By Carol Sandford


Chapter 02


Deanna entered hers and Will's quarters making her way slowly towards their bedroom, grateful for the silence and the solitude she knew that she had for at least two hours before Will's shift was finished.

Laying down wearily on the bed, Deanna kicked off her shoes and dimmed the lights, but even so, the inner conflicts that tormented her continuously continued to battle on within her mind. She hated deceiving her best friend and most of all, she hated deceiving the man she loved. The man she adored. The father of her baby.

*Will.* Her mind sought him out, finding him in deep concentration with ship's logistics. She switched her mind back to her own conversation with Beverly moaning quietly as the familiar pain of deceit swept through her. But seconds later it was all forgotten as she felt the unmistakable flutter ripple deep inside her.

Unconsciously Deanna's gentle hand touched its source, her heart thumping as she struggled against the tears that welled with the emotion that the precious gift within her evoked. She whispered distractedly to the tiny life inside of her. "Oh, little one, I hope I'm doing the right thing?"


Tranquillity was shattered barely minutes later by the Captain's request for all senior management to join him in the conference room. Deanna toyed with making her excuses but then thought again knowing that Will would instantly seek her out, demanding to know what was wrong and she just did not need the confrontation at this time as her nerves were already strung as tight as they could go. It would not take too much for them to snap and she was not up to the consequences that would undoubtably make one almighty scene, a scene that she was not prepared to be a part of. Yet.

Deanna joined up with Worf en route to the meeting and he did a double take at the pallor of her normally olive complexion. His gruff voice unconsciously growled as he asked his concerns and Deanna knew that it was only his concern that made him speak in a tone that would normally scare the pants of anyone else. "You do not look...well, Counselor. Are you sick?"

Deanna tried to smile but failed abysmally. Hastening her step to avoid meeting his knowing eyes she blundered ahead until she came to a jarring halt before Beverly Crusher who automatically reached out to steady her. "Are you okay, Deanna?"

Deanna snapped with anger, the emotion unusual for her. "For heaven's sake, stop treating me like I'm some kind of fragile flower. I'm fine!"

The sound of raised voices carried through the short corridor causing the small group of men gathered already in the conference room to halt their conversation and look towards its source.

Will heard the anguish in his wife's voice and as he made his way out from the room and he almost collided with Deanna who stomped past him on her way in, recoiling with shock as he heard her voice in his head. *Not now, Will!*

Stunned into silence, he could do nothing more as he followed Deanna's angry movements into the room. Sitting herself in her usual chair, her whole aura screamed at them all to, 'leave her alone'. Will's eyes flew to Beverly to search for an explanation but was startled as she blatantly avoided his questioning gaze.

Knowing he could do nothing more until the meeting was over, Will made his way to his own seat. Deanna could feel his eyes boring into her, the questions burning into her very soul. But as Picard began to speak everybody was forced to turn their attentions to the head of the table and forget the problems escalating closer to home.

"I have just received word from Starfleet that a plague has gotten out of control on the planet Lanaare in the Delanare system. We have been ordered to rendezvous there with the USS Caprisia to begin shipments of urgent medical supplies and some medical staff."

All eyes turned to the only senior medical officer on board and Beverly felt herself grow cold, but even so, her professionalism compelled her ask the necessary questions. "Do we know anything about these people...the plague? Is it curable and would our own species be affected?"

It was Picard's turn to be besieged by the sea of eyes, but it was Data who spoke. "The Lanaarians are a relatively peaceful race that have resided in this quadrant for many millennia. They are of humanoid physiology but have evolved to become partially reptilian. They are able to spend a considerable amount of time in the water as the planet is 86.5% water, but they need land to grow their food on which they depend entirely."

Picard took over the conversation. "A plague from an unknown source has poisoned their staple food leaving a vast number of the population, if not dead, then dying. The poison is not harmful to us and it is our duty to help these people in any way we can. But it will mean releasing a medical team for an indefinite period."

Swinging his chair towards Beverly Picard faced her head on. "I'm not forcing you to take on this mission, doctor..."

But Beverly was already on her feet, her decision already made. "I'm going, captain. If I can help these people, I will."

Everyone came to a stand and waited for their orders, but it was Will whom Picard faced, "Will, I want you to pilot the shuttle to take the medical team and equipment down to the planet's surface. I also want you to stay with her. I don't want Doctor Crusher left down there without any means of transportation or without someone I can trust. We have enough staff to spare four medically trained, leaving us three. And we can also spare a team of five to work on the crop problem. Any questions?"

Will spoke, "How long until we get there, sir?"

"Approximate arrival, fourteen hours, number one. The Caprisia is scheduled to rendezvous a day later."

Everyone filed out of the doors their minds already going through the conversation and the subsequent mission coming up. That was, everyone's except Deanna's.

Before Will could catch her, Deanna had made good her escape. Unable to follow her as Picard had called him back on some last minute details that needed to be addressed, Will watched his wife's hasty departure with a sense of foreboding that would haunt him for the next few hours to come.

It was late when Will walked into their quarters. Surprised to find the place in darkness, Will tiptoed to the bedroom door and watched the sleeping form that lay in the large bed. Puzzlement clouded his handsome features and he began to wonder if there was something wrong with Deanna. All she seemed to do was sleep these days and Will could guarantee that every time he came home to see his wife, she would be out cold, whether it be her break time, or early evening. But whenever he questioned her she came up with the same excuse. 'I didn't sleep very well last night, I'm just catching up'.

It was time he had a talk with Beverly, but he was aware that now was not the time. He was beat and he had a long day ahead tomorrow. Quietly slipping out of his clothes he slid soundlessly into bed, shuffling up prone to Deanna's foetal form. His arm closed over and Deanna shifted in her sleep, placing the huge palm over her breast and hugging it tightly. Will grinned in the darkness, moulding the full, fleshly mound until he heard the erotic moan fall from her lips and she moved her body against his, forcing a groan from his own mouth as his body sparked into life.

Moving his hands down, Will gripped her hips as he moved seductively against her bottom, his hardness creating its own magic against her smooth skin, and as he reached his hand across the touch the feminine heart of her, her leg shifted allowing him access. Pushing himself into her heated dampness, Will tugged her over a little so that he could suckle her breast as his fingers danced on the most erotic part of her and then they were both became lost.

As soon as Will touched Deanna, she come alive. It had been so long since she had allowed him this close, but he had been patient, determined not to question her knowing that sooner or later everything it would work itself out. Pushing, he knew, would make her withdraw and he was not going to lose her over something as trivial as sex. Nothing was worth that.

And as they began to reach for the stars together, he was glad. Glad that they were together, in heart, soul, and, for now, in body, too.

And what a body. Will had resisted on commenting on her weight gain purely because he loved her new, fuller figure, figuring that she had been over-indulging in her favourite pastime - eating chocolate. He also knew that she probably wouldn't want to hear him say that. He knew that she couldn't be pregnant. They'd been too careful and they'd both decided that they should wait just a little while longer.

As they slowly fell back down to earth, the happily satiated couple snuggled up close again, and a contented smile forced away the worry lines that seemed to be permanently etched across his features. He couldn't resist giving her one final quick hug as he whispered into the cloud of sweetly scented hair, *I love you*

He felt the squeeze on his forearm and the sentiment returned, *And I you, Imzadi*

And so Will was content, for now.

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