“The time is 0600. The time is 0600. The time is....”
Deanna Troi heard the ship’s computer giving her the time, telling her it was time to get up, but she only squeezed her eyes more tightly closed. “If I don’t open my eyes, the day hasn’t started yet,” she thought desperately. She huddled under her covers, wishing time would stop for just a bit...
“The time is 0601. The time is 0601. The time - “
”Computer!” she snapped, her eyes still firmly shut. “Reset alarm for 0615.”
“Acknowledged,” the computer voice replied, and then fell silent.
Deanna lay in her bed, wishing she could fall back asleep. Wishing she could sleep until the day was no longer today, a day she had been dreading for weeks. She remembered counseling others concerning days like this one, telling them they would get through them, that grief was normal, not to be surprised at it, advising all kinds of coping skills. As she lay struggling with her emotions, she found herself surprised one or two of them hadn’t hauled off and punched her.
Maybe she could call in sick. Trouble was, she wasn’t sick. She felt unspeakable pain and had no control over her emotions, but no, she wasn’t sick...
“The time is 0615. The time is 0615. The time...”
She had to get up. He wouldn’t want her to hide like this. Not because of him. Reluctantly, she opened her eyes. Swinging her legs over the side of the bed, she sat up. “Computer, acknowledged,” she said, shutting off the alarm. The computer preceded to give her the date, first in stardate mode, then Betazoid months and days.
Yes....it had been two years ago today. And somehow she would have to get through it, since time did not stop for things like grief.
Somehow, she muddled through the day. Fortunately, after the recent Borg attack her counseling schedule was booked full, including an appointment with Captain Picard. She was glad that she was so involved in having to think about others, because it kept her from dwelling on the day.
After her last patient, she decided to treat herself to one of Guinan’s special chocolate sundaes. As she entered Ten Forward Beverly Crusher and Will Riker caught her eye. Riker grinned that charming grin of his, and Beverly waved Deanna over to their table. Already regretting that she had come into the bar in the first place, but seeing no graceful alternative, Deanna slid into a chair.
Will looked at her intently. “Counselor....are you all right?”
“I’m fine,” she replied quickly. Before Beverly could express her concern, Troi rushed on. “I thought you were going down to Starfleet Medical, Beverly.”
“I just got back,” her friend replied. “I got a bunch of stuff out of storage there...I’ll have to go through it later.”
“I’ll help you, if you like,” Deanna said.
“That would be great,” Crusher said. “I have so many things there...”
“Anything interesting?” Riker asked. “Maybe something I can tease Wesley about?”
Beverly laughed. “Oh, there are probably some baby pictures in there. One, I remember, Jack had dressed him in a small Starfleet uniform when he could barely walk. It was so adorable - “
Deanna got to her feet so suddenly she jarred the table. Beverly and Will looked at her in surprise. She had gone pale, her eyes shining suspiciously.
“Deanna..?” Will began.
“I...I have to leave now. Excuse me,” Deanna choked, then practically fled the room.
Will and Beverly exchanged troubled glances. “Maybe we should - “ Beverly began.
Her comm badge beeped. “Sickbay to Dr. Crusher.”
Will got up. “You go ahead and deal with Sickbay. I’ll check on Deanna.”
She had thrown herself across her bed, the hot tears bursting from her eyes and sobs ripped her throat. She never heard the door chime, or it opening. She did hear Will’s shocked voice. “Deanna?! What happened? What’s wrong?”
She turned over, seeing him standing there through a blur of tears. “Oh...Will...” she gulped.
He swiftly strode over to her, sat down on the bed, and enveloped her in his arms. “Cry.” he said gently. “You can tell me later.”
So she buried her head in his chest and cried for what seemed a long time. When she had regained some control, she lifted her head. ‘Thank you,” she said. Then, embarrassed, she daubed at the large wet spot on his uniform tunic. “I’m sorry...”
“No problem. That’s what replicators are for, he assured her. “Do you want to tell me what the problem is, Deanna?”
For a long moment, she was quiet. Then she got up and got a picture from the other room. Looking at it, she asked in a soft, pained voice, “Do you know what today is?”
Riker was momentarily confused. “Stardate 990...”
Deanna shook her head. “No,” she said. She showed the picture to Riker. It was of a young boy, with dark hair and huge dark eyes. Just like his mother...
Will looked up, not quite understanding. “Ian?”
“Yes,” Deanna replied. “Ian. Two years ago today...” her voice began to shake.
Suddenly Will understood. Two years ago today, he had watched helplessly as Dr. Pulaski had tried to revive Deanna’s mystery child, who was actually an alien that had impregnated her. The child had not survived, and the alien had left.
“I know,” Deanna said, as if reading his mind. “I know he was an alien, and somehow isn’t really dead...but Will, he was my child, and he died, and I couldn’t do anything about it..” The sobs began again. Will put the picture aside, and embraced the weeping Troi. “Why didn’t you tell me this was coming up?” he asked gently.
She shook her head. “I didn’t think it would be this bad. I got through last year without too much trouble - I thought it would hurt less this year. I didn’t expect it to still hurt this much...”
He hugged her tighter. “Oh, Deanna...”
“I’m so stupid,” she cried. “I’m a counselor, and I should know better..”
“You’re a human grieving, and you need to go easy on yourself,” he replied. “Come on.” He picked her up.
“She stared at him, surprised. “What are you doing?”
“Putting you to bed.”
She looked apprehensive. “Will...”
“Relax, Deanna. I’m putting you there by yourself. Now get comfortable. I’ll be right back.”
He plopped her on the bed and left the room. Deanna took a moment to change into a nightgown, then slipped under the covers. When Will asked if she were decent, she couldn’t help giggling a little. “You may come in.”
Will entered with a tray that contained a chocolate sundae and a mug of hot chocolate. “This calls for strong medicine,” he grinned, setting the tray before her.
He sat on the edge of the bed. As Deanna ate, he talked, not of anything major, just to keep her company. Occasionally she would be forced to smile at something he said.
Soon, all the chocolate was consumed. Will took the tray, ignoring Deanna’s protests. “Counselor, I outrank you and I am ordering you not to get up until you’ve had a good night’s sleep.”
She sighed, and said ruefully, “Well, if you put it that way...”
He came back after disposing of the tray. He looked at her, concerned. “Do you need anything else?”
“She looked at him gratefully. “No, Will, I’ll be fine.”
“Are you sure? If you need a uniform top to cry on, will you call me?”
She had to smile at that. “Of course. Will....I don’t know how to thank you...for helping me....”
He gently kissed her forehead. “Rabeem, Imzadi.”
She felt the tears starting again. “Thank you. Thank you so much...”
He hugged her. “Anytime, Deanna. You know that.”
After making sure she was calmer, he left. Deanna slid down under the covers. No, this had not been an easy day. But she was grateful to have a friend like Will to see her through it.