Title: A Little Tighter
Author: Copper
Email:  coppersinger@yahoo.com
Feedback: Of course, just keep all flames to yourself.
Disclaimer: Owned by Paramount and a bunch of other people. No
copyright infringement meant. Please don't sue.
Spoilers: 'Contamination' (I hope that's the right title!)
Rating: PG, if that
Timeline: Directly after the events of 'Contamination'.
Synopsis: Questions, answers and togetherness.
Distribution: Beloved/Imzadi. Everyone else, please ask - I'm sure
I'll say yes.
Author's Notes: I saw this episode sometime in December, jotted down a
note about it and promptly forgot! For those who don't remember the
basic plot: The Yamoto's Captain finds planet of ancient civilization
- everyone on board dies. Enterprise finds them, searches and
eventually gets same 'virus'. Racing against time, and the Romulans
ire, they find the source, solve the problem, and they all live to
'search for new life' another day. There, isn't that exciting? <g>
Dedication: To my 'fan club' J

Going off-duty they'd headed to Ten Forward together, and if she'd
minded that his arms were a little tighter than usual when he pulled
her in for a hug or if he'd felt her brush full lips over his heart,
neither gave any sign. And now they sat at a table eating and
talking, a little more isolated than usual perhaps but no one noticed.

And when Wesley entered the lounge after visiting his mother he heard
his superior officers laughing together as Will stole a bite of
Deanna's chocolate concoction.

He got a drink and said hello or nodded to those he knew, internally
debating whether to intrude. Normally he wouldn't think about it but
the choice of table wasn't lost on him. The commander and counsellor
usually chose tables fairly central and the young man sometimes
wondered if it was because they were both such friendly people or if
it was their way of chaperoning themselves. Young he was, but not

Glancing around Deanna noticed Wesley staring at them and called out
to the young man, motioning him over with her head. Will gave her a
somewhat surprised look but greeted the invitee genially.

"Hi Commander, Counsellor."

"Wesley, how are you?"

"I'm all right."

The three made idle conversation for a few moments but sensing the
younger man's tension Troi finally asked, "Did you want to talk to the
Commander about something?"

Indecision flickered across his face before he replied. "I do but..."
He shrugged.

Moving to get up, she motioned for him to take her place but he shook
his head instead grabbing a chair from nearby. "It's all right,
Counsellor Troi, you don't have to go. It's not personal really...It's
just..." Searching for the right words, Wes took a sip of his drink,
absently noting Will's hand take the Betazed's as they shifted for

The noise from the other occupants of Ten Forward and Deanna's spoon
occasionally clinking against her dish was comfortingly normal as the
older two waited for the ensign to speak.

"How do you deal with it? All those people died, *we* almost died,
and now... It's like nothing happened."

"How do you think we should be reacting?" She slipped comfortably
into her counselling mode.

"I don't know!" Frustration was evident in his voice. "I mean, I
remember when my dad died and what it was like. And I know we've had
some close calls here before but..."

"But what?"

Running a hand through his hair Wesley took deep breaths and more of
his drink before continuing, not noticing as Riker motioned for a
refill on it. "Captain Picard said that while the loss of life on the
Yamoto was a tragedy, we had to go on, to do our duty as much for
those that died as for ourselves… and I guess I get that. But we're
off duty now and we aren't reacting anymore now than we were before…
not to that… or to the fact that it almost happened to us."

Will's blue eyes signaled that he wanted to answer the unspoken
question, though Deanna still reached out a comforting hand to the
confused teenager.

"Where did you go when you left the bridge, Wes?" Receiving a blank
stare he repeated the question.

"To see my mom."

"Did you talk about any of this with her?" The ensign shook his head.
"Do you always go see her when you go off duty?"

"No, sir. I usually go to our cabin to rest or study. Why?"

"So why today?"

"I don't know, I didn't think about it."

"Did your mother seem different?" Deanna broke in entwining her slim
fingers with the First Officer's larger ones as she waited for his

Wes just stared at the counsellor bewildered.

"I would guess that your mother was going about her work with one eye
on the door, waiting for you to come in. And that when you did she
let out a deep breath and promised herself she wouldn't be all
'motherly' but still found herself touching you - casual brushes that
you didn't even notice. But when you left Beverly gave you a hug and
it was a little tighter and longer than normal. And that you

"Look around, Wes. All the tables and seats are filled. I bet all
the holodecks are in use and that families are gathered together in
their cabins tonight where otherwise they'd be off doing whatever it
is they do."

"Messages will be sent to friends and family who aren't on the ship.
They might not even mention Arconia or the Yamoto but there will be an
'I'm thinking of you' or 'I love you' behind each one. Everyone is
trying to connect, to affirm that they survived.

"For the moment, we've been reminded how fragile life is and how
important it is to live it, to not take it or those in it, for
granted. So people laugh, eat," Troi motioned to her now empty bowl
and the men's empty glasses, "drink, and…"

"And visit our mothers?"

Deanna's lips curved in a soft smile at Will's, "Exactly," while she
gave his hand a gentle squeeze.

The three chatted for a few more minutes before Wesley excused
himself; the post-crisis adrenaline worn off, he was ready to crash.

But just as he reached the doors, he turned to look back at the table
he'd just vacated.

Deanna's long, dark curls draped her shoulders as she raised a hand to
Will's face, his beard lightly pricking her fingers. As he raised her
other one to his mouth for a brief caress blue eyes and brown met,
tenderness making them glow brighter and darker, belying the lightness
of the next words spoken.

"You did a good job today, Will."

"I did, didn't I?" Long eyelashes winked before he said more
seriously, "Thank you," more than her compliment behind the simple

Understanding, she gave into the urge to rest her head against him for
a brief moment before standing. "I want to see Beverly and make sure
there are no emergencies… And I feel a strange urge to write my

"Say hello to Lwaxana for me…" He said rising also.

But before they separated their lips met and clung. Then, with a last
hug, Will joined Geordi and Data and some other crewmembers.

Briefly, her dark eyes shone as she watched him join their friends,
then Deanna walked out of Ten Forward, murmuring hello to O'Brien on
the way.