By Carol Sandford


Chapter 01


Will noticed that Deanna hadn't been the same since Tom had left the Enterprise to take up position on the USS Ghandi and left her behind, again. Time after time, he wondered who she was thinking about when she quite often, and quietly, watched him. He could see the longing in her eyes, and sometimes the misery, and occasionally, the passion. But he also knew that the passion wasn't for him. If only it was.

Without a shadow of a doubt, Will knew that he loved her and often wanted to tell her so, although he was sure that she knew it anyway. But for some reason, other than not wanting to spoil the beautiful friendship that they had forged between them, Deanna Troi didn't seem to want a relationship with him.

Some nights he would answer his door to find her standing there, her face desperately seeking comfort, her body crying out for a cuddle. He gladly gave them to her, and would have given her more if she'd have wanted it, but she never did.

Thomas Riker had not even bothered to keep in touch with Deanna. Will cringed at the thought that he might have behaved just like that if the situation had been reversed. He was glad it wasn't.

Then suddenly, out of the blue, nine months after Tom left the ship Deanna came to his quarters. As he opened the door to her, Deanna leaped into his arms as happiness radiated throughout her body and tears of joy cascaded down her face. 'Oh Will, he's coming back for me. Tom's coming!'

As she embraced his body, Will's thoughts screamed at him, and her, *Oh, no, you can't leave me now, Imzadi!*

Deanna stilled in his arms as Will's terrified cries surged through to her very soul. She tried to disengage herself from his arms to look at him, but he wouldn't let her. He hugged her so fiercely that she thought she was going to break in two. Will nestled his face into her hair, trying to rein in the emotions that were spiralling out of control. Never in his entire life had he felt how he felt right as that minute as the desolation he felt was indescribable. Hands pulled at his heart, threatening to rip it out from his chest as his body began to shake with the shock of her news. And he knew he was was beginning to choke as he found himself holding back tears that threatened to fall.

Deanna was frightened. She had never seen or felt Will this distraught before. She desperately wanted to comfort him, but he wouldn't release her from his vice-like grip. She had no choice but to let her mind and body relax, hoping that the action would in some way help to calm him. She lightly stroked his back, like a mother would her child, until she felt him quieten. Eventually he loosened his hold enough for Deanna to gently push away from him, but still held onto his arms to keep the contact that she knew he needed. Her heart broke when she saw the despair etched across his handsome face.

His eyes, for as long as she lived, she would never forget the look in his eyes. The raw emotion made them sparkle with the tears that he refused to let fall. Her own eyes filled as she reached to gently cup his face within her tiny hands, forcing him to look at her. Every ounce of his love could be read within the depths of those vivid blue eyes, and his shame at his own weakness made him try to break the contact, but she wouldn't let him go.

Now it was her turn to make him listen,

'Will. Will, look at me. I love you, Will, with everything I have. You gave me everything. You made me, Will, because without you I wouldn't exist. You are my entire life. I need more of you Will, but only Tom can give it to me. Only he can fill the emptiness that you can't.'

Her eyes begged him to understand. She watched as a solitary tear slipped from the pool within his eyes, and as he blinked, the tears ran down his face, her thumb stopping their travel as she gently wiped them away.

'I do love you Will. I will always love you, you do know that don't you? Don't you Will?'

He took a deep breath, nodding gently as he did so. Reaching out, he wrapped his arms around her body, drawing strength from her to finally speak, 'Yes, Imzadi, I know you love me, and I you. I wish it were me who could fill the void, but I know I can't, and I'm sorry.'

Suddenly he stood upright, holding Deanna away from his body enough to look straight over her head as he gained the nerve to look back down to her upturned face, smiling as he did so, his words making her swell with pride at the courage she knew that it took to say, 'So, when's he coming to whisk you away from us?' He couldn't bring himself to say his name.

Smiling, she took herself from their embrace to wander over to the port-hole to gaze out at the passing stars. 'Two weeks. He'll be here in two weeks.'


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