It's initially set immediately after the First Contact film, while Worf was still on board the Enterprise heading to DS9, but then it hops into some future. I hope you like it, and if you don't, just don't be too mean! :), and remember my handicapped English.
Oh! you know what Paramount owns! and I guess it's a NC 17 story.

By Mia
Sept. 1998



Deanna heard Beverly calling her and immediately
turned to face her, but when she stopped, her head and
the room kept spinning around in slow motion. Oh no,
not again.
"You should eat these Almerian blue shrimps, they are
delicious!" said Beverly.
"Yes, I definitely have to" answered Deanna much to
herself "Hmm, you're right, they are great! Let me
have one more" she added thinking that maybe, if she
kept eating, she'd soon feel much better and hopefully
no one will notice the effects the wine was having on
"Deanna is it my imagination or you're trying to
impress someone tonight?" said Beverly with a
suspicious smile referring to the black sleeveless
tight jump-suit the Counsellor was wearing.
"Come on ladies, stop eating alone and come and share
with us!" Geordi called from the other side of the
room luckily for Deanna.

Both women grabbed the food they’d just replicated and
walked into the living area in Commander Riker’s
quarters. It was 23:30 hrs. Only 30 minutes to wish
the Commander a Happy Birthday. They were all waiting,
telling jokes, having snacks and drinking real wine
the Captain had generously supplied. They’d been doing
this for the last 3 hours, not that they were drunk or
even half way, but with every new open bottle each new
joke was becoming more and more amusing and their
laughter more and more stronger. Even a very bad joke
which Data had not yet completely understood was
making the Captain almost cry trying to think what was
worse, the joke itself or Dr. Crusher trying to tell

Minutes past fast and soon it was time to greet the
Commander. The first one to do it was Worf. He gave
him a very strong Klingon embrace followed by a loud
and fierce growl that must have woken half the people
of the Enterprise. "A warrior's way to greet a friend"
Then came the Captain, Guinan, Beverly, Geordi and
Data who made Guinan almost choke when he repeated the
same Klingon greeting Worf had made moments before.
Beverly had to sigh in silence when Riker wouldn't
break Deanna's embrace and held her tighter telling
her something in her ear that made the Counsellor
smile shyly, but they had to break apart when Guinan
appeared by their side with the birthday cake.
Everyone, even Riker, started to sing the traditional
terran happy birthday song, every one except Deanna,
who couldn't concentrate on nothing else but Will's
arm around her waist. It felt like a mixture of
softness and warmth that she would never want it to
stop. She could feel his happiness for sharing the
evening with his best friends, and the calmness and
comfort he showed whenever they were together. Maybe
it was just his birthday and the fun and happiness,
maybe it was just the wine, she thought while leaning
her head on Will's shoulder. The same warmth and
softness she felt, also accompanied by peace. She
remembered the relief she sensed on him the day she
told him that her attempt to have a relationship with
Worf had ended after a few weeks, just as it had
started; or his happiness when he realised how jealous
that silly Lieutenant, who wouldn't let him alone for
one single minute during the reception on Starbase 57,
made Deanna feel about a year ago. It had been a long
time since they had been that close, not that she
didn't want to, but after their encounter with Tom
Riker, things had never been the same between them.
And now, after almost 3 years, they were recovering
what they once had: a very intimate and caring
affection tearing between friendship and love. She
was brought back to the party when Beverly gave her a
piece of cake before going to the living area to join
the others.

"Thank you Deanna, this is the best surprise party
I've ever had." said Will kissing her softly on the
"Well, I hope you don't mind celebrating it the night
before, but with all those delegates coming on board
tomorrow ... I don't think the captain would have
agreed." She said giving him a spoonful of chocolate
"Oh those delegates, we're going to look pretty much
like a transport shuttle during the next couple of
weeks until we get to Triana" Riker tried to clean the
remains of caramel on his lips. "Hey, this is great!
You did it yourself?"
"Yeah sure, you know how much I enjoy cooking...
Guinan helped me... well, it was really the opposite,
she did it and I helped... Ok, she did it and I
watched" she confessed taking another spoonful of
cake, carefully leaving behind the only part left with
caramel for her on the dish which made Will protest
almost immediately. "No Will, that's my part!...
Besides, you still have caramel on your face" she told
him while helping him to clean his face.

The Captain had been watching them from the living
area, they looked so happy together and seemed to
understand each other so completely. He had always
thought that, but had never told it to anybody because
he didn't want to give any chance for such behaviour
on his ship, he said to himself. But deep inside he
knew that it was because the only person to whom he
could talk about that was the Chief Medical Officer,
and romance was a forbidden topic with her. He felt a
little envious over the things he might never be able
to express to Beverly and turned to look at her. She
was lost in the magic moments her two good friends
were sharing. That's when he decided to go to his
quarters to think about his life and his non-existing
relationship with Beverly Crusher.
"Gentlemen, I should go now. Tomorrow will be a very
long and busy day; I suggest you all rest well. Number
one, happy birthday once again. Good night to
everyone." Said Picard and left the room.

Soon after Picard's departure, the rest of the guests
began to leave. Deanna was the only one left. She and
an incredible mess of paper napkins, glasses, dishes
and bottles all over the place. She begun cleaning up
the room, as she always did after a poker night. Riker
finished his last glass of wine still sitting on his
comfortable couch watching Deanna move across his
quarters as though they belonged to her, knowing the
exact place things should be. Looking at her made him
think of all the good times they'd both shared, how
many times had they spent a wonderful evening
together, and how many times had he regretted having
let her leave to her quarters after helping him clean
his own. Was the rest of his life going to be like
that, with Deanna as a casual visit? Was he going to
be the same coward he’d been for all those years,
hiding behind the perfectly stupid excuse of not
risking her friendship? With a resolution found maybe
in the wine he had just finished, he stood up and
walked straight to her.

Deanna was putting some ornaments back to their
original place when she felt Will's arms around her
waist, making her first jump from the sudden touch and
then smiled, welcoming the caresses she had been
waiting for all night. "We can finish that tomorrow"
he whispered into her ear with a voice that took her
back to the days when she had been the most important
thing for him in the universe. To the days she had
thought, would last forever.

She could sense his strong emotions for her and she
had to admit she was feeling the same way. *You can
handle this Deanna, stay calm, don't worry*, she
thought, but when Will started kissing her neck she
thought back, *Ok, you can start worrying now... God
that felt so good*, she was beginning to loose the
battle as Will's hands begun moving upwards, but she
fought back. *No, it was not right. They were just
friends, and what was happening may be just a thing of
the moment, a thing of the wine... Oh no, it was
great, he was so... I must leave before it's too late.
Why do I always get like this when I drink too much?*
Will's hands had already found their way underneath
Deanna's jump"suit when she decided she couldn't fight
back anymore. *God, this is what I've wanted for so
long.* She turned around to face him, put her arms
around his shoulder's, looked into his eyes with such
a passion that could have blown up the warp core and
smiled at him, a smile of lust mixed with a child’s
innocence that made Will feel his knees weaken and
seductively whispered to him "Happy Birthday,
Commander" before kissing him.

The next morning she woke up still savouring last
night's events. She felt absolutely overwhelmed by
just watching him sleep, his arms still around her.
Suddenly, she began to feel a terrible sensation of
fear and guilt. Fear about what could happen between
them, and guilt for not being strong enough the night
before. Not wanting to face him at that moment, she
decided to leave before he woke up.



"Admiral Adams to Counsellor Troi"
"Troi here"
"Could you come to my office, I'd like to discuss the
points of the briefing as well as the events for the
annual meeting with you"
"On my way, Sir"
"Good, Adams out"

Deanna entered Admiral Adams' office; Commodore
Anderson was already there. They sat around a table, 3
small cups of coffee surrounded by many keypads with
information of all kinds about Cardassia, political,
military, social, economical, everything. And of
course each one had a copy of the initial brief for
the first conversations towards a final peace treaty
with Cardassia, something still hard to believe among
officers on both sides, the Federation and Cardassia.

They spent nearly all morning analysing each point;
they were going to meet the next day with other
starfleet officers, some Ambassadors and Counsellors
to discuss openly everyone's opinion for finally
coming to a briefing that should not miss any point. A
possible peace treaty with Cardassia was something too
important for the Federation, and it was no
exaggeration to take all the necessary men and hours
to accomplish it. In fact, at that very moment, every
admiral was going over the briefing with his team,
just as Admiral Adams was meeting with her Counsellor
and her right hand man.

"Well, I think we've covered every single line of this
encyclopaedic initial briefing," said Adm. Adams
referring to the 367 points and 4,802 clauses. "Let's
get organised for receiving the officers while we take
lunch, we’ve only got two hours left before they
arrive at the Command Base." It was the one thing
Deanna had been dreading all week long. She knew that
they would definitely be assigned as the Enterprise’s
crew hosts, Deanna looked up at Commodore Anderson who
was looking back at her as if saying, "there was
nothing I could do" Admiral Adams went on.

"Counsellor, As you spent almost ten years on the
Enterprise and I know very well many of the
Ambassadors coming with them, we’ve been selected for
being their hosts. They will be arriving in about 2
hours to transporter room –Galileo– I'm sure you’ll be
very happy to meet again with old friends." Deanna
only smiled when Commodore Anderson handed her a pad
with a list of the people to be transported and their
assigned temporal quarters. She felt somewhat
nostalgic at seeing the list of officers of the
Enterprise and not reading her own name in there and
smiled sadly. She was pleased to see that Commanders
La Forge and Data had been included and that the
Enterprise had stopped at Triana to pick Commodore
Picard together with some Ambassadors. She was very
happy to finally get to see her good friend Beverly,
after such a long time, she had so many things to tell
her… so many things to explain to her, but she
couldn't hide her discomfort about meeting Captain
Riker. One year and eight months had passed and still
the name hurt deeply in her soul.

They cleared the table and set it for lunch, but
Deanna could barely eat, despite having replicated one
of her favourite salad. Instead she felt a grip in her
stomach that was menacing as it crept up to her heart,
and she couldn't stop thinking about all the events
that made her leave the Enterprise. Admiral Adams kept
talking about the annual meeting and of course about
the details for the welcome banquet that would be held
that same night, but Deanna just didn't listen.
Commodore Anderson on the other hand, was avidly
talking with Adams, trying to cover up Deanna, he knew
how she was feeling.

Commodore James Anderson was a good man, he was a very
intelligent and sociable person, very much like Will
Riker, Deanna often thought. Jim and Deanna had been
working together with Admiral Adams for the last 18
months and in that time they have become very good
friends. He had been very supportive at the beginning
and had always there for her. Jim remembered Deanna
telling him about Will Riker. About the things that
happened between the two of them, and about how deeply
she had been hurt, twice. He looked at Deanna; She was
so lost in her thoughts. *God, I hope she'll be fine.*

"Darling, are you alright?" Admiral Adams asked with
concern. Admiral Margaret Adams was a very
comprehensive and patient woman, and she and Deanna
had developed a sort of mother and daughter
relationship. "You haven't eaten anything dear, is
there something bothering you?" Deanna looked up at
Jim asking for help, she didn't need to say anything
for he understood.

"Well ladies, I'm going to get a neat hair cut and
dress properly, meet you at the transporter room.
Admiral, don't let her finish all the ice cream." He
said adding in a friendly way, tweaking Deanna's nose
making her smile a bit. He was relieved to see her
smile, if only a small one.

Deanna turned to face Admiral Adams, she wasn't sure
how to start. She had and emotional battle in her
head. Commander Troi told her she shouldn't even ask
for it, it was her duty, period. Counsellor Troi told
her there was no point of denying the fact that they
will finally see each other again. But all Deanna Troi
wanted to do was to turn around and start running as
fast as she could.

"This is about meeting the Enterprise officers, isn't
it?" Deanna took a deep breath, somehow, Adm. Adams
knew, she always knew, Deanna sometimes suspected
about a hidden Betazoid ancestor "Admiral, I never
told you this before but… the real reason I left the
Enterprise was Will Riker." Admiral Adams was shocked,
she knew William Riker pretty well, he was a fine
officer and she had always had a very good impression
of him, as an officer and as a person. She couldn't
really imagine what could he had done to make Deanna
Troi leave the Enterprise. Adams remembered how sad
and lonely Deanna had been during her first months at
San Francisco, she barely ate, talked or smiled, much
like she was doing at that moment. She gave Deanna a
warm smile and held her hand.

"Ok dear, tell me everything..."

Deanna could hardly speak up. "Well… it's been almost
15 years since I first met William Riker, when he was
just a Lieutenant at the Starfleet Base on my
homeworld, Betazed…"


The doors of the turbolift opened and Deanna looked
ahead at the long white hallway that would take them
to the transporter room. Since the first time she’d
walked through that hallway, when she left the
Enterprise, she had been marvelled by it. The crystal
left walls allowing the bright summer sun enter the
room and turn the impeccable marble floor almost into
a mirror, as well as the doors along the right wall.
Surely the decorators had done a fantastic job.
Admiral Adams, Commodore Anderson and Counsellor Troi,
all now wearing dress uniforms, headed to the last
door. On their way along hallway they met with Admiral
O'Donnell and Ambassador Joria coming from out from
one of the first doors. Admiral Adams begun talking
with them as Deanna and Jim Anderson walked behind,
looking through the windows at the splendid view of
the Starfleet Base with its well kept gardens and the
San Francisco Bay in the background.

"So, what made you change your mind? I thought you
were already on your way to the city" asked Anderson
only to Deanna.
"Well, she is absolutely right, not only it is my
duty, but she thinks I shouldn't pretend not to meet
him ever again, specially this week with all the
events, and it's better for me to face him up now,
than tomorrow at the briefings. I know she's right,
but I still want to turn back and go hide in my
Jim gave her an understanding look and hugged her by
the shoulders. "To be honest, I think she's right,
just stay calm, everything will be fine."
"That’s easy for you to say." Deanna added with not
much enthusiasm.
"So, that means we’re still going together to the
banquet tonight?" he managed to make her smile.

They all kept walking towards the door to the
transporter rooms, at the other side of the hallway,
Deanna remembered the day she left the Enterprise. It
all happened so fast, and still she could remember
everything as if it had all happened the night before.
After Will's birthday, many delegates went on board
the ship heading to Triana where several conferences
were being held at the same time: medical, diplomatic,
engineering, and the Enterprise was a real mess. She
had hardly had time to talk to Will about the birthday
night but they both seemed comfortable and happy with
what had happened. In fact, they had tried to spend
together as much time as they could with the hope of
giving themselves a chance to explore more about their
new found intimacy, but they both had too many things
to do. Once at Triana, Deanna could finally rest, but
Will was working with a group of Risan delegates and
was beamed down to Triana during the whole week of the
conferences, by the end of the week, Will could
finally return to the Enterprise.

She was nervous and happy, everything with Will seemed
to be going right, she was going to tell him, she
didn't need to know for sure, she was a Betazoid, and
Betazoid women just knew. The computer had told her
Commander Riker was at Ten Forward. She checked her
hair in the mirror, turned to one side to check her
silhouette and smiled.

The doors of the 10 Forward lounge opened. Captain
Picard saw Deanna Troi stepping in and suddenly
freeze. Her eyes wide opened, her face turning from
absolute joy to pain and disbelief, tears beginning to
form, all in one instant. She stepped backwards and
left running, almost bumping into Data on her way out.
Picard turned to see what the Counsellor had been
watching, and was surprised to discover his First
Officer having a very animated conversation with one
of the Risan delegates. They had been working together
for the entire week and he was holding her hand,
looking at it and she was smiling. Data approached
Picard and Guinan, his face showing misunderstanding.
"I am curious Captain, what happened to the
Counsellor, she seemed to be crying?"
"Maybe she saw something she didn't like" said Guinan
exchanging a concerned look with the Captain.

Will was talking with Annia Bankara, a very beautiful
Risan delegate, with long blond hair that fell over
her left shoulder and green eyes. They were
celebrating the end of their work together, she was
very kind and always seemed to be laughing.

"You’re right, it’s a very beautiful and I must add,
expensive ring!"
"Told you so!" a little bit of vanity in her voice
"Well, and when am I going to meet your precious
Deanna? All you've done this week is talk about her,
about how lovely, kind and intelligent she is. My
shuttle is parting in a couple of hours and I'll die
if I don't meet her."
"I'm sure she'll be coming soon, and..." raising up
his eyebrows, "I haven't talk about her as much as
you've talk about Scott Boran"
"Ok then, I think we're even."
"Hello number one" said Picard as he reached the
table, he was looking sharply at the couple.
"Captain, please join us, this is Annia Bankara… have
you seen Deanna, I want her to meet Annia..."
"I think she is in her quarters, she wasn't feeling
"She hasn't been feeling well lately, I'll better take
her to sickbay"
"I don't think so Will, she said she didn't want to be
disturbed for the rest of the day" said Picard a bit
too serious "Doctor Crusher has already checked her,
she's fine, but the Doctor said she needed some rest."

The comm. badge interrupted.
"Lt. Commander Worf to Commander Riker."
"Riker here"
"Sir, we're having trouble with the Melarian
Ambassador and a Ferengi bartender, nothing important
Sir, but I think you'd better beam down, I’m already
late for my transport for DS9"
"Ok, Mr. Worf, Riker out" he said "I'm sorry I have to
leave so soon, have a nice journey back home, it was a
pleasure meeting you" he smiled.
"Actually, I'll have to leave to my quarters to take a
shower before departing, if you’ll excuse me

Picard also stood up and they all went in different
directions. Riker went to Deanna's quarters first, but
she didn't open her door. Not wanting to disturb her
he left concerned about her health. She had been
feeling weak and not eating well, he thought she was
stressed and begun planning a 2 day leave to a nearby
lake one of the local delegates had talked about.
"That will suit her, suit us" he corrected and smiled.
Us, the idea of us sounded just right, and headed for
the transporter room smiling.

3 hours later, Picard called at Deanna's door. When he
entered, he found her putting things into boxes and
her luggage already packed. Although she tried to look
normal, the Captain didn't need her empathic abilities
to know what was happening and how was she feeling.
"Do you really think running away will solve
"I don't know, but at least it will make me feel
better not having to see him everyday" she said almost
"I'm sorry for overriding your authority Captain, I've
been contacting Starfleet Command, they've already
given me an extended leave. I'm leaving in the next
"Don't worry, Deanna, I understand, but how long are
you leaving for? you seem to be packing everything,
where are you going?" he forced a smile to ease the
"I don't know yet, I was given a 60 days leave but…
I'm not returning Captain, once I’m on leave I’ll
request my transfer which I hope you accept… I'm
really sorry Captain, I didn't want things to happen
this way." she could hardly control herself.

Picard put a hand on her shoulder and turned her to
face him. His heart lost a beat when he saw her, her
expression was totally grief-stricken, her eyes were
red and tears beginning to fall. He took her into his
arms to comfort her, she was crying her eyes out,
letting out all that was left. Picard was startled, he
had never seen his counsellor as beaten as then. He
wasn’t sure of what to do, crying women always made
him nervous.

"Don’t worry Deanna. I’ll talk to him. I’m sure this
is a misunderstanding. I’m sure he loves you" The
Captain felt uncomfortable saying those things.
Deanna lifted her head "And what difference does it
make?. Every time I think he is finally ready for a
commitment, he makes a pretty good job in showing me I
was wrong. I can’t stand it anymore. I’ll leave and
hopefully never see him again."
"Maybe you're rushing things. Why don't you take the
leave and by the end decide what to do"
"I'm not sure"
Picard hugged her and kissed her softly. "Is there
anything I can do?"
"No thank you, you've already done enough."
"I still think running away is not the answer, Deanna"
"Captain, please I’ve already made up my mind"
"Right, I’m sorry, it's your decision. Just one thing,
please keep in touch, I promise not to tell anyone if
you don't want me to."
"Thank you Captain" she said finally smiling weakly.

With that, Picard helped her finish packing everything
and made a direct beaming to the shuttle bay making
sure she went inside the biggest shuttle of all. It
had First Class private quarters and was heading to
Earth making several stops before. He stayed at the
shuttle bay until the shuttle got lost between the
stars and then headed slowly to his quarters. How in
the universe was he going to face Will Riker…? well,
as far as he knew, Deanna was on leave.



Commodore Picard remembered the events well. He was
walking with Captain Riker and 3 Ambassadors to the
transporter room. He was impatient to see Deanna
again. He had kept contact with her, just as he had
promised, and when he was promoted to Commodore and
spent two months in Starfleet Command, they had a lot
of time to talk.
He remembered telling Deanna what had really happened
that night in 10 Forward and how her leaving was
affecting Riker terribly. Will had spent most of his
free time contacting every Starbase, Stardock and
Regional Headquarters. He had even looked in
non-federated planets. He was obsessed in trying to
find her, to explain what had happened and how he
felt. He had even refused to reassign her quarters to
any other crewmember. And surprisingly, he was getting
closer to Lwaxana Troi, who was really devastated by
her daughter's sudden disappearance. That was one of
the things that had surprised Picard. Lwaxana Troi had
spent more time on board the Enterprise using Deanna's
quarters, than on Betazed, and she and Will had
developed a very good relationship. They always had
dinner together, and when she was not on the
Enterprise, they talked at least once a week.
Picard remembered how happy they both had been when
Lwaxana received a simple message from Deanna just
saying, "Mother, I love you and I'm really sorry. Tell
Will I'm fine". That was it, no address, no I'm
returning, not anything, not even a trail for him to
follow so that he could reach her. It had taken him
many walks through a nearby park to convince her to
let him deliver the message to them.

"They are suffering a lot, think about your mother
Deanna, you're everything she has, I really cannot
understand you"
"I don't want to see Will, and you've told me how
close they've become, she knows I'm fine, she would
know if it were otherwise."
"Deanna, I've always considered you a very intelligent
and sensible woman, but your behaviour is absolutely
"I know, and don't think I don't hate myself for that.
But it's just that, I've suffered so much with Will.
All I want to do is to try and forget him. I know I
still love him, and if I see him I'll be back to where
I started. All I want is to carry on with my life. I
will return, I don't know when, but I'm not quite
ready yet. I'll write them, but nothing else, at least
not by now."

Captain Riker was very anxious to get to Starfleet
Command. The General Data Bank was there along with
information of all the Starfleet officers in the
entire Federation. It would hopefully give him a clue.
He had spent the worst 2 years in his entire life, and
he was grateful to have the friends he had.
How many times had Beverly spent dinner listening
about his feelings for Deanna? And how many times had
Geordi unsuccessfully tried to introduce him to every
female officer they’d met at every Starbase they
reached? Even Data had been very helpful on discarding
unnecessary information in order to locate Deanna.
Will knew what he was going through, and despite all
his efforts to make himself move on, he still
remembered the voice of the computer saying
<Counsellor Troi is not on board the Enterprise> A
silly incident with a Ferengi had kept him on the
Triana surface until the Enterprise had left the
planet heading to the Devon System. Picard had told
him she had left the night before on a 60 days leave,
but didn't tell him she was putting in a request for a
transfer, Picard was hoping she would change her mind.

He suddenly felt panicked thinking her requested leave
had something to do with her physical condition but
the Captain was quick in discarding that possibility,
leaving Will with only one thought: what went wrong?
Will was mad at her for leaving without saying a word,
then as days passed by, he forgot about his anger and
started missing her, hoping she'd return soon. He had
thought about how he was going to welcome her, nothing
big that would freak her out, just him at the
transporter room and a hug, maybe tulips. No he’d look
ridiculous holding a tulip bouquet, the tulips would
be awaiting her in her quarters. Just him and a hug
and a walk to her quarters and another hug telling her
he missed her and suggesting dinner after she had
rested from the flight. Yes he had the perfect plan.

But when a notification of her transfer had arrived,
he couldn't believe his eyes. He read the note 5 times
before contacting Starfleet. No answer was given,
instead, he was given a list of applicants for the
vacancy and well coveted post.

That's when Picard decided to talk to Will. Well it
was the other way around. When a very perplexed Will
Riker entered his ready room, Picard told him

"That's the most ridiculous thing I’ve heard. Just a
week ago, I received an invitation for Deanna and me
to join her at her wedding. Why didn't you tell me? I
can’t believe you were behind this this whole time!"
He was livid. Out on the bridge, Dr. Crusher felt
uncomfortable and dismissed all the unnecessary
officers, remaining only with Data and Geordi.
"I'm sorry Will, I should have told you right away,
but I honestly thought she just needed time and that
she would return." Picard tried to explain what Deanna
had told him about being hurt twice and that she
didn't want to live hoping that they would someday end
up together, she was really disappointed.

Will contacted Betazed with the hope of finding her
there, but Lwaxana didn't know anything and
immediately left Betazed and headed for the
Enterprise. 1 year and 8 months had passed since then
and he still felt a cold rush when he recalled
entering Deanna's quarters for the first time in weeks
looking for something that could give him a clue, only
to find an almost empty room. Just the basic Starfleet
furniture. No plants, no ornaments, no pictures of
them all over the place. The only thing left were the
diamond earrings he had given her on her last
birthday, they were in the middle of the bed. If that
was what one felt when being hurt by his Imzadi, Will
then knew how she felt when he didn't meet her on Risa
as promised… God! What did I do?

"Captain, we are waiting you Sir" said Data. Riker
stepped into the transporting room ready to beam down
to Starfleet Command.


The transport area was crowded with people coming in
and out of the different rooms. Deanna had remained
outside the room in order to take control of her
nerves. She stood observing the people and the smiles
and hugs of old friends meeting, the polite smiles for
new acquaintances. She began thinking about how to
look at him, and what to say, *he's going to hate me*
Many times she had felt the urgency of calling him to
say she was sorry for what she had done, for being so
selfish and immature. She knew how he was suffering
but she also knew that the moment they met, he was
going to get mad at her once he discovered the truth
of it all.
Deanna hurried inside Galileo transporter room as Jim
called her over. Everyone else was already there, and
the transport chief announced that the Enterprise was
ready to beam down 8 people.

As the officers of the Enterprise began to appear,
Deanna’s heart was in her throat. She saw a tall
silhouette, undoubtedly Will and unconsciously stepped
back. Jim held her hand reassuringly and she smiled
nervously. Transportation was complete.

"Welcome to Starfleet Command, I'm Admiral Adams" said
the Admiral with her best welcoming smile to the group
of 8 people smiling back at her. "Please meet
Commodore James Anderson and I think many of you know
our Counsellor, Commander Deanna Troi"

Riker froze. Had he heard right? He turned to see a
small figure appearing from behind the tall Commodore.
Yes, it was Deanna, he couldn't believe his eyes and
looked back to be sure. After all this months, he had
finally found her at the least expected moment. He
stepped towards her until he saw her holding
Anderson's hand. She immediately released herself.
Will stopped dead as he stared at the nervous hands
and then looked up at her.

"Hi Will, it's really nice to see you again." She
tried her best to sound natural, but Beverly knew her
too well and out of pity, went to the rescue. "Gods
Deanna!" she ran to meet her friend and hugged her "So
this is were you've been hiding" she said only to
Deanna "Counsellor! It's so good to see you again"
Geordi was very excited to see her again too. He would
have lifted the Counsellor and spun her around but he
held back. Too many Ambassadors and high ranking
officers, he decided for a very long embrace instead.
"Counsellor this is the best surprise" said Data and
then, not quite cautiously, "We have been looking for
you all over the Galaxy." Deanna looked at Will, but
couldn't keep eye contact for more than a second, he
was looking at her the same way he used to look at the
suspects during the interrogations at the brig.
"Commander Data, I was looking forward to meeting you"
said Anderson trying to change the subject.
"Deanna, you look fantastic, as always" said Picard
smiling and giving her a kiss on her cheek.

Deanna smiled slightly, she could feel Will's gaze
over her and his annoyance since the moment he saw her
with Jim. He was standing in front of her, not paying
much attention at what was going on in the room. All
his senior staff were gathered around Deanna, asking
her about her life, telling her how great she looked
and how much they had all missed her. After Admiral
Adams greeted Riker, Anderson walked to him.

"Captain, it's a pleasure to finally meet you." The
Commodore was smiling and apparently looked friendly
but Will only gave him a sharp look and shook his hand
trying to sound as polite as he could. "My pleasure."

Admiral Adams could feel her tension rising up and
said loudly enough to catch everyone's attention.
"Well gentlemen, we have assigned you temporary
quarters near the meeting area and the Commanding
Building, so you don't have to make long walks or use
any transportation during your stay. I hope you all
find your accommodations comfortable. If there's
anything you need, please let us know. Now, if you
will all excuse me, Commodore Anderson and Counsellor
Troi will lead you to your quarters, where your
personal belongings have already been transported."

Anderson, Troi and the recently transported people
began walking along the corridor. Deanna remained
quiet, looking once again through the windows towards
the guests quarters pavilion at the other side of the
gardens and remembered the first time she’d seen them.
Funny, she remembered feeling the same fear and
difficulty in breathing that she’d felt at that very
moment, and like then, she decided to focus on the
sound of her step. But the sound of the steps of the
other people walking with her were driving her insane
and the normally short walk across the garden looked
longer than ever before. She could feel Will's initial
enthusiasm at seeing her turning into disappointment
and hate. Jim noticed Deanna was uncomfortable and to
break the silence began explaining about the events
that were prepared for the week, but it only made
Will's exasperation increase and Deanna knew it. She
could feel all his love and longing for her, and the
incredible effort he was making to hide them away from
her. And his hate, hate to himself for still having
those feelings for her when it was clear that she had
carried on with her life pretty well without him. Will
felt like a total idiot. All these months trapped in
the memories of her, and his plans to find her and be
happy again, and on the depression he had fallen into
since she’d left. And there she was, absolutely
normal, lovely and smiling, as if nothing had
happened. Suddenly it happened, it hit him right in
the middle of his soul. A girl’s voice came through.

"Nicole to Counsellor Troi."

Beverly saw Deanna’s eyes open wide and then close
them in resignation, silently saying "No" to herself.
She slowly pressed her comm. badge, as if not really
wanting to do it "Nikki, is it really important? This
is not the right moment". She said in a low voice,
fearing what was to come. "Oh! I’m so sorry. But...
well, my mum is going to kill me if I don’t return
home so, is it okay if I take the baby to the daycare
centre?" Deanna could have died at that very moment,
she didn’t dare to look at Will, but she could feel
his heart and soul breaking into thousands of small
pieces. She had to stop walking and take a deep breath
before answering. "Yes Nikki, it’s okay, thank you.
Troi out."

There was silence from the officers of the Enterprise.
They were all looking at Deanna who gave them a short
smile and begun walking a little separated from the
group, looking down. Great! of all the ways this could
have happened, why this? She cursed her luck. Geordi
and Data exchanged a surprise look, and Beverly firmly
held Will’s hand. Picard broke the silence. "So tell
me Commodore, what do you think about tomorrow’s

After a short walk, Jim and Deanna had escorted the
guests to their quarters and reached Picard’s door.
Will was the only one left, fortunately his quarter’s
were next door to Picard’s. Neither of the 3 could
have handled it otherwise. By that time, Deanna was
pretty sure of what was going on through Will’s mind,
but she didn’t dare try to read him. She could not
bare his hate and anger which were visibly reaching
stratospheric levels. Jim and Deanna left him by his
door, the two men shook hands and Will just gave a
cold look to Deanna. She felt terribly guilty.

"I think I need to rest, thank you." said Will looking
into her eyes. "This is not wh..." was the only thing
she could send to his mind before he cut her off by
saying. "Good afternoon" and his door closed.

"He hates me Jim, Will hates me!" Tears began falling
and Deanna felt helpless. Jim held her close to him
and pulled her away from Will’s door. There was
nothing she could do at that moment but to let things
cool down a little, Jim told her. Deanna nodded and
both walked together down the corridor. Will’s door
opened again, and what remained in his soul begun
melting in the heat of his anger, Deanna and the
Commodore were waking together, his arm round her
shoulders, her head on his. "You’re right, this is not
what I was thinking, this goes way beyond." and then
with a voice that hardly came out "Damn you, Deanna
Troi, I still love you."


Impatiently pacing the living area of his guest
quarters, he was making the room seem to be a whole
lot smaller than what it really was. Will had
replicated his third syntaholic straight vodka, not
caring that it was still too early in the day for a
spirited drink. And for the fifth time, he imagined
the whole scenario: Deanna, his Deanna, married to the
Commodore, and they already had one kid. He couldn’t
stand the thought of her happily married to another
man, and forced himself to think about something
else. But no matter what he tried to think about, the
thought of Deanna came back to him, over and over.
He had always believed that they would someday sort
things out and end up together, after all, they were
Imzadi. He remembered the day one of his friends back
at the Starfleet Base on Betazed told him about the
mystical Imzadi bond. "It's a lifetime bond that you
can only share with one sole person. Once you find
your Imzadi, you’ll know the search is over, ‘cause
you’ll never love or be loved again like that. Not
ever again. It is something really special, you’ll
understand once you meet your Imzadi–" Will had
laughed at that arguing that as he wasn’t even
Betazoid, how was he supposed to find his Imzadi, but
his friend said that everyone had an Imzadi somewhere
in the universe, humans were just too close minded to
undestand it.

Two months later, that same friend married his Imzadi.
A traditional Betazoid wedding: all the people were
nude "with nothing to hide, Betazoids would say" Will
felt weird. He was the only non-Betazoid at the
wedding. Everybody was gathered silently in small
groups, some even laughing, but he couldn’t hear a
word. Of course! They were all telepaths; great, he
thought, now not only he felt naked, but he also
couldn’t talk to anybody, Betazoids didn’t like
"talking", and even worse, everyone could read his
mind. They might very well be laughing at him. Great,
this is going to be fun, he thought. He was still
cursing about his situation when he felt something
that made him jump back, it was a soft giggling inside
his mind, like a soft breeze caressing his mind. He
had never felt it before when a Betazoid had sent him
his thoughts.

"What?" he turned around and there she was.
Embarrassed at her intrusion, her mouth covered by her
hands, was the most beautiful woman he had ever seen.
He couldn't talk or move or... anything, he just
smiled and locked on to her black eyes. They stood
like that for a moment. "I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to
offend anyone with my cursing, it’s just that..."
"It’s OK, I didn’t hear anything, the regular Betazoid
would never go around prying into other person’s
thoughts." she said politely and after a second
thought added, "of course, my mother is not the
regular Betazoid, but as she is all tied up with the
Tarain ambassador, your reputation is still intact."
He laughed at her humour.
"I’m Lt. William Riker, but people call me Will."
"I’m Deanna, Deanna Troi."
"Well Deanna, I must apologise, this is my first
Betazoid wedding, I don’t really know what I’m
supposed to do, and I don’t seem to be able to find
any of my friends. I’m beginning to think they just
sent me here and tomorrow I’ll find naked pictures of
me all over the Starfleet Base." There it was, the
lovely smile again. "So, Deanna, what brings you to
this wedding?"
"I’ve known Gala since we were kids. I’ve never met
Mikel before, but I think he's cute, and they look
great together. Well, how else could it be, they're
each other’s Imzadi." she said smiling.

They kept talking for the rest of the evening about
Earth, her plans once she finished the psychology
school, life in Starfleet, life in space, the weather,
everything! He just didn’t want to stop talking to
her. Once the wedding was over, he asked her out, he
knew he had found the one for him. They had a couple
of weeks dating when he heard her saying it in his
mind. They were walking along, holding hands and they
stopped by a Mattock bush. He kissed her for the first
time, and that's when she said it; Imzadi.

And now his Imzadi was happily married to another man.
And not just any other man, but a man that worked with
her. Will Riker couldn't understand how had his
stubborn little angel had ever changed her mind about
not getting involved with someone whom she worked
with. After all, that had been precisely the reason
she’d given him for not continuing their relationship
when they met once again on the Enterprise.
Will finished his vodka, slamming the empty glass on
the table. Things were not going as he had so many
times imagined they would. He decided to find out more
about that Anderson guy on the computer. A picture of
Commodore James H. Anderson and a list of personal
records appeared on screen as the computer read out
loud: ...married for ten years to Lisa Anderson,
Professor of Fine Arts, University of San Francisco. 3
Children: Stuart (8), Corinne (6), Nicholas (5). Will
couldn't understand it, but felt some kind of relief.
He accessed personal records of Counsellor Deanna
Troi, reading quickly, stopping only at thinking how
well he knew every aspect of Deanna’s personal life.
He froze when he reached the part of:

Children: Ian Andrew Troi II (b/d 2265), William
Andrew Troi (11 months). Will didn't have much time to
think about little Ian who, due to a strange entity
that wanted to experience human life, had chosen
Deanna as his mother, was born, grown into an 8 year
old boy and died within 3 days; he couldn’t think
about Ian nor about how Deanna still thought of him,
he would have wanted to remember more, but the
piercing blue eyes of 11 months old William Andrew
decided for him. "Computer access information about
William Andrew Troi." The world could have ended at
that very moment without Will noticing for he was
locked to a full screen sized picture of William
Andrew that looked exactly like the old pictures of
himself at that same age. Will was breathless.
"Computer, information about the father"
"Information not available"
"Possible date of conception– Will was astonished by
the computer's answer: her lasts days on the
Enterprise, he thought still staring at the kid's
"Computer match DNA sample with Captain William T.
Riker, starship Enterprise"
"Matching will be completed in 5 minutes, 18 seconds,
please stand by."

Will's mind was a complete mess. He was stunned along
with misbelief, absolute joy, anger, fear, everything.
For only 3 sardonic seconds he had the crazy idea of.
No, that kid showed no Klingon features. Better yet,
the baby looked exactly like himself, and Thomas, and
he was in a Cardassian prison. Only he and Deanna had
been intimate before she left. Still, the computer
might tell him their DNA’s didn’t match, and he should
be prepared for something like that. What should he do
next? He squeezed his fist trying to think of
Yes! he could match the baby’s DNA with every male on
board the Enterprise during that damn week. Will felt
immediately like the total jerk of the galaxy for
thinking Deanna would sleep with someone else behind
his back. It was a possibility though. But not for
Deanna. No.
Will checked the chronometer, remaining time: 1 minute
37, 36, 35 seconds, his heartbeat was rising to
abnormal levels, he shouldn’t had taken those 3
vodkas. It were the longest 5 minutes in his entire
Will Riker, the man that had confronted the evil Borg
and had seen death come close to him on more occasions
than he would care to count, started when the computer
announced with a beep the matching had been completed.
He was choked by the cold and simple answer. Positive

Riker jumped off his chair. He had a kid, a kid with
Deanna. His joy was drowned by a terrible sensation of
guilt. He now understood her reasons for running away,
but he was also absolutely furious with her for not
having told him about his son. His son. Great, now
what? Once more, he paced his quarters with his hands
on his waist. He’s mine damn it! He yelled and went
back to the computer.
"Computer, location of William Andrew Troi"
"William Andrew Troi is in the day care centre"
"Location of day care centre" a map of Starfleet
Command appeared on screen with the typical ’You are
here’ sign and the day care centre highlighted. Will
left his quarters at almost warp speed.


By the time he reached the day care centre his heart
was about to explode. He had been running through
corridors, gardens and stairs. He was about to climb
the three steps to enter but stopped when he saw
Deanna, she looked depressed, as if something was
bothering her, but her expression soon changed into a
big smile when the baby was given to her. She hugged
and kissed him several times before making him sit on
the counter table. Will cursed for a second as the
nurse went to stand near Deanna, blocking his chance
to see his baby.

"I will also need a baby sitter for tonight"
"Are you going to the welcome banquet?"
"I wouldn't miss it for the universe!" said Deanna
nuzzling her nose against the baby's face. Little
William laughed wildly.
Just like his mother when being tickled, Will thought
smiling. Deanna looked lovely playing with the baby.
Will felt the urge of running to hug and kiss them
both, but a sensation of anger invaded him. Why didn't
you tell me about him? Deanna froze and took a deep
breath before turning to the door.
"Will!!" she gasped. There was no need to read him, it
was clear he was mad at her.
"I think we need to talk, Deanna"
"I can explain everything"
"You’d better do ‘cause I can find no excuse for
"Will please, calm down" she nervously finished
arranging the baby sitting for the night, grabbed the
baby and left the day care centre. Her stomach burned
from the adrenaline as her hands tried not to shake
too much. Why did he had to find out so fast?

Will grabbed her arm a bit too firm, "How could you do
this to me, how could you not tell me about him?" his
anger was totally out of control and he was almost
shouting as they both went down the stairs of the
entrance of the building. The two nurses of the day
care centre were watching through the window and
Deanna begun walking faster trying every time to
release herself but Will was holding her firmly,
telling her how stupid he felt for having moved heaven
and earth to find her when all she wanted to do was
run away and hide. "What did you hope for? Never to
tell me about him? That's what you were thinking off?"

A terrible pain invaded Deanna's soul. He had never
talked to her like that and she had never, ever,
sensed hate towards her from him. This was definitely
not going as planned. The pain in her soul, now
invading her entire being, was cut off from root by
rage when her baby begun to cry. "Will stop it! You're
scaring my baby!" fire coming out of her eyes.

Will immediately released her. Deanna tried to calm
her baby and herself. When Will tried to touch her
shoulder she moved aside. What had he done? He was
behaving like a royal jerk. Taking a deep breath, he
closed his eyes and ran his hand over his beard. In a
low apologetic voice he said. "I'm sorry... I...I
didn't mean to..."

"I know, I understand... and I don't blame you for
hating me for what I did but please, don't do this to
me." she was almost pleading "at least not in front of
the kid, after all, he's your kid too." she said half
smiling with relief as she sensed his emotions calming
down. He smiled back.
"Can I... can I hold him?"
"Of course you can"

Will took the baby in his arms and any remain of anger
was gone. He was there, holding his own kid, whom he
was beginning to love as much as he still loved his
mother. Will's beard caught the baby's attention who
begun tearing at it.

"Willie, don't do that, you're hurting your daddy."
said Deanna moving her hands to free Will's beard.
"No, it's ok, it's nice."
Deanna gave him a dumbfounded look "How can that be
"It's nice being called daddy."

For a moment Deanna looked at them. Will was
incredibly happy playing with the kid who was really
amazed with him. She was astonished by the incredible
resembalance and remembered how many times had she
wished her Willie didn't have those amazing blue eyes
that were a constant reminder of his father. And how
many times had she asked herself when would she see
them all together. And there they were, the two loves
of her life. She smiled softly at them.

"Will, I now know I did a terrible thing by running
away and hiding Willie from you. But... but you must
understand how miserable and betrayed I felt... once
again" Will nodded his understanding "And I decided
that as much as I loved you, I was going to carry on
with my life without you, because that was the safest
way for not suffering like that again. I know how much
you've been suffering this whole time and I'm really
sorry for it. I realised long ago that I did wrong,
and I wanted to call you, to say I was sorry and that
I still loved you, but... every time I felt the need
to contact you, I looked up to myself finding that for
the first time since we’ve known each other I was... I
don't know how to say it, I guess the right word is
okay. I mean, I was not suffering because you dumped
me, or jealous for seeing you with someone else, or
just unhappy for knowing that I still have those
feelings for you and you only considered me a friend.
You know I've never stopped loving you, and I probably
never will, but the idea of going back to those times
really scared me Will, can you understand that?"
"Yes Deanna, but you should have told me about Willie
"I know, but I was sure that you were going to be mad
at me whenever you discovered about Willie, just are
you are right now," she lowered her gaze and for a
moment begun watching a nearby tree, as to grab
strength from it "besides, I didn't feel I had the
right to walk back into your life whenever I decided
it was okay... I know we'll need to do a lot of
talking before we get to where we left off and that
right now we're both still hurt and angry with each
other but..." Her voice trailed off "but I think
Willie deserves a try, after all we're both his
parents and nothing will ever change that."

Will looked away across to the San Francisco Bay,
concentrating on the old bridge while pondering what
she’d just said, The baby begun pulling his beard,
laughing and jumping in his arms, Will smiled at him.

"Yeah, you're right, Willie deserves a try." He looked
at Deanna "I don't think it will be fair or even good
for him to grow knowing that his parents hate each
other, or even grow without one of them because he is
in the other part of the galaxy." Deanna nodded in
accordance "All this time, I was thinking what to say
or do whenever I found you, I never thought it was
going to be like this." She lowered her gaze once
again "you can't imagine how many times I've blamed
myself for being so... friendly with women, it
wouldn't have annoyed you like that..." he almost
smiled as she looked up again "guess we both have our
part of guilt and innocence here, and you're right
when you say that it will take us some time to forgive
each other. I want you to know I'll never give up the
faith that we will someday be happy again, and this
time, it will be forever." he said, lifting up her
chin with his freehand and kissing softly her
forehead. "This wasn't the kiss I expected to give you
after I found you, but it's the right one, at least
for now." he concluded smiling.

They kept on walking together across the rose gardens,
Will holding his baby. They begun talking about what
they'd been doing in almost 2 years without seeing
each other. Will told her about the Enterprise, about
the most dangerous, boring, long, exciting, mysterious
mission the Enterprise crew had shared without her.

"Will, I have to go now, it's getting late, I still
have some work to do, and it's also time for Willie’s
"You're going to work, who's staying with him?"
"Don't worry, after lunch I usually work at home. You
can come to see him whenever you want.–"
"Thank you."

Will saw how Deanna walked away with Willie in her
arms towards the senior officers housing area. She
looked so great in her mother role. He recalled the
time Deanna was pregnant on the Enterprise, he
couldn't believe his small, delicate little angel
could ever handle such a pregnancy. And all the
motherly love and tenderness she gave to Ian only made
him secretly wish he could someday share with her the
wonders of having a kid together. And now, his wish
had come true. I'm gonna do what ever it takes to stay
by your side.



In Geordi's quarters the rest of the Enterprise
officers and Picard were meeting for a poker evening,
but poker had been left aside, because Riker who had
to defend his champion title, had not shown up. But
mainly because they were having a very animated
discussion about the Will-Deanna-and-Baby problem.
Everyone was making up his or her own theory, even the
new security officer Lt. Comm. Pérez and the new
ship's Counsellor Lt. Comm. Midori Wakabayashi. They
had excitedly been following the Riker and Troi love
story during their first year at the Enterprise, and
they were as expectant as the others for what was to
come. Picard spoke up. "Come on, stop telling things
you don't know. I know you've all seen how badly this
has affected Will and that many of you are not quite
happy with Deanna. But I think she deserves the chance
to prove you she has not played the bad guy in this
"Jean Luc, are you trying to tell us you know
something else?" said Beverly trying to read his
"Deanna or Will will be the ones to tell the truth of
this, if they so chose to do so. We've already heard
enough silly things like she's married to Commodore
Anderson, Dr. Crusher." he said looking at her "I
thought Deanna was your friend and there you are,
talking about her having an affair with her best
friend on Starfleet Command. Jim Anderson has been
very supportive to Deanna all this months, don't think
she hasn't had her bad times as well."
"Well, I guess you're right, only Deanna knows the
truth of it all, but I would really like to see them
both back together." said Beverly a little ashamed for
her late attitude towards her friend.

Deanna finished bathing and getting Willie ready for
bed. She would have time to advance the promotion
evaluations she had been delaying because of the
briefing, but instead she stayed with her baby wrapped
in her arms, sitting on a rocking chair sending the
warmest and sweetest thoughts to his little mind until
he quickly fell asleep. She set the computer to wake
her up in time to get ready for the banquet and slowly
fell asleep thinking about Will and what it would be
like if the 3 of them could be together as a happy
family. Just as she had thought they would be that
last evening at the Enterprise. Imzadi, I still love

Will jumped off his chair, he was sure he had sensed
her getting in his mind, it had been a long time since
it had last happened, but that fantastic feeling of
love and peace could hardly be forgotten, and the
message just filled his heart and soul with joy. He
had been writing a letter to Lwaxana, but he wasn't
sure about sending it yet, he would have to talk to
Deanna first. He decided to have a shower and get
ready for the banquet.

Picard entered the Banquet House with Beverly who was
glad to know that female officers had been allowed to
wear a dress instead of the Starfleet formal uniform.
She had brought one, just in case, and now judging
from Picard’s expression on seeing her, she knew she’d
taken the right decision. Olive green with gold sparks
had been the perfect combination to highlight her now
blond hair. Behind them Will, Geordi and Rafael Pérez,
and then Data and Midori; an ensign escorted them to
their table. They were in table number 3, behind the
large table number 1.

"Where will Deanna will be seated?" Beverly asked the
"Oh, she's so lucky!" said Riker "She will have to
talk to those boring Ambassadors and won’t be able to
take dessert first as she always does" he read the
menu for the banquet listed on an elegant card and
laughed, holding up the card for the rest of the
table. "Catarian chocolate mousse, I know who's been
in charge of this." Everyone else at the table laughed
with him, but stopped laughing and tried to follow
Geordi's gaze who was starring open-mouthed towards
the entrance.

It was Deanna, she looked absolutely astonishing
wearing an off-white glimmering long dress, tight
enough to let her perfect anatomy eclipse the
beautiful dress and still look elegant enough to be
the delight of the Admiral's and Ambassador's
circumspect wives. Her hair was loose and straight
with some small curls at the ends. She would have
wanted to wear Will's diamond earrings, He would have
love it, but she committed the stupidity of giving
them back. Instead she wore a set of Betazoid
diamonds. As she walked she turn heads. She felt a
little nervous at the beginning but her mind blocked
out the feeling, she was the queen of the banquet.
*Come on Deanna, enjoy it for once!* she thought

"My god! She's a real babe!" said Pérez without
thinking and quickly corrected himself without looking
towards his Captain "I mean beauty." He hadn't seen
Deanna before as a minor security routine had kept him
on board the ship until a couple of hours before the
"She looks like a princess." said Beverly smiling
softly. She and Deanna were friends, more than that,
they were like big and small sisters and she could
forgive anything of her, even dating Anderson, which
was obvious by now, they had come together to the
"Actually Doctor," began Data, "she certainly is a
princess if you make a comparison of Betazoid and
Earth aristocracy. Remember, as daughter of Lwaxana
Troi, she is also a Daughter of the Fifth House of
Betazed, Holder of the Calyx of Rix and heir to
"Yes data, you're right, she is a princess." said
Beverly to avoid those everlasting word games Data
easily and constantly fell into.

Will was still looking as Deanna entered and begun
greeting the people she met as she walked to her seat.
She was seated with Jim. He couldn't understand it and
try not to think about it, he just stayed wordlessly
admiring his lovely Imzadi.

After the welcoming speeches of Admirals Adams and
Schneider, the band began to play several pieces of
music from different times and places throughout the
galaxy. Will felt a little jealous and angry when
after the meal and the opening ball, Anderson began
dancing with Deanna. She looked wonderful as her
lustrous hair moving as she moved. He felt envy
towards Jim, and then smiled realising how many times
someone else had felt that same way when he had been
the one dancing with Deanna at the many banquets and
receptions they had attended together.

The music finished and they were returning to their
table, but Deanna pull Jim towards Will's table.
Beverly hugged Deanna.
"You look great." Beverly said to Deanna and then just
to her ears and looking to Jim "You'll have to explain
many things to me, my friend."
"So do you, like why are you so damn cosy with Picard.
Come on Bev, control your self!" and both friends

They sat down in the two spare chairs Data and Midori
had left and Deanna sat between Will and Jim. Geordi
thought it was funny but felt guilty when Deanna gave
him her I-have-read-that look.

"So where's Lisa?" asked Picard
"She's visiting her parents with the kids. That's why
I came with Deanna, she wouldn't have allowed me to
come with anyone else or even worse, alone"
"Yes, she thinks I'm good enough to scare away
unwanted women, and I must warn you Jim," She turned
to Jim "Liz specifically told me not to let you dance
with any women other than Admiral Adams or me. But, as
Admiral Adams seems to be very busy between the
Brenian King and the Dalnerian Prime Minister, and as
I intend to dance with every gentlemen at this table.
I shall say, you’d better get used to that sitting
position." She said in her most sarcastic voice and
tapping his right shoulder, making the other occupants
of the table laugh.
"That's the problem of bringing your wife's best
friend to the party, it's like coming with your own
wife. I knew I was making a big mistake" said Jim much
to the amusement of the table. Deanna was open-mouthed
"Oh that’s lovely, just wait until Liz comes back."
"Ok, I said nothing."
"So Deanna, what are you doing on Starfleet Command?"
said Geordi from the other side of the table.
"I'm Admiral Adams Assistant and Counsellor, and I'm
in charge of promotion and reassignments evaluations."
"Pretty much what you were doing on the Enterprise."
said Pérez still amazed by the Counsellor’s beauty,
"But of course this is far more important being at
Starfleet Command."
"Well, I guess you're right but there have been times
I really wished I still could be on board the
Enterprise." Said Deanna without thinking and much to
Will's discomfort, and quickly added,"I mean, as
steady and comforting as it can be living on a planet,
sometimes I really miss life in space."
"I know exactly what you're talking about Counsellor,"
said Picard luckily to Deanna. "In space, each day is
a different day with different surprises threats and
challenges." The conversation turned into an
appreciation of life in space until Deanna

"Will, aren't you eating your chocolate mousse?" she
asked not taking her eyes away from the dessert. Will
and the rest of her old friends began laughing "What,
what's the matter with you guys?"
"Oh Deanna, I'm sorry, it's all my fault, I said you
were going to ask that same question as soon as you
noticed the Captain had left his dessert behind." Said
Geordi between chuckles.
"That's because you all know me too well." said Deanna
shyly, then she turned to Will. "You haven't answer me
"I was saving it for you." he said putting the bowl
right in front of her and giving her one of his
classic gazes. Deanna thought she was going to melt at
that very moment before his eyes as she used to do
each time he looked at her like that. She try to
control herself.
"Well thank you, that's very kind from you Will." She
said looking into his eyes.

Everyone kept silent for a moment as they watched
them, until Picard stood up, Want to dance, Bev?"

They all kept the conversation light and Data and
Midori had already joined them. Deanna was watching
how Beverly and Picard were dancing so oblivious to
the rest of the people, but she was in her own
universe overwhelmed by the closeness of Will. It was
so good to feel him near her again, after so long, to
be once more sharing his feelings, and it felt so nice
to see he still have those feelings for her. He was
her Imzadi. She was remembering the night before
Will's birthday, they were so close to each other,
their hearts and souls dancing together. And now, he
was sitting next to her and wasn't able to express his

Picard and Beverly returned to the table, once Midori
and Pérez got up to dance. They were all talking about
the good old times until suddenly, the music started.
Deanna couldn't believe it and thought it was
absolutely funny. Will, as always, felt uncomfortable
at Deanna's amusement and tried to ignore her, but
when it came to the part he could never play properly,
Deanna couldn't hold it any longer and despite all her
efforts, started laughing silently. Will just gave up
and started laughing with her. Only Beverly understood
as she smiled along with them. Will stood up and
offered his arm to Deanna, no words were needed as
they both went to the dance floor.
"I swear, I had nothing to do with the music"
"Why is it I don't believe you?"
"I know, I was just kidding"

At the table, Beverly was explaining, "It is 'Night
Bird' one of Deanna's favourite songs, Will has never
been able to play it on his trombone"

They were both lost in each other. Deanna couldn't
believe how good it felt to be back in his arms again,
feeling him holding her tight against him and together
moving to the rhythm of the music. He run his hand
across her bare back and she felt a cold rush run up
her spine. For Will it was like being in heaven, just
to hold her like that again after such a long time. He
decided to open his senses and enjoy the moment as
much as he could. The scent of her favourite perfume.
The silky touch of her soft skin. The lovely piece of
music playing. The mysterious look of her incredibly
black eyes. Her mouth.
He thought of the last time he had kissed those
perfectly shaped lips, the softness he’d felt and all
the good moments those lips had lead to. They weren't
dancing anymore, they were scarcely moving, holding
each other as close as they could with their eyes
closed, never wanting it to end. The music stopped and
they both broke apart and immediately felt the need to
hold each other again, but they both changed their
minds and returned to the table where they had been
watching them. Beverly gave Deanna a knowing smile
that Deanna returned nervously.

The rest of the night passed normally, Deanna danced
with Geordi, Lt. Pérez, Picard and Jim once more, and
wasn't quite sure of how to follow Data without
bumping with the other couples. Then Jim and Deanna
returned to their table and she danced with the
Brenian King in an attempt to help Admiral Adams take
a break. Around 0100 hrs. Will joined Jim and Deanna
as they walked out the banquet room.


"Mind if I join you?" Will said looking into Deanna's
"Of course not. I just love walking during the warm
summer nights, this is one of the good things a
starship cannot give you." she said closing her eyes
and letting the soft breeze caress her face.
"You're right," said Jim taking a deep breath "as
amazing as a hollodeck can be, they still can't quite
accomplish the feeling."
"I must admit you're right, there's nothing like
breathing natural air and feel the breeze and listen
to the night creatures, it's a matter of feelings."
said Will admiring the clear sky.
"Deanna, I have to go now," said Jim opportunely,
"tomorrow will be a tough day, good night."
"Good night." said Will and Deanna

They both kept walking towards Deanna's house at the
senior officer's housing area. With them, scattered
couples or small groups of people were also returning
home. Will thought it was nice for the two of them to
return home together after a banquet and let his mind
fantasise a little with the idea. None of them talked,
they just enjoyed each others company until they
reached Deanna's door. "Well, this is it, my command
house," at Will's quizzical look she explained "I
spent most of the time here, specially weekdays
because it's easier and in that way I can be with
Willie as much as I can. But on weekends we both go to
our city house. There's a park and a beautiful lake,
he loves going there."
"Can I see Willie?"
"He must be sleeping but sure, why not, come on in."
They entered the house, the baby sitter was there and
Deanna thanked her for staying until such a late hour.
"It's OK, Willie is just a sweetheart! Good night Mr.
and Mrs. Troi."

They were both caught by surprise but could manage a
"Good night, thank you." then they looked at each
other and smiled nervously, Will quickly looked in the
other direction as Deanna clumsily walked the baby
sitter to the door, hoping Will hadn't seen the
picture she kept of both of them under the mirror. *I
must hide it* She quickly returned, covering it with
her body while she indicated the direction of the
child’s room. As Will turned away from her, she opened
the drawer trying not to make too much noise and
slipped the picture inside, closing the drawer
afterwards with the same care. When Will turned back
to see why she wasn’t walking behind him, Deanna
hurried herself to follow him into the baby’s room.

They entered Willie’s bedroom, a small lamp with a dim
light and the characteristic mix of talcum and baby
oil impregnated the room. Will felt something inside
his heart, it was funny, all the new emotions that
this small boy was making him feel. He turned to see
Deanna, she was leaning at the doorway. Go ahead, she
indicated and Will advanced quietly into the room
trying not to disturb the baby. There was a picture of
himself wearing a Starfleet uniform by the lamp and he
smiled. And then he reached to the crib.
Willie was deeply asleep so he just stayed watching
his son marvelling at the soft baby sighs. Deanna went
to the kitchen to prepare some coffee and then went
back to the baby's room

"There you are Commander, I mean Captain." she gave
him a cup of coffee and smiled "You finally made it.
Captain of the Enterprise. I was very proud of you, I
saw the ceremony on the news. Would have wanted to be
"Would have wanted to have you there" she returned his

They both kept watching their child peacefully
sleeping. For Will it was a scene still hard to
believe. One night before, he was once more watching
Deanna's picture asking her so many unanswered
questions, and now he was trying to ask himself what
to do. He knew he loved Deanna, but what he had
discovered that day made him change his feelings or at
least that's what he was thinking of. Despite how
carefully they've both been in not making noise, the
baby woke up crying. Deanna took him in her arms and
kiss him softly. "Hello sweetie, mummy is home." Will
watched all the love Deanna gave to their kid and
begun thinking on how his life would be from now on,
knowing he had a kid and not being able to see him
grow, to share his love. Deanna sensed all the
questions in Riker's head.

"I think tonight is your turn to change him. I've been
doing it every night." and still with Willie in one
arm, she reached out her other hand over Will's back
and guided him to the baby table. "I will assist you,
but the job is all yours. Will began changing the
baby, always looking at Deanna before doing something,
as if expecting an approval look and smiling when
Deanna nodded.
"You're doing just fine." she said with her arms
crossed in front of her and leaning against the wall.

Will finished changing the baby, washed his hands and
scooped Willie into his arms to make him sleep again.
At seeing the two of them together, Deanna couldn't
handle the blame buried for such a long time for
having denied to both Will and their baby, the
happiness of sharing such moments and as she closed
her eyes, the tears begun falling.
"Deanna, are you alright?"
"I'm so sorry for what I did," she could hardly speak
through her tears "I just hope... you'll someday...
forgive me... look... look at yourself, you look so
happy with him... I shouldn't have denied you this

Will walked to her and softly put his arm around her
shoulders and kissed her gently on her forehead.
"Shh... it's alright... come with me." he whispered to
her, leading her into the living room

As they sat together on a couch, still with the baby
in one arm, he held Deanna close to him, and as she
laid her head on his shoulder, Will begun stroking her
hair. He didn't know how to calm her, it had always
torn his heart apart to see her cry. He kissed her
"So many times, I wanted it to be like this: you and
me together, a happy family. But things happened
differently and we can't change that. So instead of
regretting what we did wrong, why don't we start
thinking on what are we going to do to give Willie the
chance to grow in a happy family" he said wiping away
her tears. "We both know many things have changed
between us, but if we really try, with time, we could
recover what we once had."
"I guess you're right."
"Deanna, you have to be more enthusiastic than that,"
he said lifting her head so that she end up looking at
him "come on, show me a smile." Deanna smiled vaguely.
"That's better." said Will smiling.

Will would have stayed like that for ever, holding
Deanna and his son in his arms. Deanna buried her
cheek on Will's chest and opened her eyes to see her
little baby totally asleep on top of his daddy. *This
feels good* she thought. She reached out her hand
taking Willie’s hand, kiss it and let him hold tight
her little finger.
"He likes doing this" she said to Will.
"What?" Will looked down at both of them.
"This!" she said showing her trapped finger. Will
"What other things does he like?" he wanted to know
everything about his son.
"He likes playing with his stuffed lion, Leo, he likes
eating cookies...–" Will looked up smiling, trying to
imagine what Deanna was telling him "...he loves it
when I take him to the lake, and he doesn't like
carrot juice."
"No?" Will looked at her amused, he didn’t like carrot
juice himself.
"Not at all, he makes funny faces," she said laughing.
"Oh! and he loves chocolate, he hasn’t eat it yet of
course, but you should see him trying desperately to
grab one when I’m eating, I think he likes the smell."

"I wonder where he got that from?" they both smiled.
"Well, there's something else about him which I'm sure
he didn't get it from me."
"What?" his curiosity was piqued.
"All the nurses at the day care centre just love
him... as well as Admiral Adams, Liz and her daughter
Corinne, Nikki, her mother and all of her girlfriends
from school, and I could go on ‘til the morning."
"He has the Riker touch!" a proud smile drawn all over
Will’s face.
Deanna raised her head to see him "I can't believe
you're proud that your son has the same problem that
made me run away from you," she said kindly, she
didn't want to hurt him "let me tell you something,
from now on, these two Rikers will remain out of
"Understood sir," said Will smiling "tell me more
about him!"
"Well, I'm not quite sure yet, ‘cause he is too little
to know. But I think he can also have the Troi touch,
or to be more accurate, the Marai touch."
Will remembered Lwaxana's maiden name and shivered,
thinking about what was to come, "I'm afraid to ask,
but, what is that supposed to mean?"
"Well, I have a very strong connection with his mind,
stronger than with Ian, I think he could be a full
telepath, I'm not sure yet, but the doctor told me
it's possible, we’ll have to wait some years to know
for sure, I'll probably take him to Betazed then."
"Talking about that ..."
"I know, I'll call her tomorrow, I promise."
"Why not now? It's still around 1800 hours where she
is, and she'll be very happy, don't be afraid."
Deanna studied the idea, hesitating for a moment "Ok,
you win, but you talk first to her."
"Computer, open a communication channel on main viewer
with Mrs. Lwaxana Troi on Betazed." Will saw his face
on the screen, then the blue and white starfleet sign
and after some seconds, came Mrs. Troi. She was in her
living room and Deanna's eyes watered with happiness
and longing.

"William dear! How are things going?"
"Fine Lwaxana, how are you?"
–"Well, not so well, I decided to bring down the
paintings from the library so that I could take them
to the museum for curation and now I have a terrible
pain in the back."
"Why did you do such thing by yourself! I was going to
help you with that next month, remember?"
"I just couldn't wait, Mr. Homm helped me, I guess
I'll be fine by tomorrow. And you, how was that
welcome banquet?"
Deanna was amazed at the familiar tone of the
"It was great, actually it ended just a while ago."
"And you're calling me at... what time is it there?
0200 hours? Don't tell me you've found something about
my little one!"
Will's eyes widened and smiling broadly he said
"Lwaxana, you’d better sit down, I have a big surprise
for you!" Lwaxana knew it. Her face turned into a big
smile. She tried to control herself, and drank a bit
of the cocktail she was drinking before Will’s call
and sat down nervously "Computer, zoom back."

Lwaxana's eyes opened wide when she saw the complete
scene: Will was seated on the couch with Deanna by his
side and he was holding a sleeping baby. She couldn't
say a word, she was too choked to even breath.

"Mother... I'm so terribly sorry... I love you" Deanna
could barely speak, "Oh God! I've missed you so much!"
"Little one... what, why?"
"It's a very long story mother, I hope you'll someday
"This is your grandson, he is called William Andrew,
after his father," Will tapped his own chest, "and
Deanna's father." Will stepped forward so that Lwaxana
could see him closer. Deanna came behind him standing
at his side, watching her mother looking at her
grandson with so much love. Lwaxana turned to them.
"I'm so happy you finally got together."
"Mother, it's not what you think, at least not for
now." Will prudently moved away.
"Come on little one, don't say you're not sure of each
other's feelings right now."
"It's not that mother, all we want is the best for
Willie, and if that means we'll have to wait a while,
then that's what we'll do. I don't want to go back to
Will right away, I want to do it when we know we're
both ready for that. I know I've done a pretty good
job in hurting his feelings as well as yours, I just
want to give him time to forgive me, can you
understand that mother?"
"Rabeem little one." said Lwaxana looking to her
daughter warmly.
"Thank you mother, I knew you would."
"So, where have you been this whole time? When was my
grandson born? Will he be an empath? When am I going
to see you all? Does he has Betazoid or Earth
identification?" she asked the last question a little
more serious.
"Mother please! we can talk about all that when I see
you. After the briefings comes the conversations and
Admiral Adams and I will have to go with the group of
Federation Delegates to Cardassia, I don't know how
long will it take, but I promise to stop on Betazed at
my return."
"What are you talking about? Are you out of your mind
or what? William!?" she called loudly for Will who
came running from one of the rooms.
"What is it?"
"Tell this silly counsellor at your side she is nuts
if she thinks she's going to Cardassia for the
conversations, Those talking iguanas are too
dangerous." Lawxana was visibly nervous.
"Your mother is right, it's too dangerous" Lwaxana's
face calmed down.
"Will! you too? Come on, Admiral Adams is going, so I
just have to go with her and everything looks like the
conversations will take place on Cardassian territory
so, there's nothing I can do."
"What about a planet in the neutral zone?"
"Not one has accepted yet, they don't want a
Federation and Cardassian invasion with personnel,
vessels, security officers and the menace of a battle
in their territory."
"It still is too dangerous."
*Will, you're making my mother nervous, please shut
up!* he heard in his mind.
"Don't worry Lwaxana I'll speak to Admiral Nakamura to
see what can be done."
"Thank you William." Lwaxana was more calmed and
Deanna was astonished to see how her mother trusted
Will so easily.
"Well mother, it's pretty late and the briefings
tomorrow will start very early, I promise I'll call
tomorrow night." Lwaxana looked at Will
"I'll see she calls tomorrow Lwaxana."
"Alright dear! Well, I'm so happy for you both, sleep
well and little one, I'm so glad to see you again. I
love you, give my love to the baby."
"Bye." they said together.

"I can't believe my mother trusts you more than me.
Well I can understand that." she said sadly.
"What were we saying about forgetting the past?"
"We can't just forget the past. We may not let it be
part of the present so it cannot mess the future, but
we can never forget it."
"Well, then don't let it be part of our present, now."
he held her hands and then bringing her closer to him,
"Did anyone tell you, you were the most stunning woman
at the party?"
"Yes, many people did actually." she smiled at seeing
his face turning from a warm smile into a serious
"Who said that?" some jealousy coming out of his eyes.
"Well, besides Picard and Jim, there were Geordi,
Data, Lt. Perez, the Brenian King the Ambassadors from
Gasa, Nirvana 2 and Risa, Admirals Nakamura, Schneider
and O'Donnell and many other Captains and Commanders."
she was glad to see Riker's jealousy rising up.
"You’re just enjoying this aren't you?"
"Absolutely," she smiled triumphantly "Where's
"In his bed sleeping."
"Which is exactly what we must do if we expect to be
at the briefings on time," she tapped his chest with
one finger
"Okay, see you tomorrow, sleep well."
"You too."

Deanna watched Will leave to go to his quarters and
started thinking on how things had come out that day,
completely different from anything she had ever
planned. She still sensed some resentment from him,
but she could also feel how he was trying to fight it
back, to let all the good feelings reign over them
again. Imzadi, I now love you more than ever.

When Riker got to the corridor that leaded to his
quarters he found the rest of his crew and Picard
talking. He just passed by the group smiling briefly
not sure about how to look at Beverly and was relieved
by the Commodore’s pleasant smile. Captain Riker said
good night to everyone as he entered his quarters.

"I wonder where he has been since he left the banquet
almost 2 hours ago?" said Beverly. In her mind she had
already elaborated a very detailed plot. Only some
things remain loose. She still couldn't understand
what was going on. Deanna was not with Jim, he had his
own family, but she had a kid, or at least that's what
she’d understood when the girl contacted Deanna that
afternoon. But Deanna had not said a word about that,
Deanna wasn't dating anybody because she had gone with
Jim to the banquet, and she remembered seeing Deanna
watching Will when she thought no one was watching
her. Beverly made a mental note for contacting her
friend for dinner.


The next morning, briefings begun at 0900 hrs. The
semi-circled, scalonated tables were crowded with
Ambassadors, Delegates, Prime Ministers, Kings,
Commodores and Captains, all invited as observers; and
the two front tables were occupied by Starfleet
Admirals. The doors at the back of the room opened to
let Admirals Nakamura, Schneider and Adams together
with Commodores Anderson and Morales and Counsellors
Troi and Hall enter the room and take their places at
the central table. They were the Federation delegates
that had been elected the week before to go to the
conversations. After several hours of going through
Starfleet directives, different strategic points of
view and many ideas, many aspects of the initial brief
had been modified or neatly written to leave what
could be called a final briefing for the day. They
still had to deal with many aspects that had been left
for the next day.
Picard and Will joined Admirals Nakamura and Adams,
Deanna and Jim at the exit of the conference room and
they all headed to the Commanding Building.

"Where's Willie?" Will discretely pulled Deanna away
from the group.
"With Nicole Schneider and her mother."
"I see, you hang around only with high ranked
officers." he said making her smile.
They kept walking until they got to the Command
building where Will approached Admiral Nakamura,
Deanna sighed, rolling up her eyes and shaking her
"Sir, I'm worried about the conversations being held
on Cardassian territory, if something goes wrong, how
are we supposed to get you out of there? And to be
honest, I'm pretty sure that no matter how the
conversations are doing, Cardassians will try anything
to get us into a war. If that happens, it's going to
be a big one."
"That's something that's been bothering me as well,
but no neutral planet had offered yet, so, it can be
seen like a sign of goodwill for us to go there."
Nakamura looked thoughtfully at the end of the long
corridor. "I'm glad to see someone else is concerned
about this matter, Captain. We could be going right
inside a Cardassian trap."
"Can you imagine what will it be to have the 3 top
Admirals and other 4 high ranked officers as hostages
in Cardassia?"
"I know Will, I know, but I guess we'll have to take
the risk."
"That's not very optimistic Sir, with all due
"Well, the situation is not completely chaotic, you
see, I still have hope on Calintos."
"The second planet in the B2 system of the Neutral
"Exactly, they are interested in becoming part of the
Federation. I think I could press a little."
"That's good news." Once they reach Nakamura’s office,
Picard and Will went to their quarters, before
leaving, Will went to Deanna.

"Can I go and see Willie later?"
"Ok, I'm going to finish some things here and I’ll
pick him up. Meet you in half an hour." she smiled
warmly before entering Nakamura's office to prepare
the next day's agenda for the briefing.

Will was leaving his quarters when Beverly caught him.
"Got 5 minutes Captain?"
"Sure Bev, what is it?"
"Can you tell me what's going on? I'm totally lost
here and I haven't had time to talk to Deanna yet."
Will laughed at Beverly, somehow, he knew he was going
to have this conversation, he didn’t imagine it was
going to happen that soon, though.
"Well, which part is it you don't understand?"
"Ok, I know there's a kid, but Deanna is not married,
and apparently not dating anyone, you spent most of
yesterday's afternoon and most of the banquet talking
to her. You even went with her after the banquet.
So..." she tried to find an answer in his smile.
"So what? You’ve done your research pretty well!"
"Oh, come on Will, just tell me the kid is yours and
you are back together and you will marry her and
everything else." she said impatiently.
Will smiled calmly for a while, finding it funny to
see Beverly's eagerness increasing. Finally he said
"The kid is mine, yes."
"Oh! I knew it!, I'm so happy." she hugged him
"We're are not back together, yet."
"Why not? I mean, you love each other. I could see
that in her eyes and of course I've heard it from
"Well, we want to take time to let things cool down a
little, she feels guilty for what she did and wants to
take time for me to forgive her completely. To be
honest, I've got nothing to forgive her for, I did my
bad part as well, but I think she needs time to
forgive herself. And if that’s what she wants, that's
what I'm going to give her."
"That's very sweet of you Will, I'm very happy for you
both. I'm going to tell her to come for dinner."
"She told me she was planning to invite us all
tonight." at that same moment Beverly’s comm. badge
"Troi to Crusher."
"Crusher here."
"Bev!, I’m sorry I haven’t had time to see you and
we’ve got so much to talk about."
"We sure do Deanna."
"I’m planning to set a dinner for you all tonight but
I want to talk to you first so why don’t you come
"Deanna, where are you?"
"Yes, he’s with me.. he already told me!" Beverly’s
voice showed she knew it all.
"Will! Why did you do such thing, I wanted to tell her
"I’m sorry Deanna," went Beverly "I insisted."
"Alright, then I forgive you Will, I know how stubborn
and persistent she can get."
"What? Stubborn and persistent, me? That’s not funny
Will, stop laughing!" she said to her captain who
couldn’t stop laughing at seeing the doctor’s face.
"So where are you Deanna?" asked Will a little more
"I’m already home, you can come round if you want.
Meanwhile I’m telling the others. Troi out." The
Captain and the doctor left the guest quarters and
Will begun telling her what had happened.

Deanna had put some flowers near the mirror to cover
the place left by Will’s picture on the entrance, she
planned to put it back after her guests were gone. She
put Willie’s toys away and was finishing to set the
table when the door chimed. She finished the table
quickly, grabbed Willie in her arms and went to open
the door. Beverly stayed open-mouthed when she saw
Deanna and the baby.

"Oh, he’s adorable, he’s got your eyes Will!" she said
playfully squeezing the baby’s cheeks "and Jean Luc’s
hair!" she added laughing.
"He’s called William Andrew." said Will proudly as he
stepped forward to kiss Deanna softly on her forehead
and Willie on his still partially bald head. They
entered the house, Will holding Deanna by her
"I wish I could take you a picture." said Beverly
"I think there’s a camera in the first drawer under
the mirror..." Deanna immediately regretted what she
had just said, but it was too late, for the way
Beverly was looking at her, she had seen Will’s
picture. Deanna smiled back shyly.
"Don't move! ... you look great together." Beverly
took the Riker's their first family picture and then
admiring Deanna's house "Oh, a chimney! It's been so
long since I've seen one."
"Take a seat, I'll bring us some snacks and drink.
Will, please help me with the baby."
"Sure!" Will grabbed his son and sat on the couch.

When Willie saw his mother coming out the kitchen with
some cookies, he eagerly tried to free himself from
his father, so Will put him on his feet.

"He's beginning to take his first steps. Come sweetie,
come to mummy." Deanna kneeled and stretched her arms
to the baby who tumbled towards her. She kissed him
fiercely rewarding his effort but he was far more
interested on the cookies near her. "No sweetie, those
are for mummy's friends." The baby ate one of the blue
cheese filled cookies and judging from his expression
it was obvious he didn't like it, he gave it back to
Deanna. "No Willie, mummy doesn't want it, give it to
daddy." turning Willie towards his father she added
"Go to daddy!"

The world had already stopped turning for Will when
Deanna said give it to daddy, but it simply exploded
when his son reached him and placed the cookie in his
mouth. Deanna knew what those things meant to Will and
wanted to give him every chance to enjoy his son for
all the time he had lost before.

About an hour and a half later and after talking about
all and nothing, the door chime called again. It was
Jean Luc, Geordi, Data, Rafael and Midori. Picard gave
Deanna a bottle of the family vineyard wine, Deanna
thanked him promising herself not to drink a drop of

Geordi was absolutely amazed seeing his Captain
playing with the baby and a stuffed lion and thought
Will really looked happy. They all sat at the living
room talking about the long briefings day that only
Deanna, Picard and Riker had attended. Everyone was
giving their opinion and Will was still worried about
the place of the conversations.
"I'd better check the meal."
"Will, I'm so happy for you." Beverly waited for
Deanna to enter the kitchen.
"Yeah, Captain, I still cannot believe it, but you,
the Counsellor and a baby, was something I always knew
I would someday see. It's just fantastic!" added
"I think it's very romantic!" Midori said in a long
sigh "and the baby looks just like you!"
"Captain, I am curious, now that you have found the
Counsellor and that you know you have a family, what
are you going to do?" Geordi and Rafael elbowed Data.
Willie gave Riker another cookie and smiled with him
"I don't know Data, but I'll do whatever it takes to
stick around them." he looked towards his son sadly.
Picard put a reassuring hand on his shoulder.
"You can stop talking about me now, I'm coming." said
Deanna from the kitchen.
"Now that's the problem with empaths, they always know
the truth." said Will handling his son to Beverly so
he could help Deanna set the table.
"Really home made!" Deanna announced proudly.
"You did it yourself? I thought you didn't cook
Deanna!" Beverly was really impressed.
"Well, there are some things this little person has
made me change, you can come to the table now!" Will
placed his son on a high chair between him and Deanna.
"Hmmmmm!!! Delicious Counsellor!"
"Thank you, Midori! so tell me, how are you doing
counselling these guys?"
"Oh it's great!, the Enterprise is just splendid, but
unfortunately I'm not going to stay for a very long
time. In 4 more months I'll be leaving to Raga II to
take my Degree in Psychiatry and spend some time in
Regional Head Quarters."

Dinner was over and soon they all parted to their
quarters. Will had remained behind and went to sit
with Willie on the couch while Deanna was cleaning up
the table. He called her, tapping the empty space
beside him for her to join them
"We have to make a call remember?"
"Ok, but let me clean up first so mother don't see the
"I'll help you, just like the old days!"
"Yeah you're right, just like the old days." they both
shared a smile.

In only few minutes they all sat in front of the main
viewer to have a light conversation with Mrs. Troi.
Will told her about the possibility of Calintos and
Deanna about Willie’s possible telepathic abilities.
Lwaxana invited them to spend Willie’s coming birthday
on Betazed. After talking with her mother Deanna gave
the baby to Will.

"It's time for him to go to bed and last night he
slept so easily in your arms, it usually takes me more
than half an hour to make him sleep." Deanna said
"Thanks, I know you give me this little things for me
to feel better."
"He's your son too, and I want him to love you."
"Thank you Dee, you know I love you."
"Yes I do" she kissed him softly on his cheek and
buried her face in his chest, *and I love you too
imzadi* she continued only to herself.
She still felt a little apprehensive and tried to
think of something else like the longing for the
peaceful feeling of his arms around her. They all fell


The next morning Deanna woke up still on the couch and
covered with a quilt. Will and Willie were playing in
the backyard, and Will was making the baby fly like a
starship through space and the kid seemed to be having
a blast with the ride, breakfast was already served
and they were waiting for her to wake up.
"Did I sleep on the couch all night?" Will stopped
spinning his son and half dizzily turned to watch
Deanna standing on the terrace, he steadied himself
before beginning to walk towards her.
"Yep. I took Willie to his room, but you were too
heavy!" before Deanna could finish frowning he
corrected "I didn't want to wake you. Good morning!"
Will planted a quick timid kiss on her lips that made
her smile shyly. "Ok Willie, let’s give mummy a big
good morning kiss" Willie almost jumped over Deanna
who was waiting for him with open arms and both father
and son kissed Deanna on each cheek. It was by far her
best morning ever. They sat at the small table on the
terrace to have a nice family breakfast, at least
that's what each of them thought, and then they left
together and headed to Beverly's quarters to leave the
baby with her for the briefings.

By lunch time the briefings were finally over and Will
went to have lunch with Admiral Nakamura and Picard
while Deanna went to Beverly's. Both friends finally
had the time to talk about their lives. Deanna told
Beverly everything. The discovery of her pregnancy and
the events that led to it. The illusion of having a
happy life with Will. The devastation when discovering
that such happiness will never be possible. The
difficulties and fears of starting a new life alone.
The wonders of motherhood. The sadness of raising a
child alone. The loneliness without Will. And the
guilt for depriving her baby his father, and depriving
Will his son.
"I just hope he could someday forgive me, Bev."
"Yesterday he was telling me exactly that when you
called, he told me there was nothing to forgive and
that he thinks you need time to forgive yourself."
"Maybe he is right. I still cannot look at him without
feeling bad."
"Just give your self some time."
"That's what I keep telling myself."


Admiral Nakamura was telling Schneider, Adams, Picard,
Morales, Anderson and Riker about his last
conversation with the Calintos Prime Minister the
night before.
"He has to answer me within a couple of hours, but he
looked very interested in the matter."
"Let's just keep our hopes high," said Schneider
"Captain, whether it is Calintos or Cardassia, the
Enterprise, as our flagship, will be the adequate
transport for the briefings"
"That's what I thought Sir, I was thinking of leaving
families and research staff on earth, kind of an
extended leave and take medical, security and tactic
officers only."
"That will be very wise, we should take some
starfighters also, just in case." Picard recall his
days as Captain of the Enterprise and having this same
kind of discussions with Will Riker.
"Let's do it, but with the highest discretion, we
could ruin the conversations if we don't take the
necessary care." Nakamura concluded.


Deanna remained at her house for the rest of the
afternoon, Beverly had been called for a special
medical meeting with Commodore Morales and a small
group of 9 C.M.O. of different starships and Star
bases. Will was still with Picard and the Admirals.
Lieutenant Pérez had also been called to the meeting.
And Geordi and Data were called to an Engineering
meeting with Commodore Anderson, it all made Deanna
nervous about the conversations. When Will went to
Deanna's house, she run to him and hid within his
"What's going on Will? I'm getting scared about the
"It's OK, they will be held on Calintos, 4 more days
and we'll all be leaving. We expect to arrive in 2 1/2
"And why all the rush and sudden meetings?"
"As it's a neutral planet, we can be totally free to
take all precautions."
"I don't like this."
"Neither do I but it‘s the best we can do, calm down."
he kissed her head softly, "and Willie?"
"He's inside playing," she smiled "Have you had
"Not yet, and you?"
"I was waiting for you." she confessed, he smiled
softly and they headed together towards the table.
"What have you been doing?"
"I had lunch with Beverly, but she was called to a
meeting, then I came here to read the Brief, very
carefully... I'm getting nervous Will."
"Everybody is Deanna, everybody is."


Four more days passed quickly and soon they all had to
leave. Deanna was too concerned about Willie and
despite her heart, she decided to leave him with the
Schneiders for what Will felt relief and called
Lwaxana telling her to go to earth and take the child
to Betazed with her.
Deanna felt strange to be back in her former quarters
on board the Enterprise, only her mother had been
using them. She found a picture of Lwaxana, Will and
her celebrating Christmas together, it was 5 years
old, Deanna smiled at seeing the picture, if only
things could be as simple as they were back then.

The 2 1/2 week journey was shorter than what she had
expected. Between the countless meetings, security
trainings and emergency rehearsals, time seemed to
fly. The regular Enterprise staff had been replaced by
Security and Tactical Officers, and the cargo bay was
filled with starfighters, runabouts, torpedo heads and
all kind of warfare paraphernalia. 2 days behind the
Enterprise, 7 equally equipped Galaxy class ships and
other 9 vessels were heading to DS9 and DS15 to be
ready for any possible action.

The transporter room was crowded with Admirals and
Commodores. Riker could hardly hold Deanna's hand
tightly before the Delegates were beamed down to the
Calinto's surface, the rest of the officers went to
the conference room to wait.



A welcoming dinner was held at the Prime Minister’s
Palace. Deanna felt her blood run cold when she saw
the group of 7 Cardassian delegates in the Dinner roo.
They were too young to be Admirals as they claimed and
she sensed something was not right. She held Jim's arm
"What's wrong?"
"I don't know Jim, but this is not right, we should
return to the Enterprise."
Schneider swallowed hard, "Step back." he said to
Adams, but it was too late.
Two Cardassians soldiers appeared from behind them
with guns. Anderson threw himself over Deanna while
Morales activated the small smoke bomb he had brought
with him. The Cardassians began shooting, and one shot
hit Samantha Hall and another hit Morales. Nakamura
hardly had time to contact the Enterprise, they all
were beamed up. All except Hall, Adams and Troi.

In all the years belonging to the fleet, Will Riker
had tried to prepare himself for a moment like this.
He had thought he could handle the situation calmly,
but couldn’t do anything to stop his heart pounding
heavily and the burning in his stomach when he heard
from Morales that one of the Counsellors had been
severely injured. They were all wounded, no one wanted
to think about the fate of the ones still left on
Calintos. "Will, I swear she's ok, I covered her."
said Anderson holding Will's hand, he had a terrible
wound on his left shoulder.

The initial chaos was soon replaced by quick actions.
They scanned the area for possible cloaked vessels,
alerted DS9 and DS15 and contacted Starfleet Command
and the Klingon Empire. 10 heavily armed vessels would
be arriving to the sector within the next 6 hours. All
communications from Calintos had been cut out. It had
already passed about 1 1/2 hours and nothing was known
about the hostages.
"We sure did a nice job this time." Schneider said
sarcastically "3 officers captured, all females, no
weapons, no communication channels, and one of them
severely injured." He hit the conference table with a
fury he wasn’t used to showing, making everybody jump.
"They really fooled us this time. 2 months preparing
for the damn conversations and now... God knows what
kind of torture methods they will be using to make
them tell top secret information. The Cardassians must
be laughing at us right now." said Admiral O'Donnell
making Picard's blood freeze at the memory of his
terrible days as a Cardassian prisoner.
"David, I have complete confidence neither Admiral
Adams nor the Counsellors would betray the Federation,
besides, the Code One Hostage Protocol had already
been set, all security codes have been changed. You
can stop worrying about that." Schneider could never
understand O’Donnell and his priorities during tense
situations "I’m worried for their lives, what are we
going to do to rescue them before they kill them?"
Riker couldn't stop looking at the distant stars out
in space.

Only after 4 more hours, Cardassians contacted the
Enterpris. They demanded the retreat of Federation
vessels from the neutral zone in less than 3 hours or
they would execute one of the prisoners. That was it.
They couldn't demand seeing the prisoners, they
couldn't ask for an exchange of prisoners nor ask for
any other kind of negotiation. To avoid any action
against the prisoners, they immediately informed all
vessels to return to Federation territory. Hours
passed and nothing was known; on board the Enterprise,
the tension between officers was beginning to explode,
Schneider and O'Donnell had a heavy argument that
gratefully Nakamura was able to calm. Nobody talked,
they were all sited at the conference room, waiting...


Deanna was very worried about Samantha's physical
condition. She had a terrible wound on her left side
extending from about her ribs to her hip. Admiral
Adams had a small wound on her head, caused when
falling backwards and hitting her head on the ground.
Deanna herself had a broken rib that was hurting like
hell and a wound on her left arm, Admiral Adams had
tied a piece of cloth from her uniform around Deanna's
arm to stop the bleeding, but still she felt a cold
pulsating cramp along the arm. The 3 women had been
taken to a dark and cold chamber, they had been there
for more than 8 hours and no one had gone to talk to
them or even feed them and Samantha’s condition was

The doors finally opened and the light coming from
outside the room blinded Deanna. She could hardly
distinguish the 2 Cardassian silhouettes walking to
"Come with us." one of the guards pulled Admiral Adams
"Nooo!" Deanna threw herself over one guard, landing
just were it hurt him the most, making him fall and
wallow in pain. She was hit on the head by the other
guard and fell. The 2 meters tall Cardassian kicked
her fiercely in the stomach. Stupid action, Dee, she
thought before darkness overcame her.

Deanna opened her eyes, a terrible pain covered her
body. She didn't remember much of what had happened,
she couldn't even think, the pain was so intense. She
tried to see her surroundings, Samantha was still
there breathing heavily, a cold sweat covered her
"Sam… are you OK?"
"Deanna, I'm cold, I can't feel my leg. I'm
"Shhh, calm down." Deanna crawled to her and managed
to sit up despite how much it hurt. "Where's Admiral
Adams?" asked Deanna, now a little bit more aware of
what was happening.
"The guards, they took her away about an hour ago,
maybe more. I think I've passed out a couple of times,
I don't know."
Deanna begun checking Sam's wound, it looked bad,
really, really bad. "You don't look that bad, try to
rest, you'll be OK."
"Don't try to fool me Dee, I know I'll die if they
don't get us out of here soon." both women cried
silently, scared about their fate. Deanna took off her
uniform jacket, leaving her with the blue shirt and
covered Samantha "Thanks, that's much better." Sam
smiled weakly.

Half an hour later, the 2 guards returned with Admiral
Adams, throwing her to the floor. Deanna almost missed
her, she was absolutely exhausted and evidently
tortured. "Why are you doing this?" Deanna would have
wanted to ask in an attempt to make the icy hearted
guards talk to her, but she was too frightened at that
moment and cursed herself for that, if only she had
some of the bravery Ro Laren had. Will would be
disappointed with her if he’d known. Once the guards
left, she checked the Admiral.
"Admiral are you alright?"
"I guess I'm fine, how's Samantha?" Deanna didn't
answer, they just stayed looking at Hall whose life
was drifting away quickly.


Back on the Enterprise, the officers were planning an
attack on the planet's surface. Commanders Data and La
Forge began analysing the magnetic fields with the
hope of discovering a way to beam down a special
tactic force team. 22 hour had passed already, Will
Riker was beginning to loose his temper when they were
hailed by a Cardassian Commander demanding the
liberation of 12 Cardassian prisoners in return of one
of the officers. Admiral O'Donnell demanded to see
their officers in order to continue negotiating and
cut communication channels. Riker kept telling
himself: *calm down, you know this is the only way*

20 minutes later, the 3 female officers appeared on
screen, everyone at the conference room stopped
breathing. The 3 women were seated on chairs, Samantha
was helped by Counsellor Troi and Admiral Adams; they
all looked pretty tired and scared. Riker would never
forget the way Deanna looked at him and what she told
him, "Take care of Willie, Imzadi."

The officers on the Enterprise felt their blood boil
when 2 guards brutally lifted the prisoners from their
seats and pushed them out of the room, making Deanna
collaps. Riker saw how that bastard, who he swore he
would kill with his bare hands, kick her in the ribs.
"We are not going to tolerate physical or
psychological abuse to our officers, your officers are
absolutely well treated and we demand the same
treatment to our people." Nakamura was indeed furious.
"The longer you take to deliver our people, the longer
your officers will remain here." and the communication

"This is our chance! We can beam a tactic force at the
same time as the prisoners." said Commodore Morales.
"That will be very risky, besides, how are we supposed
to get them back?" answered Captain Riker.
"It's our only chance."
"Believe me Commodore, I'm the first one who wants
them back, but it will have to be in a massive
"That will get us into a war." Nakamura walked to the
"A war they've already started, Admiral." Will looked
at the always calmed Admiral Nakamura who turned to
look at him.
"That's right, a war they've already started. We can
use the exchange of prisoners as an excuse for beaming
down a tactic force and get safe at least one of the
"Counsellor Hall is the worst of all." Schneider
offered, as they all started collaborating about the


In the cell, Deanna and Admiral Adams helped Samantha
to drink some water and covered her with their uniform
jackets, then Deanna pressed a wet piece of cloth over
the Admiral's head to ease the dizziness and pain of
being tortured with the use of a device that had been
inserted in her neurological system.
"They wanted information about our nearby Starbases,"
Adams said weakly "they are not from Cardassian
Central Command, not all of them, I guess it's a group
of rebels." Suddenly they heard some footsteps walking
towards the cell and spoke to the guards at the door.
"Bring the old lady again, for her sake, she’d better
talk this time." Deanna and Adm. Adams looked at each
other, panic written all over their faces. Then, with
a sudden and strange determination Deanna didn’t know
she had, she spoke to the women laying on the floor,
"I'm sorry Admiral, but this is the best for you,
believe me." and she knocked the Admiral out.

When the guards entered the cell and found Adams
unconscious they took Deanna with them to a large and
dark room; it had three greeny-bluish lights coming
from three tall thin windows with Calintian vitreaux
designs on the far wall, there was also a spot light
in the middle of the room. The guards pushed Deanna
inside the room, she felt cold and scared. Not knowing
what to expect, she walked with small steps to the
only safe place she found, under the spotlight. Deanna
sensed someone else’s presence inside the room and
turned, looking in the correct direction. Another
spotlight turned on making her heart leap. Another
rebel was waiting siting on a sort on throne.
"Where's the Admiral?" the rebel on the throne asked
the guards.
"She's unconscious, Commander."
"Lucky for her, I don't think she would have taken it
this time. So what do we have here?" he stepped down
from the throne and walked towards Deanna. His steps
echoing inside the room made Deanna‘s heart race,
giving her a glance from head to toe and to her head
again, walking around her. He spok, "A nice little
human Commander, you're too pretty to be a human,
it's a pity I have to ask you some questions, there
are other things I'd rather be doing with you." He
smiled too closely to her face and passed a hand over
her cheek and hair. His guards laughed along with him.
"And just what makes you think I'll let you do such
things?" Deanna said defiantly, thinking always of Ro
"Tough girl, just how I like them." Deanna felt her
knees tremble like jelly.

Deanna found herself falling backwards and hitting her
back upon a table, wincing from the pain she felt when
she refused to give them information about the
Starbases. She thought she was going to die but the
only thing that kept her from giving up was the remote
chance of ever seeing Will and their child again.
Another wave of intense pain hit her...

When she returned to the cell, she dropped herself
onto the floor. She remembered being taken 3 or 4
times, maybe more to the Commander and the intense
pain and the acute sound inside her ears and head
continued. But the events where all mixed up with
images of Willie laughing with her and Will holding
both of them tightly, and then came absolute dark.
Deanna had no idea 7 more days had passed. She had
hardly eaten and Admiral Adams was still unconscious
and Samantha, Deanna couldn't remember when was Sam
taken away. She tried to sense her, to send her
strength and hope but only darkness came to her again.

Deanna found herself standing once more under the
spotlight and begun trembling every time she felt the
slight warmth of the light. The Commander started the
interrogation, but Deanna wouldn't talk. She had
chosen to shut down on the exterior and think only of
her son smiling, she didn´t even noticed she was being
brutally tortured, until the pain was too intense to
be ignored. She thought about Will and took her lasts
remaining ounce of strength to speak, "If you keep
doing this, I'll end up like the other 2 officers and
you'll have nothing to negotiate with." She was
slapped so hard on her face that she fell from the
chair she was seated on. "Hang her by her feet."

She was taken back to the cell and hanged up side
down, but she was too worn out to notice. She only
kept thinking of her baby and Will, *Imzadi!* she
called for him, but there was no answer.


Will jumped back. He heard it but it was very weak and
very distant. He felt the urge to go and look for her.
"Sir, I'll go down too."
"Will, it's too dangerous, let the tactic forces do
it." Schneider tried to persuade Will as he knew how
he was feeling. He felt the same way. "This is your
ship, you can't just go and leave her like that." Will
looked into Schneider’s eyes with determination.
"Deanna is my wife, I just can't leave her like that."
Schneider looked at Will for a moment
"If I were you, I'd do just the same, besides with so
many Admirals and Commodores it appears your ship will
be just fine."
"Thank you Sir."

The plan was set. The Cardassian prisoners would be
beamed down in exchange for Samantha Hall. At that
same time, 4 teams of special tactic officers
commanded by Lieutenant Commander Worf, together with
Captain Riker, would be beamed down to a point of the
Prime Minister’s Palace where they would separate.
There, Worf’s team would have 3 minutes, enough time
to avoid being discovered, to get the hostages and
reach the rendezvous point to be taken back to the
Enterprise. Just at the same time a massive attack on
the planet's surface and orbit woul take place with
the help of 3 cloaked Klingon vessels, the Defiant and
several starfighters brought inside the Enterprise.

Riker, Worf and his men were beamed down and the count
down started. They began quietly advancing through the
dark empty rooms of the Prime Minister Palace, there
was no need and no time to give a detailed look to the
rooms, but still destruction was more than evident. It
looked as though the place had been attacked before;
phaser burns on the walls, ancient carved wooden doors
destroyed, broken windows and ancient paintings and
other art pieces missing from their spots at the walls
and pedestals.

Deanna felt Will's presence inside the Palace but she
was so close to unconsciousness that she couldn't tell
if the feeling was real or if she was being
delusional. She wanted to call out to him but couldn’t
so she tried to think on him to ease the pain and
agony of dying, but her mind began turning black. Will
felt a very slight whisper in his mind.
"Worf!, it's coming from over here!" Will guided the
group down the stairs, ending in a large corridor.

The Starfleet officers began silently checking each
room until they reached the door which the 2
Cardassian soldiers were guarding. They never saw
Riker and Worf jump on them, and seconds later, 2
unconscious bodies were taken inside the room by 2 of
Worf’s men, until they stopped terrified at the
entrance of the smaller room.
"What is it?" asked Worf, and one of the Lieutenants
pointed inside the room.

Will froze at the scene; Adams' body was on the floor,
she had been severely tortured. He didn't know if she
was still alive, and Deanna; he felt his entire body
cramp when he saw his Imzadi hanging from her feet.
Her once blue uniform shirt was stained with blood,
dirt and sweat. She had an infected wound on her left
arm and her face; he couldn't recognise her features
under so much blood and bruising. Her arms and hair
where hanging down, scarcely touching the floor, her
eyes were slightly open and her mouth was moving as if
saying something. Will lifted her head while one of
the Lieutenants untied her legs and another one run a
tricorder over her.
"The Admiral is unconscious but alive, how is the
Counsellor?" asked Worf, concerned for his friend.
"She's falling into a coma and has many internal
injuries, we have to take her to sickbay right away
Sir." and then seeing Riker's expression, the young
Lieutenant tried to calm his voice, "she'll be fine
Captain, don't worry."

They all left the cell, Will took Deanna in his arms
and Worf carried the Admiral. One guard appeared from
the stairs but he was immediately vaporised and they
kept going until they got out of the building. It was
raining heavily and they ran through the muddy yard to
the back of a small structure. Will used the rain
water to wash away the blood from Deanna's face. He
had to take a deep breath before looking at the deep
wound upon her eyebrow.
"It is time, Captain." Worf checked his chronometer.
"Now!" Will pressed his comm. badge to give the
Enterprise and the other tactic teams the signal, and
at the same time Worf detonated the bombs they had
been leaving on their way to the cells.

They only saw the beginning of an incredible explosion
that nearly reduced the Prime Minister’s Palace to
ruins. They were already in sickbay. Beverly gasped
when she saw Deanna and the Admiral, she was already
aware of Samantha's condition, but this was far more
"I want everybody out of this room, now!" she said
loudly "Will, you too." Worf and his men began to
leave sickbay, but Will couldn't move. He was watching
how the nurses ran scans, and took away Deanna's
uniform so they could see the extent of her injuries.
"Stabilise her!" Alyssa Ogawa immediately went towards
"I'm sorry Sir, but you have to leave." Will couldn't
stop staring at the biobed surrounded by nurses with
terrified expressions. "External wounds always look
worse than what they really are, Sir." She added
reassuringly, but she couldn't believe it herself.
"How is she, Bev?"
"Will out!" was all Beverly could answer, she was too
worried about the medical condition of the 3 women.

Will went to the bridge where the Admirals and
Commodores were gathered watching the developement of
the space battle. They had lost 3 starfighters that
had heroically set a collision course to the smallest
of the 4 Cardassian vessels after being breached by
their torpedoes. With the help of the Defiant and the
Klingon vessels, the Federation was controlling the
situation easily. In less than 2 hours, the only
Cardassian vessel left begun cloaking to make their
escape. Nakamura ordered the destruction of their
engines and shields, and 2 tactic teams beamed to the
bridge of the Cardassian vessel and took control of
the ship and ended the battle, with the Cardassians
surrendering and being taken to the Enterprise’s brig.
"How's Deanna?" A concerned Picard asked Will
"I don't know, she looked pretty bad to me."
"And the others?"
"Admiral Adams is fine, she's unconscious but fine,
and Counsellor Hall, well, I just hope Dr. Crusher can
do something to help her."

In the sickbay waiting area there was no more room for
another Admiral. Everyone had been waiting for more
than 1 1/2 hours and felt relief when Dr. Crusher
finally came out saying Samantha Hall was out of
danger and she would remain in sickbay until totally
recovered. She was still weak, but with medical
surveillance she would be fine within 4 days. Admiral
Adams was still unconscious, but that didn't worry the
doctors much. She had hit her head heavily, causing a
concussion. The clot had already been absorbed and
they hoped than in the next 10 hours or so, she would
regain consciousness. And then Dr. Crusher began to
explain the extent of Counsellor Troi's wounds.
"The weakening of her neurological system and the
damage on her ears caused by the pain has already been
cured. The 4 broken ribs as well as the wounds on her
legs, face, back and stomach caused probably by
physical abuse "like what we saw on screen the first
day" and the damage in her organs affected by this
abuse, had already been healed. Although we have
managed to take the blood out of her lungs she still
needs help to breathe and we're still administrating
blood and some chemical substances that will help her
recover the excessive blood loss and the drop in her
defences. It looks like Counsellor Troi has been
receiving the worst of it all, and there's not much we
can do by now but hope and wait."
With that said, Will's nerves had fallen to the deck
below, he felt completely useless. Beverly sat down
beside him "She'll be fine, I promise." But Riker felt
suddenly nauseaous.


The next hours on board the Enterprise were more
calmer than they had been in the last 8 days since the
Cardassians took as hostages, the 3 Starfleet
officers. Adm. Schneider and Commodores Morales and
Picard were beamed down to Calintos together with Worf
and a security team to investigate the Calintian’s
reason for supporting the Cardassians in setting the
Federation in a trap. They were surprised by the Prime
Minister’s story of a Cardassian attack right after
they had accepted to be the place where the
conversations would be held and the arrest of many
political and military leaders, as well as a thousand
civilians and the constant menace of executing them,
just as they had already executed a group of 80
civilians in the city’s main square. "We had no
choice." The Federation understood the situation but
decided to deny Calintos their request to join the

Admirals Nakamura and O’Donnell extended their
gratitude to the Klingon Empire for their invaluable
help against the Cardassian rebels and contacted
Cardassian Central Command to inform them what had
happened and asked for answers. They discovered the
existence of two different groups, one supporting the
peace treaty and the other one against it. They had
infiltrated people in the Cardassian delegation.
Cardassian Central Command thanked the arrest of the
rebels who would be returned to Cardassia for a
Martial Court hearing for crimes against the Empire
and requested a second meeting.

Commodore Anderson and Captain Riker were in charge of
the arrest of the Cardassians and sending them back to
Cardassia; they also had the sad job of counting the
human losses in the battle and contacting their
families. Commanders Data and La Forge organised the
testing of the starfighters to establish the damage
caused. Hours passed quickly, Will escaped every now
and then to go to sickbay to check Deanna’s
development, "Sorry Sir, no change." By the end of the
day, the Enterprise was heading to DS15.
"Engage, you have the bridge Mr. Data"
"Aye Sir."
Will entered the turbolift, "Deck 15... Riker to
"Sorry Sir, no change."

Ten minutes later, "Ogawa to Dr. Crusher."
"Crusher here, what is it Alyssa?"
"I think you should come." said the nurse in a low
"Is something wrong with Troi?" Dr. Crusher looked
worried along with the others at her table.
"No Sir, it’s the Captain, he insists on remaining in
sickbay for the night."
"I’m on my way." she excused herself from the table.


"Will, there’s nothing you can do in here." Beverly
was tired but understood her friend and talked with a
soft but authoritative voice.
"There’s nothing I can do in my quarters, Beverly." he
wasn’t going to give up so easily.
"You’re tired, I promise to call you if there’s any
change." she laid a hand on his shoulder.
"Thanks Bev, but I’d rather stay in here." he brushed
Deanna’s hair away from her face and arranged the
small pillow and the covers thinking it would make
Deanna more comfortable. Beverly gave up and went to
the replicator and returned with two steaming cups of
"Here we are once again, talking at Deanna’s biobed,
like the old days." she tried to find some humour to
make Will feel better.
"Tell me Bev, do you really think she’ll be fine?
"Of course I do Will, do you think I would just say it
if I wasn’t sure about it? She needs time, that’s
"How much time?"
"I guess 10 days or more. As I said before, she
received the worst part."
"I found her hanging upside down Bev."
"I know."
"For a moment I thought that was it, Q’s version of
the future had come true; she was dead. It really
scared me Bev. They must have done terrible things to
her," he looked at Deanna once again and rubbed her
hand then looked at Beverly "remember the Captain’s
experience with the Cardassians?" Beverly nodded
silently, remembering the days Picard had been
captured. "after that, he talked with Deanna a lot,
she never told me what he told her, but her face told
me how terrible it was, she even had nightmares in
those days." He looked at his hand holding Deanna’s "I
don’t even want to imagine how is it going to be this
"She’ll need a lot of support, from you, from
everyone. Willie and her mother will be very helpful
once they come on board."
"Willie." he smiled at the mention of his son and then
turned serious again, "We were planing on taking him
to Betazed to celebrate his first birthday which is in
only 10 more days. God! I hope Deanna is OK by that
"We’ll just have to be patient."
"Sorry Dr..." Ogawa interrupted, "Admiral Adams is
regaining consciousness." Dr. Crusher left Riker
stroking Deanna once again and talking to her.

The next days were almost routine for everyone. Will
kept contacting sickbay at least 4 times a day before
going to stay with Deanna until the nurses could find
an excuse to make him go to his quarters for the
night. For the rest of the Admirals and Commodores, it
was a time to analyse how things had happened and
learn from the experience. It was also a time to rest
from the intense working days they all had in
Starfleet Command although they were already thinking
on re-structuring the Intelligence Bureau.

Admiral Adams was ready to leave sickbay and they gave
her a special surprise dinner in 10 forward where she
teased all the men by saying, "You all looked pretty
brave by beaming up quickly and leaving us ladies
alone." she tried to put some exaggerated humour into
her voice to let everyone know it was just a joke, but
Will didn't think it was funny.
"We really looked stupid leaving you ladies alone."
"Come on Will, you can't say Deanna is an defenceless
woman, she was the one that knocked me out." Everybody
looked at Adams curiously, "she wanted to avoid the
Cardassians torturing me, so she knocked me out the
very first or second day, right after we talked with
you. Then, I guess they took her for interrogation
instead of me. Poor Deanna, she's still paying a
pretty high price for her loyalty and courage."
Everyone remained silent.

The following morning they were ready to leave DS15
for a 3 week journey heading to Earth, with a small
stop at Starbase 143 where Lwaxana Troi and her
grandson would be beamed up. Riker could smile again
when he had his child in his arms, after almost 3
weeks since Deanna had been captured. During his off
duty time he walked through the corridors of the
Enterprise with Willie in arms, proudly introducing
his crew, William Riker II." Lwaxana and the Starfleet
Officers were very happy to celebrate Willie’s first
birthday party, but Will couldn't hide his sadness
when Deanna couldn't be there, although he knew his
son was surrounded by many people who loved him and
his mother.

Five days after Willie’s birthday Will was on the
bridge with Admiral's Adams and Nakamura when Alyssa
Ogawa came through the comm. Badge
"Sickbay to Captain Riker."
"Riker here."
"You should come right now, Sir, if you wish to be
here before the Counsellor is fully conscious!" said
Ogawa, not caring if she sounded too excited and
Admiral Adams hugged Will before going into the

Deanna tried to open her eyes when she saw someone
coming to her.
"No please, don't!" she fought both weakly and
"Shhh it's OK." Will held her hands.
"Imzadi, help me!" she said still drifting in and out
of consciousness.
"It's OK Deanna, you're in sickbay." said someone
else. Of course it was sickbay, she recognised the
ceiling, she had watched that same ceiling many times
before. She looked at the person talking to her, it
was Beverly, then she turned and saw him.
"Will?" she said weakly.
"Imzadi." he leaned over and softly kissed her cheek.

Deanna couldn't understand what was going on. She
remembered being taken to the Commander and thinking
only about Will and her baby
"My baby! Where's my baby!" she cried desperately and
tried to sit up but a nurse prevented her, "where's my
"He'll be here at any moment, your mother is coming
with him, calm down, Dee." Will held her tightly in
his arms until she stopped fighting and stayed liked
that for a while.
"Little one!" Lwaxana came rushing into sickbay with
Willie in arms, "Thanks God you're alright!" Lwaxana
met her daughter and kissed her head.
"Mother!" she smiled weakly at her and then took her
baby in her arms, tears begun falling, "Sweetie, I
thought I was never going to see you again."

After Deanna had totally recovered consciousness, she
was surrounded by all her friends. She couldn't
believe it when they told her 23 days had passed since
she’d beamed down to the Calinto's surface. She
couldn't remember all that well what had happened, but
she remembered knocking the Admiral out and for that
she apologised. She remembered being taken to the
Commander several times but her memories were still
not clear in her head. Beverly decided the best thing
was to spend the night in sickbay watching over Deanna
who had to be given something to make her sleep
easier. She slept until almost 1600 hours of the
following day, and when she woke up, she was
screaming. Nurse Thompson had to explain her again
that she was safe on board the Enterprise and stayed
with her until Will arrived, she didn't want to be
left alone.

That night Beverly thought that spending the night in
her own quarters would be better for Deanna. She had
already recovered physically, and only the emotional
wounds were left, and those were the most difficult
ones to heal. Will took Deanna in a wheelchair to his
quarters. On their way they were stopped several times
by crew members that wanted to tell her how happy they
were for her recovery. In Will's quarters everyone was
waiting them for a special welcome back party, but it
was very short, Deanna was still too weak and Dr.
Crusher politely dismissed the Admirals. They had a
small family dinner after which Lwaxana left to retire
to Deanna's former quarters. Will had set up an area
for her and the baby in his own quarters and he would
use the couch meanwhile.

Deanna was sitting on the couch when Will brought
their child to her to kiss him good night and sat by
her side as she got him to sleep and Deanna cuddled
against Will.
"It was awful, I thought I'd never see you both
again." tears begun falling down her cheeks "I was so
"It's OK. it's over. everything will be fine from now
on." he held her close to him.
"I tried to be brave, but I was scared, I’m sorry."
"Deanna, there’s nothing to be sorry for." He told her

"I thought about Ro Laren?"
"What? I thought you’d think of Willie or me!" He
tried to find something to lighten up her spirit.
"I did, but when I was really scared I thought about
Ro Laren and on what would she do in my situation, she
is the bravest women I’ve ever known."
"Deanna, you are the bravest woman I’ve ever known."
He pressed her to him and kissed her head.

She began caressing her baby until he finally fell
asleep, and Will took him to his room and return to
Deanna. "Now you must rest too." he kissed her hands.
Deanna was still too weak to walk so Will picked her
up in his arms and took her to his bedroom and then
brought her some hot chocolate.
"This will help you sleep." he put the cup on the
bedside table and tucked her in.
"Please stay with me until I fall asleep." she held
his hand not wanting him to leave.
"I'll be right here, just rest." he caressed her head
and kissed her forehead, and settled by her side.

It was still early for him to sleep so he began
reading the newspad. A little more than an hour had
passed when Deanna sat up startled.
"Nooooo!" Will jumped to her side and held her tight,
no matter how hard she fought to free herself.
"It's OK Imzadi, it was just a nightmare!" he kissed
her head and kept holding her until she fell asleep

She woke up once more this time feeling sick. Beverly
had warned him to expect that and gave Deanna the
hypospray the doctor had given him just in case. He
got in bed with her and they both fell asleep with
Will holding her tight.


The next few nights were just the same. Deanna woke up
startled or screaming and there were nights in which
she simply couldn't sleep. Will got used to waking up
every 2 or 3 hours to go and check if she was awake
and if she was, he'd stay with her, talking about
anything until she could finally sleep again. During
day time it was much easier with her baby and her
mother and friends and the rehabilitation exercises
she had the complete day not to think of her terrible
days with the Cardassians. She spent the evenings
talking with Guinan, Midori and Samantha, Picard who
felt old wounds reopening was also a great help; and
after dinner with Will and Lwaxana, Will took her for
walks to the arboretum or to the holodeck. There were
two days left before they arrived at Earth when Deanna
could finally sleep for the first time without
wakening up in the middle of the night. When she
opened her eyes, she found Will seated by her side
watching her.
"Good morning, my Sleeping Beauty."
"Sleeping Beauty?" Deanna smiled vaguely and
stretched, she was still half asleep.
"It's an old fairy tale from Earth, you've been
sleeping all morning, it's almost midday Miss Troi!"
said Will with a wide smile.
"Midday?" she sat up, "where's Willie?"
"With your mother." he stroked her hair "I'm so glad
you slept peacefully last night." he hugged her and
kissed her cheek loudly making her laugh wildly. Still
in his arms she leaned her head on his shoulder and
wrapped her arms around him. He caressed her head.
"It's nice to see you laugh again, I told you it
wouldn't last for ever."
"You were right, but I'm going to miss this."
"This." she held him even tighter, –"the peace and
warmth I feel."

Will broke apart and began caressing her face, looking
into her eyes. He leaned closer, brushing her lips
with his fingertips and then with his own lips, he
softly kissed her. He broke apart and opened his eyes
to see her still with her eyes closed and kissed her
once more, this time with so much love and passion
that it made Deanna shiver. When they broke apart,
they were both laying on the bed looking at each
other. Deanna smiled softly.
"Shouldn't you be on your bridge?" she whispered.
"Data will be there until 1400 hours." he whispered
"That leaves you with a couple of hours off duty, what
shall we do?" she smiled seductively.
"I've got many things on mind..." Deanna saw his
mischievous smile just before he kissed her, rolling
over onto her.

"Mrs. Troi are you OK?" asked Adm. Schneider when
Lwaxana begun smiling and humming a song.
"Oh yes I'm fine! in fact, it's a wonderful time to
celebrate. Mr. Homm, bring some champagne over here!"

Inside Will's quarters the universe could have
collapsed at that very moment without Will and Deanna
noticing it. They were too amazed with sharing their
love for each other and rediscovering the incredible
feeling of being with each other again, after so long.

That evening, Will prepared an intimate dinner for
Deanna. When she came out of the room where she’d left
their baby sleeping, she found a dim light and some
candles on the table, soft music and a delicious meal
served. She walked to the table and found a small box,
picked it up and opened it and gasped when she saw the
ring. Simply beautiful.

"Would you marry me?" said Will standing behind her,
holding her shoulders. He turned Deanna around and saw
her smiling through tears. She kissed him and hold him
tightly without saying a word for a minute "I said
would you marry me?" *Of course I will* he heard in
his mind, *but you should've asked me after the meal,
I'm not hungry any more* Will lifted her and spun her
around, then he gave her the ring and softly kissed
her hand. He had kept the ring for so many years in
the hope that one day he would be giving it to her.
Deanna caressed his face tenderly and kissed him

The next morning Deanna woke up feeling absolutely
happy. Will was still sleeping and she stayed watching
him sleep, thinking about how much she loved him.
Looking at her engagement ring she smiled. After so
many years of loving each other secretly, of hurting
each other’s feelings and hoping they would someday be
happy for ever, they had finally made it, they were
now a beautiful, happy family. She looked at Will once
more before going to look for her son.

Will was still dreaming of the lake on Triana where he
had planned to take Deanna all those months ago. He
was with his son who was playing horsy on top of
daddy’s stomach and he could clearly hear his child’s
laughter. He opened his eyes to see Willie laughing
widely and Deanna getting him off his dad telling him
to let daddy sleep. Will smiled warmly,. His family
was there. He opened his arms for Deanna to curl
beside him and both watched their son play.
"So, when are you going to tell your mother about the
wedding?" Deanna smiled a bit too sarcastically for
his likening.
"She already knows… in fact, she’s already making some
arrangements for making it a traditional Betazoid
"What?" he sat up bolt holding his son in his arms and
turned to look at her.
"Don’t worry, I’ll talk to her," She sat up next to
him "as much as I’ve always dreamed of having a nude
wedding, I understand it goes completely against
Starfleet protocol and I don’t think many of our
guests, including you, would feel comfortable wearing
nothing but their smiles, so, I guess I’ll just have
to settle for a nice white dress." She didn’t looked
too excited about the last part as it was every
Betazoid girl’s dream to be the nude bride and Will
knew that as he kissed her.
"I knew you’d understand… thank you, I know how much
it means for you."
"Never mind, all that matters is that we’ll both be
there, with our hearts and souls completely open to
the other." She smiled at him and took their baby on
to her lap.
"I just hope your mother does understand." they both
smiled, imagining the scene.

At lunch time, Deanna went to 10 forward to meet
Beverly, Guinan and Adm. Adams,. They were all
admiring the ring between gasps and sighs.
"It’s gorgeous. It reminds me of the one my late
husband gave to me, now my daughter-in-law wears it!"
Adm. Adams said nostalgically.
"It’s huge! It looks like the Ferdun’s sun!" Guinan
exaggerated just a little and then a bit more
seriously, "you look very happy Counsellor and I’m so
glad you’re finally getting married to Will Riker!
"So am I!" Deanna laughed at her inability to hide how
excited she really was.
"When is it going to be, where, what did he say to
you? tell me everything, Deanna!" Beverly was just as
excited as she was.
"Well, it’ll be as soon as we arrive at Earth and
contact Will’s father, as well as some of our friends.
Mother wants it to be on Betazed where we first met,
but Will and I thought the best place would be right
here, don’t you think? It’s going to be a very small
ceremony, just best friends, so of course you are all
invited." Beverly and Adm. Adams smiled happily but
their smiles cut off when Deanna said "And it’s going
to be a traditional Betazoid wedding. Isn’t it
wonderful?" Guinan was smiling silently.

The Doctor and the Admiral kept starring at each other
for a while, until finally Beverly spoke up, not
before taking a deep breath and a nervous smile.
"Well it surely is wonderful Deanna… but you’ll have
to give me some weeks to… you know, work out!" she
tried to smile gracefully.
"Come on Bev," she rolled up her eyes, laughing at her
friend "I was joking, it’s going to be a terran
ceremony, so you don’t have to worry about anything
that’s out of place!" Deanna found it funny to see the
relieved expressions of her friends and laughed with
Guinan at them, but Beverly then frowned.
"What do you mean with out of place?" the four ladies
laughed, making people from other tables look
curiously at them.


The 10 forward lounge was full of Starfleet officers
dressed in formal uniforms and some very elegant
civilians. Everyone was watching Will and Deanna do
their wedding dance. Lwaxana and Beverly were smiling
with tears in their eyes and Kyle Riker was telling
two very beautiful Lieutenants he was the father of
their captain.
"I taught him every thing he knows!" Admiral Nakamura,
who was with him laughed.
"Lucky for the Captain, he got the most beautiful and
stunning woman on the fleet."
"Well Admiral, you see, it’s not a matter of luck. He
is a Riker. He has the touch!" Kyle said proudly
"which is exactly what my grand son has." he added
when he saw one of the Lieutenants playing with

After the reception, Will and Deanna headed for a
three day leave to the Orasa Lake on Triana after
which they would return to the Enterprise where Deanna
would be on leave until she could resume her duties as
Counsellor of the Enterprise once Midori left the
post vacant.


It was their last night before returning to the ship.
It was a beautiful night, the full moon reflecting on
the lake and half lighting the room. Everything was
calm and Will could hear the night sounds while he
watched his lovely wife, his Imzadi, peacefully
sleeping next to him. He thought of the last 15 years,
of how Deanna’s love had always been a constant in his
life. Among all the doubts, fears and difficulties,
and how their love had survived and still stood strong
after so much time. He ran his hand over her naked
back and kissed her softly, waking her up. She reached
her arms around his neck, pulling him down to her and
kiss him back. *I love you Imzadi*, he heard in his

The next morning Deanna woke Will up with a kiss.
"You better get up or we’ll miss the shuttle."
"Who cares about the shuttle." he pulled her down
towards him in an attempt to relive the night’s
events. She kissed him and laughingly pulled him up.
"You are incorrigible! Now hurry up, Captain and get
yourself ready. I’m dying to see Willie!"

Later in the shuttle, Will told Deanna that he was
thinking of reassigning her old quarters to someone
else. Deanna looked at him seriously,
"I’m not sure I want to get rid of them Will."
"What do you mean by that?"
"I was thinking we should use them to expand yours…
we’ll be needing bigger quarters pretty soon." she
smiled tapping her tummy.



After turning the Command of the Enterprise over to
Captain Data, Commodore Riker went with his family to
Betazed as Chief Commanding Officer of Starfleet
Intelligence in the Beta Quadrant. But it was only for
a very short period; his outstanding performance in
bringing down the Cardassian Rebels and leading the
Federation and Cardassia to a final peace, earned him
a promotion to Admiral at the age of 49. The youngest
Admiral in the Federation history. Something Kyle
Riker and Lwaxana Troi were really proud of.

Will and Deanna Riker appeared at the transporter room
together with Lwaxana Troi and their kids, 5 year old
Kestra was in her daddy’s arms and freed herself to
run after her brothers William and Kyle into the
waiting open arms of grandpa Kyle who had arrived the
week before with his wife Kate Pulaski. They had met
one more time on board the Enterprise at the wedding
and since then, they had never left each other’s side.
The whole family would spent 2 months together at
their new home before Lwaxana returned to Betazed and
Kyle and Kate to Risa where they had gone to live
after they had both retired. What Will didn’t know was
that Deanna was planning a big surprise party for his
fiftieth birthday that was coming in less than a