Disclaimers: they'll be eternally grateful that they're not
mine...and I can't blame them *blush*
Setting: a number of years after Nemesis, I'm not sure yet, but
say...between 6 and 10
Genre: Angst/Drama/Tragedy and of course, a little old-fashioned
Note: Not beta-ed. You might want to keep some tissues at hand, I
already cried and I'm the one who's writing the damn story *sigh*
Reviews: Pretty Please :)

oh: sentences between * * are thoughts, between .::. .::. telepathic




"What are you doing in here?"


"Watching what?"

.::.The sky, the grass, the trees and the flowers, the future and
the past.::. He recognized the answer as a line from one of her
favourite poems and briefly he tried to see what she saw. It was a
fruitless effort and always had been. He could never see as far, or
as deep as she could. Both in the figurative and literal sense, but
that didn't stop him from trying.

"And, are you enjoying the view?"

.::.Yes, it's beautiful.::.

"I bet it's not as beautiful as mine." He quipped, watching her for
a reaction, but finding none. Against his instincts he refrained
from enveloping his wife in a tight hug, knowing that she needed the

They stood like that for long, slow-passing minutes. They didn't
move or speak, not even telepathically. The holographic birds and
insects seemed to sense the sombre companionship the two humanoids
provided and fell silent too; the sound of their journeys through
the grass and trees the only interruption of silence.

His hands itched to touch her, to do anything at all to break the
silence and when he could hold back no longer he opted for speech
rather than movement. "You miss her, don't you?" He held his breath
and waited.

"Very much." Her whisper, so quiet that he almost missed it, was
carried away on the light breeze and if possible the silence became
even more oppressing. It was the first time since days that she had
spoken aloud, and a small part of him was grateful for the positive
sign, however insignificant it might be.

"I'm sorry Dea." The involuntary sway of her body was the clue he'd
been waiting for and he nearly leapt forward. His arms crept around
her waist as he drew her back against his chest and he buried his
face in her hair, breathing in her scent as if he needed it as badly
as oxygen. He was so scared for her. So frightened that she would
slip from his grasp that he couldn't form the words he wanted to
say. It felt so good to hold her again, after long days in solitude,
yet it frightened him beyond anything he'd ever felt before.

She was slipping and he didn't know how to keep her from falling
over the edge. .::.Oh God Imzadi, please don't let go.::



.::.I'm trying, I'm trying so hard.::. Her tortured voice made its
way into his head, and despite the agony of the emotions that came
with it Will treasured it beyond measures; holding on to it like
holding on to a life-line. .::.It hurts…it hurts so much.::. She
crumbled against him and he linked his arms under hers to keep her
upright; her legs no longer able to carry the weight that rested
upon them.

Slowly he lowered her to the floor and sank behind her. His back
rested against the semi-wooden fence around the balcony and hers
rested against his chest. Will pressed kisses on the top of her
head, hoping that she could draw a measure of comfort of the
affectionate gesture, that it would, if only for a moment, chase
away the pain and loneliness that threatened to consume her.

Deanna tried to cry, but her emotions were so overwhelming that she
could only sob on choking breaths. From what he could sense of her,
and that was painfully little, she was unable to find an anchor
amidst her inner turmoil and he pulled her closer, providing a
physical anchor instead. .::.I love you Dea, please believe that.
Whatever you need, whatever you want, I'll do everything in my power
to give it to you.::. It was a shallow promise, certainly in times
like this, but it was all he had to offer and it was the least she

.::.I just want them back! That's all…oh god, please, give them
back.::. Her screaming plea was like salt in his own raw wounds and
it slipped between the bondage she had so carefully wrapped around
his torn heart and made him remember all over. The fire, the heath
and the terrible pain.

"Shhh" he whispered aloud "we'll get through this, we have to.
You're strong Dea, you can do it. For them." And God he hoped he
spoke the truth.

.::.I feel so lonely. Like my heart and mind are empty, like they
always will be.::. She clung tighter to him, her entire body
trembling. Will wrapped one hand in her black curls, hanging limply
down her back, and wrapped the other around her waist, noticing once
again that she had lost weight. How come he hadn't seen sooner how
much she was suffering? It had been two weeks; two weeks in which
she had comforted him, consoled him and helped him deal with his
anger, guilt and grief…two weeks during which he had admired her for
her strength. And then she had collapsed.

Reviewing the logs he had discovered that she'd run this program
every night since it happened and while he slept and dreamt she had
crept out their bed and had come to the holodeck, dealing with her
grief all by herself. .::.I'm here Imzadi, I will always be here.::.
He felt her fear. Fear that some time something would tear them
apart and that he would be taken away from her as well. He shared
that fear, but like her he did not voice it. Fearing that if he did,
it would become true.

She moved, slowly pulling away from him and reluctantly he let her
go. .::.I think I need to be alone.::. His mouth opened, his mind
already screaming his objection, but she continued, .::.Please Imz—
Will…I just, need time.::. He couldn't leave her, not now, not when
she was in such pain, not ever. "Please" her whisper, almost unreal
and so filled with anguish and tears, took the decision from him.
He'd never been able to deny her anything, especially not when she
looked as vulnerable as she did now.

Slowly he rose to his feet, his body aching when he lost contact
with her. His hand reached out to her, but he withdrew it before he
touched her. "I love you Deanna, please Imzadi, remember that." His
blue eyes filled with tears as he looked at her one last time and
then left the holodeck, leaving his heart behind.



"Deanna," he breathed her name on reflex when she entered their
quarters. She looked, on all accounts, terrible. Her hair hung dully
around her face. The softness and darkness of her curls had since
disappeared. Her eyes stood huge and anguished in her pale features,
red and swollen from long hours of crying and underlined by dark
rings that testified to a lack of sleep. Her cheeks hollowed by a
lack of food. The traditional dress she wore hung carelessly on her
shoulders, nearly exposing her left breast and accentuating her
unhealthy loss of weight.

.::.I thought you had to be on the bridge.::. Will couldn't make out
if she was merely surprised, or if she had hoped he wouldn't be
there. It had been hours since he'd left her in the holodeck and he
had hoped that by the time she got back she would be ready to share
her sorrow with him, but it didn't seem that his wish had been

"I put Deringer in command until we reach Betazed." Watching her
face closely for any sign of emotion he saw her eyes squeeze shut
and open again, revealing a thin thread of hope.

.::.Thank you.::.

Surprised he reminded her that she had wished to be alone, almost as
if defending himself. Thankfully she didn't seem to take notice of
his tone. .::.I don't know what I want anymore.::. She admitted
quietly. .::.I want things to be the way they were…I want my family
back Imzadi.::. Troi threw herself into his arms. Her mental touch
was familiar and welcomed, treasured like it had been since they'd
met, yet it was different. It felt salty like her tears, bitter like
her hopes and anguished like her heart, but there was an urgency
that drove her deeper and deeper into his mind, until he felt as if
she'd crawled entirely into his head with him.

When her body went limp in his arms panic shot through him. She
couldn't die! Not her too, not on top of the loss he was already
suffering! Just as he was about to call medical her voice drifted
into his mind again. .::.I'm all right Imzadi…it's just a trance.::.

.::.Damn it Dea! You scared the hell out of me! Why did you do

.::.I'm sorry!.::. Her remorse palpable in his mind .::.I just
couldn't stand the loneliness. God Will the loneliness.::. Although
her body didn't move, he could almost see her close her eyes as
tears escaped them. Her mind seemed to snuggle close against his and
he tried to send her the sensation of a hug, long forgotten the
uneasiness he'd felt only moments earlier.

.::.Shhh, everything will be all right Dea.::. He thought to her
with as much as conviction he could muster.

A mental sob escaped her, startling him with the rush of emotions
that travelled along. In his mind's eye he saw a scene of the last
morning they'd spend with their family before their world turned
into a living nightmare. .::.No,.::. she thought sadly, .::.nothing
will ever be all right again.::.

And in silence he agreed.



"Deanna?" Hesitantly he stepped into their bedroom. For the last
four hours he'd been on the bridge, viewing and reviewing the latest
updates on the news of the exploded private ship. The
investigations, by Starfleet as well as by the Betazed Government
were still inconclusive and neither body was willing to draw
conclusions, to his rising frustration.

Peeking into the bedroom he found his wife asleep. The restless
moving of her limbs and the grunting and murmured words were
undoubtedly signs of a nightmare, whether her own of someone else's
he couldn't know. Overriding his frustration and grief, he sat down
next to her and called upon his love for her to calm her. After a
minute or five of reassuring whispers and constant stroking along
her jaw-line she finally began to calm down. "'sadi?"

"Shhh, I'm here." He kissed her forehead and stood up to undress

"Don't go."

Her drowsy plea cut through his heart with a vengeance. His fear of
loosing her was gone now that she had expressed how much she needed
him, but was replaced by another fear; fear of what would happen to
her, should he die too. Unable to speak because of the lump of
emotions stuck in his throat he lay down next to Deanna, forgoing
changing, wrapping his arm around her as he drew her against his
body; her head resting on his chest and her hair tickling his nose.

"Love you." She murmured, already falling back asleep.

"I love you too Dea. Go back to sleep now, I'll watch over you." And
within minutes he followed her into the land of dreams, protecting
her from more nightmares.

It was a hail from the bridge that pulled him out of a long and deep
rest. Turning, he found her side of the bed empty. Riker tapped his
commbadge and listened to the voice of his second officer. "Sir, we
received another update about the incident, shall I patch it through
to your quarters?"

"Yes commander, please do." His heart started racing; would this be
the news they'd been waiting for? Would their questions finally be
answered? Barefooted he went to the small room that functioned as
study for both of them and opened the file. His eyes shot across the
text, looking for that one line that would tell them why they had
lost their family.

And there it was! His heart skipped a beat and he closed his eyes to
compose himself. The sentence was burned on his retinas "It is
thereby the conclusion of this investigation that the private vessel
<Iolandra> has been not been destroyed by a natural phenomena or
internal problems." This was it, the next sentence would finally
tell them why, how and whom. He opened his eyes and…found the screen
black. Confused he looked around and his eyes came to rest upon
Deanna. She had her arms wrapped around her body and tears were
streaming down her face. "No."


"No. I don't want to know."



She caught him completely by surprise; how could she possible not
want to know?! Ever since the Iolandra's destruction his mind had
been filled with question; who had killed his daughter? And what
reason could they possible have had? Anna was only five, innocent as
a newborn kitten and yet unaware of any danger. He'd been so angry,
and still was, that he was willing to chase whoever had killed her
down until he could rip their hearts out in the most painful way.

"Because it was an accident, that's why." Her voice was un-canny
calm as it sliced through his angry thoughts, cutting them off
abruptly, in total contrast with the tears that rolled down her
cheeks. "They were never meant to die."

"What do you mean?"

She took a deep breath and knelt down at his side, looking up at him
with tragic black eyes. "If you find out who destroyed their ship,
what will you do?" When he didn't answer immediately she
continued. "Suppose it was an Andorian, or a Klingon, or any of the
species flying around in space, what would you do? Seek vengeance by
killing every member of that species? And even if you didn't,
suppose an officer of that species would be assigned to the ship,
what would you do then? Transfer him, ignore him, deny him the
opportunity to advance? Send him on the most dangerous away

Stunned by her questions he lapsed into self-defence. "I wouldn't!

She rose, still crying but with determination shining in her
eyes. "I can feel your anger…I share it." She confessed. "But it
will lessen in time and I will not allow you, or myself, to hang on
to that anger for vengeance. I refuse to betray their memories that

He rose too, robbed of his ability to speak by her passionate plea.
Betazoid to the end; hold no grudges, seek no revenge. Cupping her
face in his hands he leant to touch his forehead to hers, then
slowly brushed his lips over hers.

"There's something you're not telling me." Deanna tried to move
away, but he quickly slid his arms around her trembling body.
Instinctively he knew that whatever she'd been hiding from him
wasn't benevolent in nature, but he also knew she needed to let it
go. He'd been waiting for her to bring it up herself, but as her
shock revealed she hadn't expected him to notice. "Don't try to take
on the Universe by yourself Imzadi."

She smiled at that, grateful that he reminded her. "I…Will, I miss
them, I always will, but I can't…I don't have the energy to hunt
whoever attacked them down. I know it was an accident, because
Mother read it in their minds…I know she wouldn't want us to hold on
to our anger, because she told me. I know how frightened they were
because I felt it…and" she choked back a sob and forced her eyes on
his "Anna told me she loves you, us…I told her we loved her and that
we would never forget her…Please Imzadi, I want to remember the good
things, not the bad. Please."

His tears joined hers as he finally understood what she'd been
through and he realized that if he read that final report they would
be remembered of this heartache every time they heard, read or saw
anything related to the attackers, and they would have made their
world more of a hell than it already was.



Waking up from restless slumber Deanna found herself alone in her
bed and within seconds she also found herself alone in her mind. Her
nightmare was still reality. She forced her tears back and tried to
ignore the emptiness inside her, but like before she failed. Like
any Betazoid she carried part of the minds of her Mother, half-
brother and daughter within her own and now that they were gone
those parts where like bubbles of acid and each time she allowed her
pain more than a fleeting thought she would remember the terrible
fear they had felt when their ship had been attacked.

She closed her eyes and meditation fruitlessly for nearly an hour,
failing to reach a level of trance that would help her to calm down.
If only the pain wouldn't be so sharp, if only she didn't remember
how they had felt; how the smoke had blinded their sight and how,
eventually, the ship had exploded around them. Tears fell down
again, soon wetting her nightgown.

Numb, as she had been ever since her family had been taken from her,
she climbed out of bed and aimlessly wandered around her quarters.
Accidentally stepping on one of her daughter's toys brought new
tears and with them she felt the pain all over again.

She'd been there before; dealing with the pain of death and being
remembered of lost loved ones at every turn. Her grandparents, her
father, Ian…all had left her to deal with the pain, but never had it
hurt as much as now. Life had seemed so perfect and then in one
moment her dream had turned into a nightmare and she was left alone.

So alone.

Her legs were no longer able to carry her and she sank to the floor.
Why did they have to die? Why was she left with the pain? .::.You're
not alone Imzadi, please let me in.::. The voice fluttered inside
her head, like Shye-wings along her skin, and reminded her that she
wasn't alone indeed. She had her husband at her side, her Imzadi,
her soulmate…human. How could he possibly understand how she felt?

Arms slid around her waist, almost startling her, but not quite
strong enough to make the fog that clouded her senses go away. His
mind touched her, trying to cover up the bubbles of acid but
failing; the pain too strong…or his love not strong enough?

She was too weak to fight the doubts, too scared for him to be
nothing but a dream to reach out and allow him to help her. Her
sight came back into focus and fell on her surroundings. This was
Anna's room she realized and remembered how happy her little girl
had been with her new room. She'd run around the ship, telling
everyone she encountered that she had a new and bigger room because
Mommy and Daddy would make another baby.

It had taken so much time and so many disappointments
Her hand drifted to her abdomen and came to rest on the fabric of
her nightgown. Was she pregnant again? .::.Oh Anna, my Little One, I
miss you so.::.



Instead of telling his wife via the ship's comm-system that they had
established orbit around Betazed, Captain Riker chose to tell her in
person. At first glance their quarters appeared empty, but after
looking in their bedroom he found Deanna in Anna's room. His heart
stopped beating for insane seconds as he took in the room.

Deanna sat on the antique rocking chair; the covers of their
daughter's bed wrapped around her shoulder and the rest of the room
was utterly bare. All her toys, her clothes and the pictures and
paintings that had decorated the walls were gone. Most likely
disappeared in the three standard storage boxes standing in the
middle of the room. "Dea?"

So many emotions raged inside him that he couldn't move. Anger
seemed dominant; at her for taking away the precious belongings of
his daughter without even telling him. Damn it, she was his daughter
too! "Why!" His anger flared and it wasn't until she'd jumped out of
the chair and nearly stumbled against the bed that he realized she'd
been asleep.

"Will? What?" Confused Deanna glanced around her, her body objecting
to her sudden movements and her mind recoiling from the anger she
sensed. "What's wrong?"

"Why did you this?" He spoke through clenched teeth and nodded at
the now-bare walls.

"I…I just thought…" Flustered as she was she didn't dare to look at
him and kept her eyes locked on the floor.

"Damn it Deanna! She is *my* daughter too!!!"

"No Will! She *was* your daughter! She's dead remember! DEAD!!!"

"Don't you think I know that?! Everything I do, every single thing
reminds me of her! So you don't have to tell me that she's gone!!!"

"Well EXCUSE me!!!" Deanna leapt forward, brushing past him. She
didn't get far however, for his hand shot out and grabbed her arm,
yanking her to a halt. "Let me *go*!" Her features, reddened with
anger, were set in fury and her eyes blurred with tears. She pulled
herself free of his grip and within seconds had run out of their

Stunned Will stayed in the room and dropped himself on his
daughter's bed. His marriage with Deanna was a series of up's and
down's these day. One moment they sought comfort in each other's
present, the next she wanted to be alone.

And then there was the fear. The terrible fear that she would, like
her mother, force herself to suppress her memories. He would do
everything in his power to prevent that and he could only hope that
was enough.



Sleep didn't come that night, even less so than the nights before.
Without her there next to him he simply couldn't relax. Her mind was
closed to his and he hoped she felt as bad as he did. He recognized
their fight earlier for what it was; an outburst of pent up
emotions, but that didn't mean he forgave her for putting away their
daughter's belongings without even telling him.

During the past weeks he had found some small form of comfort in
watching Anna's room. He would stand in the entrance and remember
how her face would light up when he came home. How she would jump
off her bed and run in to his arms so that he would pick her up and
fly her through the air. And when he would turn around he'd find
Deanna standing behind them with a soft smile on her face and the
light of love shining in her eyes.

A light that had been painfully absent ever since her family had
died. It was now just the two of them and they were fighting.
Suddenly he saw how wrong it all was; their precious little girl
shouldn't be dead, nor should his brother-in-law and mother-in-law
be. He was hurting for all of them and for Deanna too and he just
wanted it to stop.

Making up his mind he slipped into a robe and hurried to the door.
He didn't know where Deanna was, but he'd find her and when he did
he'd apologize even if it'd be the last thing he did. The doors
opened and he stepped out side to…come face to face with his wife.
There were no tears in her eyes and she seemed painfully calm, but
he knew that inside that pretty head emotions were raging like the
worst of thunderstorms.

"I'm sorry." They said simultaneous, both laughing awkwardly at
their timing. "I shouldn't have put away her belongings Will…but I
just couldn't--"

"Shhh, I don't want to fight about this Deanna. Come inside, I think
we could both use some sleep."

Deanna nodded and followed her husband. In their bedroom he slowly
undressed her, hiding a smile as he felt her shiver under his light
touches. When he was done she returned the favour, working just as

.::.I know you're still angry,.::. she said quietly when they lay
down, .::.and hurting. I am too and I want nothing more than for it
to stop.::. She curled onto his chest and grabbed a handful of his
chest hair. .::.I want to go on with my live; with *our* live,
without feeling all this pain.::.

Will kissed the top of her hair, ignoring the dark curl that stuck
to his lips as he pulled away. .::.I want that too Imzadi, but we
can't forget them, ever.::.

.::.I know…but some times I wish I could.::. Her guilt flood into
his mind and he hugged her closer; knowing exactly what she felt
because he felt it too.

He'd nearly drifted off to sleep when her mind reached out to his
again. .::.Will?.::.


.::.I think I might be pregnant again.::.



"What?" His body tried to sit up straight, but Deanna countered that
reaction by pushing herself down. "Have you been to Sickbay yet?"

"No, I…" Her voice, small as it was, trailed off into silence. Will
tried to follow the thoughts whirling through her mind, but she hid
them too quickly. Even so, he had a pretty good idea what she was
thinking about. Anna had been begging them for a little brother or
sister for several months and after discussing it, Deanna had
decided to stop taking her bi-monthly inhibitors, knowing from
experience that it might well be a long time before she actually got
pregnant. And now, what should have been happy news, only added to
the fear and sadness already running through their minds.

Why could nothing ever be easy for them? There was always something
that had to counter anything good happening in their lives. Deanna's
capture by the Sindareen; him sleeping with Wendy just as Deanna
came to make up and the trend continued. Their meeting aboard the
Enterprise D was overshadowed by the pain from their parting and
until now the worst had been their wedding, which had been followed
way too quickly by the assault on Deanna and the death of Data.

And now this.

He felt like screaming at the Universe until it handed him some kind
of explanation or in the very least an apology. Of course Deanna
sensed this and snuggled closer, without words letting him know she
felt the same. "How sure are you?" He asked, feeling he had to ask

"Pretty sure."

"Then we'll stop by Sickbay tomorrow." Almost imperceptibly her body
tensed in his arms. .::.Dea?.::.

Slowly she pushed herself into a sitting position and turned away
from him; effectively hiding her eyes and emotions from him. He
hated it when she did that, passionately. This time, when he reached
out, she didn't pull away and as he rubbed a hand up and down her
back he took some comfort from the contact himself as well. .::.You
can tell me Dea, you know that.::.

.::.No!...Yes…I--I'm scared Will.::.

.::.I know, but that's only normal…remember when you first--.::.

.::.No, that's not it…It took so long before we had Anna, and I
couldn't take care of her. I lost her, just like I lost Ian, what if…
what if I can't keep this baby safe either?.::.

Shock Riker jumped of the bed to kneel down in front of his
wife. "Hey, don't think like that." Tears showed behind her black
eyes –not the kind that would soon roll down her face, but the worst
kind; the empathic tears, the one that were lying behind her eyes
and slowly eating at her. The ones that broke his heart. "It wasn't
your fault Dea, you know that. It was out of your hands."

.::.Maybe.::. She admitted half-heartedly .::.But I'm supposed to
keep my children safe and apparently I cannot do that…I don't want
to loose another child Will, I can't.::.



The Bridge was eerily silent around him, but right now it didn't
bother him at all; there was too much he needed to think about. He
and Deanna had agreed to go to Sickbay as soon as his shift was over
to find out if her instincts were right, if she was indeed pregnant

And if she was…where did that leave them? It seemed almost unfair
for a child's conception to be overshadowed by grief, but how could
they not grieve? Anna had been their first born; a reward for months
and months of fear and disappointment and she'd been such a precious
little girl that they'd happily given up night of uninterrupted
sleep. He'd enjoyed watching Deanna take care of their daughter;
marvelling how well she fit to motherhood and how just being with
Anna made her glow like he'd never seen.

Maybe, despite her fear that she was a bad mother, this new baby
would give her something to take comfort in. They'd both taken the
deaths of Anna, Lwaxana and Barin hard, but he knew that inherently
it was different for Deanna. She'd sensed them as they'd died and
she had always carried part of their souls within her own, and now
they'd been brutally pulled away from her. Part of him was angry at
the ones that had taken their lives, not only for tearing his family
from him, but also for causing his wife such pain.

Caught up in his, not always coherent, thoughts he did not notice
the passage of time until the doors at his left opened to admit his
second in command. A wordless nod passed between them and they
switched places; she in the captain's chair and him in the

His heart started beating faster and faster as he approached their
quarters to pick up Deanna, then plummeted all the way down to the
pit of his stomach as the doors opened to reveal his wife curled up
in a chair, her body shaking with fear. .::.Oh Imzadi, please don't

Deanna didn't react, but somehow his attention was drawn to the
table on which an activated padd lay. He picked up the rectangular
piece of sophisticated technology and read through the words, his
heart stopped beating completely once he realized what it was.

"Mommy and Daddy, could you please, please, please give me a little
brother or sister for my birthday? I don't want anything else and I
will eat all my vegetables. I also thought of names; Anna II or
Lizzy or Eric or Mark…" He stopped reading, overwhelmed by the
memory of Anna proudly presenting the padd to them and at their
words of praise quietly admitting that her Aunt Beverly had written
it for her.

Tears spilled from his own eyes as he knelt down next to his wife,
resting his head against hers and crying with her until they both
calmed down. .::.Deanna, we can wait.::.

She stood up slowly, smoothing her clothes and running a quick hand
through her curls. .::.No, I'm fine…I'm just sad that--.::. She
broke off her thought and reached for him, burying herself in his
embrace for a short moment. .::.I can't help it, but it feels so
wrong, to be so happy about having another baby.::.

"I know Imzadi…no one would've been happier than Anna and we'll make
sure her little brother or sister will know that." A weak smile lit
Deanna's face as she accepted her husband's offered hand and
followed him to Sickbay.



The Doctor's smiling face told them all they needed to know and in
the same second a kaleidoscope of emotions surged through their
minds. Anna's happy laughter seemed to ring through the air and for
a moment they remembered how they'd been at her birthday; dancing
around the dinner table singing Happy Birthday as Anna eagerly
watched the presents that had been piled up on the shiny surface.

But in the blink of an eye the image was torn from their mind's eye
and soft half-Betazoid filled his arms. The conflict raging about in
their minds drew them together and he was grateful for what little
comfort the hug offered.

They sat in silence, slowly allowing themselves to come to terms
with the finality of the Doctor's diagnosis and composing their
thoughts before returning to their quarters; returning the sad
smiles they collected from crewmembers along the way.

Inside the sanctuary of their home, Will sat his wife on the couch
and got her something to drink and eat, and already Deanna knew he
was going to pamper her just as he had when she'd been pregnant with
Anna…and new tears sprang to her eyes.


She looked up into his sparkling blew eyes, knowing he shared her
sorrow and her happiness, but they only made her hurt more. She knew
he was trying so hard to comfort her, to guide her through the pain,
but there were times he only made it worse.

There were times, more often than she wanted to admit, when all she
wanted to do was find a dark corner somewhere; curl up and just stop
feeling. Some times all she wanted was for him to take her in her
arms and tell her that everything would be all right. That the hurt
would go away.

And that she wouldn't have to sense his feelings.

And then there were times when nothing was more soothing than
knowing he felt the same way she did, that he too was conflicted by
sadness and happiness and that he understood how she felt; that she
wasn't alone.

But right now she wondered if he could really grasp what was going
on inside her heart and mind, if he really understood how frightened
she was of loosing another child; of having her heart torn apart
once again.

"I'm all right." She said eventually, reaching out to ruffle a head
through his soft hair, suddenly shocked by the amount of grey she
found. When had he grown old?

And as she took his hand and stood up she realized he was not the
only one growing old. The last weeks had taken their heavy toll on
them and she knew they weren't done paying that toll yet…there was
still so much to grieve about; so much to miss. But as her hand
strayed to her belly she felt, for the first time in too long, the
quiet insistence that there was still so much to live for too.