By Carol Sandford


Chapter 01


What was wrong with her!? Deanna Troi had been sitting in her quarters with tears streaming down her face staring at the one and only photograph of herself and Will. A photograph from long ago. A photograph that told the whole story of their life. A photograph that she treasured.

A photograph that had finally broken through her very carefully placed blockade. The blockade that had held her true feelings for Will away. Feelings that she hated to hide. She cried harder, unable to hold back the choking sobs, her trembling voice bouncing around the silent room in her grief.

Locking herself in her quarters she had let her mind take her back to times past; to Betazed, and to the jungle. Then onto the moment she had walked into Will's room and caught him with Wendy Roper.

Then to the moments that they had shared on board the Enterprise since which were too many to remember, but every one had been tucked away and cherished. And now with the latest incident on his home planet, an incident that should have been wiped out and forgotten about.

But it hadn't been because Will hadn't let it be forgotten, and that was the problem.

As tears still cascaded down her face Deanna couldn't stop the ironic chuckle that bubbled up from inside, or stop the blush on her cheeks that rose with it. Lord, she'd gotten so drunk in that bar. So drunk that she didn't even remember Will carrying her out, much to Cochran's chagrin, as he'd hoped to meander her back himself via his quarters.

But a day later Will had taken great delight in relaying the minutes that she'd been in his arms. And how she'd trailed the tip of her hot tongue along his earlobe, plus the kiss that she had placed tenderly upon his bearded cheek. Then she'd hushed a word that she'd let slip past her lips. A word that had also been tucked away and cherished but never forgotten.

A word that had been spoken numerous times, but only in concern when Will had struggled for life when he'd been injured in some way, or another. Or it popped up in her dreams when she had been carried away with getting hot and heavy and decidedly naughty with Will, forcing her to acknowledge that Will was more than the friend that she steadfastly refused to admit to him or anyone else. Her dreams letting him to be more than that. Her dreams allowed her silent yearnings to be fulfilled.

That was until she'd gotten drunk.

And then, in that one, drunken moment of madness, she had let her guard down and allowed Will to see within the real her. She had told Will with her mind and her heart, and her voice, that she loved him, and the 'Imzadi' word that followed her declaration had fatefully sealed it as there could not possibly be any other person that she could, or would, say that to.

After Will had left her on the bed she had slept the sleep of the dead and waking in the late morning more than worse for the wear. And then she had showered and eaten, somewhat gingerly, and had been surprised when her door chime had sounded.

She assumed it was Will coming to tease her about her conduct, or coming to offer his sympathy at the headache that he'd know she'd have, but when she admitted him and saw his face, it became painfully clear that it was neither reason.

Deanna felt his doubt, saw it in his eyes, and the way he held her gaze as he tried to voice what was on his mind. She watched him struggle for a while, until her own suspense got the better of her and she blurted, "What?"

She saw the dismay her single word created, and it registered suddenly that whatever Will was about to ask was important. Important enough for him to block her out to hide how her one word had affected him.

She watched him swallow as he continued to stand and watch her. It scared Deanna enough to make her come to a stand, the question in her eyes, the pleading to understand what was wrong. She didn't have one clue. Until at last he murmured, "You don't remember, do you?"

Deanna hated saying 'no' to him when it was painfully obvious that whatever had happened was vitally important, not only to him, but to 'them'. Her eyes pleaded with him to understand as she whispered, "Tell me, Will. Tell me what happened down there. Please."

He stepped slowly towards her, his eyes never leaving hers until he stopped close enough to her for her smell his aftershave. Close enough to reach up and kiss him, if she'd chosen to. Close enough to see how her response would affect him.

His voice was low when he spoke, "You said you loved me, Deanna. You kissed me, and nuzzled my ear. You called me Imzadi, Deanna." Slowly lifting his arm he placed one hand tenderly upon her chest, feeling her pounding heart beneath his fingertips.

Looking deep into her very soul, he brokenly whispered, "You let me in here, Imzadi, and I saw."

His eyes shone with joy at what her moment of madness had revealed. He touched his lips lightly to hers, his wondrous newly found knowledge fluttering between them like a precious secret unveiled

"I saw."

Her hushed, "Oh, my God," resounded around them both, locking them in a whirlwind of emotions that climbed and soared. Tumbled and screamed, then tore each others hearts out as the impact of not only his admission, but hers, sent them both into an instant that they both wished they could replay with different words.

What could she say? Could she say, 'Yes, yes, its true, I love you, Will?' Or, 'Do you feel the same way. Can we become Imzadi again?' ?

She said, "I...I was drunk, Will."

Stupid! stupid! STUPID!

It was stupid because the moment the words had left her mouth, Will had dropped his arm like he'd been burnt, and then had turned and left her standing in the centre of her quarters, both totally lost, both utterly devastated.

And now as she'd wallowed in her own hand-made agony she was aware that the man in the next room was hurting even more.

Deanna begged and prayed for God, or Q, or anyone to whizz back time and let her put things right, just for one moment; that moment when she'd said 'I was drunk.'

Just one moment.

She began to cry again, letting the tears fall free and unfettered. It felt good to cry, feeling the hours of misery pour from her aching soul, not knowing if this was the end for them, but then, not even knowing if it was the beginning for them, and when the door had chimed again, she didn't care who was on the other side, nor did she care if they saw her at her worst.

And she was at her worst. She knew it and so did Beverly Crusher when the vibrant red-head had admitted herself moments later. But her friend hadn't spoken, nor hadn't called her the worst of cowards, or said, 'there, there, tell me all about it'. Beverly did nothing more than sit beside her, pull her into her arms and hold her.

It was all Deanna had needed; the comfort of someone who cared. Someone who truly didn't understand the bond or the power of their love; a power that had shone through enough for Will to catch a glimpse of it and cling to it for dear life, hoping above all hopes, that it had opened up the doorway to her heart long enough for him to slip inside and remind her that he was there, waiting for her.

Waiting for her.

Waiting for her.

And she had been waiting for him.

She had been waiting for him and it had taken a drunken moment to finally open her heart and let him take a peek inside.

It was a long time before Beverly released her friend long enough to move away and look into Deanna's puffy, red eyes, tenderness making her own blue eyes shine with compassion, "You okay?"

Immediately Deanna's eyes watered again, but this time she managed a smile, forcing a lone teardrop to slide down her cheek "No, I'm not, but I will be, soon."

Beverly's brow creased with puzzlement, but with that puzzlement there was a hint of hope, "Are you going to see Will?"

Deanna nodded vigorously and another teardrop that had formed, fell free, its path rapidly making a trail to her chin. Deanna swiped it away with a trembling hand, her eyes tenderly falling to the photograph still tightly clutched in her hand, "Yes, I am. It's time to let him see and feel the real me. Only this time, Beverly, I'll be stone cold sober."

  Book index   Next chapter