A R/T short story by


Disclaimer: pointy mountain people at Paramount own the characters.

Katimavik is Inuktitut for 'meeting place'


Deanna Troi sat staring out the large window of her office. The stars seemed to wrap around the ship and rock it sullenly to the lullaby of ancient galaxies. The days were now so special and perfect like an award winning painting that had been contemplated for decades, the final decree was in. She was happy. Even moreso content now that she dwelled in the arms of her Imzadi, life was finally starting to make sense. Why they had waited so long? She couldn't understand it, and seemed interested in asking the stars of their opinion of their relationship. They replied in passing "All that matters is the now"

She turned from the pinpricked sky to wander to her couch and sit. The day was done and as she looked upon her ring, she smiled. Then gathered up her jacket and left for the lounge.

Beverly Crusher launched a "Hello" at Dea as she entered and gestured for her to come and sit.

"Hi Bev, how are you making out"

"I'm not making out, in fact I haven't made out in a long time....but other than that I'm fine"

Deanna laughed

"Okay then...How are you doing? i don't think that's as difficult to coomprehend."

"I already said I'm fine" winked Bev as she cast a glance at the entrance.

There he was, trombone in hand wearing a blue silk shirt and black trousers. He studied the area throughly until he locked onto Deanna's stare and grinned ear to ear.

"Good Evening Ladies" he said as he stooped down to plant a kiss on Dee's lips.

"I'm jealous" said Bev "Don't i get one of those?"

"Talk to the Captain..." he grinned.

He looked at the stage and back at Bev, she nodded and called for the lights to be dimmed. He wandered around to the back of the set as Bev introduced him.

"and now it is with great anticipation that I introduce to you a wonderful man and his bone...please welcome to the stage, Will Riker."

There was a splurge of hands clapping and a cute whistle from Bev as she passed him on her way to take a seat.

"Looking sharp Commander, good luck"

With that gesture he stepped up and began playing Blue Moon much to the crowds delight.

Near the end of his set he approached Deanna and at first she shook her head furiously but then after a kiss she nodded and he returned to the stage, his wife in tow.

"Now this next song is one of my favourites but since I can't really sing well, I'm going to have my beautiful flower sing for me."

"I didn't know I could sing" laughed Dee "But anything for Them There Eyes..."

Riker handed her a sheet of paper, and at first she blushed but then smiled....


"I hold you close to me,

Feel the breath of you and the wonder.....

and remember a time without


Her voice was sweet and delicate resonating through the acoustics of the lounge. Her eyes were closed but she could feel him eyeing her steadily as he played behind her.

*This is our song Dee*

*Every love song is our song my love*


They returned some hours later to their quarters, arm in arm laughing and carrying on. Now were huddled up in their bed letting the rhythm of their souls rock them gently to sleep.

"You have a beautiful voice Deanna, why have you been hiding it for so long?" he tucked a curl behind her ear.

"I didn't even know I had it.." she giggled. "but how could i not sing those words ....it just took me back...everytime I read them...they just take me back to when we were....perfect." she paused and smiled. "and now we're perfect again...."

He pulled her close to her as they settled into a comfortable position for dreamland slumber.


part 2

Time was a confusing partner in their time together. Some days it was a generous merchant making moments last and the day seemed to stretch indefinitly. But other times it was a malicious thief, stealing time and blowing past like a runaway train. And sometimes it ceased to exist altogether.

She woke early the next morning and threaded her fingers through his dark hair. Smiling and thankful she looked upwards at the stars outside and whispered "I am thankful for the now"

Suddenly a communique sound crackled through the breathing patterns of the couple.

"Picard to Riker"

"Will, wake up, the captain is trying to get ahold of you"

"Picard to Riker, please respond"

"Yes sir, Riker here." he was variably groggy, but able enough to complete his sentence.

"We've reached Thalbot 5 I need you to get an away team together and make sure the station is empty. There were rumours that someone or something has been" he paused "squatting in it. "

"Squatting? sir"

"Yes...they may be armed so take due notice of your surroundings. Try not to startle them, if in fact, there is anyone there."

"Aye sir"

And with that the communique blipped off and Will rolled over to look at Dee. She was kneading her hands.

"are you alright?" he asked

"Be careful Will, please be careful down there."

He reached around and pulled her close to him.

"It's just a routine check sweetheart, there probably isn't anyone down there. Don't you worry, I'll be back before lunch." he hugged her tightly reassuring that he would be back.... but there was something maybe it was just the usual hint of anxiety before beaming down to an unknown situation, but it was there, a feeling of magnitude and fear.

Riker shrugged it off and prepared his team.


The base was eerily quiet, every once in a while a wire would spark and then fade against the hanging mists. Riker moved slowly along a railing and looked down to the control station. It was vacated, in fact it appeared the place was totally abandoned. Which would make sense...there were no apparent signs that someone had been living there.

He stepped over a fallen beam to a computer panel.

Quickly pressing a few buttons he was taken aback when he noticed that the logs had been erased not to mention the whole memory had been wiped out. Again the feeling shrouded him like it had in his quarters but once again he raised a mental shoulder and drew a conclusion with Data that there was likely a power failure and that might have taken out the memory banks.

"Sir" one of the expendable officers pointed to a PADD that he had found sitting on one of the beams. It was still intact.

"There is a video message on here sir, should i open it"

"yes do it."

There on the screen was the reason for his uneasiness ....a face as recognizable as the one he'd looked at this morning while combing his hair.

"Tom" he stated.

The video started

"This is Thom riker of the ...well...I'm just here enjoying the fine cuisine and waiting ever so patiently for that dear brother of mine to show up.....is that you brother? Have you found this? Why don't you look behind you....."

With a flash of phaser , the unanmed officer fell lifeless to the hard floor. Will swung around quickly ,drawing his weapon at the same time. There standing in a stance that had a phaser pointed directly at him was, Thomas Riker.

"Thom, what the hell are you doing?"

"What? no Hi brother good to see you again. I must say I'm hurt."

"Sir" paused Data "Lieutenant Expendible is dead"

"What are you doing here?"

"Well, I came to see you...you have something I want and I am willing to go to any cost to get that back"...he looked steadily at Will's wedding band. Then drew his eyes back to stare him in the face.

"You won't be getting anywhere near her" yelled Riker.

"Oh, just watch me"


part 3

Thomas fired a blast at Will hit him in the arm and knocked him to the ground. Tom ran over and blipped the communicator on Will's shirt.

"Riker to Enterprise, one to beam up"

Before Data could get a shot in, he was gone.


"Computer locate Counsellor Troi"

"Counsellor Troi is in her office."

Thom walked casually through the hallways and eventually found himself at her door. He readied himself and entered.

"Will, you're back already?"

with a sly grin he smiled "I told you it wouldn't take long" and merged her in a kiss.


"Data to Enterprise, there is an intruder on the ship "

"But Riker just beamed out" said Picard

"Yes a Riker did but it wasn't the Commander"

"Thomas?" he questioned.

"Yes sir"

"Prepare to be beamed out, where is Will by the way."

"He is currently stunned he should transported to sickbay and I would dispatch security teams to wherever Counsellor Troi is."

"Very Well Mr.Data I'll see you shortly."

Upon arriving in Sickbay Riker shrugged off Beverly and ran to Deanna's office. The sight that beheld him as he entered made his heart stop cold. There held tightly under the grasp of his brother, was a frightened Deanna Troi.


"I told you not to speak...and that means mentally as well my little one" Thomas brought his phaser to her head.

"Don't TOUCH HER" yelled Will, who was still slightly woozy from his wound, he stumbled and caught himself on her desk.

"It's been so long since I've held you Imzadi, so long....I'm not going to give this up...."

"Then I'm going to have to take you down" said Will and he lunged towards Tom knocking Deanna free and she ran behind Data.

it was at the moment, that time decided to pull one of it's most undesirable sessions to make itself last....

part 4

First Thomas raised a shot at Deanna, it hit Data but he was able to get a shot away.... but not before a scream of pain from Will was emitted both vocally and mentally causing Deanna to cringe and Will to slowly lay lifeless
on her office floor...Data's shot to Thomas was fatal....and in reluctant observation it appeared that the same
judgement was apparent in the last shot from Thomas to Will....

...and time stood in horrid silence for just a moment.......

"WILL" she ran to his side, crying, the tears streaming down her face. "Will wake up,wake up come on..." She shook him violently...."Wake UP DAMMIT...."

"Data to Crusher medical emergency in Counsellor Troi's office...request you beam Commander Riker directly to Sickbay" *Imzadi, im sorry......it's too late. I love you.*

*NO Will, hang on please hang on*

This time there was no reply. She looked at Thomas, the past and the now had combined to leave at the exact same time.


It was a blustery day in Valdez, a perfect opinion of the event to come. Deanna Troi sat running her hands up and down the oak casket. Her mother close beside her.
*Little One are you going to be ok today*
*No mother, I'm never going to be `okay' again but I have to get through this, I have only lost his physical presence...I know...he's still here...somewhere.*
She looked vainly up at the sky and smiled slightly.

"Come my child, it's about to begin."
They entered the church it was abrim with many Starfleet officers adorned in dress uniforms, up front was Kyle Riker, amiss of any discernible expression he stared forward ...not really looking at anything just....staring through into nothing...Deanna sat next to him and hugged him.
"How are you holding up Deanna?"
"About as well as you I suppose...but" she took his weathered hand in hers and squeezed it "we'll get through this together, I know it's never going to go away...but Will would want us to live on and be happy..."
He nodded and gave her a strong hug before notioning for the priest to begin.

They all bowed their heads in silent prayer and had a special trombone player blasting out Amazing Grace in a bigband style...Will's favorite. Deanna had decided to deliver her eulogy at the place of their burials. The snow had halted to a soft meandering flurry and it teetered down from oblivion to all the people huddled in the bitter cold.

The wind tickled her slightly....and whispered soft,comforting words into her ears. *Deanna?!....*

"Deanna, are you okay" asked Bev, shaking Dee out of her state. She nodded and stepped up to the podium.

She was dressed in dark red rather than black. It was Will's personal favourite colour on her. It also seemed to symbolise the great pain she was in, especially after all the initial trusting of Thomas in the beginning.

She had no PADD to read a speech from. She didn't need one. Everyone knew why they were there...and she scanned the crowd thoroughly as if hoping to see him there...mysteriously alive and waiting to rock her in his big arms. But there was nothing but the dwindling sting in her eyes.

"Will Riker was a man of great endeavours. Not afraid of a challenge and always open to an adventure. He was a friend to all who wished for friendship and a strong,trusted leader with a heart made of gold.

His sharp wit allowed laughter to become a necessity of serving with him in both ship duties and ... in life. Though now his body has left us, he has successfully gone on to the next level, whatever that is and his spirit will live on inside each of our hearts, today, tomorrow and for all the days that follow. "

She approached his casket, leaning down and placing her hand on the chest.

"To me, he was everything. From the very day I met him, I knew....he was special. We were and will always be Imzadi. Rabeem my darling. Sleep is nigh. I love you"

With that she rose and dropped three roses on his chest. Two red and one yellow and a blue one to symbolise the Imzadi bond.

Slowly the casket was lowered but the ceremony wasn't totally finished yet. She wandered over to Thomas' chest.

"Thomas was everything to me as well, but he misused his trust and it ...it has not paid for him in the long run. Goodbye, may peace someday find you in the next."

Once the plots were laden and covered, the crowd began to disperse and Deanna wandered off to look off at the valley where they had been married. She leaned against a tall,strong white pine and stared up at its whimsical twisting branches writhing in the wind. In the core of her mind she swore she heard something. Maybe it was just a figment of her imagination, the day had been a most difficult one. She was taking it well because she knew they were forever. But it resounded again a little more apparent than the last time...

*I'll be waiting my love*


part 5

"I hearby wish you good luck in your life Deanna, we'll miss you on the Enterprise but whenever we're in Orbit you'll be sure to have visitors."
"Are you sure you want to stay, Dee?" asked Bev.
"Yes, this is where my heart is now. Besides there's lots of stuff to sort through and some of his relatives want to know more about him and stuff...and I feel...." she broke off "like he's right here" said Beverly smiling "I understand" and she hugged her tightly and went to join the others for beam-out.

"Take care"

"You too" and she watched them twinkle to the heavens. Kyle Riker wandered up behind her.

"You didn't have to stay" he said

"Yes, I did..." she smiled back at him....


"I'll be waiting" said Will Riker silently to the image he was seeing in the pool of water. He looked up at the man in front on him. He had a long white beard and eyes as blue as he'd ever seen. Much more intense than his own...he thought that was impossible.

"William Thomas Riker, welcome to the Next."

"Is this...." he paused "heaven?"

"This is an afterlife a very special one for you however, since you were Imzadi your spirit is still very much so alive...so you still have somewhat of a spiritual presence back where Deanna is." The man smiled and gestured for Riker to sit down beside him.

"What about Thomas? what will happen to him...or me...well...I was him for awhile but then...."

"I know Will, he's in another Next getting help. Someday you may see him again..."

Riker nodded.

He stared down into the pool of water again and was greeted with the sight of Deanna looking up....almost directly at him.

"Can she hear me if I project?"

"sometimes" said the gentle giant. "and sometimes you can project different things other than thoughts...."

"Did she hear me today?" he was anxious to know.

The giant gave a very subtle nod and Riker smiled. "There's someone here who wants to see you.

She's been waiting a long time..."
Out of the mists came a beautiful woman. She had long brown hair down to the middle of her back and very predominant laughlines. Her eyes were like a dawn sunrise blue. Light and soft. He knew who it was....even though he hadn't seen her for so very long...


The woman nodded.

He ran with arms outstretched and felt the tears falling in drops of joy.

Back in Valdez, Deanna Troi felt a wafting ribbon of happiness thread through her. She knew things were going to be alright.


part 6

"It's been a very long time son." Mrs.Riker squeezed her son tightly then pulled away enough to look him over... "although...I wouldn't have minded waiting a little longer..."

She walked over to the pool, glistening blue ripples portraying the Alaskan sunrise that Deanna was watching.

"She's a wonderful person Will, I always knew you were special but she...she brought so much life to you..."

"she still does.." he interrupted. "That man...he said sometimes....she can still hear me...because we are true imzadi..."

Mrs.Riker nodded.

"he also said sometimes I can project different things other than thoughts....do you know what he means?" He looked to the ground or...what seemed to be ground. This next could probably be anything he wanted it to be.

"it means" she started "that you have a very special ability and will likely be taking on a very special attribute..." she patted him lightly on the back...seeming to run her fingers over the same spot for a few seconds. "I see they are starting to pronounce themselves already."

"Pardon, what are?" he was a wee bit confused and felt a little odd.
A lightheaded feeling washed over him and he stretched his right arm around to where her hand was on his back. She took his hand and placed it where hers had been.

The sensation was so soft. A texture so gentle, so free it made his heart glow and a light smile graced his mothers face. He pulled his hand back around and there, sitting in his shaking palm was a feather. It was mainly white but threaded with thin gold strands. It felt like hope, well if hope was a texture.....then this would be it.
He rolled it around with his fingers then looked perplexingly at his mother..

".....an.....angel?....me....I think they've got the wrong person....!"
Mrs.Riker covered her hand over the feather and giggled.
"Not just any ordinary angel my son, a guardian angel or in Deanna's case, a guardian spirit..." she reached around to her back and plucked one of her feathers out, almost instantiously another one grew back. She held her feather in her palm and reopened his grip on his.
"see, my feather is pure white, I'm just your common angel." she paused and he felt calm as he looked into the twinkling eyes of his mother.
"but you...see these gold threads"
he nodded
"they represent the Guardian structure....and if you look really close....you'll see a single blue thread lining the gold one. That my dear, is your Imzadi bond.
This combination of colours and threads represents your relationship with that darling girl we're seeing in the
Pool of Now. See" and she tugged on one of the threads, it didn't move or slip from it's initial weave. "it's so strong....nothing can break the bond Will....you are in the preliminary stages of becoming a very intense spiritual guide...and that can lead you away from the boundaries of the Next.....actions here can become construed as symbolic gestures down there.

"So" he stuttered "in essence I can reassure her with little signs that....I'm still here....and...well....what if she ignores the signs..."


He twitched.

"She just called me...."
and they looked upon the Pool of Now to see the chocolate eyes staring up and up right into his deep blue eyes.
"can I respond?"
Mrs.Riker shook her head.
"In time, it will get easier to project more, the longer your wings the more likely you'll be able to transport more in a standard human time frame."

Riker nodded.
"I understand" whispered his mother.


part 7

"ppphooooooomp" Deanna blew as hard as she could into one of Will's trombones.
She was leaning over a PADD that he had made for her a long time ago describing how to play it.
THREE EASY STEPS ON LEARNING HOW TO PLAY by Will Riker: master boneman!

Step one: position hands accordiangly....(put them anywhere to start hon)
Step two: blow really hard
Step Three: you're not even trying my love, harder.

"poowoooosh" a large rush a air passed from her lips but only resulted in a cloud of dizziness and she fell back against the cushion on the couch.

"I don't know how he did this. I know he had some hot air from time to time but he must of kept it in bottles to get anything out of this." she sighed and sat up...picked up the PADD " o wait what's this, there's another step here. funny, I can't remember that being there before..."

it read:
Step four: position your arms so that it looks like you could deck me in the face....now pretend that I'm flirting with Wendy Roper...

"PHHHHOOOOOONNNNK!" it was a warbly low note...but nonetheless it was a note....she pulled the instrument away from her lips and sighed contently....proud of her little achievement . She wandered over to the window of the building she was in. Placing her hand full against the cold glass causing it to fog up and impair
her glimpse of the outside world.

"Oh Will, I miss you so much...."

She leaned against the frame and suddenly felt warm tears emerge from her vivid eyes.
Looking longingly into the approaching night she slowly slid down from the wall to sit curled up on the floor crying in soft, lonely wisps. After awhile she composed herself and sat up....watching the sunset paint rosy red imagery on the walls.
She clambered to her feet and drifted outside. The air was chilly enough for her to cross her arms for comfort but she did not retreat for her jacket. She meandered out along the edges of the valley as it was in the state of being splashed by the vase of twilight. The white pine stood in its individualistic position. It's branches waning outward to the west, almost like it was longing to hold the sunset in its arms. But whenever Deanna stood
under that tree, she felt at peace and warm like she did whenever she was around Will.

..Will.....it had been six months....and not a single second passed without her thinking in some context about him. The cool breeze played tricks in her hair...brushing strands up and then letting them collapse across the bridge of her nose. She would take her hand everytime and push them behind her ear. The next blast that blew
tangled something up in her dancing locks. It was of a texture she had never felt....so soft.

She pulled it from its capture and held it up to her eyes. It was a feather and in the last sparks of day it reflected gold and every few seconds....it almost looked blue.....and there in the embryo of nightfall caught in the threads of the feather was a feeling like running through an unending field of daisies....that carefree state of peace

*I miss you too,Deanna*


part 8

Riker stared at himself in the reflection of the Pool. His wings rose now about two inches above his head and stretched outward by about a foot. They danced vibrantly in the pure ripples of the Pool. Within their glare he could see Deanna's smile, proof of his recent victory in projecting to her.

"You've come a long way. Still able to connect with her. You're the lucky one. You always were"
Will turned around to see Thomas, wearing a meek expression and long,white garbs that clung freely from his limbs to drift down and tangle amongst the mists. Hooked on his right arm was Mrs.Riker, she was aiding him in walking to Will.
Thomas was having trouble keeping balance, but he lifted his mouth in a slight grin as he approached.
"It's alright Will. They've healed me...well...of that horrid phase.
It was something...something with my brain. I...i wouldn't have ever hurt you really...something....had infected me...I don't know...but now..." he peered down at the Pool, the image of Deanna captured in the twilight still
apparent... "oh Deanna...what have I done" Thomas hung his head in shame.
"I've taken away the most important person in your life....gone, lost...."

"No...not gone" came a booming voice. Out of the hovering mists came the gentle giant from when Will had first come.
"You see Thomas, that is a common misconception that humans have.
That once you cease to live physically, that you cease to exist altogether. A body is just a shell, a spirit can never die. In essence we are all immortal even when we serve in the Now...we may leave our bodies...but we never cease...we all live on..."
Thomas turned to Will glancing up at his long delicate wings. He reached out to touch them and flinched at their overwhelming softness.
"My god, you're an...a ..."
"Angel...actually my darling brother...I'm more of a Guardian spirit..." said Will
Thomas could feel his heart beginning to glow, he felt so warm he could have sworn that someone had lit a fire in his soul. A healthy gust of love blew through him.
"You're going to be alright Thomas...in good time, everything will be normal again...for both of you....very soon..." said their mother, her eyes a twinkle with some sort of mischief... "You must get Deanna to Katimavik by the second full moon of next month and you will return to where you were....." she paused momentarily "it wasn't your alloted time to come here....you have one chance....to go back."

Will and Thomas turned and looked at each other then back to the giant and their mother.
"Back?" they questioned in unison.
"Yes, take her to the Katimavik Sunset.....and all will be restored...."
"But how...how do we do that?"
"Find all the strength within each other and you will.....know....."

and with that the giant and Mrs.Riker disapeared leaving the brothers to sort out the solution solely by themselves.

"Well, brother....guess we better put our minds together and see what we can do to make this work." and with that Will put a consoling arm around Tom's shoulder and led him to the Pool of Now which portrayed Deanna sitting at the base of the white pine....the tree...she always went to the tree!. It was big and strong and it
reminded her of Will and also ,once upon a time ...of Thomas....


part 9

Its branches coiled high above her,surrounded her,engulfed her and comforted her with a magnitude only rivaled by that of Will Riker. She breathed it in, the sweet scent of pine tickled her nostrils and caused her heart to calm and her soul almost seemed to leave her body...to take in the great vastness of the tree. The `presence' of
it....it had this certain feel to it, like an aura of sorts. The more she went to watch the sunset, the more it felt
like home....like whenever she would rest in his arms...and lay her head against his chest.

How she listened to the constant thumping of his heart and how it resonated so much love and so much....everything....how he could just make her disapear in his arms...make everything else freeze....except for that unending rhythm of his soul....as he rocked her.

He would always rest his chin on the top of her head...and lean into her. And she would be able to feel the prickly edges of his beard against her scalp....and she would always swear...those moments were forever....like an ant captured in amber....time was irrevalant.

The tree cracked in a particularily large gust of wind and it broke Deanna's drifting daydream but the presence...was still there as she stood and dusted the grass blades from her pantlegs.

Then, there was that wind. It was unrelentless and determined like Thomas. It would run full force at her and wouldn't stop, it would pass right through her and launch goosebumps along her thin arms. In these immense gusts in particular, the wind would spiral up and around her body. Like it was slowly admiring her beauty
as she lay captive amongst its breezes. Oh, how it would churn and make her entire body shiver. At times, it
would overpower her and she'd flail her arms in a desperate attempt to right herself...but the wind would already have bowed down by then. A passive bully, rude and wild with youth. Indeed, Thomas had made a massive impact on her and as the northren wind battered against her fatigued features, she couldn't help but be
reminded of him. Couldn't help but remember that day in the gym, when she had made that first move. The undeniable uncontrollable urge to kiss the past. Then, bowing down to him as he attacked during their vicious love-making session. It was a moment that left her crying for more..... but not from Tom.

The moment Tom had stepped out of his quarters to leave for the Ghandhi and she raised her eyes shyly to see Will standing there, waiting to ease her with that gentle smile. She knew..... and when she placed her tiny hand inside his and he had squeezed it ever so slightly...she knew just which Riker would hold a more predominant
position in their Imzadi soul.

Upon reaching her doorway she turned to see the white pine dancing with the wind causing the branches to flutter, almost waving at her. Her heart filled with intense emotion as it had when she had touched that feather. She peered skyward only shortly before retiring inside for the remainder of the evening.

Will leaned back from the Pool once Deanna had gone to bed.
"Well, that was definitly helpful" he laughed. "Turns out we are spirits down there Tom. You are the Wind....and I am that tree."
Thomas nodded in agreement. "Well, we better figure a way to firstly...lead her to the tree ...and then I'll ....surround her with some vicious winds..."
Will rose his palm and shook it.
"No, it has to be peaceful. If you capture her in a vicious wind...don't you think that when we go back...the same thing will happen again. Remember the wind is a reflection of who you are. She needs peace Tom. When we get back....I'm sure we'll have peace.
Between us and Deanna....and between you and I."
Thomas stared momentarily at Deanna as she rested, then raised his eyes in agreement and then cocked his head in confusion.
"Well...once we get her there....we have to take her into the sunset. How do we do that? I'm pretty sure trees can't walk..."

"Oh Tom...I'm sure mom isn't telling us something for a reason.
We'll have to wait until Katimavik to see what happens."
With that, Will stood and held his hand out for Thomas to take. They wandered away from the Pool of Now to deep within the endless mists of the Next.

It was the last day of Fall equinox. Once the sun kissed the cold lips of the mountain then winter would awaken from its daunting sleep. Deanna sat sipping hot black coffee listening to Billie Holiday. It normally wasn't her kind of music...but Will had got her into it and now everytime she played it she would pretend the backing trombone player was Will. She could close her eyes and fall into the music pretending she was in the audience watching him, eyes shut, blowing his heart into every note.

Then he'd look up and scan the crowd to see if she was there....and when he finally found her eye he would
grin and blush shyly.

The daydream warmed her heart and she was disappointed when the song ended and she was brought back to consciousness. She sat for a second then requested an ancient earth song by a girl called Ferron.
"Computer playback song Cactus by artist Ferron" *copyright 1994
Nemesis Publishing
All Rights Reserved.

The computer responded and the soft lulling intrumentation of the song began.

"It's been a year, since you left home for a higher ground In the distance I hear a hoot owl ask the only question I have found to be worthy of the sound it makes as it breaks the silence of your old town. These
letters are another way to love you."

Deanna sung along to the last verse...even though she didn't know the words. It seemed somewhat important that she did so...her tiny crystalline voice tiptoed through the sitting room.

"Now when I imagine life is only time and space...then I guess I've seen the best of it upon your tender, loving face. And the faith that you bestowed in me gives me a solid sense of place. I learn to say...Fire, Water, Earth and Air...I learn to say Fire, Water, Earth
and Air...I learn to say Fire, Water, Earth and Air...and I'll see you there." When the last hum of electric bass had dwindled away...she stood and grabbed her jacket from the couch. She turned and headed out the door....to the White Pine.

"It worked Will, I don't know how but it did."
"It's something with that new age sound Tom...I don't know...but that's Dee's kind of music. She told me once that it speaks directly to the soul...I figured if we tried it and hid the message she'd probably come." he stood and began to place his foot in the Pool...gesturing in a wave of the hand to Tom..
"Come on...let's go it's time."
With that they dwindled from the Next into their appointed spiritual stations...

Deanna hummed the bars of the song on her way to the tree. The wind was pushing hard against her back, but still was subtle enough for her to enjoy the walk. It felt good against her spine...felt...secure almost. When she came to the pine, he was as commanding and proud as ever against the onslaughting war that was soon to begin on the western front.

She leaned into the trunk and hugged the tree and for the first time dug her foot into the trunk. There was a branch about six feet up. It was as large as a full grown fir, she easily clambered up the rutts in the bark and wiggled herself out until she was in the center of it. She let her feet dangle back and forth and felt a wave of comfort as the wind blew them in a silent seasoned waltz.

Deanna raised her head to the breeze and craned her neck far back to look up at the tree.

It was at that moment that the scent of pine and fresh air combined and nestled from her nostrils...right straight to her soul. Once again she began to sing.

But not Ferron this time.
It was another ancient Earth folk tune...one her father would sometimes sing to her.
"The water is wide, I cannot cross o'er neither have I, wings to fly...."

*Yes you do*

A wave of chill ran her over. There was movement to her side. There was touch. There was that overwhelming scent of pine...and...then, there was Will. In a semi-transparent form he sat, leaning against her shoulder...his wings brushing softly against her arm and her hair.

"The sunset is beautiful Imzadi." he said

She turned to look at him, in utter shock. She nearly fell off of the branch but an arm from the other side righted her. Then the breeze dwindled off and there was Thomas.

Deanna shyly lifted her hand to Will's back and threaded her fingers down the stitches of his wings. There was that hope again, now stronger than ever and out of her pocket her left hand revealed the feather that had been caught up in her hair many days ago. She took it and held it up to him.

"I've been watching ,love, waiting. I've been sitting here with you every night. Right here, on this branch. I guess this i must've dropped this." he smiled warmly and captured Deanna's shaking palm in his. He was real she couldn't believe it but there he was. She raised her chocolate eyes to meet his, she felt she was going to
faint. She turned her head to see Thomas.

She thought at first she may be frightened...but his smile was gentle and peaceful. He took her other hand and together they rose to lift her to her feet.

"you found peace in the Next, Tom?" she asked
He nodded
Will shifted his arm around her waist getting a good grip and slowly began to lift her from the branch. She gasped in a startled haste at first but soon relaxed as they led her into the sunset.

*this is wonderful my lovely Rikers, where are we going?*

Wills mind tingled with her thought. Before he had a chance to answer, Thomas did
*you'll see my love...to the Serenity of Katimavik*

Even though she didn't comprehend the meaning of the word. She nodded in respect of the word, taking the time to shift an arm around each of their waists and squeezing tightly. They wandered...together...as one into the extremity of colour. Into the depths of a dying day...with one single hope to live again. To live in the same
silent peace as the Katimavik sunset.
Once they had gone through the overwhelming shell of many colours they found themselves in the core of the sunset. Dwindling on the thin black line they stood in the center. It was lit was a single white beam. Surrounding the beam were twelve inukshuks, three of which were made by the three that stood now under the beam.
Rikers mother reappeared.

"Well done my boys...and Deanna. My you're a lovely flower. Your soul speaks of faith and of trust and belief. Thomas, I can feel you at peace now...you're journey through this Next was very important as it helped you reclaim your rogue soul. You will always have peace. Will, you always had peace you just didn't know it." She
looked at Deanna and back at Will. "Assume nothing son, take nothing for granted and be grateful... for the now. I love you all and will see you all....sometime again far down the line."

"These three inukshuks will dwell in Katimavik forever...and will symbolize that you were here and that your goal of peace was reached...." Then the light became brillant.....


part 10

--When the beam had faded Riker sat up and looked to his side. There curled up against him was Deanna. He was back in their quarters, back where he was supposed to be. He leaned over and kissed her on the head. Kicking his legs free of the sheets he wandered over to his mini-computer..

"Computer...locate Thomas Riker...latest status"

The computer blipped for a minute and replied...

"Thomas Riker last reported location was on Betazaid at the local art museum...."

"Is he there now?"


"can you contact him computer...?"

The screen was silent for a second and then Thomas Riker was captured in image.

"Will! How are you doing I was just trying to get ahold of you...I ...found it..."

"Found what Tom?"

"the painting,...the painting she first took us to remember we couldn't make heads or tails of it...well...today...today when we came back....I was here and i was staring at it....and I saw....I saw...peace." Thomas was estactic and was flailing his limbs around in a vibrant gesture of serenity, Will could sense his calm.
"That's wonderful brother, maybe now we can truely see eye to eye without trying to compete...it's what mom wanted."

Tom nodded his head in agreement..."I'm resigning from Starfleet Will, I'm going to wander..."

"Well you are the wind...and what is a wind if it doesn't wander"

"and you are the tree, wellrooted and strong, take care brother...remember what mother said...take nothing for granted and..."

"Be grateful for the now" said Will as he finished Tom's words.

They smiled at each other and then the communique ended and Tom's image disapeared.

Deanna could be heard walking in the next room...the gentle plodding thumps of her footsteps...

"Will, what are these...?"

He walked into the bedroom and on his coffee table....were three minature inukshuks and in the center was that feather...

"I...i saw it at an art gallery...uh...it uh symbolizes peace and hope. I thought it'd make a nice edition to our quarters..."

She turned to lift her eyes to his...

"It's lovely Will, I adore it...You must've been up for sometime working on it...?"

He grinned.

"You could say that..." .