someone was there, someone was watching him. He understood the feeling as his eyes searched the corridor and met with the deep soulful eyes of the listener.

"Can I help you Guinian?” Kestra stopped talking, also turning to face the Ten-forward hostess. Guinian’s eyes were fixed intently on Kestras. At the sound of Will’s voice she broke her gaze, sending a haunting look to Will, before disappearing down the hall.

“That was spooky.” Kestra smiled to Will, he rolled his eyes in response. <You have no idea> he thought to himself. 

The enterprise seemed unusually quiet as he followed Kestra down the corridor to her cabin. The ships engines were dormant, silencing what Will considered a comforting sound, and magnifying the screaming quiet in his mind. The doors to Kestra’s quarters slid open, the blue eyes of Ian Troi studied him carefully. It was apparent he recognized Riker from his encounter with him years ago, or yesterday depending on how you looked at it. Will held out his hand.

“Pleasure to meet you Sir.” Ian returned the gesture, and offered a similar pleasantry. His suspicious eyeing of Riker faded quickly, Will assuming the logical star fleet mind had kicked in.

“Finally Commander Riker.” Lwaxana’s voice floated into the room, before she did. Will braced himself for the meeting, there’d be no logic when it came to Lwaxana Troi. She stopped directly in front of him, her eyes probing into his soul.

“You.” the word barely audible.

“Mrs Troi.” He straighten, and made a feeble attempt to shield himself from her questing eyes. He tried to avoid her gaze, she cupped his bearded face in her hands and stopped him.

“Mother!” Kestra’s embarrassed plea, having no effect on Lwaxana. Will met her eyes, they glistened with tears. But it was not a look of recollection that suffused the dark black eyes, but intense sadness, and heartache. He felt her hands slowly release the grasp on his face, and watched her eyes roll back in her head......One word sounding in his thoughts <Deanna>.

The eerie sound in his mind, interfering with his attempt to catch her, she fell to the floor.

Kestra was quickly by her mother’s side, sending a perplexed expression to Will. Ian scooped her up and placed her on the couch on the far side of the room. Within moments Lwaxana’s eyes fluttered open, and locked quickly with Wills. He ran his hand over the back of his neck, attempting to quiet the tingles that rushed up his spine.

“I wish to speak with Commander Riker, privately.” Her voice was soft, but demanding, she sent a look of reassurance to Ian, before they exited the room. She motioned Will closer, the needles in his spine amplifying with her stare. He sat beside her, finding comfort in the eyes that were so like her daughters.

“I had another daughter, Deanna.” He nodded, an unknown causing him to reach for her hand.

“You love her.....How can that be?” He couldn’t speak, tears of his own burned at the corners of his eyes. And then she was silent as well, her mind delving deeper into his soul. She pulled her hand from his, motioning for him to leave. He got up and headed for the door, feeling more confused then he had before. As the doors slid open, she called to him.

“You’ll do the right thing.” He never turned to face her, but let the doors close on her words.

He was thankful Ian and Kestra weren’t waiting out side, the tears that had threatened him earlier fell freely down his cheeks. <The right thing> The expression spinning to his core.

He sat alone in Ten forward, pleased that most of the crew, seemed to be on shore leave. He took a sip of the sweet nectar in his glass, the sweetness making him gag.

“It’s not to your liking?” He turned towards the rich voice of the ten forward hostess.

“No offense Guinian, but I just want to be by myself.” She smiled an all knowing smile and sat down at the table. Will kept his eyes on the colored liquid that swirled in his glass, he was not willing or able to have another experience like he had just had with Mrs. Troi. He felt the listeners eyes burning into the top of his head. “Who is this dark eyed woman, that seems to haunt you?” His eyes shot quickly from his glass, locking themselves on Guinians. He creased his brow and narrowed his eyes. “What the hell are you talking about?” She interlaced her fingers and placed her hands calmly on the table, ignoring the bite in Will’s voice.

“All life forms have an aura, so to speak.” Will shook his head in disbelief. He knew Captain Picard put a lot of stock in this sixth sense, or whatever this woman possessed ...he had never shared his captain’s faith.

“When I look at you, it’s as though another image has been super imposed over your own. I don’t like it Commander, something’s not right.”

“And I suppose you know what’s wrong?” he replied, his voice laced with sarcasm.

She was unfazed by his sarcasm, she inhaled deeply, and slowly released her breath.

“No, but you do.” He shifted in his chair, her calm demeanor playing against his tension. He brushed his hands through his beard, Guinian’s steady gaze never wavering. And then in an instant, in complete release he told her everything. She listened to the whole twisted story her understanding look never fading.

“So ya see, I played God and lost.” She nodded in response, never judging his actions.

“Something still isn’t right.”

“No shit....nothings right.” She laughed in response to his words, seemingly amused by his innocence.

“I’ve seen disturbances in space and time before. This is not one. Whatever you did, wasn’t finished....or was interrupted. It would be egotistical to think that our time line is the only one. But I do know, they should never overlap. The dark eyes that reflect behind your own are part of another time constant. You need to find out where they overlap, and close it.”

“Sure no problem...piece of cake...I’m on it!” The disgusted words shot from his mouth, he pushed back his chair and fled ten forward.

Gunian sat alone at the table, a soft smile filling her face. <You will, Commander.>

Riker laid in his bed, his mind flashing pictures of all those he had effected with his stupid mistake. But he knew he couldn’t go back, he couldn’t go back and stand idly by, and watch a little girl drown. And what about Tasha, Ian....and Kestra’s daughter.....was he justified to go back and change everything so the woman he loved could live.

“No dam it.....I can’t do it, I won’t do it!” And with that realization, he cried. He cried for her, and for himself, and for the life they’d never know. His stomach ached, his throat burned....his body slowly surrendering to fatigue ...he sat up quickly not willing to allow himself the escape of sleep. He staggered to the bathroom, the same vehement chill running up his spine.

“I’m losing it” He spoke, looking at his reflection in the mirror. His eyes deepened on his image, the hair on the back of his neck stood on end. He spun quickly around, looking for the other image that shown behind his own. Nothing....there was no one there, and yet he knew he wasn’t alone.

He sealed the bathroom door behind him, hoping he could seal in the ghostly images that seemed to hang there. He crawled under the dark brown blanket that covered his bed, and dimmed the lights. In only moments he closed his eyes, the dimmed lighting causing mesmerizing shadows of white and gray to play behind his eyes. He fell into a light sleep, the sleep interrupted by the presence that stood over him. He opened his eyes, closing them again quickly, attempting to acclimate himself to his surroundings. When he opened his eyes again, she was still there. Arms folded across her chest, eyes still misted over with sleep.  “Deanna!” He jumped from the bed so swiftly, he knocked her back with his enthusiasm. He caught her as she lost her footing, sweeping her into his arms, and drinking in each part of her.

He laid her gently on the pale lavender comforter. “Sorry, I was having a bad dream.” She nodded understandingly, propping her self on her arms she kissed him lightly.

“I would love to stay and snuggle with you, but we have a big day.” He pretended to understand her words, but the relief of seeing her caused him to tighten his hold on her.

“So you’ll have to let go of me.” He hesitantly allowed her to get up, admiring her through the sheer fabric of her night gown. The beige night gown clung revealingly to her body, his mind creating pictures of what he wished he could do. She turned suddenly before entering the bathroom, sending a playful smile over shoulder.

“And thoughts like that will not change my mind.”

He raised a sensual eyebrow, biting the pillow in mock frustration. He heard her soft laughter as she disappeared behind the door.

He scanned the bedroom, nothing like the one in his dream....It was filled with touches of femininity, a gentle fragrance filled the air. And then he saw it, the uniform draped over the back of the chair. He picked it up, stroking his fingers over the Pips....four pips.

“I’m the captain.”

Deanna must of heard him, she stuck her head out the door.

“Very good Will....and I’m the counselor.” She ran her brush through her thick hair, and eyed him facetiously. And then, like a candle struggling against the wind, her body flickered...battling against whatever force seemed to be extinguishing it. Before he could reach her she was gone...her and all that had been in that moment.

Gunian’s words reiterated themselves in his mind, the theory he had found so ridiculous was beginning to make sense. Perhaps he had caused a disturbance in the continuity of time, yet he found it hard to believe that the life or death of Kestra was the cause. He put on the robe that lied on the bed, fighting his desire to just lay on the bed and dwell on his encounter with Deanna. He walked to the replicator. “Coffee, black and strong.” The steaming cup materialized instantly, he blew the steam from the cup, and sipped it slowly. He enjoyed the warmth as it slipped slowly down his throat, and filled his whole body with comfort. Or was it the coffee.....No.....the comfort was in his mind. The sweet gentle warmth came from the place it always had been.

“Computer....locate Deanna Troi.”

“Deck eight, corridor B.”

He stroked his beard, and breathed a sigh of relief. He jumped slightly at the sound of the door chimes. He knew immediately who it was, and called to the closed doors.

“Come in Deanna.” She walked slowly into the room, appearing slightly amiss that he had known who it was.

“Very impressive Captain.” She smiled a short lived smile, before turning very serious. He on the other hand was stunned at the woman in front of him.She looked beautiful, but disturbingly different. Her hair was pulled tightly on top of her head, two loose strands of hair framed her face, a face covered with lines of worry. She wore little make up, a small scar was visible under her eyebrow. Her uniform was also foreign to him, black and gray, with small shimmers of silver over the shoulders, but it was the phaser that hung securely by her side that troubled him. She seemed uncomfortable at the way he was eyeing her, she wrapped her arms protectively around herself.

“We have a big day, Will. I suggest you get dressed, and curb your desires.” She shot him a snide look, and walked out the door. It took him a moment to adjust himself, the Deanna he had just encountered, like no one he’d ever known. He went to the door, hoping to catch her, hoping she could enlighten him on his ‘big day’. His quest was interrupted by the grave voice of Captain Picard.

“Picard to Riker. Please report to my ready room.” He acknowledge the order, and hurried to get dressed. “Well I guess I’m not the captain anymore” He spoke cynically to no one. He was pleased to see familiar uniforms arranged in his closet, and he threw one on quickly. Exiting his quarters, he was met with a very obscurely lit corridor...void of any sounds. He walked apprehensively down the dusty brown carpet that covered the enterprise floor.....a permeating chill hanging lifelessly in the air.

“OK, I don’t like this one.” he whispered to himself, stepping as calmly as he could into the turbo lift. The sound of the doors closing, magnified the intense panic that surged to his core.

“I’m not dead!” he screamed the words in terror, pounding hopelessly on the glass case that entombed him .His eyes scanned the faces of those that stood over his sealed fate....Captain Picard was speaking, Deanna’s hands rested gently on his coffin, her eyes filled with tears, her face pervaded by grief. “Deanna! Imzadi!” His cries of fear went unnoticed ....his eyes shifted to Worf as he released the forcefield that would send his body forever a drift in space.

“NOOOOO!” His scream silenced by the vacuum of space.

He bolted upright, his heart racing, sheets drenched in sweat. He tried to calm himself, the Intermittent beeping of the door chimes intensifying his fears. He ignored the persistent chimes, closing his eyes, he cleared his mind, attempting to escape deep inside himself, bury himself where no one could find him. He covered himself with the soft blanket and began trembling profusely, calling to anyone that could hear to help him.

He continued to spiral deeper into himself, searching through the darkness for the place that he sought. A small light broke through the dark recesses of his soul, a light that held the gentleness and peace he longed for. He felt his body relax in response to the gentle breeze that encompassed him. And he was in the place he needed.....the place that burns inside all souls.

And amidst this perfect, a place where the winds comfort like a mothers kiss, the trees stretch up to tickle the stars, she stood. And she walked towards him, her jet black, so dark it blew back on the breeze and intermingled with the darkness, the shimmer of the stars paling in comparison to the light that shown from within her. She wrapped her naked body around his, swaddling him with her warmth, kissing him with her breath, encasing him in paradise.

“Bull shit.” He jumped to his feet, cursing himself for allowing himself to fall into hopeless despair. He dug deeply into his pocket, pulling out the charm, seemingly the only other constant in this twisted universe. He ran his fingers over the symbol etched on it’s face....The charm no longer a memento, but the only key he had.

He took a deep breath, and headed out of his cabin, he still felt fear at what he would face but he had to face it.

He entered Ten-Forward without encountering anyone, he breathed a sigh of relief...the breath halted in his chest as he looked at Gunian.

She stood behind the bar, her eyes wide, staring blankly forward.


Nothing....she was motionless, her breathing shallow, her eyes fixed hypnotically on... nothing. Will scanned the bar, a few crew members, but nothing out of the ordinary. He touched her hand, almost jumping back at the frigid cold that permeated it.

“Don’t you see them?” If he hadn’t seen her mouth move, he wouldn’t have believed it was her that had spoken. The voice so distant, it was as though she had sent the message through time and space to meet him. He looked to the nothing that seemed to be filling her with so much fear, the spiders he had silenced, again began there journey up his spine.

“Shake it off Will.” He ordered himself, trying to stifle the shudder that pervaded him. He stepped in front of Gunian, and took her squarely by the shoulders.

“Gunian! Where are you.” Her eyes slowly regained there focus, she set them intently on Will.

“Where are we, is a better question.” The haunting tone to her voice caused him to release her shoulders, as if he could stop her from transferring her fears. He looked momentarily to the floor, trying to center himself before continuing.

“Can I get you something Commander.?” He shook his head, baffled by her complete change in demeanor. He braced his hands firmly on the bar, and leaned close to her.

“Information Gunian.....I need help.” She raised an invisible eyebrow, and nodded.

He pulled the charm from his pocket, and held it to her.

“Have you ever seen this symbol before?” She studied it intently, before returning her gaze to him.

“Sorry, guess I don’t know everything.” He slumped his shoulders. “Do you remember anything we talked about yesterday?”

“No, why don’t you tell me>” She came around to the front of the bar, and sat in the stool next to him. He reiterated the story he had told her before, she listened in silence until he was done. When she offered no help he continued. “I don’t know much about time travel...but it seems to me, that there would be a different me in every time line....not one me, but lots of mes.” When he realized how stupid he sounded he stop talking and met with her smile.

“ needed to do something.” He looked deeply into her eyes, he could almost see the lifetimes she had lived playing behind them.

“There’d still me other mes.” He stopped himself before he started babbling again, thankful he had someone who didn’t think he was nuts.....or maybe she did, and he just couldn’t tell. She seemed to be searching herself, looking for an answer that was hidden inside her.

“Seems to me, that if you came here on shuttle, you should leave on one. And fix whatever you did. If the shuttle only exists in one particular timeline...then you wait.” He looked at her in astonishment.

“That’s it!! 900 years of knowledge and that’s it!” She tried to conceal the smile that threatened her lips.

“I know you commander, better then you think. You’ll be fine.” He stood there for a moment, unable to form a cognitive thought.

“Great....thanks Gunian. But I’ll tell ya what. When I’m nine hundred years old, I’m gonna know a hell of a lot more then you.” He turned to leave, she gently stopped him.

“Age does not make one wise, Commander. Sometimes the wisdom of a lifetime, can be heard in the voice of a child. We just forget to ask them. I’ll bet you’d be the first father to quiet a child’s imaginary friend.” He started to object, she silenced him with a wave of her hand.

“Being an adult can dull your senses. If our senses are dull...who are we to say where a child’s dreams end, and a reality begins.”

“Ah Huh” He was completely lost, and he resented the look in Gunian’s eyes that showed how amused she was at the fact. He headed out of ten forward, with more questions then he’d entered with.

He walked slowly down the corridors, preparing himself for whatever or whomever would catch him off guard next. He heard the small voice behind him.

“Mander Will.” He turned towards the sound, something genuinely consoling about the innocent voice. He squatted down in front of her, wondering why she was running freely on the ship.

“Hello Deanna, where’s your mom? Something disconcerting about calling the child Deanna, and reassuring at the same time. Even in a lifetime where she ceased to exist she lived on.....her name, her eyes....all mirrored in the small child in front of him.

“Don’t know.” She shrugged her shoulders, her eyes wide with innocence. He remembered Gunian’s words, and fell back on his desperation to find answers. He pulled the charm from his pocket, holding it in his palm he showed it to Deanna. Deanna looked at it for only a moment, giggles of delight floating from her lips.

“Myststaran” He narrowed his eyes looking from the child to the charm.

“Myststaran?” He repeated, she nodded up to him, taking his hand she pulled him forward.

“Show you.” Her voice filled with promise and delight. He nodded and followed behind questioning his judgment, and his state of despondency.

Something about that tiny hand, clasping his so tightly......a gentle calm, a quieting sensation he had never felt. She pulled him into her quarters, and into her small bedroom.....He was surprised at all the boxes, it seemed most everything had been packed into crates.

“How long are you staying with your grandparents, Deanna?” She didn’t stop her search through the boxes to answer him. In moments she turned from her task, face bright with a proud smile.

“Myststara.” She held out a very tattered, and very old book. Will sat down on the floor, Deanna settled in on his lap. He looked at the cover of the book, the symbols on the charm covered the four corners of the book. In the center, a creature of some kind.....the face was human, wide blue eyes, creamy white skin, and an infinite amount of long blond curls, her hair intertwined with hundreds of colored ribbons, that flowed out behind her. Below her shoulders, the picture was distorted, obviously on purpose....Will assumed to stimulate a child imagination. Will studied the swirls of colors for awhile, deciding it was the body of a dragon he saw. He traced the outline of what he felt were the wings, the scales, and the hoofs of the large beast.

“A dragon.” He spoke to Deanna, she in turned scrunched up her nose at his observation. He chuckled slightly at the child’s face, and shook his head. “Not a dragon?” He asked.

“Angel.” she said with conviction. He raised a doubtful eyebrow, and looked at the muted picture.

“Nope, dragon.” He said, more to amuse the child then anything else....Deanna let out a long sigh.

“OK.” She relented “Mom sees a horse.” Will scrunched his nose, to emulate the child’s.

“Well that’s just silly.” He spoke, rolling his eyes in disbelief, and appreciating the sea of giggles deanna had fallen into.

He opened the book carefully, his heart sinking as he looked at the words that covered the pages.

“This is written in Vulcan.” Deanna ignored his observation, obviously waiting for Will to read. There were only a few words on the page he could make out, Vulcan not one of his strong languages. He wished Deanna were here, her knowledge of linguistics was always astounding.

“Maybe you should read the story Deanna. Mander Will would like to hear it.” She smiled up at him proudly, and proceeded to ‘read’ the story. She told him about the mysterious creature that towed the bonds of time, and guarded the entrance to Shanoha. According to the book, or Deanna’s version of it Shanoha was a place of souls....not souls who had died, but souls who had yet to be born. The children of tomorrow, she called them.....and she spoke of the magical place where they lived, protected from all, in this cradle of life before life. The many ribbons that Will had noticed flowing from Myststaria’s hair, each represented a spirit that left Shanoha....the ribbons only severed after Myststaria was satisfied that the life the small spirit had chosen was as it should be.

Deanna hesitated in her telling of the story, and snuggled a little deeper into his lap. Will tried to help her get comfortable but as she continued the story he understood comfort wasn’t what she sought. Will wrapped his arms securely around her, and touched his lips to the top of her head.

“It’s all right Deanna, it’s only a story.” She looked up to him, her eyes wide, and glistening with fearful tears. Will closed the book. “I think I’ve heard enough about the dragon anyway.” Deanna’s demeanor changed instantly, as he hoped it would.

“Angel!” she announced in disgust.“What’s going on in here?” Deanna jumped off Will’s lap, and wrapped her arms around her mother’s legs. Kestra’s eyes darting from Will to her daughter, finally resting on the book that Will had in his lap.

“Where did this come from.” Will could tell she was keeping her voice down only for the child’s sake, her eyes were filled with a wide range of emotions, none of them pleasant. Will stood up, and picked up the book.

“May I borrow this?” Kesta squatted to the floor and met her daughters eyes. “I’d like to talk to mander Will. You stay here and finish packing.” Deanna nodded, and looked up at Will.

“Your in trouble.” She whispered. Will smiled down to her. “Yea, and who got me there?” He patted her head, and followed Kestra in to the other room.

Will stood rigidly, as Kestra settled on the couch, she folded her hands calmly on her lap, and began to speak.

"You can relax Will, your not in trouble.” He sat on the couch beside her, her voice so much like Deannas, if he closed his eyes he could almost convince himself it was her beside him. Kestra seemed unaware of his thoughts, he had noticed she showed no signs of being empathic....and if she was she was very discreet about it.

“Still I am sorry Kestra, I had no idea the book would frighten her.” She smiled understandingly.

“To be honest, I think the book frightens me more then Deanna.” Will looked at her, the same fear that shown from Deanna’s eyes earlier was mirrored in Kestras now. Will flipped through the pages of the book, Kestra shifting uncomfortably beside him. He stopped on the last page, the illustration showing a badly mutilated Myststaria, a dark shadow looming over her head. He scanned the words on the opposite page, one word jumping out at him.

“Morach” he spoke aloud, the name causing Kestra to shutter. He studied her intently for a moment. “Why does he scare you so much.” Kestra shook her head, focusing her thoughts.

“I’m not sure. Perhaps it’s what he represents...or maybe it was just the timing of the book showing up on Deanna’s bed.” He didn’t want to press her, and he wished he had taken Vulcan as his second language, instead of Klingon.

She offered him an explanation without him having to ask.

“The book showed up three months ago, the day the Aurora was destroyed.” She made no attempt to stop the tears that rolled down her cheeks, her words were broken as she continued.

“When I found about the Aurora, the war with the Romulans, and Alan’s death.....I came back here and cried for hours. When I had composed myself enough to tell Deanna about her daddy, the book was lying on the bed beside her. I don’t know how it got there or where it came from.”

Her grief permeated him, but her reference to a Romulan war terrified him, and then she fixed her wide blue eyes into his soul.

“The book showed up about the same time you did.” He felt something burning inside him, a heat that intensified with her next words.

“Who are you really?” She asked. “I know your the same man that pulled me from Lake El-Nar, many years ago, and I know you don’t belong here.” She stroked her hand over his beard, he assumed it was her way of making sure he wasn’t a ghost. And then she spoke in a voice filled with a lifetime of trepidation.

“I don’t think either of us belongs here.” He leaned back on the couch, sweat appeared over his brow in response to the fire that burned deep in his core.

“The dark eyes that loom behind you own speak to me.” He got up quickly walking to the replicator, he needed water, he drank it, trying to put out the fire that threatened to engulf him. His notion that Kestra wasn’t empathic was way off base, she seemed to know more about what was going then he did.

“If you listen, you will hear her too.” He cleared his throat. “Hear who”

“The one you call sister......Deanna.” He sat in the closest chair, covering his face with his hands. “The timelines are fused, the echoes of others voices are passing from one to another.”

He uncovered his face, in response to the change in her voice, no longer like Deanna’s but distant, her eyes too had clouded to an unrecognizable shade.

<Imzadi.> He heard the word, an almost invisible whisper in his head. He tried to fight through the dense fog that blocked his ability to send a response. The more he struggled to reach out to her, the more distant the word became.

“We’re losing him again!” Beverly Crusher barked orders to her staff, Deanna tried to stay out of the way, praying Beverly could once again stop the inevitable. She watched the monitors that had hung over him for months, eventually the panels lighting to show his vital signs had returned. Beverly turned quickly to Deanna. “His coma is deepening Deanna....he’s pulling further inside himself.” She waited for a response from deanna, Deanna stood quietly and rubbed her belly.

“I should have told him right away........If he’d known, he never would have gone away.” Beverly took her firmly by the shoulders, and with more conviction then she thought she had, she spoke. “Damn it Deanna! If I have to reach in his head and physically pull him out of this I will. That little baby inside you, *will* know his Daddy!”    He listened intently to the words of this person calling herself Kestra, she spun a tale of dragons, and wizards, wishes and dreams....a story that would keep most children on the edge of their seats, but a story he found impossible to swallow. She spoke for hours, same tone, expression never wavering.

“Stop talking in riddles” He pushed back his chair so hard, it fell to the floor behind him .”Just tell me how to get out of here.” Her expression remained constant, an understanding, and faint smile encompassed her face.

“Step outside yourself, and allow the realties to unfold in front of you, instead of trying to control them. See with the eyes of your soul, and not those of your head.” Her essence started to flicker, just as Deanna’s had in another time.

“From where you stand you have access to all the possibilities in the universe.” And she was gone, leaving him alone to understand her words. He paced the floor of the cabin, reiterating the words of whoever had spoken to him. And then the picture of very young Deanna Troi flashed into his mind, hanging upside down in a tree, channeling all her thoughts into one place. He remembered all she had tried to teach him about the separation of the physical and spiritual, and it was like a barrier had been released from his mine.

<Could it be that simple> he thought. <Step outside yourself, see with the eyes of your soul>.

He sat down, clearing his mind and focusing his thoughts, just as Kestra had suggested, and Deanna had taught him. He felt the vehement burning inside him again, but this time he allowed it to engulf him, saturate his very being. He felt something, something he’d never felt, he opened his eyes....Will Riker sat, eyes closed on the couch in Kestra’s quarters.....and he was on the outside looking in.

He had snared himself in this web of time, unable to see the world, his world, without controlling it. But Kestra’s warnings about the fusion of time, was still contingent on something he had done on Betazed. As his thoughts turned to the time, it all played out in front of him But this time he knew to only watch. The shuttle flickered into existence, he watched himself head to the compound, Kestra’s screams, Lwaxana’s cries, the reprogramming of the shuttle, the charm, the Betazed storm all played just as he remembered .....nothing seemed to be unfinished as Kestra had suggested. He watched himself playing with the controls of the Romulan shuttle, he watched the huge flash of lightening hit the shuttle..

“Oh my god, I’m dead.”

“Not exactly” He turned towards the voice, and the disrupter that was pointed directly at him.

“Shooting me would be a little redundant, don’t you think Morach?” He stared into the black eyes of the Romulan.

“Your an amazingly foolish human. This moment in time plays in constant repetition, and yet you make the same decisions each time.” Riker watched Morach, as the scene played again, wondering what decision he had made that infuriated him so much.

“Must be frustrating to have to watch your perfect plan unfold, and have me screw it up each time.” Will had no idea what he was talking about, he only tried to goad Morach into revealing whatever he had done wrong. He watched closely gauging his reactions to all that unfolded, and as the scene ran for the fourth time, he noticed Morach’s jaw tighten when he had deactivated the arm band to retrieve the charm.

<The armband> He look at Morach with a victorious smile. “Don’t count on history repeating itself.” The shuttle shimmered into existence and Will no longer stood idly by, and watched. It was a disconcerting feeling sending his essence into himself, a gust of wind, a jolting pain, and he was once again Will Riker.....A Will Riker who controlled his own fate. He ripped the armband from his arm, and smashed it with his foot. He felt Morach’s breath on his neck, and turned to face him. “Go back to whatever rock you slithered out from under, Morach. You lost.”

“You idiot! Hundreds of years of research to stabilize time....create one eternal string, where Romulus sits at the head of all. Destroy myststaria, and seal the entrance to tomorrow’s children.”

Riker felt an overwhelming fear from Morach, something that lived in the cradle of life, before life terrified him. Riker turned toward the screams that echoed over the water, Kestra’s pleas for help pulled at this soul.

“Can you live with yourself if you let her die? Her screams will haunt you for eternity.” Morach’s cold words sounded through him, Kestra’s screams seeming to amplify over the water....A final gasp, and silence, the screaming ceased, and the lake was still. Will felt his eyes burn with tears, an intense wave of nausea churned through his stomach. He locked his eyes on the defeated face of Morach.

“You bastard, it was Kestra all the time. You wanted her to live.....that’s why you sent me here when you did. The probe was bullshit. You needed to seal this fate, make this your perfect realm. Why?” Morach deepened his gaze on Will.

“NO.....I wanted Deanna Troi to die. Kestra’s life with the myststaria means nothing, but the child that grows inside Deanna....the one created by you both....” He stopped in mid sentence, as if something outside himself silenced him. And Will’s emotions went into perpetual overdrive, anger and shock causing him to lunge towards this thing that seemed to think he had cart blanc privilege to control the out come of everything. He felt the burning sensation deep inside him, the disrupter blast destroying him gradually, engulfing him inch by inch with fire. He fell back, holding his stomach and withering in pain.... the Betazed storm swirled over him, the sky afire with lights, the colored petals cascading on the wind.....And with a finial flash of lightening his world went dark, and the burning ceased. 

Beverly Crusher closed her eyes, and shook her head, trying to hold on to some degree of professionalism. “Anything Deanna?”

Deanna felt her world coming to a stand still, her sense of Will was gone....She wanted to lie to Beverly, tell her ‘yes, I can still feel him’, anything to hold on to the hope that he really wasn’t gone. But instead, she looked at Beverly, her image misted by the veil of tears that covered her eyes. “No” One word was all she was able to offer. She watched as Beverly reached for the controls that would put an end to this artificial life they had held him in.

“Don’t” The plea muffled by her sobs. Beverly stopped what she was about to do, and looked into Deanna’s appealing eyes. She understood Deanna’s need immediately, she nodded silently and left the room. Deanna’s knuckles were white she was holding on to his hand so tightly, but he was so warm, she settled her head on his chest, falling into the rhythmic beating of his heart. His mind was gone, the comfort of his heart and the warmth of his body all she had left to hold on to.

She found it ironic, they say when you die your life flashes in front of you....but it was her life, her life with him that ran in circles through her mind. From her first brush with his mind, to their first heated encounter, to the gentle place they had reached, and the small life that grew inside her. It played in comforting repetition in her heart and her soul. The man who had taught her to realize her feelings, act on them instead of stifling them, A man who had taught her about the sweet pleasures of the physical, the heat of lust, the thralls of passion, always entwined with a tenderness only he could offer.

And then she felt something, a hot breath, a silent cry, a whisper of something unknown twisted inside her. The sensations not coming from the body of the man she loved, but somewhere outside herself, far away, carried to her heart by a force she didn’t understand. She tried to hear the voices, hushed by the steady beating of his heart. Only the emotions flowed through her, one filled with defeat, despair, and pain......The other offering comfort, encouragement, and hope. She permitted them all to wash over her, the beating of Will’s heart the only thing in her world she held on to. And then she recognized the dismal spirit....<Imzadi!>, her calling lost on the winds of time that seemed to be pulling him. The soft gentle spirit of the other transfused her, a kiss of hope touched her heart....a gentle presence that somehow seemed a part of her self.

<If he believes he is dyeing, he will> The words penetrated her heart, like a hot knife. Her own emotions breaking through the careful dam she had built for them. She clawed and scraped through the recesses of her soul, until she could almost see him withering in pain. And then she screamed louder, and with more force then she thought she had.

<Don’t leave me Imzadi.....Please come home>.

He stopped his struggle with his pain, the words of desperation that called to him, superseding his need to comfort himself. And he reached for her, reached towards the voice, the voice of the woman that encircled his heart, and completed his soul.

Deanna jumped, as the hand reached up and pulled her head closer to his chest.

“Deanna.” One muted word, the sweetest sound in the universe carried to her ears on the wings of an angel. She looked up into his eyes, the eyes that only moments before had been closed in darkness and smiled. She couldn’t speak, she only allowed him to saturate her, he seemed to do the same, both seeing eternity in the eyes of the other.

The footfalls that entered the room, pulled them from their perfect place.

“I can’t believe this!” Beverly was already working her tricorder over Will’s body. Captain Picard stood over him, one of his rare broad smiles covering his face.

“We thought we’d lost you number one.”

“So did I sir.” Will pulled his eyes from deanna only long enough to answer his captains concerns.

“How are you feeling?”

Will raised his hand to his head, letting a slight groan.

“I had a hell of a dream, and you were all there.”

Beverly smiled placing a maternal hand on his forehead. “That bolt of lightening hit you pretty good. Your lucky to be alive.” Will started to ask what she was talking about, but a veil of exhaustion was quickly fogging his mind. Beverly nodded to the Captain.

“I think Dorothy needs his rest. Come on tin man, lets leave them alone.”

“I wasn’t sure about this when you suggested it. Lake El-Nar, well you know.” Will sent her an understanding nod, feeling a wave of sadness come from her. Deanna looked up up at the darkening sky. “Yet there’s something almost comforting about it. Like promises are being carried on the breeze. Mother says, the petals that swirl on the winds are the wishes of the children of tomorrow.” Will studied her intently, placing a hand on her swollen belly. He had told her nothing about his dream, or nightmare...whatever it had been. He pulled her closer to him, when he noticed her slight shiver.

“You cold?” Deanna nestled into him. “No, must have been the wings of Myststaria tickling my spine.” Her reference to Myststaria causing a shiver of his own. “Myststaria?” Deanna turned to face him, appearing slightly puzzled by his question.

“Myststaria simply means cradle of hope, the rains that fall over the lake each day are legended to be the tears she sheds when one of her spirits leave. But I thought you knew all about this.” Will looked at her questioningly. “Why would say that. You know my views on legends, and the supernatural.”

“The charm we found in your uniform when we found you here. It was etched with the symbol of Myststaria.” He wrapped both his arms around her, feeling an overwhelming need to feel the security of her body against his. He didn’t respond to her, and she respected his silence. They both stared out over the blue of the lake, the colored petals dotting it’s surface.

“Will.... I’d like to name this baby Kestra.....if it’s a girl.” He brushed his lips through her hair, filling himself with the scent of her. A pale pink petal circled Deanna for a moment and settled lightly on her stomach. They both looked at each other, Will picking up the petal and brushing it over his lips. “It appears you’ve granted somebody’s wish, Deanna.” He ran the petal over Deanna’s lips before setting it adrift on the wind. “Good bye baby see you soon.” She whispered, the petal circling between them, before mingling with the others.

“Look Will” She pointed to the blue that had broken through the storm clouds. “It’s not going to rain.” He squinted his eyes against the blinding sun, one hand on Deanna’s neck the other on the new life inside her. “Maybe she has no reason to cry today Imzadi.....Maybe her life is as perfect as mine.”