Rated: PG-13 or more for language!
Disclaimer: Paramount still owns 'em
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.
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. :)