Author: Pia Pedersen

Code: R/T

Summary: History is destined to repeat itself - or is it?


Response to a Lyrics Challenge posted to the Imzadi_Pro List in November 2001.


Disclaimer: It’s all Paramount’s. I own none of it.


Lyrics included: "What I Really Want to Say" by Steven Curtis Chapman
(c) 1999 Sparrow Song


Thank you, Peter David, for writing the ‘Imzadi’ novel.



She felt his presence even before turning around. Deanna gasped inaudibly. He looked tormented. As he stood there, her Will looked like a shadow of the man he was, and it was her fault. She had done this to him.


She turned around, forcing back the tears. It was Beverly.

“How long are you going to go on like this?” Dr. Crusher sat down across the table from her friend.

Deanna feigned ignorance. He’d reached the bar by now. She felt his eyes on her.

“Like what?”

“Don’t,” Beverly warned, whispering. “Deanna, you don’t even talk anymore. Not since --- “

Deanna cut off her friend with a look unlike any Beverly had ever seen from the Counselor. It was almost pleading.

“What happened, Dee?” Beverly decided to try another approach. “What happened to Imzadi?”

The mix of shock and pain on Deanna’s face and in her eyes took Beverly by surprise. She didn’t pretend to understand the depths of the bond her friends shared, but she did know that it was powerful.

“I don’t want to talk about it. Please. I …” Deanna got up quickly. “I have some reports to finish.”

Beverly nodded. She knew when to stop pushing, and she had a feeling that she had touched on a subject far more sensitive than she had realized.

“Talk to him.” She held Troi’s gaze with hers. “Will you promise me that much?”

“I will talk to Will,” Deanna answered. “When I’m ready.” She smiled a little. “Good night, Doctor.”

“Counselor.” Beverly smiled, as she watched the beautiful Betazoid leave Ten Forward. Seconds later Will Riker was heading out as well.

“Let them work through this,” Beverly prayed silently, before she went to the bar and gratefully took the drink offered to her by Guinan.


 Will stopped outside Deanna’s office, his hands clenched at his sides. He couldn’t believe he was here, all over again. It was life’s painful irony.

He tapped his communicator.

“Riker to Troi.”

 His heart was pounding; it was actually pounding. He felt like he was a young lieutenant once again - and she didn’t answer. He half expected her mother to materialize in front of him.

“Deanna …“

“Come in,” she offered, and he stepped forward, as the doors opened before him.

Once he was inside, she looked at him seriously.

“I’m working, Will, and I really don’t want to have this conversation right now.”

He laughed humorlessly.

“Believe me, I’m aware of that, Deanna. But I have one question, and you’re going to answer me.”

“Is that an order, Commander?”

She emphasized his rank, and Will cringed.

“Of course not. Look, I’m sorry, I’m just frustrated. I thought that --- “

He tried to lock eyes with her. She looked away.

“I thought that after what we shared the other night, we had found each other again. Finally.”

Deanna didn’t speak, she couldn’t. There was so much she wanted to say to him, she ached to say it. But she didn’t have the words.

“Did you have a question, Will?”

This was not how he had expected her to react. It took him a few seconds to recover.

She saw his jaw clench, noticed the pain in his eyes, and he’d turned even paler than before. Then, they hit her. His thoughts. He was sending to her again. Their recent union had strengthened their bond, opening up their minds to one another again.

~ Why are you doing this? ~

His thoughts reflected the pain she felt from him; it flooded her senses.

“Do you love me?”

“Will, that’s not fair. Please, don’t do this.”

She reached out to him and relaxed as he took her in his arms. She sighed, and he kissed her hair.

“I need to hear you say it,” he said. “I’m not trying to … “ He trailed off, as he felt her shiver.

She saw his eyes cloud over with concern and withdrew from his embrace feeling the loss of his warmth immediately.

“Is something wrong?”

She nodded.

“I’m scared,” she said.

She was. It was evident from the look in her eyes. He didn’t know why, but he had to ask, he had to know. 

“Of me? Are you scared of me?”

She didn’t answer him. She only nodded.

And Will felt his heart break, as his world shattered into a million pieces.



Deanna didn’t go after him when he left her office. She couldn’t even look at him. She hid her face in her hands, calling out his name softly.

“Will, please understand.”


Once he was back in his cabin, Will let his frustration and pain flow free, and, for the first time in a very long time, he cried.

How could he have been so wrong? He took in a deep breath and went to the bathroom. Looking at himself in the mirror, Riker didn’t see the accomplished officer he had become, he saw the man he once was - the man who had hurt Deanna more deeply that he had even imagined. Until tonight, until she had said the words he had hoped and prayed he would never hear from her. She was afraid of him. Fear. The thought gripped his heart and didn’t let go.

Will exited the bathroom and sat down on his bed.

The piece of paper on the floor caught his attention and although he knew the words by heart, he still picked it up.

She had brought it with her that evening, and he had joked about how she had kept it for all those years. But she had just looked at him, saying that she had carried it in her heart always, keeping it as a memory of the love they had shared …

Will felt like he wanted to hit something - hard.

Had, she’d said - past tense. Damn it.

It wasn’t true - he knew it. In his heart he knew she still loved him. She wouldn’t have let him … it wouldn’t have been that strong … if she didn’t love him. But she couldn’t say it, he remembered, not that night, and not now.

She was scared.

The words cut like knives in his heart, but he did understand.

Even if she knew that he would give his life for hers, she couldn’t give herself to him. She didn’t trust that he would stay. With all the years passed, all their time spent together as friends here on the Enterprise, she still didn’t trust him completely, and the way he wished she would.

Just as she had carried the memory of his love with her, the devastation of his betrayal had never left her, either.

“I have to go.”

The words were spoken to no one in particular, but Will knew it was the only thing he could do now. Staying here, having to see her everyday and not be able to touch her, it would be too painful.

He reached for a PADD and reached into the depths of his heart and soul, like he had done before so long ago, as he wrote his message to Deanna, his Imzadi - the first and only woman to ever touch his soul.



The door to her office was unlocked, and Will entered to find her asleep at her desk.

He stood there for a minute just watching her, before gently placing the PADD in front of her. His kiss fell lightly on her hair, and although she stirred, Deanna didn’t wake up.

She didn’t see the tears in his eyes or hear the soft words he spoke as he left.

“I love you, Imzadi.”


She knew something was wrong even before she opened her eyes.

Something - someone - was missing.

Deanna sat up with a start, not even noticing the PADD lying in front of her.

“Computer, location of Commander Riker?”

She whispered, not wanting to acknowledge that she already knew the answer, her heart knew.

“Commander Riker is not on board the Enterprise,” came the reply.

She had been awakened by the sense of his absence - physically and mentally - but it still didn’t prepare her for the feeling of loss that washed over her, once it was established as a fact.

“Will ... “

His name fell from her lips almost like a prayer, as Deanna tried to reach him with her mind.

“Please, Will, don’t ... “

Deanna knew he would never harm her, but she wasn’t sure that he would feel the same way about himself, not with the way they had left things last night.

She had felt his heart break and watched the lights in his eyes fade out ... and she had let him go.

He was gone.

Her tears were warm on her cheeks, and she held back a scream as Picard’s voice was heard through her communicator. She couldn’t afford to break down now.

“Troi here,” she acknowledged, already on her feet. “I will be right with you, Captain.”

“Acknowledged, Counselor.”

Deanna couldn’t remember ever having heard nor sensed Picard so serious. Sadness overwhelmed her, but she was unable to determine if it was Picard’s or her own. She also didn’t care.

All she cared about was finding Will.


Will Riker had left in one of the Enterprise’s shuttles and was now home in Alaska. 

After walking around for hours that felt more like days, he had resigned to the solitude and peace of the graveyard.

He didn’t know why he’d ended up here or even how.  It seemed like some force within him, a feeling that somehow this was where his heart would finally be able to find some answers and begin to mend, had driven him.

Not that he really cared - if Deanna wasn’t in his life, he couldn’t see what good it would do him to go on. She was his life, without her it had no meaning.

Life without Deanna.

The loss he felt was greater than anything Will had ever felt before - the pain was physical. He had to reach out to steady himself and was startled by the coolness of the stone he touched.  Something compelled him to look down, and when he did his tears fell without warning.

His mother.

This was his mother’s grave. Riker smiled despite himself. Of all the places he could have ended up, he was here … by the last resting place of the woman who had given him life. Deanna had taught him to believe in fate. Here was his proof. 

Will kneeled down, briefly touching the letters carved into the stone.

He closed his eyes and felt a sudden calm invade his body, and along with it came a feeling he hadn’t ever expected to experience again.

Everything would be all right. Somehow, it would be all right. Because just as it had been fate leading him here, letting him feel his mother’s spirit in one of the darkest hours of his life, it had also been fate who had brought Deanna into his life - and it would bring them back together again. It was inevitable.

He just had to believe, and he did, now. Again.

He smiled slightly as he called out a word he hadn’t spoken since he was a boy; a word that held the promise of love, warmth and security, even if he had only known her for a short while.



Back on the Enterprise calm was the last feeling anyone experienced, especially the ship’s Counselor.

“We will find him, Dee.”

Beverly did her best to console her friend, but her own doubts were apparent in her voice. The truth was that Will had left no trace of himself, save the shuttle that had been found missing. Their only hope was Deanna and the bond the two of them shared - and right now it didn’t look good.

Deanna was falling apart before her eyes, and from what she had understood, Will had closed his mind so effectively that Deanna couldn’t even sense him. Apparently, he didn’t want to be found.

“But what if ... what if he’s hurt?”

Deanna was sobbing, her words muffled into the Doctor’s shoulder.

“What if he’s...?”

She couldn’t say it, didn’t even want to think it. Thinking it made it possible, and it couldn't be. Will was okay. He had to be. If he wasn’t, the last words he would have heard from her would be ...

Deanna took a couple of steps back and sat down.

So did Beverly. 

The two women were alone in the Doctor's office.

“I told him that I was scared of him, Beverly.”

Crusher had had a suspicion that Will’s decision had something to do with his relationship with Deanna, but she hadn't expected this.

“You are?”

Deanna had to give the Doctor credit for not asking all the obvious “why?” and “how?” questions. But then again, Beverly Crusher had never been one to make the obvious choices. Besides, she probably knew she would get only half answers, and there was no time for that now.

“As an officer I would trust him with my life,” Deanna answered. “But when it comes to my relationship with him, I ... I’m afraid to risk it.”

Beverly nodded.

“I don’t know what happened between you and Will back then, Deanna,” she said. “But I know that he isn’t the man he was when I first met him. He has matured and seems content with his life as it is. Except for one thing.”

Deanna looked down, thereby offering her silent consent to the Doctor’s analysis. She knew it was true. 

“I know that, and I know he loves me. I love him too. I've never stopped loving him, but ... I can't go through that kind of pain again, I just can't. He broke my heart.”

“And last night you broke his,” Beverly said softly and without any accusation whatsoever.

“I know.”

Deanna nodded, tears shimmering in her eyes.

Beverly offered a comforting smile before turning to leave Deanna alone with her thoughts. She heard Deanna's plea and prayed that somehow, wherever he was, Will would hear it, too.

“I need you, Will. Come back to me.”


~ Imzadi. ~

The sweet tones of Deanna's voice came to Will in his sleep, and he opened his eyes, hoping she would be there with him. But she wasn't, of course she wasn't. He was alone in the room he had rented the previous night.

Was it a dream, or was she trying to reach him? He wasn't sure.

~ Will! ~

There she was again, in his mind.

He closed his eyes and cleared his mind like she had taught him. It wasn't hard like it had been then. Although he was out of practice it wasn't long until he felt her thoughts mix with his own

The pain that coursed through him left him breathless.

~ I'll be okay. ~

Will felt the sting of his own heartache subside within seconds as he focused all his energy on sending to her. Right now he wanted nothing else but to reassure her. 

He sensed her pain subside instantly and be partly replaced by a feeling of relief that was almost as tangible as the pain had been.

~ Where are you? Will, we need you here - the Captain ... ~

He picked up on the change in her emotions immediately.

~ I need you. ~

He felt his heart beat faster as her feelings filled his mind.

~ I can't. ~

He had felt the mixed blessing of their bond before, but never as strongly as he did at this moment.

She was falling apart, and he knew he was the one causing her pain. It seemed he was always hurting her, even if that was the absolute last thing he wanted to do. He just wanted to love her - if she would only let him.

~ I do love you. ~

Her voice in his head was suddenly overwhelming to Will. It was too much.

~ Deanna ... ~

~ Where are you, Will? ~

He knew she wouldn't let him go if he didn't tell her, and he needed to get the hell out of this room. The walls were beginning to close in on him.

~ I'm home. ~


Deanna ran out of Beverly's office and down the corridor to the next turbo lift.

Once inside, she tapped her communicator.

“Picard here, go ahead Counselor,” came the Captain's voice.

Deanna was hit by the resignation in his voice. She felt terrible. She had been so caught up in her own pain that she had neglected her duties as Counselor.

She knew Picard loved Will Riker. The two men were more than just Captain and First Officer. Picard had become like the father Will had never really known, and Will was one of the few people on the Enterprise, who Picard trusted implicitly.

“He's on Earth, Captain.”

Deanna hoped that her enthusiasm would lift Picard's spirits.

“Will is in Alaska.”


The turbo lift came to a stop.

Deanna stepped outside and waited.

“Acknowledged. Join me in my Ready Room, Counselor.”

Deanna smiled, as she sensed the Captain's relief.

“I'm on my way. Troi out.”

Without hesitation Picard changed his ship's course.

The Enterprise was now headed for Planet Earth.


Later, Deanna was back in her office resting. She was trying to sort out her thoughts and feelings before her meeting with Will when the Enterprise would reach North America.

For the first time she noticed the PADD Will had left on her desk.

She felt her hands shaking as she opened it.

“Oh, Will.”

She breathed his name as she read his message to her. Her Imzadi - the only man to ever touch her soul.


--- Deanna, my love,

When you read this, I'll be gone. Please know that I never meant to hurt you, and I promise that you will never have to be afraid again.

I wish I could stay, I wish I could go back to being just a friend to you, but I can't. It's too hard, and although I wish you all the happiness in the Universe, staying on board to watch you find it with someone else would be too painful.

I always hoped that someday we would get there, but I guess it was not meant to be, and I won't stand in your way. You deserve much more than I can give you. You deserve someone who you will be able to trust with your heart, knowing that he will never let you down.

I love you, Imzadi - with everything I am. I wouldn't be half the man I am, without you. I wish I could find the words to let you know how completely lost I will be without you here to light up my life, but I can't. I never could.

A long time ago I put my feelings for you into words. They have never been more true than at this moment in time. I can't remember a time where you weren't a part of my life, and I have never really believed or even imagined that you wouldn't be a part of my future.' ~ Will. ---

 Tears had started to run down her cheeks when she had begun reading, and they hadn't stopped, but Deanna didn't care. 

She cried for the years passed and for the future they had almost lost. Almost. She still had a chance to let him know, to make him understand that he was the only one who could take her fears away - she needed him.

She was just about to close the PADD when she saw it, below his letter.


'I say I love you, I say I need you
I try so many ways to say how my heart beats for you
I say I'm always thinking about you
There's no way I could face this life without you
And even though these words come from deep inside me
There's so much more I don't have the words to say

'Cause what I really want to say
Is what the sun would say to the sky
For giving it a place to come alive
But my words get in the way
Of what I really want to say
Oh, what I really what to say

I know that sometimes my words can be as hard as stone
And sometimes my words have left you feeling so alone
So please forgive me and hear the words I'm saying now
I will spend my whole life looking for a way somehow
To let you know just how precious you are to me
I'll use the best words I know but I still won't say it all'

Another poem.

Deanna couldn't believe it.

The feeling of deja-vú was unshakeable. But there was a difference ... and the realization of it brought back the pain ten-fold.

The poem he had written to her in Jalara had marked what he had thought was a beginning for the two of them.

This one, as beautiful as it was, marked Will Riker's good-bye to her.

It captured, Deanna knew instinctually, the essence of Will's frustration but also the essence of his love for her. With these lines, these words, he had bared his soul for her once again, one last time.

Deanna dropped the PADD, watching it fall down on her desk.

And she called out his name in her mind, called it out with a force like never before in a mix of hope and desperation ...


 Far away, Will stopped dead in his tracks as he was hit by the powerful blast of Deanna's thoughts.

It sent him reeling, and he leaned against the nearest tree, completely out of breath.

In an act of utter instinct he tapped his communicator fiercely, thanking the gods that he hadn't changed out of his uniform in his hurry to leave the ship.

He knew they would be on the way here.

Deanna would have told the Captain immediately, and Will had no doubts that Picard had set course for Alaska instantly.

He would demand an explanation, in the very least. Riker didn't think that his superior officer would have him reported, but he wasn't at all sure.

And right now it wasn't important. He had to know what had caused such a powerful reaction from Deanna; he had to know if she was all right. All he could think of was her, and he just hoped that the Enterprise was close enough for him to be able to establish contact.

Later, he would take on whatever consequences he had to.


“Riker to Enterprise.”

The sound of the First Officer’s voice startled the crew on the Bridge of the Enterprise.

They looked at each other, both happy to hear that the Commander appeared to be unharmed and anxious as to what the Captain's response would be.

They waited.

Beverly, who had been on the Bridge since Picard had ordered Deanna to get some rest, placed a hand on his shoulder - wordlessly asking him to resist letting his temper flare.

 Picard nodded in agreement.

Beverly smiled, letting her hand rest on his shoulder.

“Yes, Number One?”

The crew let out a collective sigh of relief.

Picard turned to look at them, and then he looked at Beverly.

“Sir, I know I have a great deal to answer for, and I will explain everything, but I have to know if --- “

Everyone present noted the sudden strain in Riker's voice.

“Captain, is Deanna all right?”

Will knew his question might be surprising and not what anyone expected, but he also knew that his and Deanna's relationship - be it friendly or beyond - was the worst kept secret on the entire ship.

“I believe she is,” Picard answered, adding, “under the circumstances.”

The Captain rose from his seat and gestured for his acting First Officer to take charge.

Beverly followed him off the Bridge and walked in the direction of the Counselor's office.

Picard entered his Ready Room and sat down before speaking again.

“Commander,” he now said. “We will be reaching Alaska shortly. I expect to be fully briefed as to the reasons for your actions, and I want an account regarding your plans where your future on the Enterprise is concerned. Is that understood?”

It wasn't like Will was left with any choice.

“Yes, Captain,” he obliged.

“Good. And for future reference ---“ Picard continued, still serious. “ --- No one leaves my ship without my approval. Not even you.”

“No, sir. I understand, and I will accept any restrictions as a result of my actions,” Will replied, equally serious. 

“Very well.”

Will smiled a little. Picard was not giving away anything.

“Number One?”

Will couldn't help but feel relieved. He felt fairly certain that if Picard would address him in this informal way he wasn't preparing to report him to Starfleet.

“Yes, sir?”

“Are you injured?”

“No, sir, I'm not.”

Will noted the concern in his Captain's voice and was reminded of why he respected him so much - as a commanding officer and a friend.

“Within a few minutes I will let the Doctor Crusher and Counselor Troi beam down to the surface,” Picard now let Will know.

Will took in a breath. He wasn't ready to see Deanna, not yet.

“Sir, I --- “

“The Doctor will see to your medical needs, should there be any,” Picard cut him off. “And I expect you to resolve any other problems with the help of the Counselor ... “

Picard waited.

No protest, in fact, Riker didn’t answer him at all.

“Will, you need to work it out,” he said. “It can't go on like this any longer.”

“Yes, sir,” came the tired reply, before Riker ended the communication.


Picard contacted both the Doctor and the Counselor with a request that they both meet him right away.

“Captain, we are ready for Commander Riker's coordinates, sir.”

It was the voice of Officer O'Brien.

Counselor Troi and Doctor Crusher entered and sat down on Picard's silent urging.

“Stand by to beam Counselor Troi and Doctor Crusher down to the surface,” he ordered before turning his attention to the women in front of him.

Troi looked terrible, he noted.

Her eyes were red from crying. But that wasn't what caught Picard's eye. It was the resignation in her features that struck him.

“I have to see him.”

Deanna only whispered.

He nodded in agreement, hurting for her as he was for Riker.

The two of them was not only two of his most accomplished officers - they were also his friends.

More importantly, they belonged together.

“I understand,” he acknowledged. “Mr. O'Brien is standing by in Transporter Room 2.”

Troi nodded, as did Beverly.

They both stood.

“Deanna,” Picard said, getting her attention by his use of her name instead of her professional title.


“Good luck.”

She smiled slightly, nodding her thanks before leaving with Beverly.



Will Riker was pacing. He told himself it was to keep from freezing, but he also knew that at best this was only half the truth. 

She would be here, soon.

He buried his hands in the pocket of his ski jacket and rested against one of the trees, waiting. It was all he could do.

He turned around and stared into space, trying to make sense of his thoughts and hold on to the last bits of control he had.

He took pride in his ability to remain in control, and he’d always been pretty good at it, too.

Except with Deanna Troi.

She had turned his Universe upside down when they’d met all those years ago on Betazed.

And now, today, she was his Universe – everything in his life that had any value was connected to her.

He loved her deeply, at times almost desperately, and all he wanted right now was to tell her.

He had to make her understand that he needed her, that he was nothing without her.


“Are you okay, Dee?”

Beverly looked at Deanna’s pale expression, unable to hide her worry.

“I have to make him understand,” she whispered, turning to Beverly as she continued.  “I have to, Beverly.”

“He will,” Beverly answered, hoping that she would be right.

So did Deanna.

And then, she saw him.

Will was right there, standing just a few feet away from her.

He stared into space, seemingly lost in thought.


It was Beverly, who spoke. She had walked the last few steps up to him while Deanna stayed behind.

Will turned around with a half-smile.

Then he frowned.

“My God, Beverly, what are you --- you must be freezing!”

His eyes flew to Deanna. She wasn’t wearing a coat, either.

“The weather wasn’t exactly the first thing on her mind, Will,” said Beverly. “Mine either, for that matter.”

She looked at him, closer.

“I told the Captain I was fine,” Will explained, as he took off his jacket and handed it to Beverly. “Put this on, will you? I don’t need ‘jeopardizing the health of the CMO’ added to my lists of offences.” 

Crusher had to smile at that.

But Will didn’t see it. He’d hurried to where Deanna stood, embracing herself to keep warm.


He took off the sweater he’d worn under the jacket and offered it to her, although what he really wanted to do was offer her the warmth and comfort of his arms.

“Will, it’s not necessary, really,” she protested. He cocked an eyebrow at her, and she took the sweater. “What about you?”

“I’ll be fine,” he said.

He turned to Beverly.

She nodded, acknowledging that he was indeed fine – at least psychically. Whatever wounds and scars Will Riker was hiding they were not hers to heal or mend. Deanna was the only one who could do that.

“Crusher to Enterprise. One to beam up.”

Deanna watched Beverly shimmer away before turning slowly to face Will again.


One word. The only word she could think of at this moment where the cool air cracked with the tension between them.

“I had to.”

He didn’t say anymore, and they walked in silence until they reached the motel.

Will let her inside his room.

He reached for the extra jacket and gave it to her.

“Put this on. There’s mittens on the table.”

He pointed.

“I’ll be right back.”

He reached for the door, opening it.


Her hand on his arm stopped him. He closed his eyes.

“Talk to me.”

He let go of the door handle, closed the door and turned to look at the woman who had the power to move him, merely by being present.

“Will, please let me explain,” she asked.

She looked distraught, like he’d never seen her before, and he couldn’t bear to look at her.

“I’ve done it again,” he realized, not caring that he voiced his thoughts. “When I left, it confirmed everything about me that you don’t trust.”

Will tore his gaze away from hers.

He felt sick, and he couldn’t stay in here another minute.

“Yes …”

She was honest, he knew, and he didn’t want any other way.

But it still hurt like hell.

“Well, isn’t that just great?”

His voice was filled with sarcasm.

Deanna was clearly taken back with the force of his words.

So was he. He hadn’t meant to say this; he was just so incredibly frustrated with himself and this whole situation. Why couldn’t he just say what he really wanted to, what was on his mind and in his heart?

~ I’m scared, too. ~

The minute he’d thought it, he knew that she knew.

He saw it in her eyes, the surprise.

~ Scared of what, Will? ~

He found himself moving away from the door and to the bed where he sat down next to her.

He reached out and touched her cheek ever so lightly; as if he was afraid she would break.

Deanna felt her breath catch as his love for her tumbled into her mind in a flood of uncensored emotions of warmth, longing and desire.

“I’m scared we’ll never work this out. I’m scared that you will never trust me again.”

Will had finally found the courage to let Deanna know everything.

This was his chance, probably his last one, and he couldn’t let it slip away.

He couldn’t let her slip away.

Deanna didn’t speak.

Will leaned in and tucked a lock of curly hair behind her ear, resisting the urge to kiss her.

It wasn’t the time.  

“Dee, please just tell me one thing,” he asked. “I need to know.”

“It’s not too late,” she said, reveling in the hope and relief so apparent in his eyes.  “I love you, Will.”

She loved to see him smile again.

“I have something I’d like to show you. Will you come with me?”

She took his hand and let him help her to her feet.

The air between them cracked with electricity, as she let her guard down and let him bring her into his arms.

~ I need you so much, Will. Please don’t leave me again. ~

~ I’m sorry. I’m so sorry. ~

He held her as close to him as possible, opening his heart and soul to her and hoped that this would let her know what he would never be able to express with his words.

~ You are my everything, Dee. ~

She smiled into his shoulder, backing away from him a little.

~ You have quite a way with words, Riker. ~

Will looked into her eyes, desperate to make her understand.

“Not when it really matters, Deanna. But it’s the truth. You are everything to me.”

~ I know, Imzadi. ~

Of course she did. She knew him better he knew himself, Will admitted. 

“It was a beautiful letter,” she said now. “Thank you.”

Will felt his heart fall and took a step away from her.

“Don’t,” he whispered.

She watched in silence as she felt him battle with himself.

“Please, don’t thank me. I should be the one --- “ he trailed off. “Let me love you, Dee. Let me show you that I’ve changed.”

He locked eyes with her.

She was smiling a little, but her eyes were still serious.

“I can’t handle the pain, Will. If we are going to try again, this time I need to know that you ---“

Deanna was interrupted by his voice in her head.

~ I will be with you always. I promise you. ~


She challenged him, and Will wasn’t about to back down. The commitment she was asking of him was one that he was more than willing to give, and he had been for a very long time.

“Forever,” he said, continuing softly. “With you, Imzadi, it has always been forever.”

He smiled, offering his hand to her.

“Come with me.”


“Where are we going? It’s so cold, Will.”

He smiled and took her hand in his, happy she didn’t resist.

“We’ll be there soon,” he promised her, as they reached their destination. He pushed the gates open and walked up to the place where he had found solace and peace.

Deanna removed the snow from the headstone with her free hand, not wanting to let go of Will.

“I wanted to show you this.“ Will kneeled down, his free hand resting on the stone. “This was where I realized that loving you is my destiny.”

“Oh, Will …”

She didn’t say anything else, but she squeezed his hand, and tears shone in her eyes.

But they were tears of happiness.

“I wish you could have known each other,” came Will’s whisper. “I loved her so much, Deanna.”

Deanna let go of him, putting her hand comfortingly on his shoulder instead.

When he turned around and face her, she saw that he was crying.

“I don’t want to lose you, too, Deanna. Please.”

She had never seen him like this, so vulnerable.

“Let’s go back, Will.”

He nodded and walked with her, his hand in hers.

He looked back over his shoulder once, silently saying good-bye.

This place, his mother, was a part of his past.

Deanna was his present and his future.




 He heard her whisper and smiled, taking in the sweet scent of her hair.

They were on the bed, in each other’s arms, where they had been for the last few hours.

They had found the comfort and reassurance they both needed, and they had talked, baring their souls to one another, both knowing that this was their last chance to get it right.


She pulled away a little to look at him.

There was a twinkle in her eyes again.

“I’m ready.”

Will smiled, caressing her cheek.

His thoughts traveled back in time, and he knew that she was there with him, at the place where it had all begun for them.

There were still things to work out, still wounds that needed healing, but that was all right.

They would go through it together, work it out together.

They had been afraid that this was the end.

Now they knew that instead, it would be a new beginning.

They were Imzadi.

It was their destiny.

This time, Will didn’t offer any objections.

He kissed her, and she kissed him back.

~ I love you. ~

The words tumbled into Will’s and Deanna’s minds simultaneously as they let go of their fears and gave into the love they shared.

Nothing else mattered, not now and not ever.