By Carol Sandford


Chapter 13


The ensign took a deep breath before pressing the button on the control panel outside his door, the chime instant and intruding on her otherwise thoughtful mood. Squaring her shoulders, she took a pace forward as the doors opened, putting her just inside.

The commander sat behind his desk, waiting. Kathleen tried to read his expression but he was liked a closed book, although his eyes were very wary of her. "What can I do for you, Ensign?"

She sighed, took another deep breath and let it out in one fell swoop."I came to apologise for my behaviour over the past couple of days, and I wanted you to know that it won't happen again, Sir."

Will frowned deeply at her, pushing himself even further back into his chair as he contemplated her words." "I see. And what may I ask brought this change of heart, and more importantly, why should I believe you, Ensign? You have been a prominent pain in the butt since you decided I was worth tormenting."

Kathleen blushed, "I know, and I'm sorry sir, but the Counselor has been very good to me and made me see the error of my ways."

The light dawned and Will nodded thoughtfully, "She's very good at her job."

Kathleen agreed heartily, "Oh yes, Sir, she is. The best."

The silence stretched out for several long moments until Will reluctantly asked, "Was there something else, Ensign?"

She nodded thoughtfully, "Actually Sir, there was.The Counselor mentioned that there was someone on board that was very special to you."

Will bristled with her revelation, speaking harsher than he intended, "Your point, Ensign?"

She pushed on knowing that it was a do or die moment, "Well, Sir, I just wanted to say that there is one hell of a lucky woman out there somewhere on this ship."

Will felt smug, not even bothering to hide the grin, "Oh, you do, do you?"

She grinned, "Yes Sir, I do."

Will turned serious again, "Kathleen, are you okay with what happened between us the other day. I never got around to apologising and it should never have happened. I was angry and frustrated and I'm afraid I took it out on you. I'd understand if you wanted to report it to the Captain, you have every right to do so."

Kathleen turned serious too. "No, Sir, it's okay. I realise that I had pushed you to the limit, and besides, you only did what I secretly wanted you to do."

Shock registered and Will shifted uncomfortably in his seat, "I did."

Kathleen watched him squirm and grinned, "Yes, sir, you did. I'll be honest, Sir, I was trying my damnedest to get your attention until I found out that you were otherwise spoken for. But I'm telling you right now, if it had been any other woman than the Counselor, you wouldn't have known what had hit you."

Will was intrigued, "Did De...Counselor Troi actually tell you that she and I were...close friends?"

Kathleen smiled as Will coloured up from the admission, "No, Sir, she didn't have to. A blind man would have known that you and she were much more than friends."

Will looked out of the porthole thoughtfully as he considered her words. It had been a long time since he'd thought of anything other than friendship with Deanna Troi, but the fact that she had warned off another woman meant that there was still something between them, something that was maybe worth exploring again.

Ensign Kathleen Carson silently left Will's office, leaving him to his thoughts about the woman two decks along who was sitting at her desk pondering the self same thing.


"Um...would you like to have dinner with me tonight, Deanna?"

Deanna laughed, the high pitched tinkle cascaded around Will, sending a wave of something he hadn't felt for a long time, and he didn't realise how much he'd missed it until it happened. Her simple word halted his train of thought and the sudden rush of adrenalin that had set his loins on fire, leaving him with an ache that promised to hurt for hours to come. "Why?"

He thought about his answer and briefly wondered why himself. Will had sat in his chair a long time after Kathleen Carson had left his office thinking about her revelation about himself and the Counselor.

Why had Deanna insinuated that he and her were an item? The question had gone around and around in his mind, driving him crazy as he tried, and failed to answer it. It had been a long time - a very long time since he had thought of Deanna in anything other than a friend, a very special friend.

But now he began to question that friendship and why they were nothing more. Deanna Troi was still, and would always be, the most beautiful woman that Will had ever seen, and it wasn't only her physical attributes that he admired. Deanna was beautiful inside too, and sometimes - most of the time, Will knew it was that that over-rode the other.

He cherished her, worshipped her, admired her, and loved her. So why wasn't he loving her the way a man normally loved a woman. Why wasn't he in her arms, her heart and her bed instead of just in her thoughts?

Did she love him the same way? And that was the problem, Will had no idea what she was thinking. Maybe Deanna had wanted more. Maybe she didn't. But if that were true, why did she warn off Kathleen. Why hadn't she warned off the other women that had passed through his life and his bedroom?

What had Deanna seen in Kathleen that scared her enough to stop the relationship before it started?

And more importantly, Why?

Will switched his train of thought to Kathleen Carson. Sure she was a looker and sure when he had kissed her he'd gotten rather hot under the collar, enough to hurl her away from him before he'd taken her there and then. That was until he'd realised that it was not Deanna in his arms raising his temperature to steaming. But why her and why then?

And then it dawned on him that Kathleen reminded him of Deanna, the Deanna of long ago. The Deanna that he had loved. The Deanna that had fire in her blood and eyes that could reduce him to a puddle when she cried.

He realised there and then that Deanna was very much a part of him, and Kathleen had just slapped him around the head and woken him up to the fact.

Will took a deep breath, his voice turned husky as he spoke to the heavens, "Because I think its time we talked about us, don't you, Deanna...Imzadi?"

Will heard her gasp, picturing her face in his mind. It had been so long since he spoken the tender endearment, and wondered why as the intimate word evoked a feeling within him that made his heart thump along with the memory of the moment the word was spoken for the very first time; A memory treasured for eternity.

Will barely heard her whispered answer of 'Yes.' Nor did he realise he was holding his breath until its release burned a path through his chest.


Will pulled her against him, his arm pinning her small shoulders against his huge chest, his heartbeat hammering, drowning out her own elevated pulse. She slipped her slender arms around his waist, feeling the familiarity and the comfort of an action that too had been missing for eons.

Deanna sighed deeply, soaking up his warmth and closeness, sensing his relief at her acceptance to begin anew. She felt his lips against her hair, his love pouring into her straight from his heart and soul, exulting in the knowledge that it had always been there between them, just tucked away to grow and mature. And now, at last, the love had grown into something more, something so profound and all it had taken was a pain in the butt of a woman, with a heart of gold to show them the way.

Deanna felt the low rumble of laughter against her head, and she pulled away to look up into his face, seeing his amusement lighting up his blue eyes. Confused, she smiled tenderly at him, "What?"

Swooping to gently capture her lips against his, Will muttered as he rained tiny kisses upon her mouth, "Remind Ensign Carson...for" His last word disappearing into the depths of her mouth as the two of them fell in love all over again.

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