By Carol Sandford


Chapter 03


William Riker sank down to his knees in disbelief beside Deanna as she lay prone on the floor beside the vent that released a steady wave of warmth. Sweat poured from her brow and her once lusciously full hair lay in damp ebony tendrils around her head. But even so, even in her heartbreakingly distressed state, Deanna was still as beautiful to him as the first day he’d met her. Tears streamed from her closed eyes, joining with the rivers of sweat as she cried pitifully into the gloomy darkness. Only a few strategically placed illuminations to lighten the room added to the strangely melancholy scene.

But it was Deanna’s stomach that had captured Will’s full gaze. Distended out of all proportion, the thin nightgown that she wore was high upon her still slender drawn up legs. Legs that were set into a position that needed no explanation as to why they were placed that way.

Unable to stop himself from doing it, Will reached out one shaky, now glove free hand, and placed it gently onto the taut mound, marvelling at its meaning, and feeling its rigid state as Deanna quietly moaned as another contraction began to build within her.

Mesmerized, Will watched as the stomach tightened even further, but when Deanna’s hand closed over his, his wide eyes broke away and found hers silently watching him. For a long moment nothing was said. Nothing could be said. It was a moment that only silence needed to be heard. A moment of reunion, upon each and every level.

As the contraction subsided once more, Deanna enclosed Will’s fingers within hers and pulled them towards her heated cheek, her eyes drifting shut as the intimate flush of delight rippled through not only her, but Will too. Will moved closer and replaced his fingers with his chilled lips and a sigh of blessedness whispered from them both.

And that was how they felt; Blessed. There had never been a moment in Deanna’s life when their Imzadi bond had been more evident. Unknown forces had pulled Will to her when she’d needed him most, and he’d come. Despite everything, against all the odds, Will had come.

But barely a second later she felt the familiar dull ache of another contraction coming. Will felt her body and mind prepare for imminent take over. Fascinated, his eyes moved down to watch her stomach as it slowly contorted with the contraction’s intensity.

He felt ridiculously helpless as he sat, listened and watched as Deanna moaned and squirmed against the cushions beneath her, trying to relieve what was happening to her body. He hardly noticed the tight grip of her fingers within his until she relaxed as the assault petered off, leaving her gasping for breath and his hand throbbing as the blood rushed back into it.

Will found Deanna’s eyes searching his, pleading him to help her. Begging him. She didn’t have to say the words, her heart and soul said it loud enough. Tenderly pushing away a damp, frizzy ringlet of hair from her face, Will whispered. "Tell me what to do, Deanna?"

Squeezing her eyes shut as she tried, and failed, to control her innermost terrors, Deanna battled to push her fears away. The next hour or so was going to be the worst of her life, but somehow, she knew, she was going to have to be strong. She was about to give birth to a tiny being that had a very high possibility of dying, and with no doctor present to give it even half a chance.

But now Deanna had the next best thing. She had William Riker, and if anyone could save her baby, against all the odds, it would be him. He had come to her rescue, yet again, and hope lit a fire in her heart as she dared to let it take a hold.

Opening her eyes and finding his once more, Deanna brokenly whispered. "Keep my baby alive, Will, that’s all I ask. Let my baby live."

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