By Carol Sandford


Chapter 04


"Can I ask you something?"

Deanna stared up at the tall man that hovered uncertainly at her door some 30 minutes after she had walked away from his. Without question, Deanna stood back and allowed him to enter. They stood in the centre of her living area, both unsure what to say and both scared that words spoken could make their unique relationship crumble even more, if that was even possible, and neither of them wanted that.

Deanna hugged her body with her slender arms, partially to hide her tumultuous feelings, the other to conceal just how much her body was shaking. And she was, so much. Never had it been so obvious that Will wanted more than she was willing to give, but she wasn't sure who was more embarrassed about it, herself, or Will.

Since Deanna had opened her door Will's eyes had never left hers. He seemed to be searching for something, but Deanna was unsure of what. Whether it was the all-clear to speak his heart, and she no doubt that that was why he had come to her; to finish the disastrous conversation from three days ago. Or to see if she was going to speak first.

Taking a deep breath, Deanna broke the silence, 'What did you want to ask me, Will?'

It was then Deanna noticed her letter in his hand as he held it aloft, "Did you really mean this, Deanna? Do you really want to keep everything that we had...have, in the past?"

And again, Deanna found herself searching his eyes for understanding, but she could see that he didn't. Disheartened, Deanna could only nod as she averted her eyes from his, but she had barely moved her face an inch before she found firm fingers gently, but securely moving her face back to his,

"No, Deanna. Look at me and tell me that you don't feel how I feel. I love you, God dammit!"

Will watched as his harsh words brought on a fresh wave of tears, making her already beautiful eyes even more so as they shimmered before him. His heart broke as he released her chin and brushed away the tears that had escaped with the back of his index finger, his eyes as tender as his voice.

"I'm sorry, Deanna, I don't want to hurt you, I just want to understand. How can we have so much love between us and be so far apart? I don't want us to be apart. I want us to be happy, Deanna. I do love you, with all my heart, why can't you love me in the same way? Help me understand, please. I want you back, Deanna, because I can't do this without you."

Will was surprised when she slipped away from his caressing fingers and moved to place herself against his body enfolding her arms around his waist, hugging him tightly as is she never wanted to let go. "Hold me, Will," she pleaded, "Please, just hold me."

Will needed no further prompting. Slipping his own arms around her tiny body, Will soaked up her grief along with his own, not believing he would ever be this close to her again. And it felt good. More than good. This is where he wanted to be, and he knew in that instant that if he persisted with making more of the relationship than there already was he would never feel the way that he did right then.

And it was then that he also realised that Deanna was more than a friend and nothing in the universe was going to change that, not marriage, not commitment, not anything more. He really did have it all and it was right there, within his arms.

Kissing the top of her head, Will whispered into the mass of her dark curls, "I understand, Imzadi, I finally understand. Forgive me."

Deanna had already felt the change within him and knew when he had comprehended that they could be more without going any further. But she couldn't help ask him, "What made you change your mind, Will?"

He pulled back so that he could look into her eyes again, but didn't release her body. He couldn't let her go again, not yet. The need to feel her close to him after so long apart was still raw. Letting her go, meant going back to reality, and he wasn't ready for that, not yet.

"It was the poem. In all the times I had recalled its words, I had never imagined that you would feel the same way; That your life would be as bleak as mine if we were to be separated. And we nearly were, weren't we, Deanna? Because I wanted more, I nearly lost you, didn't I?" he asked.

Deanna could only nod and agree. "But there isn't more, is there, Will? What we have surpasses anything that could happen in the future. I look back and I really can't imagine ever living without you. Without you, I wouldn't be here, on this ship, with the only man that I have ever loved, and I do, Will, with all my heart."

Will kissed her lightly on the lips, "And I love you, Deanna Troi."

Pulling her against him once more, Deanna felt the smile against her temple as his one word filtered through the fog and the uncertainties, all symbolising the future ahead.


"Friends." Will barely heard Deanna's contented sigh, but it was there and as the two friends united once more, the bleak and distant nightmare faded into the past where it belonged.


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