Journey’s End 1/1
Rated: G
Disclaimer: Paramount owns the rights to Star Trek TNG
and its characters.

Will Riker knelt in the snowy grass, staring up
at the delicate pink angel that graced his Mother’s
grave. Puffs of snow lay on its shoulders, and its
chiseled face was covered with spatters of white. The
name “Elizabeth Riker” was carved in deep, solid
etchings above the dates of her birth and death, and
Will fingered them, recalling the moment when his
father told him she was dead. He closed his eyes,
steeling himself against a stab of pain. Once a year
he made this pilgrimage and although it was over forty
years since she died, he still missed her with all the
yearning that a young, motherless boy could feel. He
always would. He knew that now.
“I didn’t come alone this time, Mom. Deanna is with
me-but you probably know that already. Mom, I miss
you so much. I’ve asked Deanna to marry me, and I
wish that you were here right now. You two would’ve
loved each other. She is so much like you, and yet,
so very different. But the one thing you both share
is a big heart. I still can’t believe how much she
loves me. When I gave her your antique engagement
ring last night, she burst into tears. I remember how
you used to do that, Mom. Whenever Dad would do
something that made you happy, something romantic,
you’d burst into a flood of tears, and I used to think
that you were crying because you were unhappy. I
didn’t realize until I met Deanna that they could be a
way to express happiness as well.”
He broke off then, feeling the sharp sting of
tears fill his eyes. He wiped them with the back of
one gloved hand and stared up at the sky. “I don’t
know if you can hear any of this, but I hope that you
can. I love you, Mom. And I always will. I don’t
want you to worry about me, all right? Deanna and I
plan to take good care of each other.”
Will cleared his throat and rose to his feet,
brushing patches of snow from his knees. And then in
the quiet beauty of the forest, he felt a presence.
His throat tightened and he swallowed reflexively.
“M…Mom?” The word felt like ice in his throat. Could
it be? Could she possibly…?
“No, darling. It’s only me.” Deanna Troi’s voice
drifted over the field the held the small graveyard,
and Will spun around, his heart throbbing in his
“God, Deanna, honey. You scared me!”
She wandered through the snow towards him, a loving
smile on her face. She walked swiftly towards him,
patting her arms for warmth, and when she made it to
Will’s position she reached up to pull him into her
arms. He leaned down, holding her tightly, and
kissing her hair.
“I thought…”
“I know, Will. It’s all right. I wish that there
were some way for you to see your Mother too. You
know, she would be very proud of the way her son
turned out.”
“Really? I hope so. Still, it would be wonderful to
actually see her again, to hear that from her. God I
miss her, Deanna. Here we are, engaged to be married,
and she’s not here to see it. She won’t see the
wedding, or the children we’re going to have,” he
paused, clearing his throat again, and then
unexpectedly, slammed his palm against the gravestone.
“Damn it, why isn’t she here?”
“I don’t know, Imzadi. I wish I had the answer to
that. I love you and I wish that for your sake, she
were still alive. I can’t imagine what my life would
have been like if I’d lost my Mother when I was a
child.” Her dark eyes filled with sympathy and she
reached up to stroke his bearded cheek.
A faint hint of a Riker-grin stole across his face.
“Life without Lwaxana? Probably would’ve been a lot
simpler.” When he saw the look on her face he,
amended, “And, incredibly boring. The universe
wouldn’t be the same without her.”
Deanna smiled. “You can say that again.”
Holding one another, they stared across the field to
the forest, watching the heavy snowfall, shivering as
the air grew colder. “I guess I’m ready to go in now.
I just wanted to tell Mom about our engagement. You
can’t imagine how happy she would’ve been.”
“Oh, I think I can. I bet she was a wonderful
person, Will, and I’m sorry that I won’t ever get to
meet her.”
“So am I.” They hugged tightly, and then, sensing
that he needed final moment alone, Deanna kissed him
and walked back to the house.
Will kissed his fingers and patted the stone with
them. “Goodbye, Mom. I love you and I haven’t
forgotten you. You probably already know this, given
your sources, but we’re getting married in one month.
Be there with me, Mom. I need you. I miss you.”
Tears threatened again, and he closed his eyes,
feeling the sadness in his heart mix with the bitter
chill of the winter afternoon. And then he opened
Sitting there on top of the angel, plain as day, was
the figure of his Mother. Stunned, he stumbled
backwards, never taking his eyes off the apparition.
His heart flew in his chest and his mouth went
cotton-dry. “My God. Mom?”
The beautiful, serene face he had loved so much was
there, right in front of him. The shining blue eyes,
fringed with dark black lashes. The tumble of brown
hair hanging to her shoulders. The smile that
crinkled her eyes and filled his whole world with
happiness. He didn’t have a clue what to say to her.
It was too much. There she was, dressed in her
favorite blue wool cape and matching dress, wearing
the very outfit she’d worn when they’d buried her.
Will felt his stomach flip over. He didn’t know
whether to run back to the house or to fling himself
into her arms.
“It’s me, sweetheart. It’s really me. Come here, my
son. I want to give you a hug.” The love in her eyes
pulled him forward like a beacon, and in an instant he
felt her holding him. The smell of her favorite lilac
perfume surrounded him and he was suddenly awash in
love and memories.
“God, Mom, I can’t believe it. I’ve missed you so
much. I wanted you to be here so badly. I just… Oh
God, is this really happening?” His eyes were wide,
staring at her with something approaching worship, and
his skin had gone completely pale beneath his dark
beard. With shaking hands, he reached up to touch
her face, and when she smiled at him in return, he
sank to his knees, overcome with emotion.
“My precious boy. I am here. Very much so. I know
it’s a shock, but I felt you calling me. I felt how
much you needed me and so I came.” Her words seemed
to drift above her, rising into the clouds to
disappear as soon as they were uttered. A golden
shimmer surrounded the outline of her body, and Will
expected her to grow wings, right there in front of
“Are you an angel?”
“If you’d like to use that term. What I am is very
much alive. At least, on the other side. You see,
when I left you and your father all those years ago, I
may have left my body behind, but my spirit was still
alive. Oh, William, if you could see the wonders
beyond this life! It’s the most beautiful place I’ve
ever seen.”
“Then there really IS an afterlife? I have to admit
I never believed in all of that stuff, Mom.”
She giggled, and motioned for him to come into her
arms. “I know, my little skeptic. You always were
just like your father that way. But I’m here now, and
you can see that I am all right. I really am, you
know. The only part of my new life that’s difficult
is not having my baby with me.” Her clear eyes shone
with tears, and Will wondered absently how she could
cry with no physical body.
“I’m hardly a baby any more, Mom.”
“I can see that. You’re like just like Kyle when he
was your age. You’ve really grown up to be a handsome
man. And a strong one. I am so proud of you, baby.”
Will was unable to speak now. Instead he simply hung
onto the intense pleasure of being held in his
Mother’s arms again for the first time in forty years.
All of the years of loneliness and loss, of living
with a father who didn’t know how to care for a child,
all of it came rising up into his consciousness,
spilling out in a ragged storm of tears. At any other
time he would’ve been embarrassed, fearing someone
might see his loss of control. But right now, in the
lonely forest, he allowed himself to put down the
burden of his years of grief. There was no need to
hold it inside any longer.
It was unbelievable. It was amazing, magical. Never
in all of his life did he imagine really seeing his
Mother again. He felt her bear the weight of his pain
for him, almost as though she were actually lifting it
out of his heart and into her own.
He didn’t know how long they stood there like that,
just holding one another, reuniting their hearts after
a lifetime of absence. It could have been minutes or
hours. But as he finally pulled away, he noticed that
the sun had drifted behind the clouds and it was
growing dark.
“How long can you stay here like this, Mom?”
She grinned, and Will recognized it as his very own
smile. “Not much longer honey. I’m afraid I do have
to get back. But, don’t you worry. I will be there
for your wedding day.”
“You mean we’ll be able to see you?” His eyes filled
with hope, but she shook her head.
“No, darling. We are allowed to appear this way to
our loved ones only once, I’m afraid. But, I will be
there. You may not see my face, but you will feel me
close by. Look for me in the beams of sunlight
shining down upon you, in the joyful song of the doves
flying above the chapel, in the flowers your bride
carries as she walks down the aisle. Look for me in
the love shining through her eyes as you recite your
wedding vows. I will be there, William. I will be
right there beside you. I wouldn’t miss it for the
world.” Tears were streaming down her lovely face
now, and Will wrapped her in his arms, holding her as
gently as though she were made of crystal.
“It’s alright, Mom. I’m here, and I’m happy. I’m
living a life I never thought was possible after
losing you. Somehow Deanna came along and began
knitting my heart back together. She made me who I am
today, and I know that she will be by my side forever.
I won’t be alone.”
Betty’s blue eyes twinkled through her tears and she
winked at him. “I know that, son. After all, who do
you think brought you two together?”
“You mean…?”
“Yes. I brought you and Deanna Troi together. I
knew how difficult it was for you growing up without
me. I didn’t want the rest of your life to be as empty
as your childhood. I’m so sorry that I had to leave
you, honey. I loved you and couldn’t bear to be
parted from you.”
“It’s okay, Mom. Really. You didn’t choose to die
and you couldn’t help leaving. I know now that if
there were any way to be with me, you would have. I
didn’t understand that when I was little. I was so
angry with you because I thought you left me on
purpose. I thought you didn’t love me any more.” His
voice caught in his throat, and he swallowed hard,
trying to find the words, never once taking his eyes
from her face.
“I used to wish that you would come back. Every day
I told myself that I was going to be a good boy, a
perfect boy, and I thought that if I did everything
Dad told me to, that you would come back. But it
never happened.”
She nodded. “ I knew that you were wishing for me to
come back, that you were talking to me late at night
after your father went to bed. I heard you, darling,
and I tried to comfort you by coming to you in dreams.
It wasn’t your fault, baby. There was nothing you
could’ve done. I’m sorry you bore that burden alone.
I know your father did his best, but it wasn’t quite
good enough.”
Old pain seared him as he thought of Kyle, but as the
anger began to flare, it went out, like a candle’s
flame disappearing beneath the touch of a finger’s
“Don’t hate him, William. He may not have been a
wonderful father, but for a time he was a good
husband. We loved each other so much. And believe it
or not, when you were born, he was crazy about you.
I’ve never seen a man more in love with his child than
Kyle was that day. He loved you. He still loves you.
But when I died, he couldn’t cope, and all of that
love he had inside got lost beneath a hard shell of
pain. He never should’ve taken out his grief on you
though, and I know that he feels the guilt of that.”
“I doubt Dad feels much of anything for me except
disappointment. I never was good enough for him, Mom.
Never. And now, we haven’t seen each other in nearly
a decade or even spoken. Frankly, I don’t care if I
never see him again.” His eyes flashed as the bitter
pain rose inside of him, but as before, it was quickly
extinguished. He suddenly had the sneaking suspicion
that his Mother was responsible for it.
“Go see him, William. Forgive him. Not for his sake,
but for your own. He loves you so much, but isn’t
able to show you that. Go to him and forgive him,
darling, for my sake. I love you both and knowing
that the two of you are estranged breaks my heart.”
Will could see the love she had for his father
burning in her eyes, he could feel it in his own
heart, as though she were sending it to him. He hated
the idea of seeing the old bastard again, but there
was no way he could turn down his Mother’s request.
Not after she’d traveled the bridge between life and
death to see him. “Alright, Mom. I promise. I will
get in touch with Dad…but, I can’t promise it will go
well. He won’t be happy to see me.”
A mischievous grin crossed her face and she began to
glow. A glittering golden brightness surrounded her,
and she began to rise up off of the headstone, her
small body floating in the air.
“You might be surprised.”
“Mom! Wait! I’m not ready to say goodbye to you.
Not yet!”
“I’m sorry baby. I have to go now. I feel them
calling me back. It’s time.”
Will stared at her, imprinting her on his memory so
that he would never again lose the image of her face
in his heart. “I love you, Mom. I promise I won’t
forget you.”
“Oh my darling, I know that. And you will be in my
heart and my thoughts always. See you on your wedding
day.” She smiled brightly, and waved with one elegant
hand. Then, in a blinding flash of light, she winked
out, disappearing before his eyes.

Deanna Troi wandered up the path that wound from the
cabin to the graveyard, huddled beneath a lavender
wool coat. Her black boots made tiny tracks in the
snow, and her breath curled in plumes. It was
freezing. Where was he? It had been two hours since
she’d left him. He must be a solid block of ice by
She pushed open the tall wooden gate and looked for
him, seeing his large figure sitting on the cold
ground, hunched over, staring into space. “Will!” She
ran to him, wrapping her arms around him from behind.
“Are you alright? It’s freezing out here! Come
inside with me, Imzadi. We have to get you warm.”
Nodding, he rose to his feet, still staring blankly
into space. He took a last lingering look back at the
pink angel, and smiled. Then he turned to Deanna, his
eyes coming slowly back to life. “I’m alright,
“Are you? I was worried about you, Will. You’ve been
sitting out here for two hours.”
“Was it that long? It seemed like only a moment.”
They walked back to the house together, and Deanna
could feel something emanating from her Imzadi that
she’d never felt before. “Do you want to talk about
He was silent, choosing his words carefully, unable
to find the perfect ones that would describe what he’d
just experienced. “I don’t know if I can. At least,
not yet. But I’m all right, Deanna. In fact, I’m
better than I’ve ever been.”
She watched his face, and it seemed to glow with
happiness. She could feel that he was relaxed,
content, at peace. Never in all of their years
together had she ever felt that Will Riker was a man
who was at peace with himself. It was beautiful to
see. Before her eyes, the man she loved had become a
boy again.
“I’m not sure what happened back there, but I’m glad
that it did. You’ve obviously come to some sort of
acceptance about your Mother’s death. I don’t think
you’ve ever really done that before.”
They walked up the steps and opened the door, then
warmed themselves in the cheery glow of the living
room fireplace. Will flopped onto the couch, pulling
Deanna down with him. “You’re right. What you said
about my not accepting Mom’s death. I don’t think I
ever really did. I could not let it go. It was like
some millstone, hanging around my neck, weighting me
down.” He held her tightly against his chest, feeling
the precious weight of her body against his like a
balm to his soul.
“And now? How do you feel about it now, Imzadi?”
He let out a long sigh, and then smiled down at her.
“Better. Light. Like I’ve finally let it go. Like
it’s finally okay to let her go.”
“I’m happy for you, Will. It’s difficult to go on
living a life when someone you love isn’t here any
longer. But you know, she loves you and wherever she
is, she is looking out for you.”
“I know. More than ever I know.”
Deanna snuggled deeper into his arms, laying her head
on his chest, feeling his breath rise and fall. She
closed her eyes, wanting only to rest them, but found
herself drifting slowly off to sleep. “Will?” she
“I wish that I could’ve met her.”
Thinking of their wedding day, his eyes brimmed with
tears, but this time they were tears of happiness. He
patted Deanna’s soft hair, lulling her slowly to sleep
with his touch, and whispered, “You will, Imzadi. You