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         Whatever he had been expecting her to say -- and he hadn't truthfully known what that was himself -- this wasn't it. He regarded her quietly for a moment, saying nothing. Truthfully, he wouldn't know what TO say. Deanna had just told him, he supposed, that he had been on her mind in much the way that she had been in his. It didn't however, seem to be something which she considered as a positive thing. He swallowed the impulse to tell her she wasn't the only one, choosing a joking approach instead. "Well, I certainly can think of less entertaining things to have running around up there."


         It was a mistake and he knew it. He had known it before he said it. But at the time, even a lame joke, and badly timed at that, had seemed preferable to the silence that was slowly eating away at his soul. Still, in this moment, he would have given almost anything for the opportunity to take it back, to erase the hurt and the anger from her eyes.


         Tears stung her eyes. He didn't understand, and he probably never would. Fighting back the tears as best she could, Deanna turned to leave, this time determined not to let herself cry in front of him. She wouldn't allow him the satisfaction of knowing how much she needed him to much she needed him.


         "Deanna wait! I'm sorry, that was a stupid thing to say. I know, I do, I just don't know what else to say." She paused at his words, but didn't turn. Instead, she stood listening as he continued. "That's not true. I know what I could say, and it scares the hell out of me." The quiet admission stilled her anger, it also made her think.


         Deanna turned back to him. With an offhand little laugh she mumbled, "Well, that make two of us."


         Will chucked at the irony. "Funny, that was exactly what I was going to say."


         She stared at him. "What?"


         Will, looked at his hands for a moment, than stood and looked out the window. How he could allow himself to risk this, he didn't know. It would be hard enough to say it at all, knowing that she would most likely run from it, from him. After all, she wanted friendship, nothing more.....right? Hell, he wasn't sure of any of it anymore. The one thing he did know, though, m was that he couldn't look at her and say what he needed to say. "Deanna..."


         She didn't say a word, but she moved closer, coming to stand behind him. Whatever it was he had to say, it wasn't any easier an admission than her own had been, such as it was, and he hadn't the benefit of anger to still his fear. He was afraid. That stopped her. She waited, helplessly wishing she knew how to make this easier...for both of them.


         "From the very beginning, when we first started serving together, there have been times when I could swear you were somehow involved in everything I did. Something someone said, something I saw...whatever it was, would remind me of you. That was hard enough, but lately!" he paused, shaking his head. "I can't stop thinking about you."


         Those words, an echo from long ago, those same words which haunted her dreams, sent a chill up her spine. What they did to the rest of her, she forced herself not to think about. She wanted to say something to him then, to tell him...everything...but her own voice failed her. His returned to fill the silence between them instead.


         "The thing is, when I think of you, of us, now, it isn't the same as it used to be. Before, all I could think about was they way it was before, when we were together. It's not like that anymore."


         Deanna's chest constricted. She felt as if...she didn't know what she felt. Her world had become numb. It seemed impossibly cruel. Just as she was beginning to realize how much she needed to be a part of his life -- all of his life -- would he tell her that was no longer what he wanted? "It isn't?" Where she found her voice, she had no idea, but it was gone again as quickly as it had returned.


         "No. It's not about the past anymore. When I think about us now, it's not about how things were on's about how it could I wish it could be, now." He spoke the last few words so quietly they were barely a whisper.


         And then he turned. As his eyes met hers, Deanna could hardly breathe. The reality, the honesty, of what he had just said slammed into her. Her mind raced to process what all had just happened, but she couldn't. And somehow, she had the feeling, if she could have, she wouldn't have let herself. Not this time. If he was saying what every part of her told her that he was saying, than she could finally, finally....


         How it happened, neither of them was ever exactly sure. All Deanna knew was that somehow, the gap between them closed. They didn't say anything, not really. Instead they held each other that way for quite some time. Then, finally Deanna got up the courage to tell him everything. About the dreams of that night, here in his quarters, and how she wished that she could have changed the response she gave back then. About how it had gotten to the point that she could no longer bare the disappointment that came with leaving those dreams behind.


         Will laughed softly. "Funny, last night I was the one who couldn't sleep. Too many daydreams keeping me awake." He smiled down at her, running his fingers lightly through her hair. "We're gong to make ourselves crazy if we keep this up, you know." He paused at the expression she returned at his comment. "What?" he asked, his own expression one of clear confusion.


         She tipped her head thoughtfully. "And failing that, we may yet succeed in making each other crazy." She ended the comment with a ready smile, but something in her eyes told him that she was only half joking. When he didn't return the smile, she dropped her hands to her sides and exhaled loudly in frustration. "It's impossible!"


         Will looked at her oddly, her sudden change of attitude was doing little to alleviate his confusion. What's more, it was making him a bit nervous. "Was it something I said?"


         His reaction seemed to still whatever was bothering her, if only for a moment. She smiled once more in an effort to reassure him. "No, it's not that. It's these dreams...or daydreams as the case may be, that we've both been having. It's almost as if..." As she allowed the sentence to go unfinished, she shook her head in exasperation.


         Will placed his hand lightly on her arm. "Deanna," he tried to keep his voice at a level that would help to alleviate whatever it was that she was feeling. "I'm not sure that I understand what you are trying to say," he favored her with one of those grins that only he possessed, "but I'd sure like to."


         Now it seemed it was to be her turn for uncomfortable admissions. "Will, doesn't it seem strange to you that the only time that you have them, I don't? And vice last night, you were awake, and I didn't have the dreams, yet when I don't have them you do."


         Will thought about it for a moment. "When you put it that way, yeah, I guess it is a bit unusual. But then, things between us usually are. You think that there is something about this that makes that different?"


         Deanna looked up at him then, and her dark eyes seemed to search his for a moment. "It's possible....I mean that the possibility can exist...sometimes with Betaziods, when two people are sharing the same thoughts, at the same time it can intensify the thoughts in each of their minds, so to speak.


         Understanding seemed to dawn in Will's eyes. "Are you saying that you think that we are...what, feeding off of each others unconscious thoughts somehow?"


         Deanna shifted uncomfortably where she stood, then moved to sit on the couch before answering. "Theoretically, yes. But Will, with you and I, that isn't possible. It can't be, I mean, I'm certainly no telepath and you're..."


         "Only human?" he supplied helpfully. Too helpfully.


         She blushed. "Well, yes. I can't understand how this could be happening at all. Unless --"


         "Unless things between us have somehow been changing on their own. For quite I while now I guess. But they have been, haven't they?" He stilled her protest before it had a chance to form. "No, Deanna, think about it. We've been friends now for a long time. And it's more than that, it always has been. Lately though, things have changed. At least they have for me. Deanna, I'm not the same man you know back then. We're....grownups now. We -- I -- need different things then I did back then. I want different things." He went to her, and took her had. His eyes locked on to hers and held them. "And, I think you want those things too. At least, I hope you do."


         She looked into his eyes, unable to move or breathe for a moment. Everything she had wanted him to say -- and never dreamed that he would -- had been said. And yet, there was still a part of her that wanted, needed, to hear more. Swallowing the lump that had formed in her throat, she managed to give voice to the question in her heart. "And what is it you want, Will?" Their gazes locked once more.


         He leaned closer. "What I want," he whispered "is to give you everything either of us has ever dreamed off." The kiss that followed seemed to go on forever.


         When it broke, Deanna pulled back thoughtfully. You know, Imzadi, this is almost too easy. It's a little like a bad Holo novel, don't you think?


         Will took her face in his hands. The grin he gave her stalled the breath in her chest. "Who cares?"


         She shook her head, laughing and crying at once. And with that, they set about making all of their shared dreams come true.