By Carol Sandford


Chapter 01


The crowded room buzzed with a variety of noises. Some people whispered between themselves, and some voices were playful as giggles frequently broke through the steady, comfortable atmosphere.

It was a place for relaxing. That's why everybody on board frequented the Ten Forward lounge; To relax and catch up with friends and loved ones at the end of a shift.

Everybody, that was, but her.

Everyone ignored the red-head that sat at the bar, but not unkindly. She had arrived on her own, and seemingly wanted to remain that way because she made no move to approach anyone.

Beverly Crusher sat with her back against the bar quietly surveying the occupants of the room. She had been in the lounge for near on an hour and had lost count of how many drinks she had consumed.

She had told the barman in no uncertain terms to keep her glass filled, 'with the real stuff. I need to get drunk!' And she was slowly but surely, and blissfully, beginning to feel it's effects.

Beverly was heart-achingly lonely. The first man that she had fallen in love with since Jack had died; gone. Her Odan had gone and it hurt like the devil.

Draining the last dregs of her glass she indicated the need for more. The barman reluctantly half-filled it with the amber liquid before discreetly moving away.

Beverly took another healthy swig of her drink, grimacing as it burned the back of her throat, silently welcoming its pain.

Propping her elbow on the bar's edge, Beverly once more intently watched the flow of personnel come and go. Lost in her own misery she thought it was amusing to know that anyone who glanced her way would find her grinning. It was painfully obvious that she was tipsy and she did not give a hoot. In fact, the situation amused her even more.

The glass dangled precariously from her fingers but she didn't notice. She didn't even care.

The sound of the door opening roused her attention enough to glance at the newcomer. Beverly's heart jumped to her throat as a giant of a man stepped over the threshold.

It was the last person Beverly wanted to see, but in retrospect, she was bound to and she silently wondered if he really was who she was perversely waiting for.


Will Riker casually strolled through the lounge doors. He was looking forward to some company other than his immediate senior crew and his eyes swept around the tables hopefully.

Maybe, just maybe, his luck would be in and he would get close enough to an available female ensign to spend the rest of the evening with. Maybe the night too, if he was lucky enough.

A smile tugged at his mouth as Will silently gloated to himself. He was always lucky. No-one yet had resisted his charm, a fact that he was still immensely proud of.

Spotting no likely candidates at the tables his eyes went to the bar and swept along the scattered bodies that were propped along it's length.

Will's eyes briefly met Beverly's and carried on along the line oblivious to the turmoil that surrounded her, but within a fraction of a second, his eyes found hers again as his senses picked up the strange vibes that emanated from her.

Moments later he found himself standing before her, not quite believing what he was seeing.

Beverly was drunk.

The chief medical officer was sitting in front of him with a silly smile upon her face and glassy eyes and if she had moved an inch, she would have been in a heap on the floor.

Once more his eyes met hers. Everything else in the room faded out of sight and became just two people. One concerned and the other desperate until eventually, Will quietly broke the silence. "Beverly, are you okay?"

She giggled and raised the glass in front of her face and Will wondered what she was toasting as she answered him throatily, "Hello, Will. Well, as you can see, I'm a little tipsy. But, I'm having a ball. Don't you worry about me, I'm perfectly happy on my own."

Her last comment raised a frown from him. Now Will knew she was drowning her sorrows. "Beverly, I'm sorry, can I help?"

He reached out to gently touch her arm but she shied away from his touch. Will let his arm fall to his side, realising that he was probably the last person she would want help from. His heart felt heavy as he apologised quietly.

He'd felt guilty ever since he had been the temporary host to Odan, her lover.

Guilty since Beverly had finally accepted Odan's love once he was within Will's body.

And ever since they had shared an intimacy that only lovers normally partook in, Beverly had avoided him like the plague.

As time wore on after their final parting Beverly had become increasingly subdued. Odan had touched her like no other and she had missed his presence and his love like a death.

Worse than a death. Odan was still alive and kicking but he was now within a woman's body and that hurt her even more.

Beverly turned away from Will's intense stare unable to look at him a moment longer. "Leave me alone, Will, please, I'm not ready for this."

Will continued to study her, but moments later he found himself staring at her back as she deliberately turned away from him. He was loathe to leave her but Beverly had given him no choice. He reached out to lightly touch her shoulder, his whisper barely reaching her ears. "Okay, Beverly, I'm sorry, forgive me?"

Beverly silently wondered just what he was asking her to forgive.

He turned away and made his way over to a table occupied by a couple of young ensigns from engineering. Sitting astride the chair he positioned himself so that Beverly was within his sights. He was worried about her and now even more so since they had been intimate.

Will had gotten to know another side of the doctor that had surprised him and now he felt an enormous need to be there for her, but she rebuffed him with every attempt of help that he had offered.

But not only him. Deanna had been unable to help her either. Maybe given time she would have eventually opened to her, but the counselor had left the ship for a training programme. It was the lousiest of timing and one that could not be helped. But day by day, Beverly Crusher deteriorated and Will was becoming increasingly worried about her.

Beverly continued to drink but as the barman had filled her glass once more, she turned back around to face the lounge again. She had noticed where Will was sitting and smiled to herself. It was obvious that he was keeping an eye on her, even if he did rapidly look away whenever she caught his eye.

Will continued his conversation with the youngsters and for a while he pushed Beverly's plight to the back of his mind until after a while, a lull in the conversations around him made him take stock of something that had began to prick at his senses.

Frowning, he looked around trying to locate its source and as his eyes travelled around the room, they finally reached hers and his heart skipped a beat. Beverly was watching him intently. Her baby blue eyes smouldered as she studied him and Will felt a rush of something that he had not felt in a long while.

Longing, sexual longing. It surged through his veins causing his heart to thump painfully. His mouth suddenly went dry as he found himself rising to his feet, the officers somewhat surprised at the suddenness of his departure. He had uttered no, 'goodnight', or no, 'see you later'. They weren't even sure if the commander was aware that he had left them.

Seconds later Will found himself standing back in front of the doctor. A thousand questions bounced between them but not one was asked until Will hoarsely and questioningly whispered her name.


Time stopped as her eyes begged him to understand. Will watched as her quiet plea fell from her quivering lips.

"Will, I need you. Make love to me, please."

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