On the U.S.S. Enterprise…
Will sat in his quarters staring thoughtfully at a still image of Dani on his computer console. He activated the program, and Dani came to life on the screen.
The program was a collection of video clips of Dani that had been filmed at various times during her and Will’s relationship. The first clip was filmed at a Christmas party from the previous year. Someone, from a distance, had filmed them dancing together. They had later gotten in close, and Will and Dani had been made aware of the camera.
Will stared at his own smiling face and watched Dani as she smiled and tried to avoid the camera by maneuvering the slow dance so that her back was to the camera. Will wouldn’t let her, and she would end up back on camera again…
“I want a copy of that, Geordi,” Will said as Geordi moved with the camera to another couple.
“You got it, Commander,” Geordi said.
Will turned his attention back to Dani.
“You don’t want a copy of that so that you can show it around to other people, do you?” Dani asked.
“Of course not,” Will said. “Why would I want to show it around? You’re only the most beautiful woman here.” He bent down and kissed her quickly.
“Will-you can’t,” Dani protested. “I’ll be so embarassed. Please don’t.”
“I won’t if you don’t want me to.”
“I don’t want you to.”
“It’s just for us, then,” Will conceded.
Will had to laugh at that memory. For someone who was always in the spotlight, Dani hated the camera. The next clip featured Dani and her family’s golden retriever rolling around on the ground playfully. Laughing, Dani got on her knees and sent the dog in the direction of the camera and it’s operator, Will. The dog jumped Will, who dropped the camera and lost the picture.
“Is it damaged?” Dani asked running over to the grounded Will.
The dog was still standing on top of him, licking his face. “No, I don’t think so,” he said between licks.
“Molly, get!” Dani commanded the dog. “Get!” The dog obediently hopped off of Will’s chest. Will sat up, and Dani knelt beside him. “Are you alright?”
“I’m fine,” Will said.
“Sorry. I didn’t think she’d jump you like that. I guess she likes you just as much as I do.”
“She’s cute, but I prefer you.”
Smiling, Dani stood and held her hand out for Will. He took it, and pulled himself to his feet.
Will was laughing when the next clip began with an overhead image of a sleeping Dani. She opened her eyes to the camera. For a long time, she didn’t say anything. She just stared into the camera.
“Why don’t you put the camera away, and come back to bed?” Dani asked.
“I want to get as much of you on video as possible,” Will said.
Dani propped herself up on her elbow and rested her head on the palm of her hand.
Will stared back at her. To him, she looked like an angel, wrapped in nothing but the sheer, white bedsheets.
“Why, when you’ve got me here in person?” video Dani asked.
“It’s for whenever I don’t have you in person,” Will answered from behind the camera.
Will’s vision became blurry. As he stared at Dani’s beautiful image on the screen, it became larger and clearer as the camera slowly zoomed in on her.
“That’ll never be,” video Dani replied.
Will’s door chimed, and he promptly froze the image of Dani and wiped his eyes dry.
He cleared his throat. “Come in,” he called.
The doors slid open, and Deanna Troi walked in. Will thought of trying to close his mind, but he knew that Deanna had sensed what he was feeling before he even knew she was close.
“I’m sorry,” Deanna said. “I didn’t mean to interrupt.”
“No,” Will said, hastily wiping his eyes. “Come on in.” Deanna stepped into Will’s office. “What can I do for you?”
“I think I should be the one asking you that question,” Deanna said, taking one of the chairs in front of Will’s desk.
“You don’t have to ask,” Will said. He lowered his eyes. “I miss her.” He turned the console so that Deanna could see Dani’s image. “It’s been two months, and I still feel like I can’t live without her. I’m miserable.”
Deanna continued to listen.
“I miss everything about her. I miss the way she used to smile at me. I miss the feel of her arms around me.” He laughed. “I even miss the way we used to squabble with each other.” He sighed. “Now, she’s with…Dukat.” He’d had trouble saying the name. “I can’t believe it. I lost Dani to Dukat.” He looked at Deanna.
“Dani’s purpose for being with Dukat could possibly be her way of getting over her relationship with you,” Deanna offered.
“You’re saying she could be doing this to get back at me? Retaliation?” That was a hard pill for Will to swallow. Dani had never been the kind of person who would resort to spite for the purpose of intentionally hurting someone.
“No, not necessarily,” Deanna corrected. “This could be her way of dealing with your break-up.”
A small ray of hope presented itself to Will. “So, this thing with Dukat could just be temporary?”
Deanna sensed the mental leap of joy that Will did. She wanted him to be happy, but she also didn’t want to instill him with any kind of false hope. “Maybe; maybe not.” She sensed his temporary sense of elations fall when she told him that. She hated to be the slasher of dreams, but it was better to live with the truth that live with a false sense of security only to have it taken away some time down the road.
Will sighed and leaned forward resting his elbows on his desk. He brought his hands to his forehead. “I don’t know how I’m going to deal with this.”
“I think that maybe this is going to take some time. As you’ve probably already realized, this isn’t something you’re going to be able to get over overnight.”
“I know. I just need to think.”
Deanna stood. “Well, let me know if you need someone to think with.”
Will nodded. “Thanks, De.” She nodded and gave him an encouraging smile before departing.
Will let out a deep breath again and leaned back in his seat, resting his head against the back. All of this was his fault, he knew. If he hadn’t lost his temper…he’d known that Dani would never cheat on him, but he’d let himself be suckered in by mere rumors. If he hadn’t let his mouth run without thinking, Dani would be his fiancee, and they’d be making plans for their wedding right now.
He’d told Dani that embarking on a relationship with her had been a
mistake. That was wrong. The mistake had been made by him. And it had been one of the biggest mistakes he’d ever made in his life, it being along the same magnitude as the mistake he’d made by putting his relationship with Deanna on hold all those years ago. So many mistakes…well, this was one he planned to rectify, if ever he got the chance. He didn’t know how it would happen, but if he ever got another chance with Dani again, he was going to set the situation straight with her, make things right again. If ever he got the chance…