By Carol Sandford


Chapter 13


On and on they trudged. With no lighting to guide their way, every step was almost a leap of faith. Between them they lost count of how many times they cursed as they either stubbed a toe, or trod on something that they were glad that they could not see.

Hand outstretched, Will felt along the contours of the walls. Still linked to Deanna with his other hand, he began to notice that she was beginning to pull back. She was getting tired, he was getting tired too, but no way was he going to stop until their immediate predicament changed somewhat, either by leaving this god forsaken tunnel that had began to incline, making the trek even more exhausting, or stepping out of this nightmare all together. Deanna’s whine slowed him to a stop, causing her to collide with his taut body.

"I can’t go any further, Will, I’m tired and my feet hurt, my head hurts and I want to cry."

Will pulled her limp, worn out body into his embrace and hugged her tight.

"I know, sweetheart, it can’t be much further. By my reckoning, we shouldn’t have much more to go. If...things had gone to plan, right now we should be sleeping, so in the morning we should have reached the exit point, so if we keep walking, and we have to keep walking, Deanna, we should be out of here within a couple of hours. It'll be night time so we’ll be able to sneak back into town without anyone seeing us. Hey, we can even spend the rest of the night tucked up in a big, soft, warm bed. How does that sound, sweetheart?"

He felt her moan against his chest,

"Mmm, wonderful...just give me a minute okay, just a minute..."

Her voice trailed off and Will felt her begin to slide down his body, intent on sitting down for those few precious minutes that she badly craved. Will automatically followed her down, and finding a reasonably comfortable position, which was decidedly difficult in his naked state, he shuffled Deanna around between his thighs so that he could continue to hold her and keep her warm.

Deanna snuggled closer within Will’s arms, oblivious to the close proximity of his masculine form, and within seconds they were both fast asleep.

+++They were back in the pool, swimming side by side, the sound of laughter filled their souls, Will pulled her through the water swinging her into his arms, kissing her fervently, igniting the flame that burned from deep within.

Deanna wrapped her limbs around Will’s torso, skin upon skin, heartbeat to heartbeat. Her breath became his, together they were one.

She slowly slipped down his body onto his waiting hardness. A deep guttural groan made its way up from her core as he filled her in one, slow luxurious movement, and together, they became oblivious to the lapping sounds of the water that rippled around them, cooling their already heated skin, the chill highlighting the burning fever that scorched their souls++++

The initial shock woke Will from a delectable dream of Deanna, searing sex and water. It was then that he felt the icy water seeping around his buttocks making him jerk. It barely registered with the still sleeping woman in his arms.

Will shook her gently, Deanna groaned sleepily,

"Just a few minutes more, Will, please!"

And then the water touched her.

"Urgh! Water! Where did water come from? Oh, Will, we haven’t stumbled on another water feature have we?" They both rose to a stand simultaneously, the water began to gather up steam to become a steady trickle. Will moved his feet blindly around until he found a dry spot, moving her across with him when he found a slightly higher step away from the water.

Pulling her close, Will spoke over her head,

"No, I think it's rain water, otherwise it would have already been here, and that means that somewhere up ahead is an exit; a way out!"

As realization rapidly dawned, an urgency to go overwhelmed them both, and without another word, Will took Deanna’s hand, and began to follow the water that now splashed around their ankles.

It was not long before Will excitedly whispered, "Do you feel it, Deanna, do you feel the breeze?"

Deanna stepped around him, welcoming the cold draft to her body. She felt herself grinning widely and wished she could see Will’s face because she knew he was grinning as much as her. Instead, she pulled him to her, seeking out his lips for a quick, cheery kiss.

"Come on, let's get out of here."

Will all but dragged Deanna along behind him until at last, they reached a point where they could no longer go forward.

The couple stood side by side, clinging to each other as they fought for the spent breath that they had used in their haste to get out of there.

As Will and Deanna turned their faces heaven ward, their initial glee spiralled downwards out of control as they searched their only way out; A hole in the roof, large enough to fit through, only it was about fifteen feet above their heads.

"Oh, Will, what are we going to do now?"

In the dimness that filtered through the opening, Will’s mind was already working out his escape route.

"I think I can do it, Deanna, the walls are quite soft, I think I can dig my feet in enough to get a foothold."

Before he had even finished speaking, Will was already trying out his theory. His hands began to tug at the larger stones embedded in the soft clay-like sides, until at last, his deft fingers pried the first one away along with a euphoric cry, "Yes!"

He reached higher until he found another stone, and began the painstaking process again, it was not long before he was able to start his ascent. Wedging his toes into the dirt, Will took his first step upwards. Inch by inch, step by step, he neared his goal.

In the murky dimness, Deanna watched the outline of Will’s naked body as he painstakingly removed a stone and moved up another notch. In any other situation, the scene would have been extremely funny. Looking up at Will’s naked buttocks along with the other ’dangling bits’ would be sight never to be forgotten, but Deanna knew that one slip, one wrong move would be disastrous for him.

Her heartbeat pounded painfully in her ears as she silently muttered, and silently thought to the man above her, ome on, sweetheart, come on, you can do it She stepped out of the way as another large stone come sailing her way after his warning cry.

Stooping, Deanna hurled the large jagged rocks further down the tunnel that they had just vacated, the last thing she wanted was for Will to fall and land on them, she shuddered as the consequences of him doing that filtered through her head.

Will’s grunts brought her head back up to the man hovering mid air above her. The little light that filtered down suddenly disappeared as Will finally reached the entrance.

Will heaved himself though the damp hole, clutching at the grass until he could get a sure foothold to push himself that last, final step.

He had done it. They had done it. Will lay on his back in the damp grass his chest heaving, his toes ripped to shreds, but he was laughing, a loud, joyous laughter that echoed through the trees and down to the woman who stood waiting patiently at the bottom of what could have quite easily been their tomb.

Will’s laughter eventually trailed off, and he rose painfully to his feet. Bending over, he yelled down to the only woman he could ever love, the only woman he would ever love.

"Are you okay, Deanna?"

"Yes...yes, but I’m cold, please hurry Will, please get me out!"

"Okay, give me a few minutes, I’ll see what I can find! Don’t go away, don’t move an inch!"

Will looked around him and automatically began heading for the trees, he was certain he would find something...anything useful to get his beloved out.

Fifteen minutes later Will made his way to the hole defeated and devastated. He had not been able to find anything even remotely usable except a fallen tree that he could not even budge, let along drag and drop down a hole.

Kneeling, Will stared down the black abyss ready to tell her the bad news, but was silenced when he heard the gentle groans and grunts and he realized that she had decided to take the same route as he. His heart swelled with pride as he began to urge on with words.

"Come on, sweetheart, only a few more feet!"

Will lay flat on his stomach and reached into the hole with his hands, his fingers outstretched, ready to grab her when she got within reach.

"Nearly there, Deanna, come on, you can do it! Think of that nice hot bath, and that bed."

Deanna was exhausted. Pains shot through her feet, and she was sure she had ripped off every nail that she possessed. Her legs trembled violently with the exertion and she had come close to slipping so many times that she had nearly given up.

Whilst Will had been gone, Deanna had tried to recall the jungle that she had grown up beside, had played in. Had loved in, and knew that Will was unlikely to find anything to help her out of there, so she had taken the plunge and began the hazardous climb.

Scared senseless, Deanna dared to look up, choking on the rising sob as she realized Will’s hand was barely inches away from hers. But with that relief came another emotion, terror...sheer, tormented terror.

All it would take to be safe, to be hauled out there and into Will’s arms, was for her to remove one hand from the relative safety of the mud that her fingers were embedded in, but all of a sudden, she could not do it, she could not let go.

An overwhelming sense of dread washed over her, but Will felt it too and his heart went out to her. Deanna had endured so much in the last two days and with the end within sight, she had finally cracked under the strain.

Will knew that soft words were not going to do the trick and so edging his way in as far as he could, he made one last frantic reach for her hand. His heart broke when his eyes found hers, wide and moist and frightened, he steeled himself for what he had to do.


And with a haunting wail, Deanna finally broke her trance like state and lunged for the outstretched hand. Will grasped it so firmly that Deanna screamed with pain, but he was not going to let her go, they were so close to freedom, there was no way a little pain was going to get in his way.

Bracing himself, Will slowly pushed himself to his knees leaving Deanna dangling helplessly in mid air until with one last gut-wrenching yank, he pulled her free of the shaft.

Falling in a tangled heap, Deanna wept as though her heart would break. Will let her cry, he knew she needed the release. He pulled her close and they lay, on the wet grass, exhausted, relieved and emotionally drained.

Eventually as Deanna lay against Will's body, her head tucked securely against his shoulder as he lightly stroked her chilled skin, she felt his voice rumble.

"I feel a little like Adam and Eve in the garden of Eden."

Deanna chuckled drowsily,

"Well at least they had fruit to eat from the trees, we have nothing and I am starving, and you owe me a bubble bath, Will Riker."

But as they came to a stand, something happened. They both stood facing each other, so close but they could have been a mile apart, the moment became awkward.

Will searched Deanna’s down cast eyes, surprised at the sudden change within her, he spoke worriedly,

"Deanna, what’s wrong?"

Deanna briefly sought his eyes but her embarrassment overtook her again and she looked away, her mouth closing on the words that she wanted to say. But Will knew what her words were, and he pulled her back into his arms, resting his chin upon her head.

"I know, I know sweetheart, I feel it too. I know your sorry, I’m sorry too, we BOTH made dumb mistakes, but we’ve come through and we’re better for it. I don’t need your gratitude either Deanna, you kept me alive too remember, I figure we're even, on both counts okay, okay?"

Tears sprang to her eyes again as she nodded against his chest. Sighing heavily, she pulled away, slipping her hand down to his and turned towards home.

"Come on, let's get away from here."

Will could not argue with that, and together they made their way back towards town. The dawn was just beginning to break on the horizon and barely half an hour later, Will and Deanna crept into their room, the bath forgotten, the food forgotten as they both fell into the bed and slept like babies until noon.

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