TITLE: Happily Ever After
AUTHOR: Magen (firstname.lastname@example.org)
FEEDBACK: Please!! Send negative criticism and flames to me personally.
DISCLAIMER: I've based this story on parts of the novel "The Hawk and the Jewel" by Lori Wick. Paramount owns all things Trek. However, this story, Brandon, Angela, and Leanne Gallagher, and Samantha Riker are my own. No infringement intended.
AUTHOR'S NOTE: Leanne Gallagher met Will when she was temporarily assigned to the Enterprise. She is currently one of the commander's in charge of ship repairs at Starbase One.
"And they lived happily ever after. The end." Will said as he closed the book.
"Could you tell another one," his eight year old daughter asked as he set the book he just read aside.
"Sam," Will said as he pulled her covers up. "You know you are limited to one story a night, don't you?" Will reminded her of the recently set rule.
"Yes," she replied disappointedly. "But couldn't you break the rule just this once?"
Will was about to shake his head when Samantha threw in one last plea.
Will stared into his daughter's bright blue eyes before slowly sinking into the chair next to her bed. He never could deny his daughter when she called him daddy and she knew it.
"Alright," Will said with a sigh. "But after this, it's lights out."
"'Kay." Samantha happily replied.
"What story would you like to hear?" Will asked, already knowing the answer.
"About when you met Momma."
Will smiled at her answer. The story of how he and Deanna first met on Betazed was her favorite and she never tired of hearing it, but he had a different story in mind. "How 'bout I tell you a different story?" Before she could pout, he continued. "Did you know that I wasn't even going to marry your mother?"
Samantha shook her head. "Didn't you love Momma?"
"Yes, but, at the time, Aunt Leanne and I were going to be married," Will continued.
"Isn't Aunt Leanne married to Uncle Geordi?" Samantha asked, confused.
"She is now, but she wasn't then." Will said with a smile and started to tell the story that happened 15 years ago.
"Mom, where are you?" Commander Leanne Gallagher called out as she entered her family's home.
"I'm in the kitchen, dear," came her mother's reply.
Leanne smiled as she headed towards the kitchen in the rear of the large house. "Hi, Mom," Leanne said as she gave her mom a hug.
"Hello, dear," Angela replied as she released her daughter. "How was your day?"
"Good, but extremely busy. There were several people and a lot of minor problems that required my attention," Leanne replied as she opened the french doors and walked out onto the deck that faced the San Francisco Bay. "Why don't we eat out here? It's a beautiful out here this afternoon."
"Sounds fine to me. I think the tablecloth is in the replicleaner."
"What's for dinner?" Leanne asked as she pulled the red and white checked tablecloth out of the cleaner.
"Beef-tips and noodles, tossed salad, french rolls, and strawberry shortcake for dessert," Angela said with a smile as she stirred the noodle mixture.
"Mmm, my favorite," Leanne commented as she walked out onto the deck. A few minutes later the table was set. Her father, Admiral Brandon Gallagher, walked into the kitchen right as Leanne popped a slice of cucumber from the salad into her mouth.
He walked over to his wife and gave her a hug and kiss. "Hello, love." After releasing his wife, he turned towards his daughter. "Hello, Leanne."
"Hi, Dad. How was your day?"
Brandon groaned, "Long. How are the repairs going on the Enterprise?"
"Well, we've managed to remove half of the borg circuitry and alcoves, but it'll be at least another four to six months before repairs will be complete," she replied as they each carried a dish of food out to the table.
"Where's the wine?" Angela asked as she set the basket of hot rolls down.
"I'll get it." Leanne put the bowl of salad on the table and walked back into the kitchen as the door chimes rang out.
"Go see who that is. I'll get the wine," her dad called out.
"Coming," Leanne stated as the door chimes rang again. She hurried to the door and opened it. "Will," she exclaimed in surprise. "What are you doing here," she asked as she threw her arms around his neck.
"Can't I come see my beautiful bride-to-be after a long day," Will teasingly asked as he returned the embrace. Before she could reply, he captured her mouth with his and kissed her breathless.
"Of course you can, especially if you kiss me like that each time." Will chuckled as she released him and motioned for him to come inside.
"Leanne, who is he--Will!" Brandon said as he entered the main entryway. He strode over to greet him.
"Admiral," Will returned as he shook Brandon's hand. "I hope I'm not interrupting anything."
"We were just sitting down for dinner. Would you care to join us," Brandon asked as Leanne closed the door.
"I don't want to impose."
"Nonsense. Besides Angela always fixes enough to feed all of Starfleet anyway. Come on back," Brandon said as he led the way to the kitchen.
Will stayed for dinner and had a wonderful evening. After eating and cleaning up, the four adults moved to the living room where they talked and eventually played poker. The evening passed much too quickly for the engaged couple, and it was with a heavy heart that Leanne walked Will to the door.
"It was a wonderful evening, wasn't it, Will?"
"Wonderful," he whispered, his eyes never leaving her upturned face.
Leanne smiled and Will pulled her outside, closed the front door, and pulled her into his arms. When she could speak again, she laughed with tenderness.
"So my kisses make you laugh." Will tried to sound indignant, but only managed contentment.
"Well, your beard does tickle a little bit," Leanne teased. "Actually, I was just thinking of what Beverly said Deanna's latest plans were."
To her surprise, she felt Will's arms stiffen. "You're upset," she stated quietly.
"Yes, I am. She just finished counseling the crew. It's time she takes a break."
"But Will," Leanne's voice was kind. "Working at the Betazed Embassy while the Enterprise is in dry dock is a wonderful idea."
"I guess so," Will replied, relaxing some. "I just wish she wasn't so frantic to always keep busy."
"I think you worry too much," Leanne remarked amiably. "Besides you're working at Headquarters during your shore leave."
Will smiled as he looked down into her face and wondered how he could be worrying about Deanna when he was holding his future wife in his arms. He kissed her then until they were both breathless and it was with great regret that they parted. They each had early meetings in the morning and needed sleep. The promise of seeing each other tomorrow for lunch, and the way Will whispered his love for her as he left, made the wait for their wedding a sufferable chore for them both.
Two weeks later.....
The First Officer of the Enterprise-E and his bride-to-be walked hand-in-hand at a leisurely pace and talked about their life together. So eager was he to be married to the woman he loved and have her settled on board the ship that Will was beginning to count the weeks.
The park in San Francisco where they were walking was not nearly as private as they would have liked, but they were both on their lunch break and had to be back at work soon. That morning Leanne had finally selected the style and fabric for her gown, and even though Will could see she was dying to tell him, she had remained silent. He was now in the process of teasing her, but still she wouldn't say.
"Let me guess. It's covered with sequins and has a long train."
"Do you want my dress covered in sequins, Will?" Leanne's voice was extremely unsure, and Will hollered with laughter. Her look and voice told him exactly how her dress did *not* look.
"You're horrible, Will," she said as she caught onto his game. "It's supposed to be a surprise."
"You mean bad luck and all?"
"No, but it's tradition for the groom to be surprised."
"Is it also tradition to be married on my late mother's birthday?"
"Oh, Will, I know," Leanne's voice was a sigh. "When your father suggested it, it sounded so thoughtful and tender. I didn't think about the fact that it would be months away."
"I'm sorry I mentioned it." Will's tender smile accompanied his apology.
They had already talked it out, and he shouldn't have brought it up again. In any event, it was just two months away now, 51 days to be exact, and then they would be on their way to Bracas V for their honeymoon.
Several weeks later.....
"What could he have been thinking?" Will stormed at the Enterprise's CMO and his fiancee that evening. Hours had passed since the incident, and he was still upset. "You should have seen her. Anything could've happened."
"Will, I'm sure Deanna and the ambassador were aware of the possible dangers." Beverly's voice was calm. "You did say that the ambassador and several security officers were nearby. Plus I spoke with the doctor and Deanna is fine. They're just keeping her overnight for observation." Beverly could see that he wasn't listening and stopped talking. She had never seen him this way and didn't quite know what to think. She glanced at Leanne and was concerned over the look she saw on Leanne's face.
What Beverly didn't know was that Leanne *had* seen Will like this before. She had seen it nearly every time Deanna's name was mentioned.
Commander William T. Riker, who felt as though all he did lately was sit at his desk in his temporary office at Starfleet HQ and do paperwork, was glad to have Ensign Mason interrupt him with the news that Leanne had come to see him.
"To what do I owe this pleasant surprise?" Will asked as he moved to approach her as she came in the door, but the look on her face caused him to hesitate. "Leanne, what is it?"
She didn't answer, but stood looking at him, her heart in her hazel eyes. Will covered the distance between them and enveloped her in his arms. Leanne did nothing to stop him. It was going to make it harder later, but she selfishly wanted this one last embrace. After a moment, Will tried to kiss her, but Leanne drew away. That he was confused by her actions was clear, but Leanne moved to the windows so she wouldn't have to look at the pain in his blue eyes. She gazed outside for a moment before turning to face Will.
"I can't marry you, Will." Leanne's voice was low, and Will waited for her to smile in jest. "It's not fair of me to wait until a month before the wedding, but our marriage won't work. I think if you'll consider what I'm saying, you'll agree."
Will had never been so stunned in his life. He was so surprised he couldn't speak, but if he had been able to talk, he would have told Leanne that he didn't understand, and wouldn't understand; not now, not ever.
"I know I've surprised you, and I owe you an explanation. Would you like to hear it?"
Numb, Will nodded. Leanne sat down on one of the chairs facing his desk, and Will took the one next to her.
"Is there someone else?" Will asked suddenly.
"Oh, no, Will." Leanne was so horrified at such a thought, she didn't notice that Will had relaxed a little. She continued in a rush. "Will, I think you're in love with Deanna. I know that you two are just friends, but I think that deep inside, you love her."
Again, Will stared at her, waiting for her to laugh, and instead had the strongest urge to laugh himself, partly with relief and partly with astonishment that she was actually serious. He moved from his chair then and knelt next to Leanne. He took her hand tenderly within his own and spoke with love shining in his eyes.
"Leanne, I do love Deanna, she is very special to me. But it's not the same type of love I have for you. You and I are going to be husband and wife, and I-"
"No, we're not, Will," Leanne cut him off, forcing herself to pull her hand away from his touch. "I love you, and I believe you love me, but if you could show towards me just a fraction of the passion that you show when Deanna's name is merely mentioned, I might not be sitting here right now. I know this is painful for both of us, but it's for the best."
"Leanne," Will's voice pleaded with her. "Don't do this."
"I'm sorry." The words came as though wrenched from her. "But I won't marry you. I've thought and agonized over this for weeks, Will, and there is no other way. I'm not saying you should run off and propose to Deanna, but at some point you need to face what you feel for her."
"Leanne," Will said, frustration seeping into his voice, "she's like a sister to me."
Leanne's hands came up to frame his face, her eyes filled with love. "I can understand why you feel that way, Will, but it's simply not so. She's not your sister, and it's time you stop telling yourself that lie."
Will was again speechless. He was still on his knee when Leanne rose, removed the diamond engagement ring from her left hand, and placed it on the desk.
"I'll say goodbye now, Will. I'm sorry my decision seems so abrupt. I will of course take the blame for everything. I'll send out a notice to everyone."
"Leanne, please, I know we can work this out." Will tried one last plea.
With tears streaming down her face, Leanne shook her head, and he watched as she walked towards the door. Turning, she gave herself one last look at his beloved face before walking out.
Will couldn't move for some time after the door closed, but he realized that they each needed some time alone. He thought he would wait two days to see if she would reconsider. Telling himself that he had to make her understand, Will went back to his desk to stare unseeingly at his work.
When he went to see her two days later, it was too late. Leanne's mother told him that Leanne had been transferred to the U.S.S. Tennessee. They didn't know when the ship was scheduled to return.
"Commander William T. Riker, Personal Log, stardate xxxxx.x.....
"It's been three months since Deanna and I rekindled our relationship in the Briar Patch. I love her more than life itself. She's coming over toni- here she is. End log."
Will and Deanna enjoyed a romantic candlelit dinner. Afterwards, they settled on the couch, coffee mugs in hand, and talked; talked about the past, life in general, and the future.
"We might argue, you know."
"Why Deanna, you're acting as if we're going to be married." Will teased, with a smile. When she failed to return his smile and instead looked uncertain, Will panicked slightly. "We are going to be married, Deanna. Do you hear me?" At the moment, Will didn't care if he sounded like he was giving an order.
"Yes," she still looked uncertain. "I hoped we would, but after Leanne, I wasn't sure how you would feel."
Will took her hands within his own, and gazed into her eyes. "I cared for Leanne very much, and I was extremely hurt when she broke our engagement, but I'm thankful for her because she was the one to tell me I loved you."
"Oh, Will, no," Deanna said. "I was the reason?"
"Yes. She believed I loved her, but it wasn't until your name was mentioned that she even saw a fraction of the passion I had within me."
Deanna frowned again, and Will watching her face so closely, questioned her.
"What is it, sweetheart?"
"Nothing really. It's just that I only see and hear your passion." Deanna returned coyly.
Will's brows flew to his hairline before he slowly grinned. He gently pulled her to him and kissed her passionately. When they broke apart, Will rose from the couch.
"Be right back." He whispered in her ear as he rose. He strode quickly into the bedroom and returned moments later with a small, velvet box.
Deanna's hand flew to her mouth as Will came down on one knee in front of her and opened the box. "Deanna, my love, my imzadi, will you marry me?"
~Yes.~ Deanna replied telepathically, tears of joy streaming down her face. Her hand shook slightly as Will placed the diamond and amethyst ring on her finger. Deanna threw her arms around him and kissed him as if her life depended on it.
"A month later, we were married at the Janaran Falls in front of a small group of friends and family." Will said as he looked down at his sleeping daughter. "And we lived happily ever after. The end." He leaned forward and placed a soft kiss on her forehead. "Goodnight, sweetheart. Sweet dreams." He whispered as he dimmed the lights and walked towards the door. He paused for one last look at his daughter as his wife's arms snaked around his waist. He turned and gathered Deanna into his arms. ~~I love you, Deanna.~~
~~I love you too, Imzadi.~~ He heard her say as he picked her up and carried her to their bedroom.