This story is in response to a challenge posted by Izzy, involving
the episode "Man of the People."

Rating pg

Disclaimer Paramount owns them.

Deanna opened her eyes and met his gaze. Oh God, his gaze, so strong
and intense, that it was both wonderful and frightening. Deanna
struggled through the intense emotions to speak and her voice came a
little unsteady but stronger than it had been before.
"Your still here."
"Where else would I be?"
Deanna couldn't help but reach out and touch his cheek and she
noticed that he trembled.
She closed her eyes slightly as his feelings poured through her. The
grief, the ever-lingering grief, which had held him captive, only
hours before when she has died. She understood what was like to be
without the other half of you. No words could describe the complete
and destructive pain in those moments when ones Imzadi censed to
exist. It would have been so easy to reach out and kiss him, to end
this stalemate that the where locked in. It would be an act that
would seal the past with the future. Despite the raw emotions that
tore at her in this moment, she knew that she wasn't ready. Her mind
searched for the words to say to him. And she did settle for the less
then perfect, the way she had for years.
"You need rest. Plus there is a ship for you to look after,
Commander, you can't just watch over me."
Will wanted to scream. He wanted to know why he couldn't take her in
his arms and never let go. To prevent what happened to her today from
happening again, when that man used her for a dumping ground for all
his emotions. Unwelcome and unexpected the words came as he looked
into her eyes, words his heart begged him not to say. "I do need
rest. Are you o.k?"
She nodded and he allowed himself to kiss her. A soft barely there
kiss on the cheek and he left her for his quarters.

His heart ached by the time; he got back to his quarters. His body
trembled as he fell upon the bed and he struggled to hold on to his
sanity. His emotions whirled around in him, emotions that were born
from the grief he just experienced. With all his inner strength, he
refused to revisit those moments when she was…gone. He struggled,
reached and grabbed for memories past or present, anything to erase
the events of the last few days.

He failed. The event was simply to much, the pain was to great and
the only word the echoed through his mind was, "alone."
The word screamed at him and demanded that he remember what it felt
like to be truly and utterly alone, like he was when she had died. He
felt the vile rise in his throat at the thought and he struggled to
escape the memory. Those minutes when she left him and his soul died
along with her. Leaving him empty and vacant, a shell without a
purpose. A heart that had lost it partner and a mind that couldn't
speak any more.

No, he wouldn't go back, he wouldn't revisit that memory but he had
no choice as a dream that danced to closely with realty pulled him
He struggled to escape as he clung on to the edge of conscience but
the blackness in his mind rose up and swallowed him. As it took him
under, he feared he would drown in the deep dark sea of emptiness.
The bond, the beautiful bond, demanded that he acknowledge what he
lost as he stood in sickbay and watched her breathe her last breath.
A moment that was frozen in his mind and forever would be. He sank
deeper into the emptiness as he faced his most terrifying moment. He
could feel nothing but yet he existed. He could hear nothing but yet
he existed. He saw nothing but yet he existed. He couldn't touch,
feel her or sense her. It was torture, an endless, unforgiving
torture. In the moment of her death, she had taken it all from him
and he was left with nothing. Oh God, it hurt and he tried to scream
but his voice won't escape from his soul. He was trapped. He was
lost. He was alone. He hadn't been alone in years, he always had the
soft presence of her and now he was void. It made him sick. Beads of
sweat broke out across his skin and a weight descended on his heart
and nearly stopped it from beating. He wished it would so the pain
would end.

Then a sound, every so softly, a sound that shattered the silence in
which he was engulfed. It was faint and constant and grew stronger
with each passing second. He realized in a moment of complete and
utter joy that it was her heart. Her beautiful, precious beating
heart, telling him that she was alive. Breaking him from the prison
in which he was held and sending him into a world filled with
whiteness. He floated there and felt the heavenly presence of her. He
wanted to find her, embrace her and confess the love that burned deep
inside of his soul. He started to run, like a child on a summer day,
free from responsibility and filled with hope. He shouted. He shouted
for joy and his heart soared with the words, "I love you Deanna Troi.
I love you." The confession made him laugh, his soul was free.

His heart called for his mind to awake so he could find her and set
the coarse for their new life together. It would be perfect. It would
be wonderful.
"It would be wrong." The words broke the silence and brought a chill
to his heart.
"Wrong. It is not wrong." Will said. "Besides who the hell are you?"
"It isn't the time."
"Time!" Will shouted. "It's long past time that we acknowledge our
love. Now, answer my question, who are you?"
Through the haze and the mist a figure appeared. Will gasped in
recognition, "Gart Xerx, what the hell are you doing to me?"
"Stopping you from making a mistake." He held up his hand and
released two tiny gold rings that traveled in the air separate before
connecting and coming to rest in Will's hand.
Will was entranced by the rings that shone with all colors and they
where fragile, appearing to be barely joined. "They look so fragile."
"They are." Gart stated. "Like yours and Deanna's relationship."
"Our relationship is anything but fragile."
"Your friendship is strong but your bond is weak."
"It is only the truth, Will." His eyes shone with knowledge that was
hard for Will to ignore.
"It will get stronger with time, once we reunite."
"True. But she isn't ready and I don't think you are either."
"Who are you to say? Who are you to dictate what I do."
"You need to trust me. It is all I can say." He paused and looked at
Will. "She isn't ready."
Will sighed. "Why?" But the feeling in the pit of stomach, already
told him the answer. It was his betrayal.
Gart nodded. "With Deanna it is different, Will. Even among are
people, she is unique. She was devastated when you left. She tried to
hide it and go one and eventually she did in all areas of her life
but one, in her heart. In her heart, she is still very much that girl
on Betazed. Because of her empathy she not only felt her own pain,
but yours and all those who cared. Her heart has yet to forget. To
her heart it might as well happen yesterday."
Will looked sickened as he felt his heart beat with pain, a pain he
thought he forgot. "Will we ever have a chance?"
Gart looked thoughtful. "Someday. Someday in some magical land, that
can break down barriers and transport you back to your youth. To a
time when you and her can set the wrong right. Someday, I would say."
"Someday." Will mumbled as he looked at the two tiny rings in his
palm, not noticing he was alone again.

The only sound was his ragged breathing as he was jolted from his
sleep. His heart thumped with the effects of all the emotions that
had coursed through him. He had swum on a sea of confusion and there
was an ache in his palm. He opened his hand to see the two tiny
rings, barely joined, resting in his hands. In the haze of his mind,
he knew it represented him and her and that beautiful wonderful bond.
He placed the rings in a box before sliding it into the safety of the
drawer. "Someday," he said, "I will give them to her." Then he felt a
pull, a strong magical pull, as he left his quarters and stepped into
hers. She lay sleeping on her bed, tear tracks lining her face. Was
it her own emotions or his that she felt? He longed to know, longed
to share with her, longed to love her and be loved by her. But it had
to wait. He leaned down to kiss her, his lips gently brushing her
cheek and he swore he could have drowned in her presence. Words
tender and sweet feel from his lips.
"Someday in a land, that can break down barriers, we will love again.
Someday your heart will hurt no more. Someday it will be filled with
joy, just as mine. Someday I will be yours and you will be mine.
He left the room and settled on her couch as she opened her eyes and
whispered the words, "Someday, Imzadi, someday."