Disclaimer - The Usual

Note: Fluff to get the rusty gears going


The Ache . . .

Innocently stepping out of my quarters at precisely the wrong moment,
I found myself smack dab between a newly assigned officer and his
fuming wife.

Always one to try to diffuse any sort of unpleasant situation, my
negotiator self immediately assessed an overwhelming hostility from
the end of the wife, a common and not to unheard of story of a bride
from earth displaced from all her friends and family for the love of
her husband, and the stunned young groom, a willing to please ensign
being assigned to a ship who many view as the opportunity of a
lifetime, unbelieving that his wife couldn't understand the long
hours of work he had been eager to undertake. 

I didn't require to be appraised of the subject, seeing their voices
had managed to carry quite remarkably through the halls, and
consequently right on either side of me, but I opted to remain my
casual self because a calming presence in the middle of this feud not
only seemed logical at the time, but necessary.

What can I say, Deanna is rubbing off on me.

"Can I help?"

I asked this so unwittingly, trying to disperse a scene that had
already caught the eye of many, with more people stopping to stare at
every moment.

I felt bad watching the groom, to what I believe at the moment, could
die of humiliation.  Logically any ensign in his place would have
done the same thing.  Hoping from one foot to the other, trying to
avoid by glance, and the wife, who I believed noticed me for the
first time, fighting down what could only be explained as redirected

I remember once upon a time I could stop the fighting female with a
wink of my eye.  Oh how cruel age could be.

"Only if you can tell this no good husband of mine that I need a

Taking the bait as Geordi may say, I readily opened myself up to an
impromptu counseling session.  Seeing Deanna, like many of us, was
doing bridge duty double shifts to make up for Picard's shore leave,
my honest, but flawed rational was I knew Deanna was bearing a
heavier responsibility then she was used to, and if I could help her,
without letting her know I was helping her, I was doing good.  Being
a good fiancée.

However this woman, who had only moments before played the part of
the shafted wife, was definitely more then meets the eye.  She was,
quite persuading if you will, and before I knew it, I had somehow
agreed to a three-week old child coming to my cabin for an evening,
while the couple took a much needed dinner alone.

Silly, stupid, misguided me.  Little did I know that once that baby
was placed into my outstretched arms, that my sanity would forever
leave my body.  This infant, with the bluest eyes and the rosiest
skin had immediately had an effect on me . . .because when that hand,
that baby doll hand reached around to take a hold of my finger in her
tiny grip, everything else faded away. 

Looking into those eyes, so innocent, my mind had eagerly wrapped
around the concept that this could be me holding my child, shaping
it, loving it, and it fulfilled me with a utter joy that I did not
know was possible.  A joy that left seconds after the baby's mother
inevitably came back and to take the baby home. 

The absence of which wracked my body with an incurable ache. 

* * * *
"Computer, location of Counselor Troi."

"Counselor Troi is on the bridge."

"Computer, please tell me the exact time left till Counselor Troi is
relieved from bridge duty?"

"Five hours, fourteen minutes, 27 seconds, Commander Riker."

I groaned inwardly.  I knew Deanna had a long late shift tonight, but
earlier that evening the fourteen-hour double bridge shift just felt
like a nuisance.  Now, sitting here alone in our shared darkened
cabin, it seemed like forever.  Forever, laying in our bed, alone,
feeling for the first time, in a long time, as if some intricate part
of myself was missing.

"Computer, location of Lieutenant Commander Data."

"Lieutenant Commander Data is on the bridge."

I smile, a small idea forming in my head.

Data was more then capable to covering the bridge. . . 

She needed dinner, right?

Sitting up from the bed I have only managed to toss and turn in for
the last couple hours, I leap feet first onto the floor.

This must be perfect.

* * * *

"You know, I just don't think the Captain would approve to dinner
breaks in the ready room."

I smile at her joke, and noticing a touch of mayonnaise stuck at the
corner of her cute little mouth, I actually play with the idea of
leaning over from where I sit and licking it off.

I wonder what she would think?

"I won't tell him if you won't."

Winking, I opt instead to intertwine my feet in hers.  Deciding, half-
heartedly, that I should probably behave.  I mean she is on duty and
I am acting Captain for a few more weeks. . .

God that little white droplet almost call for me to be naughty.

"So, you didn't tell me, how was baby-sitting."

I smile, glad for the change of subject. . .and well, I guess glad
she brought it up.  A small part of me wanted her to know about it,
although god knows why.  I mean we just started dating again.

Its not like we were ready to have kids or anything.

"That bad huh?  Nanny Riker not your strong point."

She's teasing me again, but this time it kind of stings.

Doesn't she think I'm competent with a child?

I want her to think I'm competent with a child.

Although its not like we were ready to have kids or anything, but I
would like to think the woman I love, knows I can be a family man.

For future reference.

"Nah, it wasn't bad.  Little Sarah was an angel, quite charming in

Which she was, I couldn't believe how time flew by when the two of us
were together.


Arching up one eyebrow I watch her look at me over her sandwich. 
That half flirtatious, have serious look that makes me think she is
imagining our future. 

At least, that's what I like to think she's imagining.

Minus kids of course, because I am most DEFINITELY not ready to have

Even cute little buggers with my eyes and her smile. . .or maybe her
eyes and my smile, or even her eyes and smile.

What am I thinking, we are starting fresh.

So what if we just happen to be a new couple, with a shit load of log
entries documenting their history.

I am not ready.

"No diaper disasters or anything?"

And sometimes, when she catches me in fantasy land (or rant land
depending on the day), she brings me back to reality with a typical
Rikeresq response. 

Its okay, I like to think maybe I'm wearing on her a little bit.

Although I will be the first to admit no punishment is greater then
staring at a cocky, cuter version of yourself, who you are madly in
love with, despite the attitude.

"Diaper. . . that's goes on her head right, ears sticking out each
side of the hole?"

Of course she has a long way to go to ever match me, and I can't help
but chuckle as the spittle of half eaten pastrami flies from her
mouth in a valiant but failed attempt of chewing and laughing at the
same time.

"You know my dear, laughing and eating is not one of your strong
points, is it." I give a wink before playfully wiping invisible
evidence of her choking disaster off my face.

This earns me a swift kick under the table.  I guess I deserve it.

Besides she's hot as hell when the blush of embarrassment creeps up
on her cheeks.


At least that's what she tries to scold, but it comes out more, "Wmph"

I smile, and taking up the perfect chance, I lien over in my chair
and lick that damn enticing drop of mayonnaise stuck at the corner of
her mouth. 

I like to remind her what the fringe benefits of being engaged to me
are, and I am not disappointed when I hear a sigh, a small content
exhale, as she liens over and traps my trespassing tongue in her

I am definitely rubbing off on her.  This move is something I might
attempt to pull off.

"Will." Her breathless voice tickles my ear and an eruption of
goosebumps cause a shiver to run up my spine.

A pleasurable shiver.


"What would the Captain say to a private one on one between the
acting Captain and Counselor?"

Rendezvous in the Ready Room!!

Okay a rendezvous in the Ready Room wasn't Rikeresq.  It was lunacy.

More importantly it was Deanna lunacy, a rarity that one should
always take advantage of when presented with the opportunity.

I wonder if our child would have my sense of adventure, or her

Child, damn it what the hell has gotten into me?

Then, before I can start another introspective tirade, she does that
thing, ending a kiss by trapping my lower lip in her mouth and giving
it a primal tug that I feel down to my very core.

That good god is a move all her own, and she knows it works.

Every damn time.

I give a low growl and I hear a squeal of delight escape from her
lips as I slide to the floor between her legs.

"Deanna Troi, you used to be such a good girl."

Grabbing each of her legs, I give her a good pull, drawing her slowly
down from her seat onto my lap.

"Bad influences Captain."

She flutters her eyes, those long lashes making me feel like I am
Captain of this ship or more importantly, the most important man to

"Deanna I did come down here for a reason."

Did I?

I wonder this, as I feel myself bracing her back to lay her on the
floor.  I had a good reason, a damn good reason to be down here, but
as I feel her hips grinding into me, my reasons seemed less pressing.

"Will I need you. . ."

I lien down to again entrap those lips into my own, I can't help, for
a split second, to close my eyes and for the briefest moment picture
what a baby, our baby may look like.

At first I am unsettled by this strange behavior.  A child is not
usually an aphrodisiac.

"Will, what has gotten into you?"

Deanna's approval stirs me, and the uncomfortable feeling changes
into passion. 

I want to consume her at this very moment.  Like I've seen her devour
a chocolate sundae.

One succulent bite at a time.

"We will talk later."

I murmur into her ear before finally grasping the clasp of her

"If it provokes this kind of response, I can't wait."

* * * *

"Commander Riker, meet your daughter."


Hesitantly I walk into my cabin.  My shared living space with Deanna
was no longer dark, but brightly lit up with a hustle of what
appeared to be a whole medical crew.

Just off to my right stood Beverly, with a squirming bundle wrapped
in a pink blanket. 

And in the middle of the room, laid across the floor propped up on a
pile of pillows was Deanna, dressed in a nightgown, which clung to
her body like a second skin . . .

"Excuse me?"

"Your baby?"

Beverly held out her pink bundle, which began a soft, angry grumble.

"Excuse me?"

Feeling in a daze I look between Beverly, and Deanna who looked
tired, but radiant and despite my confusion, I allow myself a few
seconds to lock eyes with the woman I love for a private smile.

"Our baby Will, natural child birth and all."

I feel a pull towards this bundle, but at the same times it scares

Instead of taking the baby. . .baby?  I swear I heard baby.  I walk
towards Deanna, and feeling completely baffled, I opt to kneel down
and take her hand in my own.

I will make any excuse to give my love a squeeze of the hand. 
Although maybe this time this isn't for her benefit, but my own.

Did she really say baby?

Didn't I just leave a very unpregnant Deanna on the bridge?


"Don't you want to hold the baby Will?"

I look towards the bundle, still making quite a fuss.  I can't deny
this time that the definite description of baby was used. . .


"But Deanna, I just left you on the bridge?"

A hand reaches out from the folds of the blanket that Beverly's
holds.  I cannot see the face, but just the sight of that tiny five-
fingered hand causes my heart to melt.  Sarah's hand was precious. 
But the sight of this tiny little hand, a hand that was created by me
(allegedly created by me. . . at least I assume by me), was ten times
more unbelievable. 

A hundred times more unbelievable.

"You're being too analytical Will, that's my job."

"I just left you. . ."

My voice looses its conviction because I feel my heart leap into my
throat at the sight of another hand.

Two hands, my baby has two little perfect hands.

"My baby?  How?"

My whole body shakes with a need to hold this little person, my
little person.

"Just do it Will.  Think about "how" and "why" later."

Deanna's voice, definitely Deanna's voice.

"I love you Will."

"This doesn't make sense Deanna."

Beverly is dipping the blanket down so I can see the top of this
bundles head.

Dark brown hair, she has a head of dark brown hair like her mother.


I whisper out her name but I am unable to look away from this bundle.

"Isn't this what's missing Will?"

* * * *


I open my eyes and the first thing I see looming above me in the dark
is Deanna.

My beautiful Deanna.

Once again clothed in her uniform.

I've heard of returning to work after birth, but isn't this a little

"Deanna, where's Beverly?"

Confused I sit up.

I feel Deanna hand follow up my back.

"Probably her cabin."

I hear confusion obvious in her voice, but I shrug it off.  More
pressing thoughts were on my mind.

"And the baby?"

Sitting up I realize I'm laying in bed, in the dark. . .

"What baby Will?"

She's looking at me like. . .like. . .

"Will, you were sleeping."

I hear that apologetic tone and I feel her begin to run her nails
across my back, like she does when she tries to comfort me after a

This, however, wasn't a nightmare. . this was. . .real.

"Deanna. . ." turning around I catch her hands in my own.

"You dreamt about a baby?"

She looks amused and even though its dark, I can see her eyes

A dream.

Disappointment floods me.  It would make perfect sense.

But I don't believe it.

"Computer, lights."

With the flood of the overhead lights, my stomach drops to the floor.

Deanna doesn't look like a woman who has given birth.  She
undoubtedly looks like an officer coming over a fourteen hour shift.


I hear the concern in her voice.

"Will, do you want to talk about your dream."

Obviously, my face has caused her to loose her amusement.

Do I look as bad as I feel.

Am I really this selfish to lay my problems on her after she has been
through a grueling fourteen hour shift?

"No,"  I shake my head and lay back down, with my back towards her. 
Right now, I am not exactly sure what I want to say.  Right now ,
what I feel is confused. . .

And achy. . .

And it makes no sense because it was nothing more then a stupid dream.

With a baby we may have some day.

With two perfect little hands.

And her mother's chocolate brown hair. . .

* * * *


I must have been zoning while doing my mid-morning checks, because I
hadn't even seen Deanna coming down the hallway until she was right
on top of me.

"Yes, Counselor."

I feel myself shift uncomfortably, its embarrassing that I had just
been thinking about her, well us, and I hadn't even felt her presence
until it was right on top of me.

"Can we talk?"

Four and a half hours sleep behind her I can tell she is ready to



"Captain, the way our shifts are running, we won't have a chance to
get some serious private time for quite awhile, and, well I'm sensing
strange things from you."

Her voice has dropped, but I can tell she is tempting me to force her
to hold his conversation right now.

"I'm expected on the bridge." Which is true.  I am expected on the
bridge - forty minutes from now.

"Data doesn't mind when your late."

Those brown eyes grill through my false façade. 


"I am counselor - when it comes to mental well being of an officer, I
am allowed to prohibit them from duty if I do not find them mentally

Crossing her arms over her chest she exhibited her stubborn streak
with a tip of her head.

"Your saying I'm not mentally fit?"

I comically waggle my eyebrows, and I take a step forward. 

She's bluffing.

"Okay okay - I know your fit. . .you are however anguished."

Her eyes soften into puddles and I feel about three inches tall.

Her lack of sleep shows and I realize I kept her up all night with

Schmuck .

"Okay Counselor."  Relenting I hold my hands up in surrender.  "you

Looking relieved Deanna winks.  "Was there ever any doubt.  My


"Let's talk."

Opting to leave the couch on her office for real patients, I go to
her desk and lean against it. 

I'm nervous.  I have no idea why I am nervous or what I have to be
nervous about, but I cannot deny the rushing of my heart and the
sweat breaking out on my brow.

"What do you want to talk about?"

Without thinking, I go for a round decorative piece of rock on her
desk and begin to throw it casually between my hands.  Things like
this are always easier when your distracted.

"About your dream?  The baby you were looking for."

Matter of factly she pushes herself onto her desk and casually wraps
her legs around my midsection.

"Do you do this to all your patients?  Because if you do, we have to

I feel her arms first, go around my neck and pull me closer, till her
lips grazed the top of my earlobe.

"I felt your disappointment Will.  Can we please talk about your

My first reaction to her honest plea is a flat out no, followed by a
quick exist.  I don't know what to say when I don't even know what I
am feeling myself.  This pain since the loss of Sarah's company the
night before.  The increasing ache over a dream that wasn't real.

"I thought you had a baby.  I thought we had a baby. . ."

I don't know what exactly made me say it.  Except I love her and
trust her.  Deanna was finally back in my life and I guess the more
reasonable side of me didn't want to lose her over idiotic pride.

I'm to old for that.

"Oh. . .and was this dream a good thing.  Or was there panic

Surprised, I turn to see the reserved look on Deanna's features.

"It was a good thing.  It was a great thing."

I watch a slow blush creep up from Deanna's neck.

I have to admit it was nice.

"Tell me about it?"

Her eyes, always the one thing impossible for her to control, called
something in me.  Some primal urge to continue.

She wanted me to continue.  I knew in my heart she wanted deep down
for me to continue.  She needed to hear something from me to set her
at ease. 

"Well I came into our room and Beverly was holding this blanket. 
This pink blanket, and you were there and you looked beautiful, very
beautiful and Beverly wanted me to get closer and I wanted to, I
really wanted to, but I didn't.  And then it was to late."

I close my eyes.  Surprised that I can still vividly recall the scene
in my head.  Perfectly. 

"Will. . .why didn't you move closer.  Were you scared?"

The urging I felt from Deanna surprised me.  Usually she wanted
people to feel comfortable enough to go at their own pace.  But
Deanna was silently pushing me for something.

"I guess I was scared."

Disenchantment flooded my senses at the end of my statement and for a
moment I struggled to figure out if it was my own feelings or hers.

I looked again at those eyes, with hid nothing and fully let me know
it was her.

"Deanna, I was scared because I knew it wasn't right.  I knew you
weren't pregnant and I was afraid that. . .that if I walked closer
something would ruin the picture.  I just wanted it to last a few
seconds longer."



I saw it and then immediately felt it radiating from her onto me.

I saw those brown eyes I loved so dearly begin to well with tears.

Good tears.

"You want me to be pregnant?"

Her voice was again Imzadi and not Counselor.

But I have to admit her question took be aback.

Did I want her to be pregnant.


I swallow hard and thought about it.  Yes.  I think I did want this
beautiful woman to carry my child, our child.  Although we weren't
officially yet married, this step seemed long in the making.  Perfect

"Yes.  Yes I think I want you to be pregnant.  Yes I want you to be

And I did.  I really did.

"Oh Will."

Her pleasure caused a flush to rise to my cheeks and as I saw the
love in her eyes.

A love and an unspoken promise.  A promise to take my ache away.