Right Here

Rated: PG-13 or more for language!

Disclaimer: Paramount still owns 'em

Author: Tracy


She stood in the arch of the holodeck watching

him. He was kneeling before a make-shift tombstone in

a gorgeous, green forest; holding onto it so tightly it

stretched his shirt nearly to the breaking point. His

head was bowed, and she could almost hear his voice

murmuring something softly. Her mind picked up the

words easily, and she closed her eyes, torn between wanting

to be there and wanting to give him privacy.


<Dad...I can't believe you're gone.

I...I wanted you to die so many times. Every time you raised

your voice to Mom, every time you blew off my every

accomplishment because it wasn't up to "your"

standards...I wanted to kill you. God how I hated you.

I really did. But you know what? I loved you

too. Because sometimes, just sometimes, you looked at

me with Grandpa's eyes and smiled and I saw that you

were proud. Just sometimes, but it was enough. I

guess you must've loved me too.>


His shoulders hitched and Deanna felt the sob well up

in his throat. His words became scattered in her mind and

she could feel him using every bit of strength not to

cry. Silent tears slid down her cheeks as she watched

him, and it was all she could do not to run to him and take

him into her arms.


<I don't know how to say goodbye, Dad. I

mean...how do I say goodbye when I don't even know how I

felt about you? When I never got to ask you how you

really felt about me? What would you say if you were

here? And hell, what would I say to you? I

don't even know...> He broke off again and Deanna

watched him slide to the ground, holding his face in his



In her mind his voice sounded again. <Damn you for

leaving me like this! First you leave me when Mom died

because you couldn't handle it, now you're gone for

good and I've got nothing. Nothing!> Will

slapped the tombstone and Deanna flinched, knowing he was

really slapping Kyle's absent face. <I just

wish...God! I wish I could've known how you really

felt about me, about my career, about Mom even. Who

the hell were you, after all? Who was Kyle

Riker? The guy who married my Mother and made

me? Is that all you were? Mom's frigging



Deanna closed her eyes, feeling the barbs of Will's

angry words in her mind, feeling her heart aching nearly to

the breaking point with every moment that passed.


Shaking, Will struggled to his feet, and stood erect,

folding his arms across his chest. <I hate you, you

fucking bastard. I hate you for never giving me an

inch, for never giving a damn unless it was your way.

Didn't you get it? I needed you! SHE was

dead and I needed you and you just fucking left me!

Didn't I mean a G-- D--- thing to you?"


With every minute he became more and more enraged and

Deanna could almost feel his very heart throbbing in his

chest as his fury flooded his system. This was getting

worse, not better, and finally she decided it was time to

step in. Moving to the controls, she softly spoke

to the computer, and before Will Riker's astonished

eyes, Kyle Riker appeared as if by magic. He looked alive

and healthy, fit and attractive, every inch the soldier

he'd been when he was alive.


Standing apart from the two men, Deanna waited and

watched for Will's reaction. Her impulsive move

could do more harm than good, she realized, but seeing Will

nearly at the breaking point forced her to take action. She

just prayed that it was the right decision.


Now, the holographic Kyle Riker moved toward his son

and did something he rarely did in life. He

smiled. "Will. It is so good to see you,



Will backed up as though frightened of his

father's image. "What....what in the world are you

doing here? You're dead!" His face was

so pale Deanna thought he might faint and she gently sent

him waves of strength to keep him on his feet.


Kyle moved towards Will again. Slowly.

"Son...I know. I know you don't believe in an

afterlife...and well, after losing your Mother.....I

don't know that I do either. But this...this is

real. Maybe I'm just a mass of electrons and

holographic beams, but my love for you...that's real.

Always was."


Will's eyes misted and he cleared his throat.

"If...if you loved me, why did you treat me the way you

did? Why the hell did I have to spend my whole life

never measuring up? Wondering how you felt about

me? Why, Dad? WHY?!" He was nearly

screaming and Deanna cringed, silently crossing her fingers

that this would go better and soon.


Kyle shook his head and stared at the holographic

ground. "You may not believe it, Will, but I was

afraid. My old man, well you didn't know much

about him, but he was a real bastard. Everything

you've thought and said about me I've thought and

said about him. Everything. I couldn't please him

and when you came along I was afraid he'd judge you as

well. I couldn't stand to have him hurt you the

way he'd hurt me, to say anything that might crush your

spirit, so I thought I'd make you in his image and then

he'd be happy and you'd never be hurt. The

only problem was, it didn't work. He died the same

judgemental ass he always was, and you grew to hate

me. I'm sorry Will. I'm so



Kyle's image moved towards Will yet again, and

before he knew it, he was in his father's arms.

The two men hugged and Deanna could no longer hold back a

sob. She let the tears flow for all the pain her

Imzadi had endured for so long, for the loveless little boy

that still lived inside of him, and for the man who was

getting to see his dead father one last time. It was

one of the most emotional spectacles she'd ever been

privleged to witness and she knew she would never forget



Will cried on his father's shoulder like a small

child, and the man who'd never shown him love in life,

held him gently and warmly in death. Finally, after

uncounted moments passed, they parted.


"I love you Dad. I've always loved you. I

just...I wanted you to be proud of me. Would've given

anything for it."


"I AM proud of you Will. In this life or the next. I

will always be proud that you're my son. And

you're mother would've been proud too.. She was so

crazy about you, you know that?"


Will smiled and felt a new sob break in his

throat. "Thanks for that. I needed to hear

it. All of it."


"And I needed to hear just what an asshole I used to

be. Let's hope if there's something like

reincarnation that I'll get to come back and do things

differently. And if not...well, let's hope that

I've always been wrong that that there IS an afterlife.

That way I'll get to see you again, son."


Will cleared his throat and wiped his eyes on his shirt

sleeve. "I'd like that. I really would, Dad."


"I have to go now, but don't forget

everything I said okay? This is real and it's the

only way I have to say goodbye. But's it's as real

as if we were standing in our living room in the house

in Alaska, warming our freezing asses by the fire and

drinking that God-awful rum your uncle used to bring



Will's blue eyes danced with the memory and he

smiled. "That's a little too real for me, Dad, but

I hear you."


"Good. Now, before I go, there's just one more

thing I need to say. That little Betazoid woman

standing behind you is just crazy about you. Stop with the

"just friends" thing already and marry her, or I

swear to God, I'll haunt you from beyond the



Will burst out laughing and turned to see Deanna

standing there with love and tears shining in her

eyes. "Okay Dad, I promise," he said, but

when he turned back around, Kyle was gone.


"Dad?" he whispered, and felt Deanna come behind

him and wrap him arms around his shoulders.


"He's gone, Imzadi. I'm sorry."


Will stared for a long moment at the spot where his

father's hologram had been, then turned around and took

Deanna into his arms.


They held one another in silence for very long time,

and then Will softly kissed Deanna squarely on the lips.


"Thank you, Imzadi."


"You're welcome. Imzadi."


"I don't know what else to say, Dee. I...that

was...I just...oh God..." he broke off, feeling far too

much to put anything into words.


She placed a finger against his lips and lay her head

against his chest. "Rabeem...."


Again they stood in silence, and finally he murmured,

"You were here the whole time weren't you? I was so

caught up in everything I couldn't even feel you in my

mind, but you were here..."


"I was here, Will. I was right here. And I

always will be. After all, we wouldn't want your father

haunting us would we?"


"No. I think I'd rather keep our

relationship just between the two of us."


Looking up into his eyes she lifted an eyebrow and

asked softly, "And what sort of relationship do we



"One that should've happened a long time

ago." With everything inside of him he kissed her

again, and she responded, feeling the age-old connections of

love, lust and friendship weave themselves into a tapestry

that could only be called "Imzadi".


The End. :)