By Carol Sandford


Chapter 03


Will stood and silently watched Deanna’s shuttle leave through the viewport. The glass of neat whisky, now nearly empty of it contents, found its way unsteadily to the table beside him. The hand that guided it there visibly shook as his eyes were unable to tear themselves away from the miniature ship as it followed her departure.

"Why did you let her go, Commander?"

Pulling himself to his full height, Will knew that this was inevitable. Someone on this ship was going to blame him, and he thought it would be Beverly. He did not expect it to be her.

Will swallowed painfully, still staring at the shuttle’s emission trail, one half of him expecting...hoping, to see it bank back towards the ship, the other knowing that this time, he had lost her for good.

"Not now, Guinan."

"You know that all it needed was one word...one word, Will, and she would have stayed."

Pivoting on the spot, Will swung fiercely on the tiny hostess, his eyes blazed with fury, and his hands clenched into tight, white-knuckled fists. He loomed over her as he tried to reign in his temper, and his agony while his breath came out in short angry, hoarse bursts.

Guinan quietly stood her ground, she knew Will would not hurt her, but she also knew that he needed to off-load the huge penance that was eating him alive, before it destroyed him. And she knew of only one way to achieve it, and that was to make him blazingly angry.

"Don’t you think I don’t know that, Guinan? Don’t you think that my every waking moment, every nightmare that I’ve had since she told us she was leaving, is filled with the guilty knowledge that it's MY fault that she’s gone. That it's MY fault that I was not man enough to let her in, to allow her to take over my heart, my body, my very soul? Guinan, she wanted too much of me, I don't have enough to give back to her."

Will swung away from her and continued to stare out, unseeing to the empty void that filled not only his vision, but his heart.

Guinan remained silent, aware that he had more to say, but she could not stop her hand from reaching out to place it comforting upon his shoulder. She felt Will’s posture slump as he finally accepted that Deanna had gone.

"Damn it, Guinan, I loved her more than anyone will ever know, more than she ever knew, but she just wanted too much."

The two friends remained like that for some time. The new Counselor, and her first patient, the empty, miserable shell of William Riker.

  Book index   Previous chapter   Next chapter