By Carol Sandford


Chapter 01


She found her staring out of the porthole and knew without seeing her eyes that she wasn't watching the stars whizz by. The aura that surrounded her weighted her down; made her unapproachable. Made her lonely.

But Deanna had to talk to her, she simply had to. They were supposed to be friends - the best of friends.

But that was before Beverly Crusher had slept with William Riker.

It didn't matter that it had been for an unusual cause, and it didn't matter that she had given them both her blessing to do the unthinkable. But could she forgive her?

She had to or else she was going to lose them both.

She saw Beverly's shoulders tense as she became aware that she was no longer alone and Deanna spoke before Beverly could tell her to go. "I love you, Beverly, don't send me away. Let me help. Please."

Beverly's mane of copper hair fell forward and Deanna heard the shudder of breath leave her lungs. Quickly and quietly taking the few final steps towards her, she reached out and gently squeezed her shoulder. "Beverly?"

Her response was whispered, tortured. "I can't face you right now, Deanna. Please don't make me talk about this. I just can't, it...it hurts too much."

Deanna reached out her other hand and lightly shook both shoulders, determination tinging her words. "We must, Beverly. You're in pain and I can help."

Beverly spun on the spot and for the first time in days, Deanna saw true grief close at hand. She had sensed it and she had felt it, and rode along with it, too. But to see it so close made Deanna silently gasp. "How can you help, Dee! I've lost Odan! I've lost the only other man that I have loved since Jack died. My heart is broken and no one can mend it for me. Not this time." She cried passionately.

Deanna's eyes squarely met the red-heads. "That's a lie, Beverly. I know that this isn't about Odan, anymore. This is about Will. You've fallen in love with him, but you know you have to let him go and you don't want to."

Beverly shook her head and the tears that had welled in her eyes from being caught out broke free and trickled down her pale face. She opened her mouth to deny the accusation but Deanna stopped her. "He's not Odan, Beverly. He's Commander William Riker and he cannot love you back. You are his friend. He did it for you, and he did it for Odan and the mission. What you want now you cannot have. Do you understand me, Beverly? Will cannot love you."

Beverly's face crumpled with pain and Deanna felt no resistance as she pulled the taller woman into her embrace and hugged her close, "Let him go, Beverly. Let me have him back."

Beverly went still in her arms for the longest moment until eventually she pulled far enough away to look into her friends face and saw a pain that mirrored her own.


"He's mine, Beverly. I love him, too."

And without Deanna saying it, Beverly realised the other side of the admission and whispered, "And Will loves you, doesn't he?"

Tears shimmered in her dark eyes as Deanna nodded, a watery smile lighting up her features at revealing a secret that had been hidden for more years than she could remember.

"Let me have my Imzadi back, Beverly. Please."

And pulling the tiny Betazoid back against her for a fierce hug, she said, "He's yours, Deanna. Thank you for lending him to me for a short while. Somewhere, out there, there's another big, blue-eyed hunk waiting for me."

Chuckling, Deanna pulled away and slipped her arm through Beverly's and tugged her towards the door. "Actually, I might know just the right man."

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