By Carol Sandford


Chapter 01


The sun beat down relentlessly, its fiery laser beam like intensity pounding upon their bodies, deliberately revealing every ounce of moisture they possessed making it bubble and blister as it fried the droplets upon their raw skin.

Deanna groaned, her eyes falling shut as she continued to put one foot in front of the other. She couldn't stop the whine slipping from her cracked lips, "I...I can't take much more of this, Will, how much further?"

Deanna now barely lifted her feet from the soft, powdery sand, dragging her toes through the hot dust, searching for just a seconds relief but finding nothing but even more heat. Weak with fatigue Deanna gasped alarmingly as her tired legs gave way and she hit the soft ground with a bone-shattering thud, her cry drawing back the big man that walked before her in his best attempt of shielding her, even if it was just a little bit from the sun.

She felt firm hands drag her weary bones from its temporary resting place and hauled against a hard body that sizzled as hot as hers, but right then, at that moment, she didn't care. All she knew was that she wanted to sleep; to slip to the ground within Will's arms and slide into a slumber hoping and praying that when she woke the nightmare would be over. That they would be back on The Enterprise wallowing in a ice cold bath with only the moonlight upon their faces.

But the suns burning rays continued their onslaught, Deanna only managing to partially block them out as Will continued to hold her steadily against him, his rasping voice losing itself into the tangled, sweat soaked mass of curls upon her head,

"Come on, Deanna, we've got to keep moving. We've got to find the rendezvous point, you know that. Another hour and the sun will start setting, it'll be cooler then, I promise. Deanna! Deanna! Wake up! You can't go to sleep now."

Will went still as the woman in his arms suddenly went heavy and unresponsive. His heartbeat went wild within his chest as he slid to the ground, his own energy spent holding the now unconscious Deanna up.

Collapsing with a desperate effort to not only soften his own fall, but Deanna's too, Will landed heavily on his knees still cradling Deanna's unconscious form to him. Falling sideways, Will pulled the woman flush against his large frame, half covering her heated body with his own, trying his utmost to shelter her from the sun's insistent torment until blissfully minutes later, he too fell into a light slumber, knowing that when he woke, the sun would have turned a beautiful rubicund warmth and the breeze would have picked up enough to cool their frazzled skin and the blessed heat would have died down enough for them to recover a little so that they could move on to their ultimate destination.

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