By Carol Sandford


Chapter 10


"Deanna, darling, are you sickening for something. Can I do anything for you, Little One?" Lwaxana bustled up behind her daughter and the heavy swish of her gown grated on Deanna's nerves, but not quite as much as her mother's interfering voice.

The day that Deanna had made plans to leave the ship and return home, Lwaxana Troi had very much surprised her with an impromptu visit. On arriving, the matriarch had taken one look at her daughter and cancelled all her plans for the foreseeable future.

Was Deanna sorry? More than she'd ever known. She was still reeling from the shock of her husband leaving her for an undeterminable amount of time; Of carrying a child that her husband was totally ignorant of; The struggle against what was happening on the planet below. And now her mother, eating away at the last shred of sanity she possessed.

But before she could wallow in her mother's moment of compassion, Lwaxana laughed out aloud, tapping her fragile daughter on her shoulder. "Oh, silly me, forget I asked, darling. Of course your sickening for something. You want William to come home and pretend to be a husband again, don't you dear? Well, you know ~that's~ never going to happen. William Riker is a Starfleet officer first and foremost. How you ever managed to snare him into marriage, Deanna, will always be a mystery to me. I'm sure you will hardly ever see him and that child of yours will wonder who is daddy is!"

"That's enough, mother!"

The momentary stunned silence was soon broken, "Well, that's all the thanks I get for attempting to make you feel better; To make you accept that William is always going to be off on some mission or another. You have just ~got~ to get used to the idea, dear."

"Mother!" Deanna's warning came out as a low, barely contained growl, but still the woman persisted.


Deanna held up a shaky hand to halt her, betraying just how much her mother's hurtful words were affecting her. Worse was that every one of them was true. As much as Deanna hated her mother's constant put down's; Enlightening anecdotes on Terran cultures and almost every other innocent insult that invariably fell from her lips, Deanna knew that every one of them was true.

Her desire to have Will by her side every day, every night; To have him answer her every need, both physically and mentally, along with his love, Deanna knew she was asking for a lot; probably too much. It was times like this that forced it home just how different her husband was from her and how committed he was to his chosen career.

But now there was an added factor; A baby that he was unaware of; A baby that Deanna steadfastly held close to her own heart; A baby that she knew probably wouldn't change the status quo of her husbands life. And what hurt Deanna even more was that she didn't even want Will to change. So where did that leave her?


Right there, listening to her mother who had given up on the verbal onslaught and now tried to get at her telepathically.

::Think of your baby, Little One. Where is Will going to be when he cuts his first tooth, or takes his first step? His first word. Deanna. We all know that a baby's first word is usually, 'dada'. Doesn't that bother you. Doesn't that make you want to come home and raise your son where he will be surrounded by people who love him and will care for him? To be amongst his own kind.::

That was as far as she got and even Lwaxana knew she had pushed her luck by the way she physically and mentally backed up. Aloud she uttered sheepishly, "I'm sorry..."

Deanna rounded on her like a tiger stalking a startled deer, ready to pounce. So intent on getting her point across, Lwaxana had ignored not only Deanna's distress, but her anger too. And she was angry.

She was livid.

But her professionalism wouldn't allow her to react like the human side of her expected to, or needed her to. Instead she launched herself into not only telling her mother the virtues of marriage to a Terran, but herself. God knows, she needed to.

"Are you listening to me, mother? Because I am only going to say this once, and once only. After I have finished, you will never speak about my husband in that way ever again. Unfortunately he is not here to defend himself against your vicious tongue, so I'm going to do it for him, and you will ~not~ interrupt. Do you understand, mother?"

Lwaxana wisely only replied with a nod. She was under no illusion that her daughter was deeply upset, traumatised even and decided, wisely, that instead of calling the medics, she would let her have her say.

"My husband, is down there, on that planet trying to save the lives of the people who live there. My husband, is one of the best officer's that Starfleet has ever seen. He is loyal, true, honest, and a great diplomat when needed, an even greater friend to his comrades and a true example of goodness. My husband, despite a few hiccups in his earlier life, and God, haven't we all made some? Has been there for me at every turn; every miserable moment of my life; certainly every happy one, because mother, he ~is~ my happiness."

"My husband, mother, loves me for who I am; for what I am, and he'll love me for forever. What more could I ask for? One day soon, Will is going to come home from that planet, safe and sound, and I am going to welcome him with open arms and an even wider smile. And then undoubtably he will be assigned yet another mission. And another, and then another. And do you know what? I am going to see him off just like I always have; With trust, with hope and with my love. That is my duty, mother, and I am ready for it, for all of it, and like it or not, you're going to have to like it, too, because if you can't then I don't ever want to see you on board the 'Enterprise' ever again. This is our home. This is where we belong. Get used to it."

Deanna suddenly spun around and stalked out of the room leaving her mother entirely speechless, backed up against the steely hull, to scared to move one inch. But even then, Lwaxana blamed Deanna's hormones. ::Goodness, is she going to be like this for the next six months!?::

She groaned as she heard Deanna's response back, ::Yes, mother, so get used to that, too!::

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