Family Matters

Commander Riker walked into Counselor Troi’s and his quarters and found Troi sitting in front of the computer console with a scowl on her face.

“Is something wrong?” Riker inquired.

Troi looked up from the computer screen. “I’m not sure. I got a communiqué from Mr. Homm, saying my mother hurt her ankle. Then I got one from my mother, saying she was fine and Mr. Homm shouldn’t have bothered me.”

Will knelt down beside Deanna and gave her a smile. “Sounds like she’s o.k. to me if your mother took the time to contradict Homm’s letter.”

Deanna let out a worried sigh. “I don’t know. Mother can be so stubborn at times. Maybe I should go.” Troi stood up and walked across the room. “I just don’t know.” She sighed again.

Riker stood up, as well and went over to her. “I know your mother can be stubborn; Deanna, but I’m sure she’s fine.” He said and took a held of Deanna’s hand. “She’s probably just causing Mr. Homm misery complaining she can’t get anything done. But if you want to go.”

Deanna looked at Will. “We just got back from shore leave less than three weeks ago, Will.”

Will gave her another smile. “You’re allowed extra time for family emergencies.”

Deanna pulled away from Will. “I don’t think a swollen ankle qualifies as an emergency.”

“I guess it’s a good thing you know the XO so well then. I hear he decides what qualifies and what doesn’t.”

Troi gave Riker a look of annoyance. “Will Riker if you start giving me special treatment just because…”

Riker came up to her and enveloped her in his arms. “because you keep my bed warm.” He whispered into her hair and then pulled away to look into her eyes. “I’m not doing any such thing. But if you do decide to go.” Will let go of Deanna and sat down on the couch, looking over at her; then he asked. “When was the last time you saw your mother, anyway?”

Deanna came over and sat next to Will. “It’s been awhile.” She conceded.

Will reached up and brushed back some of her hair. “Then I’ll clear it with the Captain.” He said and placed a kiss on her forehead.

Troi wrapped her arms around Will and smiled. “My mother won’t be very happy to see me after writing me not to come.” She said and laid her head on Will’s chest.

Riker shrugged. “Just tell her I decided to get in some shuttle time, and since we were only a couple days from Betazed, we decided to come by for a visit.”

Deanna pulled away from Will and looked into his eyes. “What happened to not giving me special treatment, Will? We just got back from taking shore leave together. We both can’t go traipsing off again.” She said irritably.

Riker just flashed her a smile. “Last time I checked, you couldn’t pilot a shuttlecraft, Counselor.”

Deanna let out a huff. “No. But you are not the only pilot onboard.”

“True.” Will acknowledged. “But I am the best, and if you think I’m going to allow someone else to”

Troi stood up and turned on Riker. “No special treatment!” She yelled and walked off to the bedroom.

Riker got up and went over to the bedroom door. Leaning against the frame, he watched as Deanna began to pack an overnight bag. “That’s not what this is, Deanna. The Enterprise is scheduled to conduct another archeological dig in the Triolian sector, and Captain Picard insists on leading the away team. Which means I’ll be stuck on the bridge for a week and Data, Laforge, or Lt. Daniels can do that just as effectively.”

Deanna looked up from her packing. “You know there was a time you didn’t allow the Captain to go on away missions.” She said and tried to pinpoint the exact moment Will Riker decided to put their relationship in front of his career.

Will came up to her and took the blouse she was holding and placed it on the bed. Then he caressed her cheek. “That was before I realized if the Captain got to have his fun, I could work on other matters unimpeded.” Will pulled Deanna into a deep kiss.

All of a sudden, Troi’s stomach flip-flapped. She was happier now than she ever remembered being; yet, for some reason the added attention Will was giving her terrified her, too. Deanna shivered slightly and Will wrapped his arms around her, breaking the kiss to look in her eyes.

“Are you o.k?” He asked.

Deanna loosened herself from Will’s hold and picked up the blouse once more. “If you come with me, mother is going to realize there is something going on between us.” She said as she placed the blouse in her suitcase.

Will sat down on the bed and glanced up at Troi. “That doesn’t answer the question I asked; but what’s wrong with that?”

Deanna looked at Will with watery eyes. “Nothing. I’m just not sure if…” Deanna stopped and swallowed hard.

Riker took a hold of both Troi’s hands in his and waited for her to look at him again. When she did, he gave her a smile. “It’s taken us a long time to sort out our feelings, Deanna. If you don’t want your mother.”

“I love you, Will” Deanna cut in. “I’ve never not loved you, but knowing you feel the same towards me terrifies me to death.” Deanna shook her head and sniffled. “I know it sounds silly. But you know my mother if she even suspects we’re.”

Will pulled Deanna onto his lap, wrapping his arms around her. “It’s not silly, Deanna. It scares me too. I’ve kept my true feelings hidden away for so long; this all seems more like a dream than reality. And, I don’t want to blink for fear”

Deanna looked into Will’s vibrant blue eyes. “this reality may vanish.” She finished for him. Will gave her a knowing smile, and Deanna chuckled softly. “Want to go to Betazed, Commander?”

“Why Counselor, I thought you’d never ask.” And Commander Riker finished his reply with a passionate kiss.

Part II

Two days later, Counselor Deanna Troi and Commander Will Riker were standing in front of the Troi mansion on Betazed. Mr. Homm opened the door and Deanna and Will walked inside.

“Is my mother upstairs?” Deanna asked the manservant. Mr. Homm bowed his head in acknowledgement.

Troi put her bag down and turned towards Riker. “I’ll be back in a minute” and she proceeded up the staircase.

Deanna rapped lightly on her mother’s door and then opened it. “How are you feeling, mother?” She asked with a smile as she entered the room.

Little One. Her mother projected to Deanna as she adjusted herself to sit upright in bed. I thought I wrote you not to come.

“You did.” Deanna said and sat down on the foot of the bed. “But it’s been so long since our last visit, I”

So you figured an ailing mother would make a good excuse. Mrs. Troi chided her daughter telepathically; then she continued out loud. “Really little one, I’m alright. I was just trying to play with your little brother.” Lwaxana reached over to fluff the pillow under her ankle, but Deanna stopped her and did it instead. Mrs. Troi leaned back and let out a loud sigh. “It just goes to show you children are meant for younger people. I’m too old to be chasing an eight year old around the house.”

Counselor Troi gave her mother a perturbed look. “What is that suppose to mean mother?”

Lwaxana gave her daughter a look of pity. Well little one, if you had children of your own… she placed in Deanna’s mind.

Troi quickly stood up and turned on her mother. “You can’t possibly blame me!”

“I did no such thing, little one. However if you did bless me with grandchildren, I wouldn’t have missed the carrying on of little ones in the house so much.”

Deanna let out a huff. “Well if you’ll excuse me mother, I left Commander Riker downstairs.” And she turned to leave Lwaxana’s room.

“William is here.” Mrs. Troi exclaimed. “How wonderful!”

Deanna turned towards her mother again. “Don’t get any ideas, mother. I can’t pilot a shuttlecraft, remember?”

“Yes, and dear William volunteered. How wonderful!” Mrs. Troi reiterated.

Lwaxana reached for a bell sitting on her nightstand and began to ring it. “Mr. Homm! Now, where is he?” She asked and began to ring the bell more fervently. Just as Mrs. Troi was about to yell for him again, Mr. Homm stuck his head into the room. “Ah, Mr. Homm. Could you please hand me my crutches?” Troi said carelessly waving in their direction. “I hear we have a visitor waiting downstairs.”

Mr. Homm walked over to the dresser where the crutches lay and Deanna became furious. “Mother, I could have!”

“Nonsense, Little one.” Mrs. Troi cut her off. “Why else would I keep Mr. Homm employed?” And Mrs. Troi stood up and propped herself onto the crutches with Homm’s help. As Lwaxana hobbled towards the door, she turned her head back to look at Deanna. “It’s not polite to keep guests waiting, Little one.” She said and hobbled down the hallway.

Counselor Troi looked over at Homm and shook her head and rolled her eyes, and then the two of them followed the elder Troi down stairs.

Part III

Downstairs, Commander Riker was sitting on the couch. When he heard someone start down the stairs, he stood up.

“Ah, Commander Riker.” Mrs. Troi said as she reached the bottom. “My daughter said you were here. It is nice to see you again.”

Riker walked over to Mrs. Troi and tried to offer his assistance; however, Mrs. Troi shrugged him off. “Do you really think I’m that old and feeble to be bothered by a sprained ankle, Commander?” She asked and before receiving an answer; continued “you’re as bad as my daughter.” Lwaxana made her way to the sofa and propped up her leg. “Well if you two had to come check up on me, you might as well come over and keep me company.”

Will gave Deanna a questioning glance and she shrugged her shoulders in reply.

“Mr. Homm I could use a pillow.” Troi bellowed over her shoulder once more. As Homm placed a pillow under Mrs. Troi’s ankle, Will walked over and sat in the chair next to the couch. “So what brings you all the way out here, William dear?”

“Actually the Enterprise wasn’t all that far from here, and your daughter”

Lwaxana smiled at Will and then cut him off. “How long have you known my daughter, now, William?”

Deanna decided to come over and cut into the conversation. “Mother I don’t see what that has to;” however, Lwaxana cut her off too. “I was just wondering how long it’s taken you two to.”

“Mother, I told you Will was the one who piloted”

“the shuttlecraft. Yes dear you did, but you didn’t say why he decided to do it. Will cannot be the only pilot.”

Riker shook his head and laughed. “I believe you are the only person I know who can read a sexual innuendo into everything, Mrs. Troi.”

Lwaxana gave Will a fiery glare. “You’re still calling me Mrs. Troi after all these years.” She said in disbelief. “My name’s Lwaxana, William.”

“Will was just being polite, Mother.” Deanna said through clenched teeth and then gave Will’s shoulder a whack. Riker rubbed his shoulder, giving Deanna an innocent glance to which she returned the same fiery glare her mother gave him.


“And I suppose he still calls you Counselor Troi.” Lwaxana went on, totally oblivious to the exchange going on between Will and Deanna.

Deanna sat herself into a chair. “As a matter of fact he does.”

Will watched Deanna sit down and then looked back to Mrs. Troi. “I hope your ankle hasn’t been too much trouble, Mrs.” Riker stopped and amended. “Lwaxana?”

“Oh no, dear. It just comes with the territory of chasing little ones around, I suppose.”

Deanna fired her mother the look this time. “Mother” she warned.

“Now Little one, I’m not suggesting Will should”

Counselor Troi got to her feet. “Mother!”

Lwaxana let out a sorrowful sigh. “It seems as if my daughter doesn’t want me to speak of children, William. I don’t understand why she would.”

Before she could finish, Deanna grabbed Will’s arm and pulled him out of his chair. “Excuse us, mother. I need to show Commander Riker where he can place his things.” And Deanna pulled Will towards the stairs, barely giving him time to pick up their luggage.

Part IV

Commander Riker wrestled his arm free from Counselor Troi’s grip at the top of the stairs. Deanna turned on him and he laughed at the look of fury on her face. “You don’t think your mother plans on supervising your child making techniques; do you?”

Troi let out a huff. “Don’t be ridiculous, Will. She’s just being”

“Your mother.” Will finished. “ And storming out of the room really showed her we’re not together, too.” He said laughing harder.

Deanna walked up to the guest bedroom and opened the door. Will looked inside and then at Deanna.

“You can put your bag down.”

“But this isn’t”

“You’re not staying in my room. I told you I don’t want my mother”


Will shook his head and laughed again. “Deanna, I think she…”

Deanna started to storm down the hall. “Either put your bag in there or find some other place to stay while we’re here.” Will put his bag inside the doorway and then followed Deanna down to her room.

Troi threw her own bag on top of her bed and screamed. Riker watched and a smile began to curl on his lips. “You know there’s no reason to get mad at me just because your mother is being your mother.”

Troi turned to see Riker leaning against the doorframe. “That’s easy for you to say. She’s not your mother. And wipe that smile off your face, Commander. It isn’t funny!”

Will came up to Deanna and pulled her into a tight embrace that she couldn’t get out of and not from lack of trying. “Calm down, Imzadi.”

Deanna looked up into Will’s eyes and as they sparkled with joviality her own were the complete opposite alit with raw fury. “Don’t call me that in this house.”

Will released his hold on Deanna and sat down on the bed. He looked down at his lap because he still couldn’t keep the smile off his face. Riker took a deep breath and looked up at his Imzadi. “I’m sorry. But you really should step back and look at the situation from my perspective, Deanna.” Will said and smiled again. “I mean your mother was going to suggest I should be the one to father your child; wasn’t she?”

Deanna let out a huge sigh and returned Will’s smile. “Yes she was.” Troi sat down next to Riker, on the bed, and took a hold of his hand. “It is a little funny.” She conceded and laughed with him.

Riker reached up and brushed Troi’s hair back and then cradled her cheek in the palm of his hand. “You know I’m not going to be able to sleep in an empty bed.” He said brushing his lips against hers.

Troi stood up and reached for her bag. “Maybe my brother will let you sleep in his room. You can ask Elan when he gets home from school.” And Deanna began to unpack her clothes.

Will stood up and stopped Deanna from unpacking by taking a hold of her hands. “Your mother’s right about one thing.” Deanna looked up at Will. “Oh what is that?” “You don’t want to wait too long to have children.”

Troi pulled away from Riker and started putting away more clothes. Will deftly moved out of her way. “OK. Tell me why I would want to sleep in a little boy’s room when he isn’t my son, and I don’t have to protect him from the boogey man?”

Deanna looked over at Will. “Who?” She laughed.

“The…” Will shook his head; “never mind.”

Deanna gave Will an annoyed look. “I told you I don’t want my mother getting any ideas that you and I are a couple. If you need to hear someone breathing, I’m sure my brother would get a kick out of having a slumber party. Children like those; don’t they?”

Riker laughed. “If you don’t know what children like, maybe it is about time you had one.” He came up to Deanna and enveloped her in his arms once more.

Troi looked into Riker’s eyes and saw he wasn’t joking anymore. “I’ll bet you’d just love to see me big and fat and waddling all over the place, too.”

Riker got a pensive look on his face. “Could be interesting.” He said after a little while which only got him another whack on the arm.

Deanna got out of Will’s embrace when he reached up to protect his arm from another smack. “And I suppose I’d have to resign my commission”

Will turned towards Deanna, who had walked back over to the bed. “Whoa. I didn’t say that.”

Counselor Troi looked over at Will. “No. But children can’t reside on starships anymore, remember?”

Riker walked over to Troi. “Something tells me we should have had this discussion before.” He said and sat back down on the bed. “Why don’t I resign my commission?”

Troi looked at him and almost laughed. “Don’t be ridiculous. You love your position.”

“So do you.” Riker shrugged and took a hold of Deanna’s hands. “But if you think one of us has to resign in order to”

Deanna tried to pull away from Will. She didn’t want to discuss this right now, but Will wouldn’t let go, so she cut him off. “You’ve waited an entire career to become Captain; you can’t resign before that happens.”

“But you can?” Will said, pulling Deanna down next to him.

“Yes.” She said, looking into his eyes but they only questioned her answer. “No” the questioning look remained. Deanna shrugged “I don’t know.”

Will smiled at her. “Neither do I, but I’m sure we can figure out a way where neither one of us has to give up our career.” He said and gave Deanna a sensual kiss. “Of course, it all depends on if I can bring my bag in here.” Riker said afterwards.

Troi gave him a wry smile. “Of course.” She repeated and then nodded.

Part V

Meanwhile, Mr. Homm returned to the Living room with a tray of drinks. He handed one to Mrs. Troi and was going to hand out another glass but then noticed the room was empty. Homm placed the tray with the two remaining drinks on the coffee table and left.

After Mr. Homm’s departure, Commander Riker and Counselor Troi came down the stairs. Lwaxana turned her head to get a look at them over the sofa. “That took a while. Did you forget where the guest bedroom was, Little one?”

Deanna sighed. “Will and I are going to stay in my room.”

Mrs. Troi raised her eyebrows. “Together?”

No. We can actually stay in the same room and be apart. Deanna thought.

Lwaxana shook her head. “I was just wondering because of your insistence that you and Will aren’t together.”

Counselor Troi gave her mother a horrified look. “Mother I didn’t project to you. Could you please stay out of my thoughts!”

Mrs. Troi gave her daughter a smile. “I’m sorry, Little one; but you really should put up a shield if you don’t want someone picking up stray thoughts uninvited.”

“Mother, most people believe it common decency not to read someone’s mind without an invitation, shields or not.”

The elder Troi shook her head again. “When you have children of your own you’ll understand why that doesn’t apply to mothers.”

“Ugh” Deanna grunted. “Again with the children!” Troi grabbed Riker’s arm. He wasn’t being very successful at keeping the grin off his face. “Will and I are going out for a little while.” Troi said and proceeded towards the door.

Mrs. Troi took a sip of her drink and noticed the other two untouched on the coffee table. “Oh, but Little one, your drinks;” however, when she looked towards Will and Deanna again the front door slammed shut in reply. Lwaxana simply shrugged her shoulders and enjoyed her own drink.

Once Commander Riker and Counselor Troi were safely outside, Commander Riker doubled over with laughter. Troi let go of the doorknob with a huff and turned to watch Will. She put her hands on her hips and stood in a posture that clearly asked; how can you find this so funny?

Riker looked up at her and tried to stop laughing. “I’m sorry. It’s just that”

Troi started to walk quickly away from the house. “I know. She’s not your mother.”

Riker had to sprint to catch up to her. When he did, he grabbed her arm, turning her towards him. “Would you like to go back to the Enterprise?”

Deanna looked into his eyes and her own flashed with mischief as she shook her head. “Actually, I had someplace else in mind.” And she continued on without another word, leaving Riker to follow.

Part VI

Deanna Troi lay cuddled up next to Will Riker. As her head rested on Will’s chest, she listened to the roaring thunder of the Jalaran Falls along with the more hushed beating of Will’s heart, slowing down from their recent excursion.

Troi opened her eyes and gave a contented sigh as the scenery around her came into focus. “Why didn’t we come here sooner?”

Riker ran his hand through Troi’s hair and gave a soft chuckle. “First you didn’t want your mother to find out about us, and now we should have come here sooner.”

Deanna lifted her head to look at Will and was caught by how perfectly the blue of his eyes mirrored the color of the water. “A girl has the right to change her mind.” She said still transfixed in his gaze.

“Absolutely.” Will agreed equally captivated by the endless depth of the ebony eyes staring at him. Riker did something about it though, pulling Troi down to place a kiss on her lips.

“I love you.” Deanna said, returning his kiss with building passion.

Will pulled away and gave her a devilish grin. “I’ll bet you say that to all the men you bring here.”

“True.” Deanna acknowledged, returning his grin. “But it’s only been one.” She whispered leaning down to blow in his ear. Then she started to kiss Will’s neck as she trailed her hand down his chest.

Now Will let out a contented sigh. “You mean to tell me you’ve never”

Deanna lifted her head again and smiled. “And desecrate the place where we first.” But before she could finish Will rolled her underneath him and they renewed their previous lovemaking.

Part VII

Counselor Troi and Commander Riker did not return to the mansion until well into twilight. They found Mrs. Troi and Deanna’s step brother sitting in the Dinning room having dinner.

Lwaxana looked up from her plate. “Next time tell me when you plan to stay out so long.” She said irritably. “We were waiting dinner on you.”

Will pulled out a chair for Deanna. “Sorry.” Deanna said as she sat down. “You shouldn’t have”

“As you can see, we didn’t wait forever.” Lwaxana replied, taking another forkful of food.

Riker sat down at the empty place setting and began to serve himself. “Sorry, Mrs. Troi. Deanna and I lost track of time.”

“We didn’t realize you’d be waiting for us, either.” Troi continued as she served herself.

“It’s rude to start eating before everyone is seated at the dinner table.” Elan broke in.

“Yes, Elan” his mother replied and then threw a reproaching glance at Will and Deanna. “It’s also rude to show up late for dinner. Especially when you are a guest.”

Deanna looked at her mother. “Yes, mother. You have taught me proper etiquette, and both Will and I apologized.” Troi said as she thought her mother was very good at spreading on the guilt. “However, we didn’t tell you to expect us for dinner.”

“Maybe not, but I was under the impression you were here for a visit not to rekindle an old flame.” Lwaxana said and then she wiped her lips with her napkin and stood up. “Why don’t we go upstairs and see to your homework, Elan.”

Elan looked at his mother crestfallen. “I haven’t finished yet and I haven’t gotten a chance to visit with”

Mrs. Troi put her hand on her son’s shoulder. “There will be plenty of time to visit with you sister, later.” She said turning a stern eye on Deanna. “Won’t there?”

Deanna gave Elan a smile. “I’m sure we can find something to do tomorrow.”

Elan’s face lit up and he quickly gulped down the rest of his food.

“Slow down before you give yourself a stomachache.” Lwaxana warned. Then she turned to Deanna again and gave her a smile. “I had Mr. Homm set up the Study so you and Will could have some privacy after dinner.”

Troi returned her mother’s smile. “Thank you.” And then Elan pushed away from the table and he and Mrs. Troi went upstairs, giving Will and Deanna a quiet dinner as well.

After dinner, they found a fire burning in the Study’s fireplace and a few candles lit and set about the room for ambiance. Will shook his head and laughed softly. “Your mother’s not trying to tell us anything. Is she?”

Deanna laughed too as she sat down on the couch. “What would ever give you that idea?”

Riker came over and sat beside Troi on the couch, taking a hold of her hand and looking into her eyes. “Maybe now would be a good time to continue the conversation we started in your bedroom.” Their eyes locked and they were drawing together for a kiss when Mr. Homm entered the room with after dinner drinks. He quietly set them on the table and left without noticing he had interrupted anything.

Troi gave Riker a sly smile. “Why? I thought you already got what you wanted from it.” She said playfully, and then kissed Will full on the mouth. However, when it didn’t garner the proper response from him, she pulled away. “Didn’t you?” She asked bewildered.

Will reached up and brushed Deanna’s hair back. He looked into her eyes once more and smiled. “ I don’t want you thinking you have to give up your career to have children.”

Deanna returned Will’s smile. “If my mother could find a way to raise another child at her age and still stay active in the diplomatic world, it should be a piece of cake for us.” She said and laughed. “We just need to figure out how to wrangle Homm to leave and come with us.”

“You may have something there.” And Will gave Deanna the passionate kiss she tried for earlier. At that moment, Lwaxana decided to come in.

The elder Troi knocked softly on the door first, so Will and Deanna were pulling away when she saw them, however, she realized she was interrupting. “I’m sorry.” She said with a smile. “I got Elan settled in to do his homework and I just wanted to know if you needed anything.”

Deanna returned her mother’s smile. “We’re fine.” She replied and Mrs. Troi turned to leave.

Riker looked at Deanna and she gave him a nod. “Why don’t you stay, Mrs. Troi?” He asked.

Lwaxana turned towards them again. “Oh no. You two were obviously.”

Before she could finish, however, Will stood up. “Actually I think I’ll go turn in and read for a little while.” He kissed Deanna’s cheek and gave her a smile. I’ll see you later; he placed in her mind. Then he left the two Troi women alone.

Mrs. Troi gave her daughter a curious stare as a smile began to spread across Deanna’s face. “You just communicated telepathically; didn’t you?” She asked as she sat down next to her daughter.

Deanna moved her eyes from the door to where her mother now sat. “Yes.”

Lwaxana stared at her daughter in awe and Deanna started to feel uncomfortable. “Is there something wrong with that?” She asked her mother.

Lwaxana shook her head. “No. It’s just very rare to have that kind of link with a nontelepath. You never told me you were that close to Riker.”

Deanna gave her mother another smile. “You never seemed all that enthusiastic about Will’s and my relationship.”

Lwaxana reached up and brushed Deanna’s cheek. You know I was only worried about your well being.

I know. Deanna continued with the nonverbal communication her mother started.

So, tell me how far do you plan on going this time around? Lwaxana asked.

Counselor Troi couldn’t help but laugh. “Will and I are beyond hope this time.” Deanna gave her mother a pensive look and then added. “We’ve even talked about starting a family.”

Mrs. Troi stood up and looked at her daughter in wide-eyed disbelief. “You better not be joking. I’m too old for you to play me like that.”

Deanna shook her head and laughed again. “I said talk, mother, not doing.”

“I’ve seen the way you two have been carrying on, here.” Lwaxana said excitably. “It won’t take you too long to go from talking to doing. I realize it doesn’t really matter these days, but make sure he marries you first, Little one.” Lwaxana added and then left, looking as if she were walking on clouds. Quite an accomplishment propped up on crutches the way she was.


Deanna laid her head on the back of the sofa, closed her eyes, and took in a deep breath. She released it slowly and wondered if it was wise to tell her mother about Will’s and her conversation. Too late now, Deanna thought as she opened her eyes. Knowing her mother, she would have picked up on it sooner or later, anyhow. Then Deanna took notice of the two amaretto cordials sitting untouched. She picked one up and sipped it slowly. When Deanna finished the drink, she stood up and headed upstairs.

Before going to her own bedroom, Troi stopped at her brother’s door. “Good night, Elan.” She said, sticking her head into the room.

“Good night?” Elan questioned, looking up from his homework. “It’s still early.”

Deanna gave her brother a smile and came into the room. “I figured I was going to need a good night’s sleep if I wanted to keep up with you tomorrow.” She replied, taking a seat on his bed.

Elan returned her smile. “Yeah. Mom’s always telling me she’s gonna find a way to harness my energy someday.”

Troi regarded Elan for a minute. “You don’t bother mom too much; do you?” She asked.

“Nah.” Elan shook his head. “She’s always planning some function or another, and I got school and my own friends to do things with.”

“How did mom sprain her ankle, then?” Deanna asked confused.

“Oh that.” Elan shrugged. “She tripped on a tree root.”

“A tree root?”

“Yep. She got this bright idea to go on a picnic in order to spend some ‘quality’ time as a family, and she tripped on a root before we even found a good spot to eat.” Elan went into hysterics. “You should have heard the expletives that came out of mom’s mouth when she fell.”

Deanna laughed with her brother. “Well I hope you covered your ears.”

Elan shook his head still laughing. “Mr. Homm took care of that for me.”

Deanna stood up to leave. “Your lucky.” She said and went over to tousle Elan’s hair. “Mr. Homm’s subdued compared to some of the servants I had to put up with at your age.” She gave Elan another smile. “I’ll see you tomorrow” and Counselor Troi went down to her bedroom.

When Deanna opened the door to her bedroom, she found Will Riker sitting up in bed reading a computer PADD. “That looks suspiciously like work, Commander.” She commented.

Will looked up and flashed her a smile. “There’s nothing suspicious about it. It is work.”

“I knew we both couldn’t afford to take more leave so soon.” Deanna said as she went over to the dresser and took out a nightgown.

Riker turned off the PADD and placed it on the nightstand. “I was just getting a head start on our next crew evaluations so it wouldn’t take as long when we got back.”

Troi gave him a doubtful glare but decided to change the topic. “I said good night to Elan before I came in here.” Deanna put on her nightgown and climbed under the covers with Will before continuing. “He said mom tripped on a tree root.” Will gave Deanna another smile and brushed her hair back. “Then he told me he and my mother hardly see each other. They’re both too busy doing their own thing.”

Riker shrugged his shoulders. “Sounds pretty normal to me.”

“Elan’s being raised by Mr. Homm, Will. Just like I was practically raised by the servants who came before Homm.”

Will let out a soft chuckle. “You’re the one who told me we needed to figure out how to wrangle Homm to come with us."

Deanna let out an exasperated breath. “I was joking, Will.”

Will looked serenely into Deanna’s eyes. “I know. But you’ve lost me somewhere. You know your mother relies heavily on Homm’s help to maintain composure around here. Why would finding out Elan”

“I don’t want my children being raised by someone else, Will. How can we possibly keep up with our careers and have a family at the same time?”

Will took a hold of Deanna’s hand and brought it up to his lips, kissing it softly. “Anything worth doing right usually isn’t easy, Deanna.” He said and then looked into her eyes once more. “And no one ever said having kids was easy.”

Deanna sighed. “I know.” She returned Will’s gaze and smiled. “No one ever said it would be this complicated, either.” Then she leaned over and gave Will an affectionate kiss.

“True.” Will acknowledged when Deanna pulled away. Then he reached up to caress her cheek and gave her a smile. “It wasn’t that easy to untangle all the barricades we erected around our feelings; either, but we found a way. Didn’t we?”

Troi nodded and gave Will a loving smiling.

“If we could sort out that mess” Riker chuckled; “we should be able to take this next step without even a teeter.” He continued and then pulled Deanna down, sealing his words with a wondrous kiss, and any doubts Troi had about how they would raise a family melted away with Will’s tender touch.