A Change of Heart
Disclaimer: Yes, Paramount owns Trek and everyone that exists in the
Trek world. I have not denied it, but I do not LIKE it. :)
Author: Tracy

Deanna Troi sat in her quarters, enjoying a full five day vacation
from work. Ensign Sanara was filling in for her for the whole week
and there was nothing to do but sit back and enjoy her freedom.
Freedom...she thought about the word as she sipped a sweet mug of
chocolate and wandered back into the bedroom to slip beneath the
still-warm covers. If it was freedom she'd wanted, she certainly
got it. Will was gone, off on his own starship, finally becoming
the Captain he'd always dreamed of being. And she was here, on the
Enterprise, alone.

Bev thought she was nuts to turn down Will's proposal, and frankly,
Deanna was beginning to wonder herself. What they had was real and
once in a lifetime...this second chance had been a gift from the
Gods and she'd spurned it, tossing it back in their collective face
as though it had meant next to nothing. Why?

She knew herself well enough to know that part of it, maybe most of
it, was based on fear. What if she gave up the life she'd worked so
hard for only to discover that they couldn't make it work? What if
Will was still, on some level, a man with an unquenchable roving
eye? Could she live with that? Could he be faithful to her? She
didn't know. And what's more, she didn't want to know. That was
what lie at the very heart of this problem. If she'd gone into a
future with Will then the past would be gone. The dreams, the
fantasies, the imaginary relationship she'd built for them in her
head over the past twenty-odd years would dissolve in smoke, leaving
a genuine relationship with all it's issues in its place. Maybe it
was better to have her dreams and her memories. At least they were

Laying the cup down on the bedside table she curled beneath the
purple comforter and stared at the ceiling. "You are a coward,
Deanna Troi. Daddy would never have understood this." And he
wouldn't have. Ian Troi had been nothing if not brave and ballsy, if
it had been him and Will were Lwaxana, he would've carried her off
and married her in an instant, no questions asked. "You were so
brave, Daddy, but I'm not. I'm too old for this. Maybe if we'd
started out together when we were young it would've been

The memory of her young self newly in love with Will blossomed fresh
in her mind and she closed her eyes, smiling at the sight of his
young face. "I don't want to feel this way, Will. I'm sorry..." she
whispered, and soon the whirling thoughts slowed until her mind was
empty and finally she was able to fall asleep.

~~~"Deanna?" came an old, familiar voice.
"Daddy?" she cried, sitting up in bed, staring at the figure
standing across the room.
"Yes, my darling girl. It's me. Come, give me a hug."
She fairly flew out of bed and into the waiting arms of a very young-
looking Ian Troi, still clad in his old-fashioned Starfleet uniform,
looking just like he had the last time she saw him.
"What on earth is going on? How did you get here? Why..."
He hugged her tightly, pushed her away to look at her, and then
finally responded. "It's a dream, kitten. Only a dream. But it's
also more real than you know."
Deanna touched his face, running her hand along the smooth cheek,
looking into the blue eyes that were so like Will's. No wonder she'd
fallen for her very own Starfleet man...they were so alike...

"I can't believe you're here. I've missed you so much."
"Me too, my girl. You have no idea how much. But look at you! You're
gorgeous! I always said you'd turn out to be even more of a beauty
than your Mother and I was right. Lwaxana was something else but
you've surpassed even her, Deanna."
She blushed and smiled up at him like a pleased child. "Daddy.."
They stood there staring, then hugged again, and finally pulled
apart, reluctantly. "Listen, Deanna...there's a reason I'm here and
I don't have much time."
Fearing he would disappear before her eyes, she nearly grabbed his
sleeve to hold him in place. "What is it? Why have you come?"
"I've been watching you, my Little One and I heard everything you
were thinking tonight. You're making a big mistake letting this Will
character get away. He's the best thing that ever happened to you."
Her dark eyes glittered. "What?"
"You heard me. Now look, I love you and I think you're wonderful,
the best daughter a man could ever have. But you've grown complacent
and fearful and that is not the child that Lwaxana and I raised
together. You're stronger than that, and what's more, you deserve
to be happy. But you have got to learn to take a chance. Take a
risk! No one can guarantee you anything in this life, except that if
you don't ever try you will end up staying right where you are,
never growing, never moving forward. Is that what you want? Are you
really happy this way?"
"I...no, Daddy, I'm not. I miss him. I want to be with him. I had
the chance and I lost it and I don't think he'd take me back now.
Not after I turned down his marriage proposal."
The blue eyes flickered and he grinned at her. "Darling girl, you
are so much like your Mother it's almost scary sometimes. Now look
here, your Mother turned ME down nearly five times before I finally
got her to say yes. And look how we turned out!"
"But...your time together...it was so short."
"It was. Too short. But it was also absolutely perfect and looking
back, I wouldn't change a minute of it. Those years with you and
your Mother were the best of my life, Deanna. And I'd like for you
to have the same kind of happiness in your life."
She looked at him, memorizing his face, trying to absorb every
moment with him before he had to go. "Maybe you're right. Maybe it's
time I got off this ship and built a life of my own...with Will."
"That's my girl! Now I have to go but I love you angel. I'll always
be with you and I'll see you again...in your dreams."~~~

With that, the dream faded and Deanna bolted wide awake, sitting up
in bed so fast the covers fell to the floor. She moved to the living
room table, tying her robe around herself, feeling vulnerable as her
Father's words rang in her head. He was right. For Gods' sake
they'd wasted twenty some years being apart, forcing their feelings
down, substituting friendship for what they'd really needed and
wanted. Why had she let him go all over again?

Tears filled her lovely black eyes and she allowed herself to cry
for a few minutes, missing Will so sharply and suddenly it was like
a knife carving into her soul. "I'm so sorry, Imzadi. I made a
mistake. Please forgive me," she whispered into the empty room,
wishing he could hear her.

*I CAN hear you, Deanna. I'm not far away. Look, I miss you too. Can
we get together and talk? Give me your position and I'll meet you as
soon as I can.*
Her eyes glistened with tears and she smiled for the first time
since Will had left the Enterprise. *Oh Will. Yes, let's talk. We'll
be near Starbase 111 in two days. Are you far from there?*
*Maybe a three day's trip. Tell you what, I'll tell my First Officer
that we need a refit or something, and I'll meet you there*
*And what shall I tell Captain Picard?*
*That your former finance still wants to marry you and that he's
coming to make you his wife. How about that?*
She laughed then burst into tears again, this time tears of joy.
*Oh Will, I love you. I'm so sorry. For everything. Can you ever
forgive me?*
He chuckled softly inside of her mind. *Are you kidding? After all
we've been through? You know me better than that. I love you Deanna
and I'd wait for you forever. You know that*
And she did. Suddenly she knew with out a doubt that she could count
on him and trust him, that whatever problems or fears lie in the
distant past and that all they had, all they needed was their
future. Together.
*You're amazing, you know that?*
*I try. Now get back to sleep and dream of me all right? I'll see
you soon, Imzadi. Or should I say the future Mrs. William Riker?*
*I like that.*

She felt him grin in her mind and then he was gone, leaving a warm
feeling of love that wrapped around her entire being, body and soul.
Everything was going to be all right now. Thanks to her Father and
to Will, the two men who always did seem to know better than she
what was best for her.

As she slipped her hands beneath the cool, soft pillow case and
nuzzled down to sleep, a vague shadow stood beside her bed, patting
her long, dark hair with one loving, fatherly hand.

"Goodnight, Little One," he whispered, and then was gone...