Set between Insurrection and Nemesis. Deanna remembers Will’s proposal, and on the night of his bachelor party Will discovers what is most important to him. Rated PG.
Thanks to Magen for her beta work and the title J
Disclaimer: It all belongs to Paramount
"I can't believe it's finally going to happen," Beverly Crusher said eagerly. "It's only taken you how many years?"
Deanna Troi smiled at her close friend "Too many," she sighed, "but it had to be when we were both ready." She had known her Imzadi for what seemed a lifetime but the timing for them to make a commitment to each other never felt right… until a week ago.
Deanna smiled as she remembered the night it happened. She had just gotten off a late shift and was looking forward to curling up in bed and falling asleep, hopefully with the familiar warmth of a certain Commander next to her.
She had been startled upon entering her quarters to find a glowing pathway of flickering candles leading to her bedroom. Deep red rose petals covered the floor outside the shimmering pathway and she had gasped aloud at what lay in front of her.
Slowly she had walked into the bedroom, more rose petals, this time covering the bed. In the center of the bed sat a small velvet box, instantly her heartbeat quickened. Beside it was an old-fashioned earth scroll, a red ribbon keeping its contents hidden.
All of a sudden she became aware of a presence in the room, she had failed to notice it before as her attentions had been focused elsewhere. She saw the smiling face of William Riker as he stood in the darkened corner. "Did I surprise you?" he asked, "That's not like you, letting someone creep up on you. Anyone would think you were letting your mind wander."
He had moved out of the shadows, and she could now see his all his face. He looked so handsome, the mischievous glint in his eyes reminding her of the young man she had fallen in love with so many years ago. All of her worries and tiredness was immediately forgotten as he moved to stand mere inches from her.
Slowly Will leaned in and Deanna was sure he was going to kiss her. Instead he bent over past her to pick up the scroll, handing it to her he indicated she should open it. Delicately she pulled the ribbon undone and unraveled the paper. Deanna read the words and found herself lost in them, only lifting her eyes when she was sure she wouldn't fall in heap on the floor if she looked at him.
"I cannot imagine a future without you," Will said to her. The last line of the poem he had written for her over ten years ago, and the poem, which she had held in her hand. Scripted in old style writing on a think piece of paper, Will had re-written the words which in his youth had said what he had been unable to tell Deanna. Feelings, that still remained with him today.
A silent tear slipped from the corner of Deanna's eye and Will leaned past her once again, this time picking up the small box off the bed. Standing in front of her for only a brief moment he moved to kneel down in front of her.
Will looked up into her eyes and took hold of her hands. "Deanna, we've taken the long road to get where we are today, wasted so much time, time that we could have been together. The way I feel about you has never changed and never will, I love you and I want to spend the rest of my life with you…Imzadi will you marry me?"
Deanna stopped breathing, she merely stared at him and Will had been unsure as to whether this was a good or bad thing. Deanna's head swirled, she had waited so long for this and now she couldn't even open her mouth to speak.
"Deanna?" Will questioned, he had started to get worried.
She nodded her head. "Is that yes, yes you'll marry me?" he asked.
Again she nodded.
Will rose to his feet and Deanna wrapped her arms around him. Feeling his warmth surrounding her she finally began to regain her senses. "Yes, I'll marry you," she whispered into his ear. Pulling away from each other slightly, this time when Will leaned forward, it was to press his lips to Deanna's.
Still holding the ring in his hand, Will was reluctant to pull away from their deepening embrace, but as they parted he held the ring up to place on her finger. "Oh Will, it's beautiful."
"I'm glad you like it, it was my mothers."
Deanna looked at him surprised "Really?"
He nodded. "My Dad gave it to me last time he was here and told me when I came to my senses I should give it to you."
Deanna smiled and laid her head against Will's chest, her hand came to rest just beside her face and she studied the ring intently. The feelings of surprise she had felt were being replaced by excitement, happiness and the all-consuming need to get as close to Will Riker as was possible.
Placing her hands on the side of his face, she resumed their kiss where they had left it only minutes before. Grasping for his clothing the two of them had fallen on to the petal covered bed.
"Hello, you still with me?"
Deanna was brought back to the present by Beverly's waving hand in front of her eyes. "Sorry, I was just…"
Beverly laughed. "It's okay Deanna, I understand perfectly."
"That man has no idea what he's doing to me," Deanna smiled.
"Well if what I've heard is happening right now is true, I think he'll have other things on his mind." Beverly was referring to the Commander's bachelor party which was now taking place.
"What's happening?" Troi asked worriedly.
"Well, I mean I've only heard rumors."
"I just hope he's still in one piece tomorrow." She had thought the idea of having a party the night before their wedding was a bad idea, but Will had promised to behave himself and try and get to bed early, so she had relented.
"He'll be fine," Beverly said turning from Deanna so she wouldn't see the apprehensive look on her face.
Will Riker sat quietly amongst the ruins of what had been a memorable party. Several bodies lay on the floor and slumped over tables. Although he had drunk quite a bit of the authentic alcohol, Will still managed to speak normally and keep his eyes focused.
His superior and good friend Jean-Luc Picard sat beside him, his eyes fighting to stay open. Picard's tiredness not coming from an overindulgence in alcohol but rather from over working.
Will looked at the older man and knew his decision to marry Deanna had been the right one. If anything he regretted now more than ever that he had left it so long, he didn't want to end up like Picard.
Will had the utmost respect and admiration for his Captain but he knew if he was going to become Captain himself one day he would need someone he loved to come home to, and that someone was Deanna.
"Do you think we can make it work?" Will asked. Picard looked at him questionly.
"Deanna and I, do you think we can balance personal and professional?"
"I'm not the right person to be answering that Will."
"I value your opinion."
Picard sighed. "I think it will be difficult and you both have some hard choices to make, but I believe if there were ever two people able to spend a lifetime together with the positions you hold it's you and Deanna."
Will thought back to the day he first saw Deanna. "You know when I first met her, she wanted nothing to do with me," he laughed briefly. "I was relentless. No matter what she would do or say to me, I was always there trying to break down the walls she had built around herself. I would have done anything to kiss her, hold her…" he trailed off and looked over at Picard.
He didn't know a lot about Will and Deanna's relationship but like everyone else who knew them, Picard was intrigued by their past. "You must have done something to finally win her over."
"I saved her life," Will said simply, before grinning widely at the Captain "Although just between you and me I'd won her over long before that. I'll never forget those days we spent together, we were so young, thought we had our whole lives ahead of us."
"What went wrong?" Picard asked.
"Her mother, my stupidity."
Silence hung in the air for several brief moments, Will's sigh startling both men. "It's taken us so long to get here, sometimes I'm angry about the wasted time then I think of the things we have shared while we've been friends. We're closer now than we could ever be, I can't imagine a life without her."
Picard smiled. "You should tell her that."
Will rubbed some of weariness from his eyes and rose to his feet. "I think I'll do that."
"Now?" Picard questioned.
"No time like the present!" Will yelled walking towards the door.
Picard asked Data to go with Riker to ensure he made it to Deanna's quarters in one piece before returning to his ready room to complete preparations for the ceremony.
"Data, I'm fine, honestly I haven't drunk that much. I can see both your heads perfectly clear."
Data looked at Will Riker curiously. "Sir?"
"I'm joking," Will replied slapping the android slightly on the shoulder.
"Ah, I see."
The turbolift came to a holt and both officers stepped out. "It's just up the hall, you don't really need to come with me."
By the time Data had stated his reasons for not leaving, they were standing outside Deanna's quarters. Will pressed the chime, deciding it best not to just walk in.
The door opened to reveal her sitting on the sofa, a cup of hot chocolate in her hand. "Will, what are you doing here?" she asked surprised.
He walked inside, while Data remained in the doorway. "You're not happy to see me?" he said, trying to sound wounded.
"Of course, I'm always happy to see you. It's just that I thought you would be at your party." She placed down the cup and moved to put her arms around him, noticing for the first time Data was with him.
"I love you," Will told her as she wound her arms around his waist, he didn't care who heard what he had to say.
"I know that, Will."
"No, I mean I really love you," he was almost pleading with her to understand, but what he hadn't realized was that she did understand, she always had.
Carefully she traced the contours of his face, her fingers coming to rest on his cheek. She concentrated on his feelings, finding it a little difficult to break through the haze from the alcohol.
"I know," she repeated taking hold of his hand and placing it over his heart. "I feel it, and I see it every time I look in your eyes."
Beverly discreetly moved past the couple taking Data out with her, he agreed to move from the door only once Beverly had assured him it was her expert opinion as a Doctor that Commander Riker was in the best of hands.
"Are you okay?" Deanna asked Will as he pulled her closer and rested his cheek on the top of her head.
"Perfect, now that I'm here with you," he closed his eyes feeling a wave of calm overcome him.
"What happened to your party?"
"It was a guy thing, you wouldn't be interested."
"Wouldn't be interested or you don't want me to know," she smiled.
When he hadn't answered she thought he was trying to hide something and brushed his mind with her own. Finding no signs of deception only tiredness, she realized he was falling asleep.
"Will," she nudged him gently and pulled away. "Let's go lie down, we've got a big day tomorrow."
He followed her unresisting to the bedroom and lay down, closing his eyes instantly. Removing his clothes she picked up the slight smell of the alcohol on his shirt, she wondered just what they had gotten up to tonight but figured with the way the gossip worked on the Enterprise she would find out soon enough.
Curling up beside him, she studied his face as if it was the first time she had seen it. She immersed herself in every fine detail, until his eyes opened revealing a blueness more than powerful than a Betazoid sky.
She placed her finger over the dimple in his chin and ran it back and forth, the only sound was that of their joined breathing. Slowly she leaned forward pressing her lips to his, growing in intensity by the second, the kiss came to an end too soon for Will when Deanna pulled away to speak.
"I love you, Will Riker, and tomorrow we begin the rest of our lives together."
Will smiled at her and she laid her head on his shoulder, his arms wrapped around her. "I think we should have two honeymoons, since we're having two ceremonies," he said shuffling to get comfortable.
Deanna laughed. "Well at least we get two wedding nights."
Will's smiled widened. "I'd never thought of that."
"You're slipping Riker," she said playfully.
"Lucky I've got you to keep me on my toes. What are you going to be like when you're in phase?"
Deanna closed her eyes, the faintest of smiles on her lips. "Tomorrow night....times four."
Will's eyes sprang open and he felt more awake than he had all night. "Is that possible?"
"I guess you'll have to wait and see," she answered, trying to act not interested.
Some time later Will managed to close his eyes again and drift off to sleep, images of his bride-to-be foremost in his dreams.