DREAMS OR REALITY?
DISCLAIMER: Paramount owns Star Trek. I'm just playin'! No infringement intended, nor profit made.
The battle had just ended with the explosion of the Duras sister's Bird of Prey. Unfortunately, it was only the beginning of the Enterprise's problems.
Geordi's voice came over the intercom. "LaForge to Bridge! The warp core is going to breach in a matter of minutes! There's nothing I can do!"
Will Riker responded, "Deanna, evacuate everyone to the saucer section. Mr. Data, get ready to separate the ship."
They each took their orders. Both the evacuation and separation were completed with only moments to spare. The other half of the ship exploded, causing the saucer to buck wildly.
Deanna answered, "Helm control's offline!" She continued to try to stabilize the ship, but froze when she glanced up at the view screen. The ship was already hurling toward Veridian III. As the vessel violently came into contact with the surface, the Betazoid lost consciousness.
Deanna woke up with a start. Sitting up, she opened her eyes, only to see darkness. She realized that she had been blindfolded. Her hands were free, so she reached up to take the cloth from her eyes.
"Hold on, Dee," she heard a familiar baritone voice say, "I can't allow you to take that off. Not yet." Deanna felt his hands as they guided her arms down. He then placed a pillow behind her back.
She gasped, "Will? Will, what's going on here?"
"You'll see," she could hear and feel the amusement in his voice, "just relax. I'll be back in a moment."
"How can I relax," she answered, "when I don't have a clue what's going on?!" Deanna tried to calm down. Will wasn't acting like himself, but she knew that he would never do anything to harm her. She'd just have to wait this out.
Taking in a few deep breaths, her body began to relax somewhat. She felt around herself, realizing she seemed to be in a bed, and was clad in silk pajamas. What's going on?
Deanna felt Will return. She shifted slightly as the mattress sunk from him sitting on its edge. "I think we can take this off now." His fingers ran through her hair once before he untied the blindfold. The cloth fell from her face, and she looked into his sapphire eyes. Riker let one hand come down to her chin, and he lowered his lips to hers.
"Happy Mother's Day, Imzadi." He smiled, and showed her a tray he had placed on the night stand.
She gazed at the contents of the tray. It held a stack of chocolate chip pancakes covered with honey, and a tall glass of chocolate milk. Behind the tray was a vase holding a dozen roses. Still a bit confused, she replied, "Thank you."
Will turned toward the bedroom door, "Okay, kids, Mom's waiting for you!"
Deanna shifted her eyes to the door to see their two children, a four year old girl, and a two year old boy run to Will, and he lifted them onto the bed. With the sudden movement of the kids bouncing around, no one could keep from laughing.
"Happy Mother's Day, Mommy!" Tasha pounced to her mom, and gave her a big hug.
She hugged her back, "Thank you Tasha," Deanna stroked Tasha's curly hair, and saw her deep blue eyes. She was amazed at how much her daughter had grown. Suddenly, little Drew was right in her face, "Mommy. . ." the rest was unintelligible. Laughing, Deanna ruffled his short hair, "And thank you, Drew." He giggled, "Mommy, Daddy, want down!" Riker let his son down, and once his feet touched, he joyfully, albeit loudly, began running in circles around the room.
Will placed the tray across Deanna's lap. "I think you should eat before he wants back up here!" He smiled, and Deanna traced the line of his beard with her fingers. She noticed the first hints of white that led up to his temples. Have we been together this long?
She smiled back, and started in on the pancakes. "Oh!" Will said, snapping his fingers, "There is one other thing." He pulled Tasha off the bed. "Tasha, go get Mommy's present, okay?"
"Okay, Daddy," she kissed his cheek, and ran from the room, with Drew not far behind, giggling and saying, "Tasa! Tasa!"
Deanna looked at Will once again, "They really are something, aren't they?"
"Just like their mother," he kissed her forehead, and the two returned.
"Here, Drew," Tasha gave the wrapped box to her brother, "take this to Mommy." He looked up at Deanna with his big brown eyes, and smiled. Drew took the present from Tasha and toddled over to the side of the bed. He placed the gift on the bed, and said, "Tank-oo, Mommy!" He then resumed the running and yelling from earlier.
She looked at all of her family before her, and tore the paper from the present. Deanna opened the box, and pulled out a clear glass globe. It seemed empty, and as she turned it, a pin prick of light appeared in the center. She looked back at Will, her eyes questioning.
"Well," he said, "what do you think?"
"It's lovely, thank you." She watched the tiny light. It slowly grew larger, eventually turning into a this pink and lavender ribbon that seemed to course its way around and through the globe. It disappeared, then began again.
"Wait." Deanna gazed into the sphere, as did Will. They watched the scenario together, and again. Neither one could take their eyes from it for several moments.
Riker's eyes narrowed, "What is this?" he whispered, then looked at Deanna and the children for what seemed to be for the first time. He noticed she was doing the same.
"I don't know," she answered.
Drew was still running in circles, then Tasha approached them, "Daddy? What's wrong?" Her blue eyes bore into his.
"Nothing, sweetheart," He said, and hugged her, "Why don't you take Drew into the play room. We'll be there in a minute, okay?"
"Okay," she answered, "come on, Drew! Let's go play!"
The small boy squealed, "Tasa! Come on, play!" and he ran after her.
The room was silent, and all Will and Deanna could do was stare at each other.
Deanna was the first to break the silence, "Is this real? We're married? And have children?"
"I guess so," he answered, "we got married on Risa. . .I remember them being born. . ." His gaze penetrated Deanna, she could sense the hurt in him. "But. . ."
"We didn't." She admitted, "Where are we?"
"You're both in the Nexus." A familiar voice answered.
Both turned to see Guinan. Deanna spoke up, "Guinan, what are you doing here?"
"I'm here, but I'm also not. I guess you could say that I am an echo, or even a shadow of the Guinan that you know."
"Well," Will said, "can you explain any of this?"
"This is the Nexus," she said again, "and this," Guinan gestured to their surroundings. "This is what both of you wanted."
"I don't understand. We were on the Enterprise. . ." Deanna began.
"When it crashed on Veridian III." Will finished, and placed a hand on her shoulder. His voice got softer, "This can't be real, then, can it?" Deanna could sense his heartache, as well as her own.
"It is as real as you want it to be, and time has no meaning," Guinan answered. "You can go anyplace, anytime, you'd like to."
The couple held each other's eyes, blue into black. Deanna turned away, "Guinan, can we leave the Nexus?"
Will's jaw dropped, "Deanna, wait. . ." he pleaded, and she raised a hand to stop him. "Will," she said, "I can't live this way, knowing that it's only a dream. If we can leave the Nexus, we can make this real. You and I both know that we didn't really get married on Risa like we originally planned. If we continued this, it would be like living a lie. She reached to caress his cheek, and looked deep into his eyes. "I want this to be real, don't you?"
His eyes dropped to the floor, then came back to Deanna's. "You're right. I couldn't live here knowing the truth. If we can, let's go, and make this right." Will pulled her into a huge bear hug.
They held each other for several moments. Backing out of the hug, Deanna's attention went back to Guinan, "Can we leave the Nexus?"
"Wait!" Riker held his hands up, "Before we do this, I want to see the kids one last time. Is that okay?"
Deanna smiled, set the tray to the side, and stood up. "I'll join you."
Will held his arm out to her, and she took it, taking a deep breath. The couple walked slowly through the hallway, to the playroom. They peeked in the door, surprised that there was no noise coming from the room. Deanna heard a slight sound, and looked to the corner. Both children were sleeping on a pile of pillows and blankets.
Will chuckled lightly, "They must have played until they passed out!"
"At least we don't have to say good-bye." Deanna said, "Let's go."
With Guinan's help, they left, and returned to the Enterprise.
"Deanna! DEANNA!" She could hear her name being called, and tried to respond.
The voice called again, "Deanna, Imzadi, please say something!"
The fog in her head began to lift, and she opened her eyes. "Will?"
He gave Deanna a wide smile, and kissed her. "I'm here, Imzadi."
She sat up, looking at the destruction around. Her gaze turned back to Will, and he was still smiling at her. "Do you remember. . . ?"
Before she could finish, he interrupted, "Yes, Love, I remember everything."
Deanna wrapped her arms around his neck, and whispered in his ear. "Then we have a lot we need to talk about, don't we?"
He held her close, and replied, "Yes, we do."