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Best Laid Plans 1/1
By Liana
Rating PG -- For Themes
Disclaimer: Paramount has all the rights, I just do this as a creative outlet. I'm a poor student with bills. Don't sue, it's not worth it.

  "Funny, the way life works, isn't it?" Will Riker asked.


Deanna snuggled closer into his arms. "Mmm....How do you mean?"


 Will stared out the viewport opposite the couch they occupied. "Well, you just find yourself where you think you are supposed to be, and you make all your plans, and then...BANG! right out of the water."

At Deanna's confused, and yes, slightly worried, smile he continued. "Well, look at my life. I had my dreams, my goals, and the ambition to carry them out. And then I met you, and just like that, everything changed. I just didn't care as much anymore."


"Liar." Deanna sat upright, her accent becoming more apparent with the accusation. "If that were true, we would have been married over twenty years ago. You would have stayed with me."


Will shook his head, drawing her back into his arms and lifting her chin to look into the depths of her eyes. "No, there was never a thing I wanted more than you from the moment we met. But," he continued before she could protest again, "I couldn't do that to you then. You deserved more then to be some Junior Lieutenant's wife."


She looked at him in utter shock, tears glittering in her eyes. "My God, Will! can you even say that? I never cared about your rank! I could have spent the rest of my life in a runabout, if you were there. All I ever wanted was to be with YOU. Didn't you know I would have followed you anywhere?"


He pressed a finger to her lips to silence her. "Yes, I did sweetheart. That's why I never asked...I wanted to give you so much more...."


Now Deanna would not be silenced. "Will, how could you ever feel that way? I loved you....I always have."


Will couldn't stand the tears in her eyes. He leaned down and brushed a tender kiss against her lips. "I know, love....and I love you....just let me finish, ok?" Deanna nodded slowly. "Deanna, I had every intention of keeping my promise to you...eventually. I planned to come back for you when I had more to give you, when you wouldn't have to want for the kinds of things I was unable to give you back then.


So, I waited. And then, one day, I realized that I had been asking you to put your life on hold for the sake of my own. Then, it finally happened. Just when it looked like the opportunities I'd been waiting for were finally within reach, you called. That night, when you said you couldn't wait any longer, couldn't stop living for me....that night, I realized just how much of a selfish fool I had been. I was so worried you would wake up one morning and realize you could have had someone better, but I couldn't stand the thought of letting you go -- letting you find that better life.


When we ended up on the same ship, I thought I would finally have the chance that I needed to show you that I could finally give you that life. But, you wanted to be friends, and I wanted to be a part of your life again so badly that I was willing to take any part you were willing to give me, to let that be enough. I went on with life, pretending it didn't bother the hell out of me to see you with someone else and imagining it bother you even half as much when I did the same thing.


Finally, on the mission in the Briar Patch, I saw the chance I thought I had lost. This time, I wouldn't make the mistakes of the past. I never wanted to pressure you, to make you uncomfortable with us, or our relationship, but I didn't want to back away this time either. I thought I was right on top of it this time. And then, I just don't know what happened.....but one day I just turned around and realized, in the blink of an eye just how much everything had changed for us, that we were never going to be the people we used to be again.


I have spent these past five years since that mission being amazed by you, by the change in you. I watched as you fell in love, stood by when you said your vows, but it was when your daughter was born that I finally discovered what an incredible woman the girl I feel in love with had become. It was then that I learned that it was never about how much I could give you, but how much you could draw from what you were given, how much the smallest things could mean. I knew that day that I should have been there to give you that life years ago, that we should have faced all the challenges and opportunities together. I guess what I'm trying to say is that I'm sorry, Deanna. I'm so sorry I wasn't there to be what you needed me to be when I could have been."


Tears slipped slowly from Deanna's eyes as she made several unsuccessful attempts to respond to his heartfelt words. Finally, she gave in, and laying her head back against the cushions of the couch, she cried. Quiet tears of grief for missed opportunities and chances not taken. For years passed by, moments not shared, children never born.


Finally, in a voice shaking with unrestrained emotion, she spoke. "I'm not....not really sure what to say. I'm not even sure I know where this is coming, I guess I just have to ask. Why? Why this? Why now? Why....why couldn't you say this before? Why not say it when it could have meant something for us....and, more importantly, why say something now? Now that it doesn't matter any more, when that part of our lives is over, the door to the past closed and locked behind us.....why turn back now? Why put both of us through that kind of pain again?" Shaking her head in confusion and frustration she whispered one final time, "Why?"


Will slipped off the couch and dropped to his knees before her. He covered both of her hands with one of his own, reaching up with the other to wipe the trails of tears from her face. "Not to hurt you, Deanna. I swear, never to hurt you...never again. But I had to tell you. And I knew that if I didn't tell you now, I never could. I had to say this because I needed you understand. I need you to know that....despite the past, and regardless of the future....I love you, more than anything in this world, always. No matter what has happened to us, or how our lives have changed since those moments in the Briar Patch, my love for you will never change, and I will never allow you forget that."


Deanna managed to find her voice through the new flood of tears she couldn't seem to suppress. "I do know that Will, I have from the beginning. How can you not know that by now? After ever all we've been through, don't you understand that you never have to explain your feelings to me, ever. "


A soft laugh found its way around the knot of emotion in her throat. She reached out and ran the back of her fingers along the line of his jaw and let them trail across his throat before allowing her hand to fall back into her lap and the faintest trace of a smile to cross her face. "I always thought you understood, Will....that is what being Imzadi is all about....feelings without explanation, and love without condition." Her smile widened slightly as she reached out, pulling gently on his hands, urging him to reclaim his place beside her.


As he sat down next to her, she reached up to wrap the arms around his neck and pull him toward her. The kiss was slow, sweet, and tender. When it ended, they both were unwilling and unable to let one another go. They stayed that way....arms around one another, eyes closed, minds and hearts touching.


Suddenly, the intimate moment was shattered by a small, sleepy voice from the next room. "Mommy! Daddy! I need you, HURRY!"


Deanna sighed against Will's chest. "I do believe we are being summoned, Captain."


Will nodded slowly. "It looks that way doesn't it." He gave a defeated sigh even as a grin crossed his face, betraying his delighted amusement.


Deanna's own amusement became evident when the cries from their daughter's room range through their quarters again. "Daddy and I are coming, Taylor." She pulled herself away just enough for them to stand and head for their little girl's bedroom door.  Will pressed the release, almost sure he knew what he would find waiting on the other side.


The four year old stood on her bed, the covers twisted beneath her feet. At the sight of her parents, Taylor began jumping up and down on the bed until her small feet got tangled among the rumpled sheets, sending her toppling onto the bed in a fit of childish giggles, her dark curls bouncing about her face.


Deanna went sit on the bed and drew her daughter into her arms. "Well, now, what's all this about, little miss? It doesn't look like a bad dream to me. What's wrong, why did you need Daddy and me to come in, are you thirsty? All you had to do was ask one of us to bring you a drink."


Taylor's blue eyes widened, "No Mommy. You locked your door...and I REALLY have to go potty!"


"Ah ha, yes....well, that does explain the jumping jacks, now doesn't it. Come on honey, lets go." Deanna immediately ushered the little girl off the bed, leading her though her room to the door of their adjoining bedroom and quickly entered the release code. She found herself pausing momentarily at the sight that met her eyes.


Dozens of red roses filled the room, along with matching candles that glittered like the thousands of stars through which they traveled. She glanced back at Will, her eyes glistening once again as she met his dismayed ones. He shrugged and offered a sheepish smile as Taylor ran ahead to the bathroom, completely oblivious to her surroundings, dragging Deanna along with her.


When Taylor was finally settled back into bed, Will led Deanna wordlessly back to their bedroom. Once there, he locked the door once again, having told Taylor that she could come up to the door if she needed Mommy or Daddy again later. Drawing Deanna close, he closed his eyes and sighed a slow sigh of contentment. "It was meant to be a surprise, you know."


She smiled a sympathetic smile. "I know Will, and it truly is...a wonderful surprise. This is so incredible...I can't imagine anything more beautiful....its completely perfect. I love it, and I love you. Thank you....for everything."

 Will shook his head. "No, Deanna. Thank YOU.....thank you for loving me, and for Taylor, and for the most amazing five years of my life."


Deanna offered him a coy smile. "Even though I foiled all your well laid plans, huh?"


He rewarded her with that smile that she loved so much....the grin that lit his face from the inside out and shone like fire in his eyes. "Well, you know what they say about all that don't you?"


"The best laid plans of mice and men...."


"...Have a way of falling right into place.....eventually."


She cocked her head in that way she had that had always reminded him of an inquisitive child, with laughter dancing in her dark eyes. "I don't think that's quite the way that the saying goes, Will."


The twinkle never left his eyes as he responded. "No, but it should be."


"As you say, Captain," she whispered in his ear.


With that she kissed him again, this time allowing him to draw her in far more deeply than she had earlier that evening, leaving them both breathless. He lead her to the petal strewn bed....and as they began to create the new memories that would further dim the painful memories of times past, he whispered the three sweetest words she had ever heard, three words that she knew she would never tire of hearing for as long as she lived.


"Happy anniversary, Imzadi.… "