By Carol Sandford


Chapter 03


Beverly and her companion hurried along the stark corridors that led to the cargo bays. The doctor gently held the tiny woman beside her, effectively slowing her down so as not to draw attention to their destination. Deanna's eyes shimmered with tears, her face pale against the mane of black hair, her lips pinched as she battled to hold back the sobs. Deanna had known, as soon as Will had left the Captain that he was distraught. She damned herself for not being there. She damned Will for going alone, and she damned Picard for still being an insensitive jerk.

As they reached the cargo bay door, they took a moment to compose themselves. Under no circumstances could they walk in there looking and feeling like they did. It would only distress Will even more.

So they plastered a false, bright smile on their faces, punched in the admittance code, took a deep breath as the door opened, and stepped inside.

Why Will always headed for the cargo bays was still a mystery. It was a totally illogical thing to do, but then, Will's breakdown had been totally illogical too. Considering he had always had an immeasurable inner strength that had been admired by Starfleet's finest, he had completely taken everyone by surprise when within hours of returning from the planets surface, he had retreated into his own private, silent hell.

A quick perusal of the immediate area told them where he was likely to be. Both sets of eyes settled on the stack of containers piled high in one corner. A glance to each other said, "There". Cautiously they stepped towards the containers, and Deanna spoke quietly to the deafening lull, only broken by their timid footfalls and gentle breathing.

"Will...sweetheart, I've come to take you back home."


The two women stepped around the containers, both coming to a stop when they spotted their sufferer directly in front of them.

He was sitting in the corner, his knees drawn up but his feet and legs spread apart, and the familiar hand wringing motion played on between his knees.

Will glanced quickly to the welcome intruders, but his eyes just as quickly darted away again as his own embarrassment took over.

Seeing the doctor with Deanna, his hand movements sped up when he realized what was likely to come next.

Deanna came to kneel one side of him, Beverly the other. Deanna lightly stroked his arm, and he could feel her trying to calm his mind, but he was too agitated to let her in. Beverly moved and Will spotted the glint of silver and jerked away. He held up his hands in a defensive stance, surprising himself as well as his friends with his coherent outburst,

"NO! NO hypo!! I don't want to sleep."

Beverly moved the hypospray away, but held it where he could still see it. Touching his shoulder, she smiled softly at him, and whispered, "Okay, Will, I won't until you let me, you know it helps don't you?"

Will's eyes sparkled as he looked directly into hers, and stiffly nodded. His voice lost him again and he mouthed one solitary word, 'Later.'

Deanna regained his attention when she spoke to him, "Will, are you ready to go home now?" He looked longingly into the onyx eyes that once captured his very soul. Now he could only see concern, and pity, but he knew he had no right to feel that way. Deanna loved him without recriminations, and was prepared to stick with him, through thick and thin, but he had nothing to offer her. He felt dead inside, and he knew he looked dead on the outside, and if he did not get off this Starship soon, he also knew it was going to kill him.

Deanna and Beverly waited for his nervous nod, and both moved to hoist him off the floor. As he came to a stand, he automatically clung to Deanna's shoulders and pulled her close to his side. There were very few places Will felt safe, this was one of them, in her arms.

Deanna held him around the waist and led him out from behind the containers. Beverly picked up her medikit, and headed out into the open space of the cargo hold, Deanna and Will followed on behind.

Deanna could feel his body trembling, she hugged him tighter. He was frightened and she tried to calm him with her thoughts, but as they neared the door, his terror increased tenfold. It was then that Deanna realized that they were not going to be able to walk to their destination.

Beverly turned back to them to speak, but her smile faded as she read the panic on Will's face. The tiny beads of sweat that begun to form on his forehead and the way Deanna desperately hugged him close to stop him falling apart again.

Her doctor mode kicked in again as she reached out to soothe her patient. "It's okay, Will, we don't have to go out there, we can transport straight to your quarters, and no one will see you, Will, I promise Okay?" Will searched her eyes again, reading the trust within them, and he nodded. Beverly smiled encouragingly at him then turned and spoke to thin air. Moments later they were back in his quarters. Both women fussed over him until Beverly was happy that he was not going to go anywhere tonight, or fall apart again. Then she left Deanna to do her part in his healing process, and for that, they did not need an audience.

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