Author: Pia Pedersen
Author's note: This story is inspired by a comment made to me by someone, who has touched my life in a very significant way during the last year. I'm not sure he's aware of it, but it's true. He has been an inspiration to me on several levels, and I am sure he will continue to be so. I feel lucky to have known him. Anyway, here's what he said: "Desires are never fulfilled, they just move on." While this may not be the most obvious onset for an Imzadi story, it got me thinking, and for the last couple of days both Will & Deanna have been trying to tell me something. Let's see if I can get it down on paper
Dedication: This is for Carol S. & D. Destiny, because they keep asking me to get back into writing. I hope you enjoy this, ladies! That goes for all of you, of course ...
The disclaimer is here so don't sue.
I don't know that anyone would call me a dreamer. I'm sure that that isn't the impression I'm giving people. I have a challenging career, responsibilities. I'm ambitious, and I'm busy. Busy people aren't dreamers, are they? They don't have time for dreams. That's not true. Everyone has dreams, things they want to accomplish, wants and needs. In that sense we're all dreamers, aren't we?
Questions. I ask a lot of questions in my line of work. Most of them are directed at other people, however. It's not that
I don't reflect on myself. But it's easier to ask questions of other people than to ask them of yourself, especially the hard ones. I sigh, only realizing it when the soft sound escapes my lips, filling the silent room. I didn't realize it was so silent. It is as if I'm captured within a sort of vacuum. I have been for days. Seven days, to be exact. It has been seven days since he came to me. Seven days since he told me everything I always thought I wanted to hear. Seven days since he walked out of that door, and I wondered if the pain and disbelief would be forever apparent on his face. It has been only a week, but it feels like an eternity.
Dreamers. I smile a little. We've both dreamed; nurtured desires that could never quite be quenched. But somewhere along the way they've changed without us noticing. That's why I gave the answer I did. Because I know him better than he knows himself. Because I know he asked me now more because he felt he had to, than because he wanted to.
I want him. I will always want him. But not like this; it can't be like this.
She said no. No. I couldn't believe it. I still can't. I feel like I've been given everything I've ever wanted in my life, only to realize that it isn't what I wanted after all. No, that isn't true. I still want a command. It's what I've aspired to since I entered the Academy, what I've fought for my entire adult life. Or so it seems. Right now, however, it feels oddly insignificant, and, yet, I have decisions to make important, life altering ones. This is a chance I've hoped for and feared at the same time, because I knew it would inevitably upset the status quo, not only of my admittedly comfortable life but of my relationship with Deanna as well.
I'm a coward. There. I said it. I may be courageous in the line of fire. I may be clever enough to outmaneuver my enemies, but, when all is said and done, I'm weak. I really am, especially with her. Her power over me is inexplicable it both captures and liberates. I fell in love with her a long time ago, caught up in her beauty and her spirit. It is beautiful, Deanna's spirit. It's glowing, radiant, and it shines through in everything she does. Yes, I fell in love with her, but somewhere along the way, through the years we've spent together on this ship, those feelings have changed. The burning desire she awakened in me during those stolen moments we shared has transformed into something else. Something I can't really describe. Something I never thought I would have to describe. Until I realized she didn't feel the same way, until she turned me down. It made me think, which, I'm sure, is what she wanted. I smile a little. That's my Dea --- I stop myself. She isn't mine, not really. Not like I want her to be. I pick up a hologram of her. I found it yesterday. It's not a recent one, though that isn't noticeable, she looks so vibrant. Her dark eyes are shining at me, and I am struck once again by her vulnerability. She isn't weak, for from it, but she still has a streak of vulnerability that she doesn't let many people see. At times she even tries to keep it from me, although we both know it is in vain. I can see behind those beautiful eyes of hers; I know what her fears are, what her dreams and desires are. At least I thought I did. But I guess I haven't been looking close enough, and while my attention has been elsewhere, she changed. She moved on. Maybe we both did, but I'm not sure I'm ready to acknowledge that yet. I'm not ready to give up on the dream. I can't, and I don't think I'll ever be able to. I need her too much.
There is a hint of insecurity in his eyes as she steps into the lift. She smiles softly, wanting to erase it. It doesn't suit him. He greets her with the slightest of nods but doesn't speak. Words are powerful, too powerful to trust in this moment. She knows there are things that must be said, and he knows there are things he will never be able to articulate. The silence is loaded with words unspoken, with dreams and desires never realized, and his bright eyes seek out hers as a moment of quiet understanding passes between them. She reaches out to him, and he brings her in closer with a hesitance, she doesn't remember ever feeling from him. It is so right and so wrong all at the same time, and he realizes it fully when the lift comes to a halt, and the moment, fragile and fleeting, shatters around them.
Her dark eyes hide secrets and mysteries that he aches to unravel, and his confident posture betrays his sensitive side, the side she wonders if he will ever again trust her enough to reveal. The doubt brings with it the worst of pain of all, and she can see it reflected in his eyes. Where are the words to explain, to reassure to mend? There are none. It's too late. They moved past that stage long ago, longer than any of them care to remember.
He watches her take her place on the bridge, and she notices the slight unease with which he takes his position to the right of the Captain. Their eyes meet briefly, like so many times before, but there is a difference in the way they see each other now an acknowledgement of the instability of life flows between them. Choices come and go, decisions are made whether or not you want them to be, and sometimes it is when you choose to do nothing that your actions have the most consequence, to yourself and to the people you love.
Love. She loves him. He loves her. It should be that simple, but it never is. It never is. If that were the case, they would not be here in this emotional minefield. They've known each other forever, or so it seems, grown into maturity side by side. They have tended to each other's battle scars, mended broken hearts and bruised egos, all the while nurturing the dream of someday having more. The belief that someday it would be time, and they would come together that it would happen, because it was meant to be has kept them from acting and moving forward. But life did not wait for them, time did not stop, instead it moved on without them, leaving him behind to wonder how this could happen. How he could have let it happen.
She feels the weight of his regrets on her mind, and the slight gasp uttered under their pressure makes him turn around. Their silent communication has never been flawless, but always comforting. She hopes that has not changed, but when his smile does not reach his eyes, when she does not feel its warm embrace, those hopes are crushed. He looks at her without looking, and she wonders when he saw her last.
There are things she does not know, things she cannot know. We are bound, but like the dreams I nurtured, the bond needs tending to, and because we have let so much time pass without doing so, there are parts of my mind she can no longer touch. She may know me very well, perhaps even better than I know myself, but even so there are things she does not know, and I realize, suddenly, that I find the thought reassuring. There is pain in her eyes as I look at her now, and I know I should reach out. I know I should bridge this gap between us that seems to have appeared out of nowhere. But I don't. I'm just not able to. Not now, and I know that she made the right decision. I just don't know what it means.
I was so sure. I was so sure that there would be time for us, and that she would wait that she would understand. Maybe she does, but it does not make it easier. In fact it just makes it worse. I can feel her reaching for me in her unique way, and I smile. Her pain is apparent, and I realize that my smile must have seemed as hollow as I feel. There is nothing I can do about that. I push myself to a standing position and move past her, into the lift. As the doors close I hear her voice in my mind, calling to me, and I wish I could answer. I wish I could be a better man. I wish. But it is not enough. It will never be enough.
I can see it in his eyes, sense it even before he speaks, and I know that he has made his decision. It is not a surprise. But that does not mean it hurts any less. Will steps closer to me, and I keep myself from backing away; keep myself from voicing my frustration and anger. I cannot change his mind, and I do not want to try. Nothing would be accomplished by it, not in the long run.
I know this is something he has to do, and I hope that he will understand why I have to let him go alone. Someday I hope he will see that although my dreams have changed, although my desires are no longer the same they once were, it does not mean they have disappeared altogether. It does not mean I do not want him, it does not mean I do not need him. Someday I hope he will understand that.
The word falls from his lips, and it moves me as it always does. The expression in his eyes softens, and I smile. I can't help it, and it sets him at ease, the way I knew it would. The way it always has. He will carry a piece of my soul with him always, and I know I will have part of his forever.
He moves forward, wanting to hold her close, and she lets him. She touches his face, and his lips close softly on hers. She melts into him, and for a few moments time is stopped. When it starts up again, Will takes a step back, and Deanna places her hands on his chest, hearing him take in a breath before he closes a hand around hers. There will be no goodbyes; they were never comfortable with those, and this is not the end of the road for them. It is merely a crossroads, and soon their paths are bound to cross again.
With time past desires will change into opportunities for the future, and until then they each have separate dreams to chase and fulfill ...
End note: I realize this is a break with Trek canon, but indulge me,