"Staring It In the Face"
S.K.   trylikeafool@gmail.com

Disclaimer: Yadda, yadda, yadda, yadda, yadda....oh yeah...and the characters aren't mine.

Synopsis: About this time before the wedding...if you're going by Starfleet time, that is. It's very short, but I wanted to write tonight.

"I didn't burn down the kitchen!" William Riker, commander of the flagship, vented again. It was his third time this night, a night of celebration and remembrance.

Aaron Jameson shook his head in disbelief at the apparent denial of his friend. "Then what do you call it?"


"Okay, hold on. I want to know the truth. What really happened, Will?" Riker looked at the read-headed doctor with a certain look of contempt. Hadn't they been over this already? He was sure they had. At least his head screamed it and the decency to keep him from being embarrassed fled long ago. After all, he was usually the last on in the room to be embarrassed. But tonight was his night and all of his friends were headstrong to make sure everyone knew it.

Exhaling a sharp breath, he glanced around the large table. They might as well know. If he didn't explain how it really happened, then Aaron would explain it the way it didn't happen. Either way, it was down-right embarrassing.

"Fine," he relinquished, "I was bored, which was a rarity at the Academy. But I honestly had nothing to do and I was hungry, so I went into the kitchen and began to cook. Next thing I know, the stove is on fire. Before I could control it, the fire spread and burned the kitchen." He looked at Aaron, "But it did not burn DOWN."

Jameson opened his hands, "Have it your way."

Various chuckles could be heard around the table. However, Picard's voice silenced them all. "Did you get reprimanded?"

Riker took the napkin from his lap and chucked it onto the table. "Surprisingly no. They felt it was an accident and it didn't hurt anyone. However, I did pull double duty for a couple of weeks."

"And that was a light sentence for Will Riker." Riker shot another look at Aaron but it did nothing to strike intimidation into the heart of his former squadron comrade and future first officer as he hoped it would.

Data watched the exchanged with the fascinating awe of an android. "Commander, how is it that a cadet with three formal reprimands on his record could graduate the Academy eighth in his class?"

Another round of chuckles was heard and Will, with all the dignity and grace he had left, stood and then pulled Deanna's chair out for her to stand as well. "Only by the hand of God, Data. If you will excuse us ladies and gentlemen, it's been a wonderful evening. Deanna and I thank you for your congratulations on both our marriage and my promotion. But now, it's late and I have an early bridge shift."
In the back of the room, they all heard one ensign yell out, "Then leave Deanna and you can go to bed!" As soon as Riker spotted him, he grinned, along with the rest of the crew. He was a young officer, a jokester, and famous onboard for his crush on Deanna Troi. One that he acted on when he first came on board. One that he acted on without knowing that she and Will were together. One that the entire crew became aware of when Will had to pull him aside one day on the bridge and set him straight. Normally Riker wouldn't have conducted such personal affairs on the bridge, but the opportunity was ever present and it needed to be dealt with. That had been two years ago, and now Ensign Tagle laughed with the rest of the crew, Will and Deanna grateful to know him as a friend.

"I would," Will answered, "But I've become accustomed to her tucking me in at night."

A few whistles and over zealous sounds of expression filled the crowded room. It was only a second after he said it that he felt her pinch him hard in the side. "I should reprimand you for that," she said, just so only he would hear it.

Will caught her eyes for a moment, conveying a meaning that only she would understand, and then began to lead her to the door. They called out goodnight to everyone as the exited the lounge, suddenly shocked when the wide open corridor greeted them. They had been stuck in that crowded, noisy room for nearly five hours. It had been a long night and both were struggling to make it to their quarters.

Will was first to plop himself down on a piece of furniture. The couch namely. "You know, the bed would be more comfortable," Deanna told him.

Will grunted and he shifted his weight. "Can't make it. I'm getting too old for these parties."

Deanna smiled and went to him holding out her hands, "Come on. You're not too old. You've got another seventy years at least and I will live for all eternity."

Deanna leaned back as she helped him pull his large frame to a standing position. "All eternity, huh? What will you do after I'm gone?"

She shrugged and began walking in the direction of their bedroom. "Probably find another husband."

"Taking after your mother?"

Deanna threw him a look that could kill, "Don't even joke about that, Will Riker."

Will just grinned and followed her into their sleeping quarters. Once there, he found her brushing her hair as she did every night. It was a habit that he would love watching…for all eternity if time permitted it.

He quickly changed and then sat on the bed behind her, scrutinizing her every feature in the mirror. "Can you believe it's only two months away?"

Deanna turned her head slightly to regard him. "The wedding or your promotion?"

He shrugged. "Both, I guess. It's hard to believe that either is happening…after so long."

She finished what she was doing and went to put on her night gown. I was his favorite. Pink, close-fitting. "We have waited a long time. You've worked all your life for a command."

Will smiled and rubbed his hands together, a sure sign of his slight apprehension. "Sometimes I feel like I'm just now growing up. Being responsible for the second in command is one thing, but being responsible for your own ship….for a wife."

Deanna rested her hands akimbo on her hips. "I'm not exactly your responsibility."

He sighed and fell back onto the bed. "You know what I mean."

Deanna smirked affectionately and slid onto the bed next to him. "I do know what you mean, Imzadi. And I understand. Anyone in your position would be a little…nervous. Frankly, I am too. Leaving our friends here, starting a new life with you. It's all a little overwhelming at times. But things can't stay the same forever."

Will put his arm around her and pulled her into his embrace. "I know that. I want to go and I want to marry you. In fact, I wish we were already married. It's just that it's so close, I feel like I'm staring it in the face."

She looked into his azure eyes and caught his undivided attention. "You are." She kissed him. It was a kiss of assurance and love. I was a kiss that he accepted willingly. Strangely enough, it captured him up in a sense of peace and longing for the future.

They broke the kiss after a few very long seconds and Will let out a sigh of warmth. "Now I really wish we were married."

"Two months. It'll go by quickly." She brushed the wayward hair off his forehead and gave him another peck on the lips.

Will fought the fatigue in his eyes. He had been fighting it all night but she was just now beginning to see how tired he really was. Deanna caught it right away. "The morning will come quickly as well. You need some sleep. You can't keep giving yourself such a hectic work load and expect to be the life of the party also."

He began to pull down the covers, still lying half-way on them. "It wasn't my fault. I just accepted the promotion yesterday. How did I know they would throw a surprise party?"

"Absolutely not your fault. But I want you to take it easy for the next couple of days. You're getting too old for this, remember?"

Will may have been tired, but he was not too tired to put her in her place. He grabbed the nearest pillow and swung it at her, effectively knocking her down to her own pillow next to him. "I may be old, but that means you are too, Miss Troi."

Deanna pulled the covers up to her shoulders, "Did I say old? I meant devastatingly handsome."

Will joined her under the covers. "Nice try." Then he gave her a quick kiss on the tip of her nose. She cuddled up close to him and felt his breath when he whispered into her ear, "We're not old, are we?"

Deanna sighed and closed her eyes, "No. We're just at the beginning."

Will laid his head atop hers and tightened his hold on her. "We're staring our future in the face together." When she hadn't responded, he looked down to see if she had heard him only to find her sound asleep. He smiled, "At least one of us is keeping watch on the future." His whispered sentiment was lost on her sleeping form.

Watch, he did for what seemed like an eternity until the lulling, subtle glow of the lights began to claim him into an unconscious state. He carefully slid further down into the softness of the bed and gave his last command of the day. "Computer, lights out."