By Carol Sandford


Chapter 11


"Don't you think they did well, Alynna? And with only one day to go, I'm amazed," She turned to the couple staring open-mouthed at the screen at her. "and disappointed." She added, with a derisive sniff. "Little one, I cannot believe that you managed to blow your chances yet again with William."

She shook her head, riveting her daughter with a gaze that would shrivel anyone more timid. Both shoulders and hands rose expressively and, even though she was probably a million light years away, Lwaxana Troi just might as well have been in the same room. "I despair of you sometimes, child. How many more times is it going to take before you two silly clot-heads finally see sense? What else have I got to do?"

She continued relentlessly. "Anybody would think that neither of you wanted to actually BE together, but," she laughed, highly bemused at the possibility that that could be the truth. "you're Imzadi, darlings. You're both stuck with it. Forever. Eternally. It's time you both got used to it."

Will and Deanna turned to stared disbelievingly at each other before Will finally found his voice, cutting Deanna off before she could beat him to it, turning to the woman uncaring of who or what she was. "Are you telling me that you've dragged me here, from my ship, for the sole reason of manipulating Deanna and I into having an affair - an affair, I might add, that neither of us want?"

Lwaxana's laugh almost reached fever pitch." Lieutenant, you are deluding yourself. How could you not want an affair with my daughter. How could you not want to marry her? She is your Imzadi, for heaven's sake!"

Will took a slow, predatory step forward, leaned down and planted his palms firmly on the admirals desk with the sole intent of putting his face as close to the ambassador's as humanly possible. He wanted her to not only see, but feel what he had to say. "Mrs. Troi," he began, his words slow, even and purposeful. "I love your daughter,..."

Grinning, Lwaxana made to interrupt but Will's sharp tone cut her off. "Shut up, Mrs. Troi and let us have OUR say. I love your daughter. From the first moment I set eyes on her I knew that she was mine. It had nothing to do with you, or fate, or Imzadi, I fell in love with her. That WE chose not to continue our relationship was OUR choice, not yours, nor fates, nor Imzadi's. OURS."

Pushing himself away from the desk, Will stepped back towards Deanna and linked his hands with hers, his eyes locking with her misty ones, his heart on his sleeve for all to see. "Yes, I do love you Deanna, with all my heart, but both you and I know that this is not yet our time. We have been given some space to explore, not only our own hearts but our futures, too. We weren't ready then."

Turning back to the two women silently watching, he murmured. "Our time will come when we're ready and that time is not yet. We both have goals to achieve. We both want what's best for us, and we both know that, in time, we'll find each other and become what we are destined to be, without your help."

Deanna stepped closer to the man whom she knew she would spend her life with, one way or another and instinctively, Will gathered her close as she reached out for him, and together - united, they reached for each others lips and tenderly kissed, sealing the pact that Will had verbally made and she had silently accented to.

Deanna felt Will's heart beat against her chest as they reluctantly broke apart and she knew that their time together had once more come to an end. Dropping her fingers to lace with Will's she turned back to the screen and said to her mother in a voice that trembled with emotion, "Let us be, Mother. Let Will and I do this our way."

She nodded briefly to the somewhat embarrassed but immensely proud woman standing safely behind her desk. "Admiral, I apologize for my mother's interference, but you have my word that it will not happen again."

They'd barely made it to the door when Alynna's voice stopped them in their tracks. "Lieutenant, I regret to inform you that as of 0700 hours tomorrow, you are off this rock, reassigned to the USS Potemkin." She paused briefly as the couple looked deep into each others eyes, sorrow pouring into the depths at the chance they'd been denied yet again. Contritely, Alynna added, "I'm sorry, I really am."

Gamely, accepting their fate with the aplomb that the moment called for, Will said with a strength that surprised him, considering his tumbled thoughts, "Understood, Admiral." And then with a twinkle in his eye, he turned his gaze back to the woman beside him and said, uncaring who heard him, "That gives me twelve whole hours to say good night to the woman that I love..."

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