By Carol Sandford


Chapter 01


Will struggled against with, not only the thought, but his feet, too as he forced himself to remain where he was as he watched Deanna look at him from across the room, her eyes full of unshed tears, silently pleading for more than he wanted to give right then.

It had been a long time coming, this moment, and now it was here, he found it harder than he'd ever thought possible. He still cared about her, so damned much, but he was afraid of stepping over the line - the line between friend, and a friend that cared too much, and he was most definitely the latter.

"He...he's ended it, Will. He's left me again because I didn't want to go with him." The tremble in her voice, the pain in her eyes was almost Will's undoing but he held firm and he knew that she was aware that he was fighting against her.

"I'm sorry," Will said slowly, his deep voice resonating around her small quarters "What can I do to help, Deanna? Do you want me to talk to him. Punch his face. Tell him what a worthless bum he is. What, Deanna?" Will inwardly cringed at the sarcasm in his hurtful words.

Deanna didn't even to hide the blow that his cutting questions emitted from her hurt soul. Deep inside, she couldn't really blame his bitterness. She had fallen in love with his brother, his twin, his...she didn't know what to call him. Two men with one soul, each of which had equally loved her the same years before. Still loved her, she knew.

And now she had lost him again and the man that stood before her was now hurting her even more. Deanna dropped her watery gaze to her feet as she grappled with the little pride that she had left. Feeling the moisture fall from her eyes, watching it as it landed on her pants, Deanna squeezed her eyes shut, pushing the remaining tears out so that when she faced Will again those same tears would not be upon her cheeks, tears that she knew Will hated. Tears that would melt Will's resolve to keep his distance.

Even though Deanna desperately needed to feel his arms around her, his heart, right then, was not in her favour. He was bitter, so, so bitter that she had taken up with Tom and he'd shown her again, what a worthless cretin he truly was.

It wasn't that Will was jealous of what Thomas had taken from him. It was because within Thomas, he saw himself, and that, in his shoes, he would have done the same self thing, and Deanna, the woman that they both loved would be hurting like she was now, because of it.

But she had taken Thomas as her lover, even though, by choice, they had only remained friends on board the Enterprise and that had rankled, deep down. It had truly hurt. He'd wanted her, but friends seemed to be the safer choice, a choice that he had regretted too many times, especially when Thomas had stepped in and taken his rightful place by her side, leaving him well and truly out in the cold.

And now she needed him as a friend again; someone to hold as she cried. Someone to say, 'there, there, you'll be okay, you've always got me.' Someone that didn't want that. Someone who wanted more. Will closed his eyes and hung his head to shut out the longing that poured from places that had been kept firmly locked away.

Will felt her closeness and knew that she was near, near enough for him to smell her light scent. Opening his eyes, he found himself looking down into hers. The tears that she so valiantly tried to hide shimmered within them once more. She was barely a heartbeat away from him. If he lifted his arms, she would be within them, of that he was certain.

But did he want her there?

"Hold me."

Will took a deep breath, squeezing his eyes shut against the searing pain that her request evoked. But he couldn't do it. He couldn't do what he wanted to. He just hurt too damn much. She had hurt him too damn much. He ignored her plea, but she asked again, her voice huskier with climbing tears.

"Hold me, Will, please."

But it was the 'please' that broke him. It was the, 'please' that tore at his resolve and stripped it bare. And it was the whispered, 'please' that cascaded through his soul along with the one, honest spoken one that won.

{Christ, I need her. I need in my arms. I've got to have her in my arms} he silently moaned as he opened his pain-ridden eyes and watched her inch nearer still, until, at last, his carefully held restraint snapped and he grabbed her wrists and yanked her to him.

"Damn you, Deanna!" He ground out. "Damn you for choosing him over me!" His mouth slammed into hers, cutting off their shared, stunned gasps as he quickly released her wrists and wrapped his arms around her, pinning her against his hard chest as his hot mouth ravaged hers.

Deanna began to resist, but Will refused to let go, his mouth and his body demanding a response as his hands swept over her, soothing, stroking, moulding her even closer to his now aching body. She began to melt against him, and as she did, Will's forcefulness changed, too. His lips began to nibble softly, his touch gentling as he caressed her back and shoulders until, eventually, they found each other simply holding onto one another, soaking up the comfort that they needed and letting go the resentment that he harboured against his brother, once and for all.

Thomas was gone and now Will stood a chance, a chance that he wasn't going to miss out on, not now that he had her back in his arms, where she belonged.

He felt her lightly kiss his chest and whisper, "Thank you." Her arms snaked around his waist, taking the last ounce of everything he wanted to give to her, knowing that she was saying thank you for more than the hug.

Will kissed the top of her head in response, breathing in the flowery scent of her hair. "That's okay, Deanna, you know I'm here for you. I'll always be here."

Deanna sighed against his throat and he moaned as her hand rose and touched his neck, her touch, as soft as a butterfly's. "I know you will, I know you will. I just wish..."

"Sshhhhhhhhh," Will whispered. "One day at a time, okay?"

Deanna smiled as she reached up to accept the proffered kiss as he lifted her face to meet his. "One day at a time."

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