By Carol Sandford


Chapter 30


Will studied his wife as she lay sleeping in their bed with nothing but the blue illumination of the various panels to highlight her beautiful features. For a while he thought he would never see this day again. He didn't know why but it had been a feeling that had eaten away at his guts for weeks.

As quietly as he could he slipped off his uniform and climbed into bed. Before he had even settled, Deanna slid towards him and curled her arm across his waist. He chuckled in the darkness and sighed the sigh of a contented man and within moments he was fast asleep.

To say he was disappointed to find himself in his bed alone was an understatement. As he lay there on his back with his hands behind his head and thought about their lives as a couple he began to mull over the numerous changes he had seen in his wife since.

And she had changed, dramatically, he realised. Even before the Lanaarian plight had begun he had noticed the change. He had briefly wondered if she was unhappy in their marriage, but then he remembered what Guinan had told him, so he dismissed that issue.

He was perturbed because the changes that he saw in her were ones of contentment. If she was unhappy she would not feel that way. And what was with her vanishing every morning? He'd been so looking forward to waking up beside her this morning that it stung to know that still nothing had changed between them.

He guessed that she'd be where she always was at this time of the day. Ten Forward. Waiting for him. But why couldn't she wait for him in their home? Why was she hiding? What was she hiding?

And she looked different, too. She was always a beautiful woman. Stunning even. But now she was even more so. But why? What had changed? It wasn't her hair or her make-up. Okay, her body looked better than he'd ever seen it and he certainly wasn't going to complain about that. She barely ate enough to feed a sparrow, but even so...

But even so...

She was gaining weight.

And then the penny dropped.

Damn! How could he have been so dense?! The enormous breasts. The way she held her hand against her tummy. Was that swollen too? He racked his brains to try and remember if he'd seen any evidence of swelling, but then he ashamedly admitted to himself that he never seemed to get close enough to her anymore to even know what her body looked like. It also accounted for the many other things about her that had transcended beyond her normal beautiful self.

God, his wife was pregnant with his child and he hadn't even realised.

Before he even counted to ten he was up, washed and dressed. Ten minutes later he was standing just inside Ten Forwards doorway watching his wife.

It was a full ten seconds later before Deanna became aware that he was there watching her. And five seconds more for her to realise that he knew about their baby.

Will glanced across at Guinan who was watching him with interest. Her face held an enigmatic smile and when she bobbed her head in the direction of his wife it freed him from his frozen spot. Slowly, with trepidation, Will walked over to her and her eyes never left his as he sunk into the chair beside her.

"Deanna. Darling?" He croaked, suddenly unsure what to say. What to do. How to ask.

Her smile at his nervousness set free the tension that held them captive and she reached out her fingers to him. He didn't hesitate to take them and brought them to his lips to place a firm kiss to her knuckles, his eyes closing as his emotions ran away from him.

"Do you mind...about the baby?" She asked tentively.

"Mind?!" he spluttered. "Are you crazy?! You have just made me the happiest man alive! How could I mind, sweetheart?"

Will couldn't stop himself as he pulled her closer to him and kissed her tenderly. There were tears in both of their eyes when they parted. "Why didn't you tell me?" he asked quietly.

"You were so busy with the Lanaarian situation and I wanted you to be completely focused on that. I know you would have only worried endlessly if you'd have known, Will, and I didn't want to be responsible for that, either. It was bad enough for you coping with my psychological problem. Knowing that there was a baby, too, would have been unbearable for you."

"I wouldn't have gone on the mission, if I'd have known, Deanna." He complained.

"You needed to go, Will. Beverly needed you with her. I had everyone I needed here on board." She reasoned.

Suddenly Will's face turned sulky. "I suppose your mother knows?"

Deanna couldn't help but laugh at the ridiculous question or his petulant pout. "Oh, Will, how could she not know? She is an Empath, after all."

"And Beverly?"

"Yes, of course she knew. She's my doctor."

"Tell me the captain didn't know, please!" he pleaded with a whine.

Deanna nodded sheepishly. "He knew, too. Reluctantly, though, I admit. But he IS the captain. He's supposed to know everything that's happening on board his ship, you know that."

"And Worf?" Now he was getting silly.

"No," She grinned. "Not Worf, or anyone else outside of sickbay."

He pouted again and gestured over his shoulder towards the bar where he knew that the quiet bar tender was going about her business. "She knew." It wasn't a question, just a matter of fact statement.

This time Deanna couldn't stop the laughter as it bubbled up from deep inside of her. "Yes, Will, Guinan was in on the big secret, too. Who do you think gave me tea to stop the morning sickness?"

"That's why you come here every day?"

"Do you mind?"

"No," he finally relented. "Only from now on, we both come, okay?"

"Okay." She promised.

"I think I'd like a kiss, Mrs. Riker."

"I think I'd like a kiss, too, Mr. Riker."

"Ready to come back home?"

"More than ready. I've got so much to tell you."

With feigned worry, he asked. "I am the father, aren't I?"

Suddenly realising that she had missed this side of their loving relationship she was quick to respond in kind. "Well...I'm not too sure..."

She squeaked in alarm as her husband swept her up into his arms, his growled, "Don't torment me woman, I'm still in shock and liable to do something weird." was met with her hysterical giggles as they swept out of the lounge.

"I like weird. After all, I did marry you." She cooed as she curled her arms around his neck and snuggled closer to his big chest.

It was seconds later that an explosion rocked the ship hard and all they could hear was the screams of the crew. But the only scream that Will could hear was the one of his wife's still nestled in his arms as he fell.

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