It's Four In The Morning inspired by Famous Blue Raincoat by Leonard Cohen (YouTube audio here and lyrics are here) Notes This story takes place after the end of the Deep Space Nine episode Defiant, which I think places it just after Generations. Also, my sister says she's pretty certain you can't play Take Five on a trombone - sue me, it's the only jazz tune I know. Will Riker lay awake staring at the ceiling. He couldn’t get back to sleep. He knew exactly why his mind wouldn't relax and mentally chastised himself for putting off an important task for so long, just because it was difficult. He sighed, got up and walked over to his desk. Sitting down, he slowly reached for the antique style fountain pen that he had carefully designed and replicated over a week ago for this single purpose. He straightened the paper (replicated at the same time) on his desk. He took a deep breath and began to write. Tom Will let out the breath, the start wasn't so hard, maybe the rest would come easily. His hand hovered over the paper while he tried to decide the words that were to come next. I'm sorry Captain Sisko told me what happened with the Cardassians and he says he knows some people who will be able to get a message to you so I'm trying to write this down. I'm using paper and pen because this is probably the most difficult thing I've ever done and I need the thinking time between words. I also hope old-fashioned paper will stand a better chance of reaching you unscathed. I have been trying to write this ever since I received the news from Sisko. This pen's been sitting replicated for a week waiting for me to start. I wish, I wish I could have done things differently, been more willing to understand you. Then maybe things could have turned out better. Riker tapped the end of the pen against his chin for a moment and started again. I've thought about you a lot since you left Enterprise. About how you're exactly me, but not me at all really. Reminds me of those twins who were at school for one semester in eighth grade. What were their names? Suzy and Pauline, right? Anyway, I've decided that this is a much easier way to think of us. We're twins. You're my twin brother. Hey I could have used a brother when dad was off 'hunting', where were you then buddy? Riker stopped writing, put down the pen and stretched his arms up above his head to work the kinks out of his spine. He got up and walked around his room, his gaze coming to rest on the trombone sitting in the corner. Riker smiled, "Why not?" he thought. "Take five." Soon the air was filled with the jaunty music written by the classic jazz group Dave Brubeck Quartet. Riker lost himself in the music. Of all the reasons he had for writing this letter to Thomas, the subject he had to broach next was the hardest to face. After adding in a few flourishes of his own invention, Riker ended the tune and set the trombone back on its stand. He walked back to his desk with a sigh. Sitting down he picked up his pen and started to write. Deanna She doesn't talk to me about you, but I know she still thinks about you a lot. I was jealous of you when you came on board. I might have had the promotions but there's a lot I lost along the way and when I saw you I saw the me that could still grasp those opportunities. Deanna saw that in you too. And I saw that she was thinking about it. And I hated you for that. But I'm not writing this letter to re-open old wounds but to say that I'm sorry I felt that way and that I guess, I guess I'm grateful to you for shaking things up in my life. Knowing you has made me a better person. I see now that it was you coming on board the Enterprise that made both Deanna and me look more closely at where we are now and where we are going. And we've both realised that where we are going is not together except as friends. You and I are probably too alike to ever get along - just like a lot of twins I suppose, but you are my brother and I won't let my brother rot in a prison camp. Dad knows a lot of people, I'm talking to some of them, to see if they can help. If they do and if you ever find yourself back in Federation territory, look me up, I'll serve up Alaskan salmon like mom used to make. Will set the pen down on the desk and re-read the letter. There were things he wished he could say better but he was never going to be able to, he just hoped that Tom would see the intent behind the clumsy words. Will also hoped the false reference to their mother would show Tom exactly which of Kyle Riker's friends he was talking to. If anyone could get Tom out of a Cardassian prison, it was that shadowy group of spies and killers from Section 31.