"On New Ground"
by trylikeafool@gmail.com.

Disclaimer: It all belongs to Paramount...at least that's what they want you
to believe. The plot (or lack thereof) is mine.

Setting: USS Titan


“Thank you, Captain. You have no idea what this means to Jacob and I,” Laura
Burks said, standing across from the big man.

Captain Riker leaned against the wall of the corridor, looking at a tired and
haggered woman. He offered her a smile and she seemed to draw encouragement
from it. “Anything I can do to meet the newest members of the crew.
Besides, Deanna and I could use the practice.”

Her eyes perked up, “I wasn’t aware.”

“Well, we’re thinking about it,” Will said with a shrug. The fact was, they
had been trying for two months.

“That’s wonderful! I’ll drop him off around 1600 hours. Is that okay?”

Will stood up straight and gave her a perfunctory nod. “Perfect. I’m sure
Deanna will fall in love with him and not want to give him back,” he laughed.

“Well, we’ll see about that after you’ve dealt with him for several hours,”
Laura broke into a warm, knowing smile.

“I better go tell our counselor the news. See you tonight,” Riker said and
they both parted ways.


“Hi.” Will Riker stuck his head through the doors of his favorite office on
the Titan.

“Hi,” Deanna smiled at him and then returned her attention to the PADD she
was working on. “What are you doing down here? Aren’t you supposed to be on
the bridge?”

“Was,” Will said. He took a step into the room and allowed the doors to
close behind him. “AJ needed me to make one of his rounds this afternoon. It seems
that shuttle bay five’s decompression unit was tampered with.”

“You mean, sabotaged?” Deanna looked up, a worried frown on her face.

“Well, nothing as bad as that,” he said, coming closer to the lounge she was
sitting on. “We think it was some kids who decided to play a little joke.”

“And AJ is busy trying to find the culprit,” she smiled up at him. Her
thoughts drifted back to the days on another certain ship when Will had to deal
with misbehaving children. It was his duty as first officer to save the Captain
from the misfortune of having to interact with ‘little people’ who didn’t
belong on a starship as far as he was concerned. In a way, Will seemed to miss it.

“Being Captain does have its advantages,” he smiled, but she knew better.
Nevertheless, she didn’t let on.

With a sigh, she once again concentrated on the screen in front of her. “So,
did you come all the way down here to tell me what AJ is doing, or do you
actually have something important to say?”

Will’s eyebrow shot up and clasped his hands behind his back. “Actually,
have you seen my caring, loving wife today? Because I’m having a little trouble
finding her.”

Deanna looked at him again and scrunched her forehead. “Really? I think she
stepped out of her office for a while,” Troi said and then pushed some buttons
on her PADD. “Something about too much work and giving the captain a piece
of her mind.”

“Too bad, because the captain has temporarily stepped out of his office as
well,” Will said, a hint amusement in his voice.

“Maybe I should hold you here until she gets back,” Deanna tapped her knee
as if in thought.

Will’s mood sobered as he looked around at the stack of PADDS surrounding her
and the apparent worn look on his wife’s face. “I thought you were going to
do those personnel reviews next week.”

Deanna shrugged and blew a puff of air that disturbed her bangs. “I was, but
they really need to be done. You need them for your monthly report by the end
of this week.”

“Do you have other things to do?” he asked, already knowing the answer. The
worried tone in his question did not go unnoticed by Deanna, however she chose
to ignore it.

“Three more patients today and paper work on ten others. Sometimes, Will, it
seems like there’s twice as much work now than on the Enterprise D.”

“Well, there are more people on the Titan than the D and you’re still
getting adjusted to all of the family counseling that you didn’t have even a year
ago,” Riker said.

Deanna nodded hesitantly. “You’re right. I suppose with time…” she trailed
off. With time things would get easier.

“Speaking of family,” Will paused to gage her reaction. “That’s the reason
I came to talk to you.”

This time it was her brow that shot up. “I thought we already had that
discussion, Captain.”

“Not THAT discussion,” Will shifted his weight and contemplated sitting
down. He decided against it. “Laura Burks…do you know her?”

Troi thought for a moment but then her face gained clarity. “I met her
briefly when she and her husband came aboard six months ago. Don’t they have a child?

“Yes,” Will said. “She spoke very highly of you as if she had known you for
a while.”

“Well, I guess word got around of how great a counselor I am. Sounds like a
very reasonable woman,” Deanna smiled down at her data PADD.

“Anyway,” Will smirked, “they do have a six-moth-old baby. In fact, she
asked me to baby-sit him tonight.”

Her response was immediate. “She asked you? Maybe she’s not as reasonable as
I thought.”

Will gave her an icy glare, but continued nonetheless. “Well, I overheard her
and Jacob discussing it in the corridor and I decided to meet them, well,
because I hadn’t yet.” Deanna smiled at that. Even though as Captain he didn’t
get the same opportunity to get to know the crew the way he had in the past, he
only viewed it as a challenge to try harder. It was one of his endearing
qualities as a leader and a person. She heard him continue, “We got on the
subject of Parker, their baby, and before I knew it, I’d volunteered us for the job.

Deanna dropped the PADD into her lap and gave him a disturbed look. “I wish
you would have consulted me about it before you agreed to take care of him

“I didn’t think you’d mind. You love kids, Deanna.”

“Yes, that’s true,” she said and then watched him for a moment. “But I’m
not going to be home tonight, Will.”

The color seemed to drain from his face. “What?”

Deanna pursed her lips together and debated whether or not she should have
brought it up. But it was too late now. “Tonight is girls night out. Dr. Brannon
and some other ladies invited me to join them. You know how hard I’ve been
working lately. I just need a break from work, from our quarters, and…” she
stopped and glanced at him sideways.

“From me?” he finished for her.

“Yes.” She looked at him squarely. His eyes dropped momentarily but they didn
’t stay away for long. He understood, and for that she was grateful. “I
thought you’d be practicing with the band tonight anyway and I didn’t want to
stay at home all by myself.”

Will sighed and took even another step closer. “You’re always welcome to
band rehearsals, Deanna.”

“And spend four hours listening to all of the bad notes, arguments over which
songs to play, and AJ trying to show off on the drums? No thanks,”
her expression turned to one of mild disgust.

He watched her go back to work. And then glanced at the rest of her office.
She’d added a few things since he’d last visited. On the far wall was…a very
special painting. One of big, goopy swirls. For a moment he wondered why she
chose to display it in her office of all places. It was something he would ask
about later. For now, he had to figure out what he was going to handle a
six-month-old when he had no experience whatsoever. “Well, I decided to forgo all of
the bad notes tonight. I already know the songs we’re playing next Saturday

Deanna smirked, but not so as he could see it. “As long as no one requests
Nightbird, you should be fine.”

Her husband eyed her dangerously. She felt his eyes bore into her, although
his attitude was playful. “And as long as my wife doesn’t show up for the
show, she’ll be fine.”

Deanna met his eyes and gave him a dangerous look of her own. “Keep it up
Captain and you may never find your loving, caring wife.”

“Good, then I can have our quarters to myself,” Will said as he loosened his
gaze on her. He walked a short distance to an alien plant in the corner, his
back to her.

“You’re also going to be taking care of little Parker all by yourself.” He
turned to her, his eyes shifting uncomfortably. “But there’s nothing to worry
about. He is only a baby after all,” Deanna said, a satisfactory smile
creeping up at the corners of her mouth.

Will sighed and walked back in her direction. “Deanna, all kidding aside,
what am I going to do? I had no idea you wouldn’t be home tonight.”

“Why don’t you just explain it to Laura,” she said, sounding almost
impatient. After all, she did have a lot of work to do. “I’m sure she can find
another sitter on a ship with many teenage girls who would love to baby-sit a cute
little baby.”

Will began to pace in front of her. It was one of his more annoying habits
that she’s tried to rid him of over the years to no avail. Eventually she’d
decided to just accept it as he accepted her more annoying. Although she had none
that she could think of. “Deanna, I can’t back out now. She’s bringing him
by in two hours.”

“Then suck it up, Captain,” Deanna said with a pointed look.

Will stopped and looked at her. “Excuse me?”

“It was your idea for us to start a family,” Deanna shrugged. “Sooner or
later you will have to learn how to take care of a baby without my help.”

“Deanna, I don’t know the first thing about taking care of a baby. I mean,
it shouldn’t be hard, right?” his eyes held a certain baptism of hope that
only she could give him. She almost laughed at the poor man, but decided that he
wouldn’t take to it very nicely at this particular moment.

“All you have to do is feed him, play with him, and change his diapers,” she
said nonchalantly, squinting at something on the PADD.


“What?” she looked back at him.

“I didn’t think about the diapers,” he said with an almost pained

Deanna allowed the playfulness to infuse her tone once again. “Did you expect
them to have him potty-trained at six months old?”

“Of course not,” Will threw at her. “I just didn’t think that’s all.”

“Not thinking will get you into a heap of trouble, Will Riker,” he gave her
a defeated glance and her resolve melted. “Look, if you’re going to worry
about it so much, I can skip girl’s night and help you.”

“No,” he said quickly and then moved behind her to massage her shoulders. “
No, I want you to go and relax. Have a good time and don’t think about work
or your life. Just…have fun.”

“You’re sure?” she said, trying not to get distracted from his wonderful

“Yes. If I can handle the Borg and the Romulans, I can handle a baby,”
he sounded sure of himself but he felt…uncertain.

“Okay. But if anything comes up–“

“It won’t,” he cut her off and stopped his ministrations.

“If anything comes up,” she repeated and tilted her head to lock gazes with
him, “just contact me and I’ll be there. We can’t have the great William
Riker befuddled by a baby, now can we? How would that look to the crew?”

He smiled down at her and began to move towards the door. “That’s what I
love about you, Deanna. You’re always making me look good.”

“Well, you know what they say. Behind every great man there is a woman,” she


“What?” she asked, curious of his expression.

He twisted his head so that his eyes grazed over his shoulder. “I’m looking
behind me right now and I don’t see anything….OW!” A pillow, the one from the
lounge, hit him squarely in the head. Will looked at his wife who had an air
of guilty blamelessness.

“I’m sorry, did that hit you?” she said innocently.

Will reached down and picked up the pillow from the floor, advancing on his
counselor. “Starting a pillow fight in your office and assaulting a superior
officer. I’m afraid I’m going to have to force security to come and pick you up.

Deanna grabbed the pillow from his hand and replaced it beside her. “It’s
not a pillow fight unless you throw it back and you’re not the superior one in
this room.”

Will gave a healthy guffaw and put his hand to his collar. “Well, it seems to
me that I have four pips on my uniform and you have…what is it? Three?”

“I think you better leave before your wife comes back and finds you here,”
Deanna said, ignoring his comment.

“Why? Am I in trouble?” He knew he was, and he would pay for it later. But
for now, he would have fun.

“Without question,” she said.

“Then I better heed your advice.” With that, he made his way to the door.
But Deanna spoke before they could open.

“And Captain?” she stopped him in his tracks and he turned. “I may only
have three pips, but I am superior in every other way.” She was kidding, but she
looked every bit of a Betazoid princess.

“I don’t know why I ever called you aristocratic,” he was able to duck
through the doors before the pillow was able to hit his head this time. Once on the
other side, he heard a soft thud behind the closed doors and then chuckled at
his narrow escape.