By Carol Sandford


Chapter 21


"Sit down, Deanna, you're making me dizzy." Her mother grumbled, trying her hardest to avoid watching the pacing young woman and concentrate on the book in her hands. It was futile, and a moment later, unable to take the strain any longer, she dropped the delicate book into her lap, and put her full focus upon her daughter, the silence heavy as she struggled to find something to say that she would want to hear. "He's all right, you know," she said unnecessarily.

Coming to a full stop in front of her mother and studied her intently, looking for the lie but not finding it. Deanna sighed audibly before dropping, finally, into the armchair, making it groan with the sudden and rapid weight, "I know. It's just...."

Lwaxana Troi reached across and squeezed her fingers, forcing a half smile across her ageing features, instantly understanding what was racing around the younger version of herself, in more ways than one. "I know," she commiserated, "It's just wanting him back."

Deanna's eyes found hers, her surprise at the very honest, and very knowledgeable insight to her feelings such a relief that tears sprung to the dark orbs. Seeing her mother sitting beside her, seemingly waiting alongside her reminded Deanna of a similar scene many, many years ago. So long ago, she could barely remember it. But she did remember the look of anguish and pain upon her mothers face, and then, in a heartbeat, everything fell into place .

"You had to do this with daddy, didn't you?" she asked, already knowing what her answer would be.

But the older woman simply smiled, even though it took a monstrous effort to make the effort genuine and without the ache that pushed in between a very long past distant memory, "Yes, darling, I did," she squeezed her fingers tighter, making Deanna inwardly wince, but never dreamt of showing her how much it hurt, aware that she was revealing a very private moment that was rare to see.

Deanna spoke her apology, "I'm sorry to make you relive that again because of me."

Tugging at her fingers, suddenly needing the comfort of her daughter in her arms, Lwaxana moved over as Deanna seated herself beside her, her arms snaking around her mother's shoulders in a gesture that revealed a child's love for it's parent, despite everything. Despite re-stepping in their exact same footsteps.

Lwaxana drank in Deanna's affection, savouring the precious and rare moment, clinging onto it as though it were a lifeline. Even though Deanna had a heart full of love for every being in the universe, when it came to her - her own kin, it was very carefully reserved for situations, just like this one.

She knew why, and she understood why; Deanna didn't want to get hurt by those who loved her most, and Lwaxana took comfort in that. And pride. Her child had seen a lot of hurt in her short life, especially when she was small, and Lwaxana had made a supreme effort to get her through those dark times and bring her up to remember the past with affection rather than dwell on the wounds that would never heal, no matter how hard she tried.

Except her own.

The pang of this duplicated scene brought tears to her own eyes and taking a delicate sniff into the tiny lace hanky that she had tucked up her sleeve, Lwaxana pulled away, hiding her face, valiantly trying to hide the pain that she knew was etched upon her classic face. But she didn't quite manage to achieve her aim as Deanna spoke.

"I'll finish whatever I have with Will, if it hurts you that much, Mother." The revelation surprising Deanna as much as the woman opposite her.

Lwaxana Troi's head snapped around, her watery eyes blazing with shock as she stared closely into Deanna's face, unable to truly believe what she had just heard. Rapidly pushing herself to a stand, severing the closeness that only seconds ago promised much more than an intimate moment between a mother and her daughter, she rounded on her."Don't be absurd, Little One," She laughed, the sound leaving her mouth in a much higher pitch than normal, revealing it's falseness. "As much as I wish your relationship with William had never evolved to the level that it did, nothing can ever be finished between you."

And then sense and determination come to the fore just when she needed it most of all. Clenching her fists, she stared her down and Deanna recoiled back, reeling with the fury that poured from her heart. "You are going to sit here and wait for your Imzadi to come home, and when he does, you are going to be there, with your arms, and your heart wide open. Because many years ago, on a night like this, your father went on a mission against my wishes, and I was livid with him. I never saw him off, and I never saw him come back,"

Her voice broke, but she was determined to finish what she'd started. Determined to make Deanna see the importance of not only the fragile Imzadi union that had was so fresh, and so deliciously new. They still had so much to explore, so much to learn, and maybe not enough time.

There was never enough time.

And then there was Will.

He needed the strength of their Imzadi bond to get him through this and any other mission he would undoubtably involved in. He needed that lifeline. He needed to know that Deanna was there, waiting for him, willing him to come home. Come back to her.

Taking a deep breath, Lwaxana filled her words with power again, the fury turning to a threat, a threat that she intended to make her keep. "So don't you dare give up on Will now. Do you hear me, child?"

Her words echoed around the room, and around Deanna as she absorbed her mothers extraordinary demand, as as she timidly nodded her acquiescence, the sense and determination had vanished from Lwaxana's rigid body, and the tears that had only threatened minutes before, raced down her cheeks like a scalding torrent.

Deanna watched her mother exit the room as though the devil was on her tail, her own silent promise, trapped in the draft that her long gown had created, I will wait, Mother. I promise She vowed as her own tears began to fall.

Some were for herself. Some were for the man who was putting his life on the line for her. And some were for her mother who was reliving her own personal tragedy, a tragedy that she herself may have to suffer, if her own Imzadi didn't make it home.

God help him. God help them all.

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