By Carol Sandford


Part 1


Mending Memories - Chapter 8


Dawn broke with a chorus of bird-song. Before Deanna opened her eyes, she stretched her body that was stiff from sleeping on the hard surface. Suddenly remembering where she was, Deanna sat bolt upright, her eyes scanning the immediate area as she did so. Eventually they fell on the solitary figure perched upon the large boulder. Their eyes met, hers taking in the whole picture, his, taking in the pleasure of watching her rouse from her sleep.

Will broke the silence, "Morning.." Deanna smiled nervously, tentatively at him, then blushed as his eyes feasted upon her face.

Coming to a stand, Deanna slowly made her way to the base of the boulder. Arching her back to work out the kink, she looked up to him, pushing aside the awkwardness she felt. "Hello Will, I'm sorry I stole your bed. Where did you sleep?"

He nonchalantly waved one hand in the air as he replied with an easy grin on his face "Oh, I made out okay. I've been keeping watch for a while."

Deanna looked away, embarrassed again at the implications of his words; he had been watching her, but inside she glowed with pleasure. Smiling wide, Deanna looked up at him once more, determined to ease the tension that could be felt building between them, "So, can I make you some breakfast, being as you so kindly let me sleep, and kept me safe?"

Will looked at her for a moment longer, before sliding down the boulders smooth edge, to land neatly in front of her, grinning as he made a lively joke about the contents of breakfast. "Sure. Now let me see, we have dried eggs, dried cereal, complete with powdered milk, dried fruit and powdered coffee..."

Deanna stared at him, enjoying the tease. Contemplating the variety of choices, she chewed on her bottom lip as she considered before finally settling on the only option. "Coffee."

Will laughed "Good choice," He bent and rummaged around in his rucksack, eventually proudly displaying the sachets of granules. "You fill the billycan and prepare the cups, I'll set the stove up."

Rummaging some more, Will found the tiny primus stove, and set it up. He had got it lit by the time Deanna had returned from the lake with the water. A comfortable silence grew between them as they waited for it to boil. Minutes later, they both gratefully sipped on steaming cups of coffee. Draining the last few drops, Will took her cup and rinsed them out. Coming back to a stand in front of her, he held out his hand. Deanna looked up into his eyes. It was time to talk.

"Walk with me."

Reaching up to take the proffered hand, Will gently hauled her upright. Deanna expected to be pulled into his embrace, but she was surprised, and disappointed when he did not. Instead, he kept hold of her hand, turned and began walking.

Will saw the passion and the hope flare in her eyes when he pulled her close to him, inwardly groaning as his body reacted to her close presence. He longed to take her in his arms and lose himself in her kisses, but this was not the time. Things needed to be said. Things needed to be resolved.

Taking a few steps, Will hesitated, looking ahead. Deanna followed his gaze, both set of eyes rested on the mossy bank, the route would have lead them to their 'spot'. Will abruptly turned and headed in the other direction. The tension mounted between them once more.

They had been walking for some time. Both stared unseeing at the breathtaking scenery before them, both unwilling to start the conversation, knowing that one of them had to. Eventually it was Deanna who spoke. "Talk to me, Will"

Coming to a halt, she heard him sigh. Releasing her hand, Will made his way over to the nearest large tree and propped himself against it. Picking up a leaf, he systematically shredded it. Deanna watched his hands, "Will?"

Glancing at her briefly, he continued to shred the leaf as he tried to explain himself, "I couldn't say goodbye, Deanna, I...I didn't want to."

Deanna began to scuff the ground with her boot, her hands shoved deep into her pockets to hide her nervousness. Will watched her movements with fascination. It seemed to be a very uncharacteristic thing for her do, very unladylike. But her words brought his eyes back to her face. "I too couldn't say the words, Will." Eyes locked as the raw emotions bounced from one to the other.

Will's eyes beckoned her closer. Drawn by the unspoken forces that kept the two locked souls together, Deanna came close enough for Will to pull her into his arms, and kissing the top of her head, he brokenly asked, "What now, where do we go from here, Dee?"

Deanna rested her head upon his chest. Closing her eyes, she whispered back, "I don't know Will. I have my life, you have yours, we're both too young to take on the responsibilities of a mature relationship." BR>

Deanna pushed herself away from his body, turning her back on him as she tried to sort out her tumbled thoughts, "But what if we can't wait that long Will. What if something...Anything happens?"

Will came to stand behind her. Turning her around to meet his eyes, he tried once more to tell her how much he wanted her, "Deanna, we are Imzadi. Isn't that supposed to account for something?"

Deanna shook her head, "It's not enough Will. It is for me, but it's not for you, you've already proved that"

She saw the anger flare in his eyes as Will swung away from her, "I wondered how long it would be before you brought that up. How many times can I say I'm sorry, Deanna. How many?"

Now Deanna forced herself into his view, "Don't you understand Will? Sorry isn't the issue here. I know your sorry, and I understand why you did it. You needed comfort, I wasn't there, she was, I've come to understand that. But it should not have happened. If we were absolutely true Imzadi, it would not have happened."

Will walked away from her to stand at the water's edge. After seemingly searching for answers from the turquoise lake, he bitterly threw over his shoulder "What you mean is your mother shouldn't have interfered. This is her fault, that and the damn hold she has over you."

Deanna forced herself to sit on the floor against the tree Will had vacated before she carried on the conversation. "Yes, you're right, she did interfere, but she has every right to be concerned, Will, I am her only daughter, she only wants what's best for me, every mother does."

Will was quiet, then finally and just as quietly he murmured, "I wouldn't know about that, would I?"

Will shook his head, the bitterness creeping into his voice, "I will never, ever treat my child the way your mother treats you, she's...suffocating!"

Deanna smiled at his choice of word. "Yes, she does have her...moments. But in my heart I know she cares. I know she loves me Will, and that is the true basis for happiness."

Will stopped pacing as he contemplated her remark, eventually posing the question thoughtfully, "Are you happy Deanna?"

Deanna twiddled with a lock of her hair as she thought about her reply "I was happy, but then I met you."

Will stared at her "What's that supposed to mean!?"

He sounded so indignant, Deanna laughed quietly, then just as quickly hushed again, "I mean, I was happy. I was happy with my life as it was, but then you came along and showed me a different kind of happiness...even if I have seemed to of spent a large chunk of it crying."

Will came and sat down in front of her, the need to touch her bringing him within arms reach. Taking her hand, he let her continue. "Before I was happy, now I feel...complete, even though we aren't technically together, I still feel complete. Whole. You have made my life absolute, Will. What you have shown me...given me, has changed my entire life, forever, and I will always love you for that alone, whatever happens."

Will watched the tears form and he tenderly reached out to caress her face, the tears sprang to his own eyes. She had exposed her soul to him, and now it was his turn. "I love you, Deanna. I finally knew that when you walked away from me in the museum. I thought I would die when I couldn't find you. There was no way I could have left this planet without telling you that."

Will watched as her tears began to fall. He forged on."I love you, Deanna Troi. Without you, I don't exist. I can't exist.

Will decided to take the bull by the horns, as he was certain, without no doubts, that this was what he wanted. "Will you join me later on board the Hood? We can be married on board, or if you want, here"

Deanna smiled at his sudden flurry of words, "Will, are you asking me to marry you?!"

Will grinned, surprising himself "I guess I am. Well, what do you say, Deanna Troi, Heir to the Holy Rings of Betazed, Holder of the Sacred Chalice of Riix, Daughter of probably the world's worst mother, will you marry me?"

Deanna laughed, but shook her head at the same time, "Oh, Will, you know I can't, please don't ask me now, please. Can we wait until we're just a little older, a little more responsible? We both have so much to do, so much to achieve."

Will looked crestfallen and Deanna reached out and touched his face gently "Will, I'm not saying no, just..not yet."

Will smiled sadly as they both fell silent once more, but it was a comfortable silence that fell between them as they contemplated their future. He knew what she was saying was right, and he was secretly overjoyed at her response. This was what he really wanted, Deanna eventually, and his career. But he was confident now that they would eventually be together.

He was happy.

Deanna patted her lap, "Lay down, Will" Will needed no further prompting, swinging his legs round, he placed his head upon her lap. Shifting slightly to get comfortable, Deanna began to lightly play with his hair. He closed his eyes and let the peaceful feelings wash over him. Will happily realised he was content. He had managed to right all his wrongs. He was as good as engaged to the most beautiful girl in the universe, and she loved him. What more could he want?

"So, How many kids are we gonna have?"

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