Author: Pia Pedersen
Summary: It's time ...
Lyrics belong to Garth Brooks.
Disclaimer: It's all Paramount's -- I own none of it.
It had been a very long shift, and Will was exhausted. He was in a hurry to get off the Bridge and almost ran to the nearest turbo lift.
doors were about to close, when she stepped inside, smiling.
He smiled back at her, watching her beautiful features, admiring her in silence. She could still mesmerize him, after all this time.
"Are you okay, Will?"
There was a hint of concern in her voice. He smiled. He couldn't blame her. He hadn't looked at her like this for years, so ... intensely.
"I'm fine, Deanna," he promised. "You just --- "
felt a wave of emotion wash over him and tried to steady himself.
She was, but then she always was, and he had complimented her looks on many occasions.
But this time it was different. This time it had less to do with what she wore and more to do with the beauty of her being, her soul. It was right there, shining in her eyes. This was what he had fallen in love with all those years ago.
Deanna sensed a change in him as their eyes met. The warmth that she had become accustomed to, and found comfort in, had been replaced by a passion that she remembered, but hadn't seen or felt in the longest time - so long that it felt like it had been another lifetime. And in many ways, it had. But still, it was there burning in his eyes, for her. Again.
The lift came to a stop, and Deanna breathed a silent sigh of relief, but not silent enough. She knew that he'd heard it.
"Will," she started to explain, but he raised a hand to stop her. He leaned forward and placed a gentle kiss on her cheek, the way he often did at night before they went in opposite directions.
"Good night," he said, softly.
"Please, Will ---"
She didn't know what to say, but she knew she had to say something.
Except, he wouldn't let her.
She watched him swallow hard and stared at him.
He smiled, although sadness had replaced the passion in his eyes. She hurt, as he did, and she knew he felt it.
just tired, Deanna. I'm sorry. I didn't mean to make you uncomfortable."
She watched him leave, disappear inside his quarters, and she wanted to scream.
He was sorry that he made her uncomfortable, sorry he'd forgotten about the line she had drawn for them, while they served together on this ship ... a line that she had never wanted to cross more than she did right now.
Will rested his forehead against the door inside his quarters.
He couldn't go on like this.
She was on his mind constantly, day and night. The last month had been torture for him, ever since he had admitted to himself that he still loved her, still wanted her.
But she didn't want that for them, not anymore. He had hurt her deeply, too deeply. So, they were friends, best of friends, but never more than that.
"Computer, music," he called out quietly. "Twentieth Century. Country."
The soft tones filled the cabin, and Will let himself fall on the bed, resting with his hands behind his head and his eyes closed, as he listened.
'If tomorrow never comes, will she know
how much I loved her?
Did I try in every way to show her every day that she's my only one?
And if my time on Earth were through, and she must face this world without me,
Is the love I gave her in the past gonna be enough to last?
If tomorrow never comes ... '
The words repeated themselves over and over again in Will's head.
They might just be words, lyrics from a long time ago ... but they rang true to him, nevertheless - more so every minute.
In his universe, the truth that today might be the last was one that everyone lived with and silently accepted, but that didn't mean it wasn't painful.
Will sat up, realization and determination edged in his features, as the song came to a close.
It was time. Time that she knew.
"Computer, location of Counselor Troi?"
"Counselor Troi is in her quarters," came his reply.
He took in a deep breath and exited his quarters.
She was happy to see him, surprised, but happy.
She stepped aside, letting him in.
waited for the doors to slide shut.
"Will, I --- about what happened earlier ... "
there's something I have to say. Please, hear me out."
nodded silently. She tried to probe his mind to find out the cause of his
he had closed off to her. It worried her, but she waited.
"I can't go on like this anymore."
"I can't keep living like this, going on missions that I never know if I will return from ---"
He heard her whisper, but he didn't stop. He had to say this now.
"--- without you knowing, " he continued. "How much I love you."
Deanna was overwhelmed, not only by his words, but also by the power of his emotions, as she felt him open up his mind to her again.
He loved her.
Her heart beat faster, faster ...
He stepped forward, closing the gap between them and held her close.
She breathed in the smell of him and relaxed in his arms.
"I love you, too, Will. I always have, I always will!"
He kissed her lips lightly.
"Is that the best you can do, Commander?" She smiled teasingly.
"What do you mean?" He looked at her, also smiling. "This isn't good enough for you, Counselor?"
"Oh, it is," she said. "I just thought that if we're going to cross the line, we might as well do it right."
He crushed her to him, looking down at her with a mischievous look in his eyes.
She nodded as the anticipation of what he was about to do started to build inside her.
She was an incredible woman, his Deanna. Will had to make an effort not to laugh.
But then she let her hands caress his back, and he was lost.
"Is this right?"
He breathed in her scent and kissed her the way he had longed to do for years.
Several seconds later as Will broke away for air, he felt her cling to him.
Nothing in his life had ever felt this right before. Not even when they had first met.
kissed him, opening up her heart and soul to him once again.
herself get lost in his touch, as they crossed the line from friends to lovers -
Only this time it would be forever.