Disclaimer: Paramount owns all Trek TNG characters; I just like to
live vicariously through them once in awhile. <G>
Deanna Troi wandered around the ugly, barren room staring out the
window and into the Klingon sky. The tall, batleth-shaped spires
rose into noxious looking clouds and a moody haze clung to the barren
trees that surrounded her home. Her mood matched her surroundings; a
gray mist seemed to hang over her thoughts, cloaking her normally
irrepresive bright spirit. "Gods," she whispered, knowing that it
was more than living on Q'onos that was getting to her.
Her husband was due home in moments, but her reaction was lukewarm
today. Usually seeing Worf at the end of a day brought her deep
satisfaction and a slow-simmering joy; especially when he crushed her
to him and whispered throaty love words to her in Klingon. But
today, she almost wished that he were off-planet. She wished for
several days all to herself, just to breathe, to think, to feel.
Her traitorous heart leapt at the word. To feel. That was exactly
what she had been trying NOT to do. To feel meant to acknowledge
reality, and to acknowledge reality meant that she had to accept that
her Imzadi was no longer hers. That he would never be again. Will
was married. He was now someone else's husband.
The irony did not escape her. After all, she was the one
who'd chosen to marry first; it was she who tossed away her bond with
Will as though it had meant nothing more than a casual affair.
Remembering Will's pain-shadowed eyes at her wedding two years
before, she felt the tears rise. She'd hurt him-badly. And at the
time, it didn't even matter. She was in love, or so she thought.
And no one, not even Will Riker, could dissuade her from walking down
the aisle with her Klingon warrior.
Sighing softly, Deanna curled into a large gray cushion and
wrapped her arms around it as though it were a stuffed animal.
Drawing her knees up, she leaned into the cushion and lay her head on
it; her dark curls falling over her face, becoming damp in a slow
river of tears. "I still love Will," she murmured, seeing his
beloved face so clearly in her mind that she could almost reach out
and touch him. A wave of guilt accompanied the words, and she tried
to clamp down on the idea before it could fully take hold.
But as such thoughts often do, this one took root. As she
waited for her husband to come home, it began to grow. And by the
time Worf marched through the door, it had fully flowered. "I still
love Will," she thought softly, repeating the forbidden words
inwardly, amazed at the truth of them.
Haunted Part 2/?
His body lay beside hers, a large burden beneath the
bedclothes. It was impossible to sleep when a six-foot-four inch
Klingon was stealing the covers, but even more so when said Klingon
was snoring. Deanna shifted her tiny frame, trying for comfort, only
to fall out of the bed landing on rough, black carpet.
"Damn it," she whispered, wanting to shout the words. It was
the fourth night in a row that she'd been unable to sleep and the
fifth that she'd been tossed out her bed. Worf was totally unaware
of her sleepless nights, sleeping the sleep of the victorious, having
just returned from a mission that carried with it the distinction of
making him the new Chancellor of the High Council. Even in his sleep
he wore the shining brass batleth that represented his new position,
and with it, he wore a smile; a smiling, snarling smile that said it
all---he'd had a glorious week and was now sleeping the sleep of
those blessed by Khayless himself.
Deanna, on the other hand, was having the worst week of her
life. Sleep would come to her slowly, stealing over her in rivers,
only to take her into a ghostly world where she lived with and loved
Will Riker. Every night since his marriage she had dreamed of him,
only to waken beside her husband, disappointed. In her dreams, Will
made love to her just as he had when they were young. He loved her,
wanted to be with her. In her dreams everything that should have
happened between them did---and in full detail.
Her dream-self had experienced not just love-making with him,
but a marriage ceremony, the birth of a lovely Betazoid/Human child,
and the satisfaction that comes with seeing your partner grow and age
before your eyes. She was living out a lifetime with Will in that
nighttime, shadowy world, and returning to the real one, especially
so unceremoniously, made her want to scream.
"Gods!" she murmured, pulling her velvet lavender robe from
the bed and pulling it around herself. Shaking her head, she padded
slipper-less out to the kitchen and called for a blazing hot mug of
chocolate along with a plate of chocolate chip cookies.
Laying in her supplies, she built a fire in the old stone
fireplace, pulled a thick green blanket from the closet, and curled
into a ball on the sofa. As she stared into the flames, she
absentmindedly chewed the cookies, washing them down with stinging-
hot sips of the cocoa. Her mind drifted on the light of the flames,
seeing in them not orange and yellow light, but instead, a vision of
dark hair, blue eyes, and a smile worth losing your entire planet
It still amazed her. That she could be sitting here in
Worf's home, wearing his wedding rings, longing for a man she'd
finally said goodbye to. A man who by all rights, should be firmly
in her past. A man who was now someone else's husband.
Shaking her head, she drained her mug, nibbled the edges of a
cookie, and continued to stare into the fire.
Until her revelation a few days before, she'd kept her feelings for
Will beneath tight lock and key; believing that they would never be
able to arise again.
But here, in the darkened emptiness of her living room with
her husband sleeping only yards away, she had to admit that they'd
come undone. Escaped. Hell, they'd left her subconscious mind
entirely, choosing instead to live inside of her conscious mind.
An ache throbbed in her chest as she shivered before the fire
and she wasn't sure whether it's source was her newly-admitted love
for Will, or her guilt at being a married woman in love with another
man. Either was enough to make any woman's heart ache. But both at
the same time was enough to break hers, and soon she found herself
curled on the floor beside the fire, sobbing with the pain that only
regret can bring.
The holo gave no indication that the people it represented were not as happy as their smiles would have the holo-imager believe. Will's trademark grin was in place, certainly, but the smile did not reach his eyes. Beside him, a tall woman with reddish hair and bright green eyes stood staring into the holo-imager, half-frowning in concentration or dismay, one could not be sure.
She was not unattractive; in fact, had she been smiling, she would've been rather lovely. But the absence of a grin coupled with the grim look in her eyes relegated her to the status of just "alright looking". She was not an unfamiliar face either----Will Riker knew her many years before when she and her people the Brinloidi had come aboard the Enterprise before being deposited on Mariposa to begin their new lives.
Her name was Brynn and she had at one time been one of the loveliest woman Will had ever known. They'd enjoyed a passionate frolic aboard the "D" that was satisfying for both, and then never saw one another again. Until the moment six months ago when she'd sent a communiqué to Will via subspace...
"I doubt that you will remember me, Riker, knowing your lust for the ladies as I do. But to refresh your memory, I was the Irish lass you took into your bed some 13 years ago. Is it coming back at all? Aye, I thought it might. In any case, I do have reason for contacting you. It's me father...he's dyin'...and in his will he's made a stipulation. What does any of this have to do with me you ask? As well you might.....you see, after we settled on Mariposa all those years ago, I found I was to have a child. Your child. My son and I lived there with my father for all of these years, and happy enough we were. But we were also poor. Now, me Da' is gone and with him any hope of climbing out of the life that my son has had to endure. You see, there's a possibility of young Liam coming into a great bounty, but in order to do so and be in keepin' with me Da's will, I've got to be married to the lad's father. Apparently, me Granddad left Da a pot o' money, but would'na' allow him to touch it while he lived. Who knows what sort o' falling out those two had-- you know what stubborn beasts the men are in my family. Between that and the drink---honestly. But, in any case, Da was no' to get the money---I was. But only if I'd had an heir and only if I were a married lady. We need this money, Riker. Direly. And young Liam deserves more of a life than I've been able to provide. So you see, I have need of you. I don't know if you've got a wife and family, but if not, you do have a son who has need of you. And, I must confess, his Mum would'na mind seeing you again herself. Take care of yourself until we meet and please get back with me when you're able. You're all I've got now, Riker."
The communiqué had stunned him. He, Will Riker, had a child. And by Brynn! Gods! Of course, he hadn't given any thought to inhibitors back then...hell; he was lucky if he ever thought to pull out just as a precautionary measure. Still, a child! As far as he knew, he'd never gotten a woman pregnant before and this was a shock. It took him weeks to decide what to do, but what finally kicked him in the direction of Mariposa and Brynn was the haunting memory of Deanna's own wedding two years before.
When he'd stood there watching her vow to love, honor, and cherish Worf for the rest of her life, a part of him died inside, and by the time Brynn contacted him, he had nothing to hold on to any longer. Starfleet had been the only thing keeping him going, but hearing that he was a father brought him something else to live for, something to dream for and plan for. It gave his days a new texture, and gave him something he badly needed---a goal to look forward to in his future without Deanna Troi.
Thinking of the boy gave him pleasure, and imagining the boy's life, how he looked, what he enjoyed doing, who he'd become was a strong palliative for dealing with the grief of losing Deanna. In time, he'd sent Brynn a communiqué, taken a month's leave from the Enterprise, and flew off to Mariposa, intent on making a new life for himself.
Once there, he made himself remember the woman he'd once made love to; seeing in his mind a beautiful, trim, exciting young woman with a tongue that could lash skin off a man at 100 paces. God, she'd excited him. And, he comforted himself, she probably still would. At least they would have that. He may not love her, nor she him, but if he decided to marry her they would at least have an exciting love life.
Or so he thought. Brynn met him at the inn where he was staying that evening, and her appearance shocked him. She'd gained perhaps 30 pounds or so and her face was lined, not with age but with the harshness that chronic unhappiness brings. She did not smile, did not even welcome him properly, just thrust a young handsome boy into his arms and said, "Liam--here's your Da."
Struck by the enormity of the moment and by the changes in his former lover, Will was speechless. In front of him stood a tall young man with electric blue eyes and glossy auburn hair, and when the child smiled, it was all Riker. Will's heart had turned over and in that instant, he fell in love. His son. How amazing!
Suddenly it didn't matter so much that Brynn had changed so completely; he now had his own flesh and blood to concern himself with. And marrying the boy's mother was a small price to pay for getting to know his child. And so they were wed by an Irish priest who'd felt the need to get liquored up before the ceremony. His brogue was deep and harsh, hardly the musical sounding voice of the woman Will was marrying, but he'd done the job and done it well, and soon Will had set up housekeeping on Mariposa with his new family---taking a leave of absence from the Enterprise and Starfleet until further notice.
Now, looking back at the past two weeks, Will found himself feeling a regret so strong it lashed his soul like a whip. He didn't love Brynn...hell, he didn't even want her any more. She spent her days lazing around the house, eating more than her share of sweets and dipping into a habit that Will never would've expected from her...drinking.
For all her anger at her father's inability to get through the day sober, she herself had finally sought release in the stuff herself. He still couldn't believe it. The once lovely woman he'd had quite a strong crush on was now a drunken cow. The only good thing he could find to say about her was that she did try to be a good mother to young Liam. Despite his Mother's influence, the boy was smart, funny, strong, and terribly responsible for one so young. He performed chores on the family farm from sunup to sundown, stopping only to eat and to study. School was important to him, and once he'd met Will, the boy realized that he wanted to do something more with his life than become a farmer like his Granddad–he wanted to go to college. Perhaps, even the Academy.
Pride swelled within Will's chest and he dreamed of a future for the child that was every bit as bright and exciting as his own had once been. His son, Captain of a starship; a brilliant and compassionate leader just like his own Captain Jean-Luc Picard had always been. Yes, it would be wonderful. He was sure that Brynn would allow the boy to go off planet when he was old enough, and thinking of the boy's future gave Will something else to focus his attention on other than his own unhappy present.
Briefly, he looked at a holo of his son and smiled, then turned his attention to the mountains beyond the window. Then, he entertained a moment's forbidden thought; one that surprised him with it's richness and poignancy. ---Deanna Troi, the only woman he'd ever loved, pregnant with his child. He realized with a guilty start that he wished Liam were Deanna's; that the three of them were living together as a family. And then the impossibility of that urge struck him afresh.
Deanna walked home from work, hoping to clear her head of the images
and memories that held her like a noose around the neck. Although
Q'onos was not a particularly lovely planet, there were the
occasional sections that boasted attractive features. The path that
led to her home was one of these, and it was a path dotted with fat
bushes covered with velvet-blue roses. They were not indiginous to
the planet; a long-ago human visitor had brought the seeds, nurtured
them to fruition, and in a miracle of modern science, made certain
they would grow in this climate. It was amazing.
Kneeling beside one of the flowering bushes, Deanna plucked a rose
and held it to her nose, drinking in the soft scent. The smell of
roses always reminded her of Will, given how often he used to bring
them to her on the Enterprise. Her dining table almost always had a
fresh vase filled with flowers and the flowers were almost always
roses. Sometimes yellow for friendship, other times vivid red for the
passion that sprung up between them, but always roses.
She sighed loudly and looked up at the sky, wondering if she would
ever be able to get him out of her mind. Would everything remind her
of Will Riker for the rest of her life?
"Probably," she murumured, then dropped the bloom onto the ground,
heading back to the house empty-handed.
She found herself entirely alone when she arrived home. Worf had
left a note on a PADD, saying that he would be staying in town at the
High Council's quarters for a hush-hush meeting. He'd be gone all
night and most of the following day and night, and she couldn't help
but release a pent-up sigh of relief. It had been difficult to
conceal her feelings from her husband the past few days, and even
though Worf was hardly an empath or an expert on emotions, he wasn't
blind. She'd seen him glancing at her across the dinner table
curiously, and when they'd last made love two nights ago, he held her
tightly, staring into her eyes as though mentally asking her a
Thankfully, he never came out and asked her what was wrong because
with her nerves on edge she might've blurted out the truth and
wounded a man she cared very deeply for.
"Oh Worf," she murmured softly, letting herself into the house and
dropping inelegantly into the first chair she saw. She did love
him. He was her dearest friend and that was a good basis for any
marriage. However, her heart was currently caught in the past,
caught by the memory of a man who'd hardly been only a friend to
her. He'd been her very first lover, and despite their close
frienship that developed aboard the Enterprise, her feelings for him
had always been more about sexual longing than about innocent
Sexual longing....that too had been in her heart lately. When Worf
had taken her to bed the other night, it was everything she could do
not to fantasize that her partner was Will instead. Finally, she
gave into the forbidden fantasy, and found herself opening up and
enjoying their lovemaking even more than usual.
She rationalized it to herself by saying that it was all right, that
she hadn't actually slept with Will and thus, was innocent. But, her
heart knew differently.
She could fantasize about every man in the galaxy when she was in bed
with her husband and it would probably always be nothing short of
normal and healthy. But thinking about her Imzadi...that was a
different story. Because not only did she harbor a strong sexual
attraction towards him, she also loved him; and with everything in
Feeling tears threaten again, Deanna got up and moved about the
house, pacing off the pain and the tension, trying to move beyond
it. "Gods. I need to talk to someone. What would Mother tell me to
do?" She grimaced and shook her head. No, Lwaxana was not the sort
of confidant she needed at the moment. She hadn't wanted this
marriage to take place to begin with; hearing that Deanna was
carrying a torch for Will would only bring an "I told you so" from
her Mother's lips.
No, she couldn't turn in that direction for support. But there was
someone else she could try...
Flipping open her computer, she curled into a chair at the dining
table and sent a message to Beverly Crusher. If anyone could
understand her feelings it would be Bev. Especially given the fact
that the woman was currently in love with her own Captain; a
Starfleet no-no if ever there was one.
Suddenly her friend's lovely face sprung to life on the screen and
Deanna smiled involuntarily. "Bev!"
"Deanna! Gods, it's good to hear from you. How ARE you?"
"Well, to be honest, I've been better."
"I figured there was a reason you were calling after all of these
months. All right, spit it out. What's wrong?"
Deanna laughed gently. Bev always cut to the chase and she always
knew when something was wrong. "Okay. You've got me. There IS
something wrong. It's just...difficult to talk about."
"I've got all night honey, take your time."
Taking a deep breath, Deanna launched into her story, finally letting
the feelings that had built up inside of her spring loose. It felt
so good, like dropping a 100 pound weight from her chest, and when
she'd finally wound down, she burst into tears from sheer relief.
"Oh Deanna...it's all right. Don't cry. So you still love Will. He
still loves you too. Now, the big question is, what are you two going
to do about it?"
"Bev! You know it's not that simple! I'm married, and now, he is
too. I can't just fly to Earth, get on my knees and beg him to be
with me again. Somehow, I doubt his wife would appreciate that."
Bev's mouth turned into an ironic grin. "Will's not on Earth, my
"He's not? But I thought..."
"I know. So did I. Apparently, he's decided to take his leave and go
to another planet entirely. His new wife is undoubtedly from there
and they're making there home on her planet rather than his."
"I see." A chill fell over her at Bev's words. He wasn't anywhere
close to her at all. He probably wasn't even in this star system.
"No, I don't think you do. I know how upset you are that he got
married, but Deanna, everything is not as rosy as it seems."
"How do you know? Have you heard from Will?"
"Jean-Luc received a communique a few days ago and read it to me. We
both read between the lines Deanna, and Will is not a happy man. I
think this marriage was a mistake but for some reason he's decided to
stick with it."
Could that be the truth or was Bev just indulging in wishful
thinking? "I'm sure he has, he would, you know. But we can't be sure
he's not happy with his new wife. I mean, you know how he is. He
would never tell anyone even if he was. For all we know he could be
delirously in love with her."
"Well, I suppose that's possible, but I doubt it. Anyway, all is not
lost my friend. If the two of you still love each other, then
anything is possible."
"Oh Bev." That was all she could say before the tears started to