Title: Honeymooning
Author: Saralyn
Rating: PG-13
Fandom: Star Trek: The Next Generation
Pairing: Riker/Troi
Archive: Yes to The Den. Anyone else needs to ask.
Summary: Riker and Troi's honeymoon after it got cut
short by Shinzon.
Warnings: None.
Disclaimer: Star Trek does not belong to me. Do I
look like either Majel Rodenberry or a large
corporation to you? I make no profit, so please don't
sue me.

Author's Notes: My first time writing het and my first
time writing Trek. I hope I didn't mess up too badly.
Also, I've attempted to be descriptive since that's a
quality that my writing normally lacks. So if anyone
cares to tell me where I failed in any of these three
firsts (for whatever reason), feel free. And thanks
to Christal, both for encouraging me and for answering
my questions when I was unsure about Trek canon. And
also catching all the grammar mistakes I was too tired
to see myself.

Feedback: Yes please. If I don't know what was bad,
it ain't ever gonna get better.


Since their first honeymoon had been cut short by
Picard's evil clone, Will and Deanna had made plans
for a second honeymoon after the ceremony on Betazed.
Deanna, claiming a wish to be surprised, had left the
choice of where to go up to Will. Will was pleased
about the planet he had chosen and even more pleased
when Deanna had shushed Lwaxana as she tried to spill
the beans about their honeymoon.

Will fidgeted nervously when it came time to beam down
to the planet Nilya, which had been colonized by
artisans. The Nilyans would be celebrating their
summer solstice in a week's time, and Will had thought
Deanna would enjoy the festivities. Deanna smiled at
Will's restlessness.

"I'm sure everything will be perfect," she said,
laying a gentle kiss on Will's lips.

Will calmed immediately, his normal confidence
settling in, and smiled back. "You'll be down there;
how could it not?"

Deanna laughed, and the two of them stepped onto the
transporter pad. They materialized under an awning
that framed a large plaza. Small vines had grown up
along the support columns, and a few tendrils spilled
over the awning's edge. The plaza itself held a large
stage and a bustling market in front of that. It was
an energetic place, though a nearby woodwind band
somewhat tempered the resulting cacophony.

Will placed his hand on the small of Deanna's back and
led her towards the hovercraft waiting for them. He
wouldn't have been able to make himself heard over the
din of the market, but he didn't need to. The
hovercraft set off as soon as he and Deanna sat down
on the bench seat. A trickle of sweat worked its way
down Will's neck; the Nilyans didn't believe in
environmental controls.

Deanna leaned in to him despite the heat, smiling
across the hovercraft at the human couple opposite
them. They were older than he and Deanna but still
very much in love to judge by the way they held hands.
Will slipped his arm around Deanna's shoulders and
thread his fingers through his wife's soft hair.

"I love you," Deanna whispered telepathically. Aloud,
she said, "Hello, I'm Deanna Riker and this is my
husband, Will." She leaned forward to offer her hand,
and Will did likewise.

The couple shook their hands while the husband
replied. "Nice to meet you. We're the Lohers, Bob
and Margaret respectively. Nilya sure is a beautiful
planet, isn't she?"

Deanna tilted her head to look at Will, eyes full of
mirth. "Oh, is that where we are? I was beginning to
wonder if Will would ever tell me this planet's name."

Will could feel himself grinning in response, though
he kept facing Bob and Margaret. "Yes, Nilya is

The conversation stopped then because the hovercraft
had reached its destination. Will and Deanna let the
Lohers exit first, and Deanna got her first good look
at the hotel they were to honeymoon at, the Sazerac.
Will had viewed holoimages before choosing, but even
he was still slightly taken aback by its grand facade.

It was only three stories tall but much longer than
the average building. Echoing the plaza they'd
transported into, tapered columns spanned the front
with more of the delicate vines flowing up before
disappearing out of sight. Rocking chairs dotted the
porch, and afternoon nappers occupied several. The
entrance, a pair of double doors, looked to be
fashioned from a dark wood; they whooshed open
mechanically when the Lohers approached however. The
rest of the facade was a soft pink color with white
accents, blending with the sparse landscape. The
windows were designed so as not to break up the
facade, but Will thought he could make out their faint
outlines. As Will and Deanna approached, the white
accents coalesced into a series of small, interlocking

"Come on," Will said, interlacing his hand with
Deanna's smaller one.

The pink from the facade continued in the lobby.
Someone had painted the thin vines that were quickly
becoming Nilya's trademark onto the smooth walls in a
pattern of twisting spirals. The desk, floor, and
baseboards were the same faux wood as the front door.
To Will, the room almost seemed to have a bit of
Earth's old Western style. A slight man with
close-cropped hair sat behind the desk.

"Ah," he said, standing. "You must be Mr. and Mrs.
Riker. May I welcome you to the Hotel Sazerac?" He
gave a sweeping bow, and, when he straightened, a PADD
had miraculously appeared in his hand.

Will took charge. "Thank you, yes. I assume our bags
made it here safely?"

"They are already in your room-- a honeymoon suite,
just like you requested. Now, if I could just get
your thumbprint here--" The concierge pointed to a
spot towards the bottom of the PADD. "--I'd be happy
to show you to your rooms and let you get settled."

Will did, and the man walked towards a section of the
wall that vanished as he approached, showing the
turbolift just beyond. During the trip to the room,
the concierge kept up a prattle about the various
services available to Will and Deanna. Neither
newlywed paid much attention to him, being too caught
up in each other to notice much else. So it was
something of a surprise when the 'lift stopped, and
Will reached to help steady Deanna.

"Goodness," Deanna said, laughing, "You'd think I've
never been in a turbolift before."

The corridor was similar to those on the Enterprise:
utilitarian, beige, and dull. The concierge stopped
in front of one of the many doors that lined both
sides of the hall.

"Suite 212. Should you need anything, merely ask the
computer." Will and Deanna entered the room as the
concierge continued. "I hope you enjoy your stay

There was, for all intents and purposes, only one
large room. One corner led to the bathroom, and there
was a spacious closet next to the entrance. The room
was minimalist, like the outside hall, but managed a
feeling of warmth that even occupied crew quarters on
the Enterprise lacked. The far wall consisted of one
large window, making artificial lighting unnecessary
during the day. The wooden floor had given way to
thick carpet, cushioning Will's feet through his
boots. The bed dominated the part of the room it was
in, but a small table with a cushioned bench visually
balanced it. The predominant color in the room was a
warm cream color, and touches of red kept the white
from becoming too oppressive and virginal.

"Let me show you the bathtub this place has," Will
said. "It's huge!" He tried to pull Deanna in that
direction, but she stayed where she was.


It was just his name, but it forced his thoughts to
stop and he waited for her to continue.

"We can look at the bathroom later; right now, all I
want to do is try out this big." She took a step
towards Will. "Comfy." Another step, and she closed
the gap between them. "Bed," she said, slipping her
arms around Will's waist and running them along his

"With my husband," echoed in Will's head as Deanna
leaned up to kiss him.

By the time they parted for breath, they'd made their
way to the bed, and, yes, it was as comfortable as it
looked. It took little time for them to divest
themselves of their clothes. Then, they were too busy
with each other to notice anything else.

They stayed in their room for a week, luxuriating in
each other. Taking the time to relearn each other's
bodies as husband and wife. One entire afternoon they
dedicated to feeding each other. Juicy berries and
crisp vegetables, pieces of meat dipped into one of a
dozen different sauces; all washed down with a simple
yet elegant wine. For dessert, they split a bowl of
Nilyan chocolate flakes. The chocolate was made on
planet with a local seasoning added, giving the
chocolate a heady juxtaposition of sweet and spicy.
Deanna particularly enjoyed the chocolate while Will
enjoyed the effect it had on her.

The bathtub, when they finally managed to see it, was
huge just as Will had said. A sonic shower stood in
one corner, but neither Will nor Deanna used it. Real
water was a luxury not available on a starship. Each
day they tried out a different feature of their tub
while washing each other. Once it was soap bubbles,
another time scented bath salts, and on still yet
another occasion jets that gently swirled the water

On the seventh day, Will woke to the sound of faint
music coming from outside; he smiled. It was the
start of the solstice festival. He looked at Deanna,
still asleep and radiant from the sunlight that
streamed in the room, and kissed her forehead. She
murmured slightly but didn't wake, preferring instead
to snuggle closer to Will.

"Time to wake up," Will said telepathically, letting
his soft words gradually coax Deanna into
consciousness. "There's something I want to show you,
but you have to get up to do that. I promise you'll
like it."

Deanna opened her eyes as she languidly stretched her
body. "Mm, and what is this surprise?" she asked.

Will didn't answer and instead drew Deanna out of bed
and towards the window. He settled her in front of
him, wrapping his arms around her waist, and she laid
her hands over his.

In front of them, the road leading to town had been
decorated overnight. Gleaming metal poles had been
placed into the ground at regular intervals, and
streamers of every color, plus one or two colors Will
wouldn't have been able to imagine on his own, skipped
from pole tip to pole tip. Out of the corner of his
eye, Will noticed that all of the rocking chairs on
the porch had been vacated by their normal occupants.
There was not a hovercraft in sight, and several
people walked along the road; all of them wore simple
garments of bright colors made of a fabric that
fluttered in the breeze.

Deanna turned to look at him, a small smile flitting
across her face. "What, exactly, is going on here,
William Riker?"

"Summer solstice. The Nilyans celebrate it every year
in lieu of any native holidays." Will bussed Deanna's
cheek. "It's a week-long celebration about the joy of

"Sounds lovely. I don't suppose you know anything
about the clothes that everyone seems to be wearing?"

"Actually, I do." Will stepped back and let Deanna
go, heading over to the closet. "The cloth is made
from a local plant. As for the reasons for the solid
colors, I'll admit I'm stumped." Will opened the
closet and began rooting around for something. "But I
have managed to procure traditional outfits for us."
He emerged triumphant with a dress in one hand and a
pair of slacks plus a shirt in the other. Will handed
the dress to Deanna.

Deanna took the dress, kissing Will in the process.
"Thank you," she said, heading towards the bathroom.

"You're getting shy now?"

Deanna laughed. "Hardly. But I'd like to see at
least some of the festival before the day ends, and
you can be very distracting."

The door shut behind her, and Will heard the sonic
shower start. He briefly thought about distracting
Deanna telepathically but decided to wait until later,
tomorrow possibly. He was as curious as Deanna about
what was involved with this festival. Will sat on the
bed awaiting his turn in the shower.

It didn't take Deanna long to finish, and she emerged
a few minutes after she'd entered. She'd donned her
dress before exiting, and the fall of the cloth on her
body was perfect. It flowed from the low scoop neck
down to Deanna's ankles as one piece, light and airy
but also form-fitting in a subtle way. Its soft peach
color complemented Deanna's dark hair, which she'd
left down, and eyes nicely. She twirled once, and the
skirt flared out just enough to tease.

"How do you like it?" she asked, holding a hand out to

Will took it and stood. "You're beautiful, as ever."
He grabbed his own outfit, kissed Deanna, and entered
the bathroom.

It didn't take long for him to go through his normal
morning routine. He dressed and looked at himself in
the mirror and felt slightly silly. The shirt was all
right-- grass green and slightly billowy-- but the
black pants stopped and bunched oddly around his
calves. It looked like there was enough fabric for
them to go all the way down his legs, but Will could
not for the life of him figure out how. After trying
several times, he ran a hand through his hair in
exasperation and decided to come out as he was. Maybe
Deanna could figure the pants out.

He went out and showed off his outfit, spreading his
arms out and turning.

Deanna nodded. "Very nice. But it looks like there's
a string here...." She reached down and tugged at a
small cord sticking out.

The pant leg unrolled, stopping right at Will's
ankles. Will gave a sheepish smile as he undid the
other leg. "I knew you'd be able to figure out these

"They were very tricky pants though," Deanna said
solemnly. She gave up the pretext after a few seconds
and chuckled from behind her hand.

Will clasped Deanna's free hand and brushed his lips
across her soft skin then interwove his fingers with
hers. "Though unnecessary, I thank you for the
attempt at salvaging my masculine pride."

Deanna leaned up to kiss Will, deepening it almost
instantly. Will returned her enthusiasm and tightened
his hold on her one hand, burying the other in the
mass of her hair. They parted slowly, first easing
their way back to lips with the occasional nip of
teeth. Will loosened his grip and rubbed his thumb in
small circles along Deanna's palm. Deanna broke
contact to look up into Will's eyes.

"Let's go," she said telepathically.

They left Suite 212 and walked down the drab hallway
to where the turbolift was waiting for them.

"Lobby," Will said once they were both in. He stole a
glance over at Deanna and caught her stealing one of
him; he tenderly squeezed her hand.

The lobby had not been decorated, and the front desk
was deserted. Its overseer had gone to the festival,
most likely. A child, her hair decorated with
ribbons, skipped by them, and her slightly harried
mother soon followed.

The heat assailed them as soon as they stepped
outside, but the gentle breeze blowing made it
tolerable. They walked along the path they had seen
from their window. Strips of color danced on the
ground and blended with each other, shadows from the
streamers above their heads. The town was
approximately two kilometers away, though Will
wondered if they would ever reach it. Every twenty
meters or so, someone had set up a stall to display
whatever their particular craft was.

One stall displayed jewelry accented by gems she
claimed to have mined herself. Another had books of
poetry and was giving a dramatic reading; Will almost
wished he understood Klingon for all the gusto with
which the man recited his works. Further down the
road, he could see a group of children clustered
around a booth; drawing nearer, he saw that someone
was pantomiming a fairy tale with puppets.

Deanna insisted on stopping at each and every booth.
But, seeing the look on her face, Will couldn't even
put up a pretense of being annoyed at all the stops.
The wonder practically shone from her face, and she
reminded him of the young woman he'd met on Betazed at
a friend's wedding.

The music that had woken Will that morning got louder
as the couple approached the half kilometer mark. A
Vulcan drummed a pattern on a pair of bongos while the
human next to him played a lilting tune on a simple
flute. Instead of the usual booth, a square of ground
had been staked out, and a mat placed inside the
stakes. A Vulcan in form-fitting pants stood, arms
crossed, in the center of the mat. His body glinted
in the sunlight from being lathered with oil.

"And how are you celebrating?" Deanna asked.

The flutist set down his instrument and rose to shake
Will's and Deanna's hands. "Well, I'm Joe and on the
drums is T'Nuk. That one over there is Vatrin; he
wrestles. He's the one that's really celebrating.
T'Nuk and I just play music to give any spectators
something to listen to as well as watch."

Joe spoke with a pleasant drawl, an Earth accent that
was becoming more and more rare as humans assimilated
other cultures into their own. He addressed Deanna,
but his eyes slid over to Will when he mentioned

"Does Vatrin accept challengers?" Will addressed Joe,
since he seemed to be the spokesperson of the group.

Joe smiled. "Well, that depends on if he thinks there
might be a challenge."

Will pitched his voice so that Vatrin could easily
hear him over T'Nuk's drumming. "I was on the
wrestling team at the Academy and won a few trophies.
I've tried to keep in shape since then."

Vatrin nodded.

Belatedly, Will remembered Deanna. "Do you mind?" he
asked telepathically.

"No; have fun," she answered.

He bussed her cheek before stripping out of his shirt
and letting Joe rub oil into his skin. He stepped
into the ring, and he and Vatrin began circling each
other, looking for a moment of weakness. The Vulcan
had the advantages of speed and strength and recent
training on his side, but Will could still make things
interesting. He'd learned more than a few unorthodox
moves over the course of his life. And he had his
very own Lady Luck, in the form of Deanna, on his

He faintly heard Joe pick his flute back up, but that
was the moment Vatrin chose to lunge. Once the fight
truly started, Will was too caught up in keeping
Vatrin from pinning him to give attention to anything
else. The old moves came back quickly, but Vatrin was
much better than he had ever been-- even at his peak.
The fight lasted ten minutes, with Vatrin finally
pinning Will three times to win. Will did manage to
pin Vatrin once, by way of an "original" move.

Will almost felt disgusted after when he saw that
Vatrin was barely winded while he had to fight for the
energy to even draw in breath, except he'd known he
was outclassed going into the fight.

Vatrin spoke his first words in Will and Deanna's
presence. "It was a good challenge. Thank you."

Will nodded and left the ring. A convenient chair had
been placed just outside the ropes, and he gratefully
sat in it. Deanna, holding a large glass of water and
his shirt, joined him.

"Lift you arms," she said telepathically.

Her words were a balm in his mind, and he obediently
did as Deanna asked.

"You looked wonderful up there," she said, switching
to the spoken word.


Deanna handed him the water and moved to the side of
his central vision. "Just look and see."

A prodigious crowd had gathered around the ring.
Another combatant was grappling with Vatrin, and the
spectators enthusiastically cheered this new
contestant on. Thinking back, Will did remember
shouts and gasps, but he'd pushed such distractions
away at the time. A self-satisfied smile flickered on
his face. A hand invaded his field of vision; it was

"Feel up to continuing yet?"

He grasped her hand and pulled himself up in lieu of a
verbal answer. They linked arms and continued down
the road, albeit at a slower pace than before.

They stopped at the third jewelry booth of the day,
and Will noticed Deanna's attention was caught by one
necklace in particular. She looked at all the pieces,
but her eyes lingered on the one. It was a delicate
gold chain, and a royal blue stone with several
facets-- no larger than his pinky's fingernail-- hung
from it. Deanna even asked if she could try it on,
and the teardrop stone laid just below the hollow of
her throat. She gave it back to the jeweler as no
selling was allowed during the day, but Will made note
of the booth.

Next to the jeweler's booth stood several booths, all
with stools placed out front. Delicious smells, of
savory meats and cool desserts, wafted their way.
Will's stomach rumbled, and Deanna laughed.

"I suppose that means we'd better get something to

They sat on two adjacent stools at a booth where no
one else was, and the proprietress immediately came up
to them. She was young and more than a little plump
with curly hair that framed her pleasant face. The
tools of her trade-- a stove, pans, food, and various
other utensils-- lined the wall behind her.

"What would you like?" she asked.

"I... don't have a clue, actually," Will admitted.
"Why don't you surprise me?"

"All right." She grinned happily then turned to
Deanna. "And how about you?"

"I'm in the mood to be surprised as well."

Their chef's smile widened. "I'll be back with your
food shortly." She turned around and began busying
herself at her stove.

Deanna reached over and took hold of Will's hand.
"This is a wonderful surprise. Thank you."

Will almost blushed at his wife's gratitude. "I'm
glad you're having fun."

Just then, their chef set two steaming plates in front
of them. The meal was simple and consisted of meat
over vegetables with an orange glaze drizzled on top.
Deanna's meal was similar but with different
vegetables and a red glaze. It took Will several
bites to realize that his dish could be described in
one word: spicy. The fire started slowly and
gradually built up with each successive bite. Unlike
most spicy dishes, however, the other flavors of the
meat and vegetables weren't drowned out. Will
gratefully drank the cold milk that had been placed in
front of him.

Deanna ate daintily so that she never once had to use
her napkin. And, by the look on her face, her dish
wasn't at all spicy. Will asked if he could try some,
and Deanna agreed with the provision that she could
sample his as well. Will spooned some vegetables,
meat, and sauce onto his plate and took a bite.
Rather than spicy, hers was almost... sweet. Their
chef had done a good job matching the meal to her
patrons' tastes.

They declined dessert when she offered, having cleaned
both plates, but complimented her on her fantastic
cooking skills. She beamed, and Will wondered if she
didn't get many compliments normally. Will felt bad
leaving without giving her even so much as a small
tip, but money was not allowed to change hands during
the festival while the sun was up.

They reached the town by late afternoon and entered
the plaza that they'd beamed into a week ago. The
place was packed with people milling about. More
booths were set up under the awning, and Will could
see several other similar plazas beyond their one.
The stage in the center was still bare. Old-fashioned
fans, hung from the awnings, kept the square from
becoming overheated by all the densely packed people.

Snatches of conversation vied for Will's interest. A
little girl asked her father if he could pick her up
so she could see. A teenager recited a poem to her
girlfriend. An elderly woman gave instructions to a
small child about what he was to do if he got lost. A
gaggle of twenty-somethings walked by, gossiping about
the latest scandal. Two men argued while a pretty
woman listened to both. One couple, hidden by the
crowd, sounded suspiciously familiar.

Will slid his arm around Deanna's waist and walked
towards the voices. The crowd parted enough for Will
to see, and he recognized the Lohers. He called their
names to get their attention.

"Mr. and Mrs. Riker, what a pleasant surprise," said
Margaret. "Bob and I had wondered whether you were
going to leave your room or not."

Her eyes held a mischievous glint, but Will had spent
too much time around Betazoids to feel any

"Well, fresh air can be quite... invigorating," Deanna
said primly. Will, however, knew her too well to
believe she was serious in her discomfiture. Margaret
didn't look as if she was fooled either, though Bob

"Now, Margaret, behave." Bob turned to Will and
Deanna. "We were just about to get our seats for this
evening's concert. You could join us, if you'd like."

"That would be delightful; thank you," Deanna said.

Bob and Margaret walked away; Will and Deanna followed
after them. Ever so often, Bob or Margaret would turn
around to make sure that Will and Deanna hadn't gotten
separated. They passed into a second plaza and a
third and a fourth. All three had stages, like the
first, but the number of people and booths lessened
the further they got from the first. The fourth,
actually, had no booths, and what space wasn't being
used for the stage held rows upon rows of chairs. The
chairs were basic with no armrests, but the seat and
back were padded. Easily half of the chairs had
people in them, mostly couples it seemed to Will.

Bob and Margaret took a seat next to an exit, though
not the one that led back to the main square. Will
and Deanna sat next to them. They sat in silence for
a time. Will knew Deanna's shields were strained by
all the people around, even if the emotions were
mostly positive ones, and he kept his love for her in
the forefront of his thoughts. His love was always
present of course, but he thought that his focusing on
it might help her drown out everyone else. Deanna
nestled against him, and he placed his arm around her

A vague thought of Will's that had been hiding in the
back of his mind bloomed into a full question. "I've
noticed that there are almost no musicians at this
festival. I wonder why that is, since music is an
important form of expression in most cultures."

He had directed his question at the Lohers, but Deanna
answered. "As you said, music is important to
virtually all cultures. On Nilya, the artist's haven,
music has been elevated so much that it's virtually
impossible to get permission for a music booth. And
those that do get permission often prefer showcasing
their talents at the evening performances instead of
from a booth."

"And how'd you learn that? Of the two of us, I'm
supposed to be the expert on Nilya," Will teased.

"I asked Joe while you were busy with Vatrin."

She looked so beautiful, impish delight lessening the
severity she habitually wore as a counselor. Will
leaned down and brushed his lips across her brow. In
response, Deanna telepathically caressed his mind.
Will did likewise. Other people came and took seats
until the plaza was full; many were forced to stand at
the fringe of the crowd. Will and Deanna, engrossed
in each other, didn't notice the change until the band
came onstage and started playing.

There were five of them, and they wasted no time
warming up. Will couldn't tell much about the
players; their clothes obscured most of their
features, and the twilight made it difficult to make
out what wasn't hidden by the clothes. The slightest
of the group started by tapping a soft pattern on a
drum. One by one, the other members joined their
melodies to the drummer's. A cello, deeper than the
drums, first. Then a piccolo with its fanciful high
notes. A second piccolo joined next as a counterpoint
to the first. And, last, a trumpet with a mournful
wail. Each instrument had its own cyclic tune, but
they blended together into one ever-changing piece.

Will closed his eyes and let the music take his mind
away from Nilya. Beside him, he could feel Deanna
swaying in time to the drumbeat. The character of the
music shifted slightly, and Will could have sworn that
the smoothest, coolest satin was kissing his skin. It
trailed up his arms and threaded around his neck then
slid down his side. Every centimeter of his skin was
touched in sensual decadence.

The music altered again, leaving Will in what smelled
like a flower garden. Sweet honeysuckle and jasmine
changed into subtler rose changed into stirring
lavender. One after another, different flowers
performing a kaleidoscope of both the familiar and
exotic. It was almost too much, except that each new
scent led into the next perfectly.

Another change, and it was just the music. It echoed
inside of him, in his pulse and in his breath and in
the rhythm of his thoughts.

The performance continued on, always changing and
always bringing a new luxury. Under ordinary
circumstances Will would have been wary and
distrusting of anything that could alter his
perceptions so. But it was his honeymoon and this was
what Nilya was famous for.

Gradually the music faded, and Will became aware of
the outside world once more. It was dark now with a
chill in the air. Deanna leaned against him
supporting herself, her features slack except for a
tiny smile playing around the corners of her mouth.
One by one, the musicians dropped out of the song in
the opposite order they had joined in. When at last
there was silence the crowd started to get up and file
out, though they kept the silence started by the

Will and Deanna went through the nearest exit-- the
one they'd sat by-- and a hovercraft was waiting to
take them back to their hotel. Will hated to break
the mood by speaking, but he remembered the necklace
Deanna had eyed earlier.

He compromised by speaking telepathically. "Deanna?
You take the hovercraft back; I'll walk."

"But why?" Even telepathically Will could hear the
sleep edging into Deanna's voice.

"Because I need to work out the kinks left by Vatrin,
and you're about to fall asleep."

"Hmm, all right then."

Will made sure Deanna was safely on the hovercraft
before heading towards the main plaza. Once outside
and back on the road, the people around him started
chatting again. Most of the conversations focused on
either the night's performance or on haggling a decent
price at one of the booths. Each post along the road
had a light, and the streamers bathed everyone in

From the conversations, Will deduced that there had
actually been several concerts, each one having a
different focus. Tomorrow night, the concerts would
focus on the same aspects but have different musicians
to give their own interpretations. Judging by the
comments, he and Deanna had attended beauty.

He walked slowly because, yes, he really was sore from
Vatrin. It had been longer than he cared to admit
that he'd wrestled like that. Most of his combats
nowadays had a weapon of some sort involved. He
passed by the booth he and Deanna had eaten lunch at
and asked the proprietress if she had any desserts for
sale. She answered yes and showed Will several plates
full of small sweets. In the end, he bought several
small, sugared flowers. He could have gotten a lower
price if he had tried, but she seemed pleasant in
spite of her loneliness. He wanted to show her
kindness in return.

He reached the booth with Deanna's necklace and asked
the jeweler for a price. It was an exorbitant amount
of money, and Will countered with a much lower price.
After wrangling over the price for several minutes,
Will walked away with the necklace. Despite getting a
more than fair price, it still cost more than he was
used to spending. He rubbed his thumb along the
velvety cover of the oblong box the necklace was
nestled in and remembered how Deanna had doted over
the piece of jewelry. It was worth it though.

Deanna was asleep by the time he got back to the
hotel. Moonlight splashed onto their bed from the
window, giving Deanna's skin an otherworldly
luminescence. The sheet veiled her curves, tempting
and beckoning. On the dining table sat two settings,
one used and the other waiting. Will ate the food set
out as quietly as he could. He placed the dirty
dishes in their receptacle when he finished.

He tidied up their suite as best he could and placed
his and Deanna's festival clothes once more in the
closet. He got ready for bed hurriedly, and in his
haste forgot about the oblong box on the table. He
was lifting the sheet to climb in beside Deanna when
he noticed it again. He got up and grabbed it and
slipped it underneath his pillow. Then he was able to
join Deanna. He pulled her towards him, and she
adjusted so that they were spooning. Will didn't have
to wait long for sleep to come, but his last thoughts
were of how Deanna would look when he gave her the
necklace tomorrow.

~The End~