By Carol Sandford


Chapter 01



"You heard me, Will, I said no."

"But why not, Deanna? You knew I always wanted to go back there, especially when we had others to think about and consider."

"Will, when I agreed to become your wife, I imagined that we would spend what was left of our remaining working lives on board a starship, and then maybe turn in our communicators and settle down somewhere warm and sunny. Warm and sunny does not apply to Alaska."

"It's not that bad, Dee, not in the summer anyhow's."

"Oh, yes it is, Will. Can you imagine sending our children off to school wrapped up in huge thick coats, their heads obscured by a rainbow coloured woollen hat, and their poor little hands all frostbitten and blue? Silly scarves so long they'd have to be wrapped around their tiny necks at least ten times?"

"Well, yes actually, I can." He answered, haughtily. "I remember my own childhood very well, and I also remember having amazing snowball fights in the playground. I remember spending hours on my sled, going up and down the small hills around my home. I remember just sitting on top of those small hills and looking out at a pure, white, clean and magical world, listening to the roar of a distant waterfall, the only thing seemingly alive in the dead of winter."

Now on a roll, he carried on. "I also remember spring arriving, along with all the new born's following their mama's. Tiny snowdrops peeking through snow and streams gurgling back to life, the sun warming everything up.

His eyes pleaded with her to see beyond the cold and his words asking her to understand why it was important for their children to experience what he had. "I remember it all, Deanna, and I want our children to see it, too. I want our children to be raised in Alaska."

She was relentless. "And I want them to be raised on Betazed - in the warm, where they can go to school all year round in T shirt and shorts. Where they can go swimming any time they like. Where they are surrounded with all the beautiful flowers that don't shrivel and die and disappear for months on end." Now she pleaded with him. "I want the warmth Will. I need the warmth."

"Aw, Deanna," Will whined, "You'll be warm because you'll have me to do that. That and our huge log fire, and a rug in front of it where I can keep you hotter than toast. You'll be amazed how hot you can get in Alaska." He grinned, roguishly.

"Yeah," she scoffed back, "And then have to freeze our butts off when we have to go and get another log in the dead of night so that we don't curl up and die right there on the floor."

"That's not very romantic of you, Deanna." Will sulked. "And besides, the idea of your mother just, 'popping in' is enough to freeze me out. I can't believe you want to inflict her onto me, my love. She only has to look at me and I get a chill. She sure was mad when you married me." His lips turning down as he remembered the older woman's dismay.

"That's because she knew you'd try and pull a stunt like this. I don't want to move to Alaska, Will."

"But why??! Give me one good reason." He asked, relentless to the end.

"Haven't you been listening to a word I've said, Will?" she said with disbelief.

"Yes, and they are just excuses, not a reason. If you loved me, you would go wherever I wanted, and I want to go to Alaska." Determination soared through him.

"And if you loved me, Will Riker, you would go wherever, I wanted to go, and I want to go to Betazed."

"Okay, what else has Betazed got other than warmth?" he challenged.

"Me, naked."

"Excuse me??!" His eyes raising into his hairline, his chin hitting his chest.

"Me, naked, nearly all year round."

" don't intend wearing all??!" he cried, unable to believe what he was hearing.

"Nope, well, most of the time." she amended. "It is unnatural for Beazoid's to wear clothes, Will, it's no big deal to us. Betazed is really just a planet=sized nudist colony. Clothes are just something we wear just to look different occasionally, or if we've got stuffy offworlders visiting."

"All year round?" He was beginning to like the idea of seeing his wife in her natural state a tad more than he did now.

"All year round." she confirmed, begining to realise that she had managed to turn him around.

"Can we compromise a little...just a little, please?" He knew he was whining again, but he didn't care.

"Sure," she reasoned. "What do you have in mind, Will?"

"We live on Betazed for 11 months of the year, and Alaska for one month. Just one month." He was happy with that, he was sure.

"Okay, sounds fair enough, I can agree to that. It's a deal."

"I love you, Mrs. Riker." he grinned.

"I love you too, Mr. Riker." she grinned back.

"All year round, huh?"

"All year round."


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