Subject: Endless Seasons
Chapter 1 Prologue
The vase smashed on the floor, taking with it Deanna's heart. She blinked back tears and looked at the jagged fragments of porcelain, knowing that's what her heart looked like.
"Dammit Deanna! Damn you and your duties" snarled William Riker, "If you really loved me, you would come with me!"
"Will", she sobbed, "I've explained this to you. I'm not ready to leave the Enterprise, my home, my friends."
"But still" Will replied, his voice bitter and dripping with sarcasm, "you are willing to let me go. I am touched Deanna, I always knew you cared."
"Stop it Will! Stop it now!! I thought we could handle the situation like mature adults. Apparently I was wrong. Now leave my quarters." Deanna said hoarsely.
Will walked towards the exit, then turned to face Deanna once more, "I thought I loved you Deanna, once again you've proved me wrong"
With those final words, Will left the room leaving Deanna weeping on the couch.
Beverly handed Deanna a steaming mug of cocoa and sat down across from her. "Look at me", Beverly said, "counselling the counsellor."
Deanna managed a weak grin. She could feel her eyes filling with tears again. The memory of her and Will's bitter farewell flooded over her. Beverly's eyes searched Deanna face and found only pain and misery there. Whatever happened between her and Will must have been pretty serious.
A month before, Will had been offered captaincy of a new galaxy-class starship, the Ciamar. Being in no position to turn this offer down, Will had accepted. He and Deanna had rekindled their relationship 10 months earlier after the Ba'Ku mission, and had been the topic of ship's scuttlebut ever since.
Naturally, Will's first thought when offered the command, was that of <<take it, you'd be a damn fool not to>>, his second thought flew straight to Deanna. He invited her for a home-cooked meal that she loved so much and told her of his plans. Deanna at first was overjoyed for him, then turned more serious. Their discussion had gone on long into the night, finally ending Deanna promising Will that she would think about joining him on the Ciamar.
Will was less than pleased that Deanna hadn't immediately agreed, but was somewhat mollified by Deanna's promise to seriously think it over. Deanna did seriously think it over, consulting Beverly and Lwaxana for their opinions. In the end, she had decided to let Will go off onto the new ship while she stayed on board the Enterprise.
Her decision had more to do with her own feelings than those of her friends and mother. She had summoned Will to her quarters and told him her feelings, explaining to him that this wasn't necessarily permanent. She had, without even trying, set off the Riker temper that lay deep within him. They began screaming at each other, and even breaking things that lay around them. Deanna had been very glad for the sound proof doors, she did not want anyone to witness her pain.
This morning there had been a ceremony in the shuttle-bay for Commander, soon to be Captain, Riker. Deanna had flatly refused to attend, instead staying in her quarters until she saw his shuttle warp away from the Enterprise. With the flash of light, her eyes filled with tears and she began to wonder if she had made the right decision.
So now she sat with Beverly, telling her every detail of their bitter farewell while Beverly made comforting noises and handed her tissues. Deanna finished her story, and asked Beverly, "Do you think I made the right decision? Or did I just let the only man I ever really loved leave without me? Tell me the truth Beverly, did I make a horrible mistake?"
Beverly drew in a deep breath, she hated answering questions like this. It was like when a patient would look up at her from a bio-bed, with fear in their eyes and ask if they were going to live or die. You had to tell them the truth, even if you didn't, they knew the answer anyways.
"I'm no counsellor Deanna, but I do know love when I see it. You love Will and perhaps you did make a mistake by not going with him. But don't take that to mean that you should hop onto the next shuttle and follow him. I suggest you stay here on the Enterprise for a few weeks, let him cool down and settle into the new routine, then contact him and you two could have a much needed conversation."
Deanna nodded, that was the answer she had expected to hear. She did love Will, but didn't dare try to talk to him right now. He needed to cool down and do some thinking of his own. "Thanks Bev, thanks for listening to me and thanks for your opinion on the matter" Deanna whispered, "I think I need some time on my own now"
Beverly hugged Deanna, "you also look like you could use some sleep." she said. Deanna got up and walked Beverly to the door, she watched as her friend went down the hall and disappeared into the turbo-lift.
Will sat in the pilot's seat of the shuttlecraft and stared out into the stars. His hands were limp on the controls. "Everything alright sir?" asked his benzite co-pilot Lt Febore.
Will sighed and straightened up in his seat, "just fine lieutenant, just fine". Really, everything was not fine with Riker. His mind kept drifting back to Deanna, seeing her there on the couch with tears streaming down her delicate face, knowing that he had put them there. He clenched his fists, feeling the urge to punch a gaping hole in the shuttle controls.
Here he was, on his way to captain a brand new ship and he wanted to die. William Riker wanted to die. He just wanted to destroy the entire shuttlecraft, taking with it himself and his annoyingly perky co-pilot.
"Excuse me sir?" Febore said, "but I do believe I should relieve you of the command now." Riker eyed the benzite wearily and reluctantly handed over the seat. It was better this way, not being in command of the shuttle. Of course he couldn't destroy the ship now, but that probably wasn't a good course of action anyways. It would look terrible on his record <<William T. Riker, exemplary service to StarFleet. Died after blowing up his own shuttle en route to the starship Ciamar to take command of her>> Will shook his head, he really needed some sleep.
Deanna lay huddled under the covers in her bed, she couldn't sleep. She had tossed and turned for almost 4 hours now. It was time to give up trying to sleep, "computer, lights, dim" she said. Instantly the computer obliged. She sat up in bed, the low light cast eerie shadows on the walls of her quarters. Her eyes felt gritty from lack of sleep and crying.
She recalled Picard's solution to insomnia, a nice mug of warm milk, the thought of it made her stomach turn. She got out of bed and went over to the replicator, "tea, Earl Grey, cold"..for some reason that particular combination soothed her. The Captain had suggested to her once that she try Earl Grey tea. She had despised it hot, but had found that once it had cooled down, it wasn't half bad.
With mug in hand, Deanna was drawn to a chest of drawers in the corner of her quarters. She pulled a chair up in front of them and opened the top drawer. She pulled out a box labelled "memories"
Deanna smiled as she recalled the day she's put that box in there, Will had been there teasing her. "what kind of person keeps their memories in a box?" he'd said, "I keep mine up here!" tapping on his head. Deanna had laughed and showed him the contents of the box.
Now, 8 months later Deanna was rifling through the contents once more, remembering a happier time. A picture of her and Will lay on the top, taken by an old fashioned camera with film. It was taken on an all too rare romantic shore leave on Risa. She'd had it framed and it showed the once happy couple laughing and hugging one another.
As Deanna looked through the box, she suddenly felt anger surging through her. Will had no excuse to blow up at her like that, it would have been natural for him to be slightly peeved at her not wishing to join him right away, but to rage an all-out war at her just wasn't right. She put the lid back on the box and slammed it back into it's drawer. She decided that if Will was going to get like this everytime she chose to do something he didn't like or approve of, then Will was no man for her. Having decided that, Deanna found that sleep now came easily for her.
Will lay in the cramped bunk on the shuttle still thinking about Deanna. <<these bunks>>, he decided, <<just weren't made for men of his size>> He rolled over and whacked his head on the wall again. He was going to have a lump the size of his fist tomorrow if he kept up with this tossing and turning. <damn you Deanna>> ,Will silently swore to himself, <<damn you for doing this to me. Why couldn't you come with me? Deanna I love you>>
In his mind he saw his hand shattering the porcelain vase he had bought for her on Earth. Deanna had loved that vase and kept it on view in her quarters, that was until last night. <<She could still keep it on view>> Riker mused, <<make an exhibit out of things broken by her angry lover>>
His upper lip curled at that last thought of his. He began to wonder what had prompted Deanna to stay behind on the Enterprise. He had been sure she would jump at the chance to be with him on his ship. Instead, she chose to remain on board the Enterprise. <<Maybe>> he thought, <<there was someone else. Someone else who Deanna loves more.>>
The thought made him ill. In his mind he heard an old saying that his mother used to tell him when he had asked a question she couldn't answer, "All the anwers lie written in the stars, my boy, all the answers are in the stars." <<How ironic>> Will thought, <<here I am, in the stars, and I still don't have all the answers>> He fell into a restless sleep, dreaming of Deanna in another man's arms.
Will awoke several hours later with a pounding headache. He groaned and flung himself out of the bed. After a quick stop in the bathroom he headed up to the pilot cabin. Lt Febore looked up at him as he entered the tiny cabin, "good morning sir. I trust you slept well?" he inquired.
Riker rolled his eyes, "whatever you say Lt" ,he replied, "I'll take over now." The benzite graciously handed over the controls. Riker sat down and glanced at the chronometer, he'd slept later than he had intended. Half hour later Riker was still sitting at commands, hypnotised by the stars flying by as they warped through space.
He had no idea how his co-pilot had managed this all night long. It was one thing to pilot a starship with an on/off view screen, but to stare out into the stars for hours on end, it made him dizzy. What he needed was a distraction. "Computer" said Will, "music, a light jazzy number"
Meanwhile on board the Enterprise, Deanna had awoke feeling remarkably refreshed. She rolled out of bed and padded into the bathroom. She looked at her reflection in the mirror and thought to herself <<You're a beautiful woman Deanna Troi, you don't need Will>> She rolled her eyes, <<Like hell I don't>>
Her morning ablutions complete, Deanna glanced at her PADD, her first and only appointment of the day was in an hour with an ensign who had been seeing a strange man whom he referred to as <Elvis> all over the ship. It amazed Deanna to meet some of the people who had somehow graduated from the Academy.
With time to kill Deanna headed for sickbay, not because she was ill but because she needed to talk to Beverly. Beverly greeted Deanna with her customary smile. To Beverly's surprise, Deanna returned it. "Feeling better Deanna?" asked Beverly. Deanna nodded, "I had a good night's sleep, just as the doctor ordered."
Beverly continued smiling and offered Deanna a seat. Deanna told Beverly of what had happened last night. Beverly told her that what she was feeling was only natural after the kind of fight they had. Deanna did have every right to be mad at Will, he had upset her and put her in a difficult situation, something Deanna had never asked for.
The two continued talking until Deanna realized that an hour had almost passed, she got up and excused herself. As she was walking down the hall back to the turbolift that would take her to her quarters, the strangest feeling came over her. A feeling that she couldn't describe, it wasn't an unpleasant feeling, but never the less it set her on edge. She shook her head briskly and continued on back to her quarters.
Will pursed his lips and exhaled noisily. Still another 3 hours until they would arrive at Star-Base 56, 3 loooooooong hours. He recalled flying into Farpoint Station to board the Enterprise, he had been so excited, the thought of serving as first officer on board the fleet's flagship thrilled him to no end.
His excitement had come to an abrupt end when he saw the ship's counsellor. He couldn't believe it, he would have to serve with Deanna while keeping things purely non-romantic. That had worked until 10 months ago. Their passions for one another got the better of them and now this. He was leaving her..again. Leaving on a sour note..again. <<History sure has a way of repeating itself>> he thought.
Riker leaned back into his seat, resting his head on the padded head rest. His eyelids began to droop, his breathing slowed, and his hands fell limp at his sides. It was as if someone had given him a sleeping pill.
Deanna entered her office and found Ensign Bartley already sitting in the chair waiting for her. "Sorry I'm late Ensign" she offered, "I was detained."
Bartley smiled, "it's alright counsellor. I'm a little early anyways. Guess I was a little too eager to talk to you!"
Deanna pulled her mouth into a fake grin, she hated patients like this. It made her job easier somehow if they were reluctant to talk to her. She sat down in the chair across from him and said, "So, ensign, tell me about this Elvis fellow you claim is onboard this ship."
Ensign Bartley happily obliged and chattered away. Deanna leaned back into the soft padding of the chair. Her eyelids began to droop, her breathing slowed, and her hands lay limply clasped on her stomach. It was as if someone had given her a sleeping pill.
Riker opened his eyes, he wasn't on board the shuttle anymore. He was elsewhere, planetside it would appear. The air was warm and fragrant and the sound of rushing water filled his ears. Deanna opened her eyes and looked around. <Whoa, wait just a minute>> she thought, <<this isn't my counselling office!>> She sniffed the air, looked at the scenery, and listened to the sounds around her. If she didn't know any better, she'd say this was the Jalara Jungle on Betazed.
Ten days later
The First Officer of the Enterprise entered his quarters after coming back from Earth. He decided not to tell anyone about Kyle's death. He didn't want his friends to feel sorry for him. And he certainly did want Deanna to worry about him. Since it was past midnight, spending time on the bridge was out of the question. So he just took a shower a lied down on his bed, praying that at least for tonight sleep would come.
The next morning, he got up feeling more tired than he was when he went to bed last night. Ever since his trip to earth he started having those horrible nightmares. He thought that being back in the Enterprise would help him but he was wrong.
Heading to the bridge, he came across Geordi. "Hey Commander, it's good to have you back".
"Thanks Geordi, it's good to be back". Entering the turbolift, La Forge watched as Will ran a tired hand over his face. "Commander, are you all right? You look like you didn't sleep at all".
"I'm ok Geordi, the trip back wasn't exactly comfortable" answered Will. Stepping out the lift Will entered the bridge to start his first shift in days.
During the day, he managed to stay focused on the daily routine of running the Federation Flagship. And after his shift was over he went straight to his quarters. Sitting on his couch, he once again thought about the events of the last few months. The Borg attack, Barash, his father's death. And it suddenly hit him. All the excuses he and Deanna had used for not rekindling their relationship now seemed almost ridiculous: Starfleet regulations, a relationship between senior officers, his career, everything. The truth was that the only obstacle was death. His mother and now his father had proven that. Life was too short to be wasted...
The following days were dull for the Enterprise crew. They were transporting a group of colonists to a new Federation planet. As First Officer, the only task for Will was to make sure everyone had quarters, and provide the scientists of the group with the equipment they requested.
On the other hand, Deanna had been rather busy updating her patient's files and talking to some of the colonists about living in a new world. She had only seen Will a couple of times, so she hadn't had time to notice his current state of mind. Besides, she knew that Will always made the most of every vacation. However, four days after Will's return, Deanna got a subspace communication from Dr. Pulaski. The doctor had just found out about Kyle's death and wanted to know how Will was doing. Deanna was shocked when she learned about it, and headed straight to Will' quarters.
On the planetside, Deanna continued her brisk walk, blatantly ignoring the pleas to slow down coming from behind her. She knew exactly where she was going, she could easily find her way out of this jungle blindfolded and with ear plugs in.
Will, behind her, was stumbling over rocks, tree branches and anything else that was on the ground in front of him. He made a mental note to work out more often on the holodeck, Deanna was keeping up quite a pace. "Deanna!" Will gasped breathlessly, making a futile grab for her uniform, "slow down please! I'm begging you!"
Deanna whirled around to face him, her face fairly blazing with anger. "Who are you to tell me what to do?!" she demanded, "You can't control me Will Riker!"
Meanwhile, on the Enterprise, Deanna had left Data processing the new input on the turbolift and casually strolled onto the bridge. Captain Picard greeted her heartily, being careful not to mention Riker's name, Beverly had warned him that the counsellor was a little touchy about that subject.
Deanna returned the Captain's greeting with the same heartiness. From behind them came Worf's low growl at tactical. "Captain" he said, "there are two unknown vessels approaching at 3 mark 0.9. At present speed, estimated time of interception in 1 minute, 30 seconds"
"Hail them" instructed Picard.
"No response" reported Worf.
"Shields up, red alert!" barked Picard, "Mr Worf continue hailing. Now where the hell is Mr Data?"
The red alert klaxon wailed through out the ship, giving everyone an adrenaline rush. The turbo lift opened and Data walked onto the bridge and took his new seat next to Picard. With Riker's leaving, Data had been promoted to first officer. "Captain, a vessel is responding" said Worf.
"Open frequencies, on screen" said Picard. The view screen flashed to life, revealing the interior of dark, smoky ship. "This is Captain Jean-Luc Picard of the Federation Star Ship Enterprise."
On the screen, an life form appeared, it had to be one of the ugliest creatures Picard had encountered in all his years of space travel. "This is Tuper Guigh of the Star Ship, Kilrot." said the being, the Universal Translator not quite catching all of his introduction.
Picard turned to Worf and ran a hand along his throat, signalling for the signal to be muted. He turned to Troi, "Counsellor?" he said.
Deanna took her queue, "I sense...only hostility and pent up sexual frustration" she said in a low voice.
"Pardon Counsellor?" queried Picard.
Riker on board the shuttlecraft was approaching the Ciamar, the ship was huge, majestic and more than Riker could ever have hoped for. "Woweeeee" he whistled, "that's one helluva ship! I can't wait to get my hands on that baby!"
Lt Febore gave him only a vaguely questioning look. Riker got up and went out of the cock pit to the sleeping quarters. He picked up his travelling bag and hoisted it onto his back. He looked at himself in the mirror, something was missing...his face looked rather dull, rather lifeless. He thought about that for a minute, and then went to the small replicator unit in the corner.
"computer" he instructed, "I would like one tube of lipstick, dark red, and one compact of blush, a light breezy pink" His requests materialized in front of him and he picked them up. Going over to the mirror again, he carefully lined his lips and expertly applied the blush to his cheeks. He puckered his lips and blotted them with the bed sheets. Then he looked at the over all effect, he smiled to himself. <<Much better>> he thought.
In the jungle, Deanna was still glaring at Riker. Her normally calm dark eyes, were ablaze with anger. Will didn't need the bond he shared with her to sense she was overly angered about something. "Whoa Deanna!" he said as calmly as possible, "I didn't mean to upset you."
Deanna exhaled through her nose, reminding Will of the fire breathing dragons he'd heard about. "You didn't mean to upset me!?" she screamed, "well then you certainly make one huge mistake!"
"Is this about me leaving?" he asked quietly.
Deanna nodded, "sort of" she responded.
Again Will saw in his mind the vase shattering at her feet, the tears streaming down her cheeks. He licked his lips, this whole situation was only setting him on the edge. "Look Deanna, what happened on the Enterprise, let's just forget about that for now. We have bigger problems now, we've been taken from our respective ships and put here, in this god forsaken place. We have to concentrate on getting out of here and contacting StarFleet." he said.
Deanna's lips quivered, almost as if she was holding back a smile. Her face resumed it's dead serious expression and she said, "Forget about it eh? I guess I can do that. For now" she warned.
Will smiled and nodded, "well let's get on with the show, my guess is that daylight isn't going to be on our side for much longer now. I hope we're not going to be stuck in the dark here." "Well Captain" said Deanna, "need I remind you that it wouldn't be the first time we were here in the dark? I seem to recall, quite a number of years ago, a certain ambitious lieutenant and I were in almost this very same situation"
Will chuckled, "of course Dee, how could I forget?" Deanna took Will's hand in her own and they began to walk once more, "oh and Will" she said, "don't worry about finding the way out. I know where I'm going"