The best of both worlds, part III
FJ Verduin


"Christmas spirit sure takes on a whole new meaning," Will said softly, drowning in her dark eyes. He pinched her shoulder -the only part of her below the chin she wasn't hiding underneath the heavy blanket- and she smiled. He was glad to see that glimpse of a smile on her face, he needed the reassurance about what they had just done. Maybe as much as she did. But her smile looked forced, too made up. "Something wrong?" he asked her, shifting somewhat to get even closer to her and away from the side of what felt like a very small bed.

"I guess I'm having second thoughts about this after all," Deanna replied and sat up, still clutching the covers. "I know it's late. I thought this would solve things, but now ... " She stared at the wall, almost shy to look directly at him. "Now I just can't be sure. You're still my commanding officer, and this whole situation with Worf ... it's all so bizarre."

"The only thing that matters is how you feel, Imzadi. How *we* feel," he told her. "Everything else is insignificant compared to that." His fingers ran through her long hairs and over her naked back, down to her waist where they buried themselves between her and the covers. Deanna was so caught up in thoughts she hardly even noticed it. "And you wanted this to happen too. Whatever you say, that won't change. This was *our* decision, not some- thing that happened at the spur of the moment."

"Yes. It was," she agreed finally, "and it was nice. Almost like the last seven years ..." She fell silent, remembering.

"Almost," Will admitted. But there was a slight hesitation in his voice. He pulled her to him so she leaned against his chest, then kissed her when Deanna turned her face to him. "Was it ... better?" he asked after she drew back.

"Perhaps it was." Deanna saw the red scratches on his chest which, she gathered, were probably from their encounter last night. "They were different, certainly," she concluded.

The tips of his fingers had landed on her right hip, and were drawing tiny circles on her skin while they worked upwards. "What *are* you doing?" Deanna asked, only barely managing to supress a giggle.

"I'm getting back into the holiday spirit." He grinned, and began work on the inside of her leg. "We still have a few hours before the party in Ten Forward starts, and I thought ..."

"Yeahh, I think I know what you were thinking of." She kissed his chest. "But you know it's not that easy, not anymore. We should tell ..."

Will placed his finger on her lips. "Not yet," he whispered. "He'll find out what we're up to soon enough when he wakes up."

They both looked back at the third figure, lying on his stomach, on the edge of their bed. Still wearing his red-and-white santa-cap and content with the world. The sheets only covered the lower half of his body, his bare back still showed the faded scars along his spine. The back of his left hand rested on the floor and even with his face plowed into the pillows, there was a definate snoring sound coming from his side of the mattress.

"Does he *always* sleep like that?" Will asked her, gently massaging her neck. He looked at his friend, who he had gotten to know in a whole new way these last few hours.

"Oh, you get used to it," she replied leaning back, smiling at both. "After a while."

-The End-