By Carol Sandford


Chapter 03


If there was one person Will didn't expect to see outside his door, it was Deanna Troi. He didn't know why because his head had been crying out for her since she had walked out of his life three days ago. Correction, three, long and miserable lonely days ago.

He didn't give a damn that he probably looked like shit, he knew he looked like shit. Picard had checked on on him the morning after his world fell apart. One look was all it took for Picard to put him sick-leave with strict orders to get his life, and his career back in order. Will was sick; sick and tired. Dog tired. He had expected Deanna to come back within an hour of walking out, because she always had before, even if it was just check on him. If there was one thing Deanna always made sure of, it was that he was okay for duty.

But not this time.

She had left him to fester in his own self pitying, pathetic apathy, leaving him believing that he really was the lowest form of dross to crawl the floor. And for what? For telling her he loved her. He was beside himself with longing and loathing and agony, and he hurt, horribly.

And it was still all her fault. That was until she stood before him at his door and every debilitating thought of her flew out of the nearest port-hole

The silence that permeated between them was thick with pain and agony and neither managed to find a voice to even begin to make things right - if they were ever going to make it right. Deanna's words still throbbed in Will's head. They'd been so final and sure and his stomach twisted painfully just reliving those devastating moments.

Deanna's eyes shimmered with unspent tears as she faced the man before her. She didn't notice that he looked unkempt, or unclean, or that his clothes looked like they had been put through a wringer then slung onto his body. But she did notice the loss within his eyes. Once clear blue laughing eyes that no matter how hard he tried, showed her just how much he had loved her. Now they were a horrible cloudy misty blue, but worse than that she could see the hatred in them.

Deanna nearly backed away as the intensity of his gaze filled her senses with feelings that only she could have caused. But desperation to mend the rift between her and her dearest friend kept her rooted to the spot and taking a deep breath, Deanna implored her arm that seemed to be forged to her side, to rise.

The motion of stretching her shaky arm towards him released a large suspended teardrop. Fascinated, Will watched it trickle down her cheek in ultra-slow motion, eventually dropping onto her quivering chest. It was then that Will noticed the object in her hand. Searching her eyes, he could feel the urgency, the plea, to take whatever it was from her violently trembling fingers.

Will's own fingers clenched and unclenched systematically at his side as he willed it to raise and remove what looked to be a rolled up sheet of paper from her fingers. Half of him told him he didn't want to read her, he was sure, heart-breaking words. But the other half made his heart thump with hope that she had changed her mind.

As he reached for the paper, briefly, very briefly, their fingers touched. Deanna pulled her hand away like it had been burned and Will's hopes plummeted to his feet as the impact of the movement told him everything he wanted to know.

She didn't want him

Their eyes found one another's once more, just for an instant, and then she was gone. Will didn't watch her go, he couldn't. Instead he found himself staring at the object now clasped tightly in his own long fingers. It wasn't until an ensign stared at him curiously as he walked by that Will realised that he still stood at his door with it wide open.

Stepping away, allowing those very same doors to whisper shut behind him, Will made his way to his bedroom, seeking the sanctuary of its smallness to hide him away from the rest of the ship, from her, and from himself. But it was several long minutes before he plucked up enough nerve to unroll the sheath of paper and begin reading...

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