"Faster Mommy!!" Kaitlyn squealed at the top her
lungs, laughing hysterically as the water continually
sprayed her in the face.
Deanna Troi laughed heartily as she complied with her
The past week had flown by so quickly for them on
Pacifica. It had taken Deanna forever to find a
convenient time to leave the Titan for some well
overdue shore leave - being a captain was more time
consuming than she had thought. And she and Kaitlyn
needed this time together. Sometimes she felt that she
didn't spend enough time with her baby girl, but Katie
never complained, always the little trooper.
Deanna was shaken out of her thoughts by a spray of
water and some more giggles.
"Come ON Mommy!"
Deanna smiled and grabbed her daughter's arms again.
"Hold on tight, I'm really going to go fast this
time," she warned, smiling as she knew Katie would
think she was only bluffing.
Deanna waited until she felt Kaitlyn's hands grip her
arms tightly, and without warning whipped her around
in a circle. As she continued into another turn the
spray of salt and water that was her daughter soon
began to squeal again. It was infectious and soon
Deanna was giggling along with her daughter as she
Kaitlyn let go of her mother's arms and treaded water
as she wiped the saltwater from her eyes. Then she
swam over and wrapped her arms around her mother's
neck. In turn, Deanna wrapped her arms around her
daughter as they both floated for a while in the
ocean, Kaitlyn getting tired from being out in the sun
all day and Deanna exhausted from all the water play.
Deanna waited a few minutes to catch her breath and
then slowly carried her daughter back to shore after
seeing her yawn for the second time.
"Where are we going?" Katie asked, frowning.
"Back to the house sweetie, you need a nap."
Katie made a face.
"I don't wanna take a nap, I wanna swim," she whined.
"We'll come back and swim after you take a nap," she
explained, knowing it would do no good. Katie would
fight her on it, Deanna would eventually win, and
later tonight they would both forget about the fight
over bowls of ice cream. Life for a six-year-old was
so simple and easy, Deanna thought.
As the Troi women trudged back up to their beach
blanket, Deanna wondered if maybe Katie could just
take her nap there on the beach. They had the umbrella
up, so the sun would be off her.
She surveyed the 'campsite' and asked herself where
all the stuff had come from. She didn't remember
carrying so many toys and paraphernalia from the
rental unit that morning.
Deanna turned to ask Katie if she would like to take
her nap right there when she heard the thunder crack.
//So much for that idea,// she thought.
"Katie, hurry up and help me pick our stuff up before
That woke her up. Deanna knew Katie didn't want to
walk back in the rain; she wanted to stay semi-dry and
for her mommy to carry her.
Kaitlyn scurried about collecting all her toys and
placing them back into the beach bag they had brought
with them. Somehow Deanna managed to fit the towels,
lotion, and the toys into the one bag. Deanna threw it
over her shoulder as the sky above rumbled again, this
time closer and louder.
In one smooth motion Deanna collected the rolled up
umbrella in her left hand and her daughter in the
right, placing Katie on her hip. Then she started the
trek back up to the pier that would lead them back to
the house. As they reached wooden plank stairs, Deanna
contemplated using the mini shower there to rinse off
the sand. The weather made the decision for her as
lightening streaked across the ocean and Deanna felt
the first few raindrops hit her head.
Deanna pivoted to the left and ran the rest of the way
to the covered back patio of their rental. She made it
just in time, the rain coming down in sheets as she
set her daughter down on the living area couch.
Deanna turned to set their beach things outside and
shake the sand from everything when she heard pouting.
"I'm *not* tired!"
Deanna rolled her eyes.
"Fine, you don't have to take a nap if you don't want
to. You can watch cartoons while I clean up. But don't
move from that couch missy," she warned, pointing her
finger in Katie's general direction. She didn't need
the little thief sneaking off to steal some chocolate
munchies. Then she would never get to sleep.
Deanna walked outside. The rain had not slackened any
and the wind was causing it to spray underneath the
beige patio covering. Deanna stayed as close to the
door as she could and turned her back to the wind. She
unraveled their towels and let the gusts shake the
sand from them for her. She felt bad for their
neighbors, who would undoubtedly have sand all over
their furniture once the storm was over.
After the sand had been shaken from all toys and bag,
Deanna folded the towels and placed them back inside
the bag with Katie's beach toys and brought the bag
inside with her. She smiled as she looked at her
daughter, fast asleep curled up on one side of the
Deanna dropped the bag into the corner near the patio
door, locked the door, and pulled a blanket over her
snoring daughter before making her way to the shower.
She loved the beach, but sand and salt got everywhere.
It was nearing 2330 when Deanna stepped outside onto
the newly dried patio. The rain had stopped three
hours after it had started and the sun returned just
in time to dry the land before night fell.
She had put Kaitlyn to bed two hours ago and began the
task of cleaning up the dinner dishes, doing the
laundry, tidying up the living area, and then
remembering the sundae bowls they had left outside on
the front porch where they had sat to watch the
fireworks as they ate their ice cream. Now everything
was done and Deanna finally had a little time to
herself before she went to bed too.
She ordered herself a small glass of synthehol and
went outside to look out over the glowing waves of
Pacifica. She loved to listen to the ocean when no one
was around to create noise; it was lulling and
peaceful, the perfect ending to a perfect day.
She sat down and placed her drink on the lone, white
sun-cracked table that belonged to their rental unit.
She closed her eyes and let the sound of the waves and
the feel of the cool sea breeze sweep over her. She
began to breathe deeply, centering herself after a day
of keeping her mental shields on maximum as the beach
was over-crowded with non-telepathic vacationers. As
she went to take in another breath she stopped and
frowned. Something was off.
She kept quiet as she listened carefully. There it was
again, a slight squeaking of the worn out,
sun-bleached wood that made up the patio floor. She
turned quickly in the direction she had heard the
sound and squinted. It was coming from the right-hand
corner, which was concealed in darkness.
"Who's there," she called out defiantly. She did not
want to be bothered with this; she was on vacation.
"I won't hurt you," she heard the male voice tell her.
Deanna sat perfectly still as she recognized the gruff
Before she could even open her mouth William T. Riker,
the pride of Starfleet-turned-deserter, stepped out
from the shadows.
Deanna gasped in disbelief as her ex-husband smiled
and walked over to her.
"Hey," he said.
"Hello," she answered back slowly and awkwardly,
feeling a bit odd saying that after all the years.
"May I?" Will asked, pointing to the chair opposite of
Deanna. She nodded yes.
Will sat down and stared at his wife.
"How've you been?" he asked, inwardly cursing himself
for being so lame. The problem was he didn't know how
to act around her, not after what he had done and all
the time that had passed.
"O-Okay. We've been okay," she answered before
"Good," he replied, though slightly confused as to
Deanna's choice of words.
"I heard about your recent promotion. Congratulations
"Thanks," she replied, still wondering why he was
here. The small talk was confusing her. Did he come
here just to catch up?
I guess you're wondering why
" he trailed
off, not knowing how to instigate the conversation.
you're here," she finished for him. "Yes, that
question has entered my mind a few times by now."
"I had to come to
to see you, to
to warn you," he
"Warn me? About what?"
"The danger. Deanna, this next assignment you have,
you can't take it."
He was becoming agitated.
"Dangerous? Will, almost every assignment is
dangerous; you know that," she replied calmly. Her
eyes hardened. "Besides, why do you care?"
Will's head whipped up as if she had just slapped him.
Why did he care? Why wouldn't he care, he loved her.
"What do you mean, 'why do I care?" he asked back, his
voice rising an octave as he became angry.
Deanna did not want to go down this path. "What makes
this assignment, which, by the way, I don't know how
you get a hold of, any different from the others?" she
"Because it's a trap. Deanna, they are setting a trap
for me. The Romulans are sick and tired of Starfleet
saying they are going to stop the Wrylens' attacks on
their outposts and capture me. They want me signed,
sealed and delivered to their doorstep and after being
disappointed so many times by the Federation they have
decided to take matters into their own hands.
One of our men defected, told the Romulan high-command
all of our plans for the next few months, coordinates
for where we would strike and when. We're lucky one of
our own got in as fast as he did to shut him up before
he could disclose our hidden bases."
Deanna stared at him after that last statement. At one
time she would have been shocked by his words, but now
she didn't even want to know if the man she had once
loved could be implying what she thought he was.
"Deanna the Romulans know our upcoming attack plans
and are going to use you as bait to get me. They know
that if the Titan comes into the middle of things and
gets put into a situation of being attacked that I
will come out to save you. And if that didn't work
they were going to use you as a bargaining chip. I
turn myself in and 'supposedly' they let you go free
Will stopped talking for a bit and let it all sink in.
He was hoping he would be able to talk some sense into
"Will, I don't know "
Deanna shot up and turned towards the doors. Katie
must have heard them talking and woke up. She silently
cursed having left the bedroom window open after
tucking Kaitlyn in for the night.
"Mommy?" Will asked, now more puzzled than ever.
"Excuse me for a moment," she said, but Will
"Did she just call you Mommy?" He was baffled. She had
"Will, please. It will only take "
"Mommy," she heard faint and pathetic from right
behind her. Kaitlyn, on not seeing Deanna or hearing
her come after the first calling, had gotten up to
find her mother. She stood just outside the doors,
rubbing her sleepy eyes and whimpering from having
woken up without her mother to console her.
"Katie, you're supposed to be in bed," Deanna fussed,
trying to block Will from her daughter's view. She was
"Who's that?" she asked, curiosity claiming her once
She walked over to Will and extended her hand.
"Hello," she said.
Will looked at her in wonderment, realization having
dawned on him as Kaitlyn was making her way past her
now upset mother towards her estranged father.
He took her hand and shook it. "Hi," he replied,
choking back the tears of happiness as this new
information sank in.
Deanna rushed over and scooped Kaitlyn up in her arms,
putting distance between daughter and father. Will
frowned, what was she doing?
"What's wrong sweetheart?"
Kaitlyn looked up at her mother, her short attention
span diverted for the moment.
"I need some water."
Deanna sighed and walked into the darkened living
area, her daughter once more gracing her hip.
Will heard muffled shuffling and the faint whine of
the replicator as Deanna got a glass of water for her
Deanna carried Kaitlyn back to the bedroom and tucked
her back in.
Will could here their muffled voices floating outside
from the open window to his left.
~~ Now go back to sleep. I'll be back in just a few
~~ Mommy, who's that man? ~~
~~ Just an old friend of Mommy's. He was just stopping
by to say hello before he left.~~
Deanna paused as she waited to see if Katie pursued
the matter further.
~~ Okay ~~ she yawned, drowsiness now returning to
block out the mysterious man on the patio.
~~ Night. ~~
~~ Goodnight little one. ~~
Will heard another small yawn, and then waited for his
wife to reappear in the doorway. After a few moments
Deanna stepped back outside and sat down.
"Kaitlyn," was all he said, grinning.
She stopped, her face hardening as she stared at him
after that simple statement.
"Kaitlyn," she confirmed for him.
"Deanna when how WHY?"
"How?" she asked him, chuckling, finding humor in that
part of his stammering.
Will scowled. "You know what I mean. When did you find
out? And why didn't you contact me about it."
"Would it have mattered?" she asked matter-of-factly.
" he started, and then trailed off. Would it
"What could you have done, hmm? Send credits? I
provide more than enough for the both of us. And how
would you have dealt with explaining to her the
situation? How would you even have contact with her at
Will stayed quiet. She was right, of course.
Regardless of him being informed of her pregnancy and
his daughter's birth, he could not have done anything
for them. Contact would have only endangered them and
put Deanna between a rock and a hard place with
Deanna took a deep breath, drawing his attention back
to her. "I found out that day. The the day you," her
voice quivered slightly and she had to take a deep
breath to continue. "The day you left me. I had just
come from getting the news. It's why I was becoming so
nauseated and tired all the time."
"THAT day? Then why didn't you "
She cut him off. "Because I wasn't going to make that
decision for you Will."
Her breathing sped up as she angered. "I wasn't going
to force you to stay with me. I wanted you to stay
because you loved me, not because you felt obligated
to take care of your daughter."
They sat there, physically barely two feet from each
other but emotionally, oceans apart.
"Well can I at least see my daughter before I go?"
"She isn't your daughter," she spat at him, hating the
sound of the words.
"What do you mean she isn't my daughter, of COURSE she
is," he yelled, his face a mixture of pure anger and
"No, Will," Deanna said forcefully.
"What do you mean 'No,'" Will answered defiantly.
"That's my daughter, *our* daughter. Don't tell me no,
I can see it for myself. She has my eyes and, and my
hair color too."
Deanna glared at him.
"Deanna she has to know, I want her to know and I want
to talk to her. She's my daughter, dammit, my only
"NO!" she screamed at him, slapping the table hard.
The force of the disturbance caused her drink to slosh
around in its cup, some of it spilling onto the
"Don't you dare be so selfish William Riker. She has
grown up happy these past six years. She doesn't go
through life wondering where you are or if you're
okay, or trying to fathom why her own father left us.
She is happy and content and I intend to keep her that
Will opened his mouth to argue the point, but then
thought better of it. After calming himself down he
took a deep breath and asked, "And she doesn't ever
ask who her father is, or where he is? How about when
she does? What will you tell her then?"
Deanna looked straight into his eyes.
"Her father is dead."
Will sat there in stunned silence. Dead? But he wasn't
"He's dead," she whispered again, finalizing the fact
Will stared into her eyes and saw all that pain he had
caused her so many years ago, resurfacing with this
conversation. He'd had a choice all those years ago,
and at the time Will tricked himself into thinking he
was doing the right thing by them both. But now he saw
how badly he had screwed their lives up. Deanna had
pulled through it and created a small family and a
happy life. And him well he was still saving the same
several small villages from being exterminated by the
Will sat back in the chair, at a loss for words. So
that was it. In ten minutes he had gained and lost a
daughter. He'd had a family, but was now alone and
realizing that after all those years starting with
their first meeting at the Xerx's wedding, it wasn't
Deanna who had needed him to be happy and complete but
the other way around. She had gotten over him and
would go on, raise their child, and maybe even one day
remarry and have more children. But that chapter of
his life was closed now.
Will laughed at the bitter irony that was life - he
had become his old man after all.
Will shook his head in ironic disbelief and stood up
to leave. On impulse he took the step needed to cross
the distance between them and hugged her tight.
"Stay safe," he whispered, relishing the feel of her
in his arms once more and the sweet smell of her lilac
Reluctantly, he released her.
"I better go," he said, looking down towards his feet.
He couldn't meet her eyes.
Deanna nodded. Will turned to go when she placed her
hand on his arm to stop him. Standing on her toes she
brought her hands up to his face and kissed him one
last time. It was sweet and remorseful, reminiscent of
the ones they had shared while onboard the
Enterprise-D when they were 'just friends.' It was a
joining of two people who had loved and lost each
other, but wanted one last fleeting moment together
before they parted forever.
Deanna pulled away and there were tears in her eyes.
"Twenty-four hours," she told him.
Confused at the cryptic message, Will looked to her
"We have one more day of vacation. In twenty-four
hours we will be back on the Titan and I'll be making
my report back to Starfleet. You get a twenty-four
hour head start, make the most of it."
Then she turned and went back into the rental unit,
leaving a stunned ex-Starfleet captain hurt and
confused the same way he had left her six year ago.
-- The End