By Carol Sandford


Chapter 13


Slowly, quietly, Deanna drifted from the deep, drugging fog of unnatural sleep. Unable to open her eyes, she allowed herself to let the sounds around her alert her of her whereabouts. The comforting high-pitched, ’beep, beep’, of machinery around her told her that she was in a medical facility. The familiar smells that accompanied the sounds confirmed it, and then she heard a voice. A very much loved voice, and a very much missed voice.

Beverly Crushers.

The realization that she was on board the Enterprise was the final heart-stopping, penny-dropping climax to her Deanna’s confusion, and when the beeping accelerated, alerting the doctor, and the other anxiously waiting occupants of sickbay that she was stirring, Deanna finally forced her heavy eyelids to open, only to find herself staring into a set of smiling, watery pale blue eyes.

"Good morning, Counselor. Nice to finally have you back with us."

Fully aware of the double entendre of her greeting, Deanna grinned weakly at her long lost friend, and reached for her hand so that she truly could feel that she was real. She opened her mouth to speak, but Beverly stopped her simply with a look, and a mild reprimand. "Hey, not yet, missy, you’ve got a lot of recovering to do." Smiling tenderly as she glanced away to the other side of her bed, she added, "I have a rather gorgeous little boy who is waiting for his mommy to give him a cuddle."

Deanna gasped as everything that was missing from her memory rushed back to her; why she was back on the Enterprise, the unfamiliar aches and pains that racked her body, and the loss of the precious being inside her. Lost, but not gone. Deanna raised her head from the pillow only to have Beverly push her back onto it again. "Oh, Beverly," she croaked, her eyes wild with fear. "is he okay?"

Deanna’s eyes followed Beverly as she moved to the other side of the bed and reached into the small incubator that sat barely a foot away from her side. Now clad in a ridiculously small romper suit, complete with a tiny hat upon his fist sized head, her baby looked beautiful, and perfectly fine as Beverly tenderly picked him up, laying a feather-light kiss upon his downy forehead before giving him over to the trembling outstretched hands that were waiting impatiently.

"Oh, darling, darling," Deanna crooned tearfully, as she slowly pulled him close to her body, her eyes squeezing shut to valiantly keep away the tidal wave of tears that threatened to consume her. "I’m so glad you made it." She lay the tiny boy back in its familiar place upon her chest and gently stroked his back, feeling the infant settle beneath her fingers.

Sighing with a contentment that only a mother could comprehend, Deanna’s head fell back against the pillow, tiredness enveloping her once more. Knowing that herself and her son were now completely in safe hands was more than Deanna could take.

Once more, some divine being had seen fit to save her life. How many more times will I be blessed with good fortune? she wondered, unable to resist leaning down again to place another gentle kiss upon her son’s head, breathing in the unmistakable scent of a baby. How many more times will someone keep coming to save my sorry soul?

As many times as it takes to make sure you keep coming back to me, Imzadi whispered silently back to her and Deanna’s breath caught, bringing a fresh wave of tears to her still damp eyes, as he continued, his words as honest as his love. You know I’ll always be here looking out for you.

Even before Deanna’s gaze drifted across to him, she knew exactly where Will would be standing, knew the loving look that would be upon his face, and be aware that his love for her would be there, shining in his blue eyes. And, at last, the tears that she had tried to keep at bay escaped when she looked into her saviour, and her one true love’s, face. Her chin wobbled as she smiled radiantly through the cascade of tears as she reached out for him.

Will gladly allowed Deanna to pull him down so that she could kiss him. For two long days, he had ached for this moment. For two long days he had sat by her side and willed her to live just so that he could receive the kiss that she freely gave. Mindful of the audience around them, Will only allowed the intimate touch of their lips a fraction of the time that they craved, even though it almost killed him to pull away from her eager mouth after just a second or two of pure heaven.

For two long days it had been touch and go, not only for Deanna, but for her child too. The boy had been impossibly underweight and nowhere near ready to be brought into this world. He had barely weighed two pounds when Beverly had gingerly weighed him to assess him for the levels of treatment and care that he was going to need. But more importantly, the first thing the doctor had done was artificially strengthen his fragile heart and lungs so that he could live. The rest could be left to develop naturally.

But he was a long way from being regarded as, ’out of danger’. But watching him now as he fidgeted upon his mother’s breast searching for his supper, Will could only smile lovingly at the adorable scene, failing to smother the ache of longing in his heart, unable to believe that they were both here, safely aboard the Enterprise, and safely back within his heart, where they both now belonged.

  Book index   Previous chapter   Next chapter