By Carol Sandford


Part 1


Mending Memories - Chapter 1


Everything had been attended to. Almost.

Riker told himself that he was making a final stop at the art museum to verify for himself that everything was back in place and restored to order. After all, Starfleet would want nothing to be overlooked.

But he found himself standing for an overlong time in front of one particular painting, the one Deanna had showed him, the one with all the large concentric "goopy" swirls.

He stared at it.

Then he heard the music floating from nearby. And somehow, in a way that he couldn't quite explain, the music seemed to enhance what he was looking at.

As if dancing to the notes, the colors began slowly to swirl. It bore a striking resemblance, Riker realised, to stars swimming about in a sort of galactic whirlpool. No, not just stars...stars and planets, and perhaps...perhaps that was something like what the universe had looked like in the throes of creation. Void and miasmic and filled with promise and possibilities.

He sensed her standing next to him. But he couldn't turn to face her.

"You're leaving?" said Deanna.


"I wish you safe voyage."

"I wish you..." He stopped and found the strength to look at her. He had turned quickly, and for a moment his mind's eye superimposed the flow of the painting over her. For one insane second, she was, literally, the center of his universe. "I wish you could come with me." he said at last.

She shook her head. "You know Imzadi, for a time there, I was ready to change my universe for you. But I don't think either of us is ready for that."

He tried to say that she was wrong, but he couldn't. So instead he tried to find some way to say good-bye. But he couldn't do that either.

He turned and looked back at the painting. Such vastness that encompassed everything there was...and yet somehow, now, it seemed completely empty.

"Deanna," He turned back to her. "Maybe..."

But she was gone.

He hadn't even said goodbye. Dammit, he'd said nothing to her, because he hadn't been able to find the words. And so he'd blanked his mind, and now she probably thought that he didn't care all that much. If he were able to part from her with such apparent ease, without even a word.

He took a step in the direction he was sure she had gone, but then stopped. Because he knew beyond any question, that this was the way she wanted it. And somehow, somewhere along the way, what she wanted had become more important to him than what he wanted.


Will turned to the picture once more, but as he stared at it, he now saw nothing; just a blackness that matched the image in his head. His heart-beat pounded in his ears as his mind began to race over the last few minutes, with a clarity that only moments ago had eluded him when he truly needed it.

But what about what he wanted? Now it became more important, and he could not let her go, he could not leave it like that. Now what was vitally important to him was that she knew that he would come back for her, one day, but he had to tell her. Will must tell her that. As he turned and almost ran through the corridors, several curious eyes followed him out.

Slamming through the outer doors, he came to a halt, frantically scanning the area, desperation creeping in when he realised he had lost her. But from a terror born deep inside him, and before Will knew what he had done, before he'd considered where he was, Will shouted, out loud.


Even as he shouted, Will had known that she would not have come back even if she had heard him. But Will had to tell her, he had to find her, and he was not going to stop until she had promised to go with him, if not now, then one day. Even if it meant the Hood leaving without him.

How long Will stood in the doorway of the art museum, he didn't know. Several people filed past him, some were curious, some sympathetic, and some with enough pity to reach out and gently touch his arm, or his shoulder. Will felt and saw no-one.

Eventually, with a sigh he dejectedly headed off to his quarters. But as he entered the door, his eyes fell on the still rumpled bed. The memory of Wendy Roper, sprawled naked across it soon got pushed away as Deanna's horrified face replaced the image.

Will groaned aloud, first with shame, then despair. Then from deep inside of him came an anger that he had not experienced for a long, long time. Without warning, like a volcano, it erupted, spewing out his misery, his loss, despair and agony.

Turning, Will stared at the door which had just entered through. Torn between running after her, and torn with the need for solitude to lick his wounds, the door found itself being slammed shut with such a force, it bounced back open again. Will kicked it with a howl. His eyes blazed as he watched it finally close.

The echoing silence filtered through, and slowly his anger abated and became replaced with an ache. An ache so deep, it physically hurt. Falling to his knees, Will clutched at his chest as the feeling overwhelmed him, and it was then, and only then, that he finally knew, he was, without a shadow of a doubt, deeply and hopelessly in love with Deanna Troi.


Peering into the darkened room, Sergeant Tang found Will some time later, sitting on the floor, huddled against the end of his bed with his knees clutched up to his chin. Tang, loathe to disturb him, knocked gingerly at his door. He did not expect him to answer, and he didn't. He did get a blank stare that begged to be left alone. Without a word, Tang nodded his understanding, backed out of the room, and closed the door with a resounding click.

Will listened as his footsteps retreated along the corridor and sighed heavily, the intrusion enough to pull him out of his stupor. Letting his head fall back onto the edge of the bed, he stared up to the ceiling, searching for...what? Mercy? pity? condemnation? answers? help? Will moaned pitifully.

"What have I done? What can I do? Oh, my god, Deanna, I want you so much, I am so, so sorry. Forgive me, please"

Will closed his eyes, forcing the scalding tears to fall. Hugging his own body with his arms, a loneliness crept over him and seemed to swallow him whole. Along with the painful throb of his breaking heart, he murmured her name, over and over, "Deanna, Deanna, Deanna..."

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