Rated: PG-13
Disclaimer: Paramount owns all Star Trek characters,
and I make no profit from these writings-they are
strictly for my amusement, and for the enjoyment of my
friends. :)
*Note: This little story changes tense near the end.
I try never to do that, but it just came out that way!
Itís all Willís fault, honestly! <g> *

I've waited for this moment all of my life. Not that
I always knew that. Hell, I didn't know what I was
supposed to do with my life until Dad practically
booted me out of the house and into Starfleet. Once I
got a taste of shipboard life, of flying through the
stars and commanding those below me in the chain of
command, I knew I'd found my niche. For once, Dad was
right. The Fleet gave me purpose, a family, and
challenges that tested me every single moment of the
day. I felt more alive than ever on the bridge of a
ship, knowing that it was where I was destined to live
out my life. If there is such a thing as destiny.
I never used to believe in things like that. To me,
life was what you made of it, and with a father like
Kyle Riker, I got the message early on that nothing
and no one could stand in your way if you used enough
willpower to get where you wanted to go.
That philosophy kept me going, moving up the ranks
into a future that was virtually limitless. Nothing
was unplanned, nothing could come along and upset the
careful life I was building for myself. Until I met
Destiny, fate, and miracles all used to seem like
fuzzy, feel-good sentiments that sounded attractive
enough, but had no basis in reality. If fate were a
wonderful giver of goods, then my Mother would not
have died when I was five. My father would not have
become a workaholic recluse who ignored me most of my
life. But then again, if there were not such a thing
as fate, there would not be a Deanna Troi.
From that first meeting, I felt a reaction that was
unlike anything I'd ever experienced in my entire
twenty-five years. My body was used to responding to
beautiful women, that was nothing new. But feeling
such an intense impact, it was like being punched in
the stomach. My head reeled, my insides did back
flips, and my heart...well, let's just say that for
the first time in recorded history, I fell in love at
first sight. Not that I would've ever admitted that
to her. I couldn't-not then. Maybe not even today.
Because the one thing I've always felt when I'm near
Deanna Troi is out of control. I don't like the
feeling either. Deanna is nothing like the starships
I've helped command, she's not predictable, easy to
read, and she definitely does not go by the book.
She is the opposite of everything I've ever believed
in, everything I've been taught. Her life is guided
by emotion, by empathy with others. Her heart rules
her entirely. Until I met her I'd never known a woman
to be so completely at ease with herself and others.
Deanna was meant to helps others, to help them become
who they were meant to be. She loves them with an
intensity that astounds me sometimes. I've never been
able to open my heart the way that she does. In fact,
until our relationship, I'd pretty much kept my heart
out of the picture when it came to women. Oh, there
were times when the sex was complimented by affection
and something approaching love, but they were few and
far between. I never let myself get too close-what
would have been the point? No matter who I was
involved with, I would have to leave them eventually,
and so I turned off my own emotions long ago,
surviving with my looks and my sex drive. I never
lacked for companionship-that's for sure. But damned
if it wasn't lonely always waking up to some beautiful
stranger, knowing that the most intimate we'd gotten
was to call out each other's names during sex.
With Deanna it had been so much more. If I'd stayed
on Betazed...but no...I'm not going to go down that
road. It's twenty years in the past, and I can't
change anything by looking back. Still, sometimes I
wonder what it would've been like. What would've
happen had I stayed...or, had I taken her with me.
If it hadn't been for that stupid, drunken episode
with Wendy, Deanna and I might have made it to the
altar-eventually. As it was, we ended up being apart
for years, only to reunite as co-workers aboard the
Enterprise D. She turned up in my life again, just as
I'd finally found a way to forget her and move on with
my life. Believe me, Deanna Troi was the last thing
on my mind on that fateful day. I hadn't shaken her
image from my mind completely, but for the most part,
she was just a wild, delicious thing of the past; a
nice memory to tide me over when I got lonely. And
then, I saw her lovely face again and what was left of
my heart fell immediately to the floor. She was
beautiful. So much more beautiful than when we'd been
lovers. Then she was a teenage virginal nymph, but on
the "D" she'd become a woman. A new confidence
flashed behind her eyes, her voice had deepened;
curves had filled out more lushly than before. And
those eyes. God help me, the only thing I wanted to
do when we were "introduced" by Captain Picard was
take her in my arms and drown myself in the beautiful,
black, shiny depths. She could feel my every emotion,
and strained not to giggle aloud, not wanting to blow
our mutual cover. I needn't have worried though-from
that first day; Deanna was completely professional and
continued to be for many years to come. I admired
that about her, and yet it frustrated the hell out of
me. What had I expected? We hadn't seen one another
in ten years; did I really think that she would leap
into my arms and tell me that she loved me? If I ever
had that thought, it was quickly extinguished. As
much as we cared for one another and as comfortable as
we grew working together, the old relationship was
behind us, somewhere back in the jungles of Betazed.
I told myself again and again that that was what I
wanted. I pretended that her presence cramped my
style; that having her around would get in the way of
my shipboard conquests. But, the truth was, it killed
me to be near her every day and not be able to touch
her. I still wanted her-just as desperately as I had
the day when we first made love. I sometimes sensed
that she felt the same way, but whenever I made the
occasional pass, she rebuffed me, reminding me that we
were now colleagues and it would not be appropriate
for us to become involved again. I decided then and
there to say to hell with her and continue my pursuit
of any attractive woman who would have me. I'll admit
it was partially to make her jealous-to make her see
what she was missing. But it was also a necessary
release for my pent up desires. I couldn't make love
to my Imzadi, so I made love with whoever would have
me, often calling out Deanna's name in the process.
As you can imagine, that didn't go over too well with
my companions.

For her part, Deanna had the occasional romance, and I
think she enjoyed stirring up my jealousy as much as I
did hers. It was a game, a contest, who can do the
most damage to each other's ego and heart and come
away unscathed? Usually, I won, but not because my
heart was untouched. Hell, killed me to see her with
other men. To find her breathless and covered with
sweat on the night that I found her with Dann.
To see her wandering through the arboretum with Worf,
knowing that they were going to go back to his
quarters together. To sometimes feel her passion in
my mind as she lay breathless and aroused in a lover's
embrace. All of it killed me. But I could never let
Not while she was so determined to stay friends and
ignore the connection we shared. Instead, I played
the good friend, happy for her happiness when inside,
my stomach was on fire with the urge to kill every man
who touched her. When I was on the holodeck fighting
imaginary Klingons, I was really fighting Worf and his
incomprehensible hold on her. I shudder to think what
Deanna would say if she knew how many times I've
"killed" her former lover on that holodeck.
But all of that is in the past-finally. Somehow,
through a twist of that thing called fate that I
supposedly don't believe in, Deanna and I have been
given a second chance. Maybe it truly was the
regenerative properties of the rings around the Baku'
Homeworld. But you know what I think? I think that
Deanna became as tired as I was of fighting her
feelings. I know I could no longer sit across from
her at cozy dinners in Ten Forward without staring at
her face, her bosom, her lips. Being close to her was
driving me crazy, and somehow the blocks that we'd so
carefully built against falling in love again began to
crumble. I was given the confidence that I needed to
woo her again, and had a heck of a good time flirting
with her. To my delight, she loved it, and encouraged
me; touching my neck, returning my kiss. When we
found ourselves in my quarters neck-deep in a tub full
of bubbles surrounded by candlelight, I couldn't have
told you who was more surprised. But it happened,
that gradual reaching for one another, the kisses that
lasted far longer than friendly pecks, the gentle
touches as we passed one another in the library. They
all led us to where I had always wanted to return. To
being lovers again.
That night, watching her gorgeous face smiling at me
above a flute of champagne...I thought I'd died and
gone to Heaven. She was so close, I could smell the
scent of jasmine and gardenias. Her legs beneath the
water felt like silk beneath my hands, and the rest of
her...Lord she was perfection. She may not have been
a teenager any longer, but you could not have known by
looking at her body. Her breasts were as high and
full as ever (not to mention succulent!) and her waist
was slim and tight. Her full hips were still as
provocative as ever, and her bottom...Lord, her
When she came into my arms, I kissed her as though we
were those two young kids on Betazed, wildly in love
and fairly buzzing with hormones. It was the best sex
I've ever had in my life. We connected on every level
imaginable, speaking to one another through
thought-casts that were as intimate as the activity
that our bodies were involved in. It was amazing to
feel her in my mind again after so many years, and at
that moment, I was able to toss away the shields I'd
hidden behind and just give myself over to loving her.
It was glorious. Her face, her sweet mouth echoing
my own sounds, her heart throbbing against my chest,
her eyes shining with such emotion that I felt my eyes
burn with tears. I loved her again. I was totally
head-over-heels in love with Deanna Troi. Not that
I'd ever fallen out of love. Not really. It might
have been put on the back burner for a couple of
decades, but it was there, ready to spill out as soon
as I touched her precious body. When it was over, I
held Deanna in my arms and she cried. I could feel
her emotions, her love for me, her regret that we'd
wasted so much time. And, my heart ached. I would've
cried too if I'd been able. But it's not often I can
let myself do that. Still, my own heart was filled
with regret and sadness because this beautiful woman,
my Imzadi, was right there beneath my nose for all of
those years and I never knew that she still loved me.

The good news is, somehow, despite all of my faults,
she still does. Today, Captain Picard is doing us
the honor of performing our wedding ceremony. Today,
Deanna will become my wife and we will complete the
Imzadi bond. Lwaxana is here, taking charge of
everything as usual, and will direct us through the
ceremony once the marriage vows have been said. In
deference to me, Deanna chose to have a traditional
Earth ceremony, but afterwards we will doff off our
clothes, stand beside her Mother, and the three of us
will chant the litany of words that will bind Deanna
and I so closely together that afterwards, it won't
matter where each of us is--we will feel one another
in our minds, hear each other's thoughts. The Sacred
Chalice of Rixx has been brought out of Lwaxana's
closet especially for the occasion, and we will both
drink from it as a symbol of our bond. The Holy Rings
of Betazed, once merely a decoration that hung above
the sofa in the Troi mansion have been copied; made
into twin, silver rings that will encircle the fingers
of our right hands, binding us much as our own golden
wedding bands will. I am looking forward to this,
it's the moment I've waited for all of my life. There
she is...walking down the path between two sections of
chairs and up to the gazebo. She's holding a huge
bouquet of white roses, and wearing the most enticing
wedding gown that's ever been made. The heart-shaped
bodice curves around her bosom perfectly, the train
wafts behind her in gentle waves. Her hair had been
restored to it's former glory, now a wild tumble of
jet-black curls piled high upon the top of her head.
Her large dark eyes watch me as she moves forward on
Data's arm, and they are already filled with tears.
My throat catches, filling with a painful lump, and I
swallow, hoping it will stop me from crying. God,
she's beautiful.
Jean-Luc is beaming at her as though he's never seen a
bride before, and Lwaxana, dressed in a wild, purple
shift, sobs as she watches her daughter move towards
Jean-Luc takes our hands, and like priest, blesses us
with his wishes for our happiness. And then, he reads
a passage from the Bible, and another from
Shakespeare, each filled with such poignancy, that it
resonates throughout the watching crowd. He speaks of
journeys not taken, lovers lost then found, and God's
eternal hope that we will each find the other half of
our heart and join with them in holy wedlock. I am
shaking. My hands twitch as I lift the gold ring and
slide it on my Imzadi's finger, and she notices,
smiling up at me in understanding. I try to say the
vows, to repeat them just exactly as Jean-Luc says
them, but my voice trembles, and I forget one of the
words. Maybe two. Deanna doesn't seem to mind, and
encouraging me with her soft eyes, her gentle empathic
nudges. I grin and finish my vows, relieved to have
gotten them out without totally screwing it up, and
then I watch my love as she repeats them back to me.
It is the most intense, the most powerful moment I've
ever experienced in my entire life and I feel as
though my chest will burst from the emotions pouring
through my body. As she finishes, Jean-Luc says, "You
may kiss your bride, Number One," and I clasp her to
me so tightly that I nearly cut off her air supply. I
crush her lips with mine, tasting the sweetest kiss
imaginable, and tell myself that this woman is my
wife. She is finally my wife. But, before we can
make our escape to Risa and make love all evening
long, we must complete the bond. Everyone is
watching. Beverly; lovely in a teal-green dress
holding a handkerchief to her streaming eyes, Worf;
looking angry and pensive, and yet somehow satisfied,
Data; confused but interested as he stands beside the
Captain attempting to figure out what this whole thing
means, Guinan; wise and beautiful, dressed in a
floor-length lavender robe and matching headdress,
love for both of us shining through her bottomless
dark eyes. Everyone we know and love, our crew,
Deanna's high school friends, highly-placed
politicians from Betazed, everyone is there in the
backyard of the Troi mansion, watching us become
husband and wife. It's almost too much.
Taking a deep breath, I look at Deanna for
confirmation, and mentally say, "Ready?"
She nods and grins, then removes her wedding dress,
surprising and delighting members of the crew who were
totally unfamiliar with Betazoid wedding rituals until
that moment. I remove my clothing as well, but this
time, I'm unembarrassed. Maybe it's because Deanna is
sending me loving thoughts, making me feel safe. Or
maybe I just no longer care about what others might
think of me. Whatever the case, my Imzadi and I are
standing naked in front of a giant chalice, with a
naked Lwaxana looking on from behind. I try not to
look at my new mother-in-law, knowing that she will
take my gaze for flirtatious interest. The woman
never gives up! So, instead, I stare into Deanna's
eyes, and listen as her Mother reads aloud from a
beautiful, ancient Betazoid text. The language is
unfamiliar, with only a trace of the few Betazoid
terms I am familiar with, but I know that it must say
everything that I feel about Deanna today. As Lwaxana
nods to her daughter, Deanna takes my hand and lays it
upon her heart. Then she whispers to me, soft sweet
words that I don't recognize, but that make my mind
feel as though it is being slowly knitted into hers.
I almost gasp aloud at the closeness of the contact.
It's as if we are suddenly complete telepaths, able to
hear every single thought that the other has. I catch
my breath, look up at Lwaxana, and receive a
beneficent smile. "Your turn, William," she murmurs.
Deanna has told me what to say, and I know I can
pronounce the words, but I do not know what they mean.
Still, I gamely play along, my tongue tripping over
exotic-tasting words like "Remyel", "Xoran", and
"Ma'el". As I finish my portion of the bonding vows,
I watch Deanna's face and realize that she is
experiencing the same phenomena as I had. Her eyes
widen, tears filling them to the brim, and the smile
that fills her face lights up the entire backyard. "I
never knew..." she began, looking back and forth from
her Mother's face to mine. "Neither did I, Imzadi," I
said, and pulled her close, kissing her utterly
Lwaxana raised the chalice in her hands high above her
head, looking like a new age priestess making an
offering to the Gods. She uttered a final sentence, a
blessing, and then told us to move towards her.
Holding hands, we stared at her, watching as she
poured a ruby colored liquid from the chalice over our
tightly woven hands. As we watched, the liquid
disappeared, leaving only a trace of color on the
backs of our hands. "It is done, children. You are
now fully Imzadi. My congratulations to you both."
Her eyes were swimming in tears and I felt a strong
urge to hold her in my arms, but seeing as that we
were both still naked, I settled for gripping her
outstretched hand and murmuring, "Thank-you, Lwaxana."

"You're most welcome, William. Now, both of you get
your clothes on--I want to hug this gorgeous husband
of yours, Deanna!"
We chuckled and slid back into our attire, hugging
tightly. "I love you, Will."
"And I love you," I said, unable to believe that she
was truly my wife. Then Lwaxana, now dressed, grabbed
me from behind and spun me around into her arms. She
continued to cry unabated, and I held her tightly,
unable to believe that this was the same woman who had
once been so completely against this relationship.
Finally, I pulled myself away, leaving her with my
gratitude, and went to shake the Captain's hand. He
surprised me completely by taking me in his arms and
hugging me. "Congratulations, Number One. You
certainly took your time about it, didn't you?"
I laughed and agreed that I had. And I smiled at him,
feeling more than ever that this man would've made one
hell of a father. Maybe one day he and Bev would get
together and start cranking out little red-headed
French children. Watching him hug Deanna, and then
move to stand by Bev's side, I certainly hoped so. To
me, they were every bit as much a perfect match as
Deanna and I were, but we'd probably have to coax them
into it. No problem there-Deanna's one hell of a

As everyone moved to congratulate us, I watched my
wife in motion, animated and joyful as she greeted our
friends. When it was over, and everyone had moved
into the mansion for a small reception, I took Deanna
into the gazebo and sat her down. Dusk was arriving
and the twin moons hung in the sky above us like
twinkling jewels.
I wanted to ask her if she was happy, and to find out
if I was the only one who was ready to burst with
emotion. Locking hands, she sent to me, <<I'm feeling
it too, Will.>>
<<You mean I'm not the only one whose synapses are
ready to explode?>>
<<No, I'm afraid not. We'll both feel this way for a
long while, and then once we get used to the bond, it
will gradually wear off.>>
<<God, I hope so. Right now I feel like I could
explode-and I don't just mean sexually.>>
She giggled and then kissed me. <<Can you believe we
did it, Will? We're actually married?>>
I looked at her, seeing the face of the teenage girl
I'd fallen so hopelessly and unexpectedly in love
with. I saw a reflection of the boy I'd once been,
afraid to open his heart, unwilling to be hurt. I
remembered my Mother; her lovely face such an
important part of my world-and remembered how I shut
my heart up so tightly after she died, never willing
to risk being hurt again. I remembered the years of
bucking for Captain; trying to beat Jim Kirk's record,
feeling like nothing was more important than flying a
starship. And all of it fell away. At that moment
there was nothing in my life, my past, my dreams that
was more important than what was right in front of me.
And with eyes full of unshed tears, I looked into
Deanna's and whispered, "Yes I can."