Lost Opportunities Part 1/?
Riker, Beverly, R/T
Rated: PG
~I hate disclaimers, but since this little piece is
fan fic, I guess I’ll just say that Trek and its
character belong to Paramount Pictures. I only borrow
them for my own amusement. LOL~

Sleepily, Will lifted his head and surveyed his
surroundings. The act of lifting his head up off of
the biobed sent throbbing pains shooting through his
skull, and he groaned loudly, capturing the doctor’s
attention. Her voice seemed to come to him from
millions of light years away, a whisper on a gossamer
cloud; familiar, soft, safe.
“Will? Are you awake?”
It was Beverly’s voice he’d heard. He must be in
sickbay. Somehow the knowledge wasn’t comforting.
“B…B-ev?” he croaked, hoping that it was loud enough
for her to hear.
A cool hand drifted up to rest on his forehead. “I’m
here, Will. I’m right here. Are you all right? Can
you speak?”
“Mmm…I…” he began, but she silenced him with a
concerned look.
“Don’t try to talk just now. You’ve been unconscious
for three weeks. Your vocal cords have had quite a
rest. Give them time to start working again.” Her
smile somehow reassured him, gave him a slim anchor to
hold onto.
His body felt as if it had been eaten by a group of
Klingon targs, then swiftly regurgitated. His chest
felt hot, and sore, and the headache he’d woken up
with seemed to pin his head to the back of the table.
“Wha…happen…?” he said, trying valiantly to keep his
eyes open.
“You, my friend, have just had one hell of an
adventure.” One reddish eyebrow rose over a blue eye
and her lips turned upwards into a grin. “I don’t know
what it is about you and class “L” planets, Will, but
His brows creased in puzzlement. He didn’t remember
a thing. The past few weeks were an empty blur in his
memory banks, nothing tangible came to mind as he
attempted to cast his mind back. Nope. Nothing. He
couldn’t recall a planet, an assignment, an away team.
Why had he been on a class “L” planet anyway?
“B-ev…don’t ‘member.”
“Well, I’m not surprised.” She shifted her weight
upwards and tilted her hips, sitting on a stool next
to Will’s bed. Taking a medical tricorder from the
pocket of her long, light blue coat, she fingered the
buttons and slid the machine down the length of his
body. Her brows furrowed and she frowned.
“Will, we’ve been monitoring you for weeks now,
trying to determine what caused your coma. I’ve ruled
out a whole medical tome of diseases, and now that
I’ve rechecked your readings I think I may have
finally found the cause.”
Will raised his eyebrows, and stared at her, silently
urging her to continue.
“It’s a form of poison, I’m afraid. Your memory
might be spotty right now, but tell me, do you
remember anything at all about your last assignment?”
“N…no. Blank. Sorry…” The words came out so slowly
that he was getting frustrated. Whatever had happened
to him had put him in a coma, and it was incredibly
difficult to stay conscious, to make his lips form
coherent words.
“Shhh…that’s all right. I can tell you what we have
gathered from the data on your tricorder as well as my
medical scans. Luckily, Data was down on the planet’s
surface with you, and was able to fill in the gaps.
Apparently, the away mission to Coralis 4 went
terribly wrong. We arrived at the planet’s
coordinates nearly a month ago when the Captain
received a distress call from the surface. An image
of a small group of humanoid people appeared on the
view screen, and they were begging for help. A few of
them were dead, we could see bodies strewn around the
area in the background, but there were about ten
people still alive and in need of assistance.
Jean-Luc sent you and Data down with food and
supplies, and instructions to contact him in the event
that you needed to beam them aboard the ship. You and
Data stayed in contact fairly regularly for the first
twelve hours or so, relaying coordinates, keeping us
updated on the condition of the planet’s inhabitants.
And then, communications were suddenly cut off. We
were unable to contact you for nearly a week.
Luckily, Data was able to jerry-rig a communications
relay and we were able to beam the two of you out of
“But…don’t understand…why am I…here?”
She turned to pick up a glass of water, took a long
swallow, and then continued.
“After we got you back, Data told us that everyone
left on Coralis 4 was dead. You were in pretty bad
shape yourself. We didn’t know if you were going to
make it…” Her voice trailed off and then she cleared
her throat and forced a smile. “We got you out of
there just in time, Will. According to Data’s
readings, the planet’s atmosphere was made not of
oxygen and carbon, as we’d assumed, but instead it was
made of a highly-toxic poison called Xeryon.”
“Is that what…killed those people?”
She nodded. “I’m afraid so. They were not human, but
they weren’t native to that planet either. The best
we can figure is that they were space travelers much
like us, who decided to explore that particular
planet, possibly looking for supplies or artifacts.
Data found no logs or other personal information among
their belongings, but they had made a primitive sort
of camp set up with computers and an old-style
replicator from two centuries ago. Clearly, they were
there for a reason, but they must not have had time to
gather the information they needed. When Data checked
their systems everything was gone-erased-as if someone
or something didn’t want anyone to have the
“Where are we…now?”
“En route to Starbase 212. The “E” is ready for a
re-fit, and we are all going to have some much-needed
R and R. How does that sound?”
He grimaced and she knew she’d said the wrong thing.
“I’m sorry, Will. I know that you are in pain. The
last thing you want to think about is the crew living
it up while you’re stuck in sickbay.”
His eyes darkened and he tried to sit up, reaching
for her to help him. “No, no, not yet. You’ve got to
lie down. Your injuries are fairly severe, my friend.
I’m afraid you’re not going anywhere for awhile.”
“So what’s the diagnosis, Doc?” he said, and she
grinned as she realized that his voice was becoming
“Well, Commander, you have a few broken bones, mostly
from falling off one of the mountains while trying to
rig your communications device to contact the ship.
And, I’m afraid that you have a few more injuries that
are a bit more serious.”
Will frowned, steadying himself for her words. It
was a good thing he did, otherwise he might have
fallen off the biobed.
“Your organs have been severely damaged by the
poison. During the coma, your lungs and kidneys
failed twice, and you had a minor heart attack. Will,
I don’t mean to scare you, but what you’ve been
through is very serious. If you were to get up, to
leave sickbay, to attempt anything like what you’re
used to, the organs could fail again. And if that
happens, I cannot guarantee that I could get them
going again.” The grave look in her eyes told him
even more than her words. It was bad.
Closing his eyes, he sighed loudly, feeling pain
shoot across his chest. “What about my duties? When I
can I get back to work?”
Bev was silent, looking everywhere but in his
direction. He’d opened his eyes only to see her
staring off into space, biting the skin of her bottom
lip. He reached out a hand, to touch her arm, and she
looked back at him, with a thin sheen of tears in her
blue eyes.
“Will, I don’t know how to tell you this.”
“Just tell me, Bev. You’re my friend, don’t
sugarcoat it for me.”
She sighed softly and blinked back the wetness
threatening to spill down her cheeks.
“You won’t be going back to work, Will. At least, not
as First Officer. The injuries you’ve sustained are
too serious for you to continue your duties as
Commander of this vessel. We’ve sent your stats to
Starfleet Headquarters, and Starfleet Medical, and
both Admiral Nachayev and Dr. Mathison agree that you
are currently physically unfit for duty.”
Will’s azure eyes darkened to deep indigo and he
pushed himself upright, nearly screaming in pain as he
did so. “Unfit for duty? What the hell does that
mean? I’m going to heal, aren’t I? I mean, in a few
weeks or months I will be as good as new, right?”
“I can’t answer that right now, Will. A lot will
depend on your body’s ability to regenerate and heal.
If your organs fail again, I will have to do a
transplant, and even with the best 24th-century
medicine has to offer, I can’t guarantee that they
would do the job. Starfleet feels that someone in
your position would be unable to handle away missions,
to take control of the ship in the event something
happened to Jean-Luc. They are afraid that rigorous
duty would cause your bodies organs to fail again, and
they don’t want your death on their hands.”
“My death? Jesus Christ, Bev, are you telling me
that I could die because of this?”
She tilted her head downward, and from the side of
her face he could see the glitter of new tears. “I’m
sorry, Will. I am going to do everything I can to
help you regain your health and to make sure that you
live a normal life span. But it’s not going to be
“Wait a minute. A few years ago you gave Worf an
entirely new set of vertebra, a new spinal cord. You
saved his life with genetonic replication. He’s got
synthetic body parts and he’s still alive and kicking.
Why is my case any different?”
His eyes were filled with a curious mixture of anger
and hope and she suddenly felt like taking him in her
arms and rocking him the way she used to rock Wesley
when he was little and needed comfort. Instead, she
turned to him and took his hand, squeezing it tightly.

“That’s a difficult question, but I will try to
answer it as best I can. You see, we can make you a
new heart, new kidneys, and even a pair of lungs. The
problem is, they are not like the bones that we made
for Mr. Worf. They are much more delicate, much more
prone to injury and infection. They aren’t perfect,
Will. I wish to God that they were, but they aren’t.
New organs are difficult to make and even more
difficult to keep healthy. I will try that route, if
it becomes necessary, but I think that you should know
that there are no guarantees. Your body could reject
the new organs, they could acquire an infection and
begin to fail…any number of scenarios could take
place. That is, unfortunately, the risk we take when
we use synthetic organs.”
“All right, I understand. But, if that happens and
the new organs do well, I will be able to return to
duty then at least. Right?”
“I’m afraid you don’t understand. What’s happened to
you, Will...it means that you will no longer be a
Senior Officer. I’ve spoken with Jean Luc and the
best that he will be able to do for you is to give you
a position that does not entail any physical strain.
You may be able to take a position as Science Officer;
Astrometrics is always looking for a new pair of eyes
and hands…we will find something for you to do. That
I can promise you.”
Will fell gently back onto the pillow, his eyes wide
with stunned disbelief.
“So that’s it then? My career is over-just like
that? Everything I’ve worked for, everything I’ve
built, a name, a reputation, my plans for the
Captaincy once Jean-Luc leaves for Headquarters next
year…it’s all gone, just like that?”
“I am so sorry, my old friend. I care about you and
I hate to see you hurting like this. If I could change
any of it, I would, believe me.”
A heavy silence filled sickbay, full of painful
longing and sadness, weighted with despair. Will’s
eyes stung with bitter tears, but he refused to allow
them to spill down his cheeks. He hadn’t cried since
his Mother died, and he sure as hell didn't want to
start now. Not in front of Beverly.
He cleared his throat, and muttered,“I can’t believe
this. Why did this happen? Why now?”
“I don’t know. But I do know this…you have a whole
ship full of people who love you and who will be here
for you through this. One in particular would very
much like to come see you when you feel you are
“Deanna…”he whispered.
“Yes. She’s waiting outside, Will. Shall I bring
her in?”
Will hesitated, thinking of his Imzadi, and all of
their plans. They were going to be married in April,
only four months away, and then later in the year, he
was to have taken his place in the big chair. The
Enterprise was to have been his, theirs. The taste of
loss was so intense it was like ashes in his mouth.
Finally, he responded. “No. Not yet. I need time…I
need to be alone. Tell her that, okay? Just tell her
that I need a few days…then…”
“Then you will let her see you, right? She loves you
and she wants to know that you’re okay.”
“Yes. I will. I know, that she must be…worried.”
His voice caught in his throat, and he swallowed
rapidly. “I need to think about this, Bev. And I
need to sleep. Go on with your other work, okay?
I’ll be fine.”
“You are stubborn you know that? But, all right.
I’ll leave you in Alyssa’s care for the evening shift,
but I will be back to check up on you first thing in
the morning. Please don’t hesitate to call me if you
need me. Your comm Badge is on the table beside the
“Thanks, Bev.”
“Anytime.” She started to walk away, but then
decided against it. Instead, she leaned down and gave
him a hug, not caring a fig for professionalism.
“I’ll be back. I promise,” she murmured, and pulled
away, leaving him alone with his thoughts.
Staring up at the ceiling he felt the wetness fill
his eyes once more and was unable to stop it from
sliding down his cheeks. A huge, muffled sob rose in
his chest, threatening to choke him. And then
silently, so that Alyssa could not hear him from the
room beyond, he cried for the first time in forty


Part 2/?

Deanna Troi paced the corridor outside of sickbay;
her fingers twisted together in a knot behind her
back. Her face was pale, her mouth grim. Her large
dark eyes were shadowed with pain and sadness. She
could feel Will’s emotions from behind the sickbay
doors; his disappointment so strong it nearly crushed
her own heart with its intensity.
Although not fully telepathic like her Mother, Deanna
could occasionally read the thoughts of others, and on
this occasion it was easier than ever since the person
in question was her Imzadi. The mixture of Will’s
pain along with the bouncing, racing thoughts filling
his mind nearly overwhelmed her empathic senses. She
longed to send her thoughts to him; her love and
support. But knowing Will as intimately as she did,
she was positive that he would not welcome the
contact. Not yet. She knew that it was time to go
back to her quarters and ready herself for another
long afternoon of counseling appointments, and yet her
heart was tethered to the sickbay doors as though held
by the string on a child’s balloon. How could she
leave him now?
Mentally tossing around options, Deanna sighed and
tapped her comm badge.
“Troi to Ensign Chan.”
“Chan here, Sir.” Came a soft, feminine voice.
“Please cancel my appointments for tomorrow, Ensign.
I’m afraid that I have urgent personal business that
simply can’t wait.”
“Understood. Chan out.”
Well, that was decided. Her conscience nudged her,
reminding her that Lt. Toran was due at her office
first thing in the morning. The poor woman was dealing
with the aftermath of a miscarriage, and really
shouldn’t be alone. But although Deanna’s heart went
out to her, her soul was so filled with concern for
her Imzadi that nothing else could overcome the
strength of it.
“Gods, how I wish I could be with you, Will.” The
image of his broken body lying on the biobed flashed
through her mind, bringing with it an onslaught of
remembered pain. When she’d first seen him nearly a
month ago, it was all she could do not to faint right
there in Beverly’s arms. Her big, strong, handsome
fiancé’ looked like broken toy; his body parts barely
held together with reams of stitches. Tears filled
her eyes at the memory, falling down her cheeks in
tiny rivers.
Beverly had told her the worst, prepared her as best
she could. But the notion of Will Riker’s life coming
to an end haunted Deanna each moment of the day. Yes,
he might be all right, and under Beverly’s excellent
care, probably would be. But his organs could fail
again, his heart could stop beating, and unless new
organs were able to take over the functioning of the
old, his body would fall apart.
The horrible image of Will’s face in death filled her
mind’s eye so clearly that her heart seemed to stop
its pulsing beat. It was too much-she could not stand
out here and torment herself any longer. She had to
see him. Now. Shaking off her fear, rubbing the tears
from her eyes, she stiffened her spine and pushed open
the door, not caring whether the patient wanted to see
her or not.
Alyssa looked up from her readings with surprise, and
then over at Will. She nodded once at Deanna, telling
her it was all right to enter, and then looked back at
the computer, trying to hide the emotion that tinged
her lovely, Asian face.
Deanna felt the turn of the other woman’s thoughts,
the intensity of her feelings. Will Riker was a much
liked, highly respected First Officer and his crew
would follow him into the very depths of Hell itself
if asked. The pain in Alyssa’s short glance spoke
volumes—she didn’t expect Will to make it.
Ignoring that thought, Deanna pushed her long hair
out of her eyes, and wandered over to the back area of
sickbay towards the row of beds. Will was on the last
one in the far right corner, sleeping as innocently as
a baby. She moved closer, pulled up a stool, and sat
down next to him. Her hands reached for his silky
dark hair of their own volition, her fingers running
through the thick strands again and again, luxuriating
in the feel of it. Her hand slid down to caress his
scruffy cheek, and the sight of the newly sprouted
stubble brought fresh tears to her eyes, reminding her
of the night she’d shaven off his beard nearly three
years before. Ever since then, it had been a ritual
with them—once a week she would entice him into an
intimate setting, shave off his hair, and then kiss
his sweet, bare face; a prelude to lovemaking.
A sob filled her chest at the memory, and she forced
it down, gulping softly behind her hand. The
memories, once touched off by the Briar Patch
recollection, began to flow quickly. Their first
meeting, so many long years ago now; the first time he
kissed her, touched her, made love to her; the shock
of seeing him again on the “D” after being apart; all
of their years of laughter, support, friendship, the
way that their relationship had evolved once more into
passion, bringing them more than two and a half years
of union between body and soul. She loved him more
now than ever—more than that young girl from eons ago
could have possibly loved him. He was connected to
her at the heart, and she would never let him go.
Her mouth moved to speak, but tears filled her throat
and she cleared it twice before continuing.
“Will…Imzadi…I’m here, love. I know that you wanted
to be alone; you are stubborn enough not to want me
here right now. But what you don’t understand is that
I need to be here with you. There is nothing on this
ship that could keep me from being by your side, for
as long as it takes to help you recover. I’m going to
ask the Captain for an extended leave. I’m sure that
another counselor can be procured to cover for me for
a few weeks. Amanda Khan has been recommended to me
as a protégé, and if all works out, I’ll be able to
send for her and have her filling my shoes in a matter
of days.”
There was no response from the sleeping figure on the
bed, just the soft rumble of his breath as he snored,
and the back and forth movement of his eyes beneath
their lids. He looked younger when he was asleep, as
though unconsciousness drove the years away; reducing
him to a 25 year old again. Touched, Deanna leaned
over and planted a feather-light kiss on his cheek,
then lay her head upon his shoulder as delicately as
possible. She breathed in the familiar scent of him,
and felt her heart twist with longing.
She wanted him to rise from the bed, to take her into
his arms and make love to her right then and there.
She wanted him to tell her that he was fine; that he
was going to live to be a hundred years old and that
they were going to have the wedding of a lifetime very
soon. She wanted him to take her face in his large,
warm hands and tell her that he loved her, and that
they were going to have about a dozen little
Betazoid-Rikers running around the Enterprise in a few
But mostly, with all of her heart, she wanted him to
Heart aching, unable to contain her emotions any
longer, Deanna covered her face with her hands and
allowed the sobs to build, to rise, and then to
finally fall with all of the force of a thunderstorm
down her cheeks. Her soft cries alerted Alyssa, who
came running into the room at top speed.
Wrapping her arms around Deanna’s shoulders, Alyssa
held her while she rocked and cried, soothing her with
murmurs and whispered words of comfort.
And all the while, Will Riker lie on the bed beside
them, seemingly oblivious, but entirely awake.


Part 3/?

"She feels sorry for me." Will Riker’s heart froze
in his chest as he listened to Deanna crying her eyes
out over him. Acid ate through his stomach as his
anger flared full force, and he longed to jump up out
of the bed and fling something against the wall-a bed
pan would do nicely.
"How can I put her through this? After all we’ve been
through, the last thing she needs is an invalid on her
hands. That’s it…I can’t allow her to play nursemaid
to me. Not when she could have a full life. Another
man, someone who’s whole, able to make children with
her, able to protect and take care of her. That’s
what she deserves."
Mentally making the decision, Will blinked back tears
and forced his eyes to open. “Deanna.”
She turned from Alyssa’s embrace to see him looking
up at her. His beard had run wild, growing across his
cheeks like a forest. His eyes were haunted, shadowed
with pain. But the worst part, was the deadened, empty
shell where his emotions normally lie. She could feel
nothing from him except resignation, tinged with a bit
of anger.
“Imzadi! You’re awake! It is so good to see you…”
she brushed his hair with her fingers, stroking it
back, then kissed his damp, warm forehead. “I’ve
missed you.”
“Well you don’t have to worry, I’m still here.”
“How do you feel?”
“Just about as bad as I look.”
“I’m sorry. I wish that there were something I could
do, Will.”
His eyes lit into hers, holding them, demanding
something of her that she could not name. “Alyssa,
could you leave us for a few moments? I’d like to
speak to Deanna in private.”
“Of course, Commander. I’ll be in Beverly’s office if
either of you needs me.” She wandered off, leaving
Deanna sitting on the stool beside Will’s bed, holding
his hand in his. She looked down at him in loving
concern, wondering what he was going to say,
completely unprepared for his words.
“Deanna…you know that I love you. I can’t lie to you
and not just because you’re empathic. I was going to
do a whole song and dance about how I didn’t want to
be with you any more, about how I didn’t love you any
more. I was hoping to get you out of my life so you
wouldn’t have to see me like this. But, I can’t lie.
I do love you and I always will. However, I’ve been
thinking about our wedding, about our life together,
and I don’t think it’s fair for you to have to deal
with my injuries. You deserve a husband who is whole.
Hell, I don’t even know if I can make love to you any
more. It might kill me, Deanna. How fair is that to
you? You are too young and too beautiful to be stuck
with an invalid. I’ve decided that I’m going to call
off our wedding. I can’t marry you, Deanna. I’m
sorry….” His eyes filled with unshed tears and he
struggled to retain his composure.
Deanna’s eyes flashed with anger, the black depths
filling with frustration and rage. “You’ve decided?
I see. So now you are the only person in this
relationship who is qualified to make decisions.
Decisions for both of us, no less. How dare you pull
this on me now. Don’t you know how much I love you?
Isn’t “in sickness and in health” part of the marriage
vows on Earth? I would be willing to care for you,
Will. I don’t care if we never make love again-sex is
not what we are about. We are Imzadi-heart, mind, and
spirit. That is what I care about, Mr. Riker. And if
you think that I am just going to let you go because
you’re feeling sorry for yourself right now, you had
better try thinking again.”
Will sighed, a deep, loud, long-suffering sound that
echoed through the room.
“Deanna, look, I know you love me, and believe me, I
am grateful for that. But I’ve made my decision. The
wedding is off. And as far as our relationship…”
“I think it would be best if we stopped seeing each
other. If we’re not going to get married, there’s not
much point in continuing this relationship.”
His words hit her directly in the heart, slamming her
backwards with the shock of their devastating weight.
She physically swayed backwards, grabbing the stool
for support and then leapt off of it to stand beside
him. “Don’t, Imzadi. Don’t do this! We’ve taken so
long to come back to one another. Since the Briar
Patch we’ve built something wonderful—something
neither of us ever thought would happen again. Don’t
let it go now, Imzadi. Please…” Tears were filling
her eyes, hanging in her lush, dark lashes, ready to
spill down her porcelain cheeks.
But Will looked unmoved. Stoic, silent, he merely
looked away from her at the wall, brushing her aside
as surely as if he had pushed her with his hand.
Her heart ached with love for him, and anxiety about
losing him. It was pounding in her chest so loudly
she was certain that he could hear it.
“I am going to my quarters, Will. I will be back in
the morning though. Think about this very carefully.
Do you really want to lose what we’ve got? Do you
really want to throw away our plans for the future?”
He met her eyes then, and she could see that he was
struggling not to cry himself.
“What I want, Deanna, is for you to forget about me.
Go to Betazed and find yourself a nice Betazoid
psychologist to marry. Have some kids, live near your
Mother, have a good life. But whatever you do, don’t
expect me to be part of it, because after today, I
won’t be.”
Her mouth was agape, her onyx eyes flooding with
tears. She covered her mouth with her hand, let out a
soft cry, and ran from the room, unable to control her
emotions any longer.
And Will lie there, watching her go, watching her
pain, knowing that he had caused it.


Part 4/?

Ten Forward was dark, lonely. Only the ever-present
movement of the stars past the view port gave any
evidence of life to the empty room. Deanna, unable to
sleep, had sought refuge here, unwilling to return to
her quarters only to sleep in a bed that she had once
shared with Will.
It was over. Oh, certainly she knew that he still
loved her, that their hearts were still tied together.
But Will Riker was the most stubborn man in the
universe, and she also knew that he would go against
every impulse in his own heart if it meant freeing
her. He loved her so much that he didn’t want to tie
her down, she mused inwardly. If he only knew that
taking care of him was all that she wanted in the
Moving behind the bar, Deanna helped herself to a
tall glass filled with ice-cold champagne. Will had
introduced her to the drink many years before, and she
loved how the bubbles leapt to tickle her nose. With
bottle and glass in hand, she moved to “their” table,
and sat down, intending on getting as tipsy as
She stared out the view port, imagining what their
life together could have been like. Images of their
marriage, their children filled her mind, and the pain
that accompanied the images was gut wrenching. There
would be no little Kyles or Ians running around the
Enterprise; no beautiful children with her long, curly
dark hair and Will’s mesmerizing blue eyes. There
would be no wedding; Betazoid or human. There would
simply be two people who had been inches away from
their destiny, living apart; going back to the
friendship they’d shared for so long.
And that, she thought, taking a long swallow, was
being optimistic. Reality could be much, much worse
than that. Will might not survive. She had to face
that. In a matter or days or weeks she could be
completely alone for the first time in more than a
decade, unable to feel him in her mind and heart.
Unable to connect with the person who mattered most in
the world.
The thought sent fresh tears into her eyes, filling
the black depths with slick moisture that ran down her
face in twin tracks, and into the glass she was
drinking from.
Accepting the end of their relationship was difficult
enough, but the idea of Will being dead was just too
much for her heart to handle. Swallowing the remains
of the drink, she sat her glass down and allowed
herself to bawl like a child, letting her fears, her
pain, and her love all spill out in one violent rush
of emotion.
That was how Beverly found her half an hour later.
The doctor swept into Ten Forward in her bathrobe,
wiping sleep from her eyes, searching for Deanna.
“Where have you been? I’ve had the computer try to
locate you for almost an hour!”
“I’ve been right here, Beverly. I’m all right. I
just needed to be alone.”
Bev noted the half-empty bottle of champagne and
smirked. “Looks like you weren’t completely alone,
though, Counselor. A bottle of alcohol can be company
in and of itself. Unfortunately, it’s not the best
kind…” She moved to take a seat across from Deanna
and took her friend’s hand into her own.
“Talk to me, Deanna. What’s going on? I peeked in
on Will a few minutes ago, and Alyssa told me that
you’d left. I was sure you’d be camped out in front of
the sickbay doors all night long given what’s happened
to Will. Why did you leave?”
Deanna’s eyes moved from the table up to meet
Beverly’s. “I didn’t want to leave, Bev. Will didn’t
want me there. He…he ended our relationship. He’s
playing the martyr; bravely sacrificing himself for me
so that I can “live a happy life” without him.”
“I see. That sounds like Will all right. But you
know that he really loves you and doesn’t want to lose
you. He’s just frightened right now. He’s lost
everything that means something to him and I think
that deep down, he’s probably afraid of losing you as
“So he decides to end our relationship before I can
do so? That doesn’t make any sense, Bev. I’m not
planning on leaving him. I love him and I don’t care
if he does become an invalid. I will take care of him
for the rest of his life, whether it’s here, on
Betazed, or perhaps back on Earth. The problem is, he
won’t even give me the chance.”
“He’s embarrassed, Deanna. Your big, virile,
commanding fiancé’ has just been taken down a few
pegs. This is a man who only two months ago was
fighting batleth to batleth with holographic
Klingons—for fun, no less. Being in sickbay, reduced
to being cared for like a child, it couldn’t possibly
be easy for him to accept. But he will, eventually.
And who knows? I may have to do the surgery on him,
and when I do, he may come out of it stronger than
“But I thought that the risks were high, Bev. I
mean, couldn’t those new organs fail just as quickly?”
She looked down at the table, and frowned. “I’m
afraid so. There aren’t any guarantees, Deanna. It’s
very likely that if he has the surgery, he will still
be in a delicate condition for the rest of his life.
But, he’s strong, in good general health, and about as
determined as an ox. If anyone could make a full
recovery from something like this, it would be Will.”
Deanna’s eyes shined for a moment, filling with hope.
“I wish that he saw it that way. I think he’s given
up before he’s even begun.”
“Well, this is all very new to him. You and I have
had over a month to adjust to his condition, he’s had
only a day. Give him some time. He loves you and he
needs you, and he will come around eventually. I know
he will.”
“ I hope you’re right.”
They both rose from the table and moved around it to
hug one another.
“You’d better get some sleep, Counselor. You’ve got
appointments in the morning, don’t you?”
Deanna smiled. “Well, I did. But I had my assistant
cancel everything for a few days-I want to be
available in case…” she broke off, wondering if Will
would want to see her again.
Bev patted her shoulder and smiled. “I understand.
I’ll keep you informed of everything that’s going on,
okay? For now, I’d better try and get some sleep
myself. I’ve got a recalcitrant patient to deal with
in the morning.”
They grinned at each other, and walked towards the
doors arm in arm. As they slid open to admit them
into the corridor, Beverly’s comm badge beeped from
the lapel of her robe. “Crusher here.”
“Doctor, you’re needed in sickbay immediately.”
“Oh god. Is it Commander Riker?”
“Yes,” Alyssa’s voice rose in urgency, “ you’d better
come now. He’s going into shock, I think he’s going
into total organ failure.”
“On my way.” Bev ran down the corridor with Deanna
fast on her heels. They took the turbo lift to
sickbay, not saying a word during the ride. Stunned
into silence, they both stared ahead at the doors each
thinking their own thoughts.
Beverly’s were filled with racing images of Will’s
condition, strategies for his care. She was preparing
herself for a night of emergency surgery, preparing to
save his life no matter what the cost. Deanna’s were
filled with memories of Will; precious, wonderful
memories that filled her with so much love and sadness
she felt as if she might faint from the strength of
And as the door slid open and they ran to sickbay,
Deanna realized that even as Beverly was readying
herself to save Will’s life, she herself was mentally
preparing for the worst. Preparing to accept his


Part 5/5

When they flew through the sickbay doors, they found
Will’s body thrashing around on the bed, Alyssa was
giving him a hypospray in the neck, and a team of
lieutenants were busily preparing the operating table.

“What happened? Is he all right?” Bev said, running
to his beside.
Alyssa frowned, then lay her hands on Will’s massive
shoulders, trying to keep him from hurting himself
and/or falling right off the bed. “He’s going into
shock, Doctor. The organs are failing, and he seems
to be having a mild heart attack.”
“Get him on the operating table. Now.”
A frenzied look crossed Bev’s face as she joined in
the chaos, and moments later, Will Riker was delivered
safely to the operating table. Deanna watched
everything from the sidelines, never in her life
feeling more helpless. As she stared, she hugged
herself tightly, fighting the rush of tears to her
eyes. “Bev, can I stay with him?” she
From across the room her friend looked at her and
shook her head. “I’m afraid not, Deanna. It’s against
ship’s policy and my own policy as Chief Medical
Officer. I know you want to be here, but I need you
to leave until the operation is over. I promise we’ll
take very good care of him.” The compassion in her
blue eyes comforted Deanna a bit, but leaving the room
was the hardest thing she had ever done in her life.
With a look back at Will, she moved to the doors and
pushed them open, then sank down against the walls of
the corridor, head in hands. “Gods….I know my people
do not pray for their own will to manifest in their
lives. They thank you for your own will and the
blessings that you bestow. But at this moment, I need
you to understand that I am asking for something…not
for my own sake, but for his. Will is a wonderful man
and he has so much to give…please grant him more
time...please care for him and bring him through
this…I love him so much and I want him to make it. I
would give my own life in a second if I thought it
would guarantee that his would continue.” Pausing,
she looked up at the ceiling, wishing that she were
staring at the beautiful skies of Betazed. “I know
that it may be his time, but please give him a
chance...please help him…I’m not ready to let him go…”

The tears spilled again, falling softly on her
uniform, and she did nothing to wipe them away. Her
grief seemed then to be her only connection to Will,
as if allowing her heart to fill with pain somehow
brought her closer to the man she loved.
Closing her eyes, she sought out Will mentally,
testing to see if he could be reached mentally.
Tendrils of love, patience, and hope wound their way
through the walls, searching for Will’s mind. She
could feel him, barely, but he was there. She could
sense his fear and his pain, along with the
subconscious ache that filled him since he’d ended
their relationship. As though physically walking into
his mind, Deanna held him tightly in her mind,
wrapping invisible arms around him, keeping him safe.
She sent out all of the love that was in her heart,
hoping to comfort him and to let him know that he
wasn’t alone.
Slowly, almost intangibly, she felt a brief response.
“Yes! Yes, Will, it’s me! I’m here, Imzadi, right
here with you. Always.”
“Feel…funny… can’t stay awake…”
“Bev is getting ready to operate on you, darling.
You’ll be unconscious soon. Just allow yourself to go
with it…you’ll be safe, I promise.”
“No, no, Will, you don’t have to be afraid. I’m right
here and I love you. I love you so much.”
“Love…love you too, Imzadi. Sorry…so sorry…”
She sniffled as fresh tears came, and then laughed
delightedly. “Oh, Will, don’t be. I know you love
me…we will work everything out. Just let Beverly take
good care of you and come back to me safely, all
right? I’ll be waiting for you….”
“Don’t deserve…you. Love you, Deanna. So much…”
“Me too, Imzadi.”
Abruptly, the contact was severed, and she knew that
he was under. The contact had warmed her soul,
strengthened her heart. She knew now that no matter
what condition Will was in after the surgery, no
matter what lie ahead his future, they would get
through it together.
Smiling to herself, she walked back to her quarters
and composed something for Will to discover when he
awoke from the operation. Real paper, an antique
luxury, was pulled out of her drawers along with a
dark purple pen. Curling onto the sofa, she held the
tip of the instrument between her teeth and pondered.

Then her heart led her hand and the pen moved across
the paper, scratching softly.
“My darling Imzadi,
You’ve been through something recently that would have
killed lesser men. Your strength, your will to live,
and your commitment have carried you this far-they
will continue to carry you, my love. Believe in
yourself as I do, and know that once you are healed
again, you will still lead a useful life. It may not
include Captaining your own ship, but it will include
something even better—our love for one another. I
will be there for you, Will, always. I don’t care
about ranks or prestige. If you spend the next forty
years behind a desk, you’ll still be my favorite
Starfleet Officer.
Perhaps it’s time to leave this part of our journey
behind anyway. We’ve served together on this, the
very best ship in the fleet, for many, many years.
We’ve given everything we have to our friends and
colleagues, and stepped out of harm’s way too many
times to count. We’ve done our best, Will, and you
more so than anyone. Let this be not an ending to the
life we’ve known, but the beginning of a brand-new
one. Let’s go to Earth, live in Alaska, build a life
together. I want to marry you, Will and have your
children. I want us to live each and every moment as
though it were our last. Nearly losing you has taught
me just how very important you are to me, and I will
never let you go again.
You tried to turn me off, to let me go, but what you
didn’t count on was that my love is strong enough to
take it. I know that you don’t want this to be
over…you’ve admitted it yourself. So, when you come
around, and realize how much your life has changed,
please don’t try to shut me out again or to push me
away. We’re in this together, and we always will be.
You couldn’t get rid of me if you tried. When you are
well, I want us to go to the Captain and ask him to
marry us. I want to celebrate with our beloved
friends and family this relationship that we have been
so privileged to enjoy. And then, Mr. Riker, I want
to go to your quarters and make love with you all
night long.
What do you say? Do we have an agreement?

All my love,



When he awoke, everything was fuzzy. The doctor
seemed like a blue and red shimmering hologram,
something he could vaguely see but not truly make out.
Alyssa beamed down at him with a sweet smile, but he
couldn’t quite see that either. He was groggy from
the anesthesia and exhausted from the surgery. But he
was alive-he’d made it. Slowly, with too many muscle
movements to count, Will summoned a small smile.
“Doctor, Commander Riker is awake.”
Bev turned from her readings to move to Will’s
bedside, touching his forehead with a cool, soft hand.
“I see the trademark Riker grin is in place—you must
be feeling better.”
He tried to talk but it hurt too much, so rather than
kill himself from the effort, he simply winked.
“I’m glad you’re still with us, Will. The surgery
went fine…touch and go there for a moment towards the
end, but you came through fine. Now, what I want to
know is, are you going to rest and allow these new
organs to knit themselves comfortably in your torso or
am I going to have to keep you sedated for a few
He nodded a silent acquiescence and she smiled.
“Good boy. Now, my friend, there is someone who is
chomping at the bit to get in here and see you. Shall
I let her in…?”
He nodded again, more vigorously this time, and
Beverly chuckled. “All right, lover boy, I’ll bring
your fiancé in…but you two have to behave yourselves,
is that understood?”
She looked so serious that Will felt a burst of
laughter bubble up inside of him, and he held it in
tightly, not wanting to ruin Bev’s doctorly handiwork.
Instead he carefully moved his arm upwards and
touched her hand. In the softest whisper imaginable,
he murmured, “Thanks, Doc.”
She smiled at him widely, squeezing his hand in
return and he could she that she was fighting mightily
not to cry. “You’re welcome, Will. Anytime…always.
Now, let me get out of here before I make a fool of
He grinned again and nodded, then watched her leave
the room in search for Deanna. God, what was he going
to say to her? He’d made such a jerk of himself
before. Would she be able to forgive him? He closed
his eyes, thinking about the last moments he’d had
with her, wishing that things had gone differently,
and then, another memory subtlety appeared. As though
it were ephemeral, made of the softest gossamer, the
memory returned, fluttering around his brain, trying
to make contact.
Make contact…they had made contact before the
surgery…he could recall her voice inside his mind,
telling him that she loved him, that he was going to
be all right. But what had he said to her? It was too
foggy, he couldn’t quite remember…but he hoped with
all his heart that he hadn’t said something stupid,
hoped that it wasn’t too late to patch things up.
As he lay there pondering, Deanna came into the room
and moved to sit beside him, her face filled with so
much love that Will felt tears come to his eyes.
“Imzadi…are you all right? How do you feel?” She
looked down at him, took one of his hands into hers
and kissed it softly. Shadows hung beneath her black
eyes, evidence of a sleepless night, and her dark
uniform was filled with wrinkles. Her long hair was
tied in a makeshift ponytail and she wore no makeup
whatsoever. Still, Will realized that he’d never seen
her look more beautiful.
“I’m…all right, Deanna...”
“I knew you would be, Imzadi. I prayed for you and I
knew the Gods would bring you through this. Oh Will,
it is so good to see you. I love you.”
“I love you too, Deanna. Never stopped. We talked,
but…I don’t remember…did we make up?”
Deanna laughed softly, tears filling her eyes. “We
certainly did, albeit mentally. I don’t believe we
said the words out loud.”
He looked at her intently, wanting to send all of his
love to her through his eyes and into her soul. “Then
I need to say them.”
“No, Imzadi. You need to rest, to recuperate. There
will be plenty of time to talk about our relationship
“Deanna…I need to say this now. I love you and I
never stopped. I don’t want us to end things between
us…not now not ever. I was hurting and
embarrassed—God I hate for you to see me like this.
But I’ve lost everything else, I just can’t lose you
too. Please say you’ll forgive me…that you will still
marry me…”
“Oh Will, of course I will I love you.” She leaned
down to kiss him gently and wrapped her arms around
him, cradling his head. “Now, my love, I suggest that
you get some sleep. I will come back in a few hours to
see you, all right? Until then be good for Beverly.”
He chuckled and lifted his head slightly to kiss her
on the cheek. “I’ll try. But I can’t make any
“That’s the Will Riker I know and love. Now, before
I go, I want to give you something…” Reaching into her
pants pocket, she slipped out the sheet of paper and
pressed it into his palm. “When you wake up later,
I’d like for you to read this, Will.”
“What is it?”
“You’ll see…” With a long kiss on his lips, then
another on his forehead, Deanna turned and walked out
of sickbay, with a huge smile on her face.
Will opened his hand and carefully moved his arms
together to open it. Then he read Deanna’s words, and
at the end of it, tears streamed down his cheeks.
God, she loved him. She loved him enough to give up
their lives here and begin a new one on Earth with
him. She loved him enough to care for him if he were
too injured to care for himself, even to stay with him
if the transplant wasn’t successful and his time was
limited. He was overwhelmed.
Reaching for the small button beside the bed, he
pressed it, bringing Beverly scurrying back into the
room. “Yes, Will, what is it? Is everything all
right?” she said, leaning over him.
“Everything is fine. In fact, it’s just great. I
have a favor to ask though…”
“Anything, Will, you know that.”
“I want to write a letter to Deanna. Would you take
it down for me?
Beverly smiled and touched his hand. “Of course.”

A few days later, the Captain and crew had stuffed
themselves into sickbay around Will’s bed. Each was
dressed in their formal uniform, looking stately and
serious. The occasion had demanded that Deanna toss
out her Fleet uniform for something a bit more
feminine, and so Lwaxana had brought a dress of white
lace and silk; the one she had worn at her own
Deanna stood beside Will’s bed, holding his hand,
smiling beautifully.
“We are ready, Captain.”
He nodded and grinned at them, and then began. “We’ve
come together on this day to unite Commander William
T. Riker and Counselor Deanna Troi in marriage. It is
my great pleasure to perform this duty, as their
Captain and their friend. Our Commander has come
through a great deal of difficulty to be present at
this moment, and I am honored be the one granted the
privilege of performing his marriage ceremony. Now,
Deanna, will you take William Riker to be your wedded
husband? For better or for worse, in sickness and in
health, for as long as you both shall live?”
With tears running down her cheeks she nodded and
said, “Yes, I will.” Then she placed a large, wide
gold band on Will’s ring finger. He squeezed her hand
and looked up at her lovingly, as though she were a
goddess come to life.
“And now, William, will you take Deanna to be your
wedded wife? For better or for worse, in sickness and
in health, for as long as you both shall live?”
“I will.” Will reached into a small white box and
pulled out an ornate golden band. Sliding it onto
Deanna’s finger, he kissed it softly. Then he looked
up at the Captain and nodded discreetly.
“Our Commander has asked that I read something aloud
before closing the ceremony.” He pulled out a PADD
and flicked it on, then cleared his throat.
“My dearest Deanna,
You are my Imzadi. When we first met, you told me
that the word meant “beloved” or “the first”. But
what you didn’t tell me was that it also meant the
most precious thing in the world. You’ve become the
center of my life, the focal point of my universe, and
I cannot imagine living my life without you. When I
was injured, I was angry at the world, I hated
everyone and everything, but never you. You were the
one bright spot in my life, the one thing I still had
to look forward to. And then, because I felt
inadequate, because I was afraid of losing you, I
tried to end our relationship. It was the dumbest
thing I’ve ever done in my life. How could I ever get
through losing you? You’ve been my heart, my soul, my
best friend, and the love of my life for over twenty
years….how could I have ever thought that I could live
without you?
Now I see that my life has changed, things will never
be the same. But you’re the one thing in my life that
has not changed. You are still here, by my side,
loving me and being my friend. I want us to continue
with all of our plans. I want to marry you, Deanna,
and live out the rest of my life by your side. I want
you to have my children, tiny beautiful girls and boys
that look exactly like their Mother. Most of all, I
don’t want to let what’s happened to me end my life.
If I can’t be Captain of a ship, I can at least be the
Captain of your heart.”

Deanna dissolved in tears, and Will leaned up to take
her into his arms. Everyone in the group was crying,
hugging one another, and then the Captain cleared his
throat, getting everyone’s’ instant attention. “If I
may interrupt, I seem to have a wedding ceremony to
Everyone quieted down and Jean Luc smiled. “And now,
by the power vested in me as the Captain of this
vessel, I now pronounce you man and wife. You may kiss
your bride, Commander.”
There was a joyous clamor from the group as everyone
hugged one another and moved to congratulate Will and
Deanna. But they didn’t even notice. Lost in a kiss
deeper than love, older than time, they wrapped
themselves in a perfect moment filled with nothing but
each other and their love. “Deanna, I will always
love you. Thank-you for staying with me and being my
“You’ll never get rid of me, Will. I’m here for
life. Always.”
They kissed again, then finally broke apart to allow
the others to come into their circle of love. And as
the celebration went on, Will stared at his new wife,
unable to believe that he was this lucky. Looking up
at the sky, to whatever Higher Power might reside
there, he winked, and mouthed “thank-you.”