Family SecretsTitle - Family Secrets
Author - Jaclyn Riker
E-mail address - Jrussell78@aol.com
Rating - PG13
Category - Romance, Angst,
Spoilers - None
Keywords - R/T and a bit o' P/C
Disclaimer: Not mine. Never were mine. Never gonna be mine. Cause if they
were mine this wedding (in the next movie) would have happened a LONG time
ago. Nuff said. Hope you don't sue me.
Summary - The third and final (?) installment in my Family Ties That Bind
Series. This story takes place about 2-3 years after Illusions (You need to
read the other two before this one). A long kept secret comes out and affects
all in our safe little world.


"Family Secrets"
    By Jaclyn Riker
***************************
    Laughter rang out through the clear air and was immediately picked up by
the gentle wind. The sound danced across the sky and traveled back to its
original owners.

    "Aunt Beverly, watch!" Kalila Marie Riker called out and squeezing her
legs firmly, the beast she was on sprinted forward. In one smooth leap, it
and she was over the fallen log in the path they were on. Pulling back to
make the animal stop, the girl turned to look back at the adults, wide-eyes
and breathless with joy.

    At nine years old, the child was starting to lose that baby cute quality
and turn into a beautiful young girl. Her thick silken hair that used to be
as dark as chocolate, was beginning to look more like a very dark shade of
red. Her face was thinning, highlighting her perky nose and brilliant smile.
She was an amazing listener and had more patience in her than most adults,
but she was also very active and loved many athletic events. The one thing
that had not changed in the least was the sparkle in her crystal blue eyes.

    "Way to go, Lily! I knew you could do it!" Dr. Beverly Crusher-Picard
yelled out from atop her own horse, a dark chestnut with a blaze of white
down its nose. "I knew when I taught you to ride, you were a natural."

    "That's our daughter!" Captain William T. Riker said from his perch on a
black stallion to his wife, who was on top of a golden horse with an almost
white mane. Deanna Troi-Riker laughed making their almost three-year-old son,
Kyle Jean-Luc Riker, laugh along with her. The toddler clapped, happily
situated in the saddle in front of his father, strapped to him in a halter
type device.

    "Li, jump high, Daddy!" Kyle cried and pointed to his older sister, who
waved back and then blew him a kiss. Lily squeezed her legs again and the
chocolate colored horse with white socks suddenly looked as if it was bowing.
Straightening up again, she took a real bow from the saddle and laughed
happily.

    "She took to riding as if she was born to do it, that's for sure."

Admiral Jean-Luc Picard said, pulling up beside his wife on a dapple-gray
horse that looked whiter than anything. Then looking behind him as their own
nine-year-old daughter, Lissa, galloped by he grinned. "Then again, so did
Lissa when I first taught her."

    Lissa stopped beside Lily, her horse matching Lily's in coloring, only it
had no markings. After a few moments of them talking, Lissa brought her horse
back over to the adults. She too had undergone some changes through the few
short years.

    Her hair was still the shiny copper color that she had inherited from her
mother and her hazel eyes were looking more and more like Jean-Luc's
everyday. However, there was now a sprinkling of freckles across her nose and
cheeks, giving her a look of initial cuteness and innocence that she often
used to her advantage. Like Lily, she had also kept the twinkle of spunk in
her eyes and was a natural born leader.

    "Can we ride ahead to the house?" Lissa asked, giving her father a
pleading look. Melting as he usually did when his daughter wanted something,
Jean-Luc nodded. Lissa gave him a quick kiss and then urged her horse forward
to relay the message to Lily. A second later the two best friends took off,
galloping up the hill in front of them.

    "Shouldn't one of us go with them?' Beverly asked, frowning as they
watched them disappear over the rise.

    "Nah, they'll be fine. They are better riders than all of us put
together." Will said and dropped an impromptu kiss on Kyle's soft head.

    The baby had grown into a handsome toddler, who never wanted to sit
still. Ky, as he was affectionately called, resembled both of his parents in
that he had Deanna's ebony colored eyes and slightly pale coloring, but
Will's boyish and charming smile and dark brown hair. His empathic and
telepathic abilities were very strong for a child who was only Betazoid and
he very often surprised everyone by announcing their emotions or thoughts.
Will and Deanna were still working on teaching him about the inopportune
moments he often chose to do so.

    At the feel of his father's lips on his head, Ky looked up at Will and
with his tiny hands patted Will's cheeks.

    "Daddy, we go wif Li?" Ky asked, smiling that winning smile.

    "Sure, Champ." Will said and after making sure he was strapped in
tightly, they all went the same way Lily and Lissa had gone.

    When the adult's horses arrived at the top of the hill, in unison they
let out a long sigh. The beauty of the land still took away their breath,
even though they had been on shore leave in Montana, USA, for almost a week.
Hills of green land rolled as if the Earth was an arm with goose bumps.
Nestled in the valley of two particularly huge hills, was the enormous log
cabin designed house that Will and Jean-Luc had rented out.

    "Don't you just love Montana?" Will asked them, motioning his hand
towards the land. "I used to come here at least once a year on shore leave."

    "Yes, I am glad you invited us along with you. It has been a while since
we've seen each other." Beverly said and the other three laughed.

    "What are you talking about, Cherie?" Jean-Luc asked his wife, shaking
his head. "We just saw them a month ago at the peace conference."

    Beverly chose to ignore him and instead looked over to the house. Lily
and Lissa had put their horses out into pasture already and were playing some
sort of game in the front lawn. The house itself was an amazing piece of
architecture and technology combined.

    The outside was designed to look like a grandiose version of an authentic
1800s log cabin and the inside was designed in the way of the 21st century
houses. However, hidden in paneling and other ways were devices of the 24th
century, such as televiewers, medical kits, a comm. system, and a replicator.

    They were just starting down the hill, when they saw Lily run inside.
Beverly waved to Lissa, who waved back and made the old Terran gesture of a
phone, indicating that they had a call. Deanna and Will both felt the panic
and fear at the same time that Ky began to whimper. Lily ran out of the
house, her hair flying out behind her. The hot sun shown on her, bringing out
the red highlights, but also showing the fear in Lily's blue eyes.

    "Daddy!" She screamed and quickly handing Ky to Deanna, Will broke his
horse into a run. The instant he reached her, Will jumped off the horse and
kneeled before her.

    "What, Princess? What is it?" he asked, wiping the tears that were on her
face.

    "Daddy, it's Grandpa! Grams says he...he..." Lily started, but tears
flowed again and she couldn't get the rest out. Will stood, gathering her
into his arms and talked to her in soothing voice. Lissa reminded him that
there was a viewcall and thanking her he went inside. Heading to the living
room, he settled into the chair facing the telecom screen, where he
recognized the upset face of his stepmother. Catherine Pulaski-Riker gave a
small sigh of relief when she saw him and he frowned.

    "Catherine, what is it? Where is my father?" Will asked, adjusting Lily
on his lap. The girl leaned back against his chest, tucking her head under
his chin and watched her grandmother speak.

    "Will, there was an attack on a couple of women in the town. Your father
jumped in to help out and one of the attackers pulled out a phaser. The shot
hit him directly over the heart. I got him to a medical station, but it was
so sudden and there was already so much damage. They helped repair what they
could and it was enough to keep him alive...for now." Catherine said,
wringing her hands. "I feel so helpless. I am a doctor, yet I can't do a damn
thing except watch him..."

    Will's eyes widened and he held Lily to him tighter. Deanna and the
others had entered the room and they hung back watching in silence. Dee, with
Ky in her arms, walked over to stand behind her husband and daughter. Knowing
the question he was about to ask, she placed a comforting hand on his
shoulder.
   
"Is he going to die?" Will asked, placing his hand over top Deanna's and
holding tightly. Catherine's eyes lowered before meeting his again and he
knew the answer before she voiced it.

    "The doctors give him a week at best." she told him and Lily began to cry
again, silently this time. Ky began to cry softly too, feeling his family's
pain, but not understanding what was happening. Deanna spoke to him softly,
rocking him slightly, while sending Will thoughts of strength and love.

    "We'll be there by tomorrow night." Will said and Catherine didn't argue.
She could use the support of her family and wasn't about to deny them the
right to come. They ended the communicate, after arranging for them to arrive
at the house at around 2015, the following evening. It wouldn't be that hard
considering that Kyle and Catherine lived on Yera 3, which was about 14 hours
away at warp 7. It was quiet for a short time; everyone just sat or stood in
silence, taking in the information. It was Lily who spoke first.

    "We have to pack." She said, sliding off of Will's lap and began to head
out of the room.

    "Lily..." Beverly said, but the girl gave her a halting look.

    "I'm okay, Aunt Beverly. Really, I am. I know that the doctors are wrong.
He'll be fine. My grandpa is one of the strongest people ever and extremely
stubborn. He'll be fine, once we get there. He just needs his family there to
talk him out of doing something stubborn like dy..." Lily trailed off from
her ramblings. Her was voice trembling and had a frantic undertone to it.
Tears shone in her eyes, but she had her hands balled at her sides, squeezing
them tightly so that she wouldn't cry.

    Will understood his daughter's attitude better than anyone. When his
first wife and Lily's biological mother had died had died, it was Kyle and
Catherine who had helped him out with Lily. Kyle had been instantly taken
with the tiny six-month-old baby girl and spoiled her to no end. However, it
was his unbound love and patience that had won her heart and made her as
completely devoted to him as he was to her. Besides Will, and now Deanna, the
person whom Lily thought hung the moon in the heavens was Kyle Riker.

    "Maybe you're right, Princess. We'll just have to see, okay? Can you pack
up you things by yourself or do you need help?" Will said to his daughter and
she turned a searching gaze to his face. After a moment or two, she shook her
head.

    "I can help her." Lissa said and taking her best friend's hand in hers,
she smiled at Lily comfortingly. Lily returned the smile and the two girls
turned to go.

    "Lily, can you take Ky with you, please?" Deanna asked, placing the baby
on the ground.

    "Sure, Mom." Lily said waiting for Ky to toddle over to her, she took his
hand and they led him up the stairs. As soon as they all heard the door shut
upstairs, Deanna whirled on her husband.

    "What is wrong with you?" Deanna exclaimed, her hands on her hips. "How
could you lie to her like that? You know perfectly well, that he probably
will not get better just because we are there."

    What the hell am I supposed to tell her, Dee?" Will demanded, his eyes
angry and pained. "That her grandfather, the man that helped raise her the
first three and a half years of her life, is going to die? Maybe even before
she gets a chance to say good-bye to him? I won't do that to her Dee, and I
don't care if you think it is cruel. I would rather be cruel than have to
shatter the one bit of hope in her heart."

    Seeing the pain in his demeanor, her anger left her quickly. Deanna
sighed and walked over to wrap her arms around his middle. Laying her head on
his chest, she just listened to the rapid beating of his heart. His arms came
up around her and they stood there in silence. She took in his pain and
exchanged it for gentle brushes of understanding and love in his mind.

    "We'd better go pack up." Will said, moments later and she nodded into
his chest.

    "We'll help you pack up the house when we are done with our things."
Jean-Luc said, his voice reminding them that they weren't alone.

    "Now, why would you pack up?" Deanna asked, her face puzzled.

    "We don't feel right using the house without you." Beverly said and
before either one of the Rikers could protest she held up her hand. "We will
do this again, some other time."

    "Thank you." Deanna said quietly and Beverly didn't say anything, only
gave them both a quick hug. Beverly held Will a little longer than she did
Deanna and whispered into his ear.

    "I know it hurts Will and I know what you're like when you hurt. If you
need to talk, talk. Don't shut us out." Beverly told him and he hugged her
tighter.

    "I won't. I promise." Will said back and she released him, giving him a
sisterly kiss on the cheek.

    "We'd better get started." Jean-Luc said and they all sighed heavily.
Each couple went their separate ways knowing that the peace they had in this
house was not to be regained for a long time.

TBC