By Carol Sandford


Chapter 01


"Leave me alone, Will. I don’t want to do this. I don’t want to be here."

Will captured her upper arm as she started to move away from him, his touch, firm but not painful. But even so, a pain zipped to her heart, a heart already laden with sorrow.

"But you are here, Deanna." he said gently, "I think that says more than enough."

She slowly turned, realising that he was right, accepting that leaving was futile, but even so. "We’ve nothing more to say to each other, why can’t you accept it?"

He stepped closer to her, until he found himself staring at the top of her head, her face downcast as she hid away from him. "I can’t accept something that isn’t true, Deanna."

Deanna tore herself from his arms, her voice passionate as she burst, "It is! I don’t love you anymore!"

This time when Will restrained her, she felt not only the pain his fingers inflicted, but the way his blue eyes sparked with denial. "That’s not true, and deep down you know it," he paused, just for a nano-second,"~I~ know it." Will dared to use the sacred name to produce the reaction that would give her true feelings away. "Imzadi."

She gasped, "Don’t call me that, Will." she cried, "Don’t ever call me that again. Because of our Imzadi bond, we’re in this state now. This was a mistake. This was a huge mistake, and I’ll never forgive you for it. Never!"

The fear in Will’s eyes turned to chance as she unwittingly let go of the truth. "I don’t need you to forgive me for anything, Deanna," he said, quietly, but with determination. "I know how much you love me, I see it upon your face when you look at me, and I feel it when I put my arms around you and we share our heartbeats."

Slowly he pulled her towards him, inch by inch, into his waiting hands, treating her like a child that needed reassurance and comfort. He continued, his voice barely above a whisper. "I hear it in your voice when you say my name, and in the way your fingers reach for mine when you need more than me near you."

He pulled her closer still, close enough to feel her trembling. Relentlessly, he ploughed on. "I know how much you love me, when you look into my eyes, Deanna," he whispered, pulling her even closer still, "because I know that everything you feel, and see, and say, I feel it too." He took a deep breath and carried on. "I know how much you love me because you’ve given me everything I've ever wanted; A home, love, and something infinitely more precious."

He lifted her chin and lowered his face to hers, hovering just above her mouth, and whispered huskily, "You love me as much as I love you, Imzadi. That’s the truth. Accept it." He lightly settled his lips upon hers, feeling the acceptance of truth cascade throughout her entire being as her arms quietly slipped around his waist and her mouth open to let him sweep in and recapture her sanity, her heart, and and soul.

Without breaking the kiss, Will swept her up into his arms and took her into the bedroom, placing her atop the cool satiny coverlet. Will felt her body tense as he tenderly lowered his hand, letting his gentle fingers worship her form, but before she could protest, Will felt her moan into his mouth before tearing her face away from his.

"Another contraction already, darling? I think it’s time we called the doctor in here, don’t you?" he said, a hint of amusement insinuated in his question.

"No," she groused, "it’s not time yet. And besides, we haven’t finished having our argument yet." She pouted.

Will smiled indulgently. Ever since Deanna had fallen pregnant with their first child, she had swung from being a fretful mother to be to the most unbearable and hurtful creature on the ship. Unable to resist, Will leaedt down and placed a loud kiss upon his wife’s distended stomach causing Deanna to squirm with embarrassment.

"Don’t do that, Will. I’m ugly, fat and in pain!"

Will chuckled as he pushed himself up from the bed, noticing that Deanna had reached up and laced her fingers with his in a deathly grip in an attempt to halt his leaving. He inwardly chuckled again as he remembered the few minutes before when she tried to deny her love for him.

Will had known it was hormones and fear creating the monster that lay before him in all her pregnant glory, and he couldn’t resist kneeling back down on the bed again and settling his lips upon hers, her harsh declarations still ringing in his ears, even though he knew them to not be true.

His life without Deanna? Unthinkable. His life without Deanna’s love? He wouldn’t even allow the thought to get any further than her words. His life without Imzadi? There wasn’t a life, period.

He broke the kiss and lifted his face far enough away to look deep into her eyes. "I love you, Mrs Riker, and you love me." he told her. And then a tiny shadow of doubt flitted over his handsome face, and he couldn’t help asking her. "You do, don’t you?"

But he didn’t need to hear her answer him, it was there, in her eyes, in her tender smile, and in her mishapen, beautiful body with their eagerly awaited soon-to-be born child.

But she did anyway. "Of course I love you, Imzadi, and that’s the truth. The whole truth, and nothing but the truth, and next time I’m feeling grouchy, feel free to show me different. Okay?"

"You bet." he smiled understandingly, "Now can I call the damn doctor?"

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