By Carol Sandford


Chapter 02


Will pulled out the padd that held the instructions on how to get to Deanna Troi’s home but instantly mentally kicked himself and cursed quietly to the private confines of the shuttle, "Damn it, Riker, she’s a Collser now. She’s not a Troi, nor a Riker, thanks to you, you dumb jerk."

Studying the contents of the padd and then into the whiteness outside his window, Will peered worriedly through the swirling snow that had reached its tempest within the last few yards or so. He had crawled along before coming to a halt, knowing that Deanna’s place was around this area somewhere. Squinting as he made sense of the shadowy outline of a building ahead of him, he let go a heavy breath that he had subconsciously been holding. Ignoring the plume of steam that rushed out and blinded his view, momentarily forcing him to take an impatient swipe at the window, he wallowed at the vision that spread out before him.

He was here. Will was finally here and his heartbeat pounded in his chest at the implications that the simple statement meant to him. In a few minutes, he expected - hoped - to find himself within Deanna’s arms, even if it was just for a nanosecond. That was all he wanted. It was all he came for. That and to see her beautiful face to remind himself of what he’d lost, and in his darkest days, what he’d thrown away.

But now that he was here, now that he was within moments of seeing her, Will found himself hesitating. And it was also then that he felt the first stirring’s of something amiss. At first he thought it was her absence; that he’d come all this way for nothing. It was a strange sensation, not feeling her, and his heart hurt with the knowledge that he was no longer foremost in her psyche.

As he continued to stare unseeing into the bleakness at her home, his heart began to pound with something else; something that he’d not felt since she’d left the Enterprise. Fear, but he wasn’t sure if it was his own, or Deanna’s, or what kind of fear it was, until a sadness whispered over him and answered his unasked question.

It was a fear of loss. Deanna, his friend, his lost love, was afraid of losing something. Something that was important to her. Something so powerful that it overrode all her senses of him. He had to get to her. Now.

It took a full five minutes for Will to land the shuttle and find himself at her hatch. The power of the storm pushed against him with all its might, holding him back, fighting against his intrusion, but he stood his ground, determination keeping his feet firmly on the ground. At last, he stood before the metallic entrance, listening to his own urgent voice as it got thrown back at him and whisked away with the fury of the blizzard as he tried to speak into the panel.

His heart and his senses grew heavier and duller with every freezing second of silence that he stood on the threshold of not only her home, but a whole bunch of other important things that Will was certain was about to happen. But each got replaced by something else as he continued to wait, shivering at her door.

The home that Deanna lived in was not large by any means. Its mushroom shaped hull rose over him like an umbrella giving a tiny amount of protection against stinging snow. But nothing could halt the bitter wind that whipped around his body, freezing his blood. That’s what it felt like as he tried once more to shout into unwelcoming access panel.

He decided to quickly walk around the perimeter to see if he could see any sign of life, or any other way of getting into the structure without having to wait for someone inside to finally move their ass to let in a soon-to-be human icicle with a temper to match.

But all he could see was a black nothingness. All he could feel was emptiness, but he scowled anew as he came back to the door’s front. Will knew Deanna was inside, he had felt her presence even before he had arrived. But another wave of foreboding washed over him as it suddenly, with more clarity than he’d felt since he’d arrived, knew what was troubling him.

Loneliness. Along side the fear was the gloomy sensation of loneliness as it seeped into him, and he felt himself go even colder at the realisation. Deanna was alone. She was afraid, in pain and alone.

But then, as fast as the eerie panic had risen, it dissipated. One moment Will had been beside himself as he joined himself with her fears, and the next, nothing. With the loss came a dread as it washed over him.


At that moment, he didn’t know why, but he thought of Data. As he stood there wondering, a flash of the android’s simple logic filtered through the haze and consternation of all Will’s burning need on how to get inside, {{Try turning the handle, Commander, it may simply be unlocked}}

Silently staring through the giant white flakes at the hatch’s mechanism, he forced his gloved hand to rise to it, hoping above all odds that it would open and let him in.

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