All characters are owned and copyrighted by Paramount Pictures. (this story takes place about two months after Insurrection)
Deanna Troi sat on the bio-bed in sickbay, waiting hopefully for Beverly to give her some answers. For weeks, in fact since the Briar Patch, she’d begun feeling sick in the mornings. Twinges of nausea tugged at her belly and she held her abdomen tightly as she tried to mentally project her thoughts past the pain.
“Deanna, are you alright?” Beverly came behind her, laying a comforting hand on her shoulder.
The Betazoid nodded. “I think so. Just queasy. As though I’ve eaten a hundred chocolate sundaes and washed them down with a gallon of champagne.”
“Ugh. No wonder you’re sick. Well, we’ll know in a few minutes if your suspicions are correct.” The medical tricorder scanned Deanna’ s belly, and patiently, Beverly searched for signs of pregnancy. The clicking beep of the tricorder startled them both, and Beverly immediately punched a sequence of buttons. A slow smile crept across her face and her eyes met Deanna’s.
“Bev? Oh Gods, it’s true, isn’t it?”
“You, my friend are indeed pregnant. Nearly eight weeks, according to this thing. Congratulations!”
Deanna started crying and grabbed the doctor into a bone-crushing hug. Holding each other tightly, they both cried and finally pulled apart, wiping their eyes. Deanna’s makeup was ruined by dark, black streaks of mascara, but she didn’t care. She glowed with beauty from within, beautiful and happy. She was carrying Will’s child.
In his quarters, Will Riker paced his small living area. He touched his trombone, a jagged piece of rock from Alaska, a holo of the young Deanna Troi. Talismans. Deanna. She was his future. Alaska? That was in his past, but deep down he felt a tug of homesickness. Now that they were together again, now that they were weaving together a new relationship, he felt the pull of home even more strongly.
Old ghosts, he mused aloud. Memories of his beloved mother rose suddenly to the surface. Memories of the golden days of childhood before she died, leaving him with a father who barely tolerated him. A man who knew nothing about raising a child. Kyle Riker was a driven man; success and material gain were paramount in his life. Those things left little time for love, play and affection.
In fact, Will’s life lacked those things completely after his mother’s death, only to be replaced by his father’s desperate desire to have a complete carbon-copy of himself. Old resentments flared and burned in Will’s heart and he forced himself to remember the good things. His mother. Her quiet beauty, soft voice and warm embrace had comforted him on cold nights in front of the fire after a long day of playing in the snow. His mother.
He hadn’t known that kind of love since her death-not until he met Deanna. From their first meeting, he’d glimpsed the loving woman that she would become, and now more than ever, he was grateful for her presence in his life. They were together again, and he felt complete for the first time in his adult life. Proud of himself.
Of course, his father would disagree. After all, Will still held the rank of Commander, when he could have been piloting a starship of his own. But he knew that his late mother would have been filled to bursting with her son’s accomplishments, and it was her love, her memory that urged him to come back home.
His thoughts were broken by the voice on his comm badge. “Troi to Riker.”
“You might want to come to sickbay, Commander. There’s something I have to tell you.”
“On my way.”
Sickbay? What was Deanna doing in sickbay? Was she ill? As he strode off towards the turbolift, a poignant memory of his mother intruded on his thoughts. She’d died so young. He couldn’t bear it if something ever happened to Deana. Holding his breath he managed to keep it together until he was on the turbolift, then he allowed himself the luxury of slamming his fist into the turbolift wall.
Beginnings Part 2 2/27/99 Tracy 126 (All characters and copyrights are owned by Paramount Pictures)
In sickbay, Deanna and Beverly gushed and giggled like schoolgirls. Baby names were bandied about with relish as they mixed Betazoid, human, and even Klingon names into the air.
Beverly jokingly suggested Grilka Willemina, and Deanna burst out laughing. “Perhaps K’eytral Lenara?”
“No, no, no,” said Beverly. “I think something more like....”
“Exactly! Beverly Deanna Riker. Or, if it’s a boy, how about Adam? Adam Ian has a nice ring to it.”
“In memory of father. Yes, Ian would make a good middle name. Perhaps William Ian?”
“Well, I think....” but the doctor was interrupted by the whirlwind that burst through the doors into sickbay. Will fairly flew to Deanna’s side and he noticed that she wasn’t wearing her uniform, but was draped in a dark blue sheet instead. “Are you alright, Imzadi?”
Looking at his stern features, Deanna nearly laughed aloud. “I’m fine, Will. Why don’t you give us a few minutes alone, Beverly.”
“Understood, Counselor. “ She gave a broad wink and then disappeared into her office, leaving the couple alone.
”What’s going on, Deanna? Are you sick? Have you been injured?”
“No, no, love, nothing like that. Why don’t you sit down and I’ll tell you everything.”
Uh-oh. She was using her best counselor’s voice and looking intensely serious. He sat down slowly, wondering what she was up to.
“I’m not up to anything, Will. But I do have some news.” Taking his hands in hers, she looked up at him with love dancing in her eyes. “I’m pregnant, Imzadi. We’re going to have a baby.”
Will’s heart began to throb in his chest, his hands grew damp. Of all of the things racing through his mind on his way to sickbay, this was not one of them. Completely at sea, he tried to think of a reply. “Deanna, oh my God....” was all that came out before she pulled him into her arms.
Tears pricked his eyes as he held her more tightly. Softly kissing her hair, he moved down to her lips, then stared deeply into her eyes. “How far along are you?”
“Nearly eight weeks.” Eight weeks. That would’ve been about the time that they had made love after the deliciously naughty bath they’d taken together. She was going to have a baby. His baby. Their love had created a miracle. He knew that he should allow himself the pleasure of rejoicing in the news, but fear pricked his scalp.
All he had ever learned about being a father he’d learned from Kyle Riker. Those lessons had made him shy away from the very idea of father hood. In fact, until he had reunited with Deanna, he’d secretly decided that he was never going to have children. Now, there was a child coming, and for the life of him, he didn’t know how to react.
“Will? Talk to me. Are you alright?” He pulled her close again and touched his lips to hers in a prolonged, sweet kiss.
“I’m fine. A little surprised, that’s all. Guess those new-fangled 24th century contraceptives don’t work as advertised, huh?”
He tried for a teasing grin, but Deanna’s face fell. “You aren’t happy about this, are you?” Her look cut through his joking manner, and he knew that she could sense his real emotions. There was no use trying to hide them-not from her.
“Deanna, it’s not that. I love you. I’m still amazed that I can say those words to you again after all of the years we were apart. And now, a baby. I’m just blown away.”
“You’re afraid,” she countered.
He looked down at the floor, ashamed of the feelings, wishing that she couldn’t read him so well. “Yes, Imzadi. I won’t lie to you, I am afraid.”
Deanna stood and wrapped a cloth robe around her body. She took Will’s face in her hands and tried to project all of her love towards his mind. “What are you afraid of?” she coaxed.
The bitter memories of childhood rose suddenly, filling his mind with pain and emptiness. Fears that he would be exactly like his damnable father filled him. Fears that he would alienate his own son the way that Kyle had alienated him with his autocratic, demanding ways. As the memories of childhood overwhelmed him, he knew suddenly that he had to be alone. “Deanna, love, I’m sorry, but there’s something that I have got to do right now. We’ll talk more tonight, I promise.”
Tears glistened in her eyes, and she said, simply, “I love you, Will.”
“I love you too, Imzadi. Don’t forget that.” With a sad look backward, Will left sickbaby, and Deanna found herself crying in Beverly’s arms again.
Beginnings-Part2 (cont.) 2-27-99 Tracy126 (All characters and copyrights are owned by Paramount Pictures)
“The bastard has taken away enough of my life.” Angrily, Will walked back to his quarters and accessed the computer. He recorded a message for his father while the feelings were still hot inside of him.
”Dad, it’s me. I thought you might like to know that I’m going to be a father. Deanna and I are back together and she is pregnant. So, it looks like you’re going to be a grandfather. Well, I just want you to know that I haven’t forgiven and forgotten. You ruined my childhood, but in spite of what you tried to make me into, I became someone who could love and be loved. Do you understand? I became who I am IN SPITE of your efforts and now I want you to know that I will raise my son or daughter much differently. This child will have a good life and I can guarantee he will be free of your influence because you are never going to see your grandchild.”
Anger spent, he hit the send button and leaned back in his chair, feeling the weight of the years of pain and anger hit him like a bat’leth blow.
In her quarters, Deanna faced her reflection, trying to discern whether or not she was showing yet. Of course it was too early, but she patted her flat tummy anyway and hugged herself. These last few months had been so happy. Letting Will back into her heart, into her life, had healed her. Completed her. Now, a new baby was coming. They would be a family. But Will hadn’t seemed overjoyed at the prospect.
The feel of his fear lay in her mind and she was deeply saddened by it. What was he afraid of? Responsibility? No. Perhaps the young Lt. Riker may have dodged responsibility, but not Commander Riker. Not the Will she’d come to know and love.
Puzzling over it, a sudden thought crossed her mind. Kyle. Will had never gotten along with his father. Maybe this had something to do with him. Heading for the computer, she punched up the screen. “Computer, access files on Kyle Riker.”
“Working.” Soon the image of Will’s dad filled the screen. Deanna sifted through the reports, some stellar, others negative. There were many bits about his earlier life. A holo of him with Will’s mother, another of the whole family when Will was a tiny baby. A rather sad one of Kyle and young Will at his mother’s funeral.
Scanning up towards the present, she zeroed in on the past year. Kyle’s speeches at Starfleet Headquarters, a business deal with the Ferengi that hadn’t quite worked out. And then, she saw something that surprised her. An obituary.
Beginnings-Part 3 2-27-99 Tracy 126 (All characters and copyrights are owned by Paramount Pictures)
Will was knocking back glass after glass of synthehol, trying to get synthetically drunk. It was working. The day’s troubled memories, fears and mistakes began to blur, coming together in a sort of strange holo-novel. The only clear thought that stayed in the forefront of his mind was that he was going to be a father.
Despite his misgiving about his abilities as a future dad, he couldn’t help the sudden grin that crossed his bare face. His ice blue eyes twinkled, and a for a fleeting moment he felt joy. For a moment, he felt like the young man he used to be, with a bright future ahead of him. If only he could shake the feeling that in his blood ran the terrible tendencies of his father.
Breaking through his thoughts, Guinan casually swept the bar with a damp cloth and refilled his drink. She was staring at him. Intently. As if the answers to all of the world’s questions lay in her eyes and she was longing to share them with him. “Care to join me, bartender?”
“Can’t abandon my post, Commander. But we can talk right here, just like this.” Her manner was unusually relaxed and he felt as though he had all of the time in the universe to respond.
Finally, he slugged the remains of his drink and licked his lips. “You’re a mind reader, aren’t you Guinan?”
“Now that would be telling. However, I do sense a sadness in you tonight. Would you like to talk about it? After all, that is what bartenders are for.”
He smiled briefly, and stared into his glass. “I don’t usually go pouring out my troubles to anyone who’ll listen, but I guess I do have alot on my mind. There’s been no announcement, so please keep this between us....”
“Of course.” ”...Deanna’s going to have a baby. My baby. I’m going to be a father.”
Guinan’s dark eyes lit from within like hot chocolate sauce and she grinned widely. “That’s wonderful! But why are you so unhappy about this?”
“I’m sure Deanna’s wondering the same thing right about now. It’s complicated.”
“Emotions usually are.”
“You see, my father...well, he isn’t really fit to claim the title and I feel like the ground has disappeared from underneath my feet. I haven’t got the first clue about being a parent. I was taught to rigidly control my emotions, to be perfect, to excel at everything I attempted. I was to become the perfect Starfleet Officer. Well, I’ve got Starfleet down pat, but no one ever taught me how to just be Will. How can I love and nurture a child when I never had those things given to me?”
He looked so pained, so much like a little boy himself, that Guinan had to restrain the motherly urge to hug him. “Will, the fact that you are asking these questions shows that you’re ahead of the game. You obviously care about this child already and what kind of life you’ll be able to give him. That shows that you’ve had love and nurturing at some point in your life.”
“Well, I did have five years with Mom before she died, and of course there’s Deanna. She is so full of love and compassion-anything I’ve learned about those things, I’ve learned from her.”
Folding her arms, Guinan smiled again. She looked satisfied with herself; like a fortune-teller who had just gifted Will with a wonderful prediction of the future. “You see? You’re not as unsuited to fatherhood as you thought.”
“I don’t know, Guinan. I’ve let Deanna down in the past, I’ve hurt her. Now that we’re back together, I couldn’t live with myself if I let her down. I don’t want to ever disappoint her. Not ever again.”
“How could you? Handsome face, big heart.....”
“Wooden leg?” he joked.
She laughed. “That too. Now why don’t you get out of here before you fall off that barstool?”
“Aye aye, Captain.” He snapped a mock-salute at her and winked. Then, mustering his courage, he headed for Deanna’s quarters. He’d left her alone long enough.
Beginnings-Part 4 3-4-99 Tracy126 (All rights owned by Paramount Pictures) P.S. This part might be PG-13(I’m trying to keep it clean!LOL)
Deanna stared at her computer screen, stunned and saddened. An obituary for Will’s father had popped up in his file and she wasn’t sure how to deal with it. There had been no news from Starfleet regarding his death, yet according to the reports, he’d died two weeks before in a Klingon prison camp. The report was sketchy, saying only that the Klingon High Council had found his body in his cell, and that he’d apparently died of natural causes. Attemps to investigate the matter further were stalled by Chancellor Gowron, and Kyle Riker’s body was supposedly shipped to Earth; to be recieved by his old friend Johnathan Perry.
A prison camp? Kyle Riker? What had he done? She knew that he acted as ambassador for Starfleet upon occasion and no doubt had visited Q’onos, but she couldn’t believe he’d engaged in treachery so devious as to wind up in the worst of all possible places on the planet. The only thing worse than a Klingon prison was a Cardassian death camp. And now he was dead.
It seemed peculiar, and Deanna felt a wave of apprehension as she re-read the words on her computer screen. Something was not right about this. Slapping her communicator she called for Will. “Troi to Riker.”
“Can you come to my quarters, Imzadi? It’s important.”
“On my way. Riker out.”
While she waited, she wondered how she was going to tell Will. It would take everything she had to keep him aboard the Enterprise once he heard the news. Well, if he tried to leave, she would simply go with him. Smiling ruefully, she realized he’d never go for that. Not with her in the beginning stages of pregnancy.
The door chime sounded, pulling her out of her reverie, and she called for the door to open. Will wandered in, carrying a huge vase full of red roses studded with baby’s breath. “Are those for me, Commander?”
“Unless you can think of another beautiful woman I should give them to,” he teased.
“I think I’ll keep them, if you don’t mind.”
She took them and placed them on the dining table, then he came from behind and grabbed her in a tight hug. She spun to face him and kissed him full on the lips. “Wow, what did I do to deserve that?”
“Nothing. Actually, you were a very bad boy leaving me alone like that earlier. What happened, Imzadi? Why were you afraid?”
Chagrined, he sat down on the sofa and met her eyes. “I’m really sorry, Deanna. What I did was inexcusable, but I hope you’ll forgive me. I was surprised, and the news brought up every inadequacy I’d ever felt as a child. You know how I feel about my father, and well, I guess I was afraid that I wouldn’t be able to do a better job than he did.”
“But Will, you’re not Kyle. You’ll be a great father.”
“I promise to try, my love. I had a long talk with Guinan just now, and she helped me see that it doesnt’ have to be like my own childhood was. I want this baby, Deanna, and I want to be a good father. Will you help me?”
“Of course. We’ll do this together, Imzadi. Together we will learn to become parents, and you know, if my mother can do it, I don’t think we’ll have any problem.”
“Deanna, I’m so happy. You’re the very best thing that ever happened to me and I love you. I love you so much.” They hugged tightly, barely breathing and Deanna kissed him, trying to savor the moment, before the time came and she had to blow Will’s world apart. “Wanna fool around, Ms. Troi?”
His blue eyes flashed with sudden desire and affection and she was sorely tempted to forget her news and drag him into the bedroom. But her concious pricked her, and she held his face in her hands. “I’d love to, Commander. Later. Right now, there’s something that I have to tell you.”
Instantly serious, Will looked down at her with concern. “It’s not the baby, is it? The baby’s alright?”
“Yes, yes, he’s fine, Imzadi. It’s something else, and I don’t quite know how to tell you.”
“Take your time, I’m listening.”
She took a deep breath and explained how lost she’d felt when he’d left her in sickbay. How she’d assumed it had something to do with his own childhood, and decided to look up information on his father. “Then, as I looked through the files, I found something that I wasn’t expecting, Will.”
“What is it? What did you find?”
She stared at him, and he noticed that tears hung unshed in her beautiful dark eyes. “Kyle.....Kyle’s dead, Imzadi. I found his obituary in the reports. He died two weeks ago on Q’onos. They’ve sent his body back home......”
Will’s face drained of all color and he felt a roaring sound in his ears. “My father, he’s....he’s dead? What happened?”
“According to the report, he died in a Klingon prison camp. Chancellor Gowron deemed it of natural causes, and his body was shipped home to Earth.”
“What? A prison camp? What in hell is going on?”
“I don’t know Will. That’s all that was in the report.”
“Who claimed his body?”
“A man named Jonathan Perry. He lives in Alaska near your father’s home. He buried him next to your mother, Will.”
“Jonathan. He’s dad’s best friend. Why didn’t he contact me? Why didn’t Starfleet?”
“I don’t know. But I think we ought to look into it. Something doesn’t seem right to me, Will. Perhaps you’d better read the report.”
He nodded and sat in front of her computer, trying to make sense of all she’d told him. Reading the information didn’t make it any clearer, there was nothing new to learn. He would have to get in touch with Jonathan. And then, perhaps make a little trip to Q’onos.
He was silent for so long that Deanna finally wound her arms around his neck from behind and asked if he was alright. “I don’t know, Deanna. l’m shocked. Just this afternoon I sent him a message. God, I was so angry. I wanted him to know about the baby, that he’d never see him. I wanted him to know how much I hated him. Now he’ll never know.”
Holding his face in his hands, he fought unwanted tears. The last thing he cared to do was cry over the old bastard. Better to stay angry. Thinking of the Klingons and wondering what they’d done to his father did the trick. He stood and pulled Deanna into his arms. Kissing her mouth, her throat, her neck. His hands swept along her back and cupped her backside.
She felt herself responding, knowing that he was furious and dying to spend his anger by making love to her. She loved him enough to let him. As they tumbled to the sofa, Will stayed silent, removing his clothes. Then, he reached for her and gently removed her uniform, leaving a loving pat on her tummy. He was forcing himself to be gentle, although he longed to ravish her like the hero in an old romance novel.
They lay together, making love with a fierceness that both frightened and excited her, and she urged him on, loving him, healing him with her mouth, her body. Finally, they finished and lay spent in each other’s arms.
When they were able to speak again, Will murmured, “I’m going home, Deanna. I’m going to go home and then I’m going to Q’onos. I’m going to find out what the hell happened to my father.”
She rubbed his back and kissed his bare cheeks softly. “I understand. I knew that you’d feel this way. But Will, I want to go with you.”
He shook his head. “I won’t put you and the baby in danger. Not now, not when I’ve found you again and we’re going to be a family.”
“Alright. But you’ll be careful, won’t you?”
“Of course. I have you to come home to. Tomorrow I’ll ask the Captain for leave and then....”
“And then you’ll find out what really happened to your father.”
He nodded. She murmured her love, but privately she was trying to figure out a way to join him on this trip without him finding out. Perhaps she could sneak aboard the shuttle craft. Looking at his beloved face, she knew she had to try. Thank Gods he couldn’t read minds-he was going to be furious when he found out what she was planning.
Beginnings-Part 5 3-8-99 Tracy 126 (All characters owned by Paramount Pictures)
“Deanna, I love you. I’ll be back soon-I promise. Keep yourself and our child safe for me, alright? Sorry I couldn’t take you with me, I just couldn’t chance anything happening to you. Don’t stay angry too long, Imzadi.”
Deanna shook her head as she read the note on her PADD that Will had left on the bedside table. That man!! Oh, he made her furious! Looking at her chrono, she noticed that the alarm had been turned off. Damn him, he must’ve known she’d try to get up early and join him. Now he was probably half-way to Earth on the Hawkings-there was no way she’d catch up to him even if she could talk the Captain into a side-trip back to Earth. He was fast, and played games with the warp drive. If she knew Will he’d be flying at warp 9.5 just to get home before sunset.
She dressed slowly, trying to formulate an alternate plan. As she pulled on her uniform and dressed her hair an idea fluttered into her mind. She smiled, knowing that her favorite Commander was not going to like it. At the desk she called up the computer and sent her mother a communique.
Lwaxana herself appeared and she was obviously entertaining company, for a naked man stood behind her, blushing. “Little One! Well, aren’t you one for timing? I’m afraid I have company at the moment, dear. Can I get back to you?”
Deanna suppressed the urge to giggle. “Of course. But I do have one quick favor Mother. It’s important, but I’ll explain everything to you later. Here’s what I need you to do......”
She outlined her plan to her mother and as they signed off, she offered a wave to the embarassed human still cloaked in Lwaxana’s flowing robes. Now all she had to do was wait a few moments and soon she’d be hot on Will’s tail with a perfectly good excuse to do so.
Will’s shuttle veered through the starry expanse of space, hurtling towards Earth. The Enterprise hadn’t been very far from its home planet when he’d made his decision to go home, so it was only going to take him a short time. By now Deanna would have found his note and he smiled, imagining her furious Betazoid glare. She’d understand eventually. He had to do this by himself. But more than that, he had to keep his family safe. It was one thing to risk himself , but he’d be damned if he’d risk Deanna.
Landing in an open meadow smack in the middle of the state of Alaska hours later, he breathed a sigh of relief. He’d made it. A journey that should’ve taken days was made in less than one by Geordi’s wonderful rigging of the shuttle’s warp system. Even if Deanna did get it in her head to follow, none of the Enterprise’s other shuttles could match the warp power of the Hawking’s. Not yet, anyway.
Stiffly moving outdoors, he stood and stretched, staring at the incredibly beautiful expanse of blue, cloudless sky. It was colder than he’d imagined, but he wore a warm black jacket over his civilian clothes and had packed other necessities. As long as the old house was still heated, he’d be fine. Grabbing his carry-on, he headed for the main road that led straight into town, and let his mind wander on the way to the house. Memories danced around him like living beings, and he forced himself to keep walking. It would be easy to sit down and just let his mind play with the images, but it was cold and getting dark. There would be plenty of time for emotions once he was firmly ensconsed in front of a roaring fire in the old log cabin.
Deanna tossed on a lavender coat over her civilian clothes and stopped by sickbay for a medical kit. Hugging Beverly good-bye, she made one final stop. The Captain’s ready-room. Inside, Jean-Luc was sipping tea and staring at the computer screen. “Counselor. You’ve got good timing. Sit down. I got your message in my quarters, is everything alright?”
Behind her back she crossed her fingers, a child-like human quirk that she did each and every time she prepared to tell a lie. “Yes, Deanna. I recieved a communique from Betazed a few moments ago from your mother. She’s in quite a state and has declared that she needs you at home at once.”
“Mother? She’s not ill, is she?”
“No, no, but she did seem concerned. A family emergency. She didn’t go into detail nor did I ask her too. Right now we’re able to afford to grant you some leave, Counselor, so why don’t you take one of the shuttles and head for Betazed? Your mother wanted me to bring you to her myself, but as I expained to her, the Enterprise is preparing to negotiate with a new planet in this sector-we can’t afford to leave the area at present.”
“I understand, sir. How many days leave do I have?”
“We’re going to be here awhile, Counselor. Take two or three weeks. But keep in contact while you’re away; you never know when we might need your services.”
“Understood. And, thank-you sir. I’ll take care of this matter and be back aboard as soon as possible.”
“Good luck, Deanna.”
She nodded, and hid a secretive smile as she left the room and headed for the turbolift. There would be plenty of shuttles to choose from-the only question was, which one was the fastest? Quelling the spurt of guilt that crept up her spine, she focused on the job at hand. Hopefully, if all went well, she’d be back aboard before the Captain realized her charade. With Will on leave, it was doubtful that Picard would’ve let her follow him. In fact, knowing Jean-Luc, he would’ve gently persuaded her to leave him be. He couldn’t know how much she needed to be with him or how much Will would need her. She despised the deception, but it was the only sure way to get off the ship. Lwaxana would field any communications for her from the Captain, so that part was settled. Now all she had to do was fly to Alaska and find her Imzadi.
Darkness enveloped the woods surrounding the Riker home, and Will stared out into it, emptiness filling him. Tired, hungry, angry, he felt depleted, as if there were not enough motivation to even leave his chair to fix dinner. The larger reason for his lethargic response was the dreaded call he had to make to Jonathan. He wanted answers, had torn off in a fury to get them, but now that he was here, he wasn’t sure he wanted to hear what the man had to say.
“Dammit, Riker, get a move on,” he scolded himself and flicked on the computer on the desk near the sliding glass doors. Taking a deep breath, he contacted Perry. The latter’s features appeared moments later, and he hadn’t changed much in the fifteen years since Will had seen him. Ginger hair was now dotted with gray, but the boyish face still held a smattering of freckles. He looked so innocent, like a 24th-century Howdy Doody, that Will almost smiled. Almost.
“Why, William! I didn’t expect to hear from you.”
“Obviously not. I just found out about Dad. Why the hell didn’t you contact me yourself? Was I just supposed to find out by accident on my next shore leave?”
The old man looked chagrined. “I’m sorry, William. It’s a rather complicated story. Perhaps we should meet and I’ll fill you in. What do you say?”
What could he say? He hadn’t come all this way for nothing. “Alright. Make it 20:00 hours here at Dad’s place.”
“I’ll be there. Oh, and William?”
“Yes?” “It’s really good to see you again.”
Will frowned at that. Jonathan had been like a brother to Kyle, which hadn’t exactly endeared him to Will. Well, in an hour or so he’d find out what the hell was going on. Pacing the house like a caged tiger, he wondered if he could wait that long.
En route to Earth, Deanna keyed in a beautiful Betazoid opera to accompany her. The music lifted her spirits, reminding her of simpler times when she was a young woman living with her mother. Mother. She still hadn’t told her about the baby. To be fair, there hadn’t really been a chance. Things had happened so fast that the fact of her pregnancy had barely registered with Deanna, and she patted her tummy apologetically.
Although she didn’t possess Kyle Riker’s address, she was confident that she’d find Will fairly easily. Their mental bond had increased in the last few weeks, and when she entered Earth’s orbit hours later, she could just barely sense his presence. Without her Betazoid gifts, she’d probably get seriously lost.
But, by the time she touched down in Valdez, her mind was positively humming with the thoughts of her Imzadi, and she used them as a sort of homing beacon to find out Will’s location. Soon, she found herself on a well-worn path that curled through the trees and up around the house. It was a beautiful, old-fashioned log cabin-two stories with a wrap-around porch. Two white adirondack chairs flanked the porch steps, and briefly she imagined she and Will sitting in them, watching their little one playing in the woods.
At the door she paused, hearing two raised male voices inside. Through the window, she could see Will and an older man. Jonathan Perry, no doubt. She watched for few minutes until the front door flew open and banged against the wall. The older man nearly fell down the steps as he endeavored to leave, and Will stood in the door way, looking like a bull ready to charge its bullfighter.
He stared as he caught sight of her, barely believing that she was real. “Deanna?”
Their eyes met and he realized that he wasn’t dreaming, she was really there on the porch. “Deanna, what the hell are you doing here?”
“There’s a nice, romantic way to greet the mother of your future-child.” she deadpanned.
“Oh, Imzadi, I’m sorry. It’s not you. Please, come in.” He brought her in out of the cold and placed her on a comfortable chair in front of the fire.
Perplexed he started to question her, but she raised a hand, stopping him. “I couldn’t let you go through this alone, Will. Not now.”
“You are the most stubborn woman I’ve ever known. I should’ve known you’d pull a stunt like this. What am I going to do with you?” Pulling her close, he smelled the delicious scent of lilacs. Kissing her, he found his anger slowly cooling to a mere explosion instead of a nuclear meltdown. “I’m flattered that you came after me, Deanna. But I really wish you’d stayed on the Enterprise where it was safe.”
“And let you tangle with Jonathan Perry by yourself? Besides, I’m pregnant Will, not terminally ill. I can still pilot a shuttlecraft.”
“You’re right. I don’t mean to treat you like a little girl. Hey, since you’re here, why don’t you use those powers of yours to tell me what my visitor was feeling?”
She smiled, happy to oblige. “I sensed a deep sadness, laced with resentment. I also caught a flash of guilt, but he quickly repressed it.”
“Resentment? He resents me?”
“Or, quite possibly your father. I really couldn’t tell. Listen, do you want to tell me what you two were arguing about?”
His eyes looked suddenly stormy, unreadable. “We were arguing about this....” handing her a PADD he folded his arms and stared at it angrily.
She read a few pages and felt her heart sink into her stomach. Will’s father had cut him off. He made only small mention of him, and only to say that in the event of his untimely death, he preferred not to have his only son notified. On top of that, he’d left everything he owned to Jonathan Perry. No wonder Will was angry.
“I’m so sorry, Imzadi. I just can’t believe this. What was he thinking?”
“Hell if I know.”
“Will, this is hard enough to deal with, but I have to know-did Jonathan tell you why your father was in prison?”
A look of intense disgust lit Will’s features. “Yes. It seems my father, ramrod-straight Kyle Riker was working as a spy for the Cardassian government.”
“What? You’ve got to be kidding!”
“Afraid not. My perfect father was spying and getting paid pretty well for it. When they caught him, he held years worth of Klingon security secrets in his PADD. Secrets that the Obsidian Order would have been happy to have.”
“Will, I don’t know what to say. You must be devastated.”
“Deanna, I long ago gave up on keeping my father on a pedestal. None of this surprises me, not really. What does is that he never contacted me regarding his last wishes. He didn’t mind a little conflict, especially with me. He would’ve relished the chance to rub this final rejection in my face. So why didn’t he?”
“I don’t know, Imzadi. I don’t know.” Taking him into her arms she held him tightly, trying to comfort the little boy whose pain radiated from Will’s haunted eyes.
Beginnings-Part 6 3-9-99 Tracy 126
In a peaceful grove behind the ruins of an old church lay twin headstones depicting the names of Will’s parents. Sitting on the stone-cold ground, he stared at the etching of his father’s name as though it might make him materialize. “Why, Dad? Why did you do it? Our house, the house that Mom loved, your giving it to Jonathan?”
Closing his eyes he took in a deep breath. If they couldn’t have their confrontation when Kyle was alive, then by God, they’d have it now. “Did you know how much Mom hated Jonathan? She endured your friendship because she loved you. I remember him as a loud-mouth know-it-all who constantly flirted with her. You probably didn’t even notice, did you? Well, I’ve learned something from living in your house this week, Dad. It’s not home. Not anymore. And as much as I may hate it, it’s Jonathan Perry’s now.”
He coughed, rubbed a hand across his eyes and continued. “After all of your years of being Mr. Perfect, I can’t tell you what satisfaction it gives me to know that you died a criminal. I could never measure up to your ideal image of a son, and guess what? You’ve pretty much blown my ideal of Kyle Riker. Not that it was great to begin with. Deanna and I are leaving this afternoon, and we’re going home. To my real home-the Enterprise. Rest in peace-if you can.”
Drained, he stood and met Deanna as she wandered into the cemetary’s gate. Wordlessly she held him. “This was a mistake,” he whispered.
“Not if it was something that you needed to do in order to let your father go.”
“I don’t know what I expected. The man’s dead. Why did I give into the impulse to come home?” It certainly hadn’t solved matters, if anything, it deepened the wounds for Will.
“You must’ve needed this. The chance to say good-bye, to have closure in your relationship. It’s alright, Imzadi. You’ve done what you came to do, and if you want to leave now, we can go.”
He looked into her beautiful face and felt it instantly calm his mind. “Yes, Imzadi, I’m ready. But I’m planning on making one stop before heading for the Enterprise.”
“You’re still going to Q’onos?”
“I have to. I have to know exactly what happened and why. But this time, I don’t want you to follow. I’m serious, Deanna, I don’t want you and the baby in any danger.”
“I’ll go back to the ship, Will. But promise me you’ll come home to me safe.”
“Always.” They embraced and in Deanna’s arms Will felt some of his pain drain away.
Days later, Will entered the orbit of Q’onos. He wasn’t stupid-he’d made sure to send a message to Gowron before attempting to land on the Klingon homeworld, and had his permission. Landing in a crude docking area, he stared at the unusual environment around him. Before he could get a few steps from the shuttle, a huge Klingon came to greet him. “I am Durn, son of Drogan. The Chancellor is expecting you.”
“Will Riker of the Federation Starship Enterprise.”
They shook hands briefly. “I will take you to him now.”
Will nodded and followed the man across the compound towards the council chambers. The building was massive and held a Klingon logo above the doorway. Will stepped inside, unconciously straightening his uniform. Gowron stood slowly, stiffly. Age was beginning to best him, but he wasn’t about to let a human know that. Will tried not to stare at the scarred patch of skin that used to hold an eyeball. “Commander Riker. Good to see you. Why don’t you have a seat and I’ll have Durn bring blood wine?”
Will nodded and sat. The younger Klingon brought a full decanter of wine and two goblets. There was an offer of food, but remembering the fare served on the Klingon vessel he’d once served on, Will politely declined. “So, Commander, your message said that you had something important to speak with me about. I take it this is in reference to your father?”
“Yes, sir. I learned of his death recently, along with some questionable information that I would like to have confirmed. I knew you’d be the best person to talk to.”
The old man took a gulping swallow of wine and sat back in his chair. “You’re referring to his imprisonment, to the charges against him?”
“Yes, I was taken aback, to put it mildly. I want to hear it from you, Chancellor. Was my father spying for the Cardassians?”
“You will find it hard to accept, Commander, but the answer is yes. We discovered him in our secret vaults stealing information and we confiscated his PADDS. Every secret the Klingon government holds was there, outlined for anyone to see. And the most damning thing of all-the messages were all sent directly to Gul Dukat.”
“Dukat? I thought he was out of commission. Cracked up after his daughter’s death, or something.”
“True, true. But it only made him stronger. I’m afraid that after finding your father, we had no choice but to throw him into our prison.”
Will downed a glass, quenching his dry throat. “What about his death? You said it was due to natural causes. I don’t know that I believe you.”
“Doubts. They are a good thing to have, most of the time. But I am not your enemy, Commander, and I have no reason to lie to you.”
Suddenly Will wished that Deanna was next to him-with her empathic senses she’d be able to tell in an instant if he was lying. “My father was your prisoner. You could’ve killed him to prevent him from sending the secrets to the Cardassians.”
“Yes, yes we could have. But he died before we could take that option. I know of no other way to convince you that what I’m saying is true. Why don’t you read this? I found it in your father’s cell after we found his body.”
Silently, he handed Will a PADD and politely left the room. There was a message for Will from Kyle.
“Will-I may not make it out of here alive. If you’re here on Q’onos and have found this message, then I am gone. I’ve been battling a serious heart condition for over five years now, and I’ve already had one small attack. Living like an animal in this damned cell doesnt’ help, but I’ve earned my punishment. You must be wondering if the stories are true. I’m afraid they are. Long ago I gave up on the straight and narrow path-Cardassian money and power were far too tempting. Especially since I had nothing to lose. Your mother has been gone for decades, you and I have never had a good relationship. I suppose it was easy to throw off the shackles of Starfleet and take my own road. I’m not the same man that you may remember, Will. I never wanted you to find out what kind of life I was leading, and so back home I took you out of my will and left my belongings in trust for Jonathan to take care of. If I’m dead, you must know these things by now, but what you don’t know is why. It wasn’t out of hatred for you, my son. You see, I prayed that you’d never find out about my death, and thus, never find out about my life as a Cardassian spy. But, knowing you, you’ve probably picked up the trail and come to Q’onos. In that event, I’ve decided to leave you these words. I wasn’t a good father, I know that now. Once your mother died there was nothing left to live for, or so I thought. Caring for a five-year old was more than I was prepared for, and asking for help was out of the question. So, I tried to turn you into the perfect little boy. That way, if anyone looked your way, they’d say that Kyle Riker was doing a good job as a father. The truth was, I was afraid of making a mistake-so afraid that I squashed every impulse you had that went against my own plans. I’m sorry, son. Now that I’m nearing the end of my life, I’ve got one hell of a different perspective. I was an arrogant, obnoxious bastard, and I won’t blame you if you can’t forgive me. But, if you think you can, it would mean alot to me. You’re the only son I’ve got. And although I’ve never told you this-I’m proud of you. I used to think that you were a failure because you weren’t bucking for Admiral, but I’m sure you’re a damned fine Commander, Will. I also know now why you haven’t wanted to leave the Enterprise. It’s that gorgeous Betazoid woman, isnt’ it? Maybe one of these days you’ll realize that and grab onto her before you lose the chance. Anyway, although I never showed it, I loved you, my boy.”
Long suppressed feelings filled Will’s chest and he fought the tears in his eyes. He couldn’t let the Klingon see him cry. Unseeing, he went in search of Gowron, and numbly thanked him. “You’re entirely welcome. I’m just sorry that we had to meet under these circumstances, Commander.”
“As am I sir. I have to go now, the Enterprise is waiting.”
“Good journey, Riker and my regards to your Captain.”
The two shook hands solemly and Will headed out into the bright sunlight, a small smile creeping onto his face. The first in a very long time. He was going home. His heart was light as the weight of years of pain fell off of his shoulders, and peace took its place. It was alright. He could let Kyle go. Finally. He could go home to his beautiful Imzadi and be the kind of father he’d always wished for himself. The first thing he was going to do when he arrived was ask a certain woman to become his wife, and then he was going to show her how very much he loved her. Looking at the starlit sky above he grinned. “Thanks, Dad.”