By Carol Sandford


Chapter 17


Deanna wandered into the military complex like a woman on a mission. Her tiny feet walked with sure, quick steps, echoing along the vast corridors that led towards her goal; Lieutenant Riker's office. Several personnel that she gotten to know in her brief stint as dogs-body called out a friendly, 'Hi!' as she passed and she politely greeted them back, but kept walking, halting any further conversation, something she despised herself for doing. But she had things to say to Will, and she was going to say them. Now.

The buzz of tension filled the air as people hurried about, each with a chore to do, each trying to squash their inner panic to what lie ahead. Deanna felt the unease but pushed it away. At that moment, she was only concerned about one person, but along side the concern was a discernible amount of disbelief, frustration, and misery.

Two weeks! Two whole weeks and not even a sighting of him. Not one word. Not one kiss. Not one anything. At first she was sympathetic, and then hurt. And then angry, and then the feelings that she had reached now, and they were the worst, by far.

In the days that had past, Deanna had felt Will's presence, welcoming its comfort to get her through the days until he would come to his senses and come to her, confident that their bond would be strong enough to get through the solid barrier that had been forced up in between them.

But sense had clearly deserted him because he not only never came near her, he did a very good job of blocking her out too. Most of the time the blocking was entirely innocent, like he was shutting out his own pain to get through the tormenting moments as he remembered a treasured memory.

But sometimes it was a deliberate effort to expel her from his mind, afraid of revealing that he ached for her as much as she ached for him, seemingly aware that she was with him in thought.

And every day, the torment had gotten too much for her, knowing that he was suffering as much as she, the knowledge making Deanna step up the front door of her house, open it, stand on its threshold, mentally kick herself in the head for being weak, and then go back in and close it firmly shut. And every day she hated herself a little more than the day before for not yielding to her heart instead of her head.

Over and over, the same question tumbled around in her mind; Why had she succumbed to Will's charm and given her heart and soul to him, knowing that it would end like this; torn apart, hurting, lonely, aching and so damned defiant. Why?

Deanna paced around the Troi mansion like a caged tiger; desperate for freedom but trapped because of her own fears; the fear of Will actually telling her to her face that it was over between them. The fear of falling apart before his very eyes as he witnessed her heart breaking. The fear of never seeing him ever again and being left feeling like she did right then for the rest of her life.

Her mother, bless her, had tried to reason with her saner side, but Deanna was beyond listening. She wanted Will, but she couldn't have him. The bond had done exactly what she had feared; it had lost her Imzadi. It had cost her her destiny.

And then this morning, something happened. Everything changed.

Everywhere tensions increased tenfold within the small community. Only half an hour before, Deanna had sat at her dressing table staring into the mirror at her pallid face. Dipping her foundation brush into the powder, she lifted it her cheeks and began to dab away the dark smudges beneath her eyes in a valiant effort to hide the night's struggle against sleep.

And then she felt it; the wave of worry, fear, confusion and then excitement when one word, the word that they had never hoped to hear, WAR zipped over the planet like an out-break of plague; touching everything and everyone in its way. It washed over her, rippling through senses like an enormous tidal wave rolling up from deep within, building bigger, higher and mightier with its power, consuming everyone in its path with its malevolent word.

Forgetting her pale face and her ratty hair, Deanna threw on some clothes and tore down the stairs like a bat out of hell with only one purpose in mind.

Her mother was waiting at the bottom. "You're going to him, aren't you?"

Deanna was surprised, and mystified, at her question, "Of course!" The lines upon her forehead deepening, adding years to her tender age.

She slowed as she reached the bottom, preparing herself to be barred from leaving the house. "You're not going to stop me, are you, mother? Please don't." She pleaded quietly, but no less urgent than the importance of finding Will before it was too late.

Lwaxana Troi's heart ached as she studied her daughter, her impatience to get to the base etched upon her pretty face, even though it was creased in worry, blotchy from a half-botched make-up job, and extra lined from the lack of sleep. She'd heard Deanna tossing and turning in the night. Not just last night, but every night since his last visit. Since she'd told him to think about everything, including Deanna.

Knowing that she was the cause of the young couples grief didn't sit well with her, and knowing what was about to happen didn't help either. She couldn't begrudge them a few moments together, not now. Especially not now.

Smiling sadly, Lwaxana stepped aside even though she technically wasn't in her way. But moving away seemed to execute her acceptance that Deanna needed to go to him. Her voice was shaky when she spoke, revealing her insight to the tragedy about to unfold,"Go, darling."

Flying to the door, gratitude lighting up her features, innocence ignoring the thrum of impending doom surrounding the city, Deanna's lightened voice yelled, "'love you, mom!" before slamming it shut after her speedy exit, the noise reverberating throughout, not only the house, but Lwaxana's teeth, making her grimace with distaste at the vulgar display her daughter had just exhibited. "Heaven's," she murmured, "what am I going to do with that child!?"

But when Deanna stepped into Will's office, it soon become very apparent that she was too late.

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