By Carol Sandford


Chapter 03


She was dressed in white. Her dress shimmered in the candle light as she slowly walked along the aisle towards me. Her bouquet of crimson daisies and tiny baby's breath was so large that it almost obscured the entire front of her gown. Her veil hid her face from me, but I didn't need to see her, I know she was the most beautiful woman I'd ever seen, and she was about to become my wife.

Her shoulders were bare, revealing her soft creamy skin. I remembered the last time my face was buried against that softness and I felt my insides flame with a heat that only she could create, purely just by me thinking about her beneath me, over me and beside me. She was my friend, my lover, and now she was my bride.

As we stood side by side revealing our hearts to each other along with our vows, our joined hands connected our souls. Her delicate fingers within mine were solid and sure and I knew that I was the happiest and luckiest man alive.

At the end of the ceremony I couldn't wait for her to raise the heavy veil and reveal her beautiful face to me once more. Taking the veil's lacy edge, I began to lift, but instead of seeing the woman I adored; the woman I was about to spent the rest of life with. My Deanna. My Imzadi, I saw nothing.


Intangible blackness.

And Will began to scream.


Deanna felt the terror in her heart before she heard the terrified scream. Throwing back her bed covers, she raced through her quarters without the aid of illumination. She could have found her way to her Imzadi's side blind folded, her sense of him so strong, so sure.

Letting herself into his quarters, Deanna forcibly stopped and calmed herself before moving into the bedroom area. but her serenity went out of the nearest door when she saw the stricken man before her, her heart crying out at his pain and confusion.

He stared out into the darkness. He was oblivious to his surroundings and to the woman that was now at his side clutching his hand and stroking his hair. The woman he was supposed to love was here, comforting and holding him like he was a child, and he felt empty; blank, devoid of feeling anything but companionship towards her.

He knew she was the woman in his dream, and he knew she was an important factor in his life right then, but when was right now. Where was right now? Who was he right now? Was he a commander of a Starship like they kept telling him, or was he still at highschool, spending his days playing ball and his nights with the prettiest girls on campus?

Will Riker was lost. Utterly and totally lost.

Deanna hushed and soothed the big man's tortured mind until, at last, he fell against the pillow and closed his eyes. She watched him quietly for a moment, wishing with all her heart that Will would come back to her, the Will that she knew and loved, and who loved her back equally. It cut Deanna to the quick to know that, in her beloved's mind, she was nothing more than a blank page.

But right then, that didn't matter. Right then, her Imzadi was hurting like never before and she needed to focus on him. "Sssshhhh, it's okay, I'm here now, nothing is going to hurt you."

Deanna sat with her back against the wall, pulling Will's head onto her lap. It felt so good to have him this near again, so good. But Deanna had to push away her wants and desires for the time being and offer anything that Will needed to get him well. She felt his arm snake across her lap and hold onto her tightly as he allowed her to stroke and soothe away his fears and uncertainties.

She heard him whisper, "I'm sorry." into the darkness, but he didn't move. Deanna didn't want him to. It reminded her of times past when they had done the self same thing, and Deanna dimly realised that maybe Will had known; that he had remembered this part of their relationship; those intimate, quiet and reflective moments when Will had laid his head upon her lap and she had stroked his brow for seemingly hours on end as they talked, about everything and anything.

It was a start; a valuable start.

"Tell me what frightened you tonight, Will. Did you have a bad dream?" Deanna's soothing voice broke the long regenerative silence.

Will's voice was low, almost sleepy as he recalled the dream, "I had a dream. I dreamed it was our wedding day. You looked beautiful, really beautiful, Deanna, I was so proud of you as we recited our vows to each other."

He went silent for a few moments and Deanna thought that he wasn't going to say anymore. She tried prompting him gently, "And?"

"I lifted your veil so that I could kiss you and....and there was no face."

Will shifted, turning on her lap so that he was looking up at her, the illumination from the stars outside glinting off his eyes as he stared up at her, waiting for her response. She didn't know what to say, but he did.

"I look at you, Deanna, and I see a blank page; like I've never seen you before. But something inside me keeps telling me that I have and that we are something very special together. I'm sure if I painted a picture of you, I couldn't paint your face. It's like it refuses to imprint on my mind, Deanna, and I am so sorry for that because I know it is hurting you."

"I do know that if I could be anywhere, I know I would want to be here, with you. I know I belong here because you tell me so, and in my heart I know that I do. I have to accept this is my home, and that you are part of my life."

He watched Deanna's eyes glisten, but he still wasn't sure if it was because of the insane situation that they were in or, because he was spilling his guts to her. God, he wished he could remember. The doctor was continually telling him that his memory would return in time, and whatever trauma his mind had sustained, one day it would heal itself. She also believed that the headaches were part of the healing process, even though they were violent and painful for him.

And Beverly was right, day after day, with each new headache came a glimmer of hope.

Will had revealed to her that when he was having the attacks, sometimes, very tiny glimpses of his past came through, even intimate moments with Deanna. Just flashes that would mean nothing to others but meant the world to him as they revealed his true relationship with the woman who was his pillar of strength, and the woman who he loved.

But for now, he was locked in a time warp; A time when all he thought about was when his meal was and who he was going to spend the night 'entertaining' with. He wished he'd know Deanna then, he was certain that he would have given up his fondness for the female form and his obsession with proving he was a man with a capital M.



"Come on, Will, fight it, fight the pain."

"I can't Deanna, it hurts too much!"

"Do you want me to call Beverly?"

"NO! no...I just need a minute.....I..."

Deanna could do nothing more than watch as the giant man clutched his head, closed his eyes and slumped to the floor in a dead feint. "WILL!!!!! Troi to Crusher, medical emergency in Commander Riker's quarters. Hurry!"

I'm on my way, Deanna.

When Beverly Crusher raced through the doors to Commander Riker's quarters, she came face to face with a nightmare. On his way to the floor, Will had inadvertently hit the floor, hard. She could already see the blue shadow coming through at his temple. A quick scan told her that Will wasn't in any immediate danger other than the bruise. Pressing the hypo to his neck, they both anxiously waited for him to rouse.

Will heard the voices above him, ordering him to waken. He was sure he'd heard this self same conversation not so long ago. Maybe it was the same one. Maybe he'd fallen asleep again and they were trying to wake him up.

"Come on, Will, open your eyes, I know you're in there."

Will grimaced against the bright lights beneath his heavy eyelids and the dull ache in his head

He heard a distinctive gasp from beside him; Deanna, Deanna Troi, the woman who ruled his life with his blessing. But her words confused him, "It's Will, Beverly!" Will knew she was crying just by the tone of her voice. He listened for a few more moments, shamelessly letting them believe he was still unable to open his eyes. He relished the tender fingertips tracing his face. He wallowed in the sensuous thoughts that ran rampant through her. He mildly wondered if he had ~been~ somewhere, but he couldn't remember.

It was time to stop the charade, "Can't you ladies ever let a guy get some sleep?"

He opened one blue eye, the one that didn't hurt and stared up at the two women that hovered open-mouthed above him. He knew he was okay when his darling Doctor shot back a smart reply, "Sure, Commander, we can leave you to eat the carpet, but I want you in bed please, preferably under your own steam, you've gotten rather...heavy in your ageing years."

At that he opened both eyes, offence poured from him, "I'll have you know I weigh exactly the same as I did when I boarded the Enterprise!"

Beverly snorted, "Yes, Commander, your ego may weigh the same, but that's about all."

But by then, she was talking to herself. Will's eyes had found his Imzadi's and were locked in an intimate reunion. Beverly muttered as she stood, "That's my cue to leave you guys in peace. Drop by sickbay later, Commander. That's an order."

Will broke eye contact long enough to glance at his departing m.o. "Sure thing, Doc." before the doors had closed, the two lovebirds were drinking in each others features almost like it was the first time they'd met.

But then Deanna smiled, and he smiled back. He took her hand and kissed her knuckles, his eyes never leaving hers. "Hi."

She grinned back, "Hi."

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