By Carol Sandford


Chapter 10


They stepped into the black void, leaving the outside world behind, while wondering silently if maybe it would be forever. Will and Deanna came to a halt barely five meters in when the path reached a fork.

Swinging the beam before him as he scanned each tunnel as far as the comforting beam would allow, Will muttered more to himself than the woman beside him.

"Great! That didn’t take long did it? How in the hell are we supposed to know which way to go?"

Deanna stepped closer to him releasing his hand but slipping her arm through his, forging the closeness that made her feel instantly better.

"I’m not sure. Maybe we should just follow our instincts...what our hearts tell us to do."

Will stared at her as if she had gone slightly mad, before turning back to the darkness that beckoned them ahead.

"Deanna, if we take the wrong turn it could be the end, we could fall into a fissure or worse, and I am not putting our lives in danger just because our hearts tell us to go that way or this. That has got to be the stupidest thing I have ever heard!"

By the time Will had finish his condemning speech which had reached escalated in volume that was deafening within the confines of the rock walls, Deanna had stepped away from him, her pain radiated around her as she listened to him belittle her words.

Will felt like a heel as he watched her huge eyes well with tears. Instantly sorry for his harsh outburst, he hastily pulled her into his arms, hugging her tightly.

"I’m sorry, sweetheart, but I’ m scared, not for me, but for you. I don’t want to lose you again, I am NOT going to lose you again and if that means following our hearts, then so be it. It seems we don’t have any choice, do we?"

Both faces turned simultaneously towards the paths once more, and moments later, Deanna gingerly lifted one arm and shakily pointed to the left juncture.

Sighing loudly, Will shifted his pack, squared his shoulders, grabbed her hand and made the first tentative step forward.

"Okay, let’s see what’s in there, shall we?"


"Do you hear it, Will, do you hear the water?"

They had been walking for what felt like hours. Sometimes they found themselves climbing, and sometimes descending off miniature cliff faces, none were what Will would consider a danger to life and limb. Both being, particularly himself, reasonable rock face climbers, had confronted the minor hazards with relative ease, but their energy was about spent.

Will pulled her towards the welcome sound, but moments later, backtracked rapidly, pushing her back towards the tunnel that they had all but emerged from.

"What is it, Will, what do you see?"

Stepping gingerly forward, holding her at arms length as he craned his head forward to look over the steep overhang that loomed in front of them. Deanna was beside herself with impatience, her initial fatigue forgotten as her curiosity got the better of her.


Will scanned the distant spectacle that spread out before him. Its awesome appearance was pushed aside for the moment as he plotted a route to descend. Finally he stepped away and began unbuckling his pack.

"It’s a waterfall that we can hear, and there’s a small pool at its base. II think it will be an ideal place to set up camp for a while, butwe’ve just got to get down there. Remove your pack, I can send them down on the same line when I lower you."

Deanna fingers halted the tugging on her buckle as his words filtered through.

"Lower me! But, who’s going to lower you Will?"

His cock-sure grin and the sparkle in his eye instantly dispersed the rising panic that she felt come from the pit of her tummy. She found herself grinning back at him.

"Sorry, silly question, huh?"

"Uh huh, I guess that makes us even now. Now, lets get this harness on you. I for one, am starving."

In the dimness their eyes met, capturing the intimate suggestion. Smoky blue met sultry brown, and the chilly air turned their breath to mist, meeting between them like a caress. Will cleared his throat.

"Come on, time to go, sweetheart."

Locking the final clasp onto her slender waist. Will secured his end of the tether by forcing it between a crevice on a rocky outcrop that jutted out from the wall of the cavern.

Bracing his feet, he began to lower Deanna down the sheer drop. Before she vanished from his view, Will heard her call the endearment in his head.

I love you, Imzadi

Tightening his hold as the weight began to take its toll on his body, he could only answer her with a grunt. He heard her chuckle from the depths of the chasm, and turned his eyes heaven ward elevating the tension that bunched up between his shoulder blades.

Deanna’s feet constantly slipped on the shiny granite like stone that was typically indigenous to Betazed. The only way she could keep her foot hold was by pushing out so that she was practically laying flat in mid air, it was the only way she could keep her feet flat against the slippery surface.

Luckily Will had the foresight to have loaded the packs on first so they were beneath her rather than above, but their constant swinging motion made the descent more perilous than she would have liked.

Several minutes later, the packs hit solid ground, and Deanna sighed with relief. She had not dared look down, not even once for fear of panicking, but putting her two feet on solid ground had never felt so good, and she found herself laughing at the simple luxury.

Unbuckling her harness, she looked up. And up, and up, swallowing painfully, the inner laughter disappeared when he saw just how far she had come.

"Good lord!"

She heard Will’s distant voice calling to her.

"Are you Okay? Are you down yet?"

"Yes. YES! I’m Okay."

She tugged twice on the tether and watched it begin to make its way back up towards him. Pulling her torch from her pack, Deanna switched on and took stock of her surroundings.

The wide beam of the torch caught the iridescence of the waters surface, throwing a rainbow of colours that twinkled in the light. Tiny ripples broke its surface and Deanna moved the beam to its source.

Water gently cascaded into the pool, like a shower. Deanna followed its path up. And up. She found its source, barely visible from the great distance, but it was there, a tiny opening, ejecting the stream, its heavy trickle running down the cliff’s face until the rock fell away, eaten away over the eons of time to create the simple, but breathtaking spectacle.

Deanna heard Will’s slow, precise descent above and she swung the torch onto his form and watched his final few meters with admiration. He was clearly enjoying the challenge, his expertise showing in his sure footed decline.

Puffing with mild exertion, Will grinned as he jumped the last few feet to land before Deanna. She found herself grinning stupidly back at him, her relief evident in her over bright eyes along with the excitement of discovery.

While Will set about freeing himself from the harnesses, Deanna turned away and began a swoop with the torch’s beam for somewhere suitable to set up camp. Will came to stand beside her, following the torches beam as his eyes squinted in the dimness, before pointing to a shallow plateau that jutted out from the cliff’s edge.

"There, that will do, high enough off the ground in case the water level rises, large enough to sleep on, and the added bonus, our own personal heat rock."

Reaching for his phaser, he altered its setting and fired at the largish stone, within moments, it began to glow, not only with heat, but with light, sending an ethereal glow around the small cavern, basking it in a luminous blue radiance that made Deanna gasp with awe when she saw its effect.

"Oh Will, its...wonderful!"

Will stood beside her, resting his arms across her shoulders as he took in the scene with her. The peace and serenity that surrounded them was broken by the ragged sound of Will’s breath which escaped his lips like a fiery dragon as he fought to recapture his spent energy from his hasty decline.

The silence was further encroached upon by Will’s stomach as it protested against lack of food. They both laughed as they turned away to begin unpacking there backpack to satisfy their immediate hunger.

Barely fifteen minutes later they were silently munching on soda crackers and heated chunky soup.

Will lay back sighing with contentment as his body began to feel the effects of being nourished. Deanna lay along beside him, propping herself on her elbow so that she could look at him.

Will’s eyes were closed but he knew what she was going to say before she opened her mouth.

"You noticed there was no way out as well, didn’t you?"

His steady eyes found hers in the dimmed light, but as she opened her mouth, Will reached out to silence her with a finger tip to her lips.

"Shush, not now, we’ll worry about it in the morning. We’re both too beat to do anything tonight, so I am not even going to think about it until then, okay?"

Deanna shuffled her body closer and lay her head upon his shoulder. Will felt her nod as he pulled her close, capturing her hand within his. Pleased that she trusted him enough to accept his lack of worry, he chuckled lightly, Will’s heavy eyes slipped closed as he sensed Deanna’s own struggle to stay awake. The tranquil sound of the waterfall along with their own fatigue had them in a deep, dreamless sleep within moments.

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