By Carol Sandford


Chapter 08


But even as Will slowly approached her, Deanna was backing away and he realised that she was going to run again. Quicker than a bullet from a gun, his hand shot out and caught the soft flesh of her arm just as she spun away from him. "Deanna!" he quietly pleaded.

"Let me go!" she cried, her voice dripping with dread. "Please!"

But he didn't, he couldn't, and he pulled her around, clasping her other arm as she fought like a demon against him. He had to pull her closer to him, mostly to stop her flailing hands from doing any damage to him, but also because he needed to comfort her; stop her from being so afraid of him. "Hush," he crooned.

Looking up into his face, her eyes and cheeks now awash with tears, she sobbed, "Let me go. Just let me go."

Will dragged her trembling body up hard against his and released her arms, letting his hand rest on the back of her head as he settled his chin on her shoulder. His mouth was right against her ear and she heard his tortured, "I can't, baby. I'm sorry, I just can't. We both know that I can't let you go. Not now."

He didn't have to speak the rest of his declaration, Not ever, it scorched her soul as the silent words reached out to her, and with them came release. Deanna felt the dam burst inside her and she began to cry in earnest. Will held her tightly in his unwavering arms. She was wrapped in sheer misery and Will had absolutely no idea of the reason why. She'd wanted him, he knew that. She even seemed to be willing, that, he also knew. Okay, it had to be her first time, so maybe that was it. But he was also conscious that he was the one she'd chosen to be her first, so just what was the problem? He was totally and utterly baffled.

He was also totally and utterly determined. This night was meant to be, of that he had no doubt. He was just going to have to work a little harder at seducing the lady currently bawling like a baby in his arms.

His kiss, when it came, simply wiped away everything; the tears, the pain, and the doubt. It was as devastating as any storm she had ever been in. He had captured her, and enslaved her, with nothing more than the heat of his mouth on hers, his tongue sweeping through her mouth, taking possession like a warrior; a conquering hero.

But what then? A hero couldn't save her from herself, or from the secret she fought so valiantly to keep hidden. But for the moment, she'd let him kiss away the tremors and fears that consumed her soul until she was strong enough to fight him off.

But Will had other ideas and he was pitiless. Wherever his giant hands touched, they burned, scorching a path between her buttocks and her head. He either didn't seem to know where to touch next - or he wanted to touch everything, everywhere. Her body was crushed against his entire, rock hard body and she could feel the hardest part pushing against her stomach.

In the end, his hands finally found a home; One nestled in her hair so that he could manoeuvre her head to accommodate his almost desperate mouth. The other settled in the small of her back, pushing her tight against him, letting his need get as close to heaven as it was going to get at that time.

Deanna arched against him of her own free will, her own hungers saturating her body. He could have me, she dimly thought, right here and now, and I wouldn't stop him. All it would have taken was a movement from her; a sign. She'd never felt so alive, so...absorbed before and it was all down to the man that was in her arms, and now in her heart.

She was still in a daze when he finally lifted his head, struggling for breath, and sanity, as he fought to stop the primal urge to hoist her to his waist and take her hard and fast, right there and then, and know that it would be like nothing they'd experienced before.

Reluctantly, Will swung his eyes away from her flushed, beautiful face, looking at anything but her. He was trembling. Deanna loved the fact that she could make him tremble with need, as he'd made her. She was also aware that she didn't want to let go of the feeling, or go back to the life she led before he'd come along. Deanna needed completion, but when Will disentangled his body from hers and stepped back, she knew she'd blown her chances with her silly, immature behaviour.

Will studied her, more unsure than he'd even been in his life. He should walk away from her. He should leave her be. She wasn't ready for a sexual relationship. She didn't seem ready for any kind of relationship, and he couldn't believe how wrong he'd gotten it. He made one, very unwanted step backwards, but stopped when he heard a, No! Don't go, ripple through his mind. Shock alone stopped his feet from moving any further.

When she'd sensed his withdrawal, Deanna desperately tried to switch off the negative emotions that surged from the depths of her heart. She was torn in so many different ways; Did she, didn't she? Could she, would she? and pushing up in between them all, like a volcano seeking release from the very base of her soul was only one answer.

Deanna had only one way of making Will stay now, and so staring up into his face, losing herself in blue eyes that watched, waiting nervously, patiently, and so longingly, she brazenly reached out a trembling hand and trailed a nail across his chest, making sure she scraped a puckered, tiny nipple on passing.

Will sucked in a painful breath, but she knew it wasn't because she'd hurt him. It was an intimate reaction to her touch. Nervously, she did it again, with the other tiny nipple this time and was rewarded with a similar reaction. Gaining bravado, she ventured lower. Will's breath held in his throat, his eyes dropping to watch her fingertip following the line of his pants before taking the plunge to trail the length of his straining hardness.

It was then that Will finally sparked into life, suddenly scared of losing the last ounce of his control. Angry at not being able to. Grabbing her hand, he snatched it away from his throbbing body. "Don't!" he snarled, "Don't play with me, Deanna."

Where had the anger come from? Deanna wondered, as her eyes flew to his face and registered the change from need to refusal. Aware of the double entendre, the guilt instantly swept over her as she realised just how mean she was being to him.

But, damn it all, he was being mean to her, too. Why all this fooling around? Why all this furtiveness? Why couldn't he just take her to bed and get it over and done with. Like normal people. Like Betazoid's?

She inwardly groaned. Because he isn't a Betazoid, you dimwit. Because he's special. Because you are special, to him. Because he deserves more, more than what you are giving him.

Because he is your Imzadi.

Will watched a variety of emotions flicker across her upturned face. They ranged from a spark of anger that probably matched his own. Pain, despair and then finally, resignation. He stood still and waited, but what he was waiting for, he didn't know. He was only aware that he'd had enough of her games, and now he was putting the ball firmly in her court. If she stayed, then so be it. If she walked, he wasn't going to stop her, regardless of how much agony it would cause.

But she didn't walk. In fact she stepped up closer to him, reached one hand behind her and tugged at the zipper that kept the bodice of her dress tight to her. The other hand she snaked up behind his head and pulled his face down to her open mouth, but not before her murmured, "I can do this..." reached his stunned ears.

Will heard rather than felt the rustle of her dress slip down her body, and the way she gently shifted her body away from his to allow it to drop to her waist, its thin spaghetti straps released by the barely noticeable drop of each arm. It wasn't until he allowed himself the luxury of raising his lax limbs to touch the bare skin on her back that a surge of adrenaline kicked into gear, and with a deep breath, he pulled her hard against him and devoured her willing mouth, wishing that his skin was as naked as hers so that he could feel her.

With both arms linked behind his head, Will was free to roam the creamy contours of her body, sliding his large hands along the frame of her rib cage, daring himself to raise them higher to encase her heated breasts. But he didn't dare to. Oh, mercy, he wanted to, so badly, but after her previous reactions to his forwardness, he just didn't have the courage, or the desire to have her running away from him again, so he reluctantly dropped his hands lower until they rested on the bunched up silky material of her dress that rode low upon her hips.

As he tucked his exploring fingers beneath the material, he almost groaned out aloud as the material slipped from his grasp and pooled at her feet. Now I've done it, he thought to himself, she's gonna go running. But without missing a heartbeat, he felt her shift her feet and kick the dress away. So good so far, he thought to himself, but he still didn't trust her. He broke his lips away from hers with an audible sucking noise, the minuscule sound still managing to echo in the confined, dark area.

Will couldn't stop himself from looking downwards; She was beautiful. She was more than beautiful. She was stunning. Deanna was as naked as the day she was born, and didn't seem to care about it. Quite the opposite, in fact.

She knew what he was thinking. "Betazoids welcome nudity, it is a very strong part of our culture, Will." And then she whispered the mother of all invitations as she reached out and captured his hand, lifting it to her upper body. "Touch me."

He swallowed deeply as he settled his trembling, but eager palm against the soft mound of her breast, his heady eyes drifting shut as the pang of longing throbbed through to his loins. He wanted her, so badly, but after everything that had happened tonight, he didn't have enough trust in her to follow on through.

He felt her clasp his wrist and slowly tug. His eyes flew open as he felt himself begin to fall forward; she was pulling him to the ground. Managing to steady himself before falling in a heap on top of her, he guided himself to a sensible position beside her, finding himself on his knees as she lay seductively prone on the dirt beneath her.

Will felt an idiot; seducing a woman in a flower bed. It seemed to be the lowest of the low, and he couldn't believe he'd gotten himself into this ridiculous position, or situation and he went to tell her so, but she second guessed him by touching a silencing finger to his lips, "Shhh, it's okay. Touch me again, Will, I'm not running away anymore."

Tenderly removing her hand from his face, he stared deeply into her eyes, and knew that this time, she meant it. Her words were full of conviction, and need. Reaching up, Will removed his top, dragging his hair up, leaving it looking all spiky and then unbuttoned his pants. But he didn't take them off. He wasn't ready for that, and neither was she.

Now at a vantage point, Will leaned over and kissed her deeper than he'd ever kissed her before, swallowing the shudder of her response as she reacted to the primal motion, her fevered fingers reaching for his now bare, heated torso, the freedom to do so feeling exceptionally exquisite, and Deanna sighed, almost with relief.

Despite Deanna giving him free reign to touch her body, Will held his hands at bay, happy to just settle one hand on her small waist. But even so, he could feel her body gently gyrating, pushing towards him, beckoning him to touch and explore.

Deanna was almost frantic with hunger. Why wasn't he touching her!? Why wasn't he giving her what they both wanted!? she moaned silently. He continued to plunder her mouth as though it was his manhood invading her body. She felt his erotic thoughts seep through her, giving her an intimate taste of what was to come, but still he wouldn't touch her.

And then it sunk in to her sex-infused brain. He was scared, scared of her letting him down again. Scared of her turning tail and running. Scared of actually making love to her. William Riker was scared of doing what came as natural to him as breathing, all because she hadn't succumbed to his charms in the first five minutes of their crazy meeting.

Well, she thought, that's about to change.

In a heartbeat, she had reversed their positions. To say that Will was shocked was an understatement. She shocked him even further when she tugged at the waistband of his pants in an attempt to push them from his long legs, her face wreathed in concentration as she battled against the unusual task.

Will chuckled nervously, "Whoa! Here, let me help." lifting himself so that the job became a whole heap easier. Deanna moved them down his legs and pulled them off the other end, dropping them close by her own dress.

Will felt naked, exposed, and it took a monumental effort from himself to stop his hands from covering his nether regions. Deanna sat back on her heals and surveyed the sight before her. He had got one hell of a body - something she already knew he would have. Just looking at his clothed frame had told that he was muscular, and lean. And hairy. Everywhere. Betazoid men sported practically no hair apart from whatever was on their head and a small thatch, 'down below', much like herself. But Will was covered from head to toe, some places denser than others, and she couldn't resist fingering the tiny curls that sprang from his chest.

Her eyes flickered to his groin. He still sported the nondescript, non-fussy, standard Starfleet underwear. She knew they were, because in her wildest dreams, she couldn't imagine Will wearing them otherwise. He looked like a boxer man; elastic, and tight. And red. Or black.

Lordy, her tummy flipped when the provocative image filled her mind, and before Deanna even realised what she'd said, she told him crisply, huskily, "Take them off, Will."

No one was more surprised that Will when he said in a very clear, determined voice, "No," He coughed low in his throat before emending himself, a slight blush lightening up his features, "not yet."

A moment of silence hung between them as they both weighed up his strange refusal. Deanna was certain it was nothing to do with him being shy - far from it. Perhaps, she thought, he's still expecting me to run, even though I've promised that I won't. An image of him running through the streets dressed in nothing but a small pair of standard Starfleet underpants created a tiny smile before she effectively wiped it away behind her fingers.

Okay, she thought, as she suddenly moved across and straddled his lap, here goes nothing.

Will's hands automatically went to her tiny waist, spanning it easily with his huge hands, watching her through heavy lidded eyes, waiting, admiring her nude form as she made herself comfortable upon his rapidly hardening lap. He shifted her higher, moving her away from him, unable to handle what she was doing to him. But moving her up meant she was now against his stomach, and he moaned as he felt her heat, her moistness upon him.

Deanna crowed silently at the effect that she was having on him. This was sex - pure sex. Nothing romantic, or Imzadi-ish about it. By taking the initiative, she had reduced the chance of the impending union becoming anything more than a sexual release - a release they both needed. Badly.

Dropping both hands onto the hard planes of Will's chest, she steadily met his eyes in the dimness. Will watched her and realised that she had changed. He still felt her pull, still felt an urgency to join with her, on every level, and he thought she'd wanted that too. But not now. Deanna was ready, but it was only her body that was ready. Her feelings had been pushed elsewhere for the time being.

Will wasn't sure if he liked the change, especially when she whispered urgently, "Make love to me, Will. Now."

He felt himself shrivel and die beneath her, the effect of her harsh words instantly reducing his libido to nothing. To prove it, he pushed on her hips, moving her backwards, back to where she started. Only this time time she met softness instead of solid muscle. She searched his eyes in the dimness, wordlessly.

She didn't understand what she'd done wrong, and Will felt her helplessness wash through him, and his heart melted. Tugging on her upper arms, he pulled her upper body down to his, kissing her cheek as it settled beside his. "I'm sorry, sweetheart, but I can't just make love to you."

He felt her blush against his face and threaded his hand into her hair, massaging the back of her head, holding her still when he felt her trying to move out of his grasp. "Deanna," he whispered huskily, "I won't make love to you, but I will make love with you."

Deanna edged herself up so that she could study his handsome face. "Isn't it the same thing?" she asked, quietly.

Will laughed quietly as he answered her, hugging her trembling body closer to his, warming it with his ardour. "No, sweetheart, it is most definitely not."

She slumped against his shoulder again, defeated, which puzzled Will. Why did she react like that!? he wondered. What in the world was going on here? They lay silently for several long moments. Will's hands continued to gently stroke along her spine as minds churned over the problem at hand.

Will knew he wanted her. He also knew he more than liked her - liked her enough to work through whatever was putting its nasty big foot smack bang in the middle of their relationship. But what relationship? he worried. They were getting nowhere and he didn't know why. Something was holding the woman in his arms back. Something that was over-riding her basic needs. Something that was important.

But what?

If this problem had happened to him on Earth, he would have said the woman beneath him was having a problem with her morals. Or her age. Or perhaps it would be guilt, or simply that she just didn't want him enough.

It happens. Not often, but it happens.

But none of the things related to Deanna. None. So he figured it was a cultural thing. A Betazoid thing. He could only ask. "Deanna, is there something I should know - about you...or us?" He felt her stiffen; her body going rigid along side his, she even tried pushing up from him to get away, but he held on to her. "Deanna?" he demanded.

"No. No, there's nothing. It's just me being silly. I'm sorry." She hurriedly murmured, before kissing him briefly on the cheek.

Will didn't believe her for a minute. Gently he tried again. "Deanna, when we make love, are we going to be okay...after?"

"Yes, of course!" she told him.

He tried again, "Am I going to get frog-marched in front of a priest or something - forced to marry you because I've taken your...innocence?" he joked.

She laughed weakly at his attempt at humour, "No! Nothing like that." And then she thought about what he'd just said. "You know I've never...?" she asked with dread.

He nodded once, "Yes. I know that all this..." he searched for the right word, "playing around is because you're scared, and you don't know what to do," he hurriedly amended himself, "but that's okay, I understand. What's happening between us is scary."

He took her chin in his strong fingers, forcing her to face him straight on before continuing, "But Deanna, it is going to be the most beautiful experience of your life, if you'll just let me in. I can show you what it can be like for us - What it's going to be like for us." he emended.

God, she wanted to believe him. She wanted so much for him to take her in hand, and love her in the same way that he loved other women; naturally. Honestly. But she couldn't be honest back. She didn't dare be honest back. But she wanted to try. She really wanted Will to show her how it could be. All she had to do was hold on to her soul. "Okay." she whispered.

One simple word slipped passed her lips and everything changed again. Before she changed her mind again, Will pulled her back to him and kissed her. This time there was no holding back. He let his hands roam where they wanted; touching her everywhere. Stroking her everywhere. Delving into everywhere, letting his body climb back up to its previously uncomfortable state again. He gritted his teeth against the strain of holding back. He wanted her to be ready for him. He wanted her to be unable to stop when he pushed too far.

She scooted back, sitting upright on him. He moaned as he felt her scorch him through the fabric of his underwear, but seconds later, he gasped when she reached down and freed him from the tight restraint, settling her small fingers around him.

"Deanna!" he warned, the growl coming up from his boots as he struggled against doing what he ached to do to her. The back of his head buried itself deeper into the grainy dirt as it suddenly dropped back, the simple power of her sensitive touch jerking everything into life within him. Not yet, Riker. God, not yet, he silently moaned.

But she had other ideas. Dropping back down along his length, she guided him toward her, gasping a little at the sensations that rocked through her at the first intimate touch against her. So hard, so swollen, and so large. Deanna began to tremble as she imagined what it was going to feel like as he entered her.

Will pulled her fingers away from him, taking both her hands and imprisoning them beside his head, allowing their bodies alone to complete the imminent union. He gently moved against her own movements, slowly parting her, opening her until he finally entered her, going deeper and deeper, allowing her to be the one to draw him inside of herself, encasing him in her damp heat.

She felt...Oh god, he couldn't put words to the feelings, as he closed his eyes and let those feelings control him. Will didn't think he'd had ever welcomed a sensation as eagerly as he did this one. It surpassed every other intimate instant he'd know, purely because of the fight beforehand; the wait.

Or maybe it was because of something else; that something more that was filling his soul. Was it love? It couldn't be. Not yet. It was too soon. It wasn't possible. It wasn't sensible. He'd never fallen in love.

Until now.

As the thought crept into his head, Will opened his eyes and let himself see the woman he was falling in love with. She was watching him intently. Her black eyes glistened, captured by a tiny shard of light that had found a way through the shadows.

He felt...honoured. The rush of tender emotion swept through him, and he quickly released her hands and pulled her head to his, settling his mouth against her and letting the tidal wave of desire begin.

Deanna's fingers dug into the soft dirt either side of Will's head as the shock of what Will was doing to, not only her mouth, but her body too. He'd dropped his hands to her hips, taking up the master role, guiding her so that he could fill her more completely. She felt him shove down his underpants a little more, moving them away enough to expose himself fully and then grasping her hips again firmly, he thrust upwards, just once, filling her deeper still.

Deanna cried out, breaking her mouth away from his as the strange intrusion penetrated the deep, untouched, internal heart of her. For a moment Will thought he'd hurt her, but when she moved her hips a little and found his open mouth again, he knew it hadn't been about the pain, but surprise - a nice surprise.

The pace started off slowly. He glided in and barely out of her over and over again, every movement threatening to turn his gut inside out. So controlled. So alive. So intense. And something else. Something that kept fluttering in the back of his mind. A word. It wasn't until they both unanimously began to quicken the pace, that the word began to become coherent.


No... no... no

Will was perplexed. Why in the world was she muttering, no? What is hell's name was she fighting against? The imminent orgasm? The fear of letting herself go so completely. Him releasing himself inside her - which he didn't plan on doing? Whatever it was, it was scaring her senseless.

What he did know, was that it was making him angry. He felt it in the way he suddenly gripped her head with one hand, threading his fist into her hair, yanking it to a position so that he could literally assault her mouth. And he did, brutally. The other hand, drawn to the base of her spine, pushed down as he thrust upwards, time and time again. He pounded into her - relentlessly, intently, angrily.

But instead of having the desired effect, it did the opposite. Will felt her respond to the harsh treatment in the way she began to squirm against him, trying maximise the contact between them, forcing her over sensitised bud to brush against him. The way her tongue wrestled with his, releasing tiny, pleading whimpers. The way her body went taut, trying to hold on. Trying to let go.

But still he heard that word,No! Only now it was a desperate, no. But it was a no that wanted to become a yes.

Will suddenly released her mouth and pushed up up away from him, his movements hurried, spiteful even. Roughly gripping her hips, he held her above him, just for a moment, then pushed down onto him, hard. But with that push, a word squeezed between his tense, drawn back lips, the effort of his spent control trickled down his temple into his hair. "Yes!" he hissed.

Deanna's eyes went wide when the angry word spat from his mouth. He'd heard her. He'd heard her futile effort to stop herself from moaning the one word that she truly wanted to say. The one word that would change her universe. The one word that would tie her soul to his. And she didn't want to say it. She wouldn't. She couldn't. But, Oh, God, she wanted to, so much.

What she would have given to be able to experience the ultimate Betazoid gift with the man she loved was beyond comprehension, and she had it here, just a heartbeat away. A word away. All she had to do was open her soul, her heart and her mind and let Will share it. But she couldn't. She wouldn't.

But the man beneath her was intent on extracting it from her, one way or the other. He believed he was trying to get her body to release its precious gift, but if he'd known what was really at stake, she was sure it would be her dumped on her butt watching him run away. And she wasn't about to risk it, no matter what her mother had told her. No matter how much it cost her. Or hurt her.

Damn her! Will seethed. She wasn't giving in. But he had another surprise for her. Neither was he. In the space of a heartbeat, Will rolled her beneath him, managing to shuck his underpants along the way, crushing a multitude of greenery as he did so. But he didn't care, and nor did she.

Deanna felt her hair become heavy and gritty with dirt, but it was too late to worry about it now. She had more important things on her mind. Like loving the man that relentlessly crashed his way through her carefully erected barriers.

Will began to move again, rising himself above her like an Adonis. His skin glistened with moisture, his eyes, drugged with passion as they studied her features. Bending at the elbow, Will lowered his head, sealing his lips with hers, his tongue sought out and found hers, swirling and dancing, soaking up her own desire.

Now he was free of the his cumbersome clothing, Will didn't hold back. Embedded to the absolute hilt, he pushed Deanna's knees higher and further back and she gasped at the extra depth it created. He was so deep that she could feel him against her womb, searching for deliverance. Reaching for home.

They both began to climb again and felt their heartbeats thumping together as the tension increased tenfold. Will tore his mouth away from hers, needing to watch her fall apart in his arms, soothed by the missing negative word that had filled his head. Now he needed to hear her cry out another.

He gripped her chin, planting a quick sharp kiss upon her gasping mouth, searching her eyes as he fought to control his imminent explosion. "Say it, Deanna. Say it!" he pleaded, unable to hide the anger that laced what should have been a euphoric moment.

"No!" she cried, "I can't! I won't!" as she tried to tear her face from his vice-like grip.

Her eyes were filled with terror and frenzied passion, and Will thought it was a strange combination, strange enough to slow himself down and look deeply into her eyes. Tenderly brushing away the sweat-dampened wispy hair that caressed her cheeks, Will gently, reverently, kissed her lips, and whispered, "Please. For me."

His desolate, broken plea was the undoing of her, and with a heart-wrenching sob, Deanna linked her arms around his neck, kissed him deeply and let it happen.

The rush of freedom from her was so serene, so quiet, Will wasn't quite sure it had happened until he felt the familiar moist warmth surround his own pulsating, sexual release. But he knew the real reason her climax had almost passed him by - the word. A word he hadn't expected, threw him for a loop along with the eerie way his mind and his heart seemed to separate from his body's explosion.


The word tore from her throat as though it had been dragged up from the very gates of hell. Gently slipping himself out of her body before activating his own painful release, he raised himself back onto his very unsteady arms, Will stared at Deanna's face that was wreathed in agony. Tears streamed from her eyes and he knew that if he hadn't of had her pinned beneath him, she would have ran away. She clawed at his chest in a valiant effort to move him off, eventually instead throwing her hands over her face to hide her evident shame and misery.

Will blinked hard and wondered what had just transpired. He felt different, which was stupid because he knew he didn't look any different. But he certainly felt different. Like, he wasn't 'alone' anymore. Like, his new best friend had just coalesced with him, and stayed.

Swallowing painfully, he plucked up the courage to ask her in a voice that was as unsteady as his arms. But even as he said it, he felt himself withdrawing away from her, both physically and mentally, until eventually he sat beside her, waiting. "What did you just do to me, Deanna?" his voice was low, threatening. Scared.

Deanna licked her suddenly dry lips, her body still pulsating with raw emotion. "I...I," she trailed off, unable to think of a suitable response. "I'm sorry." she said, instead. Pulling herself to an unsteady stand, she reached for her dress, using it simply to cover her frontal nudity, which seemed a little absurd, considering what had just happened between them.

Will pulled himself to a stand too, but stood, tall, naked and proud, his eyes never leaving the smaller woman's face. "Sorry for what, Deanna. What the hell just happened between us. What did you do?" He didn't realise he'd moved closer to her until he found himself looking down at her upturned, scared face, his stance, his voice threatening, as though he was reprimanding a subordinate. "Deanna," he growled, "answer me, dammit!"

"I...I made you...mine," cowering as the painful admission left her lips.

Reeling back on his heals, Riker blinked, several times, letting her simple, but he knew it was anything but, statement filter through the throbbing pain steadily growing in his head, making him slightly nauseous before saying incredulously, heatedly, "What!?"

Now the truth was out, Deanna regained some of her equilibrium, straightening out her body so that she could face him, eye to eye, even though it was still from at least ten inches below him. She squared her shoulders and repeated herself. "I made you mine. I made you my, Imzadi."

Will spun away from her, trying desperately to reign in his runaway emotions. But just as quickly he'd turned away, he spun back around on her, fire spitting in his vivid blue eyes and blood pounding in his head. Did she mean, 'mine' as in, 'mine because they have made love', or was it 'mine' as in, 'my slave forever'? Fear gripped him by the throat, threatening to suffocate him. Will felt strangled; Imprisoned, and only one word managed to leave his mouth, "Explain."

Deanna studied his rigid features for a moment before dropping her gaze lower and swallowing the sudden rush of unbidden desire that flickered through her. She swallowed noisily. "I think you should put some clothes on before I explain anything."

For all intense and purposes, Will looked as though he was going to ignore her, and then one sharp look downwards had him inwardly agreeing. Swinging his gaze around for his underpants, he soon gave up the search when it looked like that they had vanished into thin air. Instead he grabbed his pants from the pile and slipped them on. As he tugged his top over his head, he heard Deanna slip her own dress over her head, the whisper of silk bringing a kick of desire as he envisaged it cascading over her nude curves, aware that she was still naked beneath the crimson folds.

Will raked his hand through his hair, grimacing at the dirt that had embedded itself in it. He glanced at Deanna, pitying her because he was aware that her hair must have been much, much worse. They stood in tense silence looking at each other with only their laboured breathing giving away the tumultuous emotion that raged beneath the surface.

Will spotted a movement lower down and dropped his still overwhelmed gaze to her shaking, out-stretched hand. Raising uncertain, questioning eyes back to hers again, he saw only tenderness, and understanding, but among both, Will spotted fear - the fear of loss, a fear that he mirrored, and moments later, he slipped his own, not so steady fingers into hers.

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