(All rights to TNG characters are owned by Paramount Pictures)
Betazed was coming into view. Through the shuttles’s small viewscren, Deanna could almost make out the Sonara mountain range. In less than an hour, she’d be landing and then it would begin. Sighing, she gently touched the controls and lowered the shuttle’s speed. Thoughts flickered through her mind, memories fought their way to the surface; she couldn’t shield herself from them forever.
Her mother was gone. The vibrant, exotic Lwaxana Troi had departed, leaving only her earthly remains behind. Now Deanna was coming home. Coming home to say good-bye. The shuttle touched down in a large, blooming field only yards from the Troi estate.
Gathering her bags, she slowly walked down the curving main road that led to the wooded area where her mother lived. Had lived. Those words were still so hard to grasp. In fact, Deanna expected to hear her mother’s voice within her head, welcoming her home. Instead, as she drew closer to the house, she heard a myriad of voices in her head, felt the feelings of all of Betazed, welcoming her back. They were warm, comforting, apologetic. It was almost too much to bear.
Above the mental din, Chandra’s loving voice could be heard. “We love you, Deanna. We’re so deeply sorry about Lwaxana. Please come see us when you can-we’re all here for you.”
“Thank-you, my friend. I’ll get in touch later, alright?” There were no more words, just a loving empathic hug, wrapping around her, folding her in it’s grasp. Up ahead, the Troi mansion stood against a backdrop of blazing, golden leaved trees, nestled on a grassy hill. The large, glass roof stretched to the sky and the wide front doors were draped in black. Appropriate for the death of a beloved Daughter of the Fifth House.
As Deanna walked through the front door, she called for Mr. Homm. The vast emptiness echoed back to her; the house was empty. After searching for him, she finally found a trace of him in the kitchen. On the oak table lay a greyish-bronze colored token. Fingering it, she read the inscription. It was in Betazoid, and she was a bit rusty, but it seemed to say, “Tel shia prima lisato sonara “ . Or, in standard English, “I will leave you now, my duty has ended.”
Palming the coin, she allowed tears to spill onto her cheeks. Her mother was dead, Mr. Homm was gone. The only family she’d ever known was forever out of her reach, she was now alone. Stifling a sob, Deanna took the flight of stairs leading to her mother’s quarters.
The room was cold, the large wooden bed the only furniture. Lwaxana looked as if she was merely sleeping. Her skin was still soft to the touch, her cheeks still held a blush of color. Soft violet covers were wrapped around her still figure, and her hands were folded regally on her chest. She looked so beautiful, like a queen awaiting her subjects. The only thing missing was the sight of her lovely brown eyes lighting up at the sight of her daughter. There was no voice, reaching gently into Deanna’s thoughts to welcome her, no tender warmth to enfold her in a hug.
They hadn’t seen one another in nearly six months. Now, the pain sliced deeply into her heart as she realized that she would never have another chance to see her mother. To hold her, to talk to her, to argue with her. Why hadn’t she taken shore leave and visited Lwaxana while she had the chance?
The tears came fast and hot and she lay her head down on her mother’s chest, like a child needing comfort in the night. “I’m so sorry I wasn’t here for you, Mother. You died alone, without me. Why didn’t you contact me and let me know that you were ill?” There was no answer, there never would be again. Alone with the silence, with the empty, painful loss, Deanna sunk to the floor and bawled like a baby.
Lwaxana’s Wish-pt 2 Tracy126 1/23/99 (All rights to TNG characters are owned by Paramount)
Will sat tensely next to the Captain; his thoughts on Deanna. She didn’t show for their dinner date the previous evening, and according to the ship’s computer, she had left the Enterprise. Captain Picard waved away his questions, saying only, “We’ll speak later in my ready-room.”
Great. Later could mean 1700 hours and beyond. It was now only 1400 hours-how long would he have to wait to find out what had happened to her? “Mr. Data, you have the conn. Will, in my ready-room now.”
All eyes followed the two men as they left the bridge, certain that the Commander was in for it. Will didn’t care what they thought-the only thing that mattered now was Deanna. Picard replicated a cup of hot Earl Grey and motioned to Will. “Anything for you, Number One?”
Jean-Luc sat across from Will, cradling the steaming mug in his hands. “I’m aware of your concern for the counselor, Will. That’s why I chose not to drag this out until the day was over. I want my crew to be alert right now, and with the Counselor’s whereabouts distracting you, you can’t be as prepared as I may need you to be.”
“Sir? Are you saying you are anticipating problems in this sector?”
Picard nodded and took a sip. “Perhaps. Let’s just say that Starfleet Headquarters has put us on alert. The Elias sector has had some trouble lately. Two of its planets are at war. We could become caught in the middle if we aren’t careful.”
“I see. I’m sorry if I’ve been distracted, sir. Deanna has left the ship and never made mention of it to me. I’m concered about her. Can you tell me what’s going on?”
Picard studied him, and was surprised at the twinge of sadness he felt as he thought of Lwaxana Troi. God knows that woman had embarrassed him with her overt affection, but she was quite something. Certainly not easily forgotten. And Deanna was crazy about her. How sad that such an attractive, energetic woman was now gone. “Will, Deanna left last night for Betazed.”
“Betazed? She took a shuttle, I presume?”
“Yes, the Copernicus. Geordi overhauled her completely two days ago, so she should be in fine working order.”
Will was getting impatient. He didn’t care about the damned shuttle, just wanted to know if Deanna was alright. Standing, he pulled down the hem of his shirt and began to pace the small room. “But why did she leave? What’s happened?”
“Lwaxana Troi died, Will. Yesterday morning. The Counselor only recieved the communique last evening. I authorized three weeks leave for her, and sent her home immediately.”
My God. Poor Deanna. No wonder she didn’t stop to say good-bye. She must be devastated. “Captain, I don’t know what to say. The truth is, the woman never liked me, and because of that, I wasn’t exactly friendly towards her. I feel terrible for Deanna though. I hate that she’s going through this alone.”
“I quite agree. But Will, if you’re going to ask for leave, I’m afraid I just can’t spare you at the moment.” Will’s blue eyes lasered into the Captain’s.
“Sir, she needs me. How can I let her deal with something like this alone?”
“I sympathize, Number One, but your presence is needed aboard this vessel. Once we’ve cleared the Elias sector, I’ll be more than happy to consider your request.”
“Understood, sir.” He didn’t like it, but what could he do? Feeling frustrated and helpless, he headed for the bridge, almost hoping for a conflict to come and take his mind off of his Imzadi.
Lwaxana’s Wish-pt.3 1/23/99 Tracy 126 (All rights to TNG characters are owned by Paramount-and, since I’m not up to speed on Deanna’s brother, he’s not in this story(I didn’t know she had a brother!!) )
A large cherry blossom tree dripped it’s heavy blooms on the Troi family crypt. Silence and shadow played in the surrounding woods, and Deanna stood alone, contemplating its beauty. She had finally done what was necessary. Lwaxana now rested in a glass coffin, wrapped lovingly in yards of white material. Perfectly preserved for eternity. On Betazed, one did not share this moment with anyone but family. It was a private, sacred moment. Later in the evening, friends would come to the Troi mansion to celebrate Lwaxana’s life. But even they would not be allowed to view the body in the tomb.
Sighing, Deanna felt the silence in her mind. A memorial service was the only occassion on the planet where thousands of voices did not insert themselves into her head, and for once, she was glad to be left alone. Deanna had knelt in front of her mother’s coffin, crying softly as she looked up into the beloved face. Certainly they’d had their fair share of arguments, and no one could frustrate her more than Lwaxana, but she was her mother. The bond they had shared was rivaled only by Imzadi-the bond she shared with Will.
Placing a bouquet of white roses at the foot of the standing coffin, Deanna said a Betazoid prayer. Her father had translated it into English, and she spoke it aloud.
“May your soul take flight, my love
from this life into the next
may you travel in peace
and be met with love and joy on the other side.”
Her long fingers traced the glass, as if caressing her mother’s face. “I love you, mother.”
In her mind she could almost feel her respond, “And I love you, Little One.”
The simple ceremony was over, and now she was exhausted. Depleted. How she wished that Will were here to comfort her. He could’ve shared this moment with her-as her Imzadi he was more than family, and would’ve been the only person allowed to join in the ceremony. Her chest ached suddenly with repressed tears and a longing for Will’s comforting embrace. How was she ever going to make it through this day without him?
That afternoon, Deanna sat on the floor of her mother’s bedroom in front of a box of Lwaxana’s personal items. It needed going through, and now was as good a time as any. A framed holo of her father was the first thing she touched, and she grinned at his handsome face. How she missed him still. But, at least her parents were together now. For that she was glad. No one knew better than she that Lwaxana’s often desperate attempts to find a man were nothing more than a way to assuage the emptiness in her heart from losing her beloved husband. Those two really were meant for one another, Deanna mused.
Sorting through a pile of clothing, she found her mother’ wedding gown and a box containing her wedding rings. She slipped them on her own finger, marveling at the perfect fit. A few other trinkets came up, a wooden horse that she’d carved for her father, an ivory triangle studded with silver-probably a wedding gift. Her own tiny baby shoes. Or had they been Kestra’s?
As that thought occurred to her, she lifted another holo. This one was of the whole family. A very young Lwaxana, holding baby Deanna as their father held Kestra on his large shoulders. A lump filled Deanna’s throat and she tried not to sob aloud. The family was all gone-she was the only living remaining Troi now.
The ache in her heart filled her being, and she longed for her mother with an intensity that surprised her. Controlling her emotions took everything she had, but she was determined to finish the painful chore. When she was finished, she’d have lunch and a long nap. Gods knew she needed some sleep after the day she’d had.
Tossing another pile of clothing onto the bed, she discovered a large ebony box at the carton’s very bottom. Oddly enough, it had a keyhole carved into its front, as though it were a 20th century antique. Fingering the bottom, she discovered a small, silver key. Of course. It was just like her mother to leave the key where anyone could find it and use it. Touching the hard lines of the box’s lid, she lifted it, finding a folded sheet of paper inside.
As she unfolded it, her mother’s handwriting lept into her vision. The sight nearly undid her. “Deanna my love, If you’re reading this, then I am with your father at last. Do not grieve for me, Little One, I had a wonderful time being alive. You already know my wishes regarding the memorial service, but I need to tell you my other plans. You, my daughter, now hold the Sacred Chalice of Rixx and the Holy Rings of Betazed. You will now be considered a Daughter of the Fifth House, and will assume my duties on Betazed. I know what you’re thinking-you couldn’t possibly leave Starfleet. But, Deanna, my last wish is for you to come home. This house belongs to you, as does everything in it. Now I can almost see you shaking your head, but please think it over before you go tearing off to rejoin the Enterprise. Now that I’m gone, someone must take over for me. I want you to do this, Little One. I want you to make a new life, to marry, to have babies here on Betazed. Do you remember Wyatt Miller? He was such a fine young boy. Well, he’s turned into quite a successful young man. I’d like for you to honor the contract that your father and I made with the Miller family when you were a child. I want you to marry Wyatt. Yes, I know that you fancy yourself in love with Commander Riker. But, what the two of you had was over a long time ago. If it hasn’t been rekindled by now, it never will be. You know that you and Will will never marry. It’s time that you left Starfleet, let him go and came home to the life that you have always belonged to. I say these things only because I love you. My fondest wish has always been that you are happy. Always remember that, Little One. My love always, Mother
A hot flush of anger tinged Deanna’s cheeks a flaming red. Even from beyond the grave the woman still wanted to control her life! “How dare you, Mother, how dare you!” Lifting the ebony box over her head, she hurled it at the wall, shattering the full-length mirror. Then, completely spent, she silently burst into tears.
Lwaxana’s Wish-4 Tracy126 1/25/99 (All rights to TNG characters are owned by Paramount Pictures)
It had been nearly four weeks since Deanna had left the Enterprise. Will had expected her home days ago, even envisioned how he would handle her homecoming. In his mind he saw her beautiful, grief-torn features, felt her warm body in his arms. He would comfort her first as a friend, and then, when she was ready, he would love her again. Love her back to life and show her that there was a future to look forward to-albeit, a future without her mother.
Sadly, he touched a holo of Deanna and Lwaxana that sat on his dressing table. Now the woman he’d nearly begged approval from could never give it. He knew that he and Deanna were on their way to a new beginning, and would’ve given anything to have finally gotten the infamous Lwaxana Troi’s blessing. If fate dealt the two of them a better hand this time, there would even be children.
How Deanna’s mother would have loved them. He smiled, and hit his communicator. “Riker to Captain Picard. Any news, sir?”
“That would depend on whether you’re speaking of the war we are flying into, or our ship’s counselor, Number One.”
“I’ll take the second option, Captain.”
“Somehow, I knew that you would. Come to my quarters for a drink, Will. Say, in a half an hour or so?”
“I’ll be there, sir.” Interesting. Picard rarely invited him into the inner sanctum of his private quarters. On occasion they’d shared a drink, debated military history, and argued good-naturedly about Will’s preference for Bejing-blended tea. Yet, they’d never reached the status of true friends in their intimacy, and truth be told, Will felt slightly uncomfortable thinking of it. Off the ship was one thing, but aboard he had to be Picard’s right hand-there wasn’t time for swapping war stories. Wondering what he was in for, he stripped off his clothes and headed for the sonic shower.
An hour later, Will knocked back his third genuine beer, magnanimously ordered from Guinan’s private stock. The Captain had replicated a sumptuous roast, tiny new potatoes and a large bowl of broccoli with hollandaise sauce. A plump sacher torte waited at the end of the table, and Will raised an eyebrow. “What is all this, Captain?”
“We haven’t spent a great deal of time together since getting back from the Ba’ku Village, Number One.”
“True. And with the warring planets in our midst, it’s no wonder. Any new developments?”
“Not really. Our job is merely to get through this sector without too much damage, and try our best not to get caught up between the Krells and the Icarans. I’m hoping to be clear of this area of space in approximately two days. If those damned fighters don’t get us first.”
“Can they really compete with the Enterprise?”
“They can knock us out of commission if they hit our warp core, Number One. And those damned fighters have alot more power than we assumed.”
“Well, keep me informed. And, while you’re at it, why don’t you tell me why you invited me to dinner this evening? I doubt it’s because of a few pesky ships no bigger than a shuttle craft.”
He smiled and Picard grinned back, daintly shoveling in a mouthful of potatoes. ”You’ve got me, I’m afraid. You see, I happened to recieve a communique from Betazed today, and I thought you might be interested.”
“Don’t keep me in suspense, Captain. Is she alright? When is she coming home?” Will buttered a roll and popped it into his mouth, washing it down with beer.
“Will, I’m afraid that I have some news and you are not going to like it.” A raised eyebrow was his only comment. “You see, the Counselor has tendered her resignation, effective immediately.”
“I assumed that her decision was in some way related to the two of you. I wasn’t the only one affected by the atmosphere on Ba’ku, as you are well aware.”
Thinking of those moments in the tub with Deanna brought a bright red flush to Will’s shaven cheeks. “Yes, well, it was certainly......stimulating.”
“So I gathered. In any event, I thought that perhaps the two of you had discussed marriage, and that the Counselor had chosen to leave Starfleet to avoid any complications that your relationship might bring.”
“When she got in touch with me today, I mentioned this, and she surprised me completely. Will, Deanna has decided to stay on Betazed. She’s going to marry a young Betazoid man that Lwaxana had chosen for her. Apparently, this agreement between the Troi and Miller family has existed for some time, and since her mother’s death, Deanna wants to make this commitment. No doubt, for her mother’s sake.”
The room seemed to spin and grow hazy. Anger tinged the gray walls a bloody-red shade-matching the furious tint on his cheeks. “What are you telling me, sir? That Deanna’s never coming back? That she’s getting married?”
“I was as surprised as you, Number One.”
"Somehow I doubt that. I can’t believe she would do this! Leave her career? Marry some guy she hasn’t seen in God-knows how many years? What the hell is she thinking?”
“I wish I knew. I wanted to be the one to break the news to you, Will. You deserved that. Now, what do you say to dessert?”
“To hell with dessert-sir!” he spat, and strode out of the room, his anger carrying him all the way to his quarters.
Lwaxana’s Wish 4-cont. 1/26/99 Tracy 126 (All rights to TNG characters are owned by Paramount)
The holodeck thundered with the sound of the fight. Will’s large frame was usually no match for a Klingon warrior, but tonight his anger made him a more than adequate adversary. “Come on you old Targ, come and get it!”
The young, dark Klingon growled and unsheathed his bat’leth. Will’s hands were steady on his own instrument-Mr. Worf had taught him well. They clashed, pulled back, spun and then the warrior swooped in, nearly decapitating the Commander. “Is that all you’ve got?” he teased, swinging his blade down and around, slicing cleanly through the warrior’s belly.
A low howl issued from him as his heavy body dropped to the floor. Then, the hologram rose, spilling blood, clutching his stomach. “Aaargh!” He screamed aloud and tried to bury the tip of his bat’leth in Will’s forehead. The tip of Riker’s blade swung up to meet the Klingon’s, then, with a final swoop, Will lodged it straight into the warrior’s heart. He howled, fell the the ground, and finally died.
A flush of triumph shot through the Commander. Coated with sweat, panting for breath, he limped to the arch and called, “Computer-end program.”
The scene dissolved around him, leaving him alone with his thoughts for the first time since his unfortunate dinner with the Captain. The excercise had calmed him, but the ache in his chest had not gone away. Whatever game Deanna was playing, she was playing it with the wrong man. He loved her, she loved him. He didn’t have to be an empath to sense that. That wonderful night they’d shared in the hot tub told him everything he needed to know. Her loving touch on his face, his body, all spoke of her love for him.
Dammit, they were getting another chance, why would she throw that away? Lwaxana, of course. Looking heavenward, he shook his fist. “I hope you’re happy, old woman. I hope to hell you’re happy.” Then, he stormed off the holodeck and down to his quarters, wondering how in the hell he was going to get to Betazed without taking leave.
Lwaxana’s Wish-5 Tracy126 1/27/99 (All rights to TNG characters are owned by Paramount)
The Janaran Falls drenched Deanna as she lay in the water beneath their flow. The roaring cascade covered her ears, blotting out every sound, every thought. She had never been so embarassed in all of her life, and here, in her special place, she could finally allow herself to remember the events of the past few weeks.
On finding Lwaxana’s letter, she’d felt an unimaginable fury; a resentment that went deep into her very soul. When she was younger, she’d been able to stand up to her mother; youthful defiance was easy to come by. But, as the fury cooled, and her grief took over, the endless empty days passed, and she desperately wanted her mother again. Wanted to hold her, shout at her, tell her all about Will and the new beginning they’d made.
In a weak moment, she’d looked at the heavens and closed her eyes. “Alright mother, you win.” she’d said, and as she gave in, she felt part of her soul cry out. The part that was forever connected to Will. Days later, she mustered the courage to find Wyatt. He was back on Betazed after a prolonged absence, and the buzzing in her mind of all of her friends guided her to his new office. He’d been more than surprised to find her there.
Shocked would be more to the point. He didn’t smile, only ushered her inside and offered her a chair. When he’d sat down, she could suddenly see how much he’d changed. Deep lines etched his face and sadness lingered in his eyes. In a matter of moments, he’d reluctantly spilled out his story. His own Imzadi, his beloved wife, had been killed only six months before. Bereft, he’d come to Betazed, seeking solace, frienship and peace. What he was not seeking was another wife.
When she’d tentatively broached the subject of her mother’s wishes, he’d paled visibly. “I’m sorry, Deanna, but I don’t love you. After losing my wife, after having a real marriage, I could never enter into an arrangement like this. Not now, not ever.”
She’d lost the power of speech, and numbly nodded her understanding; escaping back to her mother’s house as quickly as possible. Now, in the blessed coolness of the water, she could think of this and not blush. But, her heart ached at the thought of Will. What must he be thinking?? After what they’d begun, those tentative romantic since the Ba’ku Village-he must have assumed that they’d be back together. Or at least, on their way to renewing their romance. Now he was probably furious, and Will, when he was angry, was not a man who cared to play by the rules. He would probably do something crazy-she just hoped he wouldnt’ lose his career over it.
Will had decided to do the unthinkable. In the dark of night, he snuck down to shuttlebay two and took the Hawking. It would not be missed for three to four hours, giving him enough time to escape unnoticed. By the time the Captain discovered the missing shuttle, he’d be halfway to Betazed.
Leaving only a brief note on the Captain’s PADD, he piloted the shuttle through the stars. “Better to ask forgiveness than permission, I always say,” he murmured. As he punched in the coordinates for Betazed, he prayed that he’d make it before it was too late.
What in God’s name had she been thinking? Giving up her career, giving up on their love, and for what? The love of a dead woman. Resenting the elder Troi with every fiber in his being, he flew on through the night, using his anger to keep him awake.
What seemed like years later, he finally reached Betazed and landed in a field near the center of town. He saw Deanna’s shuttle nearby and wondered where she was. Was she at home? Had she already gone through with this pseudo-wedding? Damn it, he hoped not.
Walking directly to her house, he tried not to notice the stares of the townspeople. They knew who he was, and although they were completely silent, he could tell that they were speaking to one another via telepathy. Several women smiled at him, and he briefly wondered if every Betazoid woman had dark hair and eyes like Deanna.
The mansion came into view, and all of his anger rose to the surface. He noticed the black mourning cloth upon the door, and ignored it, knocking loudly. The door flew open, and Deanna stood there, wearing a robe and a towel wound around her head.
“Will! Gods, what are you doing here?”
He struggled not to yell at her. “What do you think I’m doing here? Actually before you answer that, why don’t you tell me if you’re alone first.”
“Alone? Of course I’m alone, why.... oh I see. You think that Wyatt is here.”
“Brilliant assumption, Counselor. Where is that new husband of yours? I have yet to congratulate him.”
She tried to stay serious, but the look on Will’s face cracked her up and a short laugh spilled out. “I’m sorry, I really am. Wyatt’t not here. We...we didn’t get married.”
“You, what? But you messaged the Enterprise about your wedding. The Captain told me that you were getting married and that you were resigning from Starfleet.”
“Will, can we talk about this inside? I’m freezing.”
“Oh, of course.” She led him into the living area and sat him on the sofa. Curling up next to him, she towel-dried her long hair.
“Why did you do this, Deanna? I’ve known you for a long time and you’re not the type of person to let others plan your life for you. Did you think it would bring Lwaxana back?”
At the mention of her name, Deanna burst into tears. Will was as perceptive as a Betazoid-that was exactly what she’d thought. He held her as she cried, stroking her hair, trying to force down his own pain and anger. “I guess I still can’t believe that she’s dead. I hoped that if I made this sacrifice, that if I made her happy, that somehow she would come back to me. Somehow, if I stayed on Betazed, she would be with me. Oh, I don’t know....it was wrong and I’ve made a complete fool of myself.”
His blue eyes lit up as he suppressed a small grin. “I take it Mr. Miller wasn’t interested in your proposal?”
She sniffed and gave a watery smile. “Not exactly. Wyatt had gotten married a few years ago, and unfortunately, his wife died recently. He’s devastated and I think he thought I was insane to bring up that stupid contract. Entering into an arranged marriage was the very last thing on his mind.”
“I’ve heard of worse deals.”
“Oh really? Then you think I might still be marriage material?”
“Most definitely.” Then he leaned in and captured her lips, tasting the exquisite loveliness of her mouth. The kiss lengthened, deepened, and then Deanna pulled herself up off the sofa, taking his hand in her own. She led him upstairs, into her old bedroom, and as he stood watching, she let the robe drop to the floor. His mouth fell open, and her mouth curved into a smile. “Forgive me, Imzadi?”
“Right now I’d say yes to anything, including that.”
“Good, then you can let me make it all up to you.”
“And how do you plan on doing that?”
“Like this,” she said, and slowly, erotically, undressed him. As she took him into her arms, he was concious of only one thought, “Thank-God for the Ba’ku Village!”
The next day, they contacted the Enterprise, and altough Picard was furious with Will, he decided not to have him court-martialed. However, the incident would be written in his permanent record. He was thrilled that the Counselor had decided to come back-and in fact, had never sent her resignation to Starfleet. He’d had a feeling she wasnt’ going to stray too far away from Will.
Now, only one thing remained to do before they left Betazed. Will and Deanna walked hand in hand to Lwaxana’s crypt. Inside, he stared at the coffin, at the woman inside of it, and felt unexpected tears prick his eyes. “Are you alright, Imzadi?”
“I’m fine. Could I have a moment alone with her, to say good-bye?”
“Of course.” Deanna gave loving look to her mother, then walked outside into the beautiful sunshine.
Will found himself struggling, wanting to say just the right thing. Still wanting, after all of these years, to have Lwaxana Troi’s approval. “I don’t like what you did to Deanna, Mrs. Troi. I don’t care to see her life toyed with or her decisions made for her. I’ve been very angry with you. I can’t say I’m sorry things didn’t work out the way you wanted them to, but I do know that what you did, you did out of love for your daughter. What you’ve never been able to understand is that I love her too. Always have. And now, we have another chance to be together-to get it right this time. I wish like hell that you approved of this, but even though I know you don’t, Deanna is going to be mine. There is nothing to tie her here anymore. The Enterprise is her family, as am I, and I promise we will take good care of her.”
On the silent breeze that drifted into the crypt, he could hear Lwaxana’s voice. “I approve, William, I approve.”
Shaking his head, he blinked back tears and said outloud, “Thank-you, Lwaxana.” Walking into the sunshine, he took Deanna’s hand, feeling more alive than he had in years. He was alive, he had his Imzadi, and she was coming home with him. It was all he would ever need.
The End of the beginning...