HOLDING ON TO HOPE

 
 

By Carol Sandford

 
 

Chapter 09

 
 

"You mean there is a road out of here?!"

Will nodded placidly until Deanna suddenly swung away from him and began collecting up her still sodden belongings, "Good, that means you can take me home tomorrow."

Will watched her stomp up the stairs as confused now as he’d been when she’d climbed out of Gary’s truck and slammed the door, telling him that, in the simmering silence between leaving the Black Horse’s home and theirs, Deanna had had a change of heart - again.

Determined, but a little wary, he followed her up the stairs to her bedroom and stood propped against the door jamb silently watching her drape her damp clothes from various limbed artefacts situated around the room. He watched her grab his pyjama jacket that he’d put out for her earlier, shut herself in the bathroom briefly and emerge in nothing BUT his pyjama jacket. Trouble was, it was long enough to reach her knees, but she still looked as sexy as hell. Will didn’t think she’d want to know that right now somehow.

Instead he changed tack, "So you liked the nearest neighbours then?"

Deanna stopped what she was doing and for the first time since they’d gotten back, and smiled, "Oh yes, they were wonderful to me. I’m glad Gary managed to find me before something dreadful happened."

"Yeah, he’s a good kid. Wasn't always, but he is now."

Will noticed the fatigue etched around Deanna’s eyes and the fact that she hovered near the bed more than told him she wanted to retire. Pushing himself away from the door’s edge, he began to pull the door closed, understanding written in his eyes and his words, "You need some sleep. I’ll see you in the morning."

Just before the door connected with its frame, Will smiled when he heard her whisper, "’night, Will...Thank you."

It was a long time before Deanna finally succumbed to her tiredness, wandering around the room touching and feeling things that had been lovingly carved or created, their presence holding a whole new meaning to Deanna now she knew who had helped create Will’s home. Now all she needed was someone to help create some peace for her shattered mind, her heavy heart and her tormented soul.

Will listened to Deanna pace around the room above him. He wanted to go to her, more than anything in the world, he wanted to go to her. Hold her, love her and show her just how much he wanted and needed her, but he’d known enough had been said and done for one day.

Swallowing the last mouthful of bourbon, revelling in the fire that burned its way down to his gullet, he threw the dregs into the still roaring fire, watching the flames blaze with protest, leaping out at him, creating a glow to his features that showcased the fatigue and worry that left deep creases and dark shadows on his handsome face.

He was tired, damned tired, and within half an hour of Deanna retiring, Will made his way up to his bedroom. Only he didn’t make it there for a while. Deanna slept deeply, unaware that Will stood in her doorway watching her with tenderness, regret, and along with the tears in his eyes, he had a little hope in his heart.

~*~

Deanna woke to the smell of coffee and bacon and her stomach growled in response. Chuckling lightly, Deanna made her way into the bathroom and had a quick shower. On returning to her room, she soon noticed that all her clothes were missing, including the ones she had draped around the room drying. Opening the bedroom door to yell down to Will, she almost tripped over the pile of neatly folded clothes on the floor. Picking them up, it was soon clear that they had been laundered.

Amongst the grin that spread across her face was the knowledge that at some point Will had entered her room and removed them. It also came to her knowledge that Will hadn’t attempted to waken her, or even slip into bed with her. Deanna wasn’t quite sure whether she was pleased about that or disappointed.

Would she have refused him? she wondered.

Never.

Will was busy flipping a pancake on the griddle when she finally made her way down the stairs, the lure of breakfast not allowing her to hide away in her bedroom any longer.

"Morning, Will."

His grin lit up not only his face but hers too, "Hey! just in time. I was debating whether to come up and waft a cup of coffee right under your nose to wake you. I thought you were never going to stir."

Deanna laughed, "Why, what time is it?"

"Almost noon."

The cup stopped before it reached her lips, "Noon!? I have to go home now, Will, I really do."

Will carefully put down his utensils and turned off the gas before coming towards her, worry etched across his face, "Please don’t, Deanna. Please give us today to try and work things out between us. And besides, it's Sunday, there is nothing you can do on a Sunday, everything will be closed."

As they stood face to face, her will battling against his, Deanna knew she’d lost again. One half of her told her she should leave, the other begged her to stay. There really wasn't any other conclusion to her dilemma. She stayed.

She wanted to.

Decision made. "Okay. Now, are you going to feed me today, or what?"

Will visibly swayed with relief before making a grand show of pulling out the dining chair and waiting until she had sat in it before speaking again, "Breakfast a la Riker coming up."

Thoroughly stuffed and more than satiated, Deanna slumped back in her chair allowing more room for the sumptuous breakfast to go down. Draining the last drop of her coffee, she made to put the cup down only to find Will’s fingers ready to capture hers.

Her eyes flew to his, sensing the change in atmosphere and the urgency within Will. She not only felt it in his heart and mind, but in his fingers as he held on to hers tightly, their pressure urging her to stay.

His next words filled her with dread, "Let's talk now."

"Will, please..."

"No, Deanna, no more running away."

He was right and Deanna knew it. As his eyes beseeched hers, she finally nodded, "Okay."

But he surprised her again when still clinging to her fingers, he stood up pulling her with him, even then he still didn’t relinquish her hand. Will steadily watched her as he came up close, so close she could smell his spicy shower soap. She couldn’t help the erotic wave that weaved its way through her, her eyes flickering shut, hiding what he was doing to her even though she knew it was pointless. Will knew, he always knew.

He gently pulled her flush against his body. It wasn’t a sexual move and Deanna sensed that and relaxed. Tilting her head she looked up into his eyes. He was scared and she wanted to be the one to dispel that fear and she did so by putting her slender arms around his waist, dropping her head and laying it against his chest; a simple comforting hug. A hug that they both understood and needed at that point.

Deanna felt Will physically relax as his own arms snaked around her, gratitude emanated through him.

She understood.

His simple, "Thank you." against her hair was full of emotion and she bit back the rising sob. Tears were for later, much later.

Unified, they broke apart and moved towards the verandah. Will released Deanna’s hand long enough to allow her to sit on the gently swaying seat, but he took it back once he’d settled, cradling against his waist with both hands. It was like he was afraid to let her go in case she did.

Deanna felt and heard him take a deep breath. It was here, the time had come.

"I always thought you were the one who left five years ago, Deanna."

Deanna turned her head and watched him intently, "And now?"

Will sighed, "Physically you left, you walked out, but I didn’t give you many options. Stay in hell with me or save yourself. You did the right thing."

Deanna was puzzled, "Then why all this. Why are you still carrying all this pain around with you, Will?"

His response startled her, "Aren’t you?"

Her eyes swam with tears at his hurtful words, "Of course, it was my baby too, Will, I loved him..."

She broke off but it was too late to hide the guilty thought that followed, "I know you think I didn’t want that baby, Deanna, but I did. It just took me a little time to get used to the idea."

"And that was what was wrong, Will. I loved that baby unconditionally from the moment I realised I was pregnant, and you should have too. If you had loved me like I loved you, you would have been as thrilled as I was. That baby was created out of our love for each other - or so I thought. You threw that away, Will. You threw everything we felt for each other away just because I’d fallen pregnant. It shouldn’t have mattered that we weren’t married, or that we were still on board the Enterprise. None of that should have even entered your mind, but it did."

Deanna gave him a moment to digest her revelations, even though every one of them had been true, but before he had a chance to put his side across, she started again.

"And then, after all that, after everything, when I needed you most; when I had lost our baby, you went away on a mission. You actually put your career before my well-being! It was the end for us, Will, you killed just about everything I felt for you; my love, my trust. Our Imzadi bond felt it had been ripped apart at the seams with no hope of being repaired, and that was by far the worst. Worse than losing my baby. Losing you. Do you really think we have a future after everything that has happened, Will. Do you?"

Will stared out unseeing at the land that surrounded his home. Tears ran freely down his face and he didn’t care. The release was enormous along with the terror that she really had moved on and was ready to start over again - without him.

This was it. This was his one chance to somehow rectify the damage he’d caused, but first he needed to even up the guilt trip, just a little.

He turned towards her, his voice husky with tears. "What about me, Deanna. Did you ever stop and consider me in any of this? It was my baby too and I grieved for a long time after, longer than you can ever imagine. Did you know that I visit his grave regularly?"

Deanna was shocked, so shocked she couldn’t answer him.

Will sniffed, wiping his nose on his cuff as the tears continued to cascade down his ruddy cheeks, "No...no I didn’t suppose you did. Well I do and I always will. That child was a part of me. He was our creation; our son. Our son, Deanna, and yet you treat me as though I had nothing to do with him. I’m hurting too, Dammit!"

The word echoed around the house until it filtered off leaving just Will’s sobs filling the silence. He still clung to her hand using it as a lifeline, keeping him sane and seated when all he really wanted to do was run into the woods and scream at the top of his lungs.

He carried on, quieter this time, "On top of all that, Deanna, I lost you. I lost the woman I loved, and will always love. I lost my best friend, my soul mate, my Imzadi. I lost my job and for a while I lost my sanity too. I had to run, just like you did. I had to start all over again, just like you did. Only I didn’t give up on us like you did. I knew that one day when I had healed my mind, I would find you again. I knew that I could never fall in love with another woman, not when I knew you were out there, somewhere."

Deanna reeled from the onslaught of his words and his emotions, but before she could answer, Will carried on, fully intent of ridding his heart of 5 years of pain and longing, anger and despair. "Only, when I did finally find you, I found that you had moved on and left me behind. You’re about to marry, probably have a family, and live reasonably happy ever after, while I..." Shaking his head with futility and pain, Will choked on his words but managed to squeeze his true terror out; The real reason he was falling apart before her, "I can’t, Deanna. I can’t live without you. I don’t want to live without you."

Deanna finally broke down, weeping along with Will when he told her what his future held without her. Dragging him across and into her arms they both released five years worth of tears. Some for their lost baby and a lot for themselves. The forest soaked up the misery, taking it away and releasing it to the heavens until at last there were no more tears to hear.

The couple stayed entwined, the soothing rocking motion of the seat calming their hearts, and soothing their tears and then healed the chasm that had kept them apart for so long.

Gentle hiccups gave way to silence. A lot had been said, things that could have caused irreparable damage, but unlike other couples, Will and Deanna had something more; something that sealed their future whether they liked it or not;

The Imzadi bond.

It held them together even though it had been tucked away five years ago, but not enough to forget, they could never forget, it wouldn’t let them. Hope had a way of holding on, and it held on so tight, nothing or no one could stand in its way. It was determined to see the Imzadi couple united, one day.

 
     
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