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         Alexis made hasty good-byes to her hosts, never actually speaking to Amanda, but never taking her eyes off from her either. Deanna had tried to protest as she left, asking her to stay the night (no doubt in an attempt to keep her from driving a transport in such a condition), but she needed to be out of there. Fast.

 

         When she reached her own empty apartment she didn't even bother to shower. She just slipped into her nightgown and fell into bed, instinctively curling herself up in a protective ball. As she drifted off into the restless world of sleep, the chorus of numbers resumed in her mind. And above it's din came another sound, the voice of childhood with its whispered melody, came in on the softest of breezes. ~ Why didn't she come after me? ~ And then, like the breeze it went again, forgotten before it had a chance to be remembered.

 

*   *  *

 

         Alexis had never felt the kind of trepidation and shame that she felt as she entered the office the next morning. She felt like such a fool.....voices and numbers, yeah right.         ~ Just what kind of a psychologist hears voices in an empty room anyway? One about to lose her job, most likely. ~ How could she have behaved that way? And in front of Deanna! That was perhaps the worst part of this whole fiasco. The one thing she feared more then losing her hard won career, was losing the respect of the women that she has secretly given a rare place in her heart.

 

         As she rounded the corner, her worst suspicions seemed about to be confirmed. Deanna was waiting for her. ~ Better head this off, save her the trouble ~ "Look, about last night, I know what your thinking. Anyone who flips out in front of her boss like that has no place doing what we do, but -- "

 

         Before she ever even had time to formulate the idea of what words should follow, Deanna had pulled her into an unexpected embrace. When she spoke, her voice was filled with relief, yet edged with concern. "Stop. As far as I'm concerned, you did nothing more than have a bad night. As far as being in front of your boss is concerned, when you are in my house, there is no boss," she paused for a moment, considering her last words. "Unless you happen to be Mandy, that is," she amended quickly.

 

         The attempt to lighten the mood was only half effective, drawing a simultaneous giggle and grown from its intended target as she stepped back to face Deanna. "Oh, lord! Your daughter probably thinks I'm crazy."

 

         "Oh, don't think a thing of that. Mandy thinks anyone over the age of 21 is crazy by nature, anyway. Will and I, on the other hand, have seen far stranger episodes culminate in an entirely logical solutions over the years. Trust me on this."

 

         So, the night before passed slowly into the background as the chores of the day began. Alexis was due to see Debi Kelman, and Deanna had agreed assist her on the case.

 

         When the girl entered the room, Deanna was instantly struck by the same waves of hopelessness that Alexis had mentioned on the pervious day. Through well practiced patience they spent hours gently braking down the girl's barriers, finally getting her to talk to them. Both women knew that in situations like this, the longer a patient remained closed off, the worse the experience of recovery was for them. Once Kelman started to talk, it almost seemed impossible to stop her.

 

         Hours later when she was finally able to be taken home, they emerged from the room. Deanna spoke first. "She needs to be in an intensive program. She's been through hell, and she thinks it's all her own fault. Its going to take --"

 

         "More than we've got," Alexis finished. "I know, your right, but damn I hate to admit it."

 

         "Me too...but sometimes, all that is left is to let go, and hope that destiny will be kind enough to work in your favor." She offered her a gentle smile. "I have a feeling destiny will be good to you Lexie." She looked at her desk chronometer. "I need to go....Will and I came in together this morning. He'll be thinking I snuck off somewhere if I don't get to the transport soon."

 

         After Deanna had gone, Alexis filled the transfer of the Kelman case. ~ Destiny will be good to me huh? That'd be a first. ~

 

*  *  *

 

         It was the opening of the door that started the first waves....

 

She opened the door.....that man was back, taking his hat off.....no, NO! It was wrong, she knew better.....We found this in the building.....the delicate chain slipped into her hand, the tiny nameplate blackened.....NO!!!

 

*  *  *

 

         Alexis locked the door behind her, and walked to the lift at the center of the building. As the doors opened she was surprised to see Will Riker standing before her. "Will! What brings you up here? Where is Deanna?"

 

         Will looked mildly confused. "I was just looking for her. Isn't she here with you? She wasn't at the transport."

 

         "She left here about twenty minutes ago, I had some reports to file on that case she was working with me on, so I closed up the office. Are you sure you didn't miss her at the transport?"

 

         Will shrugged good naturedly. "Well, I didn't really look very closely. I looked for her, but when I didn't see her standing there, I just figured that she got tired of waiting out there and came back up. I thought she'd have been ready a long time ago though....my meeting ran later then I expected."

 

         "Ahhh, well we had a very long session this afternoon, so she wasn't gone very long. You probably just missed her. Come on, let’s go track her down."

 

         They reached the lot and started down the row. When the reached Deanna's 'port, Alexis was stopped cold. "Oh my God." There, curled up on the paved lot, her back against the port, was Deanna.