Story: Cold Feet
Author: Deede
Email: jaylee_g@yahoo.com
Disclaimer: Paramount owns them, I just like to play around a
bit. :-)
Rating: PG


*****

It wasnít supposed to frighten me as profoundly as it was currently
doing, yet it did. I hadnít expected to feel this way, after
all, this was what I wanted Ė what I had dreamed of for so long.
Just up to a few hours ago I had been fairly certain that I would
forgo the ritual cold feet indigenous to the occasion and handle
myself with the certainty of one who knew what she wanted and
went for it. After all, how many patients had I talked through
events like this? How many times had I lectured breathing techniques,
soothed fears, and reminded others to focus on the primary objectiveÖ
deep, abiding love: the kind that is life-long and unending,
the type that is symbolized by the marriage vows.

I definitely have a new appreciation for all those who courageously
faced this act before me, in fact, from now on there will be
no mentioning of breathing exercises in pre-marital counseling
sessions. After all, the last thing Iím thinking of right now
is breathing. At this moment Iíd be happy with getting my heart
to stop beating so fast. This canít be healthy - And if Bev wasnít
so busy giggling over the fact that, to quote, Ďmy unflappable
friend has now found herself flapped. Oh, if Will could see you
now,í sheíd probably tell me the same thing.

And what would Will say if he saw me now, a complete and utter
nervous wreck just minutes before I was to be escorted down the
aisle and pledge the rest of my life to him? Would he find it
amusing, as Beverly did, or would he be hurt by it? I feel like
Iím about to jump out of my skin, and for the first time that
I can remember in a long time I canít place just one emotion.
That was my job, what I was supposed to do: categorize the feeling,
realize it for what it was, recognize that it was natural and
indigenous to the event, and then move on with the understanding
that, since labeled, it no longer had baring on my actions. But
I couldnít do it, years of discipline and learning the intricate
designs of the mind just went down the tubes because everything
I was experiencing in that moment went so far beyond that almost
verbatim text book description.

Was I afraid? Most definitely. In fact, I havenít been this afraid
in a long time. I remember the first time Will and I had been
together, back when we both had little more than youth and idealistic
dreams to our names, I would get these sudden flashes of panic.
Weíd be laying on the ground, bodies flushed from our recently
spent passion, and a thousand thoughts would be running through
my head at unfathomable speeds. Was it normal to feel this powerfully
for someone? Why had I let things go this far, almost to the
point where everything felt so dizzyingly yet wonderfully out
of control? Would I be able to move on if things didnít work
out between us? Would I ever be able to feel the same way about
someone else that I felt for Will?

As fate would have it I did receive the answers to my naive uncertainty.
Yes, I did learn to survive without Will - moving on with my
life when he left me for his career out of necessity and because
it had needed to be done. The imzadi bond that existed between
us was swift, and it was powerful, but so, I found, was my strength
of spirit - I wasnít about to let a broken heart hold me back.
I guess it is sort of ironic that we became such good friends
when we were first stationed together on the Enterprise, but
in a way I donít think we could have really been anything else
to each other at that point. We were both still in the process
of growing up, of searching for what it was we wanted. And grow
up we did, facing countless losses and triumphs by each otherís
side, ultimately learning to combine the reckless passion of
youth, and the wisdom of age, as our destinies intertwined once
more and we realized we had never really stopped loving one another.

So, what was I afraid of now? Some residual traces from youth,
and our first failed attempt at commitment? I honestly donít
think it is either of those things. For years Will had been my
best friend, my confidant. I had learned a long time ago to trust
him in a way I really hadnít been able to when we were both so
young and inexperienced. I get this tender pang when looking
at him, as if my heart fills by the sight of him alone. There
are so many things about him that I find endearing, so many traits,
little things really, that get my blood racing. The way he cradles
my head when we kiss, or the way his blue eyes light up like
a little boy with a secret whenever he thinks he is pulling something
over on me. The way he reverts to a male-domineering, Teutonic
state during away missions when he feels the need to protect
me, even though I am fully capable of holding my own, and the
way he smiles at me when I walk onto the bridge - the only outward
sign during duty hours that there is something deeper between
us.

There are moments that transpire every once in awhile where it
seems as though only the two of us exist, that somehow we have
managed to separate ourselves from space and time, and there
is only Will and Deanna in our own private world. These moments
usually happen without provocation: Iíll be curled up on his
chest as he lays elongated across on the couch, playing idly
with the zipper on his jacket or heíll be speaking adamantly
about one topic or another in ten forward, flaying his large
hands to emphasize his wordsÖ It doesnít take much and Iím lost,
heís lost, and this bond between us ignites fully and uncontrollably.
It makes me wonder how we lasted as long as we did without contact,
how the bond managed to lay repressed during our process of growth.
But I suppose it doesnít really matter, itís active now, and
making up for lost time with a vengeance.

I think maybe itís the idea behind so drastic a change that has
me the most frightened. I do not doubt my love for Will, or that
our hearts and souls arenít already married and have been for
a long time. Will once told me that he had never really stopped
loving me, even when we both swore that we wouldnít interrupt
our careers by entertaining thoughts of rekindling our romance
those first few years of service on the Enterprise. At the time
I didnít know how to take that, and I told him so, pointing out
the fact that his libido didnít seem to have a problem finding
companionship with or without me. Willís reputation in regards
to the opposite sex was practically legendary before we renewed
our relationship, and during the early years of Ďweíre just friendsí
it was something I had trained myself to be more amused by then
not. After all, the only other alternative was to have my heart
broken each and every time, and well, that just didnít seem very
practical, especially given the circumstances surrounding his
constant need to display his virility. I had nothing to prove,
but I refused to begrudge him his own vice. Our friendship veiled
anything deeper, and I had worked pretty damn hard to suppress
any jealous inclinations I would have otherwise had.

He got really quiet when I pointed this out to him, standing
positively still for countless seconds before he moved to crush
me to him in a bear hug, nearly strangling me with his grip.
ďThey didnít mean anything, Deanna. All that time I was searching
for something - trying to fill this void that only you could
complete. I thought you didnít want me.Ē

It had taken me awhile following his confession to assure him
that I was there, and that I wasnít going anywhere. For someone
as confident as Will is - he is not without his insecurities.
But then neither am I.  I like to look at it as a sign that despite
how far weíve come we are still learning. Only this time, we
are doing it as a couple and not apart.

Thatís not to say that it has been all 'smooth sailing', as he
would say. We've had our moments, just as any normal, functioning
couple does. I haven't really kept count of the times we've argued,
but they are rare, thankfully, although no less intense.

"Will, would you have come to me if we had never gone to the
Briar Patch?" I had asked one day when we had been curled up
together on a chair reading from the same padd. My question had
taken him by surprise, and I had wondered at the time if it was
because it had seemingly come out of nowhere or because of its
content. In all honesty I can't yet say why I had asked it when
I did, it had been a nagging fear, yes, but not one that I dwelled
on, and not one I had even been thinking of at the time I had
voiced it.

He had sighed then, halting what work he had been trying to accomplish
to stare at me. For some reason my question bugged him, and he
had looked mildly exasperated when he asked, "Well, what do you
think?"

"If I knew the answer to that I wouldn't have asked the question,"
I had responded in as even a tone as I could muster given my
own rapidly growing irritation.

He had glared at me then, his frustration shining brightly in
his eyes. "Gods Deanna, I love you. I have since the day we met.
I had thought about approaching you for years with my feelings,
but didn't want to disrupt the status quo. Didn't you know how
I felt? And if not then, don't you know now?"

It was a legitimate question. After all, I was an empath, and
even if not for that, Will and I were imzadi - through our bond
I should have sensed something. I can easily dismiss why I had
suppressed it before the Briar PatchÖ because I had wanted to.
Like Will, I was afraid of putting our friendship on the line,
afraid of pursuing something that could disrupt the comfortable
pattern we had been living in, even if that something was as
powerful as the love that we share. Oh, there had been an occasion
every once in awhile when I had felt his love burning brightly
within him, but I had somehow passed it off as hormones, or residual
emotions from the past - the alternative had been too frightening
to consider at the time. I hadn't been ready for those feelings
again yet.

Yet how I answered Will's question was a double edged sword,
I knew that there had been a good chance he wouldn't understand
a truthful answer, and yet I didn't want to lie to him, couldnít
lie to him. Above all else I believed in honesty in a relationship,
even if it hurt us both in the process.

"I guess I turned a blind eye to itÖ before the Briar Patch,
that is. I prevented myself from knowing. But I do know how you
feel now."

My answer had hurt him, as I had known deep down that it would.
And it pained me that it had affected him like that. The last
thing that I wanted was for him to take my words to heart. True,
I had been honest, but at what cost?

He muttered something under his breath about "wasted time" and
then proceeded to mope the rest of the night, shooting the occasional
accusing glance my way, as if to say 'my frustration is all your
fault'.

It wasn't until I had gone to bed that he had crawled in beside
me and gently brushed the hair from my eyes.

"It doesn't matter. I have you now and I'm not letting you go
this time," he had announced, wrapping his arms around me while
pulling me close.

"I'm not going to let go either, Will," I had mumbled into his
chest, entirely appeased for the first time in a long time.

It still never ceases to amaze me just how much little things
like words can affect someone. I knew that Will loved me - he
had shown me in a million different ways, and with a thousand
deeds - I could feel it in his soul, empathy or not. But what
he had said to me in the bed that night was something I had needed
to hear, and I think he had an equal, deep seeded need to hear
me say them back. 

And we had moved on from that moment with renewed vigor, working
to reach the point that we are at now: me scared for my life,
and Will just an aisle away. In an odd way there is a sense of
propriety in my fear - this was it, my life as it had been was
about to change, and yet the prospect for a thrilling, and different
future lay before me. True, I was leaving my friends and the
Enterprise - I was going to be legally bound to someone, making
the possibility for escape or the need to retreat in private
nearly impossible, but Will and I had each other, our bond, and
a whole universe to explore. It was as exhilarating as it was
exciting, and yes, it was also scary, but in a good way - the
kind of scary that makes one feel warm inside.

Any minute now I will march a few feet and have it seem like
miles, I will look into Will's eyes and see the love there, relinquish
my inhibitions - while reminding myself, as I was doing now,
that imzadi really does mean forever.


The End!