Listen to your heart
Deanna awoke in the early morning hours with a sudden jolt. In an instant she knew someone elses pain had woken her up. It only took a second longer to realize it was Will Riker. The pain was intense and along with it she could feel an incredible sense of loneliness.
It only lasted a second before it dissipated as quickly as it had come. Instinctively she reached out to him. ~Imzadi, she sent. Hoping he could hear her but fearing he was to far away.
The man lying next to her in bed sat up and grabbed her arm. Demandingly asking, "What did you say?" Deanna paled slightly, only then coming fully awake. She was in her quarters on Earth with her husband, a full betazoid named Jev Delong. In the next room over was the reason she had married him, their six-month-old daughter Elizabeth. They both worked at Starfleet Academy. Will Riker was now captain of the Enterprise E.
She knew why her husband was angry with her. He had probably woken up at the first signs of her discomfort and had heard clearly when she had whispered Imzadi. SHe had never revealed the full extent of her past relationship with her husband. Keeping her feelings for Will in a corner of her mind she never let her husband into, never revealing she had an Imzadi.
"Jev I don't have time to argue. Will is hurt I have to help him."
"Will Riker is your Imzadi. You deliberatly mislead me about your feelings for him."
"I didn't mislead you. But that doesn't mean I don't still care about him. He had been my best friend for years. I have to help him."
"I am your husband I thought I was supposed to be your best friend."
"Don't you care in the least that he is hurt?"
"Deanna be reasonable. He has plenty of friends. I am sure they are already on their way."
"Jev. He only would have reached out to me as a last hope. If something happened to the ship no one might even know where to find him!"
"And I suppose you do!"
"I have to help him!" She headed for the door of their bedroom to use the comm consul.
"Deanna let someone else do it."
"Deanna if you leave now to go help him, don't you dare come back."
Deanna stopped and turned towards her husband. She couldn't believe he was making he choose between him and Will. Will was lying hurt and alone and probable dying and her husband wouldn't even let her use the comm consul! Anyway it didn't matter. All that mattered was helping her Imzadi.
"I can find him. I am goin to help him and if you don' like it you can go to hell." She pulled her wedding ring off her finger and threw it at her husband. She gathered he daughter and her things and left their quarters. If she hadn't been so angry herself she might have felt something within Jev snap banishing all rational thought and he vowed to make Will Riker pay for taking his wife.
On an uninhabited planet Will Riker lay in the middle of a forest cold and completely alone. His back hurt badly, he couldn't feel his legs and there was really no where to go even if he could have gotten up. So he laid there feeling completely miserable letting the memories of the past day wash over him.
He had been on the bridge when one after the other all major systems had gone down. It had started with communications then navigation. But the warp engines hadn't shut down upon loosing navigation and it had taken Chief engineer Laforge nearly a half-hour to get the ship to come to a complete stop. They had still had short range sensors then, so they new they had come within kilometers of crashing into this planets atmosphere.
By then he had been in engineering demanding an explanation from Geordi.
"I'm sorry Captain." Geordi had complained." I don't know what is causing the shutdowns, but it gets worse."
"How could this possible get worse?"
"Whatever is causing the shutdowns is creating havoc with the warp engines. We're going to have a warp core breech in maybe a half hour."
"So what are you waiting for eject it!"
"I can't I tried. And before you suggest a saucer separation that won't work either."
"Do the escape pods still work?"
"Yes. I should even be able to get the abandon ship alarm to sound."
"Wonderful." He quipped, but before he could give the order to abandon ship the consul he was standing next to decided to shutdown, exploding in the process. He had heard the explosion then nothing else.
Coming back to the present he realized someone had probably gotten him to an escape pod. He found himself wishing he new if Geordi had made it. He hoped most of his crew had made it out. He had no idea how far off course they had gotten. He was pretty sure Starfleet wouldn't find this planet before he succumbed to shock. With nothing to scan for life, he was certain his surviving crewmen wouldn't. But looking back he knew that given the circumstances there had been nothing he could have done to prevent it. No, if he died alone in this godforsaken place there was only one thing he regretted, one person he corrected himself. He reached out to her briefly but immediately pulled back, remembering...
Back on Earth Deanna sat in front of a comm consul talking to Admiral Picard, she had just finished explaining the reason for her call. "Let me do some checking." He said. "I'll call you right back."
"Thank you admiral."
"And Deanna don't worry. We'll save him." After she finished with him she called her mother and arranged for her to take the baby for a few days. When she was done she sat back and let her mind wander. All her friends had tried to tell he Jev was a jerk and she shouldn't marry for the wrong reasons. Even he own mother had tried to dissuade her only agreeing after Deanna threatened to keep her from her grandchild, but their arguements had only strenghtened her resolve to marry. The one mans objections she might have listened to hadn't objected. Instead, when she had told Will he had asked if Jev could make her happy. When she had said yes he had simply congratulated her and left the room.
The comm buzzed just then breaking into her thoughts. "Deanna the Enterprise has dissappeared enroute to a routine diplomatic mission. Command wasn't to worried assuming mechanical difficulty was delaying them. I explained that you are close to him and picked up something was wrong. There are no other ships in the area so tomorrow we will take the Roosevelt out to look for them."
"Thanks Admiral. I'll be ready"
The next day Deanna stood on the bridge thoroughly frustrated with the current conversation. First officer Commander Data,who was currently acting captain, was saying"There is no sign of the Enterprise at these coordinates or anything that might have caused them harm."
With that statement Beverly Picard placed a comforting hand on her shoulder and said,"But something did cause them harm."
"Yes. However these are only their last known coordinates. We shall continue to..."
"NO!" Deanna shouted."We have to find him now!"
No one bothered to remind her their were over 1,000 other people on the ship besides Will Riker. However Admirlal Picard said,"Deanna, we are doing the best we can if you have someway of speeding up the process by all means tell me."
She closed her eyes for a moment. She knew they didn't have much time. She could feel him slipping away. She concentrated managing to find her center then reached for the part of her she could feel slipping away from her. She didn't use it to sense what he was feeling just used it to sense him at all.
She opened her eyes again and said, "Give me the helm."
"Deanna," Beverly started.
"No." Deanna interrupted." I can find him. Give me the helm"
Data nodded at his crewman sitting at the helm. He vacated the seat to let Deanna sit down. She sat down and started entering coordinates.
Quite a few course corrections and an hour later they came out of warp around an uninhabited M class planet. An audible gasp went up around the bridge at the size of the debris field around it.
Data looked down at his consul and said," Amount of debris is concurrent with that of a sovereign class vessel, however I am reading over 1,000 humanoid lifeforms on the planets surface."
"Start evacuation procedures immediately. Deanna, Beverly lets go. We'll take a shuttle and go find him. "
As they left Deanna sent once again ~Hang on Imzadi. I'm coming.
Down on the planet Will woke from unconsciousness to semi-consciousness upon hearing her words. He was pretty sure he was imagining them but at this point he honestly didn't care. So he was completely amazed when she was actually kneeling there next to him saying,"Will, honey, it's all right. I'm here so is Bev and Jean Luc. You're going to be alright. HE opened his mouth to answer but even that was to much of an effort and he slipped back into unconsciousness.
The next day Deanna sat watching Will, peacefully sleeping. Beverly had said he would wake up soon and she wanted to be here when he did. But sitting and waiting was driving her insane. She had no idea what she would tell him when he woke up. She was still contemplating just that when she heard him moan softly.She was by his bed in an instant, starring intently at his face for any sign of life.She watched as his eyes slowly opened.
"Hi handsome." She said
Just then Beverly walked in and said," Will You're awake. How are you feeling?"
"Can't move good." He said. His voice was barely a whisper from weakness.
"That is because of your back injury. It will clear up soon. If you behave yourself you will be back on your feet in a week or so. "
"'Kay Doc." Beverly took some readings off the monitors then left the room. Deanna for her part was surprised he hadn't put up a fuss about not being able to move around. He seemed distracted by something else.
"Will are you alright?" She asked
"Why aren't you wearing your wedding ring?"
She sighed. Trust Will Riker to pick up on something like that. "I gave it back to him. Why doesn't matter. We'll talk about it when your feeling better."
"You're on the Roosevelt. We are on our way back to earth. Most of your crew made it out. Geordi and Data have almost got the whole thing figured out. I'm sure Beverly will let them in to see you when they have finished the report."
"Alright." was his only answer as he fell back to sleep.
About a week later Deanna was in her quarters on earth. Her mother had recently returned with the baby. The baby hadn't stopped screaming for what seemed like days and to top it all off her mother was hounding her about her reluctance to tell Will the whole truth.
"Mother I told you already. I've tried. He gets defensive whenever I bring it up. I'm just waiting for him to be ready to talk about it." She turned to leave the room to try and console her screaming daughter.
"Deanna, the baby can wait. When are going to tell him you left your husband to help him?"
Just down the hall Will stood nervously contemplating what to do. He had just been released from sickbay. Although Deanna hadn't recounted her side of the story, he had heard Beverly and Jean Luc's side. It didn't take much to figure out that her saving him had somehow ended her marriage. He didn't want to be the cause of another broken heart for her, even if it was over another man. He decided he'd never figure it out if he didn't talk to her so he continued down the hall.
He rang the bell but he could hear the baby screaming from out there so he just went in knowing she probably hadn't heard. He heard Deanna and Laxanna arguing in the other room and decided it was best to stay out of it. Instead he walked over to the baby's bassinet.
"What seems to be the problem little one?Hmm?" Then he gently lifted the baby into his arms. The baby had immediately stopped screaming.
In the other room, the two women stopped arguing. "Do you hear that? The baby stopped screaming." The quickly made their way into the other room to find Will standing quietly rocking the baby in his arms. "What did you do to get her to stop?" Deanna asked.
"What" He said just then looking up and noticing her. "Nothing. She was crying. I picked her up. She stopped crying." A lump suddenly formed in her throat. Even her daughter could tell what a good man he was how could she have left him for another man? They sat down side by side on the couch. Her mother thankfully decided to make herself scarce.
"Will can I ask you something?"
"Of course." HE responded.
"Why didn't you object to my getting married?"
"Deanna I can't lie to you. It hurt to see you with someone else. But he seemed to make you happy. It was more then I seemed to be capable of at the time."
"You're really not angry with me?" She asked.
"No. I think you have a big enough heart for the both of us. I'm just sorry. If it hadn't been for me you would still be happily married."
"No, Will. It's not your fault." She then recounted the argument she had with her husband the day she left.
When she was finished Will turned anger flooding into his features. "I never would have made you choose. If it had been reversed I would have done everything I could to help you save him not matter how much I hated him. I would do anything for you. I love you. "
"I know I love you too." She answered. With those three little words came relief. It felt like the whole galaxy had finally been lifted off their shoulders. They pulled together falling into a deep passionate kiss.
Somewhere else on Earth Jev threw the data padd containing his final divorce papers across the room. His mind was whirling with images of what he was going to do to Will Riker when he finally got his hands on him.
Over the next few weeks Will and Deanna got even closer. They started by spending all their free time together, but when Deanna found single parenthood a little more taxing then she expected Will moved in to help her with the baby. They spent endless hours sitting and talking, mostly about what the future would hold for them. They vowed not to let anything stand in the way of their being together again. They promised each other that they would both resign from Starfleet if they didn't get assigned to the same ship.
But one day Will approached her at dinner. He looked serious and she could tell he was a little nervous. "Will whats wrong?" She asked.
"Deanna, I am going to be getting my orders tomorrow. Jean Luc has assured me you are going to be assigned to my ship."
"I know. It's wonderful. We can finally be a family."
"That is just it. I love Lizzie, but the truth is she isn't my daughter. You have to talk to Jev. He deserves to be able to spend time with his daughter. "
"You're right. I'll call him in the morning. But Will, I doubt he'll want anything to do with her. He would have contacted me long ago if he wanted to see her. But he is her father and I owe it to her to at least try. "
The next morning she sat holding her daughter close to her on the couch. The baby was fussy this morning, probably picking up on her mothers uneasiness, she decided. She had called Jev and was totally surprised when he had said he wanted to see her and the baby to discuss custody in person. He had been blocking her out but she was certain from his body language that he was hiding something. She had tried to convince him to meet in a public place, but he had insisted on meeting at his quarters. He said it was so he could spend time with Lizzie, but Deanna still wasn't convinced. He had never showed much of an interest in their daughter and the fact that he did now made her nervous.
She bit her lip nervously. She hated to bother Will, especially in the middle of a breifing, and Jev would probably be furious, but there was no way she was bringing her daughter into a potentially dangerous situation alone. Her decision made, she then decided if she was going to bother Will it might as well be in person. He always managed to calm the baby down when she got cranky.
When she got to the conference room where the briefing was being held she didn't bother to announce herself, Lizzie had done a very capable job of that. "I am sorry to interrupt Admiral Picard, but can I borrow him for a moment. "She asked pointing toward Will. Jean Luc waved his consent a headache already starting to form because of the noisy baby.
"Dee, now isn't a good time." Will said standing up."I'm in the middle of a..." Before he could finish she pushed the baby into his arms. The baby immediately quieted down. "...meeting." He finished.
"Aah. That's better. Works every time."She commented, ignoring his protests.
"You know we really have to come to some kind of understanding here. I have work to do I can't come running every time you want to be held. " But Will said it while he was smiling down at the baby, leaving no doubt in anyone's mind that he didn't mean a word of it. "Did you come here just for this?"
"No I called Jev. He wants to meet in person."
"Maybe he just wants to see his daughter."
"I'm not sure. He was hiding something. I'm worried he'll try something."
"Ah hah."Will said, finally understanding. "What time?"
"This afternoon 1300, his place. "
"Okay, I'll be there." HE glanced at Admiral Picard for conformation.
"Go on. Why don't we finish this up over dinner? You can fill in your new ships counselor on all the details then too."
"Thanks Admiral. We'll be there.
Will and Deanna had already been in Jev's quarters about 15 minutes now. Will had used all his diplomatic experience as first officer then captain of the enterprise to keep coming up with good fair ways he and deanna could share custody of the baby. Jev found something wrong with each of them and to top it off he hadn't even glanced at the baby. Elizabeth was definitely not of interest to him. Deanna had been right. Jev was definitely up to something.
Jev suddenly stood up and asked,"How about something to drink? Lemonade alright with you both?" Then left the room without waiting for an answer. This was just to perfect, he thought to himself as he left the room. He had been planning on kidnapping Deanna and using her to lure Will Riker in, instead they had both walked in together. They were making this far to easy. He poured a sedative into the pitcher of lemonade then swallowed the drug that would allow him to take it himself without passing out.
When he went back into the room, Will and Deanna both eyed their drinks suspiciously until they saw Jev take a long drink out of his own glass. The last thing they heard before they passed out was Jev's evil laughter.
When Wil woke up the first thing he was aware of was a horrible cramp in his neck. He then realized it was because he had been sleeping seated with his hands tied behind his back and his ankles bound. Deanna was directly across from him, her eyes still closed. They were in a shuttle, when he looked out the forward viewscreen all he saw were trees. He immediately started working on untying the ropes around his wrists, but just then Jev walked in casually carrying a knife."Now now none of that. We wouldn't want you getting free."
Will stopped his efforts, he knew Jev was a telepath and could tell what he was doing all the time. He might have been able to block Jev out be he wasn't certain and he didn't want to chance angering him further. Instead he asked,"Where are we?"
"The middle of no where so feel free to scream all you like."
In an effort to distract Jev away from Deanna who was starting to wake up he said,"A knife, That is the best you could do?"
"Well, you see, while you were playing house with my wife..."
"Ex Wife!" Will corrected.
But Jev countinued as if he hadn't spoke,"I was doing research. You couldn't begin to imagine the number of inventive things you can do to inflict pain with a knife." He brought the knife so close to Will's face he could feel the cold metal against his skin.
"Okay you've made your point. You want to kill me. What do you need Deanna for? Let her go."
Jev laughed at that. "Oh, I need her alright. You are going to die a slow and painful death and she is going to be here to feel every minute of it."For emphasis, Jev slowly drew the knife across Will's face.
Deanna gasped from behind Jev, now fully awake she was thinking, Gods, he's crazy.
Jev whirled around now pointing the knife at her and shouted,"I am not crazy!."
Will had used the momentary distraction to finish untying the ropes around his wrists, but Jev felt his momentary relief at having accomplished it and turned back around bringing the knife towards Wills chest.
Will deflected the knife with his arm then brought his still bound ankles up and kicked out, causing Jev to fall flat. The knife slipped out of his hand as he fell, Deanna used her own bound feet to kick the knife out of reach. Will used the time to untie his ankles.
"While you were studying up on torture techniques, you should have studied up on knot tying to." Will quipped.
Jev jumped to his feet and lunged at him. This started the two men fighting, but Will was still groggy from the drug. In no time at all Will was flat on the floor. Jev grabbed the discarded rope and wrapped it tightly around Will's neck. Will laid there struggling to breath, one hand pulling uselessly at the rope, the other stretched out towards the knife inches out of his reach.
Just as he was about to black out he heard his communicator beep and heard Picard to Riker. The two men were momentarily stunned, Will hitting himself for not realizing he was still wearing it, and Jev cursing himself for not remembering to get rid of the darn thing. Will recovered first though and stretched the last couple of inches toward the knife. As Jev retightened the rope around his neck Will brought the knife to bear on him, ending the fight.
"Picard to Riker, respond." Will managed to tap his communicator but couldn't get any words out. He was still coughing trying to recover his breath. Deanna answered for him though, requesting a security and medical team.
When Jean Luc, Beverly and the security team arrived they found Will still breathing heavily, holding a sobbing Deanna against his chest.
The next day over a delayed dinner date, they found out that Jev had simply left the baby alone in his quarters. Beverly and Jean luc had been worried when they hadn't shown up for dinner and had gone to Jev's to find out what was wrong. They had found the baby and that is when Jean luc had tried to contact Will.
"So do I get to know what our new ship is or are you all going to keep me in suspense." Deanna asked.
"The Enterprise F of course."
Jean Luc broke in with," I managed to get them to agree to assign her to your ship, but because of her rescue they now know how close you really are. They will be watching you closely. They are still worried about breaking protocol. "
Will responded with,"It is my belief that those particular protocols are misguided and I have every intention of proving it."
Bev got a mischievous glint in her eyes just then and asked,"When is the wedding?"
Will returned her glance and said,"We've set a date for next year. Give things a chance to settle down a little first."
"Actually, I wanted to expand on that."Deanna said.
"Don't you want to get married?" Will asked starting to get nervous.
"No, I mean Yes, but that isn't what I meant."
"So what did you mean?"
She pulled a data padd out of her bag and handed it to him. He glanced down at it then back up at her his eyes wide with shock.
"I didn't want to wait until the wedding. Those are adoption papers. Will you be my daughters father, officially?What do you think Lizzie? Can you say Dada?"
The baby complied by saying"Da," her pudgy little arms reaching for him.
Will broke out into a huge grin starring into two sets of wide dark eyes. "Right, as if I could say no to either one of you"
...and they lived happily ever after.
Well maybe not but that is a different story!