by Carol Sandford
It was the end of another, long and somewhat painful day as Will slowly walked along to his quarters. It took him a long moment when he reached his door before he could summons up the nerve to admit something to himself. But eventually it did and when it did, it instantly slammed home just what the day was and what it meant to him.
It was his anniversary and this anniversary, along with the past four, he celebrated alone with a tumbler or two of good whiskey and a melancholy tune that soothed his tortured soul until he could fall asleep and start another day. A day that wasn't his anniversary.
Christmas was only around the corner and like his anniversary, it was another time that was not welcome, especially as it was Christmas Day when it had finally sunk in that Deanna wasn't coming back to him. Ever.
Old friends tried their best to get him to take leave and spend the holidays with them, and each year he had feigned one excuse after another, using his favourite one of taking on the shifts so that other crew members with families could spend precious time with them.
Will didn't need Christmas. He had no family and was just another painful admission that crucified his soul at times, like now as he steadfastly refused to allow Christmas to take over his quarters. The only present he allowed himself was an honest, good old fashioned bottle of scotch which was usually gone by the time dawn broke as he drunkenly pondered if Deanna had found the excitement and happiness that she had said was missing from their own relationship.
"I'm bored, Will, we need to change."
Deanna had meant herself, of course. Will hadn't wanted to change. Change what? He'd wondered, on too many times as he'd emptied another tumbler of the amber soother down his throat. How could they change their lives on a Starship? And so she had left and he had stayed as the change she eventually took didn't include him.
They'd married before they'd taken up their places on the USS Titan. That had been the change that Will had wrongly thought they'd needed. But it hadn't been. If anything, it had simply made things worse, what with his new captaincy, a role that demanded even more of his precious time. Deanna had been firmly been pushed firmly back into the background, even though she was a qualified counselor, purely because she was his wife. It was assumed that she would stay at his side and not continue her role as a counselor. It was assumed that she was more than happy to be nothing more than a wife. And she had hated it.
Sighing at the unwanted memory, Will shucked his boots and made his way to the replicator. It was a full minute as he pondered over what he wanted to eat for supper, only to eventually shrug and walk away again empty handed, his appetite lost. Throwing his large frame along the entire length of the settee, Will rested his head back and stared gloomily at the ceiling.
The insistent, 'peep, peep' of the console was ignored until the incessant noise began to grate so much that Will reluctantly pushed himself to his feet, purely with only the intent of shutting the infernal racket off before he did something he regretted to the valuable piece of equipment.
But as he stared at the unrecognizable code on the display screen, Will suddenly found himself intrigued at the mystery caller suddenly relieved that it wasn't one of his closest friends calling to offer him a night out on the town, or worse, their sympathy.
Pushing the acceptance switch, Will came face to face with the one person he least expected. The one person that he didn't want to see or talk to, because it was the person that took his wife away from him. His brother. His twin. His nightmare. Thomas.
Will tried valiantly to hold the bile down that rose in his throat as he stared at the mirror image of himself, not quite believing the man's gall. Only Thomas Riker would show his face on a day that still held more than it should to him. Only Thomas Riker would dare to have the nerve.
"What do you want?" Will spat, not even attempting to keep the venom from his voice.
Ignoring Will, Thomas asked, "Have you seen Deanna? I thought..." He faltered, suddenly very unsure of himself. "I thought she may be with you."
Startled but wary, Will suddenly took a longer look at his nemesis and saw beyond the man that stole his wife from him. Deep, deep shadows made his blue eyes stand out even brighter than normal, even though those eyes were filled pain and worry. His hair was unkempt, his clothes shabby. His whole demeanour looked troubled.
Resting his palms face down onto the desk's surface, Will lowered his face to the screen before him, close enough for Thomas not to miss one moment of Will's own torment. "Why would she be with me? I haven't seen her since..." Will struggled to spit the words out but couldn't stop the bitterness when he finally did. "since you stole her from me, you bastard."
There was a silence for a long moment as Thomas absorbed Will's loss, neglecting his own briefly until he was ready to face him again. Moments later, he took a deep breath and spoke shakily. "Deanna's left me, Will, and I've reason to believe she's with you."
Stunned, Will stood upright, his eyes widening with disbelief until Tom continued on, "If you refuse to see me then I'll be convinced she's with you."
The last person in the universe Will wanted to see face to face was Thomas. To come face to face with him after all this time, and after all that had happened made him go cold with loathing. Events that were still as raw to him as the first day that he'd come home to find his wife gone, gone to be with his brother, was so almost incomprehensible, that he didn't even consider his preposterous accusation.
And then he thought back to what Thomas had said and astonishment turned to anger. "Just whereabouts are you, Thomas?"
"About an hour out of Titan's position." He confirmed.
"So you're really coming for her?" Will asked with dread.
"If that's an invitation, captain..." And severed the connection. Will stared at the blank screen and attempted to take in what and who he'd just seen and heard. Deanna had left Thomas, and Thomas was coming to the Titan to find her. In an hour.
God help him.
The two men took in each other's features and both quickly realized that they looked as bad as each other. Muscles twitched in their jaws in a bid to hold their tongues, each equally afraid to say something to one another that they would regret later.
"She's not here." Said Will, reluctantly, suddenly wishing that she was, just so that he could see his reaction to the news. But seeing him face to face, he quickly changed his mind.
"I know she's not, I can see that in your eyes. I'd know if she were." He stated with confident misery, reminding Will that the link that was once between he and Deanna was as strong between her and Thomas, but then he added somewhat hesitantly, "But I had to make sure. Can I come in, Will?"
Will took a step back and Thomas took it as acceptance. Thomas' eyes swept the cabin, finding nothing that would indicate that Deanna had been there. It soon became evident that she hadn't been back into the place since the day that he took her from it. Tom's face found Wills again. "I want my wife back. I have to find her. I'm desperate, Will, which is the only reason why I've come to you."
"Why should I help you, you son-of-a-bitch, you stole her from me, remember?" Will snarled, taking a threatening step towards his adversary, only stopping as Thomas stepped back away from his, his hand held up in submission.
"I don't want to fight with you, Will. I just want to find my wife. Will you help me, or not?"
With exasperation, Will exploded. "Why in hell would I know where my ex-wife is? Christ, Tom, she could be anywhere! Have you considered that she may have been kidnapped, or something?"
"No, no, I know nothing like that has happened," he clarified quickly. "She...she left a note saying that she just had to get away, so I know that she's all right."
A heavily silence followed, a silence as Will sensed that there was something amiss. "And?" He asked with unease.
This time it was Thomas who threw himself uninvited down onto the settee. "That's just it, I don't know!" he cried. "I seem to have done something wrong, but for the hell of me, I don't know what!"
Will went cold with the familiarity of the words as they bounced around the room, settling over them both like a heavy blanket. Suddenly he felt sorry for his brother, but not too much. He had stolen his wife, after all. He deserved to suffer. But he had flung those self same words at her four years ago and she had retorted by walking out on her, 'prison sentence' as she had called it. God that had stung.
"I still don't know why you've come to me, Tom. I have no idea where she is, and besides, even if I did - which I don't, maybe Deanna doesn't want to be found."
Thomas surprised Will by starting quietly, "She often talks of you, you know." He shrugged. "I suppose comparisons were inevitable. And she has a very high regard for you. In fact, lately I've come to the conclusion that she thinks more of you than she does of...."
He broke off and leaned forward suddenly, his whole body sagging. Will put aside his differences, deciding that, for the moment, he would be the one to offer the twig. "Do you want a drink?"
Tom's head barely moved in acceptance as he stared at the floor between his knees. Will got one for himself as well as Tom and handed the amber liquid to him. Tom downed his in one go and shuddered as it's effect rippled through his body. "Thanks," he murmured, "I needed that."
"Another?" Asked Will, as he sipped at his own.
"No, thanks. The last thing Deanna wants or needs is a drunk on her hands."
Shamefacedly, Will stared down into the remaining contents of his own glass, swirled the amber liquid around before slipping it onto the table beside him, knowing full well that his days of drinking himself into a stupor were behind him.
Thomas looked up into Will's face and offered him a grim smile. "I'm sorry for having to do this to you, Will. I know you're probably still sore at us." Will's eyebrows rose with the absurdity of his statement. Sore was the understatement of the year. ""Yeah, all right," Tom continued. "You're bloody pissed as hell at us. But, hell, Will, I do love her, you know?"
Will felt the fight drain out of his body. Of course he knew he loved her. Everybody loved her, including himself, probably still as much as the man opposite him.
"I really don't know where she is, Tom. Hell, I didn't even know that she was your wife. That's how much we've been out of touch."
"Help me find her, Will. Please."
Will sighed. "Where have you looked?"
"Everywhere that I know of. Home, her friends, colleagues. No one has seen her."
"Or no one is admitting to seeing her." Will amended for him.
A spark of hope flared in Tom's eyes. "Who...?"
"Leave it with me, Tom. Remember, you're still the bad guy amongst our circle. You are not going to get anywhere with any of them. They'll talk to me," he said confidently. "And, by God, I'll find her, even if I have to go and drag her skinny butt home myself. Deanna Troi is done running. She's run all her life. It's time she stopped."
Tom rose to his feet. "Let me help."
"No, not yet. Trust me, I can find her a lot faster without you turning the world's population sour just for seeing your ugly face."
"Yours is ugly, too." Tom grinned, relief already lightening his heart at finding a helping hand, even if the hand was from the most unlikeliest of allies.
"Ah, but, people still love me." Will grinned back.
Arranging for Thomas to take a cabin on board the Titan until he had located Deanna, Will sat at his personal computer and searched for the only person that Will was sure would know where she would be, despite Thomas' numerous attempts to grill her before. After checking the whereabouts of the medical ship that carried his quarry, Will took the next step and called it's captain.
"Will!" She replied back, clearly thrilled to hear from him, but equally wary as to the reason why he was calling her. It had been almost a year since they'd last spoken and it hadn't been a pleasant encounter. Even though Doctor Beverly Crusher was no longer his doctor, she had still lectured and cajoled him to behave in a more captainly manner than he had been. He hadn't liked being told to get a life, and certainly not by her. If anyone knew how much he was hurting, it was Beverly. He expected more sympathy from her. He didn't get it. Not one smidgen.
"Still bumming around that ship of yours pretending to be pathetic?" The smirk on her face took the sting out her words.
"Yep. I just need one good day to die, Beverly. Unfortunately today is not a good day." He took a deep breath. "I've got Thomas here. He's looking for Deanna. Wanna put her on for me?"
"Whatever gave you the idea that she's here, Will?"
"Because I know you, Miss Crusher, and I know my wife. Ex-wife." He amended, with a blush. "Put her on."
Will watched bemused as Beverly studied him for several moments before reluctantly stepping aside and allowing the woman that obviously hovered beside her step into his view.
Will hadn't been prepared to see her again so soon and seeing her so close up made his heart hurt at what he'd lost. Despite an obvious fatigue, Deanna still looked gorgeous to him. She had changed her hair, somewhat but beneath that, she was still the same woman that he loved, even though she now belonged to Tom. But, he reminded himself, she was Tom's wife now and he wanted her back, badly. Badly enough to have to grovel to him. What else could he do but help, even if he'd spend the rest of his life regretting it.
Will licked his suddenly-dry lips. "Hello, Deanna. Are you okay?"
She nodded, the motion revealing a light shimmer of tears in her tired eyes. "How did you find me?"
"It wasn't hard. You seem to forget that I know you as well as I know myself, Deanna. There are only two people that you would flee to in times of a crisis. Your mother is one, Beverly is the other. It was an easy assumption that you'd chose Beverly. You'd have to be completely insane to run home to your mother, and I know you're not that. Not yet."
"Have you heard from Thomas?" She asked, trepidation replacing the tears.
Will nodded, confirming her question then suddenly reluctant to tell her that he was here with him. "We've talked. He's worried about you, Deanna."
Fear replaced the trepidation. "I know he is. He must be so mad at me."
"No, he's not mad at you, he's concerned." Will looked at her with new eyes, the shock of seeing her shifting so that he could see the real her, noticing the pallor of her olive skin and nerves that made her visibly tremble. "Are you really okay, Deanna?"
Her nod was jerky as she looked down at her hands, hidden out of his view. "Yes. I just needed...I just..." She trailed off, unable to finish what she was going to say, scared of revealing more than she was willing.
Impulsively, Will asked, "Can I come and see you - talk to you, face to face?"
Startled, Deanna gasped, "No! No...I mean...what for? It won't achieve anything. I'm not ready to go back, not yet."
Will zoomed in on her admittance. "You're going to go back? When, Deanna? Tom is beside himself with worry."
She visibly wilted and he saw Beverly's hand snake across and settle around Deanna's shoulders, offering her the comfort and support that she needed. She lifted her own trembling hand and covered it, grateful for the touch and understanding. "I know he is, Will," She murmured sadly, tears swelling once more in her beautiful obsidian eyes, tearing Will's heart apart again at seeing the familiar and painful sight. "but I'm not ready. There are...things I need to resolve. Things I need to accept before I can see him.
"See me first, Deanna. Talk to me, Let me help you if I can. You owe us that, at least." He hit very below the belt, the only place that he knew where she would respond. She did owe him, and Thomas, big time, and with all that was at stake he didn't care what he had to say or do to achieve his goal. He refused to think about the fact that he was helping his enemy, and he didn't think about the consequences of their reunion, a reunion that was probably going to set his road to a life without Deanna back some. He only knew that a lot of people were hurting and it was within his still tender heart and power to get everyone's life back on track.
Seeing Thomas and knowing he was suffering as Will had once done had almost dissolved the last remaining traces of animosity towards his brother. He knew he could never fully forgive him for taking his soulmate away from him, but he could understand why he had. She was his soulmate, too. Thomas had arrived at a particularly fragile point in Deanna's life and he'd swept her away from him on a tidal wave of promises.
She nervously glanced at Beverly, licking her lips to moisten them before turning back to face the screen, a decision and a hint of a smile lighting up her face. "I would love to see you again, Will. How far are you away from us?"
In his mind, Will was already on his way suddenly eager to see her again, uncaring that he was taking her husband with him. "I can be there late tonight. My second in command is more than capable of running the show for a couple of days."
Deanna nodded. "All right, I'll see you then. Will?" she said nervously, "Tell Tom I'm okay, won't you?"
Will nodded back. "I will, Deanna. I promise." And after a long lingering moment, Will deliberately severed the connection on a sigh. Was he ready to see her face to face? he wondered. Was he strong enough to take her hand and put it back into Thomas's?
In a few hours time, he would find out.
Will expected - hoped - dreamed that it would be Deanna that answered the door, but it was Beverly that greeted his arrival. The shuttle trip had been quiet and tense, with each man brooding what was past and what the future held. With Tom's arrival, Will come to realize that he had lost Deanna forever. He swam in a mixture of sadness, bitterness, and relief.
With his arrival Tom had brought with him the key to lock her away deep within his heart for good, leaving him to move on. Will hadn't been able to put away the past until now. Seeing Tom had changed all that, opening his eyes to the harsh realities, realities that he'd desperately ignored for four, long years. God, he wondered, how on earth did his crew put up with him?!
"Will, you look....not so good."
The smirk in her words took the sting out her initial assessment of him and hearing it lifted his heart to know that their old spat had been forgiven and forgotten and he couldn't resist teasing her back. "Yeah, well, you're looking a bit older yourself there, Bev. Heck, is that a grey hair or ten I can see there through that blonde you keep pretending to be?"
"Shove it, Riker." She huffed haughtily and then with a huge grin she lunged at him. "Come here, you big lug and give your ol' doc a hug."
As Will swept her into his arms for the bear hug that she needed, and he admitted, so did he, badly, he laughed purely for the joy of it. "Damn, it's good to see you again, Beverly. I'd forgotten what a good dose of tonic you could be."
Giving him a healthy peck on his bearded face before releasing him, she murmured cheekily, "Yeah, I'm better than a bottle of Epsom Salts, any day and you should know, you've had some over the years, what with your culinary skills."
"Hey! I can cook better than you!"
"Yeah, but I never expected everybody else to eat it like you used to. Show off." Slapping his arm lightly in jest.
Laughing the two old friends eyed each other, watching the years melt away with the flood of good memories that replaced the pains of the past. Gradually the laughter subsided and an awkward moment of silence followed until eventually Will asked. "Where is she, Beverly?"
She tipped her head towards another door across the spacious room. "In there. But, Will, be gentle, okay? She's very... fragile."
Will frowned worriedly. "She is okay, isn't she, Beverly?"
Beverly nodded reassuringly, patting his arm again to placate him further. "She's fine, Will, really. Just, go easy on her. I'll make myself scarce"
His footsteps slowed as he approached the door. Suddenly he was afraid to see her again; afraid of what she might to do to him. He had steeled his heart a long time ago to stop her from hurting any further, but seeing her on his vidi-screen a while ago had sent a shaft of pain right through him. Seeing her face to face and within arms reach was going to be hard, harder, he was sure, than he thought he could handle. But he had to do it, for Tom's sake. For Deanna's sake, and, in the end, for his, too.
Deanna opened the door on his tentative knock. Looking very small and scared Deanna looked up at him with her dark eyes, unsure of what he would do. She didn't expect him to do what he did.
Will held out his hand. "Hello, Deanna, it's good to see you again."
Her gaze dropped down to the out-stretched hand and she automatically put her much smaller one into it and shook it. "Hello, Will. Thank you for coming."
Looking around Will's tall frame as it almost blocked the entire doorway and into the room behind him, Deanna saw that Beverly had indeed made herself scarce and indicated to Will that they should move into the more roomy living area.
Moving awkwardly to the settee, they both perched on its edge; 'fleeing position' he had once called it. "Would you like a drink - something to eat? I'm sorry, I should have offered before. You've had a long ride to get here to see me."
Deanna made to rise from her seat but Will caught her hand and gently pulled her back down. "I don't need a drink or anything to eat. I came to see you, Deanna. We need to talk."
Deanna sighed as she settled herself again. "Yes, I know. I'm sorry. You said that you spoke to Thomas. How...how is he really, Will? He must be going crazy."
"That's an understatement." Instantly he was cast back to the day and days after that Deanna had walked out on him, everything rushing back to him. "But that's not why I'm here, Deanna. You must know that."
He took a deep breath and ploughed on. "I'm glad you remarried, found someone safe."
"Safe?" She queried, her pretty face frowning deeply, completely baffled by his choice of word. "How is Thomas safer than you, Will? I left you because I wasn't happy and I thought that Thomas could give me what I wanted."
"And did he?" He asked.
She was a long moment answering. "I...I think so."
"Good?" She cried. "Will, we were....we were...."
"Is Imzadi the word you're looking for, Deanna? I don't have any trouble saying it. Why do you?"
She had the good grace to blush and purposely ignored his probing gaze. "It's natural for you to think that Thomas was to blame for us splitting, Will."
"I don't blame anyone, except for myself, of course, but I do find it curious that out of the blue, your husband contacts me and accuses me of harbouring his wife. Don't you think that's a little strange?"
Deanna was appalled. "Oh, I'm sorry, Will. Thomas shouldn't have..."
"My God, Deanna, in his position, I would have done the same thing! When you're demented with worry you have to clutch at any straw. Don't you think I didn't do the same thing, Deanna, when you walked out on me? Why did you leave me, Deanna, I'd like to know."
Deanna briefly looked away, fully aware at what Will was asking her. "I know. I owe you an explanation, Will, especially after the effort you've made, considering..."
Will was taken aback. "Effort? Coming here? That was no effort at all." Their eyes met and held and Will could have quite easily taken her into his arms and held her close. But he didn't.
"Will...it's so complicated. If only we'd met now and not all those years ago, things would have been so different for us."
"What changed, Deanna? I loved you, that would never have been any different."
"I'm different, Will. I wanted...more."
"God, Deanna!" Will exploded. "How much more could you have!? You had a husband who adored you, a career, friends. What the hell else is there!?"
And then it dawned on him and after a long silent absorbing moment, he whispered with a quiet certainty, "A family. You wanted a family. Is this what this is all about, Deanna? You're doing the same thing to Tom because you want a family and he doesn't?"
Deanna jumped to her feet and began to pace the floor. Slowly Will stood himself and watched his ex-wife seemingly age dramatically before his eyes. Tears streamed down her face and Will longed to do what he wanted to do before; pull her into his arms, but he held back. Something wasn't right here. Something was drastically wrong and he was scared witless that he wouldn't be able to handle it if he so much as touched her.
"Talk to me, Deanna. Please, darling." He hadn't used that endearment for years, but it slipped between his lips as though he'd only whispered it yesterday.
Gradually, Deanna slowed her steps until she stopped before him and lifted her tear-stained face to his, her anguish tearing at his heart. "Oh, Will, I've made such a mess of things. First my marriage to you, and now...."
"Deanna, it takes two to quarrel. And it takes two to become incompatible." Hating the latter, knowing that it was their lives he was talking about and not hers and Toms, not knowing the true reason for her leaving.
"I'm pregnant, Will."
Of all the things that he expected her to tell him and that could make his heart stop, he hadn't expected that. Pregnant! A baby! She was having Tom's baby. What could he say? What did he say? The last part of his future dream shattered. Even though he'd accepted that he'd lost her forever, a tiny part of him held onto her in the vaguest of hopes, she'd come to her senses and come back to him.
But not now. Not ever. She was having Tom's baby.
Now he did what he'd wanted to from the first moment he'd seen her. He pulled her into his arms and held her tight. Holding his own emotions in check by sheer will alone, Will whispered hoarsely, "Oh, God, Deanna, that's fantastic news."
Deanna sniffled against his shoulder. "You're not angry?"
"Hell, Deanna, why should I be angry? I accepted that I'd lost you a long time ago and despite that you've settled with my brother, I'm thrilled that you're happy."
Suddenly but gently holding her away from his body so that he could look down into her face so that he could search her eyes, he asked, "You are happy, aren't you, Deanna?!"
Will saw the torment and terror upon her face. "I...I don't know, Will. I know I should be, but I...don't know if I'm ready to be a mother. I don't even know if Tom wants children."
Will soon answered that question for her with a knowing grin. "He'll be thrilled. I take it he doesn't know?" he asked, already half knowing the answer. Tom would have told him if he'd have known, of that he was certain.
Deanna confirmed it with a shake of her head. "No, no he doesn't. Things have been so wrong between us for a long time, I realize now that it was me and my errant hormones causing the rift, Beverly helped me see that."
"Beverly knows?" Will asked.
"As soon as she saw me." Deanna said wryly. "Can't keep anything from her."
"True." Will agreed, smiling. "She's almost as bad as your mother." Will had a sudden thought. "Hey! does she....?"
Deanna laughed. "No! thank God, not yet."
Giving her another quick hug, Will stepped back from her but not away and he missed her warmth immediately. "You've got to tell Tom, Deanna. He needs to know."
She wrung her hands in anguish and Will longed to pull back into his embrace but held himself back. "I'm sacred, Will. After going off like that.... I had to get away, Will, I had to get my head straight before I...."
"Talk to him, Deanna. Now."
Her hands stopped as she looked up into his handsome features, her eyes widening in fear. "I can't. It's not something you talk about on a vidi-screen, is it?"
"Then why not tell him in person, right now?"
She stared at him mystified.
"He's here, Deanna. Right here. Go and wash up and I'll take you to him."
"But, how...? Why didn't I sense him?"
Will shrugged. "Maybe because I'm here, too. I've kept your mind occupied. I guess it was enough to cover his. Go, Deanna. Make yourself look like a radiant mom."
Will watched her unconsciously run her palm over her still flat abdomen, managing to ignore the pang of longing that coursed through him. God, if only he'd know that that had been the key to their marriage. A baby. But now, perhaps with their animosities put aside, maybe be could be a part of their lives. A part of their baby's life. It was better than having nothing at all.
When Deanna stepped out of the bedroom some ten minutes later, she had not only washed up but had changed, too. Her new sleek haircut bounced around her shoulders. The dress she wore was ebony and stylish and she looked like a million dollars.
"Ready?" He asked as he held out his arm for her to take.
"I'm ready." she smiled as she slipped her hand into the crook of his elbow.
They stopped in the door way to the small bar area that Beverly's ship had. It was by no means on the scale of the Enterprise's Ten Forward, but it was passable for somewhere to go and relax. They spotted Tom leaning on the bar, nursing a tall glass in his hand, his booted foot propped on the rail that ran around the bar's base. He looked miserable, even from behind.
They had barely stood there for seconds before they watched as Tom's whole demeanour became charged with awareness. Pushing himself upright, he turned to look at them over his shoulder, standing side by by, their arms linked. For a long moment, fear filled his eyes as he stared at them, trying to determine whether they had come to tell him that she had changed her mind and was going back to Will, or that she had come to be with him.
Will had to put him out of his misery. Leaning down, he kissed Deanna's cheek and whispered into her ear. "Go on, go to him. He's come a long way for you."
Letting the woman that he would forever love go was easier than he expected, especially as he watched his brother's face light up first with astonishment, then with relief, and then finally with joy. Smiling, Will turned and walked out of the bar, satisfied that, today, on his anniversary, he'd felt better than he had done for years.