By Carol Sandford


Chapter 31


With his wife locked against him Will could do nothing else but take himself and Deanna in a terrifying freefall as the Enterprise tilted sickeningly with the blast, knocking himself out as he plunged against a bulkhead metres away from where they were. Deanna screamed and screamed as she held onto her husband, not knowing what was happening or where they were going to end up as he flew through the air still holding onto her.

When they eventually came to halt in a tangle of arms and body and legs the first thing Deanna thought about was her unborn child. Using her own sense of him had her gasping with relief as she felt the tiny ripples of awareness. He was safe within her.

Her thoughts then turned to the man that lay still beside her. Will was unconscious. She put shaking fingers to his neck and a shuddering cry of relief left her lungs as she felt his steady heartbeat. He was alive.

Slapping her comm badge, she shouted above the wail of the klaxons. "Troi to Crusher. Medical emergency. Will is injured. I need your help!"

At the sound of her friends returning reply, Deanna allowed herself to release the horrors of the last terrifying moments and burst into tears. "I'm on my way, Deanna! Just hold on!"

Deanna managed to manoeuvre herself so that she sat with Will's head cradled in her lap. It was barely a minute before Beverly came bounding down the corridor, her face already showing the bruises of her own traumatic tumble.

She quickly knelt down beside them, her medical scanner already sweeping over both of their bodies as she lowered herself to her knees. "Are you okay, Deanna? The baby?" She asked with her heart in her throat, not quite believing what the gadget in her hand was telling her.

Still visibly shaking the Betazoid quickly reassured her. "We're fine, Beverly. It's Will I'm worried about. He was carrying me so took the brunt of our weight as he fell. What the hell happened?"

Satisfied that Will had only rendered himself unconscious as he'd fallen against the bulkhead, Beverly turned her attention to the counselor. "We don't know yet. The captain thinks that it maybe something to do with Worf."

As she spoke she pressed a hypo against Will's neck and within seconds he began to come round. "Oh, my God," He moaned. "What the hell hit me?"

Stroking his face with her hand, Deanna whispered to him. "I think I did, Imzadi. Sorry."

With her words he suddenly remembered where he was and what had happened and began to push himself to his feet. He swayed with the nausea that attacked him and reached out for the wall to steady himself. "What the hell just hit us!?" It was a second more when he glanced down at his wife who sit sat at his feet and hurriedly hunkered down beside her, taking her still trembling fingers within his. "Deanna? Are you you okay? The baby?"

Deanna completely lost her composure at the care and concern that her husband and on a whimper she reached out for him. "We're fine, Will. We're both okay."

In a heartbeat Will swept his weeping wife into his arms and lifted her back to where she was before the explosion happened. Beverly fussed around them both for a moment before she was summonsed to someone else who was in need.

"Take her home, Will. See she's tucked up in bed before you go racing off to the bridge."

"Already on it," He promised.

As he started to stride away Beverly called after him, clearly thrilled that Deanna had finally revealed her secret to him. "Congratulations, daddy!

Without missing a step, Will turned full circle and gave her a huge grin and a wink before carrying on his way. "Thanks, doc."

At the same time as Will entered their quarters the klaxons ceased their tedious clamouring. Will hurried Deanna over to their still unmade bed and gently placed her upon it. His distraction as he tucked her in was evident. "Stay there for me, please, sweetheart. I'll be back as soon as I can."

As he leant down to kiss her forehead, Deanna couldn't hide the fear in her voice as she asked. "Do you think he's dead, Will?"

Will didn't need her to say Worf's name to know that it was him that she was referring to. "I don't know, but if I know Worf, he's still out there somewhere kicking butt."

Tenderly he pulled the coverlet over her. "As soon as I can find out anything I'll let you know. That's a promise. Now, are you going to stay put or am I going to have to put you in cuffs?"

"Haven't used those in a while, commander. You sure you still know how to use them?" She murmured seductively, the twinkle in her eye doing things to him that really didn't ought to, considering the situation.

"Get out of that bed before I return and you'll soon find out." He warned. Reluctantly he pressed another quick kiss to her lips and turned away before temptation gave way to the ships crisis. But even so, as he reached the bedroom door, he couldn't help himself as he stopped and gave her another hungry look. Deanna chuckled at the growl she heard erupt from low in his throat before he finally stormed from the room.

As soon as she was sure he was gone, she pushed aside the cover and hopped out of bed. There was no way she was going to lay still and do absolutely nothing when her ship needed her, and settling down in front of her consul she spoke to the one person that wouldn't reel off a bunch of health questions. "Commander Data, it's Troi. Could you give me an update, please?"

"Certainly, counselor. It appears the remains of a ship has fallen from a wormhole. We surmise that Worf completed his mission and destroyed the enemy ship."

"Is there any sign of him? Is he alive?" she asked with trepidation.

"We have no news of Lieutenant Worf's status at this time, counselor. However..."

Another more familiar voice broke Data's report. "Are you out of that bed, Mrs. Riker?"

"I most certainly am not!" She responded with as much feigned effrontery as she could muster.

"Good," her husband growled. "You'd damned well better not be. We'll keep you posted, Deanna, I promise. Now rest. Riker out."

Left with nothing to do but pace her quarters, Deanna began to restlessly put things that had fallen in the explosion back into their original places. The few broken things she put into the recycling bin. She didn't even stop to consider that the simple chore she'd just performed would meet with the wrath of her husband when he came home and found that to have achieved what she'd done she would had to have been out of her bed.

Still restless after her tidying spree, Deanna wilted with relief when the door told her that she had a visitor. Before she even opened it, Deanna knew that it was her mother on the other side and put on a bright smile to welcome her.

Lwaxana Troi swept into the room like a tornado, her first words to her daughter were enough to tell her that her husband had had words. "You're not in bed, little one. You are in no condition to go racing about the ship getting in the way."

Deanna took a deep breath. "I am pregnant, mother, not ill, and I am NOT racing around the ship! Did Will put you up to this?"

Lwaxana swirled to a halt in the middle of her lounge. "He asked that I check in on you, yes. But I would have done so anyway. I'm not completely heartless, you know? I do have your best interests at heart, too. After all, my grandson will eventually become heir to..."

Deanna sighed. Deep down inside she knew that her mother would bring her sons heritage into a conversation, but hadn't figured it to before she'd even completed her second trimester. "My son, mother, will not take over from my role on Betazed. One day he will follow in his daddy's footsteps and his daddy's daddy's footsteps, too. I have willingly broken the chain, mother. You know that. My life...our life is here, on the Enterprise, or even a ship of our own some day. I will not be coming back to Betazed to take over from you."

For a long moment the room was in silence as the two women faced off. Deep hurt reflected in the older woman's eyes and determination shone in the others. Deanna had no intention of returning to her old life. This was her life now. Will and his son was what she wanted and it was time that her mother understood that and accepted it.

But then Deanna hadn't figured on her mother's tenacity. "One day, Deanna Troi, my girl, you will lose that husband of yours and then where will you be?"

Deanna gasped, shocked that her own mother would utter such a thing. "How could you, mother!? How could you compare my life to yours? That was an utterly wicked thing to say to me, especially now!"

Lwaxana stepped towards her daughter, realising that she had probably over stepped the mark. but even so, Deanna needed to know how it was for Starfleet employees. How it was for those that were left behind. "I'm sorry, darling. I didn't mean to upset you. But have you even considered what would happen to you if and when something happens to you husband?"

"I am a Starfleet officer, too. I'm out here with him, not stuck on a planet a million miles away from him waiting for him to come home. I want to be there for him when he comes home, and I want to say goodbye to him when he leaves. I do not want to spend my life wondering and regretting, like you did, and still do, mother."

Deanna knew she had hit home with her last remark. Deanna's father had pleaded with his wife to join him on board his ship so that they could be a proper family, but she had steadfastly refused. He had been away from her for more than four months and Lwaxana had never even gotten close to saying goodbye to her husband before he'd lost his life. Deanna was determined that the same scenario would never happen to her. She was going to always be wherever her husband was.

Deanna would never go through her life with the same regrets as her mother.

The older woman did not even attempt to hide the sheen of tears in her eyes as she shored herself up to hold on to the last shred of pride that she had left. "I see. Yes, I suppose you would see it that way. You always were more independent than I, and I can see that whatever I say will not change your mind. I will say no more on the subject. Now, if you'll excuse me, I'll see if there is anyone out there that really does need my help."

As Deanna watched her mother leave her quarters her heart overflowed with pity and sorrow. She'd been hard on her, she knew that. Deanna was going to have to make her peace. Her mother, besides Will, was all she had and she'd hoped, that over time, her mother would accept her way of life. Now maybe that she'd made it clear that she never had any intentions of ever returning to Betazed to live, they could move on.

Moments later her discussion with her mother was forgotten as she heard her beloveds familiar voice. "Deanna, you may want to make your way to sickbay. We've found him."

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