Author: Laura Schiller
Email: Rostockgirl AT aol.com
Summary: "Imzadi 2" by Peter David: a rewrite for Worf/Troi shippers.
Disclaimers: Everything Star Trek, including Worf and Deanna Troi, belong to Paramount Pictures. No infringement is intended, no profit is made.
Deanna ran to her mother, knelt down and looked deeply into Lwaxana's eyes.Whatever the Romulans had done to her, it was progressive, boring more and more deeply into Lwaxana's mind, like a fungus. Mother ... she thought at her.
Something seemed to emerge from her mother's mind ... a telepathic link, a bond that suffused Deanna, warmth and love reaching out as if to assure her that she was all right ... and for the briefest moment, she felt invisible hands caressing her face. Big, rough hands, but so infinitely gentle in their touch ... if only Worf were here ...
He will protect you, were Lwaxana's last thoughts. I cannot ...
And Deanna was suddenly yanked away, the link being broken with the force of cold water being dashed on her face.
Worf was on his way to the Troi residence to work out what he thought of as a diplomatic negotiation between himself, Deanna and Lwaxana. He was prepared to do whatever it took to make peace with them; he would even watch the paint dry again if necessary. It couldn't be that different from meditating in front of a sacred fire, as was traditional in the Klingon faith. He would do his best to explain to them just how draining it was, trying to wrap his mind around the Betazoid way of life ... they were empaths, surely they would understand ...
He stopped short on the open road, looking around at the blue sky and quiet limestone mansions in their flowery gardens without seeing them, as – something – flooded his mind like a wave of warm light. Deanna – he could sense her, she was everywhere; her eyes, her face, her touch, her scent ... and along with it came an urgent call of danger. She was in danger. He growled deep in his throat, his battle senses awakening in an instinctual urge to defend his mate. He did not stop to think, but ran to the Troi's house as fast as his legs could carry him.
Worf had broken Will Riker, his comrade and commanding officer, out of the prison camp on Lazon Two. He was certain it was Will Riker, as opposed to Tom Riker, the transporter duplicate; nobody else would have known that at the exact moment when Worf and Deanna had announced their engagement, Will had raised a glass to toast them and secretly wanted nothing more than to put his fist down Worf's throat. The Klingon could understand that; losing Deanna would be a heavy blow for anyone. He did not feel remotely jealous or competitive about Riker anymore, however; looking at his human friend in those borrowed black clothes (which made him look oddly vulnerable, like baggy pyjamas) he felt something akin to pity.
"So, Mr. Worf," said Will, drifting around the small bridge of the scout ship. "Any ideas for Plan B?"
"Yes." Worf spoke without hesitation, his hands flying across the controls to lay in a course. "I know where she is."
It was somewhat unnerving for him as well as Will, like watching his finngers being guided across an Ouija board by a spirit. It was as if Deanna were a magnet, and he a needle irresistibly drawn to her.
Will's blue eyes nearly bulged out of his head. "You – but how - ?"
"I have a ... a psychic link, of sorts, to Deanna," Worf rumbled, avoiding Will's gaze. He felt a bit silly saying it out loud; after all, for the longest time before first contact with other races, Klingons hadn't even believed in telepathy.
"It came over me ... suddenly, on my way to Lwaxana's. I realized Deanna was in danger. Do not ask me to explain, Commander, for I have no idea how it happened. It is a quick and direct way to find her and Alexander. That is all that matters."
Will nodded, slumping into the co-pilot's seat. His bumps and bruises from the prison camp seemed to be aching more than usual; he wished he could just close his eyes and curl up somewhere quietly. A psychic link. He would be very irritated if he weren't so tired. He felt, unreasonably, that he had been robbed – he was Deanna's Imzadi; he was the only one who ought to share a spiritual connection with her.
Another part of him, however, told him that was wrong. True, he and Deanna were each other's first love, and out of that love had grown a very special friendship. But they hadn't been lovers for about a dozen years, and with good reason – it was Will's own fault. He had taken Deanna for granted, assuming she would always be there for him to come back to, while he pursued various women (and one androgynous J'naii) right under her nose. He hadn't bothered to commit to her, and so she had done what any sensible woman would do: moved on to find a man who loved and respected her as she deserved.
The psychic link she had with Worf made it feel final, in a way even their engagement had not. For such a thing to be possible, Deanna and Worf must truly love each other; when Sela kidnapped her, she must have reached out spiritually, instinctively, to the man she knew in her heart would save her.
After all these years, Will had lost her.
"Commander?" said Worf.
Will jumped, shaken out of his thoughts. "Yes?"
"We should contact Captain Picard. If we need reinforcements ... "
"Good idea, but how? Any comm signal we sent to him would be picked up by a Starfleet vessel – "
"Do not worry." A wry grin twisted one corner of Worf's mouth into a not-exactly-Klingon expression. "I know someone who could help us. Shall we say, a close friend of my future mother-in-law ... "
Will groaned and rolled his eyes. "Now this should be interesting."
Deanna sat up so abruptly that Alexander's head tumbled off her stomach. He looked at her in confusion. "What happened? What's wrong?"
She stared right through him ... and there were tears of joy streaming down her face as she whispered, "I sense him ... I feel him ... oh, Alexander ... I sense him as clearly as if he were right there ... I didn't think it was possible ... "
"Who?" the young Klingon asked.
For the first time since they had been captured, Deanna had a wide grin on her face.
The poison Sela's men had injected into Deanna and Alexander was not just some painless toxin that slowly killed them. No, it ripped through their veins like liquid fire. Deanna squeezed her eyes shut, fighting the impulse to scream with everything she had; she clung to what was left of her sanity like a lifeboat in a tossing ocean. She must not look at Worf, or Will ... she knew Sela's plan: to use her to force them to poison the Klingon Chancellor ... she wanted nothing more than for them to save her and Alexander, but not at the expense of interstellar war! She was a Starfleet officer, damn it, and so were they!
She clawed together the shreds of her conscious mind, the few not being swept away in the roaring tide of poison, and sent a thought-message: Don't do it! Don't give in to her!
Deanna! Worf responded, his fear and concern washing over her like a cool wave. It dimmed the fires of pain just the slightest bit; it was as if he were in the room, holding her hand, gazing down at her with his black eyes, giving her that feeling of satefy and reassurance she always had with him.
Deanna, please forgive me ... I love you ... She picked up his sense of being torn in two, between his longing to save her and his determination to live up to his code of honor. She sent back a thread of understanding and forgiveness: I know you do.
It was Will's voice that cut through the room, a panicked exclamation: "All right! I'll do it! I'll do what you want!"
The Romulan immediately picked up a second hypospray and injected Alexander and Deanna with the antidote. Her first conscious sensation was a blessed relief; she slumped into the biobed as limply as a rag doll; her head spinning. One glance at Alexander showed that he was shockingly pale under his tan; tearstains ran down his cheeks. She tried to reach out a hand to touch him, but was too weak to move. Before mercifully blacking out, her last thought was a queasy, nagging sort of worry: Will, what have you done?
It was over. Tom Riker had knocked Will unconscious, traveled to Qo'noS in his place and, while offering the bottle of poisoned ale to Chancellor Gowron, publicly volunteered to take the first sip. That would have killed him, but also absolved the Federation of any suspicion of complicity. Instead, however, Odo the changeling (Lwaxana's friend whom Worf had contacted for assistance) had morphed into a replica of the bottle, ensuring that nobody was harmed. In gratitude, Gowron had allowed Tom to escape his arrest and make a new life somewhere, out from under the shadow of his illustrious 'twin brother'.
Deanna, Alexander, Worf and Will were back on Betazed, having been picked up at Captain Picard's orders by the U.S.S. Excalibur (whose first officer, a feisty blonde named Elizabeth Shelby, was an old rival and kindred spirit of Will's).
Lwaxana and Mr. Homn were recovering from their attack as well as could be expected; so was their damaged home. Moreover, Lwaxana had finally admitted her prejudice in regards to Worf.
"He fought like a madman to protect you, didn't he? ... I suppose I could be wrong about him. It's miraculous, really, little one ... there are two men who love you. How are you going to choose?"
"I've already chosen, Mother, remember?" said Deanna, smoothing her mother's hospital blankets and radiating unspoken warmth. "Or perhaps you might say you chose for me." She tapped her forehead and thought of Worf.
Lwaxana sensed the connecting thread she had spun between Deanna and Worf out of their mutual love for each other. She thought of all the ridiculous exercises she had made Worf go through under the guise of Betazoid philosophy (drying paint, chewing wood), trying her level best to drive him away because she didn't believe him right for her daughter. How he had stuck with it – resentful, uncomprehending, yes – but longer than she would have believed possible. She thought of that dear child, Alexander, looking up at her with soulful eyes and asking her why she couldn't just love her son-in-law the way he was.
"Well, I suppose we're never too old to adapt," she said, which was as close as her pride would let her get to an apology. "Only ... little one, must you wear clothes to your wedding? And you're not carrying one of those ghastly curvy sword things, are you?"
Deanna laughed and shook her head. "It's called a bat'leth. And with all due respect, Mother, the organization of my wedding is my own affair."
Too tired to argue for the moment, Lwaxana closed her eyes.
When Deanna got back to the inn, Worf was standing by the window, looking out at the night skyline of the city. It was still quiet, and it still irritated him. All things considered, however, quiet was still preferable to the traumatic events of last few days.
He sensed her entering the room without needing to turn around. She was happy; it was like standing with your back to a bright, comfortable hearthfire. He felt a twinge of regret that what he had to say next would dim that fire, but it had to be. He owed it to her, and to his honor, to explain.
"Where's Alexander?" was the first thing she asked.
"Sleeping in the next room. We have ... a few things to work out."
That was an understatement typical of Worf; the young boy was finding it hard to forgive his father for standing by inactively as he died. It would take all of Deanna's best persuasion skills to keep this small family together.
"I have been thinking," he said, without preliminaries as usual, "About when Admiral Riker came back from the future ... to save you."
Affectionately puzzled, she came to stand next to him, her curly head leaning on his shoulder as one arm went around his waist. "Why were you thinking about that?"
"He reordered the universe for you." Worf couldn't help the touch of admiration that crept into his voice. "He loved you that much ... yet I could not find it in myself to save you from Sela."
Deanna stepped back and looked up at him, an indignant spark flaring in her black eyes.
"Because of your honor," she argued. "You did the right thing."
"Are you saying Riker did the wrong thing?"
"Well ... yes ... oh, I don't know!" She threw up her hands. "I mean, obviously I'm glad I'm not dead, so I can't exactly be impartial in this ... but I never asked to have the universe reordered for me!"
"No! What Will did, both times ... it could have had terrible consequences. First breaking the Temporal Prime Directive, then preparing to commit an act of war against the Klingons ... he would have saved me – one person – even at the expense of wiping out the entire Federation of Planets! I couldn't live with that on my conscience, Worf!"
She looked and felt positively tormented; through the link, he caght a glimpse of this city, her home, bombarded with the force of invaders until those beautiful, symmetrical towers and mansions were reduced to bloodstained rubble.
"No man is an island," Worf quoted softly.
She looked up inquiringly.
"Alexander and I looked it up," he confessed. "After you told him that quote ... you feel connected to the Betazoid race, yes? And to all the other Federation members. You believe that the loss of life involved in war would ... diminish you somehow."
It was not a belief he agreed with, but he could finally – finally – begin to see where she was coming from. Perhaps those lessons from Lwaxana had done him some good after all.
"Exactly!" She lit up with relief that he understood.
"Will's actions are not a sign that he loves me more than you," she continued. "He does love me, in his way ... but you – you understood."
He wrpped his arms around her and held her close, luxuriating in the feel of her slight, wiry form and the softness of her mahogany curls under his chin. Just to have her here, safe ... if Klingons possessed any tear ducts, he could have wept for joy.
"You do know," he said softly, "That when I saw you dying ... a part of me was dying with you? Never think I found this easy." He tightened his hold on her and buried his face in the waves of her hair.
"I believe you," she said, standing up on tiptoe to kiss him. "You're a Klingon. Your sense of honor defines you. Without it, you wouldn't be the Worf I know and love."
"Yet I am nothing," he purred, looking deeply into her eyes. "Without my honorable par'Machkai."
She smiled. "Did you just call me your beloved?"
"You have been studying my language!" How in the universe had he come to deserve this woman?
"Yes, indeed. A terrible tongue-twister it is, too. But I have to admit, that word is my favorite so far. How do you say it? Par -"
"Par'Machkai." He closed his eyes and let her into his mind, feeling all the flavors and associations of the word as only a telepath can – the passion ( the scent of her blood burning within me); the loyalty (we would die for each other; fight back to back against all odds; my closest ally, my most stimulating opponent) the intimacy (she may see me let down my guard without shame; when our demons overwhelm us, we hold each other close) and the unbreakable commitment (until my last breath and beyond to Sto'vo'qor).
"Par'Machkai," she whispered, snuggling contentedly into his arms. "I like it. I'm glad we have your own term of endearment; I couldn't very well call you imzadi, now could I?"
Worf let out a small, satisfied chuckle. "I am not asking to be the 'first', Deanna," he said. "Just the last."
After many arguments (not the first and certainly not the last), Worf and Deanna settled on a non-denominational Starfleet wedding – no nudity, no bat'leths, and no attack of the wedding party. This did not please either Gowron or Lwaxana, but since the bridal couple had never been very traditional to begin with, they weren't about to start now.
Captain Picard, serene and fatherly, performed the ceremony in the mess hall of the newly commissioned Enterprise-E. And when Captain William Riker of the Excalibur raised his glass at the end of his best man's speech, Deanna met his eyes and sensed that this time, his good wishes came from the heart.