Title: To behold ones fate
Series: TNG
Author: Sarajayne
Rating: Worthy of the angst and hurt/comfort award for 2002 ;-)
Feedback: Would I ever say no?
Archive: only available at http://dolphincry.com/imzadieverlasting/

Disclaimer: TPTB own them, but I've borrowed them for a picnic ;-)




Energy crackling over the panels made the attempt to cut to auxiliary engines near impossible as Riker, shielding his face with one arm, struck blindly at the controls with his free hand. He bore the sharp shocks of energy by gritting his teeth.

Behind him he could hear the others being jostled around, like himself. Thinking things couldn't get worse, a sudden surge of power from the engines thrust Riker forward to jerk against his harness for the nth time. He imagined the bruises piling on top of each other as the harness sheared into his chest once more, drawing another grunt of pain as he was thrust back in the opposite direction, this time deep into the pilots seat.

Checking the communications array, Beverly confirmed once more that they'd lost contact with Starfleet completely, receiving static only in response.

"Warning. Power lost to aft thrusts. Warning. Power lost to main engines." The computer chimed as each function shut itself down. As each warning was made, Riker swore and shuffled more power units on-line, with lightning fast fingers, to combat the loss of functions. "Come on. Come on." He muttered as Beverly gave read outs on their position.

"Something's not right Will. I'm getting high carbon dioxide levels from the planet's surface," she called out, her voice barely loud enough to combat the drone of the engines. They were barely working, no longer negating the pull of the wormholes wisps of energy, allowing them to be dragged further into the spiral.

"Check the chronological data. I'm starting to see things here." Will shouted as he spied the blue green planet through the edges of the clouds as the wormhole threw them further out of control. He turned round to see Deanna holding onto the arm of her chair, her eyes closed tightly. It made him smile before he turned back to another flashing alert that called for his attention.

"Of all the places for a wormhole...." He groaned as another jolt banged him sideways, the loud smack of his head against the cabin wall drawing fluent Klingon curses to his lips.

"Beverly? Any idea where we are now?" He asked.

"Yes. And your not going to like it." She looked him in the eye nervously. "We’re in 2001."

He swung around quickly to check his own data panel, his head still ringing from the blow he'd taken, wiping blood out of his eye from the cut above his left eyebrow. "Shit, so much for the Prime Directive. I'm going to have to put her down somewhere that’s secure and out of sight," he mumbled to himself before yelling orders. "Doctor I suggest you strap yourself back with Deanna. I'm going to attempt an atmospheric entry for as long as the engines can hold out."

"Is it necessary?" Deanna said and entered the fray.

"Unfortunately yes. Life support is dropping and I've overloaded the power relays long enough for them to give out at any moment. That would plummet us into a rather messy landing so it's now or never. Just buckle yourselves in and pull up anything you can on the computer for when we land. We're going to have to go undercover," he commanded as Beverly crawled hand over hand to the seat beside the counsellor, who was already extracting the geographical and local knowledge of the area from the computer as Will was targeting for splash down.

"We're going in. Hold on." Will said before sending Deanna a personal note. <See you in a few minutes on land Imzadi > before the shuttle buckled and spun under the forces of gravity.






Deanna watched in horror as the shuttle twisted against Will Riker's commands, shutting down it's forward thrusters and spinning them into a faster re-entry than she knew was safe. Land zeroed closer as Will unbuckled his harness and ducked under the controls, sinking his hands deep inside the jumble of circuits, ignoring the fizzing circuitry.

"Will!" She called out just as the thrusters kicked back in and the tall broad man struggled up from the violently bucking deck plates and headed for his seat. With seconds to spare he punched in new co-ordinates swerving the shuttle from hard ground into the sea, throwing the duranium hull into a solid wall of water side-on that brought complete darkness to the three bodies strewn inside. Deanna's last terrified vision was that of her Imzadi being thrown, repeatedly between the command seat and the control panel, until he was limp like a rag doll.


Time moved in waves of slow motion, as Deanna awoke to the sound of trickling water slowly building beneath her legs while still strapped into her seat on it's side. She groaned lightly as she allowed her head to flop sideways to take in her friend and doctor, Beverly Crusher. She lay unconscious next to her, a few items from the shuttles' innards surrounding her. Deanna reached out stiffly, brushing away her bloodied red hair and feeling for a pulse. After a few seconds of tracing it, Deanna smiled, as she found it still strong. Still stunned, it took her a while to release that someone else, someone close to her was probably in more need of help than Beverly. Trying to unlatch the release clasp of her harness, she faced back towards the pilot's seat not sure of what would befall her eyes. Her heart leapt in fear at the sight, as she spied the slumped body of her Imzadi, draped over the still fizzing controls, not a movement to be seen, nor a groan to be heard.

Finally undoing the buckles with fingers that refused to work effectively, she stumbled towards him, tears stinging as Deanna witnessed a small trickle of blood dripping from the console. She froze at first, as she took in his crushed limp form, fear pushing her past her rigidity as she reached out and clasped the one hand flayed out on the console.

His eyes were closed as his mouth gaped vacantly, unaware of the crimson display of his own blood as it was splattered over the navigational array. She discovered it was from his nose, though the main source of the bloody trickle seemed to be a bad cut above his eyebrow as she leaned over his twisted body to check for further injury. Spying the non-clotting wound, Deanna grabbed her tunic around the base and ripped away the hem to stuff it hard against his head before she began further exploration of his injuries. Sight and touch were her only tools as she'd had no luck so far in finding the med kit, hidden somewhere beneath the shuttle supplies littering the floor.

Beverly, finally waking from the crash, groaned behind her, and Deanna's footing slipped along with her concentration as she navigated her way over the various padds and rations beneath her feet to Will's other side. Cramming into the small area against the wall, she watched, and her eyes widened. Her white, shaky hands touched his limbs that were in abnormally twisted positions, and she fought to block his pain. He was unconscious, but still she felt the searing agony each time the shuttle made small jarring movements caused by her movement through it's interior.

"Deanna?" A cough roughened voice called out.

"I'm alright Beverly! I need help with Will though, he's in bad shape." She called back, not removing her eyes from the ghastly sight of bone protruding from his knee and calf. She was breathing deeply to still herself and create a professional attitude to the scene, rather than screaming her lungs out.

"We sinking?" The doctor asked slowly as she too finally gained momentum to pull herself from the chair, ignoring the way her body swung the interior around in dizzying turns. "We're leaking badly." She added as the shuttle suddenly twisted to a steeper angle, causing the loose items on the floor to slosh to the left.

"I can't find a med kit." Deanna said as she helped Beverly steady herself. "He's bleeding badly from the head and leg. I can't staunch the bleeding much longer. We've got to get help."

Beverly nodded swiftly before placing a hand to steady her brain from the sudden motion. "From the looks of the view and the water leaking through the cracked viewscreen, we're deep down under water. We're going to have to swim for it." She said sliding onto the arm of the co-pilots chair, trying to ignore her persistent nausea. The doctor assessed the awkward angle Will lay over the controls. "Start gathering together anything we might need before we blow the hatch, we're going to have to swim for it. And make them easy to carry over your shoulder because I'll need you to help me with Will," she ordered as she sat up, shifting into the tight space between chair and wall where Deanna had been a second ago. She began applying a tourniquet to his leg from the sleeve of her blue coat.

Deanna was busily tossing items about the shuttle as she searched for padds and the lost med kit. The water rose higher within minutes compared to before when she’d begun her task. She smiled in relief as she found the one padd that contained the information she'd downloaded minutes before they'd crashed. The one item that would help them hopefully integrate into this society's system. Digging deeper she found the med kit case, but it was floating up-side down and open with it's contents missing. "Damn. The case is empty." She called out to Beverly as she waded, now waist deep to Bev's position. She watched as her friend nodded and began to pull the tangled harness out from under Will's collapsed body.

"We've got to go. " Beverly said as she gave a glance to the small cracks tearing along the viewscreen. "Help me get Will upright and then we'll head for the surface. Let's hope we're not too far from shore." She ordered as she moved into position already, dragging him from the chair, careful of the hip and leg.

Grunts and groans later, they half carried the dead weight of the Commander to the side exit, grateful as the water aided them in floating him to their desired exit. Standing to the side, the doctors hand waited impatiently on the emergency release handle as Deanna stuffed the padd tightly into her saturated tunic. Grabbing a hold onto a support grip, she nodded that she was ready to go, as the shuttle groaned once more. "On three." Beverly said counting down until she blew the hatch, holding on tightly as water rushed in. Taking a last deep breath they fought themselves out of the rapidly filling entrance. Kicking hard for the surface, Deanna with both hands over Will's mouth and nose, holding their breath for as long as possible. The shuttle, now empty of air fell deeper into the darkness below, and the last chance of contacting the Enterprise disappeared from sight.


The last thing Beverly expected upon reaching the glistening surface of the water, was waiting hands grasping her own as she floundered. The strong grip pulled her free from the waves for a few moments to allow her to breath deeply without water entering her lungs. Another hand gripped the back of her tunic and pulled her upwards onto a hard deck, beside the bodies of Will and Deanna, the later gasping as much as herself.

Briefly she heard the words "Welcome aboard ladies", before she grabbed the man bending over her as he ordered someone to shore. "He needs urgent medical help." She gasped before she collapsed to her back, her throbbing temple finally knocking her flat to stare at the wonderful blue sky overhead. She smiled in relief, squeezing Deanna's hand as the Betazoid crawled over to check her, wobbling with the sway of the vessel as it turned against the crisp waves in a hurried rush to shore.

"We made it." She breathed out before finally turning to look at the man hovering over Will, moving her into action back to the injured man's side. "Head injury, suspected dislocated pelvis, possible multiple rib fractures, ...."

"Double compound fracture of the tibia." The man finished for her.

Beverly nodded moving to check his pulse and the tourniquets, finding the man's hand on hers. "Relax, I'm a doctor. We've already called for an Ambulance as soon as we hit the docks. Craig's looking for my medical bag as we speak." He smiled when the two women almost collapsed with relief. "Call me Paul." And then he turned away as a blanket was draped over Will's unconscious form and the human doctor began to unpack his emergency kit, unrolling bandages and syringes as his expression grew serious. Beverly watched the unveiling of his archaic tools till her head cleared a little from it’s spinning. With her added knowledge, they both helped stabilise Will as much as they could until they got him to proper care.




"Imzadi" Deanna muttered as she mumbled before regaining consciousness. Jerking awake she found herself still sitting in the corridor outside the emergency room, wrapped in a blanket, and draped in a sorry state of soggy clothing.

"Hi there. How you feeling?" A kind voice enquired. Turning, her gaze fell into a pair of green eyes that belonged to the tanned middle aged man, dressed in green clothing. "Wet?" He prompted when she didn't answer.

Deanna nodded and gave a small smile before coughing deeply. He gently tapped her on the back and helped her up, steering her towards a small room a few doors down. "There's some dry clothes in here you can put on. I need to talk to you, so I'll be back in a few moments." He said before closing the door behind her and Deanna moved into the large brightly lit office. Spying the neatly stacked set of clothes on the chair she eagerly stripped and replaced the sodden attire with fresh warm clothing. Carefully peeling her communicator off the remains of her uniform, she pocketed it into her white billowy trousers, just before a knock at the door admitted the green-eyed man and another man in uniform.

"Feel better?" He asked moving to behind his desk, after offering her a chair.

"Yes. Thank you Doctor." She answered.

"They out there call me Doctor Andrews, but call me Paul, let's be less formal about this. Your lucky I was deep sea fishing in your area, your friends might not of made it." He said as he poured a cup of tea from the teapot seated on his desk.

Deanna accepted the cup, clasping it between her cold hands. "Thank you." She said before her eyes began to tear.

The other man cleared his throat before going over the paperwork in front of him. "Now miss...Troi." he said skimming his finger over the next few pages. "It says here you three were flying from Alaska to Australia when you gained engine trouble and crashed. Losing all your belongings in the flight."

Deanna nodded as the man continued to read from her statement she'd made to another policeman earlier. "Are my friends alright?"

Doctor Andrews nodded and gave a friendly smile. "Your friend Beverly woke a while ago asking for you. I'll take you to see her in a minute but I do need to talk to you first about your fiance." When Deanna's head spun up he held both his hands up in a defensive gesture. "No. He's stable at the moment. Don't worry. We only just wheeled him into Intensive care a few moments ago. He's going to need a lot of on going treatment though. What we need to talk about is that we don't have him on our international database for medical history, nor do we have listings for yourself or his cousin." He waited until she settled back with relief. "Do you know the exact name and location of your doctors back home, so we can locate back up knowledge of what he may be allergic to, or if there is any conditions we need to be aware of?"

She felt the sincerity of the man before her, he was gentle and caring, not one to hurt her after the tragic circumstances she'd just gone through. She almost crawled with distaste at lying to this man who'd pulled them from the water. "I'm sorry. I can't remember, and all our details went down with the plane." Deanna began.

"I know. You told us that before." The policeman broke in. "And I know that Beverly Crusher," he stated as he read the papers laid out in front of him, "was on a working visa from the US and your Canadian fiance was living before the crash in Alaska on a working permit for some years. We just need to tie up the paperwork so you can then claim your insurance."

"We don't have insurance. All we had went down with the wreck." She said strongly as her insides quivered with delayed shock.

He nodded and began to stand, knowing that he wasn't going to get any further. "In the meantime we'll need some kind of tax file number or medical cover to place onto these papers. I know you don't need this now, but these guys are going to want to attribute medical costs to someone eventually." He moved to her shoulder and gave her a small smile. "So far we can't locate your applied visa's through the normal channels either, we'll wait till the computer finishes it's search. We'll let it slip for now. But I'll need some details soon before I can file these papers. Alright?" The portly officer kindly informed her.

"Yes officer." She smiled back as he left the room.

Paul still sat across from her contemplating her with a curious smile. "You don't have medical cover do you?"

Looking away shyly she knew she couldn't lie any more. "No we don't. We don't have anything to pay you with for the kind service you've done for us."

"And the Visas?" Her reticence in answering was enough to confirm it.

"No where to stay?" He pushed further.

She shook her head and dropped her head into her hands as she started to cry. Doctor Andrews fled to her side, arms already around her shoulders. "Hey. Don't cry. Everything's fine. I'm glad you've come clean. Your friend Beverly already told me your financial position not long ago. I shouldn't of had Officer Matthews in here so soon, not so close to your death defying landing." He gave her a tissue from his desk's drawer, holding it out to the pale lady. "Here. Wipe your eyes, you look prettier without tears."

Deanna looked up and gave a small smile to his comforting presence, she felt relaxed with as the young man, who exhibited concern and sadness in a mixture of kindness that she never thought she'd find in other than her own Imzadi. Deanna gently sniffed a little and lifted her eyes to his filling them with thanks.

Paul smiled back and offered a hand. "We'll sort something out. Want to see your friend Beverly?" He asked indicating the door.

"I'd appreciate it Paul." She replied exiting through the door he now held open.

She watched him smile widely much like Will did. "Let's go shall we? Then we'll see about putting you up somewhere for the night." He ushered her out the door and further down the long sterile corridor. The clash and squeak of the sounds of trolleys and people hurrying around belaying the calm of the hospital wing they were now moving through.




The door clicked shut and Deanna faced her friend with deep relief. "He's enamoured with you."

Beverly chuckled slightly before touching her head with a grimace. "You think so?"

"And you too." She clasped Beverly's hands and smiled deeply. "So what did you say?" She added with a serious caste as she glanced at the closed door.

Beverly blew her fringe out of her eyes and smiled. "Same as you except I cracked first about not being able to afford these services, nor Wills care."

"Have you heard about Will yet?" She spoke with desperation. "Paul won't let me see him. He said he was still critical and was allowing only staff care by his side." She'd been allowed a quick look through the glass divider to the intensive care ward, spying him immersed under equipment, moments before, but no more.

"Relax Deanna. He said my cousin was going to pull through but needed to be observed for the next few days before they can release him to normal care. He's still shaky on the monitors and they don't want to leave anything to chance. But from what I saw before we were rescued, I figure loss of blood and shock would of been the highest of concerns, along with the knitting of his leg." Beverly watched as Deanna calmed down, while she gave her the news.

"And you?" Deanna asked again for the second time since she entered the room.

"I'm fine. They'll release me tomorrow. They just want to make sure my head wound wasn't something serious other than a mild concussion. Which brings me to the next discussion. Got any idea where we're going to go once they release us and ensnare Will here for a while?" Beverly asked as she watched Deanna get up and look out the window at the sparkling city lights.

"Not even a hint. We don't have currency, only faked identification I managed to draw up from the computer before it up and died." She shrugged.

"And there's something else." Deanna thumped her head against the glass as she rested it there. "I admitted to Paul that we didn't have Visa's, whatever they are." Beverly didn't speak for a moment, letting Deanna compose her next line of tact. "He has a sweet way of making me bare all. But I know we can trust him."

"Deanna." Beverly waited until her friend turned around to place her back to the window. "We both revealed our position. Not a bad thing, just not a good thing either." She smiled.

"So we need medical cover or money." Deanna surmised.

Beverly nodded before screwing up her face from the headache's revenge. "Yeah. I figure work is the answer. But what as, we don't have papers for our qualifications..."

"Yes we do. Well you do. I drafted them up. The same for me. But I'm afraid I couldn't work out what kind of work Will would do in a time like this, and by then we were plummeting into hard water." She shrugged.

"Hmm Starfleet Commander would be an unusual title here." Beverly smirked. "Perhaps jazz man?"

Both of the women chuckled and finally let out the emotion they'd been bottling up, by embracing the laugh they couldn't hold back. Wiping tears from her eyes, Beverly watched as Paul stepped through the door, smile beaming with delight at the girls merriment. "Excuse me ladies but I thought you'd like to know that I've located some accommodation for you until you get yourselves straightened out." He dangled a set of keys off his index finger. "Interested?"

Beverly gaped with delight. "Paul you didn't!"

He nodded. "What can I say I felt sorry for you." He smiled. "Besides with medical talent like that, which I saw you perform on your cousin, has me wanting you in my hospital. Now I can hardly leave my staff wandering the streets can I?"

"Ah. Am I missing something?" Deanna asked from the window.

"Sorry Deanna, Paul and I were chatting earlier. He's just taken over the position as Vice Director on the hospital board. We kind of interrupted his celebration with our crash landing when he found us."

"And considering this lady's talent I saw earlier, I'm interested in putting her on under supervision at first to help with paying off her cousin's medical bill. That is once you're cleared from your head injury." He grinned.

"Seriously?" Deanna asked.

"Seriously. Someone helped me out years ago when I went down on a sinking ship and I feel that maybe this is my chance to pay back that deed." He placed the keys into Deanna's hands as she moved to Beverly's side. "I've just moved out of my house a few days ago and was going to put it on the market, but figure you ladies could do with somewhere to stay right now other than a dark gloomy motel room." He swiped his hand through his hair and moved backwards out the door. "I'll take you there later Miss Troi if you wish. And don't worry, it's still fully furnished."

"Paul...Thank you so much." She gave a grateful smile, tears flowing from her dark eyes.

"Just give me till end of shift and I'll take you over there. See you in under an hour." He winked at Beverly and left the two women to laugh with joy.





Deanna sat up on the couch, paperwork spread as far as she could see, as she heard the sound of the transport draw up outside.

Leaving the blanket of paper she moved quickly to the door opening it grandly for Beverly and Paul as they moved up the front steps.

"Welcome home stranger." She greeted in a wide hug. Deanna had spent the night at their new accommodation pacing the carpet. With no visitors access to Will she had nothing else to do, so she'd resigned and stayed here, ready to greet Beverly once they released her from hospital care.

"This is amazing Paul!" Beverly exclaimed as she moved into the open plan living area encompassing the interior with wide eyes at the luxury. 'You sure we're not a burden on your expenses?"

"Not at all. I'm just glad it's useful to someone." He winked at her, melting her in his gaze. Moving further into the room he began to indicate with his hands in the direction of various rooms and conveniences. "Of course, we're going to have to get your cousin up to standards in navigating stairs, before he leaves hospital, if your living here." He stated pointing out the lack of disabled access.

"I'm sure he'll enjoy the challenge." Beverly replied with a sigh in Deanna's direction.

Paul nodded and smiled as reached back into his back pocket and pulled out a rectangle of leather. "Now Deanna and I already did a little brief shopping last night to get some food in, but I figure you'll need a little extra in the clothing and amenities if all your belongings are swimming with the dolphins." He pulled out a few thin pieces of colourful plastic paper, handing them to Beverly, clutching her hand longer than the depositing of money required.

"Paul, you can't ." Beverly said looking at the money laying in her hand, watching the hologram security device on the notes ,catching the light before raising her eyes to his.

He ignored her and headed for the kitchen, drawing a long glass of water from the tap. "The shops are up the road to your left along with the supermarket. Get yourselves settled first, then we'll see about setting up a schedule to begin work. OK?" He waited for the nods. "Don't worry. I'll make you work hard for it." He grinned as Beverly playfully slapped his arm. "Oh great, graveyard shift?" She laughed.

"Mmm no actually I was thinking about some simple care to start with and a little bit of ER work. Just to see how you cope." Paul replied finishing off the water. "As for you Miss Troi.." he started until Deanna held up her hand.

"Please Paul, call me Deanna. I wasn't going to be Troi for much longer anyway." She flashed her ring finger, where only a few weeks ago Will had presented her with the old Earthern custom of an engagement ring. His mother's he'd said, with a wistful sadness as he'd reflected that his mother had missed the moment. One he knew she would of wanted to share with her son.

"As for you Deanna." He started again with a hint of mirth attached. "I figure you'll need a little time off until your partner is operating on his own, and to settle in, but I've had a little delve into the psych department this morning before signing Beverly out." He paused and watch as Beverly spun away before she laughed at the way Deanna was leaning in to listen. "Well there are certainly always temporary positions that need filling down there. Would you be interested?"

Deanna moved to the couch and sat down heavily. "Paul....you've done so much for us and you hardly know us....are you sure it's OK? Your not abusing your position on the hospital board are you?" She asked, not sure if she should of even brought it up, perhaps saying yes would of been less nosey.

"I know what your thinking, middle aged man who should know better than to let sinking strangers into his life...but hey..as I said before, it's my turn to help someone out. That's why I took up medicine all those years ago. To help people, and well yes...this is a little different from helping someone medically, but it's pretty close to the real thing. So please, both of you, stop apologising and thanking me. I'm enjoying it...truly I am." He then plastered an even bigger grin on his face. "So is that a yes to the jobs?" Doctor Paul Andrews then found himself immersed in one giant hug from two of the most grateful women he'd ever seen.




Deanna paced around the empty corridor waiting for the one thing she'd eagerly waited for all night, the ability to finally touch Will Riker with her own hand.

Beverly had arrived with Deanna before her shift started, just to get themselves orientated with the surrounding streets, mainly around they're new home and the hospital grounds itself. Beverly was currently now immersed in her new job down stairs in ER, but was meeting up with Deanna during a well earned break.

They'd both been briefed by Paul as of Will's progress or lack of. He'd survived the night and the last few days in I.C. U. but had contracted aspiration pneumonia from traces of sea water left in his lungs. Deanna had paled at the sound of the ailment, sitting heavily into a chair until Paul explained that they could alleviate it eventually. Just that he would be dependent on a ventilator for a short duration.

"Hey. They moved him yet?" Beverly's voice floated up behind her. Deanna stopped, suddenly feeling self-conscious of her pacing.

"Not yet. Paul said soo.." She stopped as the clatter of personal and a large mobile bed was guided out of the I.C.U. complete with equipment hanging off every edge and was hurried past them. Deanna swallowed hard and went white as she took a good look at the body submerged under the tubing and sheets. "Oh great goddess. Will.." She muttered, one hand held over her quivering lips. Before they could move forward into the room to follow, a nurse apologised and closed the door in their face, giving the team room as they rushed to hook up their patient in record time without missing a beat.

Doctor Andrews sidled up to them placing a hand on Deanna's shoulder. "We thought he was finally stable enough to move. But this is where he'll stay for a while now."

"Can we see him?" She asked as the last of the medical staff exited the room.

Paul nodded and led them through into the darkened room. The lights on the monitors and the soft beeps filing the room with inorganic life. Will's wheezing was coupled with a soft gurgling each time the ventilator pumped air into fluid collecting lungs.

Deanna slowly approached him, her face held between both white hands on either side of her mouth, watching the hair covered chest rise and fall mechanically regardless of the wires attached. Taking a wider view, she traced tubing that ran into arms, to bandage wrapped limbs that bore sharp pieces of metal. She briefly heard Beverly ask about his status. The light buzz of voices behind her of their conversation filled her head. Words of pinned and plated tibia's, bruised kidney's and such. All becoming too much she found herself being helped to a chair as Will's pain and her own distress enveloped her.

Deanna accepted the glass of water to her lips, unaware of the full surroundings, her sight focused on the unconscious body before her. "Will he be able to breath properly soon?" She asked, her voice barely above a whisper.

Beverly knelt in front of her, taking back the glass and clasped Deanna's hands in her own. "He's still in danger, but he has the best care possible. We'll fight it and then he'll be his old self again," she smiled. "Fighting to get out of our care as soon as possible." She added.

Deanna gave a short snort of laughter. "His leg?" She enquired as she saw his swollen foot sticking out from under the sheets.

"Badly dislocated at the pelvis region, comminuted fracture in his tibia and a tear in the lateral patellar ligament." Paul rolled off. "It means we had to re-align his pelvis and pin and plate his leg from the twin fractures. He won't be putting pressure on that leg for a while. And then he'll need some serious rehab work."

Deanna looked wide-eyed at Beverly, closing her eyes at her friends nod. "He'll be OK Deanna." Beverly said, not breaking to her the other multiple contusions and internal bruising he was suffering from. "His head wound is minimal, and he should be regaining consciousness in a few days time. The worst is over. Usually the first few days are the hardest on any patient under this kind of strain. Just give him time." She smiled back at the Betazoid's relieved smile.

"You've got a few hours worth of visiting rights before nightfall. Just sit quietly with him until then. I'm afraid I can't allow you to stay longer though." Paul said before moving to the door after checking the IV lines.

"Thank you." Beverly answered as he left.




The noisy clacking of the ventilator that forced oxygen into his lungs had become a comfort to Deanna, the ugly sound of death dissolving each hour, as the drugs fought the persistent fluid lying in his lungs. The mechanical, yet steady movement assured her that Will would continue to breath even if she fell asleep.

Deanna held his cold and clammy hand and gently stroked her fingers back and forth over the back of it while careful not to dislodge the line that fed him medicine and fluids. She swallowed hard and stared morosely at the tubes and dressings that smothered his arms and chest, the ones that weren’t covered by starched white sheets. She shivered lightly as she viewed the deep bruising that lay under his skin like a disease. His left hip one large area of darkness.

Over the last few days, the nurses had attended him day and night, uncovering portions of his abused body as they changed dressings and cleaned him. Giving her an uncensored view of the trespassing nature of the tubes that ran in and out of him. Catheters and blood products, working for his needing body, in crude forms of medical care.

A spasm shook his sedated body, bringing her back to the present, triggering the squeal of alarms on the life support monitors for just a few minutes before settling down, the readings levelling out. A rush of air and Deanna felt herself pushed aside as teams of nurses rushed in, hurriedly checking his readings before breathing a collective sigh of relief.

"Nothing to worry about Miss," one of them said to Deanna while scribbling a notation on the chart by her patient's bed end, taking leave of the sterile room, pausing in the doorway. "Just keeping us on our toes." Her kind smile making no difference to the terror Deanna felt inside.

Deanna sighed tremulously and shook her head as she sat heavily next to the bed. As tears formed, she grabbed Will's hand and brought it to her lips as his eyelids fluttered, unknown dreams leaking a mixture of fear and sadness across their bond. She swallowed hard and tried to surround him with a sense of warmth and comfort. Smiling when she felt him relax a little.

A soft knock at the door, and a red mop of hair peeked around the door frame. "Beverly." Deanna said, silent tears streaming down her face as her friend wrapped her arms around her.

"Hey you heard what Paul said. He’s going to pull through. Maybe not as quickly as my usual standards, but he will. I promise." Beverly rubbed Deanna's back and smiled, waiting until Deanna returned it. The Betazoid swiped at her tears and lay Will's hand on the bed.

"He's still unstable." She said pointing to the monitors. "He alerted some nurses moments ago."

Beverly picked up the chart and read the figures. "Heart rate and respiration have picked up and his blood toxicity is off a little. A bit more rest I think, and it should level out. Considering the damage done, I’m not too worried about this." Beverly moved over to Will laying a hand to his forehead feeling his temperature, then moving to place a finger to his throat to check his pulse against the heart monitor that replayed each beat with a high pitched ping.

"Sounds like the lungs are clearing too. I wish I had my med kit on hand." Beverly moved an errant lock of hair away from his skull to check the livid bruise marking his temple. Her frustration was easy to read. "These drugs they keep pouring into him are doing nothing but keeping him doped and weak." She shook her head.

"If we could get to the shuttle we might be able to find the med kit." Deanna suggested.


"How? Deanna it's under 20 metres of sea water!" Beverly voiced raised a little, something she regretted once she heard the same tone in Deanna's reply.

"I know that Beverly. Hell, we nearly drowned in it, and Wil nearly died down there." She sighed, trying to calm herself. "Will taught me how to dive years ago. I think it was just an excuse to get me into a bikini. But I know enough to hire equipment and go down there."

"I don't know. It seems too dangerous. We need to stick together for Will's sake." Beverly said lifting the sheets to peer at the porcupine effect of his leg.

"Is Will truly out of danger?" She asked. Beverly's silence answered her question. "Then I'll wait a few days and see about hiring and diving." She said firmly, determined to help Will get better medical care than was currently available in this timeline. What the locals called advanced medical care, had been dubbed by Beverly to be almost as crude and primitive as field care with no tricorders or knitters.


"I wish there was a way to take us back, because the year 2001 is no place to be stuck with an accident prone Will Riker." Beverly blew the fringe out of her eyes and gave the Betazoid counsellor a comforting wink. Deanna smiled in spite of her worry, but her gaze was soon drawn back to the large recumbent patient in question. "Do you need company on your dive?" Beverly asked.

Deanna looked up quickly. "Do you dive?"

She pushed her hair behind her ears. "I’m a bit rusty, but Jack used to drag me to Pacifica every now and then to look at the fishes." She smiled. "I like to think I learned a thing or two."

Before Deanna could answer, Doctor Andrews slid past Beverly and into the cosy room. "Excuse me ladies, sorry to butt in but I need to check my patients vitals. One of the nurses said he had a few seconds of instability earlier on." His smile relieved Deanna as he eased beside his patient with no cause or worry. He had been their saviour in the height of their needs. Not only was the man efficient, but he was also vice director on the board of the Saint Michaels hospital they now inhabited. The man exhibited calm and kindness in large quantities that instantly befriended the stranded women.

Crashed in an alien time zone with no money or belongings, Paul had seen them through the hardest time so far. Deanna had silently wished they hadn't had to lie, and say their plane had crashed and taken everything, but it had helped them in establishing a place to stay courtesy of Paul, and it had gained employment for Beverly.

"Off shift?" Paul asked Beverly as he perused Riker's chart.

"Uh huh. Just finished pulling a double shift in ER." She replied with soft warmth colouring her cheeks. Deanna had been right last night, she was starting to feel something for the man, and his body language wasn't helping.

Paul nodded. "Well, your cousin is doing well, regardless of the twitches across these sheets." He indicated with a sweep of his hand to the chart he replaced at the bed end. "I'd say he should be coherent in a few days time if we're lucky, then we can plan on letting you two relax a little."

Paul's news quickened Deanna's heartbeat. Will Riker conscious, with her, beside him, and awake. It was all she wished for now. To be looking into coherent blue eyes that called for her.

"Thanks Paul." Beverly answered seeing Deanna's features perk-up from her momentary gloom.

"Hey no problems, the big guys doing most of the work anyway." He nodded to the unconscious Riker.

"No. Really. Thanks. Thanks for all you've done for us. Without you he would be dead and we'd be stranded on the streets. I really do mean thank you with all my heart." Beverly Crusher was of course correct, The society they'd crash landed into lived and died sorely on commerce of the currency kind, and wasn't geared for free service of any kind unless you were truly living off the streets.

Paul blushed slightly and looked away. "The least I could do for such a pretty and talented doctor." He smiled. "Dinner? Or are you too tired?" He asked, hoping she was free for the night.

"Ah....I don't know, Deanna may need me..."

"Go Beverly. I'll be here with Will for a bit longer. I'll be fine. Enjoy yourself." Deanna spoke up and gave a quick smile to the Doctor, reading his feelings of love directed towards her best friend.

"If your sure?" Deanna's nod confirmed her ascent.

"As Paul said, he'll be out for a while anyway. Go and have a good time the both of you." Deanna laughed at the Doctors surprised look. Both had decided to keep their lives simple and secluded, but now the counsellor was pushing Beverly into a romance that she herself was starting to notice was blooming.

"Fine. But promise me you'll get some sleep when visiting hours are over?"

Deanna nodded and placed her second hand on Will's cold grip that already had her left hand snagged.

Paul smiled, letting his green eyes flash in heady desire. "Excellent. Pick you up at 8?" He waited for the doctors nod then made his excuses to leave. As the door closed Beverly rounded on Deanna and flashed an even bigger smile than the counsellor was wearing. The sound of girlish giggling making Paul Andrews smile as he walked away from behind the closed door.





As the door clicked shut and the tell tale sounds of tip toeing feet entered the living area, Deanna woke up from the couch she'd been sitting on earlier.

"Beverly?" She asked groggily.

"Waiting up for me?" Beverly giggled.

Deanna turned on a side lamp and illuminated the small down stairs part of the town house. "No. Sorry. Fell asleep catching up on this diving manual." She indicated to the paper bound document.

"Ah. Research." She smiled.

"After they threw me out of the ward I found a library. Thought I'd make sure I had everything up to date with this time's equipment. Have a great night?" She asked, throwing the half read book down on the table beside her.

"Hmm. A very nice night. Paul's offered us his boat and to help us dive."

"What!?!" Deanna sat up straight. "He can't. He'll see the shuttle!"

"Hey relax. He asked what we were going to do with ourselves and I mentioned that you wanted to go diving for our wreck to see if we could salvage anything." She shrugged her shoulders. "How was I to know that our super hero benefactor could dive?"

Deanna sighed heavily.

"He has a boat."

Deanna looked up.

"And equipment of his own to lend us." Beverly added.

"How do we not let him see the shuttle if we do find it? Dive nude?" Deanna asked sarcastically.

Beverly sighed and switched off the bright smile from her alcohol dazed face. A few glasses of wine always brought a rosy glow to the doctor's cheeks, especially when it wasn't synthehol.

"I'll lead him off while you look around. Can't be that hard. The guy is enamoured with me." She shrugged.

"And so are you." Deanna observed. "Ok. When can we set out?"

"He suggested this weekend. If you feel you’re up to it." Beverly plumped herself on the opposite chair and pulled off the high heels and curled her legs under her.

"As up to it as ever." She replied. "Three days. Let's hope we find it and the med kit in one piece." Deanna whispered.

Beverly decided to change subjects. As Beverly told her night's pleasantries, Deanna half replayed their last few weeks of role playing. Deanna was still heavily worried about Will. If the hospital hadn't had a rule about visiting hours, she'd still be at his side. At least being Will's fiance had given her more access than just a friend, but as Beverly has said, even if she hadn't of been engaged before the crash her bond with Will was as close to an engagement ring as the word Imzadi was to fiancee. Her friend willing to lie in aid of keeping her two best friends close by.

On the nights Deanna was marched home, visiting hours over, Will was still in safe hands with Beverly. She was now happily employed in the next ward down on some nights, allowing her to keep watch at times when Deanna couldn't.

Doctor Paul Andrews really had been an extreme bit of luck. Once he'd asked for their preference in medical cover and hospital care, he'd realised that they had nothing but sea water in their pockets. Deanna had covered their tracks by calling the shuttle an aeroplane, which had crashed due to mechanical failure, the catastrophic failure occurring while her fiance had been piloting it. It was the truth in some ways, only that the aeroplane in real life had a warp drive that had malfunction once they'd been caught in the ripple of a hidden wormhole. A wormhole that had chewed them up and spat them into the past of human history, on a very historic small blue green planet called Earth.

Their belongings were sunk and out of reach. And Paul Andrews had taken pity on the survivors. Having been in a plane crash as a young adult, he'd understood their turmoil, taking them in as other strangers had for him in the past.

Beverly thankfully had had only a nasty concussion that had flung her into the tanned arms of her now wealthy benefactor. She'd had to prove her medical skills without the papers, that she'd lied were underwater with the rest of their life, from moving countries by air. Her cousin, Will Riker, and his fiance, Deanna moving to a new life. A new beginning. And Paul had offered it to them. Only Will was still unaware of the new life that awaited him. For this, Deanna had kept vigil, hoping to talk to him first and let him know the game they were playing before Paul found out the real story of their plight.

"So did he kiss you goodnight?" Deanna prompted when Beverly has finished her story of the ride back home.

"Yes. And if you hadn't of been here who knows what may of happened." She laughed.

"Boy do I feel wanted." Deanna frumped then laughed, unable to keep her happiness for her best friend bottled inside any longer.

Beverly stifled a yawn until she could hold it back no longer. "I'm going to bed. Got an early shift tomorrow. And I think you should go to bed too." She hinted.

Deanna nodded tiredly. "Hmm. Watching Will can be draining. Let's hope he wakes soon." Her face slid into a sad embrace. "I don't know if I can hang on much longer."

Beverly drew an arm around Deanna as they both dragged their heavy bodies up the stairs to their bedrooms. "He'll be fine Deanna. Trust me. In the primitive care he's in now, he's still thriving. And he has survived under the most amazingly bad conditions before. Relax." She offered before turning her friend into her bedroom and making her own way down the hallway to her own.




It has been four days since the doctor's date, and one day after their first uneventful diving session, when Deanna found herself feeling the first beginnings of Will Riker struggling to return to consciousness. Deanna entered his room as one of his nurses left, one of a small troupe she'd gotten to know well over the last few days. The nurse, Vanessa, was carrying out the evidence of having bathed him, the added scent of fresh bedding adding to the overall smell of the hygienic room.

The noisy ventilator was now gone and replaced by a simple mask issuing oxygen rich air. His lungs still sounded wet each time he breathed, but he was now unaided, something which had brought the simplest of joys to Deanna.

She sat down and rested her head against his un-encumbered shoulder, his hand in hers, breathing in a mixture of soap and his own scent. His fingers twitched and she brought her head up, looking quickly down to see his long dark lashes flicker slightly. He was slowly returning to consciousness. She felt him seek out her link as he sought her presence, a deep groan confirming his awakening. Deanna held off in calling for the nurse, wanting to greet him personally before she was sure to be ushered out.

"Imzadi? Can you hear me? You’re safe." She murmured into his ear as he began to struggle sluggishly, his hand tightening around hers, as pain encroached on his senses. Deanna reached into her dress pocket and touched her communicator once, the soft beep replied, letting her know her touch had just notified Beverly.

Will grunted again and tried to speak, but no sound came forth, and he coughed hard bringing a free but shaking hand up, to grab the mask over his mouth. Deanna held his hand back kissing it gently to halt his interference of the medical device that was still keeping him alive.

"Shhh. Your safe Will. Open your eyes and I'll prove it to you." She said, then realised that he'd have a hard time believing her when he saw the tubing and bandages that wound their way around his body.

The door opened and Beverly rushed in to see the relief on Deanna's face. "He's waking Bev."

"About time too," Beverly said, checking the monitors.

Will swallowed and eased open his eyes, squinting against the bright examination lights, only to quickly shut them again. A succession of raggered coughs bringing him closer to full awareness, as he blinked his eyes rapidly to clear the murky film away. Thankfully finding the room now darker, as Beverly dimmed the lights, he saw for the first time his new lodgings. "Where am I?" He croaked, his parched lips sore and cracked.

"Earth." Beverly answered, not ready to tell him the hard truth just yet.

Will's reddened eyes searched the unfamiliar room before resting on the two women dressed in odd garments beside him.

"You look funny." He said as he tried to focus his eyes through the heavy fog of drugs. Their answer was not forth coming as the door swung open again, this time to admit Doctor Andrews and an accompanying nurse.


"Ah Mr Riker. You’re awake. Good to see. I'm sure Deanna and Beverly are relieved to see someone home behind those blue eyes of yours," He joked. "I'm Doctor Andrews your attending physician. How are you feeling?"

Will lay there dazed for a minute before looking to Deanna for answers.

<I'll tell you later. He is your doctor for now though. Trust him, but don't mention Starfleet or the shuttle> Deanna sent, hoping he would be able to understand her. Will swallowed, keeping another wet cough at bay, and focused his hazy eyes back to the imposing doctor.

"Foggy." He managed to croak.

Doctor Andrews smiled. "No doubt you are. We've got you on some pretty powerful narcotics at the moment for pain. But hopefully over the next few days we can titrate the dosage down if you can tolerate it. Are you in pain?"

Will tried to nod only to find his head exploding. He squeezed his eyes shut and grunted.

"Can you pinpoint it for me?" He asked checking Will's pulse rate and temperature as he finally removed the mask, placing a digital thermometer into his mouth.

"Everywhere." Still feeling a little claustrophobic, even without the mask, he mumbled around the thermometer, wondering what was stuck in his mouth. Curiosity getting the better of him, he raised an arm painfully to find tubes dripping who knows what into him. Lines of blood red tubing and bags attached to his body, made his heart race and his blood pressure escalate, the monitor beeping faster and louder as he muttered a single terrified word. "Borg?"

Deanna instantly tightened the grip of his hand. "No Imzadi. You’re safe. It's just medical equipment." She looked at the curious doctor. "He’s never been in a modern hospital before," she explained.

Doctor Andrews scratched his head and frowned. "Borg? Why's he so terrified? Sounds like Swedish to me?"

Beverly stepped forward and pulled Paul aside. "He used to write Science-fiction stories about mechanical creatures made up of tubing, I think he may be hallucinating from the Morphine. He doesn’t take drugs of any kind. And after the shock of the plane crash…" Beverly shrugged, praying her ploy would work.

"Freaky story writing." He smiled as he moved back, replacing the mask back over Will's mouth and nose.

"OK. Mr Riker. Nurse Gibbons here is going to give you a quick once over, and then we’ll let you get some more sleep. But before I go...welcome back to the waking world." He gave orders to the nurse and then exited the room asking for Deanna and Beverly to do the same as the nurse went to work.

Outside Paul's smile beamed. "This is better then I had hoped for. I didn’t know how severely his head trauma was going to affect him. He’s got a ways to go, but at least he's awake, and that's the first step. But he’ll need time to heal, a lot of time, then we can begin some physio to regain the ground he’s lost."

"Time." Beverly laughed. "You do not know this man. I bet you a night's dinner out that you can't keep him in that bed for as long as he needs."

Paul shot her a look of disbelief. "One night out you say? You’re on. How hard can it be to keep a man as badly injured as your cousin down." He grinned and gave her a quick peck on the cheek." Lunch today?" He asked, moving down the corridor once she'd nodded in agreement.


"That wasn’t fair Beverly." Deanna said from behind her friend.

Beverly jumped, having forgotten Deanna's presence while watching Paul leave. "What's not fair." She smiled evilly.

"Insider trading I think they call it here." She smiled.

"Well I'd call it fair play. About time someone else had to deal with Will Riker the sickbay escapee." She laughed before making her way back on duty, leaving the Counsellor smiling in the corridor, waiting for the nurse to exit first, before entering back inside the room to examine every inch of her soul mate.


Normally Will Riker under Beverly's care would of been more lucid to talk with, but with the cocktail of drugs washing around his blood vessels, Will Riker was little more than coherent.

"Do you remember the crash Imzadi?" She asked.

"Crash?" He mumbled before issuing a series of raggered coughs. "Wormhole?"

"Yes Will, the wormhole. We crashed on Earth."

"Where's Beverly?" He asked as he gazed at the ceiling with half masted eyelids.

"Working in another department, she'll see you after her shift. Will we're on Earth but not our Earth."

That confused him even more as he scrunched up his face and regretted it. "Sleepy." He said losing track of the conversation.

"I know Will. It's these drugs they're giving you for the pain. We're not in our timeline so things are a little outdated to what you're used to." Deanna supplied, as he lifted his arm again, surprised to find it wasn't as painful as it looked, and peered at the paraphernalia sticking into his body. He gently brought the arm up to his nose and touched the tubing that ran above his lips, supplying pure oxygen to his nasal cavity. "Timeline." He repeated.

"Yes Imzadi. We're in the early 22nd century. We crashed through the wormhole into the wrong time." She repeated.

His addled brain latched onto it only to have it swim away as shooting pain flew up and down the length of his leg, terrifying him when he tried to move it. The flare of sedated pain flaring the bruised kidney's, a warning not to move it again.

"Relax. We're doing everything medically possibly to fix you up. Beverly says you'll be back to normal in no time." She assured him as he fingered the sheet as it lay low over his chest.

"Time." He dropped his heavy arm back to the sheets, looking her in the eye. "Imzadi OK?" He tried to touch her cheek only to find a lack of strength pervading his body.

"Imzadi is OK." She replied as she watched his heavy lids close over glassy blue orbs. "Sleep well Will I'll be here for you when you wake." She said before placing a kiss to the unbruised side of his face.





The rattle of trolleys outside in the bustling corridor could be faintly heard, along with muffled calls of doctors being located, and the faint cries of some young child crying. Looking around the room, head still immersed in the starched pillow, he found himself alone. No watchers. No vultures ready to stuff more pills down his throat. A sigh of relief filled the room. Swallowing back an itch of a cough, he looked around the cell they'd imprisoned him within, making him claustrophobic just from the amount of equipment surrounding him. The steady beeps monitoring every breath, and every beat.

It was truly the first time he was lucid enough to glance at the position he was in. And Will Riker didn't like it one bit. A deep cough finally surfaced, disturbing foul tasting phlem from the bowels of healing lungs, making him gag. The thin tubing that ran up his nose and down into his throat and beyond wasn't helping either. Nor the dull pain in his groin.

Raising his tired head from the pillow he smiled nervously. Being alone was starting to have advantages. Curious he decided to find out what was happening, beginning a painful rise upwards, persisting against the agony that was making him think otherwise. The sheet slid down to his waist, revealing in shocking motion the angry evidence of his pain. Taking in a short tight intake of breath made him cough again, firing up his kidney's to the chorus of pain his hip had already begun.

He slumped forward in the bed, trying to ignore the persistent burn of pain from the bruising across his torso. Shaking fingers wiped away the beaded sweat from his forehead, watching the drip's intrusion. His other wrist was encircled with a plastic tag, with his name typed across it and a wrong year of birth. Something was wrong. Very wrong. The room, the medical care, everything. Irritated by the quandary and the drip in his hand, he tore the needle out. Hissing with anger, he held his fingers over the bleeding hole, berating himself for his own self mutilation.

Taking the time to look around the room again, he found himself becoming disturbed by the beeps and clicks of the monitors. He could feel the walls closing in each time he breathed, his heart beat thumping faster. The constant ache from his leg and lower regions still throbbed, beckoning Will to remove the sheets from around his waist.

"What have they done to me?" He whispered in shock as he spied first the angry metal and thick bandages covering the burning limb. Gulping down bile he dropped his gaze, finding it lowered ever further to his groin and the blood filled tubes that ran out and along the bedding. Eyes widened, and a gasp of shock emitted from his bloodless lips. The heaviness of the drugs in his system doing little to calm him, as fear burst over the damn and flowed on into panic. His first reaction was to pull them out, halting their trespass.

Will Riker cried out as the tubes tugged on sensitive tissue, refusing to dislodge themselves. Blood from his recently removed IV smeared across the back of his hand, adding panic to the situation as he continued to wrestle for his freedom.

The door suddenly burst open, admitting two of the current medical staff, their eyes wide at the scene before them. One nurse letting out "Oh no." Before calling to another nurse in the doorway for Doctor Andrews. His heart rate was skyrocketing on the monitor as strong hands pulled away his fingers and forced him down flat on the bed within seconds. Struggling under their grasp Will grabbed a hold of the NG feed tube, trying to tug it free until he began to choke on it.

"Mr Riker! We need you to calm down. Mr Riker?!?" One of the nurses tried to get him to listen to her, finding only wide frightened eyes locked onto hers. He was still choking slightly, fighting for each breath within crushed lungs as a male nurse held down his chest hard, ignorant of the pain it caused to his bruised and pain ridden body. Finding his head held back against the pillow, one of the staff pulled free the NG, sliding it back out of his nose before it caused further problems.

"15 cc's of Doxtrinal now!" Called out one nurse as Will Riker fought against the man's hold. Five people were now in attendance, dancing with his struggles. His body shaking with pain as he twisted hard to the right, moving pinned and plated bones, grinding against each other, as he thrashed his leg out in hope of dislodging someone. He screamed in agony, his cries turning Deanna's face white as she ran into the room after the Doctor.

"Let me go!!" He called out between heavy pants. The sting of the needle being thrust into his arm, made him scream out harder. The drugs finally worked their way around his bloodstream, leaving him sluggish, and unable to fight off their fierce hold.

Deanna stood stock still in the doorway, his pain filling every inch of her being, turning her to stone. Seconds seemed like hours as his screams of pain slowly turned into whimpers, the drug robbing him of strength to fight and protect.

"What happened?" Paul's voice broke her stare.

"Not sure doctor, we saw his heart rate rise on the watch keeping station and then heard him cry out. He's dislodged everything." The older of the nurses responded, still helping the male nurse to keep the patient still.

Paul nodded before turning to Deanna. "We'll need your to consent to give him a higher dose of narcotics. If we don't sedate him, he'll cause even more damage than he already has." He placed a hand on Deanna's shoulder awaiting an answer.

She swallowed and looked to the pale body of Will Riker, still writhing under their grip, his groans and whimpers slurred. "What's happening to him?" She asked.

"I suspect ICU psychosis. It can happen without warning. Usually shock and a hint of claustrophobia will do it. He an out door man?"

Deanna nodded and he smiled briefly. "Thought so. Look I know I'm hurrying you but we need an answer. Will you sign for us to use Lorazipam?"

Deanna dropped her head before looking back over to Will, his cries for his Imzadi filling her eyes with tears. "Can I see him first? Hold him?" She pleaded.

Doctor Andrews shook his head. "Afraid not Deanna, he's a danger to himself right now. I hate to rush you but...." He prompted. Realising it was futile to suggest otherwise, she nodded and found herself being led to a chair in the corner. One of the nurses rushed away instantly with orders in hand, as soon as she'd agreed to the treatment.

The same nurse returned with a clip board in hand, and a needle in the other. Paul flicked the syringe's contents to remove air bubbles, waiting for Deanna to finish signing the form, before moving over to Will's still fighting body. Blood and other fluids were smeared all over the sheets. Except for the personnel holding him down, Will's body was fully exposed and devoid of bedding from his thrashings. Ignoring the mess his patient has created, Paul accepted aid from a med tech and slipped the contents into Will's arm, watching as the blue frightened eyes dulled down within moments to frozen pools of disorientation.

"Ok. He's down. Get him ready to move back to Osteo, this leg's going to need fixing." Paul scratched his head in exasperation. "And get some x-rays ASAP. Philip's I want catheters, IV's and feed tubes replaced immediately before we lose levels." He ordered, finally turning back to Deanna once they'd hurried off with a bed ridden Will in tow. The sound of clatter from the corridor, shut out as the door swung shut behind their retreating forms.

"You OK?" He asked holding her shaking hands as he watched her drop her head.

"Will he be alright?" She asked with a wavering voice.

"Yes. But he's taken a step backwards now." He paused, composing his views. "Anything that was on the way to healing, is now under the impact from added trauma. We'll have to watch closely for problems in the near future, especially from this." He paused and moved a hand to her shoulder. "He should be brought back in, in a few hours. Can you stay a little longer tonight?" She nodded, letting him smile at her unswerving loyalty to Will. "He'll need someone close while on the Lorazipam. He may be out with the fairies right now, but familiar voices may help to calm him. And I'll hold off on the staff removing you." He assured her.

"Thank you Paul." She handed him the clipboard, her signature scribbled across the form.

"He'll be snowed out for a while, but conscious when he's not sleeping. Once he calms down then we can halt the dosage. I don't like leaving patients on Lorazipam for long anyway." His green eyes shone sincerity as he stood up from his kneeling position, offering her a hand. "I suggest you get something to eat and drink, he'll be a while." He added pushing her through the door before him.

Deanna mumbled a yes and wandered down the corridor, still caught in Will's nightmarish reality as they fixed him up again.




She must of fallen asleep as a gentle hand shook her and a young woman pointed to the chair beside the bed. Will had been returned and all was quiet. The calm silence belaying what an hour ago had been pure terror swirling around the interior of her mind.

The staff left leaving her to wander to his side, sitting heavily into the chairs embrace from her own exhaustion. One small hand gripped his large paw, squeezing it gently to see him register nothing, his vacant blinking directed only to the room's ceiling. Diluted pupils set straight ahead, with pain lines erased, the signs of heavy medication at it's working best smothered even the smallest ghost of his usual self.

She reached across the lifelines of tubes and placed the back of her hand against his stubbled check. "I'm so sorry Imzadi." She whispered, watching for any sign of life other than slow and complete blinking. The longer she stayed the lower the eyelids drooped until finally they lay shut. Quietly she kissed him goodnight before removing her tired and cramped body back home.


"How's he coping?" Beverly asked as Deanna made her tired way through the front door. Shoe less, the doctor was reclined on the couch, medical journal in hand.

"Not. As usual." Deanna grimaced as she plopped herself into a chair. Small strands of hair escaping the clutch of hair shoved through a ponytail. "ICU psychosis I believe they call it."

"Why am I not surprised." Beverly laughed, shaking her head in merriment. "Let me guess...he thinks he's fine and wants out?"

Deanna rolled her eyes. "He only woke up yesterday and already he wants to be let out. He can't even feed himself yet." Deanna dropped her shoes to the floor with a clunk, rubbing her toes from their previously enclosed state. "He even tried removing the NG tube from his nose earlier."

"What?" Beverly sat up, letting the other half a dozen journals slap to the floor.

"I left him for ten minutes to get something to eat, only to find him being held down in bed by a quartet of angry nurses." Deanna blew some hair out of her eyes and gave her friend a weak smile. "He nearly choked himself doing it. And that's not all." She almost hated telling her friend, seeing every pore of relaxation evaporate as she spoke.

Her friend, however, waited on baited breath for each and every word of the Commander's adventures in hospital land. "What?" She prompted.

"He'd removed the IV lines. And even tried to get the catheters out too.

He panicked when he saw the bloody discharge and tried to extricate himself. Terrified the hell out of him, I could feel it all the way down the corridor. The nurses couldn't hold him down without causing further damage." Deanna sighed shaking her head tiredly.

"Oh no." Beverly said holding a hand to her lips. "I'd better go check on him." She said jumping from the couch in record time, to grab her shoes from the cupboard. Turning back she saw Deanna shake her head.

"Don't bother Beverly. He's been set, sedated and knocked out for the last two hours. That's why I'm late, they had to run a few x-rays to make sure there wasn't any further damage. He really messed up his leg, trying to struggle out from the nurses' hold. Paul sorted him out though." Even though Will was the one doped to the eyeballs, Deanna could swear some of her tiredness was derived from across the link. With his mental blocks down, it left him exposed to Deanna even this far away, his lacklustre senses pervading her own across their mental bridge.

Beverly relaxed a little leaning against the cupboard. "Staff must of seen his erratic readings on the monitors I suppose, lucky they got there in time."

Deanna nodded and closed her eyes, feeling the tiredness pervade her body. "Will's not exactly feeling too good now. They hit him with something called Lorazipam." She sighed and let a little guilt fill her. "I had to consent to it too. It was either that or strap him down and hope for the least damage." Deanna gave a sheepish glance to her friend." Knocked him out flat. He doesn't feel so super now." She said ruefully.

"Poor Will." Beverly shook her head.

"Beverly. Poor Paul you should be saying." Deanna let a small laugh to escape. "You've dumped the hardest patient in the universe of any timeline into his lap. That man is going to have a breakdown by the time Will's healed." Deanna dragged herself upright and made her way to the kitchen hunting for the cups, urgently needing a hot chocolate.

"At least the drugs make him sleepy. Less chance of escape." Bev smiled, throwing her shoes back into the cupboard. "I'll check on him tomorrow and give him the run down on his injuries once he's coherent. Let him know how to behave."

"I hope that's soon." Deanna replied sadly. A whisper of his sadness and fear reaching out to her.




Will awoke to the burning sensation running down is left leg and the sour taste of drugs coating his thick tongue. Lifting an arm over to the offending feeling, he took a deep breath as his fingers touched hot skin under the sheets around his waist.

Unaware he was being watched he trailed down further to the insistent burning, stretching a little at the waist, until his hand bumped against one of the metal structures keeping his leg steady. A garbled range of alien swear words graced his tongue, filling the room as the burning turned to agony.

"Relax Will." He heard from behind his closed eyes, as he hissed in pain. "What ever you do, don't try to get up like last time or this will hurt even more." The chastisement was so familiar he could utter only one word.

"Beverly." He sighed, trying to swallow past the replaced tubing. His one and only life line to food while he'd been asleep.

"The one and the same. How's the body?" He could feel her hand resting on his forehead as the other pulled the sheets further up his chest. The light cotton sheets stinging as they touched bruised and swollen skin. She'd been examining his hip earlier. An area of massively inflamed tissue from the dislocation.

He tried opening heavy eyelids finding two of everything on first go. With a series of rapid blinking his vision cleared to a vasileened version that only had one version of Beverly and not two or three for the moment. "Drugged." He mumbled sounding nasal.

"Correct mister. You damaged your leg again. Didn't think we could trust you awake and alone. You've been in and out for three days." She smiled.

Will gave a brief glimpse of a smile from under the mask they'd placed over his mouth. The worry of his pneumonia returning was ever present, especially after he'd started coughing again a few hours ago. He dragged one hand up to try and pull off the mask only to find his bruised arm thudding with anger. "What happened?" He asked.

Beverly looked behind her, making sure the door was fully closed, before she sat on the edge of his bed and held his clammy hand. "We crashed..." She eyed the spots of bruising up and down his arm from the Lorazipam injections, constant blood tests and his struggles from earlier, cursing under her breath at the procedures inflicted on him.

"I know...different timeline." He interrupted.

Beverly nodded. "We barely survived when luckily someone was close by, turns out he's high up on the hospital board and managed to get us a place to sleep, work and even medical care for you." Beverly squeezed his hand. "Will...." She placed a serious look on her face and made sure she had his eye contact. "I want you to give Doctor Andrews your best bedside manner, he's saved your life many times over. Please don't make it any harder for him to heal you than I have to go through. There's no Starfleet around to make you keep up a pompous and proud attitude. So please lay back, and let us help you."

Will sighed and gave a little smile. "Not fair. I love keeping you on your toes." He replied sluggishly to her lecture.

"Well your injuries are very serious Will, and you won't get there if you muck about, so rest mister before we strap you down." She grinned as he rolled his eyes before he grimaced.

"Damage?" He asked looking to his covered leg.

"Well you just survived aspiration pneumonia, and we're now working to heal the various multiple contusions including bruised ribs from your tango with the shuttle controls."

He nodded gently at her attempt of humour. "Broken leg?"

"Fractured your tibia in two places Will. A very good effort. And to complete the score card you also have a pelvis dislocation that's healing nicely, bruised kidney's that are still leaving a bloody discharge in your urine," her fingers ticked off on each hand to Will's annoyance, "and a nasty concussion that we're still watching to finish with." She smiled. "Not bad for Will the Thrill Riker." She said getting up to check his IV lines.

"Heads still throbbing." He grumbled briefly before scratching the top of his hand where the needle entered.

"Please relax Will. You need rest to heal this lot. Do that for me?" She waited for his brief nod, before placing a hand to his shoulder. "Good. And if you don't they'll have to sedate you. And your body doesn't need that right now."

"Sorry. Just..." He swallowed and looked away as emotion took the words away.

Beverly squeezed his hand gently and made sure his mask was on straight before bringing her body up straight. "I'm going to leave you for a bit to get some work done Will, but Deanna should be here to see you once visiting hours start in another two hours. If you need me let Doctor Andrews know. But if it's medical he's the one you talk to alright?"

"Yes doctor." He said letting his eyes drift to a close, as Beverly made her way out. He gave one last comment drawing a slight laugh from Beverly.

"Beautiful when I'm angry in deed." She laughed outside his room.


Beverly was hard at work, trying to use the archaic computer system to lodge her patients files, when Paul popped his head around the door's frame. To Beverly he wasn't just handsome, he was gorgeous, not to mention chivalrous.

"Hi." He interrupted receiving a smile from the red haired beauty.

"Hi yourself. That cousin of mine still causing problems?" She asked, her smile matching his own.

"No. He's better this morning. Whatever you said seemed to work. Just thought you'd like to know we've removed the oxygen mask now and will maybe start him on oral fluids tomorrow." He moved into the room occupying one of the chairs next to her desk. "So now that he's on the way up, think you can spend more time with me?" He jibed.

"Hmmm. Medically or are we talking about remedial therapy?" She replied with a sly grin.

"I'd say more of an 'outside relaxation', away from the hospital grounds." He winked. "Perhaps even a play or dinner just down the road?"

"I'd love to." Beverly's eyes twinkled.

"Thought you might." He said picking up her hand and giving it a swift kiss before bowing out of her office. Beverly giggled and covered her cheeks, sure she was blushing like a school girl with a crush.




"Hello sleepy head." A sweet voice called followed by the soft touch of fingers brushing away wayward hair from his eyes. "Been fed yet?"

Although Will wanted to look up into Deanna's eyes, his own were refusing to work, heavy lids lying still as he managed a small smile with great effort. "Poor Imzadi." She whispered, before applying her lips to his. His returning kiss lacking in strength but not determination. Finally parting he managed to crack open his glassy eyes for a few moments. "They've really drugged you haven't they." She traced the fine lines around his eyes, the marking of lingering pain, regardless of the sedated look he wore.

"Lunchtime?" He queried. Licking his lips of the bitter taste of drugs. They'd dosed him again last night when he'd woken on a nightmare.

Deanna gave a quiet chuckle, as the door opened to admit a young nurse with a tray. "I'm Sorry, I didn't realise he had visitors." She excused.

"It's not a problem Vanessa, I can feed him for you." Deanna said as the nurse transferred the small bowl of soup to the side table, already levering the bed upright to an angled sitting position. The young blonde haired girl had become close friends with her charges' constant companion. Handing Deanna napkins and a spoon she adjusted Will's pillows making him comfortable. Forever careful of his leg and hip. "I'll be back later to give him his pills." She said before leaving Deanna to dip the spoon into the lukewarm consume.

"Ready?" Deanna asked, his first chance at food without a tube. Something that he'd abhorred each day. But even being fed via spoon by Deanna made him even angrier at his disability. A thin veneer of humility flushed his cheeks, even with the heavy haze of medication that kept him weak from feeding himself. He strived to do these things for himself, not to become an invalid.

"Deanna, please, I can do this myself." He grumbled as Deanna held the dripping spoon to his lips. She put the bowl down and sighed. "Will we've been through this too many times to count. You need help and I need something to do. Now be sensible and let me feed you. You're wasting away." She added lastly as a jibe. Weeks before the crash he'd complained about the middle aged spread, no longer present as he lived purely on the strict liquid diet. He winced slightly as he tried to sit up higher, finally giving up and rolling his tired eyes.

"You win." His brief smile turning to surprise as a spoon was thrust between his lips. "Urgh." he groaned after the salty taste of the soup slid down his throat. He raised one shaky hand trying to ward off the second spoonful with no luck. Deanna placing his hand back down to the bedding before picking up her spoon to continue his feeding. "We've got to get back home." He grumbled as spoon by spoon Deanna helped him empty the seemingly bottomless cauldron of evil tasting soup.

Deanna smiled at each crack he made about the cooks and certain amounts of boiled socks. "How's the leg?" She asked not wishing to see for herself, the ugly damage they'd done to his bones with lengths of steel pins.

He blinked back exhaustion and rolled his eyes. "Painful. They tried to massage my foot yesterday, to increase the circulation. If the Cardassians ever need a new form of torture, they've got the best form." He grumbled. "But Beverly said it wasn't too bad yesterday. That it was settling down nicely."

Deanna rested her hand on his shoulder as she wiped his lips and beard from lunch. "We'll get you out of here eventually Will. You just have to hang on a bit longer."

"Be patient...I know I know." He nodded, now more alert as the small amount of nutrition worked it's way around his body. "Just bored lying here with nothing to do." He glanced over to the petit Betazoid who held his hand in comfort.

"Sorry." He cracked a false smile for her benefit, trying to repay her for her selfless generosity. Caring for an angry man like himself wasn't easy.

"Your welcome." She replied. "Now. Want me to read to you or let you sleep?"

"Talk.... I'd just like to talk a bit. Vanessa should be back soon with something to knock me out again. So I'd talk quickly." He said before a cough rattled his body, making him clench teeth. "Urghh. My back’s killing me. I'd kill for a regenerator right now." He groaned.

"Kidneys." Deanna surmised. "Paul said they should run clear soon, once the swelling goes down and the bruising vanishes."

He nodded slowly. "Like everything else. Time."

"Correct. Now....Women's Weekly or National Geographic?" Deanna said holding up the preferred reading material.


"So how's the escapee?" Beverly asked as she moved into the room.

"Asleep..again. National Geographic did it again." She smiled holding up a thick magazine opened to a story on whales by a Doctor Herbert.

Beverly laughed quietly in the darkened room. "And I thought he liked nature?"

"Just not the drone of my voice obviously." Deanna rolled her eyes.

"So has he tried to crawl the walls today?" She asked checking his chart, noticing his blood toxicity tests. The antibiotic levels, drawing an even line.

"No. But we did get him to eat today, although some of it did come back up later. But that may of been due to the section on vultures' eating habits." Deanna said dropping the magazine back to the side table.

"Good. I really want him out of here as soon as possible once we locate that damned shuttle and get him some real medication." She replaced the chart and crossed her arms, moving along his bedside till she was standing by his chest. She ran a hand gently over his ribs checking for heat. "He's still pretty bad though." Deanna's rising head prompted her to raise an open hand her way. "But not dangerously bad. If we do get him home, he's still going to be bed ridden for quite some time, even if his ribs are only bruised and he believes himself strong enough to use crutches. We can't chance moving his leg out of alignment again. Who knows how long we're going to be stuck here."

Deanna nodded and tried to lock away her fear. The last week had been hard enough accommodating herself to the basics of this slot in history. No modern conveniences such as replicators, just a kitchen with equipment only Will Riker would know how to use. Beverly had spent many a night out with Paul, and she herself was only buying foods that needed no cooking to keep herself healthy and strong. Though she occasionally partook of a hot meal served at the hospital once in a while, if not finishing off Will's breakfast, lunch or tea.

"And if we don't get back?" Deanna knew one of them had to ask it sometime, and she had just stepped over the line, bringing up the 'what if?' scenario.

"Then we survive here with a bad tempered Alaskan man." She shrugged her shoulders. "Deanna. It's not that bad here. We're alive. You've still got Will by your side and we've got a wonderful benefactor. Not the worst story I've ever heard about, especially in the aftermath of a shuttle crash."

"Agreed." Deanna said clasping Will's hand in hers and brushing her fingers through his bedraggled hair, slowly dropping to advance across the stubble that lined his cheeks and throat, no longer the carefully trimmed beard it used to be.

"Is Vanessa working out OK?" Beverly had spent quite a few hours looking for the most determined and kind nurse she could find on the floor.

"She's great Beverly. Ignore's every one of Will's requests for transport out of here." She smiled. "She calls Will 'handsome'.

"I'm sure he enjoys it."

"Well he does blush." Deanna smiled. "Then looks guiltily my way."

"Talking of blushing, I've got a date tonight. Want to walk home with me? I just finished my shift and I need to go get changed."

"Ah the infamous Paul strikes again." Deanna grinned. "Sure. Why not. They're bound to kick me out again soon anyway." She leaned forward and kissed Will on the lips tenderly before giving one last squeeze of his hand. [Good night Imzadi] She sent before leaving the equipment ridden room.




The glorious sun reached down and spread it's even warmth over Deanna's body as she lay in the sand, exhausted from the day's dive. No sign of the shuttle so far. They'd covered kilometres of ocean floor as far as she was concerned. And each dive revealed even less of their quarry. All she wanted was something to help Will recover. And even a working transmitter perhaps. She sighed and turned over starring at the grains of sand encroaching onto the towel. In the distance she heard laughter, the doctor duo, dancing upon the beach in a laughing tangle. Feeling Beverly's emotions lifted her own from the dark mass that Will's hopelessness drew them both to. She soaked in the warmth the dating couple expressed, wishing for Will's health to improve drastically soon.

Sure. He'd started onto pureed food yesterday and most of the equipment had been removed, but still he was trapped in one room, centred on a sterile bed with a sealed window. The air conditioning was driving him crazy, doing little to help with such things as positive healing. He was either hot or cold, bad tempered or depressed. The latter she thought from the drugs. The way they crushed his emotions, turning the swirls into hard jaggered blocks that made her wince on occasion when she partook in his feelings.

She sighed and dropped her head down onto the towel, smelling the salted air and fingering the only thing she'd ever retrieved, her communicator. Will's was in his draw by the bed. His Deanna pager she'd called it. He'd only used it once when he'd needed company other than a prodding doctor or nurse. It had been late, but Paul had arranged for it, he desperately didn't want to sedate him again. And Deanna seemed to be the best answer.

She traced the Starfleet symbol with her fingers, eyes closed, as it lay pinned to the towel. Hoping quietly that Will was alright on his own.


Will opened his eyes as the smell of food wafted through the door, followed by the familiar rattle of the trolley and greeting, a known preface to the thin soup they were about to leave in front of him. He couldn't remember how long he'd been asleep, and the same soup provided no hint of whether it was breakfast, lunch or dinner. The hint of sun peering through the tightly pulled curtains announced that it was at least still daylight, the same as it was when the fresh dose of pills sent him off to dream land.

Still groggy he clumsily pulled himself upright with the help of the nurse who was re-positioning his pillows behind him before she let him lean back. Half reclining she handed him a plastic cup of water and more pills, watching as he swallowed on command and gulped down the bitter taste of chemical laced water. After spending his childhood in the crystal laked area of Alaska, the alien taste of Fluoride made him feel he'd been drinking pool water from deck six rather than from a tap.

Accepting the bowl of soup, he let the nurse place a napkin under his chin, and waited till she left. Hands shaky he let the warm bowl rest on his chest, no energy to bother eating at all. He knew he had to eat, lest they stick that damn tube down his throat again, or Deanna's force feeding.

He felt so lethargic. Even the simplest things like a sponge bath and change of sheets left him exhausted. At least the gentle massages were a relief from tight muscles, cramped from lack of use, or the occasional bout of pins and needles.

Playing with the spoon, Will Riker managed a slurp of the dreadful pea soup before pulling a face and disgustedly plonked it back to the side table with a loud clatter. Will Riker had eaten and survived many varied dishes around the alpha quadrant. Crewmen even laid bets until how long it would take until he ended up in Beverly's sickbay, looking for a stomach ache cure, but this dish was not something he wanted to lay bets on. Especially when he'd cooked better.

With nothing other to do than sleep, read or watch what they called TV, he took advantage of the calm and promptly closed his eyes before they came in search of his body, and the next set of blood work ups they'd need from him.


"Can I ask you something?" Beverly asked Paul as they strolled around the small garden at the back of their house.

"Sure." He replied, his arm linked in hers.

She kept looking at her feet as they made slow trails like snails through the dewy grass. "I'd like to have Will transferred to home care." She stopped as he did, finally looking up into his sympathetic eyes.

"And if I let you bring him home, how would you look after him?" He asked moving her forward again to keep the chill from they're nightly walk. They often chatted like this, arm in arm and in secluded areas that they could feel free to air anything that came to mind without the call of a telephone or pager chasing them.

"Day nurse?" She suggested.

He nodded. "Beverly, your cousin is not the sort of man I want out of my sight. He's already tried to escape numerous times. And I am quite sure he is planning his next attempt as we speak. Here, he has issues with facilities being further away and less security to keep him attuned to the regime, that is one day going to let him walk again." He sighed heavily. "Do you really think you can trust him here alone at all times?"

"Paul." She paused compiling her words. And for Beverly it was strange, a woman who normally spoke her mind even to the Captain, but she herself felt diplomacy was needed. She didn't want Paul thinking she was using him, and she certainly didn't want to tread over his medical expertise. "You said yourself he's brooding and making escape plans. Heck I'm sure he's even taken a spoon and started scooping a hole in the brickwork. He just needs a change of scenery. Deanna will be here and a day nurse can take care of the rest. Even if it's a week down the track." She proposed.

"I don't know Beverly." Wiping away the frown, he added a smile. "Who's going to cook for him?" He laughed knowing the two women weren't the best of kitchen chefs.

Beverly slapped his arm playfully. "Paul!"

"Hey it's OK. We can get supplies sent over. Not the easiest way to care for a patient, but if you insist he needs out then maybe we can twist some legs." He joked.

Beverly shook her head and laughed. "Cruel Paul, very cruel."





"You’re healing well Will." Paul noted as he marked another of the sheets on the chart. Vanessa pulled the sheet back up to his chest, covering the fresh gown he seemed to be forever throwing to the ground. "Temperature is still playing up a bit though but that's to be expected." He said shaking the thermometer and placing it back into the metal bowl. "Keep this up and we'll have you marching around the room soon." The doctor said checking the IV lines.

"Sure." Will answered as he lay back heavily and stared at the ceiling. "I need to walk if I want to pee in peace." He drolly joked.

"Had enough of pretty women tangling with your tackle?" Paul answered back with a healthy dose of laughter in his voice.

"Pretty women watching me fail you mean." Will corrected as he started to move on under the dark brooding cloud, that was fast becoming the best place to hide from all the patronising comments.

"You are progressing Will, look upon that as an up-side. And I'm also up grading you to thicker foods from now on today, seeing as your keeping down the other stuff. So take it easy, your bowels are going to starting paying havoc once they get something more than liquid flowing through them." He said watching the broad man. "I'll also get Angela in here to trim your beard for you. Starting to look aswell as growl like a bear."

Will looked over to the doctor, who's beside manner was somewhat puzzling. "Are you dating Beverly?" He asked out of the blue, having heard a few snippets from Deanna and Beverly when they thought he was asleep.

Paul smiled. "Something like that. Do I have your permission?" Vanessa slunk out of the room, with the various medical implements from Will's check-up, fully aware that the conversation was now moving into personal space.

Will laid back and sighed. For the Captains honour he should say no. But he'd seen the glint in Beverly's eyes, something that had been remiss during the last year after the Captain's fling on the Baku home planet. She'd been hurt badly by Picard's ignorance of her needs. Something Will himself had bristled with when he hadn't been focusing his attentions on his Imzadi. Will had been silent for only a moment, but Paul knew he was composing his answer before replying.

"I see Beverly as more of a sister........so just treat her like a lady and I won't come after you." He finally answered.

Paul smiled. "Thank you Wil. Means a lot to get your approval."

Will nodded and gave a small forced smile. "Now. When can I get out of here?"

"I knew there was a catch." Paul joked. "Keep up this rate of healing and we'll let you out soon for some new scenery. But before we decide on when, I'd better go and finish my other rounds before I miss lunch, and end up making your ‘sister’ mad." Paul watched silently as Will nodded in agreement, viewing the way the bearded man carefully hid his sadness behind a forced smile. The door swung open and Deanna paused through the opening. "All finished?" She asked.

"All tip top and in shape." Paul said before turning to his patient. "OK Will. The nurse should be in soon to give you a quick clean up. I'm going to leave you now with this beautiful woman until they arrive." David paused before leaving "You've done well today Will, look at it as progress. I'll see you again tomorrow." He made his way out once Will had nodded briefly.

No words were uttered until the door closed and Will dropped his head back heavily to the pillow trying to blink away the tears that were gathering. Deanna glided to his side in seconds, wrapping her arms around Will's shuddering shoulders as he sat up awkwardly into her embrace. "Let it out Imzadi. I'm here for you." His broad back a canvas for her fingers as she twirled them in circles of comfort. A nurse entered only to exit again once a quick look from Deanna spoke volumes to be left alone.

"Feel better?" Deanna asked as he drew away from her chest wiping his eyes.

"Yeah." He whispered. "It's just so damn infuriating. They say I'm doing well when I should be put out of my misery."

Grabbing a tissue she gently wiped his eyes for him. "Will you've been in these situations before. This is no different. You will get better it's just going to take longer here. Alright?" Deanna gave him another squeeze around the shoulders before moving back as the nurse re-entered.

"Sorry ma'am. I need to give him his beard trim before his dinner arrives. If you could wait outside? I'll only be a few minutes." The young nurse began to lay out the implements without waiting for an answer, her eyes not meeting her patient's, knowing he'd been crying and would prefer to keep it that way.

Deanna waited outside unaware of Beverly as she floated to her side. "Problem?" She glanced to Will's room.

"No. They're just making him handsome." She smiled. "He's not taking this all too well." Deanna admitted, wiping gently at the tear stains on her t-shirt. "He broke down not long ago. Beverly we've got to get him out of here." A hint of pleading laced her words.

"I know Deanna. That's why I've been talking to Paul. He said to give another couple of days and he'll see about home nursing for him instead." Beverly gave a comforting squeeze to her friend before moving aside from the door as the nurse exited the room indicating that they could move inside now.

"Home nursing as in back at the house?"

"Yes. Now lets go back inside and tell him the good news," began Beverly until she suddenly stopped almost making Deanna run into her. Beverly moved aside and gave a smile to her colliding friend, then took one look at Will in bed. "Or maybe wait until he wakes up that is."




Deanna had only just returned from lunch, having lost patience for Will to wake, when she found a fuming nurse barrelling out of his room in search of Doctor Andrews.

Deanna raced inside to find Will sitting up watching the view of featureless concrete buildings towering into the blue sky. He seemed to be looking up, searching the sky for something, perhaps even a way out of the position he was now in.

Carefully navigating the upturned bowl of soup on the floor, she sat next to the man dressed in a mid-length hospital gown. His one good leg above the sheet, toes moving in deep thought as he ignored her presence. She could feel the anger bubbling inside without having to even look at the ugly sneer covering a once handsome bearded counterance.

She leaned against his shoulder, ignoring the crossed arms, and looked up to the sky searching for what he was starring at. "I don't think now is a good time to talk Deanna." His voice croaked.

"When is Imzadi? Obviously something is gnawing at you. You've been getting more and more temperamental each day. The nurse out there is almost ready to quit." Deanna said watching the clouds move over the blue, just as his anger was covering the kindness she always valued from him. "The poor girl has already stopped calling you handsome. I can almost see her calling you Commander by the weeks end."

"Just leave me be." He said, a tightness holding back other unkind words he didn't want to have to use.

"And why should I do that?" She prompted.

He was about to answer when the door snapped open admitting Paul and Vanessa. "Everything under control?" Paul asked gingerly entering the room while Vanessa quickly cleaned up the bowl and it's contents.

"Could you give us a moment Paul?" Deanna asked, giving a sweet smile as they left the room. The click of the door made her smile even more. "I think your starting to frighten them." She jibed.

"I said go." He said with a catch in his voice. He swallowed hard dropping his head and clenching his teeth.

"And if I do?" Deanna knew just how to get under his skin, and she was practising that edge. The edge she had over any other counsellor in Starfleet or this timeline with him, urging him closer to spurting it all out and discussing his anger.

Deanna didn't expect it to work so quickly though. He lent forward with a grimace and glared at his lap. "Back off!"

Deanna composed herself. "No......Not until you tell me what it is that's turned you into the ogre you are now." She still sat on the edge of the bed regardless of the pain and exhaustion she could feel emanating from Will. His leg throbbed in tandem with his hip as he held himself up against his body's requests.

"Deanna..." He started then looked away as he blinked tears from glassy eyes. "Just go." He whispered as he looked to the bedding, his eyes catching the heavily bandaged leg beneath him, peering out of the bed linen. His anger welling as he surveyed the metal spikes sticking out of the covered flesh.

She wrapped her arms around his shoulders, unafraid of his brooding anger. Both were silent, he...trying to catch his breath, her...waiting for the words she knew were coming.

"I feel so hopeless." He started with, followed by "they've drugged me, mutilated me, and they still want me to be happy to play in their mouse maze. I'm trapped inside this cell, under their mercy, in what they call damned medical care!"

Deanna continued to sit and listen, rubbing her hand slowly up and down his arm. His head lay awkwardly against her chest, his back in her lap as he began to fall back tiredly into her embrace.

"And now they damn well want to poison me with what they call food." Deanna looked to where the bowl had been, knowing that the hospital soup had been the start of the commotion.

"I want out. I want..." He choked and swallowed his words.

"What do you want Will Riker?" She asked only now entering the silence. Knowing full well the drugs were making him this emotional.

"I want to go home." He whispered before turning his head into her chest.

"I know Will. We all do. But until we can locate the Enterprise or even the shuttle there is nothing more we can do but succumb to what care is available." She drew her hand through his long hair, mesmerised by it's length, the longest he'd ever had it. Certainly not regulation for a high ranking Commander in Starfleet. But before her was no longer the facade of the commander, before her was now the true man who needed her as he faced the final reality of their position.

"Beverly and I are planning on going diving again this weekend. As I've said before, if we locate the actual shuttle location and retrieve a working med kit, then we can slowly expedite the repair of your injuries. But we have to be careful Will, or we'll be found out before we're rescued back into our own time." She watched him nod, his experience on Malcor III, proof of how careful they had to be.

"How about we get you back under the sheets Will?" She prompted to the mop of brown hair nestled against her breasts.

His gentle nod enough for her to position her arms under his arms and around his chest, lowering him down to the bedding. She pulled the sheet back over his good leg and covered his chest before placing a kiss over each closed eyelid. Deanna then commanded him to lie still as she exited the room to find three people pacing the corridor. Deanna asked Paul and Vanessa back in pointing to the bed before turning back to Beverly. "We need to talk." Beverly nodded and led the way as Deanna followed her down the corridor to the lifts, heading for the Doctors private office a few floors below. Before stepping into the lifts embrace, Deanna glanced back down the corridor to the still open door of will's room, mentally sending her love to Will before her view was cut off.


"He can't take it any more Beverly. You know how he is after three days in sickbay."

"Yeah I know...let alone three weeks in the closest of medical care to our field care you can get. But we can't do anything to change it other than to get him home perhaps." Beverly shrugged and leaned back in her chair, glancing at Deanna's pacing across the table.

"That's the problem. He wants to go home. Our real home." She pointed above her to the ceiling in reference.

"And did you tell him why we can't?"

"Yes. Beverly he's suffering from what any overly active man would when they're abilities are suddenly taken away from them, especially when they find themselves unable to do anything about their present condition. He needs to feel important, useful and in control. The drugs they're giving him are leaving him disoriented, and depressed. No control. Just fog." Deanna implored his case.

"I know Deanna. But I can't do anything about it. We have no med kit and we can't have him miraculously repair himself either." Beverly paused. "Best I can do is home care and perhaps ask Paul if he can be taken outside somehow." She offered with a shrug.

"I think it would help." Deanna stopped pacing and dropped into the chair. "And help more if we could find something for him to do besides stare at the ceiling."

"I'll see what I can do, I'll chat with Paul." She repeated.

Deanna smiled and changed tactic. "So how is Mr Romeo? You didn't come home last night."

"Well it was late by the time the play finished and after going back to his place...well I kind of fell asleep." Beverly blushed.

"Sure Beverly. I'm sure sleep was all you did." She grinned and made her way to the door. "You do realise that Paul asked Will if it was OK to see you?"

Beverly frowned. "And what was our dear Commander's response?" She almost hated to ask.

"He said you were like a sister to him and if Paul hurt you he'd hunt him down. I think that means it's OK." She smiled and winked at the relief she saw across Beverly's face. "Home tonight?

"Not sure. But if I don't come home, I'll definitely meet you for lunch. And as for Will, I think we need to do a little more diving this weekend than picnicking for his sake." Beverly answered, keeping her night's fantasies to herself.

"Have a good night then Beverly." Deanna gave a small wave before leaving with a twinkle in her eye.




The light buzz on the wall indicated it was time to leave. Visiting hours were over and the tired Betazed almost welcomed it as she squeezed Will's hand. "Time to go Imzadi."

He squeezed back and smiled for the first time in many days. "Walk home safely won't you?" He worried.

"I'll be fine Imzadi, it's you we're worried about."

"Hey I'm fine. I navigated their maze today better than last time's check-up and you've given me hope in the form of home care soon. " He smiled sheepishly. "I'm really sorry about earlier." Deanna fingers closing his lips.

"Don't be. You're being very heroic through all of this. I'm not sure if I could cope as well as you." She said as she gently kissed his lips leaving a hint of moisture behind. "But remember, behave first, then we'll consider taking you home."

"I promise." He smiled.

"But no playing with the nurses while I'm gone Will Riker or you'll be cradling something other than your leg." She mock chastised.

He chuckled and drew her back down over the covers to hug her tightly. "Your the only one I want to play with."

She laughed and drew away from his hug before exiting the door, pleased with his change in emotions since that afternoon. Paul's report that he was progressing better now gave her a small skip in her step.

She closed the door behind her lost in her own world, not expecting the young nurse who moved in front of her. "He'll be fine miss. We'll look after him for you." She knew Deanna ached each night in leaving him there alone.

"Thank you Vanessa." Deanna said grasping the nurses hands in her own. "Just tell him if he doesn't behave he can't play with me ever." She gave mirth to her comment and relaxed as the young nurse beamed back a smile before she moved on into Will's room, attending to her duties to the patient within.


Will tried to get comfortable for the fifteenth time that day. His lower back was aching, and just lying there wasn't enough to alleviate the cramping muscles. Every intake of breathe stirring the demons. Giving up he used the buzzer, calling for the night nurse.

The doors admitted Margretta his night nurse, her face always carrying a smile regardless of his grumbling features. She raised an eyebrow and approached his side.

"Sorry. But my backs cramping up. Can I have something to cut the pain down?" Will admitted as another hot poker of pain dug into his back. Making her move forward and slide a hand under his body, flipping him carefully to his side.

"No apologies William. It happens a lot with our long term patients. I'm surprised it's taken you this long to give in to one of my massages." She kindly said as her warm hand carefully manipulated tightly clenched muscles.

"Did David get you sitting up today?" She asked knowing that he'd started light physio. The physio, David was a kind man she herself had a little crush on.

"Yeah. Made me sit up for an hour." He released a small chuckle. "Harder than I thought."

Margretta smiled back, enjoying the grin that graced the man she was caring for. The ugly sneer of anger finally starting to remove itself. "Well it does get easier. There. Does that feel better?" She asked letting him lie flat.

He nodded and sighed. "Yeah. Much better. Thanks."

"You'll still get a few twinges but they should relax soon. Need some water?" She offered grabbing the jug next to him. She poured a cup as soon as he nodded, holding it still till he grasped it's form.

She watched him down the water in a gulp, waiting to take back the cup and straighten his bedding. "Think you can manage some sleep now William?" She enquired with a pleasant tone.

"I'll see." He smiled tiredly.

Margretta patted his shoulder kindly. "I'll be back in to check on you when I do my rounds, and if your not asleep we'll consider getting you something to knock you out." She said before vacating the room.

Will smiled, happy to be able to breathe without a groan again and happily glided into another light sleep.




The soft footfalls of someone in the downstairs living area brought Beverly on a fact finding mission. No lights were on but she certainly heard something human moving about. Feeling about in the darkness, her fingers sought out the plastic light switch, clicking it on and illuminating the room and it's occupant in a spotlight glow.

"Deanna? What are you doing?" Asked Beverly as she caught the small Betazoid's hand poised on the front door handle, her chance to escape without Beverly's knowledge ruined. She saw Deanna's shoulder drop in defeat before she finally turned around looking guilty.

"Going out?" She replied in a mouse like voice.

"Will again?" Beverly pushed, gaining her a nod. "Damn that man! Deanna you need sleep, can't he wait until sun up?" The doctor moved down the stairs slowly one at time. Something similar to that of an executioner approaching it's victim.

"He didn't call me. One of the staff said he wasn't sleeping. He's been asking for me." She defended.

"Deanna. He knows it's night time..."

"Does he? Hard to tell in such an enclosed environment." She interrupted.

Beverly shook her head and closed the crack of the open front door, letting the lock click shut. "Have a hot drink and go back to bed. If he didn't call you on the communicator it isn't that important." She pressed. Her hands moving her friend away from the door and to the breakfast bench. She put on a saucepan of milk and started to heat it up, frisking through the cupboard until her hand snagged the box of chocolate powder.

"Trying to bribe me?" Deanna moped.

The doctor rolled her eyes and smiled. "I swear you too are related sometimes. Both moody and stubborn." She turned back to finding some clean cups, finally giving up and rinsing out some old ones that lay piled up with the rest of their dirty washing. "If you really want something to do perhaps a little house cleaning might do if for you." She hinted. Deanna continued to pout. "So which nurse was it?"

"Hmmm?" Deanna faked her vagueness not wanting to get her mole in trouble. Beverly had already earned respect from her co-workers by her daily rounds. A respect that none of the nurses wanted to break when she had ordered that Deanna not be disturbed at night because Will demanded it.

"Who rang. And who went against my orders." She poured the hot chocolate into one cup and held it to Deanna just slightly out of her reach. The Smell of cocoa almost driving her mad with it's sensual dance around her nose.

"Just someone I had to really beg to, to be able to break your orders, oh mighty one." She gave a small overdone bow, a little irritant she'd picked up from Will, from when he used it on herself.

"Fine. Whoever it is will no doubt be on nightshift. An easy enough schedule to look up." She placed a smug smile on her face and sipped her own hot chocolate, while still holding Deanna's out of reach, who still refused to reveal all. Beverly gave up, with the cup too hot to handle any longer and passed it onto the eager Betazoid. "That's rather a nasty addiction you've got there." She laughed cut short by a shrill sound that neither had heard for a long time.

Deanna swallowed and put down her cup, searching her pocket for the small communicator badge. She looked up into Beverly's eyes hoping it was the Enterprise. For Will's sake mostly. One small tap and the shrill beep stopped, opening the channel. "Deanna here." She said waiting for the person to reveal themselves.

As soon as Will's croaky voice emerged Beverly rolled her eyes and placed her half empty cup heavily onto the cluttered sink. "Imzadi."

"What is it Will?" Deanna asked, her face a serious mask of concern.

"Um. I'm sorry Deanna. I shouldn't of called." He mumbled.

"Yes, you shouldn't" Beverly said angrily taking Deanna's communicator and voicing her opinion. "Do you have any idea how late it is Will Riker?"

"Beverly!" Deanna shouted trying to get the badge off her.

The communicator chirped once and cut out, signalling that Will had 'hung up" as such. Deanna was furious. "You said he wouldn't call if he didn't need me, well he did call. Is that enough evidence that he needs me? Can I go? Or do I need a note from my mother?" Deanna shouted.

"Something the matter?" A calm voice spoke from the top of the stairs.

"Paul!" Beverly slipped the communicator into her dressing gown. "I'm sorry to of woken you, go back to bed." Beverly said sweetly, trying to cover up the argument the two women were about to have.

Deanna starred and pointed at Paul while firing her poisonous eyes in Beverly's direction. "So it's fine to talk to your lover at night but not mine? Is that how things are?" She stalked over to the couch and grabbed her jacket, dragging her arms through the sleeves in a hurried pace.

"He's only here for one night Deanna, but Will's been draining you for weeks. You need rest! Please take your jacket off and go back to bed." She voiced her argument in as civilised a way she could without hog tying her.

Deanna dropped her head to think for a moment before continuing to the door. "Will needs me." She said and slipped out the door.

Beverly dropped her hands hard to her lap as she crumbled into the couch. The touch of Paul's hands on her shoulders made her shiver at first. "You meant well but he does need her." His soft voice whispered into her ear, followed by a chased kiss to her neck.

"We haven't fought for ages." She said. Paul rubbed her back in sympathy till she curled herself into his arms. "We've been friends for decades, and I just insulted the one thing she has left from that crash."





By the time Deanna got to the hospital she was breathless, having run the whole way. Margretta met her at the door to the ward, letting her access to Will's room without a word. Deanna gave her accomplice a silent thank you with her smile, as she took a deep breath and plexed her neck with her index finger before entering, trying her upmost to still her emotions. Will didn't need any more grief.

When she entered she found him sitting upright and forward, one hand holding his lower back. "You alright?" She asked racing to his side, one hand instantly plying back his hair from his beautiful eyes.

"Yeah. Just a little ache. Nothing to worry about." He smiled. "Are you alright?" He asked noticing her harried look.

"Depends on which right." She evaded his question.

"Got you in trouble did I?" He grimaced, knowing Beverly was angry with him.

"Yes. I'd hide tomorrow if I were you. In fact I think we'd both better hide together." She broke out a smile and gave a little laugh, letting the pressure out.

He grinned and lay back onto the stacked pillows. "Well there's lots of room under these sheets." He suggested lifting the sheet from his bare chest, and gaining a big grin from Deanna.

"You been stripping for the nurses again?" She waggled a finger at him, spying the damp gown on the floor . She picked it up and left it hanging over the foot board, before moving to sit on the side of his bed, at the persistence of his hand, slapping the bed for her presence.

"Nah. Thought you might need a laugh so I was going to streak down the corridor when you arrived, but Margretta wouldn't allow it." He beamed, his emotions already lifting since she'd entered.

"Hmmm. Well I'm just glad I caught you before we got into even more trouble." She sighed and shifted her position to lay her head on his warm shoulder. His chest hair still damp from perspiration as she twirled her fingers through it. She'd felt his sombre emotions and pain the minute she'd entered the ward, but already his liquid emotions were changing, just by her presence.

Will draped and arm around her shoulder and pulled her in closer so her head rested under his chin. "She's just jealous." He joked.

"No Will. She just worries about us too much. Thank heavens for Paul, she'd be an emotional nightmare without him." She gave a small snort of laughter. "Should of seen his face when I stormed out of the house."

"He was there?" Will asked, his mind on red alert status.

"Yes. But he was asleep in Beverly's room until we starting shouting. He didn't hear the communicator." She assured him, smiling as he relaxed.

They lay there quietly until Will twitched and grunted lightly. "Pain?" She asked.

"All the time." He grumbled. "Nah. Just a twitch. This pelvis hates me every time I sit up. It's just settling down again. Call it a warning to not wake it up again." He said filling his words with a quiet chuckle.

"You seem happier now Imzadi."

"I am. I have you." He paused, deciding not to circumvent the truth. "And they changed my medication this afternoon. I figure it wasn't making good with my turbulent Riker genes."

"More your emotions Imzadi. You've been a bad boy ever since you got here. In fact I think I should leave you to consider your crimes." Deanna joked until his fingers found a sensitive spot and tickled her, she shrieked and placed a hand on his belly to get leverage away from him. Regretting it suddenly as he sat up straight and gave a sharp shout of pain.

"Imzadi! I'm so sorry!" She said fluttering her hands over him as he continued to sit still, teeth clenched and arms surrounding his belly.

"Not your fault. Mine." He ground out between his teeth as he awkwardly lay back with a heavy sigh. He swallowed and checked his IV as he took his time re-acquainting himself with painless breath. Deanna moved back to his side, brushed a hand over his forehead. "Will you do me a favour?" He asked.

"Not press there again?"

"No." He smiled. "Will you lie down and get some sleep with me." He asked lifting the sheet and inviting her in.

"I don't know Will, what if I hurt you like just now?" Her soul wanting him to say 'to hell with it'.

As if answered by angels, his big smile widened. "I'd really like your company right now." At her curious frown he added. "I'm not strong enough for sex yet, if that's what you think I'm up to." He waggled his eyebrows until they hurt and indicated for her to get in. "Please? It's really cold like this." He complained with the sheet up until she shook her smiling face and grinned, removing her shoes.

"OK. But the nurse comes in and we're in trouble." Dressed only in her pants and camisole, she slipped into the small space left in the bed from his enormous frame, clinging onto his chest in hope she didn't end up on the floor. But her fear was for nothing as his huge arms wrapped around her, holding her safe, and stroked her hair until sleep came to them both at the same time.





Beverly awoke in some special arms of her own as the sun flowed in through the window, highlighting the room with a warm glow. Paul's soft moan made her smile as she disentangled herself from him and headed to the bathroom, she halted in the door to look back at him, just as Paul's pager rang waking the slumbering angel.

"Urggh. What time is it?" He groaned, eyes closed, hand searching blindly on the side table for the offending device.

"6:20am." Beverly replied before heading back to the bathroom and running the shower. Her thoughts re-directed to her wonderful evening with Paul and then the bad points with Will and Deanna. Anger flared within for not letting them be together like herself and Paul. Deanna had been right... She turned seeing Paul leaning against the doorway watching her naked form as she turned off the water and began to towel herself dry.

"Emergency?" She enquired, frowning at his relaxed lean.

"Not really. Seems the staff thought I should know about something now rather than finding out later. They weren't sure what to do in this kind of situation." He shrugged making Beverly frown at his answer, before grabbing a comb and dragging it through her red hair. Paul's fingers gripping hers and removing the comb. "Vanessa went in to give your cousin his pills and breakfast only to find Deanna in his bed." He smiled impishly.

The look on Beverly's face made him laugh. "It's not a problem Bev. She was only curled up beside him fast asleep. In fact it was the best rest they've probably had in weeks."

"So?" She asked knowing why he'd removed the comb, fearing she would of thrown it just like she felt like doing right now.

"I told Vanessa to leave them and let them sleep. They need it and well...the staff are monitoring Will if he does get into any trouble." He shrugged.

Beverly sighed and gave a big smile before moving into Paul's embrace. "Guess your right. Blame the doctor in me. Jump first ask questions later." She snorted.

"Just the way I like you." He murmured before puling her lips to his.


The strong beating of his heart was the first thing she sensed as daylight filtered through her half closed eyes. Eyes that were heavy with desire as she took in his musky smell and focused on his strong arm that reached over her, his hand resting gently on her back.

She remained within his embrace and linked with his mind, sensing the happiness that lay there as he slept, his conscious mind slowly reaching out of slumber to wake. Moving her head, her eyes locked with something that hadn't been there the night before.

The second thing Deanna sensed and saw was Beverly Crusher, arms folded, watching her curled up with Will. She groaned and dropped her head back to Will's chest waking him.

Feeling her groan against his chest, regardless that his eyes were still closed, he cleared his throat and mumbled, "Problem?"

"Something wicked this way comes." She replied quietly into his ear as she sat up again to face the music, one hand steadying herself before she fell out of bed.

"Ah. That would be Beverly?" Will asked.

"That it would." The doctor replied.

"Morning." He said cheerily, still not eager to open his eyes. Deanna was rustling next to him, dressing herself before one of the staff came in. The space she'd slept in now drawing cold without her embrace.

By the window, her hair up in a rough pony tail, stood Beverly with her arms crossed, but her face full of cheer. Deanna looked across at her, feeling rather crumpled and guilty. "Sorry." She said.

Beverly shook her head. "No. I'm sorry. You had every right to visit Will last night. Though I'm not sure that sleeping with him was right as well, but Paul wasn't too worried by it."

Deanna groaned. "Paul knew? Oh no. How many of the staff came in and saw us?"

"Just Margretta and Vanessa who have been cleared of my wrath for your information." She moved forward and placed the back of her hand against Will's cheeks and forehead. "You both slept very soundly. Oh. And Will's late for his medication." She added, pointing to the side table and the plastic cup of water, and pills.

"Feel better without them." Will said as Deanna handed them to him and watched as each object went down his throat.

"Not in a few hours you wouldn't." She removed the cup and noted the medication on his chart, moving to the door. "I'm going to leave you while I get back to my duties, but I believe that Paul's due in for your check-up soon. So any funny business is out. Got it?" She laid down the rules with a smile.

"Too late." Deanna jibed, making Will cough from his deep chuckle.

Beverly let her head shake from side to side with a broad smile as she exited into the corridor's busy morning rush.




"Keep it going, and hold it there."

Clenched teeth and a grunt answered the enthusiastic Physio, as Will began the long haul of getting his strength back. His lack of strength the other day in sitting himself up had galled him, but right now being barely able to lift the small weights in his hands was down right degrading to his ego.

For a man who used to fight monsters for fun and worked out in the Enterprise's gym constantly, this use of weight training was laughable to him, well....laughable if he could just lift the damn things without breaking out in a sweat.

"Doing well Will." David said removing the hand weights from the collapsed arms. "We're building these arms up so you can manoeuvre yourself in and out of bed to your chair and back again." He informed his patient. "Then once your leg's better then we can start you on crutches."

"By my progress today I guess that's next year then?" Will gasped as he tried catching his breath. David chuckled and placed his hands under Will's arms, getting him up right in the bed. "Oh great...this again." He moaned.

"Heard you had a little massage from Margretta the other night. Surely this isn't too bad when there's the rewards of a massage later?" David removed his hands and stood back to watch his patient shake and wobble. "Hold that stomach in, we need to strengthen your abs a little. Good. Good. Hold it there." David turned and picked-up his clipboard and moved to the door. "I want you to stay sitting up for the next five minutes while I go talk to your doctor. OK? Think you can do that for me?"

Will let out a grimacing yes as he concentrated hard on starring at his lap, trying the mind over matter technique Deanna had tried to teach him way back on Betazed with the tree branch. He tried counting the small yellow bruises over his chest and stomach when blanking his mind failed, and then proceeded to count the drops of perspiration as they rained down his nose, finally collapsing just as David came back in. Panting heavily, he closed his eyes and tried to swallow on the dry throat he'd garnered.

"Excellent work." The physio commented before handing him another cup of water and pills. "Seems that Doctor Andrew's going to let you out tomorrow." He grinned when he saw Will's relief. "This of course means that your going to experience certain muscle groups that are not going to work as strongly as you remember. So when your being shifted into a chair, I want you to take things slow and easy, and tell your tech. assistants if you think your not going to make it and fall. Understood? Because if you do fall you could be trapped here a lot longer." He said reinforcing his orders.

"Sure thing." Will said. "No heroics."

"See you tomorrow Will." David grinned and gave a wave before exiting the room. One body trading places with another as Vanessa entered with all the necessary items for a sponge bath in hand.




After three weeks imprisoned in his room, he was finally able to feel the sweet kiss of the sun on his face, and breathe air that wasn't filtered and purified to be made breathable. Taking a deep breath he filled warm lungs with the chilled air making him cough a little. Autumn was well on it's way as the green leaves had already begun to turn amber and tumble off the trees, pooling at the base of his wheelchair.

He longed to sit on the grass himself, but hovering mechanically was as close as he was ever going to get. Will resided to the fact that just being outside was a bonus. He adjusted the blanket over his knees and closed his eyes, a shadow falling over him, making him open them again. "Hi." He managed.

"Hi yourself. Need help young man?" She asked fussing with his blankets.

"Nah. Everything is fine Imzadi." He raised warm blue eyes to her onyx orbs and sent warm feelings her way. "Everything's just fine."

Crossing her legs, she sat down on the bench next to him, exactly where she'd left him moments before. Her hand clasping his as he stifled a yawn. "It really took the energy out of you didn't it." Deanna stated watching exhaustion settle like a mantle around his shoulders.

"But it was worth it." He grinned. "Free!....well.......almost." He winked. He tried to stretch a little only to find himself restricted by the chair and his leg that was strapped out straight like a battering ram.

Deanna rubbed her hand up and down his arm, careful of the medical paraphernalia that still followed him around. "Beverly said you'd be a little stiff and sore from lying flat so long."

"Yeah but she didn't tell me how damn weak I'd be. I can't believe I couldn't get into this chair by myself, damn infuriating." He shook his head in amazement. "I couldn't even lift my hips up when they took those catheters out." His cheeks flushed a pale red and he fought the embarrassment of his disability. "Think they should phaser me?"

Deanna smirked and kissed him on the cheek before pulling his hand to her chest. "Well this heart beat says no. We'll have you in any shape, any day." She smiled.

"Promise?" He grinned.

"Will. Get your mind out of your groin, it'll go numb down there." She replied.

"Your not kidding about numb." He rolled his eyes. Coughing his throat clear he raised a tired hand to wipe away the lines around his eyes, unable to brush away the exhaustion. He was dreading the return to his cell they called a room.

Feeling more than seeing him slump, she realised he was hiding the lethargic movements of exhaustion, wanting to stay in the fresh air rather than return back to his room. "Will if your tired, we'll have to go back before you fall asleep. You need to learn how to get back into bed if you want to escape more often." She said sweetly, watching as he rolled eyes.

"Do I have to? No. Don't answer that. I know the answer." He nodded his surrender and pointed back to the building. "Let's pack up this away team and beam home then."

Deanna laughed and got up to unlock the chair's brake. "Beaming sounds good. Pushing not so good." He chuckled as she puffed hard getting his heavy form back onto the path off the grass, making traction easier on the wheels and the trip smoother.

Smiling faces greeted him as various staff, he'd met during his incarceration, changed shifts and opened doors for the moving duo. His mobility was a sign to both him and his carers that he was healing, and the escape outdoors a perfect way to lift his past depression.

Deanna pushed with both hands with a grunt as she got him finally into the lift, hitting the button for the fifth floor. "Your not going to sleep on me now are you?" She warned, moving round to look him in the face.

"Nah. Just snoozing." He mumbled bringing his head back up, blinking away the cobwebs. Together with the ping of the lift opening it's doors and the hustle of staff and patients, the sound brought him upright and alert, ready to greet the brightly lit spaces, as Deanna wheeled him through the ward to his heavily populated room. Beverly and Paul waited quietly with two male nurses ready to get him back in bed. Smiles on all their faces to match Will's.

"And how was freedom Will?" Paul asked.

"Delicious." He eyed the bed with distaste. Personally he'd rather roll around in the chair, but physically his body was welcoming the warm sheets with backflips. "Do I really have to get back in there?" He asked.

"It's OK Will. Henry and Alex are going to help you in. We've done this many a times. Ready?" As soon as Will had nodded Paul took hold of the chair from Deanna and swung Will into position beside the bed, removing the arm rests and removing his blanket in record time. The doctor then got out of the way and let the guys gently lift him up into the bed as Paul rolled the chair away into the corner.

A lot of heavy breathing and grunting emerged from the three man huddle until Will was finally laying flat and drained on his bed. The two men left and Vanessa returned to remove his clothing and adjust the IV. Will lay there like a boned chicken, unable to lift a finger, as the effort to move from one piece of furniture to the next gave away his lack of strength and muscle tone.

"A great effort Will. Feel OK?" Paul asked as the young nurse finished pulling the covers up and left the appropriate pills and water by his bedside.

Will was still breathing hard but with a few coughs later he was able to open his eyes and give thanks for his prior escape. Deanna held up his head as she got him to take his pills, wiping away the excess water from his moustache with her own lips as she hugged him tightly. His eyes glassed over and lids closed up shop as he fell into an exhausted sleep. Deanna sat still on the bed edge as he fell deeper and deeper into the recesses of recovery.

"Still a bit yellow in places from the bruising but he's doing very well. I'm thinking that maybe in a few days, once he's got used to moving around in the chair, that we can think about letting him go home with you." Deanna looked up with such glee that Beverly couldn't help but laugh.

"What about those first three steps into the house?" Beverly asked.

"We'll get an ambulance to take him home. They can lift him on a stretcher into his room, then he can wheel around the lower levels of the house when he's strong enough. Afraid he's going to be trapped there though, except for the back garden of course." Paul mused as he let his mind wander over the house's layout. "Lucky for him there's a large bathroom on that lower level too."

"He'll appreciate the change Paul, I can assure you. The delight of being outside today was magnificent to see." Deanna elated.




Beverly was busily enjoying Paul's lips against her own when a shout of joy pulled them apart. Deanna had just emerged from down below, waving a sodden piece of silver around in the water. "We're close!." She yelled before kicking her way back to the boat. As Paul helped Deanna back on board, Beverly grabbed the bundled material, shaking it out until the recognisable shape of a thermal blanket took form.

"Well that's the nearest we've been in weeks." Beverly exclaimed hugging her overly estatic friend.

"Can we pinpoint this on a map and cross reference with the other junk from last week?" Deanna asked as she removed her BSI vest and pulled the wetsuit open. Letting the suns rays warm the top half of her bikini clad body.

Paul's buddy Craig came down from the wheel, map in hand, to the big flat table that sat in the back of the boat. "Here we go. We're looking at least 2km apart. I'd say that until we find a third bit, we're still swimming in circles." He smiled. "But.......with the current and rip charts we can probably guess at about.......here." The bald man said, adjusting his beanie, and stabbing his finger closer to the present day's dive area.

"Let me guess? Too late to try it?" Deanna asked ready for the chorus of yes.

"Right you are." Craig smiled. "You need to let your blood pressure acclimatise before attempting another dive so soon. Otherwise you'll be living with the fishes longer than you'd ever want to." He joked before marking the map with a red marker pen.

"Craig?" Paul called out, Craig having already started back to his controls. "I think we can set off back to shore now if you want." The ‘captain’ of the vessel nodded and make his way to start the engines and to power them back home.

"Well I'd call that successful." Paul said watching as Beverly and Deanna continue to jump up and down in delight.

"This is going to cheer Will up no end." Deanna replied.

Beverly cringed, hating to ruin Deanna's happiness. "Ah, maybe we should wait a little longer? What if we're wrong and it takes us a few more weeks? I don't think a set back on finding the wreck would help, do you?" Beverly's serious voice cut into the groups smiles.

Deanna sighed and drop her flippers to the deck. "Right as usual. But I still would like to tell him we've found something, otherwise he'll think we're just out here risking our lives for nothing but sea shells."

"I don't think that would hurt, do you?" Paul said placing his large comforting hands onto his lover's shoulders. Beverly nodded and gave a small laugh.

"I think he'd enjoy the company, and not to mention the tale of me forgetting my swim suit." She chuckled.

"Now Beverly, I'm sure you forgot it on purpose, just so you could stay on board with Paul all alone." Deanna jibed.

"Alone? What with Craig up there ogling, I don't think so." Beverly laughed.

"And that's your side of the story." Deanna winked.

"That's it, I'm deadly sure your the one related to Will. Any hint of mischief and he's immediately thinking sex." Beverly sighed.

"Who said I was thinking sex." Deanna said with her best ‘who me’ imitation before bursting out into laughter with her friends.




"Ah Deanna? Could I talk to you for a moment?" A nervous green eyed doctor approached the Betazoid counsellor, his fingers fidgeting in his large grip.

"Is it about Will?" She asked instantly, a snippet of fear creeping into her voice.

He shook his head. "No. No he's fine." He smiled. "I just wouldn't mind a little chat about.." He paused.

"Beverly?" Deanna prompted. Smiling when she saw him nod. Sensing his emotions glide to a feeling of embarrassment, she began to understand what he was about to ask.

"Do you have a few minutes?" He asked prompting her towards the large visitors room. A magnificent floor to ceiling windowed area that overlooked the well cared for gardens below. Paul kept his gaze to the gardens and gave a big sigh. "I probably should be talking direct to Beverly but I'm not sure about what I'm going to ask."

Deanna moved into counsellor mode, opting for the same view Paul had glues his eyes to. "I can see your very close to her. She appreciates your comforting presence."

"That's the problem. I want more." He sighed and finally turned to Deanna. "Do you know of her plans once her cousin is healed and well enough to travel?" The feelings she was getting from Paul were a mixture of anticipation and sadness as if he was readying himself for a fall.

Deanna smiled knowing the man was enamoured with her best friend. "Paul I can personally vouch for all of us that we have no plans. Perhaps you should be asking her yourself, you might be surprised in her answer." She offered.

Paul gave a short chuckle "Are you hinting that she's been talking to you too?"

"Well....that's between me and Beverly, Paul, but I suggest you talk to her. She'd appreciate your candour." She said before placing a hand on his arm and giving it a gentle squeeze. "Is that all you wished to ask?"

"Pretty much. You see....I'd like to be more than just great partners, but I hardly know a thing about her background. Hell...I don't even know if she's already married." He rubbed a hand over his eyes and sighed.

"She's not Paul. Once, a long time ago her heart skipped with someone else but his unfortunate death came along forcing her to care for her only son alone, taking precedence over her own wants in life. I think she's enjoyed your company all along, Paul. Perhaps this is the chance for her to start a new relationship with someone special. A time to be frivolous with herself and her needs. And especially to share it all with someone close." Deanna gave a small kiss to Paul's cheek and left him to consider her words.

Her steps clicking on the hard floor as she headed back towards Will's room formed a happy pattern as she hurried to tell Will of Paul's advances. Arriving at his door, she quietly knocked until she heard Will's voice. "Come."

"A bit formal Imzadi." Deanna joked as she entered to find him sitting up in bed reading a book. The sun streamed through the open curtains, crossing his lap to highlight the pages.

"Sorry. Kind of forgot where I was." He said raising his head and a large grin than filled his face. "I can see why the Captain enjoys paper books now."

"Oh no. Another bookworm." Deanna groaned shaking her head.

"Thanks for the support." He quipped before marking the pages and placing it down on the side table. "Anything interesting out there in the wide wide world?"

She smiled knowing that Will Riker the adventurer would of been running wild out there, collecting information and sampling the local's cuisine if his leg wasn't busted up. "Boring Will. Polluted air, noisy transport and evil food." She said to discourage him from escaping to taste it all for himself.

"I love it when you lie." He said receiving a small slap on his arm for teasing her.

"I love you being trapped." She smiled and joined lips with his, eager groans from Will making her pull away first, watching as mild disappointment flashed across his face. "Your not well enough Will." She answered to his curious frown.

"But everything felt all right." He pouted until they both broke into laughter. "So when can we break out of here?" Will asked enthusiastically.

"Will." She chastised. "I told you to keep you motivated, and let you know there is a chance. But as to when I have no idea. It's up to Paul. It's his house so he'd know exactly what your capable of alone."

"Alone? Aren't you going to be there?" He asked his gigawatt smile burning low.

"I'm sorry Will I was going to let you know soon, honestly." She took her time to compose her next words. "I've got a job."

"Hey congratulations." He interrupted. Trying to lift his spirits for her sake.

She nodded and began again. "I've got a job here at the hospital a few floors down in the counselling section for families of injured patients. It's only part time but it is going to draw me away from you for a few hours during the day." She placed the back of her hand against his cheek in comfort.

He nodded. "It's fine Imzadi. I'm proud of you." He tuned his smile a little brighter. Though Deanna was still able to tell that she'd upset him a little.

"Will....I promise I'll be around as much as possible. Just think. We can sleep together again in one bed." She said sweetly kissing his forehead as the smile dropped a bit. "I know you hate being stuck in here while all the other kids play, but it's unavoidable."

He nodded and gave a guilty grin. "I am a little obsessive of your time aren't I."

"Just the way I like my little boys." She replied ruffling his hair.

"Oh great, now do I feel mothered." He moaned theatrically.

"Speaking of mothers, I had an interesting chat with Paul." Deanna winked and carefully lay down on the edge of the bed, cuddling up to his chest as she plucked at the small dots that were printed over the hospital gown.

"Let me guess he's pregnant?" Will supplied.

She giggled and snuggled up closer. "No. He asked me some pretty close personal questions of Beverly."

"Like what?" She felt Will stiffen under her body as the Commander came into play.

"Will! It's OK. He just wanted to know what her plans were as to staying here or not...and...whether she was single or not. I think it's sweet." She said circling his nipple with her finger through the fabric.

Will's hand took away her ministrations and cleared his throat. "And just what will Beverly do once we get off this mud ball of a planet? Take him with us?"

This time it was Deanna's chance to stiffen at his remark. "Oh no. I never thought of that." She sat up quickly and looked straight into his eyes. "Oh no." She repeated fingers over her lips.

"Relax Deanna. We both know that until we find a way to contact the Enterprise, we're stuck here. Which is getting slimmer each time our dives reveal nothing and that wormhole, wherever it came from dissipates. Our being stuck here could be for a long long time, not to mention a waste for her not to live out her life with someone as caring as Paul." He shrugged at the look she gave him.

"You really are a sweet sweet man." She kissed him fully on the lips, just as the door opened and Beverly cleared her throat. Deanna spun around and nearly fell off the bed, her grip around Will's neck the only saving grace.

"Can't leave the both of you alone now that he's not so drugged any more." Beverly winked and closed the door behind her. "Mr testosterone return did he?"

"Yeah. But Deanna won't play." He moaned back.

"Lucky for you." Beverly replied as she made her way to one of the guest chairs by the window. "How would you like to go outside for a bit Will? I'm off duty now and I think we all need to discuss some things."

"Can I drive?" He asked feeling stronger over the past few days with the exercises David had been putting him through.

"No." Beverly laughed. "Not after the mess you made of our shuttle." She scorned. "I took a chance that you'd say yes, so I've got some assistants coming in to get you mobile. So I'd put all thoughts of seducing Deanna away and get yourself ready for some strenuous moving."

"Oh great. More people to witness my wasting body." He groaned as he got himself upright. Both Deanna and Beverly made no comment except to give each other knowing looks. Having been by his side daily, to Deanna the wasting as he'd called it wasn't so drastic, but to a former crew member who hadn't seen him for the time they'd been missing would of been stricken. He'd lost a lot of weight and his muscle mass had become non-existent except from where David had been helping him the last week or so. Even so Deanna never made comment, nor Beverly, knowing although Will Riker had never been vain, he still was tender about his current build.





The door finally opened and in strode David and two aides, with Beverly removing his top sheet, letting it fall to the side so as not to tangle it in his leg. The pinned and wrapped limb was still heavy, and ugly to look at as they transported him from bed to chair. A warm jacket now encompassed his chest, and a blanket thrown over his lap and another carefully laid over his unbending leg.

"Warm enough?" Deanna asked as she examined his wrapped and puffed form. Colour now warming his cheeks. He nodded and Beverly began to push him out of the room, as they headed out to look up into the late afternoon sky. By the time they'd found a good seat that was able to watch the sunset, Will had managed to catch his breath from the effort he'd put into getting into the blasted chair. Each time the nurses would help him less and less, getting him used to moving himself, the leg was the major obstacle every time. Will took a deep breath and closed his eyes, letting the orange sunset soak through his eyelids. A hint of sadness creeping into his gullet as he thought of the possibility to never fly past that sunset and into the stars again. Deanna's hand on his shoulder shook him from his reverie, forcing a smile to her concerned eyes. "So what's the problem Bev, other than me being used as a pin cushion for medical science." Will prompted. Sure they were outside for one reason only, and that was for the lack of ears in walls.

"I think we need to have a conversation about long term deployment in the field." She said kneeling to Will's side as Deanna sat on the bench, letting the cooling air swirl a few autumn leaves about their feet.

"You mean, if we're stuck and there's no way out but to put up with it." He summarized. He watched her nod and knew how she was feeling. He himself had no urge to be crippled and limping around his own history. Hell, even the prime directive would of called for them to hide, leaving no chance of disturbing the timeline. He sighed and opened his eyes to the ever changing sky, noticing a few stars winking in for the night. "Personally I want out of here, but we need a ship to do that. Either we get the old shuttle working or the Enterprise sends us something. Pretty slim odds I think."

He watched the duo of nods. "The shuttle's no good, especially if it's been under water for so long. And we can't just bring it up and dry it out at the docks." Again the nods agreed with him.

"But if we can get some things back off it such as the transmitter, a few more components and such then maybe I can rig it to send some kind of signal." He shrugged before a long yawn stole the show.

"Well it could of been worse." Deanna mused as she gently rubbed her fingers in circles upon the back of his hand. "Any one of us could of been alone." She added looking Will straight in the eye. Thankful that he had lived through those first few nights. He gripped her hand and entwined his fingers in hers.

"Well we need to get back." Beverly said.

"In a hurry?" Will asked.

"I'd think you would be." She responded.

"Yeah kinda right there, but you've got a new love licking your heels doc. Surely you've wondered what you'd do if it was between him or leaving." Riker threw into the ring.

Beverly stood and placed her back to them, watching the colours play with the sky. "Going back and getting you proper medical care is the first order of business. And anyway, we're just good friends." Beverly began to play with her hair, unsure of her own mixed feelings right then.

"Well he thinks otherwise." Will said earning him an angry glance from Deanna. Beverly stopped paying with her hair and looked to Will who had thrown his head back and closed his eyes as he realised he'd let something slip.

"Will?" When no response returned she then turned her steely glance to Deanna. The Betazoid swallowed and held up her hands.

"I was going to tell you tonight, I promise. And I only just finished telling Will when you walked in." Deanna sounded like she was back pedalling to save her life.

"What did he say?" She drilled moving back to stand directly in Will and Deanna's path.

"Paul came to see me today to ask if you were single. He also wanted to know if you were thinking of staying around for a while." Deanna said watching and feeling Beverly's emotions as they swirled back and forth with glee and shock. "I know you have feelings for him Beverly." The doctor turned back and walked a few paces in front of her friends.

"Having feelings for him is natural Beverly. He's handsome, intelligent, wealthy and very very kind. In our present circumstances, I think you should consider that we may be stranded here a long long time, and missing this opportunity of love would be the wrong thing to do." Will said from the heart.

"And I'll survive Bev. Oh I know I'm feeling strange for wishing for your sickbay right now, but this primitive care won't kill me. I think we should all be open minded about this and really think about the odds of getting home. You and Deanna both have a job. You have Paul Beverly, and I have Deanna. I can think of a million more damned endings for what we've all been through."

Silence pervaded their bubble of conversation as all the negative reasons piled on top of her. "But what if I do let this go on and we find a way back?" Beverly said as she kicked a few leaves about looking to Deanna, her body pleading for an easy answer.

"And if we don't?" Will continued. "We all know the odds are stacked against us. Hell. I'm not giving up on us but I figure that we should take what we can and savour this chance to look upon our past."

He then applied a large comforting smile and finished his speech to his small audience. "So relax, enjoy this break from Starfleet and do what you do well. Heal people and love someone." Will's reply jolted her. Will's speech even dazzled Deanna as she took in each word and felt the truthfulness in each syllable.

"Poetic words from the silvery tongue of Will Riker." Beverly chuckled as she turned and wiped away tears from her eyes. She leant forward, hands spread evenly on the arms of his wheelchair and kissed him for his kindness. "Thank you." She added before looking up into Deanna's face.

"He's right you know." Deanna confirmed. "We should live each day as it comes and worry about Paul when the time comes."

"I know your both right." Beverly nodded. 'Thank you. Both of you."

"So when am I coming home?" Will asked, hoping that now they'd give in and finally let him know.

A chorus of groans littered the garden followed by laughter as both women let out their worries and frustrations, oblivious to Will's "What?"

Catching her breath Beverly swung Will's chair around and made tracks back to the hospital, his face turned up to the blinking stars before the building engulfed his vision. "Give yourself another few days of exercising and then we'll take you home." She promised.

"About time." He grinned as Deanna followed, her silhouette turning one last time to look up at the stars before returning indoors to the sterile smells and ambience of healthcare.




The day had finally arrived. Will was coming home. Deanna's steps danced crazily as she checked his room for the fourth time in as many minutes, making sure nothing was out of reach or too close to cause him harm. Sharp edged furniture had been moved out, and flowers brought in, filling the sunlit room with colour. The large windowed wall, parallel to the bed, looked out to the small garden, the heady scent of jasmine fragrant on the breeze. She smoothed out another imaginary crease from the sheets and smiled.

"Your going to wear out the linen like that." Beverly's laughing voice jolted her from her musings. Deanna blushing as she looked up to her friend, a glimmer of laughter in her own eyes.

"Just making sure everything's right."

"Deanna. Everything is fine, in fact more than fine, wonderful I would say." Her friend approached "and he's very lucky to have you to pamper him." She said in a quieter tone.

"You should of seen his face last night when I told him he was escaping his room for good. The nurses nearly came in thinking he was in pain with the way he was celebrating." Deanna moved past Beverly and out of the lower floor bedroom. It's easy access to the living area and large bathroom were fantastic for Will's mobility problem, though only for a short while till they'd begin to move him up to crutches instead of the chair.

Beverly checked her chronometer, internally kicking herself and calling it a watch instead. "We'd better be going, they'll begin moving him at 11:00, and I still need to sign some release forms and get you up-dated to his care schedule." She grabbed Deanna and their coats rushing her out the door in haste.

"Now who's the eager one?" The counsellor jibed as she hurried to catch up to Beverly's fast gait as they headed off to the hospital.


"Good morning ladies." Paul said as he spied the duo, making their way up the corridor, dodging staff as they hurried about. Beverly moved into his grasp and gave a quick kiss his lips before the staff could catch them.

"And good morning to you too." She whispered watching as his eyes filled with affection for her. Deanna revelling in the intimacy and love that flowed between them. They're talk last night finally releasing Beverly's inhibitions and letting her love flow untethered.

Deanna excused herself and slipped into Will's room, unaware that the nurses were already in there changing Will's bandages. She stared, unable to look away at the swollen skin around each pin as it speared his leg from the inside out. Ugly bruising of yellow and red inflammation around each protrusion made her sick to the stomach until Will's voice broke through and asked her to his side. The nurses continued to performed their duties regardless of her intrusion into the room. She stumbled into the chair beside his bed, catching a slight wave of nausea from Will, as they re-wrapped and braced his leg under sterile white.

"You OK? You look a little pale." He said as Vanessa gave a smile before waving her way out.

"I'm fine will. I just haven't seen your..." She halted knowing he would feel bad about it.

"Yeah I know. Makes me sick too. No wonder I was dreaming of Borg when I first got here." He grinned, swallowing his own bile away. "Beverly at work yet?" He asked, breaking the subject.

"She's got the day off. But she's with Paul finishing up some paperwork to break you out of here." She ran her fingers up and down his arm pausing at the small bruises inside his elbow joint.

"They've been taking blood tests since yesterday. They want a clean bill of health before releasing me to the wild." He took her fingers away from the ugly marks and kissed each finger in order. Deanna's next words halted by Beverly's intrusion.

Holding a swath of papers in hand she grinned from ear to ear. "Want to go home dear cousin of mine?" She said with mirth lacing each word.

"Sure. You going to carry me? Or should I ask Deanna?" Deanna gave him a gentle punch to the shoulder and smiled.

"No. We've got an ambulance booked to take you home and get you settled." She answered to Will before helping Deanna up and away from Will's grasp. "Deanna I need you to see Paul, he's got some medication details he wants you to look over. You also need to work out a time with Melissa as to when you want her to visit Will." She gave a last shove, pushing her friend out the door in a hurry leaving her and Will alone.

Both officers starred at each other, no words passing until Will got tired of waiting out the starched silence. "Something you want to say?"

"Will. Can I ask you something?"

"Sure." He said instantly.

"Paul's been checking the x-rays from yesterday."

"And?" He knew something was wrong.

"Your leg is healing...but.."

"But?" He sighed. "Tell me Beverly. What's wrong with the damn thing now?"

"With the muscle tears and the multiple breaks, you will walk again, but not without the aid of help." She sat down heavily and evaded his eyes. She hated telling anyone bad news, especially this to such a physical man as Will Riker.

"A chair?" He asked sometime later with dread.

She shook her head. "No. Nothing as harsh as that. More like a cane perhaps or just a bad limp if we're lucky." She looked further into her lap. "I'm sorry Will. If we were on the..."

"But we're not." He said harshly before taking a deep breath and letting it out loudly. "You haven't told Deanna have you?"

"No. She was too happy this morning about you coming home for me to ruin it with...."

"With this." He finished her sentence again. "Any chance I can beat it?"

"Maybe. But very slim." She answered knowing exactly where he was going with it.

"Fine. Then I'll have to work on that slim margin then." He replied leaning his head back to the pillows and closing his eyes, smothering his anger. "Do me a favour?" He asked eventually. "Don't tell Deanna. I want her to think all is well."

"I won't." Beverly said in agreement just as the door swung open and Deanna came back in. Instantly sensing the coldness of the room.

"Something I should know about?"

"No." They both chorused together. She looked at them strangely.

"Just giving him his release lecture." Beverly lied.

"Nothing strenuous, nothing dangerous." Will said hoping the small amount of false laughter he added would repair the gloom that he'd been trying to hide seconds ago.

"Beverly. The men are here to move Will." Paul said as he followed in behind Deanna. Both moving out of the way, the orderlies moved a mobile stretcher inside and beside him. On Paul's nod they moved up to Will, carefully gripping his body and swiftly transferring it to the small stretcher. He groaned a little, swallowing hard as the ceiling swivelled and glided past his eyes, the last range of drugs pervading his bloodstream and making him ill. A few quick steps echoed by his head, and the soft caress of Deanna's hands clasped one of his, feeling his queasiness. The men moved at a fast pace almost making her trot to keep up until they entered the lift and Beverly moved into line of sight opposite her.

<You alright Imzadi> Deanna sent.

<Yes. Just my stomach. They gave me something to smother any pain while moving me. I'll be fine once we stop and this motion sickness cuts out.> He squeezed her hand in response and closed his eyes hoping his stomach would quell soon.




Deanna keyed the lock on the front door and opened it wide, letting the Ambulance men in with their charge. Slowly, step by step they lifted him over the small amount of front stairs until he was safely inside the modern living space.

Will whistled and caught Deanna's attention immediately. "Wow! Looks good from this angle." He said starring at the high ceiling.

"Just wait till your at 90 degrees." Beverly said, gripping his arm and keeping him level before he could try to sit up on the thin stretcher.

Chauffeured to beside his new bed, his vision changed again as he was bodily moved by pairs of hands onto the soft unstarched sheets. "Now this is a change I could get used to." He smiled as he fingered the soft linen, as Beverly drew it up snugly to his chin, scented with the fragrance of Jasmine.

"Deanna's touch I believe." Beverly said as she breathed in the same fragrance and walked the medical orderlies out of the door, giving them her thanks as they made their way back to the hospital.

When she returned, she found Will still lying down but smiling ear to ear. "So you approve?" She asked.

"Most definitely. Your Paul does have taste." He tried to sit up only to find himself exhausted.

"Relax Will. You'll need some time to rest from your trip." Beverly scorned.

"I only moved beds." Will grumbled as he fought to keep his blue eyes open and fierce.

"And you did it very well Imzadi." Deanna whispered as she kissed his forehead and left him to snooze.


Will awoke to the smell of jasmine and the soft touch of skin resting across his chest. Breathing deeply he smiled and groaned with pleasure knowing who his slumbering visitor was before opening his eyes. Cracking them open, he peered out into the darkness, shapes and forms of objects vaguely seen, due to the glow of moonlight that pervaded through the window. He looked to Deanna, straining his neck to see if she was asleep, only to find her waking herself.

A light murmur escaped her as she pulled herself upward and off Will's chest letting the cold in where her head and arms had covered him before. Her sleepy eyes met his and they both broke out laughing as each took in they're ruffled appearance. "Guess I fell asleep." Deanna sheepishly said as she straightened her top and drew her hair away from her face.

"I guess we both did." Will answered. "So. Do I get to get-up and wheel around this place for my own? Or are you going to take holo-pictures and show me?"

"I'd be honoured to show you sir." She winked before he reached up and pulled her back down to kiss her lips, placing more pressure to them as she responded.

"I wish you'd stopped doing that." Will grumbled as he heard Beverly clear her throat.

"Funny. I was going to say the same thing." She asked as she flicked on the light and watched them cower their eyes. "Thinking of getting amorous now that your out of gaol mister? I certainly hope not."

"Why do you get all the fun and I get potty trained." Will grumbled squinting back at her. Deanna losing her frown at his reply.

"I'm not even going to bother answering that." Beverly said as she beckoned Deanna out of the room with her finger. "Time to sleep in a real bed Deanna. We'll leave Will alone with his dreams tonight."

"Beverly..." Will moaned.

"Sorry Will, but unless you want the toilet facilities, then I suggest you get some sleep. You do want to be mobile tomorrow don't you?" She tempted and won him over in one simple quip of blackmail.

"Good night William Riker." Beverly said to his silent agreement. Turning off the light, she then turned and lead Deanna off to bed with her own set of marching orders.




"Will we're home!" Deanna called out as she dropped her heavy bags inside the door. Though she also carried another bag over her shoulder, this she carefully lifted and carried into the laundry to drain in the wash tray. The soft clunk evidence of it's massed weight.

"You called."

Deanna whirled around in a hurry, heart beating from his sneak approach. "Imzadi! Don't do that!" She scorned with a relieved smile.

"Smuggling something are we?" He hinted to the bag behind her back.

Deanna moved towards Will and crouched down to kiss him, as he sat in his wheel chair blocking the exit. "We found some things during the dive that should be a little helpful. They're sopping wet though. I'm going to leave them here until Paul goes so I can then lay them out and let them dry."

"Hypo? Knitter?" He wished.

She shook her head. "No. But we've got a medical tricorder, a few padds and some scientific gear that might come in handy."

He hid his disappointment and covered it with a smile. "Great. Something to keep me busy during the day. Fancy some dinner?" He asked.

"Sure. But I don't smell anything cooking, and I know Beverly would have your hide if you were." She chastised, following him out to the kitchen and spying two plastic wrapped pies on the counter.

"The next door neighbour brought them over. She heard from Paul a few days ago that I'd made it home." He shrugged. "Nice lady but boy does she want to know everything. " He rolled his eyes. "Took two hours to get her to leave."

"Hmmm I know. Gabby is great as a neighbour, considerate and kind enough to help us out the first few nights when we moved in, but she does like gossip. Guess she was infatuated with you then?" Deanna smiled.

"Well she kept hinting she was single and asking covertly if I was married." He replied.

"Did it work?" Deanna knew the answer already as she remove the plastic and sniffed the savoury and sweet pies.

"No." He laughed. "In the end I had to fake a few yawns and move her out with hints that my 'wife' would be angry if I didn't get my afternoon nap. The apple pie smells nice though. Not sure of the chicken one though."

"Well I'll get the oven on and warm them up while you dress into something other than your dressing gown." Secretly she knew the gown would of kept Gabby here longer than even she herself would of admitted to. The small triangle of an opening in the dressing gown showed soft curly chest hair that'd make any girl want to twirl her fingers through it.


Deanna made shooing gestures to him before finally giving up and turning his chair around and wheeling him back to his room to hurry him along. "Paul's coming for dinner. And luckily enough this means we won't have to defrost one of those frozen dinners again."

Will's stomach rolled with the thought of frozen dinners. The pre-packed mush the women had learnt to cook by, made him feel ill each time as he munched on the tasteless cardboard dinners. Luckily Eppy, the day nurse, always brought lunch for him from the hospital. Making sure he ate right before giving him his dose of pills. A small but grateful donation to his stomach daily. They'd all noticed how thin he was getting since leaving the hospital.

His fingers itched to start cooking from scratch, the kitchen a dream after living more than half his life on a starship. All that held him back was the chair and Beverly's warnings not to push himself. That and the lack of ingredients to play with.

Deanna turned him into the bathroom by a plastic chair under the shower, and returned moments later with a plastic bag to cover his leg and a new set of clothes folded onto the bed. Securing the bag, once he'd removed his gown, she gave him a kiss and left him to his own independence to wash himself. It'd taken three days of trials, but he'd finally mastered the ability to move himself from the bed to his chair and back again, along with the challenge of moving onto the plastic moulded chair under the shower head to wash himself.

With a deep breath he steadied himself and moved chairs, beginning to whistle as he turned on the water and began to reveal in the droplets of water as they ran down his injured body. The luxury of water cascading over shoulder length hair, that he'd taken to tying back at his neck's nape in a short pony tail, felt positively delicious as he undid it and let the hair tickle his shoulders. Beverly teased him often about it not seemly for a first officer. He smiled at the thought as he reached for the shampoo and began to lather it till suds formed. Washing away the days' slumber from his being.




Will sat sucking his finger to stop the bleeding, cursing inwardly for pricking himself on the sharp innards of the medical tricorder. He'd been rinsing and drying the recently found equipment now for most of the day, his eyes already sore from squinting at the miniature internals.

"Just great." He mumbled, checking his finger and finding it had stopped bleeding. "Why don't you cut off your only working limbs Commander." He placed the tricorder back onto the table with a clunk and backed his wheelchair out from the legs and made his way slowly to the kitchen. A clear path now ran furniture free from the bedroom to living area to kitchen as Beverly had gotten sick of finding new bruises every night or so. Not to mention the damage a metal wheelchair could make of soft wood antiques borrowed from Paul.

Just as he reached the oven, it beeped loudly announcing time was up for the baking item. Moving out of the way of the oven door he opened it up and extracted a medium sided glass dish with the oven mitts and strained himself sideways to place it on the cooling bench. He sniffed it first before locating a spoon and dipping it into his latest recipe, blowing air to cool it first.

The taste pulled a deep groan of satisfaction from him as he put the spoon back down on the table top and made sure the oven was now off.

"Another Riker masterpiece." Deanna's voice floated in from the front door. He had jolted, alerting her that he hadn't felt her coming. "If Beverly catches you..."

"I know I know. But I bake when I'm bored OK?" He pouted until she kissed him, tasting the seductive taste of chocolate on his breath.

"For me?" She asked, her attention immediately on the dish than poor Will who sat in her way.

"Well for all of us actually, but you mainly." He grinned as she squealed with delight and raced for the spoon, digging into the chocolate pudding and burning her mouth before Will could stop her.

"I was going to warn you." He said as she gulped down two glasses of water in rapid fashion.

"Mmmm. But it was worth it. You really should be a chef Imzadi." She gasped fanning her mouth with her hand.

"Ah yes. Captain Riker. Commander of the USS Self Saucing. Boldly going where no entree has gone before, on a heading into uncharted main courses?" He supplied until she shook her head in mirth.

She changed subject feeling his mood change from happiness to sadness. "Had any problems getting about today?" He still wasn't taking it well that this could be his future. Earth bound in the wrong timezone.

"Nah. Nearly destroyed the side table over there earlier but survived. Where's Beverly? I thought she was coming home with you tonight?" He asked.

"Yep. And still is. She's just booking your travel tomorrow for physio and working late to finish up a couple of new patients. She'll be home in a few hours. Paul's bringing dinner, so your dessert should go well." She supplied, removing her coat and throwing it onto the couch before releasing her long hair from the tight ponytail she now wore for work.

"Excellent. Beats those frozen dinners. Sometimes figure dessert is the only thing apart from tomato sauce to smother the taste." He joked just as Deanna headed up the stairs to her bedroom.

She looked down from the balcony and smiled at her large man in the small chair. "I'm going to take a short shower, but in the meantime my gorgeous personal chef, do you think you could produce some cream to go with that?" She pointed back to the kitchen earning her a small awkward bow and a 'yes ma'am' from Will.

She laughed and listened as Will began to whistle a tune, just as he took command of the kitchen, and pushed it's ingredients beyond boundaries, creating masterpieces she never thought were possible.




Physio. Medical name for torture but rewarded by high qualifications and money for the best screams earned from your patients.

This kind of insane thinking was exactly what was going through Will Riker's mind at the moment. Pain, torment and exasperation on the path to recovery.

The previous day had been his first steps on an even longer path to recovery. An attempt that had left him exhausted and frightened as his leg refused to work. Even his shoulders were beating in sympathy thinking abut the strain he'd put on his arms to keep from falling.

He grunted and collapsed into the chair, his breath raggered and his body shaking from exertion. Grimacing he let the hard hands massage his thigh. Releasing it from the burning cramp that he'd gained in his good leg mere minutes after today's first hobbled steps. He swore under his breath and clenched his teeth until the liniment soaked in and the rubbing hands released the clenched muscles.

"Better?" The concerned voice of the physiotherapist asked.

Will still gasped a little but nodded and tried leaning forward only to feel the comforting hands of the orderlies steadying him, guiding his hands to the bars. He clenched hard on the padded rail summoning up his last reserves of strength to do the one thing that mere months ago took no thought what so ever. To simply walk. Well almost, in fact the physio today was only to get him strong enough, and practice his balance, so he could progress to the crutches. Something he hoped would release him from the chair long enough to become more independent, and to stop taking chunks out of the furniture like the wheelchair kept doing.

Three dragging steps that barely registered as a gate or even a casual swagger. "Keep it coming Will, just four more steps." Urged one of the men who minutes ago had been hauling him back to the chair for pain relief. He halted briefly and closed his eyes as another drop of sweat glided down his nose before staggering the last few metres to the end of the rails where his stumbling lurch to walk dropped him into ready waiting arms. Careful of his injured leg, they carefully placed him back into the wheelchair before offering him a glass of water, progressed by the usual bombardment of pills that always seemed to follow him around.

"Did well today Will. Same time tomorrow?" David Trustan enquired. He'd put up with the swearing and emotional barrage of his patient with a patience even Will thought Deanna didn't have. Once more Will was glad that she hadn't asked to attend. His first lesson he'd wanted her there but the therapist had disallowed it. Now he was glad for David's intervention. His 'macho' outlook, as she called it, safe as he battled what he called humiliation, but David called progress.

"Sure thing." He answered breathlessly as David led him to the showering facilities, the nurse waiting there patiently to clean him up before Deanna came by to take him back home. Each day the ambulance men came to deliver him here, back at the hospital for physio. Just to give him enough strength and balance to graduate to crutches eventually, and then to walk.

"Eppy taking care of you?" David asked.

"Yeah. Her massages are wonderful." Will said with a smile. The small cramps he was getting each day from the physio caressed away by her miracle hands. A real relief to the pain his constricted muscles kept throwing back at him.

"OK Will. Nurse Gerralds here will get you cleaned up and changed. I'm going to leave you for now, but I'll see you same time tomorrow." David paused before leaving. "You did well today Will, give yourself a few more days and we might be able to let you out of that chair more often." He gave a small smile, leaving only after Will had smiled back.

'Freedom'. He thought, then as he looked down at his sweat soaked t-shirt and shorts. 'Hell', he added.




Beverly watched with a frown as she sat outside in the sun, sipping her orange juice, waiting for Paul to arrive. Whoever gave Will Riker crutches was going to pay, she thought murderously.

So far, her last two hours of relaxing in the sun were more painful than she'd first anticipated. Beverly had tried ignoring the wobbling figure inside, had tried to focus on the book in her hands and had even tried to relax with the sweet sounds of the birds nearby, but the unmistakable curses and knocks were hard to ignore.

He was still slowly ambling around the living room when the doorbell rang. Mind in gear, body in neutral, Will turned 180 degrees and moved to open the door, forgetting that the sweat he was covered in was because he could hardly walk let alone perform a quick turn and march to the door.

Lightning quick hands grabbed him from around his waist as he lost his balance, giving him enough time to steady himself. This close to him, Beverly could feel the wobbly strain he was putting on his arms. Finally having had enough of his bravado, she steered him to the couch and carefully helped him down into it before racing to the ringing door. Will didn't fight her one bit.

Opening it she found Deanna with he hands full and her nose about to touch the door bell button again. "Starting to think you'd moved on without letting me know." Deanna moaned as she carried in two large shopping bags. "You know, for such a thin man you do eat well." Deanna joked as she plopped the heavy bags onto the counter and leant back against it to catch her breath.

Will gave a breathless smirk in her direction before straightening his crutches to get up again. Beverly moved into his space and glared at him. "Oh no you don't Will. Your staying there for the next few minutes until those arms stop glowing red."

"Your walking!" Deanna said with glee racing to his side.

"I personally would call it falling." He shrugged as she wrapped her arms around his neck.

"Someone gave him crutches to play with. Someone with a sick sense of humour." The Enterprise doctor said before moving back outside to enjoy the sunshine, now that her distraction was still.

"I don't think she likes me." Will grinned.

"Sure she does. Probably just frightened her with your balancing act on these thin sticks. Want to show me what you can do?" Deanna urged.

"Nah. Beverly's right, my arms are about to drop off. But give me a few minutes and I'll do a parade for you." She nodded and headed off to the bathroom, returning with a towel in hand and a clean t-shirt.

"Your getting to be a bit too stinky for my liking." She wrinkled her nose as she threw the towel at him, watching as he peeled off the wet shirt, dropping it to the floor, and wiping down his chest and arms. Deanna admired the view until his hand reached out and took the shirt from her, breaking her stare.

"See anything you like?" He asked, smiling as she blushed.

"Just you."

"Just me? Hmm. Only just poor me? Nothing else fantastic here that's caught your eye?" Her gentle slap ended his jibing. "Guess it's just me then." He grinned. "And what would a beautiful lady like yourself want with a wretch like me?"

"Well." She purred and she moved to sit on the couch's arm, "I understand you fill up a bed pretty well... and that that chest hair would be perfect for me to run these nails through." Will swallowed hard as she moved closer and closer until their lips touched. Within minutes Deanna found his hands around her waist dropping her backwards onto his lap, her legs still hanging over the edge of the couch arm, giggling as he grinned down at her.

"Hmm shall we test that theory my love?" He queried.

"Not if you want to walk Commander." The two amalgamated bodies turned as one to the doorway and groaned "Beverly" as one.

"One of these days we're going to get further than this." Will winked at Deanna as she stifled a laugh behind her hand, her other hand still clasped up inside his t-shirt, immersed in the chest hair.

"Deanna can I talk with you for a moment?" Beverly asked, ignoring where the counsellor's hand was, and marching back outside.

Will looked down and whined "You’re in trouble" before she struggled upright, careful of where she put pressure, and stuck her tongue out at him.

Once she'd moved outside, Will breathed out. A deep sigh of relief, as he carefully placed a hand on his lower back, trying to calm the shooting pain his pelvis was currently fighting back with.

Outside, Deanna faced a furious Beverly Crusher under the jasmine arch. "I don't see what harm I was doing. Beverly he needs more than just a gentle touch now and again. He's a fully grown man with urges to hold people. Not some sick little boy."

Beverly sat down hard and crossed her arms. "I'm sorry but I've just spent most of the day watching him nearly kill himself on those things, and I know he's hurting from exerting himself all day. What his body doesn't need is to be urged along sexually. His lower half is truly off limits until his pelvis stops giving him trouble."

"I thought he was OK?" Deanna asked.

"He was, but his insistence of rushing his physio has left him sore and inflamed. He just won't admit it to you. He's craving that human touch you mentioned." Beverly stood and moved to her side to comfort her friend, as Deanna realised Beverly's reasons for being so hard on Will.

"He's been blocking me too well." Deanna smiled.

"And teasing you too. Just give him some more time to heal and then you can roll around, but carefully." She winked.

"Can I still sleep with him? I think he craves those midnight cuddles almost as much as I crave chocolate."

Beverly laughed. "I'm sure he does. But no playing. Not until we catch something better than seaweed on our next few dives."

"Speaking of which, have we got another one this weekend?" Deanna asked. "I think we need to give Will something to do and I figure a few more gadgets will keep him occupied."

"Your turning him into a regular Geordi Laforge." Beverly replied.

Deanna shrugged. "Well we both know he's better technically than both of us together. And he has a lot of spare time on his hands."

"That usually lands him in hot water. I agree. I'll talk to Paul about times. I figure our coordinates are almost right, and if the weather's fine we should recover something useful this time."

"Let's pray for a regenerator or a working transmitter." Deanna sighed and gave her friend a squeeze of her hand. "Sit here and relax. I'll go in and check on our ever impatient Commander. See if I can get him interested in cooking something for us in the future." At Beverly's frown she held up both hands. "Hey. I only bought him a cooking book, that's all, nothing more. I figure he's going to need hobbies while at home and seeing as he'll be more mobile, this might be advantageous for all of us."

Beverly licked her lips in memory of some of Will's delicious recipes he'd cooked occasionally on board the Enterprise, and began to be swayed by Deanna's idea. "A deal as long as he cooks that roasted capsicum dish again." She winked and laughed as Deanna took a bow and entered back into the house to visit their chef.




A week later and Will Riker was more than mobile. His speed and ability on the crutches was improving daily. Sure. Beverly was worried as hell, visualising all the trouble he could get up to, just by being able to hobble outside. But she was also glad for his new found freedom, having lost her patience with his daily tirade about the bad cooking and inhuman conditions.

But tonight it was even more handy, as Paul had requested that they all attend one of the more famous restaurants of the area a few block away. He'd already made reservations, and had foreseen that Will would be mobile enough to join them.

Regardless of how he really was feeling, Will Riker, dressed in stylish trousers, complete with alterations for his braced leg; was ready for the upper class atmosphere of the restaurant, complete with shirt and jacket.

A courier had delivered them after Deanna's speedy request over the phone, using Paul's own tailor. Oh how they were so dependent on the man, thought Will as he carefully placed weight onto his crutches and got out of the taxi. Deanna's hand hovering millimetres away, ready for the fall Will was adamant that he was not going to make.

Tired already from just the short ride, he kept up his smile and blocks, trying not to ruin their special night with a dead fall. He grinned inwardly as he visualised himself falling onto the dessert tray latter on. Not a good scene to set in front of the high nosed people. The couples and groups of people entering before him, moving into the establishment, would no doubt frown at him if he even stumbled in their direction. A far cry from the diplomats and admirals he'd dealt with in the past, who in some part new who he was and were in fact occasionally enamoured with his past deeds. None of that here though. In fact not one of these people would even believe him if he said he flew amongst the stars. Chuckling to himself as he progressed to their reserved table, he smiled at Deanna when she glanced curiously his way. No doubt sensing his mixture of mirth and sarcasm.

The night progressed beautifully as Will sipped his orange juice while Deanna got tipsy on the wine. Smiling, he thanked the waiters silently for not bringing out the Tequila like Cochrane had. The small Betazoid, with her chair right by his, was snuggling into his embrace by the time dessert arrived. Three large flourless chocolate cake slices with candied orange peel decorations arrived, along with a strawberry sorbet for Will, who carefully said he didn't prefer chocolate.

Paul smiled and gave Will points for saying it infront of Deanna who, was hazy enough from the alcohol and in love with her dessert, not to notice.

The young doctor had visited earlier that week, turning up one morning when both the women were out, and to Will's utter surprise. Will had had to hide the various padds he'd been trying to fix, behind his back, along with the mass of tools. Although uncomfortable, he'd enjoyed the long conversation, sitting out in the sun within the small courtyard discussing various manly things. Sport one of them.

Then the conversation has moved onto his 'cousin' Beverly. Will could practically tell months ago that he was in love, but that day in the sun had been particularly interesting, in that Paul had asked for Will's approval to propose to Beverly.

Ignoring the prime directive, ignoring the angry look in his mind from his commanding officer and captain, and ignoring his conscience. One that said if he said yes then he truly believed he'd never find his way home. He gave his answer, and the young man had departed soon after, only to make the dinner booking a few days later, his courage summed up and ready for the big question.

A waiter appeared by his shoulder and poured Will a glass of bubbling champagne, the light alcoholic beverage tickling his nose with it's bubbles as he placed his nose over it and gave a gentle sniff of it's bouquet.

"Your sure I'm OK with this?" Will asked Paul, holding up the glass to the light, admiring it's golden glow, and wondering what the mixture of pain medication and alcohol would do to him.

"A sip won't harm you." Paul answered before calling a silence over the table. Getting up he moved closer to Beverly standing in front of her, her glass in his hand as he offered it to her. "Beverly."

He'd started with getting her attention first by talking of their recent months together, soon followed by many words of love and then the ominous question Will knew he'd ask her. "Beverly, will you marry me?"

Once the question had been delivered, Will smiled and leaned back, grinning as both Deanna and Beverly looked to him for an answer. His grin wide enough to give her his blessing. Understanding Will's approval, and seeing Deanna's wide eyes, Beverly swallowed a little and looked around at the surrounding silent couples before pinning her eyes to his and said 'yes.'

Amidst a loud cheer from other patrons of the restaurant, the night flowed with champagne and orange juice. The duo of Will and Deanna flowed through the door, shortly after midnight at their home, as two dizzy and disorientated Imzadians, clambering for the bedroom ready to crash.

After an exhausting stagger with unworking crutches, legs and arms, Will found himself pinned onto the bed, with Deanna collapsed across his chest.

"You knew." She smiled as she looked down into his glazed eyes.

"Yep." He grinned back.

"How long have you known?" Deanna said with surprise.

"A few days, he came by and asked last Tuesday." He said fingering the gentle curls that lay beside her face. "I figured they were a good couple together so I said yes." He laughed. "Oh is the captain going to whip my arse."

"No Imzadi. That's my pleasure for not telling me." She purred as her hands moved lower over his body. The crutches landing heavily to the floor.




The smell of something sweet and freshly baked hit the noses of two work weary women as they moved inside the house. "Will?" Deanna called out. The sound of jazz filled the house. It's tempo making her feet tape briefly to the beat.

Once Paul had found out the man's passion for music, he'd set about showering Will with his own CD collection. A small optical device that had made Will laugh at first, the small amount of data on such a large device, but he'd stopped laughing once the crystal tones of bone and piano filled his ears and brought out the sadness from his core on an exhaled breathe.

A few empty plastic cases where discarded around the music equipment, but the area bereft of her Imzadi. The same with the humming kitchen.

<Imzadi> she sent once he hadn't responded, moving into the kitchen after Beverly. The oven filled with containers of baking food and a freshly cooked berry tart cooling above the cooking unit, it's sweet sent was enticing enough that Deanna had to slap away Beverly's fingers.

"Where is he?" Deanna asked. Beverly shrugging her shoulders in reply, until she spied the open sliding door. He was in the courtyard.

<I'm outside Imzadi> Will finally replied. His answer relaxing Deanna. At least he wasn't unconscious.

Deanna removed her coat and beckoned Beverly outside into the garden, finding Will sitting in the sunbake chair, crutches beside him, and a glass of something on the small table beside him.

"Will? Are you alright?" Deanna asked feeling the grief and pain enveloping him inside. Beverly moved beside him and picked up the glass of scotch, and frowned as she then spied the half empty bottle on the ground.

He lay there eyes skyward at the dark sky, watching the overcast night. "Sixth months." He said quietly at first. "Six bloody months we've been stuck here!" He shouted.

Beverly held back her argument about him mixing alcohol with his pain killers, knowing full well he wouldn't of listened. Deanna gestured for her to leave, hinting that she could handle him by herself. And that only one should have to face his dark moodiness, even though it was self induced.

"Sixth months of progress Imzadi." She said. He nodded and shook his head, his glazed eyes focusing on hers.

"I'm sorry. I shouldn't be doing this." He nodded to the alcohol before sitting himself up unsteadily and organising his crutches ready to stand. Deanna gave him a hand he didn't refuse, needing it as his leg gave him a full dose of shooting pain.

"Did you take your pills today Will?" She asked as she watched a pale wash of pain fly across his face. He nodded and she placed a hand against his forehead. "Your a bit warm for lying out in the cold. Let's get you inside and fed. Maybe a good dose of food upon that empty stomach might help." She smiled, blocking her concern. The truth was she had felt something during the day but had allayed the pain to someone close by in another ward. She began to wonder if he'd fallen during the day.

Getting him up and mobile, they moved back inside and got him into the kitchen as he asked. He carefully bent at the waist and checked the timer on the oven and hobbled back to the bench to lean against it. The sliding door closed and locked as Deanna returned with his items from outside, placing them on the marble bench top. Wrapping her arms around his chest, she straddled his own legs and held the both of them up. "I'm sorry." He whispered into her hair.

Looking up and running her fingers down his face and over his jaw, she kissed him, as she pulled his head down and forward. "Do you want me to set the table?" She asked.

"Sure. It could do with a womans touch." He smiled as he looked to the empty table, realising he had forgotten something for the dinner he'd prepared.

"So what's for dinner?" Beverly asked as she undid her hair, having changed into something more relaxing.

"Something simple." He shrugged. A little sluggish still from the drink. He was surprised she hadn't harassed him for attempting to cook for the fourth night in a row. But he was damn grateful for her silence, cooking being the only thing stopping him from going crazy of boredom. The adventure man wanted out to play, but at least he was finding rescue of some sorts in cooking, even while balanced on crutches. Hell. He'd even thought the balancing art he performed daily should become an Olympic sport.

"Something simple from the kitchen of Will Riker it never is." Beverly said slyly. "So what have we got apart from tart and something savoury in there." She pointed at the oven.

"Just a casserole." He shrugged and nearly slipped, Deanna helping to keep him steady. As he slipped physically, he let his blocks fall momentarily. Deanna having her chance to really see what was bothering him.

"Will you’re in pain. What happened?" She spurted in front of Beverly, who immediately grabbed her dried out medicorder, one they'd found a few weeks ago. Will had tinkered with it until it gave a semblance of accurate medical knowledge. Although a sharp hit occasionally made it perform to it's best, as Beverly was doing right now, it still more often than not proclaimed everything dead and deceased.

"Nothing just hurts a little more today than usual." He kissed her forehead trying to distract Deanna. "So. Shall we get the table ready and eat?" He asked, watching the wary nods of the women who knew full well that dinner was an excuse, purely to halt any further questioning.


Deanna moved into the bedroom, having finished cleaning up dinner, and writing her reports for the next days counselling. Dropping her books and papers to the far side of the room she found Will sound asleep, half turned onto his side, restricted by his leg's lack of mobility. His deep snores bringing a smile to her face. Although noisy she found it quite calming. Perhaps a left over residue from their first days on Earth. A deafening sign that he was still breathing and alive even divided by ICU glass.

Moving into the bathroom she removed her make-up and clothes running a quick shower before climbing under the sheets into the small space Will selfishly left. She curled up into his chest just as his arm moved to hug her into his embrace. She snuggled up until she noticed the deep purple bruise under his forearm. Deanna was used to the small yellow bruises he collected from colliding with furniture but this was larger. She gently traced it until she pulled back the covers and found another smaller pattern of discoloration over one of his ribs. She looked up into his sleep sound eyes and decided to interrogate him in the morning, snuggling back down into the warm covers, she entered a deep and needed sleep.




She woke to find Will still asleep as Beverly gently shook her. "Time to get up Deanna. Work is calling." She whispered so not to wake Will. She groaned and pulled her hair out of her eyes and placed a hand onto Will's chest. The first officer giving a deep grunt before opening eyes to see what had pressed down on his bruised chest.

"I'm so sorry Will." Deanna replied realising that she'd accidentally wakened him with the object of her next question. She leant forward and felt his head as she realised his warmth.

She waited till Beverly had exited the room, and now that the coast was clear she targeted his eyes with her own. "How did you get those bruises Imzadi?"

He grimaced realising the jig was up. "I slipped earlier yesterday and banged myself up a bit."

Deanna sat quietly, before pulling a robe around her shoulders and calling for Beverly. Will groaned again, until Beverly entered advancing with her malfunctioning medicorder, silencing him with one scorning look as Deanna explained her findings.

She scanned his chest and arm before pointing lower. "Your leg?" Beverly questioned. As he nodded she scanned lower, just as the medicorder gave out. She sighed and gave him a meaningful look. "I swear you re-programmed this thing to shut off when I aim it at you."

Moving to tried and trusted methods she gently touched his leg feeling a small burn of heat. "Does it hurt?" She asked.

"Throbs a little but nothing much to worry about. I'm fine Beverly. I would of called you if I wasn't." She looked him in the eye, piercing through his bluff. Truth was he was almost thankful he'd been found out, as he felt the burning sensation in his leg get worse, throbbing in tune with his head.

"OK Will. Let's see how it is tonight. If it's not better by then, then we'll get an x-ray done tomorrow. Alright?"

He nodded and blinked away his contact with Deanna's angry eyes. "You should of told me Will." Deanna said once Beverly had left. She'd known the Betazoid was going to sort him out, and he sure didn't need a witness to the ear bashing he was going to get.

Minutes later and Deanna stormed out of his room and headed for her own in search of fresh clothing. Beverly shook her head and smiled. "And Will thought he should be afraid of me."


It was late when Deanna finally got home to find Beverly on the couch waiting for her. She could already sense something wrong from the other side of the door.

"Have I missed curfew or something?" Deanna asked as she watched Beverly's ring clad finger taping against one of her crossed arms.

"No. Just impatient waiting for the Ambulance." Deanna's gaping mouth made the doctor stand up, instantly reaching out to Deanna, in a halting gesture. "No he's OK." She watched her friend visibly relax. "I just want to get those x-rays done though. He's still sore and a little hot for my liking. Paul said he'd meet me there."

"Glad I made it in time then." Deanna said keeping her coat on and heading for Will's bedroom.

"I wouldn't of left without telling you." Beverly said watching Deanna's speeding exit from the living area.

Deanna entered the dark bedroom finding her soulmate lying back with his eyes half closed in contemplation. The flood of moonlight, just enough to see his features. "Told you then did she? Gave me no choice of course." He shrugged and regretted the sting he got from his leg as the covers pulled on it.

"You could of called me Imzadi." She said moving to his side and brushing hair out of his eyes, before tucking it back behind his ears.

"If I could of limped to the phone I would of." He said letting her know he was hurting, both physically and mentally from a bruised ego, his disability a bane to his existence.

"Your communicator, my silly Terran man." She smiled and kissed him on the cheek. "The ambulance will be here soon. Taken your pills?" He nodded and she brushed her hands over his hot cheeks.

"Just hang in there Will." She said before placing her head to his chest, waiting in dread for that moment the ambulance would carry him away from her touch again.





Deanna watched from the other side of the pane of glass as two doctors critically examined a thin piece of x-ray film up upon a light box. Both pointing and tapping at the eyrie image of Will's lower leg in negative form. She watched as Paul placed an arm around Beverly's shoulders until she broke his embrace and started pacing, one hand pressed to her temple in thought. Beverly's emotions broke into despair, sending Deanna in search of a chair as she let them wash over her. The waves sending her knees to the consistency of jelly.

Beverly must of seen her reaching for the furniture, as she found her friend by her side in a flash. "Deanna. I'm sorry. You must of felt my anger." She said holding out a glass of water taken from Paul.

"Grief would be closer." Deanna replied once Paul had left them alone and was proceeding down the corridor to where Will was waiting.

"He's got Osteomyelitis." She paused. "It's an infection in the bone, usually occurring from a delayed or non union of the bone break. Which means he's going to need immediate hospitalisation and an IV transfusion of some pretty strong medication." She explained.

Deanna was stunned for a moment. "But we were checking him all the time!" She complained standing up and imitating Beverly's pace from earlier. "How could this happen!" She nearly screamed in tearful desperation.

"The infection commonly habitates within the marrow, making it virtually untraceable until the leg either swells or the patient shows sign of pain or fever. Looks like it's been hiding in there for a while, the fall he had the other day brought it to our attention. I truly am sorry Deanna." She watched Deanna lean against the wall covering her face until Beverly moved her into her arms.

The Betazoid counsellor could take no more and began to cry. "Relax Deanna, Paul's moving him into a room now. He'll explain it to Will too before starting the therapy." She moved her hands up and down her friends back in a soothing motion until she found her own patient moving out of her embrace.

Deanna wiped her eyes and glanced up, feeling embarrassed for her outburst. "Can I see him? He'll need me there." Beverly nodded and walked her down the corridor until they found Paul. Outside the room and cheeks flushed.

"He's not happy." His only words as he gestured them into Will's new location.

Will was facing the window, still in his chair, his anger permeating the room in heavy clouds of blackness. "I finally escape from here only to be captured once more." He grumbled.

Beverly approached him slowly, till she stood no more than a metre from his chair. "Did Paul tell you what was involved?"

He nodded and awkwardly spun his chair around. "Oh yeah. If it doesn't heal they'll cut it off." He replied harshly.

Beverly's shocked features paled, enough for Will to snigger. "Didn't tell you did he. If the medication doesn't help, which is pretty toxic to just about everything, then they'll have to stop the infection another way before it kills me." He made a slicing gesture just above his knee and then dropped his hands in exasperation.

Deanna had since sat down heavily on the bed and was starring at the floor, trying to block the panicked emotions Will was throwing around.

Beverly swallowed and finally looked Will in the eye. "It's only a last attempt Will. The course of meds should only last from 10 to 30 days, no more. By then we should know."

"Counting down the days until I become a cripple for life you mean." He said angrily before turning his chair back to the window. "If our former ranks mean anything, then I'm commanding you to try harder Beverly. Dive for that damn shuttle. I need our science not theirs. I need it before my leg rots away and the infection gets me." He was direct and angry, and had a painful reason for it. His former physical self was slowly becoming a tortured weak figure, slumped in a wheelchair, that would soon end up one leg less. Sure the physio had helped, but his body was nothing like it's former self.

"Yes. Commander." Was all Beverly could say before removing herself from the room. She stopped outside in the corridor and leaned against the wall taking deep gulps of air. She'd never seen Will look so desperate for her care before. He was scared, and that frightened her.

Paul's hand made her jump as he pulled her into an empty room. "I've issued orders to start treatment immediately. He's showing signs of necrosis around the pins in his leg just above the Osteomyelitis. It's not visible yet, but there are signs in the small tests we just ran."

Beverly sat down on the nearby stripped bed, and waited till Paul sat down next to her, his arms wrapping her up in his embrace. "Is it true about amputation?" There, she'd said it. The one thing she'd always swore never to perform on any patient.

"Not yet. But it all depends on how his system copes with the medication. It has some adverse effects on a small percentage of patients. It can be toxic to his central nervous system, his hearing too, but what I'm concerned about is his previous kidney injury. Gentamicin can be toxic to healthy kidneys, and this is where the dosage will have to be trilated down to a minimum."

"But a low dose may not fix the Oseto." Beverly finished.

"I truly am sorry we didn't catch this earlier Beverly, even a few days ago..."

"But we didn't. We both know he wasn't due for his fortnightly check up till Friday anyway. At least we've caught it two days before we would of. First time I've ever been glad he's collided with the furniture." She pulled herself up straight and looked Paul in the eye before kissing him gently, their lips joining with the smallest of pressure capable. "Then we'd better see to fixing him up then." She looked down and fingered his own ring. The one she'd bought for him shortly after he'd proposed to her. Watching the one diamond twinkle like a star. A sense of home sickness pervading her soul.




Will woke up hot again as a trickle of sweat rolled down the side of his face. Brushing it away awkwardly he spied the paraphernalia hanging out of his arm. He swallowed hard and looked to the ceiling, trying not to let the nausea in his stomach roll even more upon seeing the IV needle digging into his arm.

The room was empty, just as he'd asked before he'd fallen asleep. The young nurse Vanessa, had been assigned to him again, due to her patience and virtue, aware of Will's moods previously. She'd said she was happy to help him out in anyway, and that's when he'd asked her not to allow visitors, including Deanna and Beverly.

She'd blinked once and then continued to help him re-dress before getting him back into bed, his torturous journey from the shower finished till another day.

As he lay back now, he still didn't regret his decision. He didn't want anyone to take pity of him any more. Oh they hid it well, both Deanna and Beverly, but he could still see it through their poker faces.

Still hot he shifted upwards until he was upright, his head spinning from the drugs and the constant nausea gnawing at the bottom of his stomach. Taking a few short breaths he managed to pull the gown off over his head only to find the sleeve trapped on the IV line. Grumbling he left the sleeve stay attached to his arm but shoved it to the side away from his body. Now naked he enjoyed the blessed coolness of the air before pulling the sheet up over his lap high enough to cover his modesty, but to still give him the widest coverage possible to shed some heat.

A glass and jug sat within arms reach beside him, calling to quench his thirst, it's sirens call making him desperate to drink his fill. But all intents ended in disaster as his unsteady arm knocking the jug and water, smashed to the floor ending in his verbal curse. Flinging his head back heavily into the pillow he gave up. He didn't need help. This he kept telling himself, over and over again.

Bile rose as he looked to the leg, now unwrapped and exposed in full glorious traction. Each metal pin entering his leg, turning him into a porcupine, small grey areas of discoloration surrounding each pin, contrasting to the bright swollen red the rest had now become. It's sizzling warmth, creating the fever that burned him alive.

Pumped full of medication, blood samples taken every hour, and excruciating pain each time they touched or scanned the offending limb, he was starting to think amputation wasn't so bad after all. But he put up with it, only as the alternative was to become a few kilos lighter overnight. He shivered and finally pulled the sheets a little higher until the door opened and Vanessa moved in. Her wide smile turning to an O of exclamation.

She moved to start picking up the glass jug shards, halted by his arm as it held her back. "Not necessary." He said. "Leave it. I'll only do it again if you replace it."

She shook her head and smiled. "And you'll only die of dehydration Mr Riker. Besides, hospital regs demand a safe environment for both patients and staff." She replied, continuing to do the job she'd moved to begin before hand.

"Mr Riker. Sounds so old. I've told you to..."

"Call me Will. I know, but we're not allowed to get too close to our patients. Even the gorgeous ones." She winked, broken glass now inside the waste paper basket.

"That because you'll care if we die." He said sarcastically earning an angry frown from the nurse.

Placing the basket down she placed two hands on hips and starred him down. "That's it. I'm sick of your hatred of yourself, your negative comments and the fact that you won't let anyone help you. I'm infuriated in trying to get you to smile when all I get are smart arsed replies from a man who is better off than most of the patients in this hospital." She took a breath and waggled a finger at him. "And before you reply, think yourself lucky your not in the terminal ward." She turned angrily, at herself for talking to a patient like that, and for his downward spiralling lack of enthusiasm to get better. "I'll send a cleaner in to mop up the floor before I take your next test." She said, back to him with the door open, before steeping into the noisy corridor and leaving him to his solitary cocoon.

Will lay there stunned. Never had he expected anyone to talk to him like that. They'd all been tip-toeing around him for weeks even months and now finally someone was treating like a human being. He let out a small chuckle at first, letting it build to a deep laugh until Vanessa ran back in hearing the noise.

"Thank you." He said with a big smile. She tilted her head to the side and let the cleaner move in. "Thank you for treating me like a human being and not a terminal patient." He answered for her as the cleaner left and Vanessa replaced the jug and glass.

"I am so sick of people so not acting like themselves. I'm sorry Vanessa, but your outburst was the first sign of normal human activity I've seen in a long time. Thank you." He smiled.

"That's better. A smile. It looks better that way than upside down." She poured him a glass of water and killed his thirst before pulling out her blood testing apparatus. She raised a vein and syphoned off a small amount of blood into the syringe's plastic body. Repeating it two times until she had her up-dated supply.

"Ever thought of becoming a vampire?" He joked.

"No. But you were becoming an emotional vampire. Sucking the goodness out of everyone." She placed the swab over the injected hole and taped it down before packing up her gear. She looked up to see him smiling at the ceiling, mind in gear. Noticing the gown trapped around the IV, she gently removed it and made her way out of the room, halted by a request..... "Vanessa?"

She turned and saw him looking repentant. "Could you ask Deanna to come in when she has time?"

"Sure Will." Vanessa replied. Knowing it has taken him a lot to face his need for his beautiful fiance, she smiled and made her way to Doctor Andrew's office. Glad to finally let the lady know, after sleeping there on the couch for the last few days, that he was finally asking for her.




As Deanna entered his room he glanced up sheepishly before swigging his eyes back to the ceiling.

"Vanessa said you wanted company. Is that all I am to you?" Her statement brought him half off the bed to explain in desperation before he found that traction meant he was going no where, not even to her side.

"That's not what I meant. Deanna..Imzadi..." he paused and tried to re-think his next words before she turned around and walked out on him. "You'd think by now that someone should of slapped me for being so stupid and inconsiderate of your feelings in all this." He looked over to her standing there in her rumpled clothes, arms crossed and the aristocratic lifting of the nose. He could see she'd stayed here since he'd shut them out. "What I'm saying Deanna is...god this is so hard." He looked back to the ceiling in exasperation.

Deanna continued to watch him and view his shifting emotions like the waving sea. She was hurting from his blocks, she was angered by his mistrust of her feelings towards him, and she was saddened by his current state of mental health.

"Please, help me out here Deanna, before I make an ever bigger fool of myself." He asked looking back into the large onyx eyes that still watched, making him feel like defenceless prey.

"You've already done that Will. Knocked away your friends who wished to do no more than help. Your ego and human male pride has done a lot of damage to those who love and care for you." It was simple. A few shorts sentences that summed up his whole role over the last few months. "What do you want me to say or do Will?"

He nodded and gave a grunt of approval. "You always knew how to class me. The under dog of alien worlds, a mere male from a small unassuming planet called Earth." He chuckled. "Guess your right if you want to walk out of here and forget me, leave me in the past when the Enterprise calls, leaving me to wallow in misery until I learn humility. But too late. Vanessa has already beaten you to the punch in chastising me, hence my wanting to clear up my present thoughts and feelings."

"Why do you think I asked her to look after you Will." Deanna finally allowed a small smile of satisfaction.

"Well she does berate really well." Will offered. "Good choice."

"So what did you want?" She asked still standing by the door.

"Deanna!?! Look I'm sorry. OK? I'm dying here." Deanna's shocked expression made him slap his face. "Not physically." He corrected. "Well maybe."

Deanna moved around the bed to the offending limb, her hands shaking slightly as she held a cool hand against the burning skin. The twisted and scarred skin and muscle nothing like the body she'd enjoyed massaging before the crash. The yellow toes and the leg enlarged to twice it's normal size, something she'd never of witnessed in Doctor Crusher's advanced sickbay. He sucked in a breath as she carefully touched one of the pins, feeling it's warmth as it absorbed Will's heat into its molecules.

"Never thought I'd loose a leg or be crippled, even though I came close to dying on various away teams many times." Will narrated as she tore her gaze from his leg and moved up to sit beside him. "Let alone having to pee in a plastic cup for a nurse."

"How are the kidney's?" Deanna asked, finally reaching over to lay a hand on his.

"Inflamed. But not hurting as much as my heart is for hurting you." He gently reached across and moved a strand of hair back from her face.

"I always had a soft spot for you. Never could stay mad long." She replied kissing his warm forehead and smoothing back his damp hair. "You need a bath mister."

"Already had two." He smiled, relieved that he hadn't harmed their relationship. "Still want to marry me?"

"We'll see, after your bath that is." Her sweet lips closed in over his until he groaned in delight at her sweet taste. He shivered as her hand rested on his chest and began to entwine with the hair there. "Feel better?"

He moaned in agreement, the simple touch of his Imzadi moving inside of him, spinning her web inside his mind, capturing his soul and leaving him completely at her mercy. The delicious sensation of her strokes of compassion running along burned paths of haunted thoughts of fear and regret, soothing each area until she felt her job done. Pulling from his mind at the pace of rolling glue, he hardly felt her loss as she vacated his mind, leaving only they're bond in connection. He breathed deeply as Deanna opened her eyes and watched the broad chest rise and fall in slow motion. Eyes closed, he was still savouring their brief connection, his evidence below the thin sheet enough to make her smile.

She felt a little pain from him, not enough for her to block, as he opened his eyes and jerked upright. Reddened patches on his back, blazoned where his Kidney's lay, rose up in goose bumps as the cool air circulated across the broad expanse of previously warm skin.

"Will?" Deanna queried, her hand not far from his shoulder to catch him.

"Cramp in my hip." He said massaging the area himself. Lying flat had been a problem ever since he'd dislocated his pelvis. Some ligaments or something were still stretched out of place and continued even now to give him grief.

"Hey. Let me. We've both done this before remember." She said moving his hand out of the way and seeking the responsible muscle group from practice. Beverly used to do it when he was home until Deanna had bugged the doctor to teach her.

"Thanks." Will said as the quivering muscle calmed and he lay back down with her help. "Can you see about getting some music in here? These daytime soaps they have on TV are really bad."

"Don't like the gorgeous Doctor Tom Carol then? I think he's cute. Kind of reminds me of you. That dimpled chin and blue eyes." Will rolled his eyes at her jibe.

"As if I don't see enough doctors now." He moaned.

A knock at the door and Vanessa stepped in. Her expression one of happiness at seeing these two friends again. "I'm sorry you two but it's time to take another test, we're going to trilate your dose down a bit while you sleep tonight." As Deanna moved away, Vanessa located a vein and began extracting another blood sample, making Deanna feel a little green, until she placed a swab over the hole and got Will to put pressure over it to stop the bleeding.

"Your getting good at this." She remarked as she packed away the blood and began to then take a urine sample next.

"I'd have to be after four times a day. Do I get a diploma after this?" Vanessa burst out laughing, looking to Deanna's grinning face.

"Sure. But I'm afraid we'll have to do an internal exam for finals." Will paled and she grinned from ear to ear.

"Maybe I'll forgo that diploma then." Will replied and raised his eyebrows at Deanna.

Vanessa nodded in agreement. "Not something I enjoy doing anyway. Well everything looks fine here, I'll be back in four hours, dinner should be arriving soon." She hurried out of the room, getting her samples to the pathologist before they deteriorated.

"She's got a crush on you." Deanna jibed.

"Nah. I'm sure it's you she likes." Will replied until Deanna thumped him in the arm gently. "Alright, but she's young enough to be my daughter."

"And just keep reminding yourself that mister, your mine." She kissed him again and made way for the door. "I'll be back soon. I'll see about that music request too." And with that she exited the room, bent of finding Beverly and letting her know that Will was back on the planet of sanity.




A burst of bubbles flowed past her mask as Deanna let out another breath of oxygen. Small colourful fish skittering out of her way, as she flashed her light before her looking and sifting through sand covered objects.

Deanna followed a small and sparse trail of equipment to the edge of a large underwater ravine, it's darkness engulfing exactly what she'd been seeking for the past twenty minutes.

Looking over a few metres to her right, her diving partner was picking up pieces of wreckage oblivious to her find. Deanna flashed her light on and off a few times, catching Beverly's attention and pointing down into the crevice with a thumbs up sign.

Both moved slowly down to the half submerged shuttle finding it's balance sturdy where it lay. It's hulk wedged into the parallel rock face, securing it from the deep drop down below. The hull was buckled and twisted into the darkness, both doorways ripped away. Finding a safe and accessible entrance, Deanna went first, careful not to touch or even place extra weight on the shuttle. They wanted to scavenge as much as possible before tilting and forcing it deeper down the crevice. They're dive depth was already reaching close to their limit for the oxygen mix they were carrying.

Deanna moved inside, careful from disturbing the various seas life that'd made the shuttle their home, giving herself a moment of fright as her torch light hit them one by one. The ceiling of the up-turned shuttle was littered with blankets, pads, and scattered food rations. She sifted carefully to retrieve anything useful. Finally finding one of the items they'd been hoping for. The silver canister winked in the torch light as she shook off the sand and placed it into her catch bag. Searching deeper she began looking in the same area for the medication nodules that slipped into the hypos' canister.

Beverly's hand gentle stunned her for a moment, turning to see her tapping her watch. Time to leave she signed.

Deanna nodded sadly and gave one last look on the floor before directing her eyes to the console, looking for where the communications array would be located. She'd need Will's help in disabling and bringing up the components if need be, but for now at least she could tell him what was intact and not burnt out. She backed out and with a swish of her fins made her way slowly back to the surface, depressurising at each level.

Back below on the wrecked shuttle a small fish swayed out from under the console, in direct line with a newly uncovered silver canister. The strange beings fins having uncovered the sand exposing the green labelled canister, the small unintelligible words to the fish saying 'antibiotics'.


As Deanna breached the surface her smile turned to fear as she saw Beverly's face. Paul had been speaking to her as he pulled her out of the water, now onboard she turned to her friend and beckoned her on quickly.

"What is it? Is it Will? Is he alright?" Deanna panicked and Craig swung the boat around and mad haste speed towards the wharf. She pulled off her BVA, dropping it to her bare feet.

"Paul got a call while we were down below. Will's just got worse. His fever has risen and the infection is spreading. They need to raise the dosage of Gentamicin to fight the Osteo. But to do that they need our agreement." Beverly explained. Both hands on the shaking Betazoid's shoulders.

"They've got it!" She shouted.

Beverly shook her head. "There's paperwork involved. We have to be aware of the danger in increasing the drug, and they legally require us to sign off on it before it can be administered."

Deanna gave a look of amazement. "He's dying and they won't give him the drug because we haven't signed it?" She shouted hysterically.

"Deanna calm down. He's not dying. He’s just not too well. Craig's already turning us back, we should be by his side in under two hours. Relax, there's nothing we can do for now." Beverly gave an apologetic squeeze to her shoulder before turning to find Paul standing quietly behind her. He looked uncomfortable for catching the conversation he'd just overheard. Once Beverly made sure Deanna was sitting calmly, she made her way to Paul to find out the real schedule they were trying to beat. She knew Deanna's silence now was only due to searching for Will inside her own mind. The duo's natural ability to contact each other, always something too hard to understand for Beverly.

"She didn't take it too well?" Paul mused handing her a cup of tea. Beverly nodded and let Paul move to Deanna next, tea in hand for her too. He bent down and knelt on the decking before her, waiting for her attention.

"I need to inform you of Will's current health status. Will you hear me out?" He waited for the nod and for the onyx eyes to lock onto his as she took a deep breath and held her head up high. "His kidney's aren't taking to the drug too well."

"The reason for the low dosage." She said in understanding.

"Correct. To beat this infection we're going to have to increase it pretty high if we're to save his leg. This means that we'll be putting his renal functions under great strain. It could leave him dependant on dialysis." He paused letting her take in the information.

Again Deanna nodded calmly. "What about the other affects."

"His nervous system and hearing are fine so far, but not something I can guarantee. Deanna, I know it's hard but he will need to make a choice if this increase won't calm the infection. In all the world I would use amputation as the last resort, but if he can't remove himself from a dialysis machine for more than four hours a day then walking won't do him much good." Paul suddenly backed away as she stood furiously, her eyes flashing daggers.

"Don't you ever come near him with a knife." She warned, Beverly's voice halting her next words.

"Blame me Deanna, not Paul." Holding her attention Beverly took Paul's place and stood her ground, waiting for Paul to return to the bow of the boat. "I should of never let that med kit leave my hands during the crash. It's the first thing in all emergencies that a doctor should do, keep the medical supplies at hand at all times. If there is anyone to blame it is me."

Deanna swallowed and bent down to her net, untangling the one item that had sparked hope. "It's no ones fault. Not yet." She replied handing the object to her stunned friend. "But if they do operate, Will will be asking for answers that I just won't be able to give him." She moved off in search a towel and a little personal space.




Deanna found Will even worse than the night before. Being Saturday, the visiting hours were shorter and now closed to visitors. Their hurried progress through the hospital permitted by Paul, bringing them to his side outside the normal visiting restrictions. She moved to his shivering side, finding a feverish hand and holding it to her heart. He opened his eyes but kept his teeth tightly clenched.

<You came > he managed to send.

"I always will Imzadi." She said as she brushed away damp hair from his forehead. Beverly entered into the ICU, clipboard in hand, soon followed by Will's doctor.

"I need you to sign this Deanna." Beverly watching as Will's brilliant blue eyes never left her face. His desperation to keep her in sight almost like a man's last dying wish. She shook her head free of the negative thoughts accepting the papers back once Deanna had signed them. "We're going to up the medication Will. Hopefully the fever will ease soon." She comforted him, moving out of the way as Doctor Andrews adjusted the IV and called Margretta to his side. They steadied his arm and produced more blood samples before releasing his shaking limb.

"If you could cool him down with a sponge bath, Margretta, I think that would help. And if you could get these samples down to Pathology stat. Thanks." The nurse scurried away to her duties at Paul's request. He then turned back to his ill patient, sliding a thermometer between Will's lips. His shaking becoming more painful every moment as the fever escalated. Burning hot, the thermometer was soon replaced by a glass of water held to his lips. He gulped deeply coughing a little. Paul stood there carefully watching his patient before moving to the leg and uncovering the bindings to glance at the scarlet swollen skin.

"Any pain elsewhere?" He finally asked.

"Back...lower back..stinging like hell." He made out.

"Pelvis too?" He watched the sure nod and pursed his lips. "We'll see how the drugs perform over the next few days before exploring other options." Will knew exactly what options he was talking about, the one he'd dreaded since the fever had increased. "And I see Angela's given you your morphine already." He perused the chart before giving a quick nod to the senior nurse in the corner, keeping an eye on the ICU ward attendants, Will being the only one in this ward for now.

Paul gave a small smile and beckoned for Beverly to follow him, leaving Deanna to fawn over the sick man. "It's bad. I'll give the drugs another 24 hours, if the fever doesn't drop then we need to consider the worst."

"No." Beverly said strongly. "He's not going to loose it Paul. You don't know what would happen to a physical man like Will Riker. It'd crush him worse than the simple bed ridden months he's already prevailed from. I need a better answer than the primitive notion of just severing a diseased leg Paul." She said heatedly in whispered form.

He took a step back from the fiery red beauty he still considered a worthy treasure from the sea, and gave his best diagnosis, watching as she turned from him back into the ICU with not a word.





He was cooler now from the blessedly fresh bath that had come and gone, but still he couldn't stop shivering regardless of the heat that burned from within. Deanna's constant attendance helped to keep the fear at bay, her presence that of a guardian against their proposed cure. But truly he didn't know how long he could cope like this. Deanna's recent news of finding the wreck had brought some hope, but was soon washed away as short bursts of pain exploded in his kidney's just then, keeping beat with the bass throb in his leg.

"Hurts." He said as she asked how he was coping. Her caring smile failing to make him better. "Pills." He pleaded.

"We can't give you any more Will. That's what the IV's for. I'm so sorry." She smoothed back his hair, wiping away the moisture that fell from his closing eyes.

"Don't feel so good." He croaked out before another sharp jab to his back started a beat. He'd lain there for two days already in constant pain, the medication lower than what he wanted, demanded. Blessed pain relief denied as time and again they explained that it was dangerous to overload him.

The words meant nothing as the constant burning heat removed all common sense leaving him drained, but propped up on anger most of the time. His temper tantrums increasing each time his fever brought him closer to screaming his hopelessness.

He groaned and burrowed his head into her embrace, twisting away from the diseased leg that he was almost wishing to chop off himself. But again he told himself, he had to be whole for Deanna to love him. The childish thought running through his delirious brain matter.

Although his Imzadi had spent almost every hour beside him, he still feared losing her to another man. Another whole and healthy man. He gripped her tighter, moving his head harder against her chest allowing his cheek to rest over her heart, listening to it's worried beat.

His fever was rising again and he could swear he was having trouble seeing. Everything was blurred around the edges and a loss of balance because of it, things further away or closer than he thought, misjudging their perspectives. He'd hid it well from Deanna, not wanting to worry her. But it was starting to worry him.

He'd remembered the warnings of side effects, but their written meanings were lost from his mind as he reached out but failed repeatedly to find those answers.

"Feel like I'm on Romulus." He mumbled drawing an instant shush from Deanna. "Heyyy....don't hush me....I out rank you....commander." He drawled giving a sad chuckle. Will had since forgotten that his command presence was not an issue of discussion right now, especially with medical staff only a few feet away.

Deanna pulled him tighter and began to rub his back to get him off track. "Will, your a bit cold, do you want another blanket?" She asked, not expecting an answer.

Melissa who sat by the door watching over them was careful in trying not to listen, but had heard the request for a blanket. Moving forward she gave a smile to her patient's lover and drew another blanket over his chilled form.

"No." He grumbled, pushing it off his shoulders in anger. "Too hot." He drawled and let his head drop back limply on the pillow, blinking hard to focus on the air vent above his bed.

"I'd hardly call that a jefferies tube." He said frowning, "How the .....hell would Geordi be......expected to... to get this ship operational with .....such tiny crawl holes?" He continued, Deanna's peripheral vision watching the other nurse who'd returned to her desk, hopefully oblivious to Will's rant.

"Will, we're on Earth in a hospital in 2001, not one of your stories." She said hoping to dispel any rumours. She gave a smile as Melissa turned and grinned back at her.

"You don't like my stories?" He mumbled. "Worf does. Where is that pie headed Klingon anyway?" Deanna had to stifle a laugh at Will's description of her past lover.

"He's not here Imzadi. Just you me and Beverly." She answered, her words causing her dread, the three of them the only real friends they could count on lost in this time.

Beverly entered and Deanna gave her a worried frown, the doctor's emotions running in a torment of panic and fear, the same emotions she felt each time she waited for a patient's body to beam into her sickbay. She was fearful of the unknown and the untreatable. To let down her patient was in her eyes a horrendous crime, but in reality a truth that medicine couldn't cure everything. This simple mixture of emotion immediately set Deanna's heart beating. "What is it?" She asked.

"How's he doing?" Beverly asked side-stepping the question.

"Hot and delirious enough to talk about Geordi and crawl spaces." She gave the brief description drawing Beverly to her CO's side, running a hand across his forehead as Deanna moved him out of her embrace.

"Hi doc." Will said as he felt the familiar hand rest on one of his red cheeks.

"Hello Will. I hear you've been talking about your ship stories again." She smiled as he gave a weary smile. "We've got some surgery lined-up for you Will. Think you can handle it?"

Deanna and Will's minds instantly latched onto the wrong reason, Beverly's hands rising in quick fashion to halt theirs fears. "No! No! We're not going to amputate yet Will. We'll wait a little longer for the medication to take, but what we do need to do is drain the infection. Paul's got a bone scan booked in this afternoon. If we drain the infection in the bone tissue, then it should hopefully bring down the fever and help heal the dying tissue." She watched them both. "So you think you can handle a little trip down the corridor?" She asked Will who's eyes had closed again in relief.

He gave a limp nod and squeezed Deanna's hand tighter, the Betazoid turning her face up to Beverly and giving her acceptance of the plan. "I think we're ready. Any danger?"

"Nothing worse than what he's going through now. It'll mean cutting into the bone, but it's either that or leave it to cause an abscess and possibly cripple him." She shrugged her shoulders. "Oh for the wish of a hypo and regenerator." She whispered, aware of the nurse in the corner.

"Is Paul doing the operation?"

Beverly shook her head. "No. Not his field. But he's put the best man on the list to perform the op if the bone scan reads how we think it will." The red haired doctor looked down to the man she had always thought of as a brother, now played as her cousin, watching his rapid breathing. "It's for the best Deanna. It's the only way before we have to consider the next step." Saying no more, she saw the look in Deanna's eyes, both knowing what the next and final step would be, drawing a shiver along Deanna's length.

Wanting to change subject she forced what happiness she had left in her reserves, into her voice. The majority used up from giving her strength to Will via their bond. "How's the engagement party going?"

"No where. Paul thinks now is not the right time. He wants Will well and present as my only family member." She winked.

"Knew the blue eyes came from somewhere." Will's joke making the two women jump.

"You" Beverly said pointing her finger. "Shouldn't be awake."

"Too bad." He replied before coughing a little and curling closer to Deanna's side, accepting her cool touch to his burning skin. She twirled her fingers through his damp hair letting a loving smile grace her lips. "Wish I....wasn't though." He took a deep breath.

"The medication will do that." Beverly said moving to his chart and checking the last blood test results.

"You mean the pain will." He replied. "Can't get cool.....can't move.....without something hurting......and can't piss without....passing blood." He moaned.

Beverly looked up sharply and crossed to the waste lines checking his urine outlet. The tinge of blood present making her jump until the nurse behind her cleared her throat.

"Doctor Andrews has checked the problem and has added Zylenol to the IV intake. I'm sorry but I thought he'd informed you." The nurse waited for her tirade watching the storm raging on the face of the red haired woman before her.

Beverly swallowed and plastered a smile onto her face before saying thank you and excusing herself from the room.

"Paul's in danger...Deanna. You'd better go....and save him from... from the wicked witch." He joked until another set of coughs brought Deanna's concern back to him.

"Lie still Will. I need you better before she tears him apart." She said holding a glass of water to his parched lips, and moving aside his long fringe of hair. "You need a haircut and shave mister." She scorned.

"I need a miracle......you mean." He moaned before snuggling back into her arms. His movements slow, afraid of the imminent pain from moving even a smidgeon of a way.




Deanna stood back with Beverly watching as the technicians lifted their charge from one bed to the surgical one through the observation dome. Will's head lolling to one side, unaware due to the drugs, that his body was on the move.

A crowd of green garbed people milled around him, apply tubes and drips and machine suctioned wires that beeped with his vitals. The masked men waited for the nurses to finish swabbing the area, and the anaesthetist to give the nod and then the surgery began. Beverly watched in fascination and revulsion while Deanna, unable to take it moved away from the glass and took a seat at the back of the room.

Paul entered with coffee and tea for the pair of women, moving first to Deanna's side seeing her discomfort. "He's in fine hands Deanna. I can assure you. I chose only the best for him. Here have a cup of tea, it'll help settle your nerves." The shaky hands of Deanna clutched themselves around the cup and nodded her thanks as he squeezed her shoulder and moved on to Beverly as she watched like a hawk through the window.

She'd never thought in her life that anyone else would be performing surgery on Will without her in control, let along allowing a manual hands on attempt like this. No sterile fields, just plain air and sterilised metal instruments cutting into flesh and bone. Some of the implements, herself she'd used, at first repulsed.

"Envious you're not in there taking care of him?" He asked as he caught her fingers moving in parallel to the surgeon below.

"I will be if they trip up." She whispered. The last thing she wanted to do was to add to Deanna's worry.

"So far it looks good." Paul mused, his attention focused on the operation below.

"How long until we know?"

Paul turned and gave her a comforting look. "As soon as the surgery is over they'll let us know the extent of the infection, then it's maybe a few days to see a change in temperature and swelling." He gave a brief sigh. "But the interference of the infection and the surgery will leave him with a higher probability of a limp. But at least a whole limb." He said calmly.

"Better to limp than hop." She replied and gave him a quick glance before moving her eyes back to Will Riker.




The bed rolled back into the ICU and the still sedated patient was carefully manoeuvred inside. His frame attached to various monitors, his drip moved over, and blankets straightened over the thick white bandaged leg.

Regardless of the white sunken pallor of his features, he looked peaceful through the glass. Deanna, hands spread before her, traced his face on the dividing glass of ICU. He was off limits by the surgeon's order. Paul confirmed it too, his insistence that her husband to be was under strict observation and that she needed rest for when he awoke. No ones prompting was heard. She refused steadfastly to move away from him until she saw those large blue orbs open up and gaze into her own.

Beverly had given up, knowing the Betazoid stubbornness was as bad as Will's, and had stumbled home to her own waiting bed without being prompted. Regardless of her ill friend, Beverly still had work to arrive to in the morning. Luckily, Deanna was only part-time, and Paul had already called in advance, notifying her superiors of her non-attendance for the next few days.

His deep calm respiration rose and fell steadily making her sleepy herself until she felt hands holding her up. Disorientated she turned to find Paul holding her up. "I think that means sleep don't you?" He prompted as he moved her to a seat. "Why don't you let David here take you home?" The young physio who'd worked hard on Will was a good friend of Paul's. His comforting smile and open hand beckoned her up to follow him to his car waiting outside, but Deanna's feet couldn't leave her Imzadi.

"I can't leave him here alone." It sounded silly, but it was true. He was alone in this out-of-time-and-place world.

"I'll be here all night to keep an eye on him Deanna. He's my patient and it's my responsibility to see him pull through. Besides...it was only minor surgery. Why don't you go home and rest. He'll be needing your strength tomorrow." His hand was soft and comforting but also strong enough to pull her away from the glass into David's direction.

With a smile, Deanna turned and thanked him before finally making slow steps to David's side, giving a last glance back to Will before heading down the corridor and to home.


The metallic tang of anaesthesia was bitter on his tongue as Will advanced to consciousness. The fuzzy warmth of the fever was still present, and the numbness that pervaded him seemed even stronger. But his muddled senses still told him there was someone close by. Confirming this, a pair of lips planted a gentle kiss to his cheek, followed by fingers that traced the contours of his face. Deanna. She always loved to touch and feel every curve of his body, almost memorising his physical being with her fingertips for a rainy day without him.

He tried to say something finding his body unresponsive. Both speech and movement hampered, as he tried to move his hand to her side. Her gentle caresses continued as the grey mist of his mind began to clear and the pinkness of his eyelids became a welcome sign post.

A muffled "Take it easy Will, there's no rush." Whispered into his ears and he relaxed as her sweet voice calmed his spirit.




Deanna watched the surface of his eyelids flicker, the blue orbs underneath working hard to no doubt remove the cotton wool from them. A quiet mumble drew her closer to his slow motioned lips. The whisper of warm breath from his mouth tingling her ear as she caught scraps of words "ship...computer....lover....Betazoid...Imzadi..."

She smiled and moved back up right as Beverly entered at her summoning. "He's waking. I thought you might like to know." She said, indicating to the stirring man who's head was now moving along with one set of toes that wasn't wound up in bandages.

"Thanks Deanna." The doctor stood over her friend and watched the thin pale man as he fought through the drugs and left over anaesthesia. Adding her own hand to his forehead. "He slept well last night. And his temperature has dropped a little. Good signs."

Deanna nodded her head, keeping her eyes trained on his so she was the first thing he saw. Unexpectedly his heart rate jumped and his ramblings got louder until suddenly his eyes shot open and he gave a strangled cry, struggling upright against Beverly's carefully placed hand.

"Will!" Beverly called out as Deanna sat shocked. His strangled gasps prompted Beverly to hit the nurses' button as she tried to kept him level upon the bed. His eyes were wide and were starring at Beverly in fear until the flurry of nurses entering the room took his attention. Fighting off Beverly with the last of his strength he made it to the bed edge, leg still caught in traction, pulling on dulled senses till he stopped moving, panting heavily on his side.

"Your safe Will. Your with friends." Deanna's hands rubbed in circles on his back as he coughed past the feed tube that ran down his throat. He groaned and watched in surreal fashion the heart rate monitor's jaggered line drop as his pulse did in tandem.

The nursing staff fussed about him, checking various items until Doctor Andrews entered in a hurry. "Status?"

"He's OK. Will's just looking for attention." Beverly said before Vanessa could answer.

"Seems like a nightmare to me." Vanessa added as she checked Will's blood pressure and started taking a blood test from the now limp arm.

"And what do you say Mr Riker?" Paul asked as he bent down to eyelevel with his patient and watched the slow blinking eyes of his patient.

A small whimper of a requests emitted from his still gasping mouth. "End program. Please...computer...end program."

Paul straightened up and skewered his fiancee with a curious look. "End program?" He shook his head. "Vanessa. Get me those blood panels back quick I want to see what kind of toxicity we're dealing with here." The room emptied leaving Paul and Beverly to help Will lie flat to the bed. Deanna leant over him kissing his cheek tenderly, as she watched his eyes close, before pulling his sheet back up his sweat peppered chest.

"He shouldn't be delirious." Paul said, one finger crossing his lips as the other arm held up his elbow. He watched Will for a while before guiding Beverly away to have a quiet chat.

Deanna smoothed back his hair until he opened up his large glassy blue eyes and gave a small smile. "Your safe Imzadi." She whispered as Paul and Beverly consulted each other in the far corner unaware that they're patient was awake and nearly lucid.

"Want out. Too real." He mumbled.

"It's not a holodeck creation Will. This is real and your health depends on you lying back and letting your body heal for as long as it needs. Will you do that for me?" His weak hand tried to squeeze hers in answer, feeling more like a twitch than a confirmation.

"Hot." He said finally, unable to lift the sheets away from himself, hoping she'd understand and help him cool down.

"It's the fever Will. Hold on, I'll talk to Doctor Andrews about it." She went to leave finding his fingers clasped around hers, anchoring her to his side. Paul had seen her attempt to escape and now was focusing his attention on his awake patient rather than Beverly's conversation. The red haired doctor realised she was being ignored and looked towards the same direction.

Will found himself surrounded in seconds, but still roasting hot. "Could one of you help move this bedding off of me?" He managed as a croak before his voice caught and a long line of coughs shook him to the core. He shivered lightly and gasped as various parts of his aching body came to life.

Paul shook his head in the negative and pressed the nurses buzzer. "Fraid not. You’re chilled to the bone. But we'll see about making you more comfortable though."

"No drugs." He mumbled back attempting to squeeze Deanna's hand tighter again. "Need to feel." She squeezed it back and drew his hand up to lips, kissing him and hoping he could feel it. He'd confessed earlier before the operation that he'd been feeling a numbness creeping into his hands, something she'd had no time to mention to Paul as they'd soon whisked him into theatre.

Beverly stood back from it all, her fear of ever seeing Will so bad was gnawing at her. His fitness was shot to hell, his body degrading as time went by, and his spirit was nothing like the strong commander of old. In truth he looked like a man ready to give up, to move on from the pain and humiliation of 24 hour care. It shocked her to the core to think he was in hands reach but she couldn't do a thing, even worse that in a few hundred years time the injuries he'd sustained could of been healed within a few hours let alone months of agony.

"Will. Can you feel my fingers?" Deanna asked drawing a look from Paul.

He lay there thinking at first, trying to move heavy digits until he nodded. "Just. Middle finger is tingly."

"The cocktail swishing around in your blood won't help there. You can expect to feel an occasional numbness from lack of movement too." Paul answered before moving aside the blanket over his leg and gazing at the purple toes sticking out of the gauze bandage. Their heat was impressive not to mention the skin tender to Paul's touch, drawing a grimace from Will even when zonked out. "I see you can still feel them, a good sign, when they go numb then we worry. Alright?" He watched Deanna nod and turn back to Will who was now lying still with his eyes closed.

Vanessa peeked her head in the doorway, shortly leaving with Paul's instructions, and returning later with the test results and the sponge bath equipment. As he perused the figures, finally passing them to Beverly, he patted Vanessa on the shoulder kindly. "Vanessa here is going to wash you down and hopefully cool you a little without making you too cold. I'll be nearby if you need me. Ladies if you'll excuse me, I have other patients who are calling for my services." He tipped his head to the three women before leaving with a smile.

Beverly helped Vanessa remove Will's gown while Deanna held his hand, sitting him upright and revealing his gaunt chest, his gaze never leaving hers. "Promise me we'll go to Alaska after this?" He mumbled, his voice nasal from the tubing.

"Why Alaska?" She asked looking up to Beverly to see her friend's large smile.

Beverly laughed when Will looked to her to explain. "Because it's cold and nowhere near as hot as here right Will?" He nodded and closed his eyes again and smiled as a fresh gown was arranged around his form and the young nurse proceeded further south to clean the second half of him from the damp smell of perspiration.

"Snowflakes and cool crisp streams surrounded in fresh clean air." He mumbled.

"Paradise." Deanna shivered.




"Well the nausea is subsiding and his kidney's are doing better now that we've lowered the Gentamicin. I guess we can allow for a little celebration in the fact that the operation helped to relieve the infection." Paul announced as the three sat inside what had been termed the rescuee's residence.

"Then it's gone?" Deanna asked gripping her hot chocolate between tired hands.

"No. We ran another bone scan earlier today and still found a mild infection, one which hopeful will recede once the medication works it's way in further on a long term span." Paul answered.

"What about the long term effects of using the medication though?" Deanna's voice was almost laced with disbelief that everything was fine, but Paul understood, she was only protecting the one she loved.

He sighed heavily, weighing up how to tell her in the easiest form. "Yes. There is that danger, but for now he's coping well. Yes, his renal organs are swollen and taking a beating. But we predict that they should heal well after the infection is cleared and we ween him off his current feedline." he answered in an easy calm relaxed manner.

"He should be home and actively pacing this room in a few weeks time." Beverly added. "Just think, instead of health issues we'll be having weight issues."

Paul raised an eyebrow. "The way Will Riker cooks, we'll be dieting for the rest of our lives." Beverly answered.

Paul chuckled. "He does have a tremendous gourmet speciality in the cooking arena."

"Always makes me curl up on the couch and groan with delight after one of his so called 'nothing special' surprises." Deanna smiled.

"Then be prepared because he will recover my friends." Paul said before slapping his knees and standing. "Now if you'll excuse me, I'll thank you for the coffee and be on my way. I have a few errands to run and a date to get ready for." He grinned giving Beverly a romantic kiss to the lips. "I'll be by at eight." And headed out the door whistling, leaving behind a blushing doctor and a snickering Betazoid.


Deanna found Will the next day sitting upright in bed as Margretta was rubbing something into his back and behind. Two big inflamed area's rose off the small of his back broadcasting the pain that was going on below the skin. He turned at her entrance and removed the grimace from his face and forced a smile in it's place. "Good morning Imzadi." He greeted. Margretta looked up and waved one gloved hand before continuing to rub the liniment in.

"Looks fun." Deanna joked as she wrinkled her nose. The strong menthol smell overpowering, making her stop a metre from him. "Doesn't smell like fun though." She winked.

"Well it's this or pain. I've kinda gotten used to it." He shrugged and then grunted.

"I said not to move your shoulders." Margretta said. "They're attached to too many things to not hurt when you're sitting up like this. " She pulled off her gloves with a loud snap and threw them onto the metal bowl on her trolley. "Does that feel a bit better?" She asked helping him lie back down before his quivering arms gave out.

"Much better." He said releasing his breath. "Can I have something to eat yet, instead of this tube?" Will added pointing to the plastic line that ran up his nose and into his stomach.

She paused and looked to Deanna who was looking radiant as ever in a tight black t-shirt and jeans. "Only if your girlfriend doesn't mind feeding you. I've got another few patients before I have some spare time I'm afraid." She apologised.

"I'd love to." Deanna stepped in.

"Thank you. I really am sorry about not doing it myself. I'll get Maurice to drop off some consume. Put some meat on those bones." The nurse said before making her way to the door.

"Pick on me when I'm thickening up, pick on me when I'm thin...wish you girls would make up your mind. It's not easy this shape changing thing." Will joked, wiping away some perspiration from his brow with a tissue.

"I love you just the way you are Imzadi." She moved forward and kissed him, still noticing a residual warmth to his skin. "Still feverish?"

"Yep. Lucid but still hot and exhausted. Better than how I've been for the last few days I hear."

"Yep in deed." Deanna paused as Maurice the hospital assistant moved inside and placed a tray onto Will's side table. He gave both a smile and left, used to the long term pair. "I see lunch has arrived." She said grabbing a seat and the bowl and spoon, making herself comfortable next to Will.

"Lunch? I figured it was kind of afternoon?" He said before a spoon was thrust into his mouth. "Ergh maybe lunch wasn't a good idea." He groaned at the taste.

"Hunger make you forget their menu?" Deanna jibed as she spooned another into his hungry yet dissatisfied mouth. "Actually I was thrilled to hear you were hungry. Paul was saying last night that we needed to get you eating again. Lots of protein to fight the infection and fever."

He nodded and swallowed another spoonful before holding up a hand to her next one. "You alright?" Deanna asked, putting down the bowl and noticing how pale he suddenly went.

"Yeah. Stomach just rolled. I'll be fine." He faked a smile and let his head hit the pillow heavily closing his eyes and letting out his breath slowly.

"My poor little boy." Deanna said forgetting the bowl and moving to comfort him. "Want me to go?"

"No. I like your company. Hate being alone." At his words Deanna remembered how Tom had confessed the same thing when they'd first met. How he'd craved any kind of company rather than to be left alone like his father used to. Something she'd never realised about the ever so sure Commander who never bore, nor showed, what he would deem a fault.

"And I'll never leave you alone Imzadi." She whispered, kissing each closed eyelid and watching him fall deeper into slumber. His brief alertness earlier a wonderful, if short, moment together for the both of them.






Deanna sat quietly in Paul's office as she awaited Will's latest review. She'd finally left in search of her bed once she was sure he was sound asleep. Paul had run more tests, reviewing them with the last few over the previous days. The loud tick tock of the clock broke the dead silence as she sighed once more, waiting for hopefully good news. Fidgeting nervously she dropped her hands heavily into her lap shaking her head at her lack of calm. Surely he was going to be fine, he was looking better last night before she'd left, Vanessa giving encouraging nods as she wrote upon his chart.

"Gods your going crazy." Deanna muttered to herself just before the door opened and Paul walked in.

"Sorry about the wait Deanna. We had a final bone scan in the pipeline before I could make a decision." He smiled calmly and took a seat next to her instead of across the table.

"He's back in his room then?" She asked.

"They're just wheeling him back now. Deanna. We're seeing a considerable change for the better but not as quick as we'd like." He took one of her shaky hands. "I need your permission to increase his medication again. Not for long, but for a few days or so."

She nodded and stood slowly thanking Paul before making her way to the door. "Deanna?" She turned and looked at the green eyed man who'd stolen her friends heart. "We'll do our best. He should be up and around in no time."

Deanna could not reply, only to make her way out and down the busy corridor to find Will. His room was filled with people hooking up and transferring tubes and cables, the pale man ignoring the fuss, lying quiet and contemplative until he sensed her presence. "My girlfriend's back." He grinned.

"And my boyfriend is still faking illness for all this attention." She replied. Some of the staff joining in on the light moment.

"Only for you my love." He said huskily as she moved in between the last few nurses and kissed him. "Paul talk to you did he?" Noticing the deep thought cast on her face.

"We're upping your does again."

Will groaned and lay his head back heavily into the pillow. "Not again. That damn stuff burns in small amounts as it is let alone pushing more into my veins."

Deanna waited for the last of the staff to leave before dragging over a chair and carefully moving in between the lines to hold his hand. "We're going diving again tomorrow and the next day. Will you be alright by yourself?"

He chuckled. "By myself? I think you're losing your sight Deanna, I counted at least ten people in here just now."

"You know what I mean." She sighed.

He smiled and squeezed her hand. "I'll be fine. Not much I can get up to trussed up like this. Hurts too much anyway." He breathed in and tried to re-settle himself before she could comfort him. He was way past the continuous monotony of people and they're endless looks of sympathy. The looks of fear in their eyes each day, worried he'd slide into a state of depression.

Each day was a trial. A schedule of painful probings and movement to keep the bed sores away, massages for tired unused muscles, and endless vials of medication being either thrust into his body by the crude needle or pills orally. No wonder he sunk into depressed states regularly now. The thought of ever being well was getting further away as each day they scanned, x-rayed and shook their heads in negative fashion. Hell, he'd even thought of sawing off his own leg on some delirious occasions. But for now, he rested with his best behaviour as Deanna gave up another day of work for his time wasting benefit.

Deanna sensed his musings as his eyes laid fixed on the far end of the ceiling, propped up on his pillows to allow him to breathe easier. There was nothing he couldn't do for himself right now. The physio they had worked hard at before was working backwards, spasms from twitching muscles tired of lying there urged him to do what David ordered, but his body gave out often, the pain of moving enough to have David cancel further appointments to Will's chagrin.

"Think you'll have any luck this time?" He finally asked. She knew what is was he enquired about, giving a nod and a small smile.

"We're close, in fact we've found the wreck, now all we have to do is find the right contents we need to make you better." She watched his eyes widen in shock.

"You didn't tell me?" He said amazed. "Surely you know that any little chance of hope is a bonus in here." He sounded mad until his pushed down the anger as he saw her look away in shame." Guess it's need to know for the walking only." He snidely remarked.

"We didn't want to get your hopes up. I wasn't even meant to tell you we found the shuttle." She confessed.

"Beverly," Will said. "Damn that witch." He closed his eyes and tried to quieten his anger, concentrating on the burn of the Gentamicin inside his veins instead.

"Will?" Deanna whispered, waiting a few minutes until she tried again only to receive a cold hard stare before he then closed his eyes again. She felt him secure his blocks harshly, locking her out and leaving her bereft of his presence.

She sighed deeply and picked-up her bag before leaning over and leaving a small kiss to his unshaven cheek, pausing then moving out of the room in search of Beverly.

The door closed quietly behind her and the large man who filled the medical bed began to silently cry.




Paul was pacing his office before the two women, a frown marring his features. "I don't think it's a good idea. Not with how his emotional state is right now." He said concerned.

"Will is strong. He'll be fine for the Saturday at least, and we're reachable with your sat-phone. Paul, we need to dive." Beverly argued.

"Just what is on that plane of his? We've been diving for ages for objects that no sooner appear on the surface than they disappear into Deanna's bags and become part of some secret cache. You're not government agents or something stupid like that are you?" Truth was Paul has wondered who they really were from the beginning but his relationship with the red haired doctor had blurred that interest a long time ago. Only now that interest was peeked at the risk they were ready to perform while they're loved one was dying down the corridor.

"Paul. We're just trying to locate some experimental formulas that I'd calculated before our crash. What's in them could help Will drastically." Beverly sighed.

"So your ready to risk our lives in the large swell out there for some paper files while he lays there in high risk himself. What if the seas become too rough and we don't return Beverly? How would he survive then? You yourself told me your his only family and friends. How would he cope?" He pressed, unwanting to perform the dive in such unfavourable conditions, predicted for the next day. "Maybe your cousin-in-law can make you see the light." He waved a hand at Deanna as she entered the room, slumping into his chair as he thrust his head into his hands.

Deanna stepped forward and took the seat directly across from Paul and pulled one of his hands away. "You're worried about Will."

"Yeah I am. His left kidney is swelling. There's a high possibility that we may need to remove it to help keep him stable. Just waiting for the MRI's to come back." He sighed and looked at the two stonelike women. "I've got him booked into the theatre just in case. He's not well."

"So it's necessary?" Beverly asked in doctor mode.

"Yes. The thing is he's still got one good one. His left Kidney took the brunt of the crash the first time, still weak from the bruising it's been slowly deteriorating from the drugs we've issued. No way to save it if it's as bad as we think." He confirmed. "I'll need your consent."

Beverly nodded looking to Deanna who confirmed her approval too.

Paul ran a hand through his hair in distress. "It'll be dangerous enough performing this one operation. Give another few days of this current level of inflammation and we'll have to amputate the leg with no options. He'll die if we don't." His outburst of care for his patient drove the room to a stand still. Deanna's wide eyes looking to Beverly in fear.

"Then we dive tomorrow regardless. If you won't take us, then I'll contact Craig or someone else who'll do it." The doctor turned and stormed out of the room before Paul could apologise to his fuming fiance.

Deanna gave a comforting squeeze of Paul's hand, standing and moving to the door. "Give Will a few more days. We'll have a cure. I promise." And she left leaving the man no longer angry but confused.


Two nurses watched over the monitors in the ICU as Will twisted in pain within Deanna's arms. She'd returned to find him lucid and in need of human comfort. Regardless of the look one nurse tried to hide, she'd managed to move her arms around his form and guide him into her chest to hold him tightly, trying to steady the daggers of sharp pain emitting from his dying organ. He was murmuring sorry and Imzadi during the periods he had opened his eyes, focusing poorly onto her caring face, as he was hushed by his lover.

They both waited for the surgeon to give the go ahead. A few minutes left before Will's scheduled surgery. The angry red leg was unwrapped revealing the infected limb to garish detail, before the nurses re-wrapped it in new bandages. A heat burning so fiercely she feared the ice packs would melt within seconds.

A small clatter from outside sounded as the door opened and Paul with a team of med techs moved in. "It's time." He said issuing a needle to Will's forearm and watching as the glazed eyes closed. "OK. Move him out." He ordered to the techs as Deanna released Will and stood aside. She tried to send him comfort and strength only to find him weak spiritually as well as physically, unable to take her offerings.

They wheeled him out the room after reconnecting the various machines to portable units and moved down to the lift, transferring him to the theatre for hopefully the last time, Deanna wished.

The small hands of Beverly Crusher found they're way to her shoulder and lead her out of the room in silence. The doctor's presence unknown to Deanna as she stayed with Will as much as possible as he slipped in and out of consciousness.




A few hours later and Deanna was beside her charge once more. The anaesthetic making him mumble into the oxygen mask over his mouth. His eyes were still glued shut as his head rocked back and forth over the soft pillows. Deanna placed a hand against his cheek halting him from moving his head any more. Tracing the bead of perspiration as it travelled down his pale face. Strict instructions for nil by mouth were posted above his head and the feedtube remained embedded into his nasal cavity.

"Shhh. Your safe Will. Imzadi...I'm here." She said as he started to speak louder on the long approach to consciousness.

"Better to be making a riot than lying there quietly." Paul mused as he marked the chart and read the surgeons report. "Did you know that I have three doctors who are arguing that I should halt his pain and amputate?"

Deanna ignored the comment, determined that tomorrow was the day to find the med kit contents and to relieve Will of the agony. With even just an anti-infection hypo he stood more of a chance of walking again, regardless of ever finding the regen unit. "When's Beverly off work?" She asked instead.

Checking his watch he smiled her way. "She should be here in about two hours to back you up in your argument."

"Paul. I'm not arguing. I value your consul but we have a slim chance of helping Will before he becomes permanently crippled. And a slim chance is what he thrives on." On cue Will mumbled and tried to curl into her grasp, as far as the traction would allow.

"He also seems to thrive on your touch." Paul indicated as he moved forward and peeled open an eyelid, shinning a small torch into the pupil. Will's response was to move away drawing a happy nod from Paul at his patient's ability to flee. "Well he seems better now we've removed his Kidney. But the infection still isn't helping." He said carefully lifting the bandage and checking the incision in Will's abdomen.

Deanna nodded. "He nearly didn't make it through the surgery did he?" She didn't have to ask, she'd felt his life slipping only to recover later.

Paul tried to hide the colour on his cheeks, unable to lie to this man's future wife. "No. The anaesthetic can be tricky to start with let alone hold a patient under long enough for a procedure like this without there being a high chance of failure. The infection's made him weak. Another op and he won't make it. Even amputation is looking bad. Truthfully?...this miracle idea that Beverly has had better work or he won't be leaving this bed alive." Those final words carried dread to her heart as Paul moved outside away from the ugly truth he'd had to lay upon her.

Deanna's heart beat madly as the last few words hit her. She could loose him. Sitting down heavily she dropped his hand, leaving it hanging limply over the edge of bed, dropping her head into her hands, hoping to muffle the sobs. The noise of a door opened, then closed, soon followed by another open door and booted feet moving to her side. Beverly's embrace took her further into deeper sobs as she finally let out the torrent of emotion she'd held in check since he'd returned to hospital. Her best friend hung on, one hand gently rubbing her back, ignoring the damp tears Deanna left upon her clothing. Pulling away, Deanna crossed her arms and clutched her stomach, sniffling as she exhaustedly ran out of tears to bare.

They both sat there for an hour, quiet and contemplative, listening to the beeps and Will's muffled mumbles.




Morning peaked through the barely drawn curtains as Beverly entered the room, bags in tow ready for their dive. Gracefully tip toeing in as she watched Deanna asleep with her head by Will's side. She smiled and dropped her bags before moving to Deanna's side ready to wake her. With a guilty gentle shake the Betazoids eye finally opened in curious fashion until her consciousness reached for the worst.

"What wrong! Is he alright!" She burst out loud suddenly getting up, her hands flying over his dormant body looking for signs of trouble.

"Deanna! Wait no he's fine." She watched her friend take a deep breath and blush. "He's OK for now." Will's deep breathing gave a slow beat to the silent room. The medical pings ringing their clockwork dance, a welcome sound.

"I just came in to let you know that I'm leaving with Paul. We're about to head out to the boat." Beverly held up a hand and pushed the small counsellor back into her chair. "The weather is atrocious out there and we both agreed that you should stay here. He'll need you when he wakes."

"But our chances are higher if we both dive. We've only got a small time...."

"I know I know. A small time to search before heading back to the surface. But if that storm hits and we all go down, who's going to look after Will? Think he'd want to continue on without us?" Beverly's comment drew a shocked gasp from Deanna.

"He wouldn't."

"He might. Trapped alone and injured, I can just see him doing the Kobeashi Maru scenario and taking the easy way out, especially with all those drugs. Not to mention that he loves you desperately. You die on him and you'd have a ghostly companion up there." She pointed above her indicating the approximate location of heaven.

Deanna sighed and looked to her knight beside her, laid out like a boned chicken and blinked away unshed tears. "You sure you'll be alright diving alone down there?"

Beverly smiled as her plan worked. "Paul will help."

"And how are you going to pass off the interior?"

"Crashed planes all look different after a crash, and the panels were all shorted out last time, so there's nothing to blink on and frighten him." She shrugged her shoulders. "Besides, I'll send him off to another area to look if it's not too strong a current and do the search myself."

"Or flash a boob. That should stun him." Will said groggily.

Two pairs of eyes starred amazed at the once dormant man. He was still fever flushed and the wrinkles of pain still marred his handsome features, but he was aware and talkative, a good sign.

"What?" He said opening his eyes a crack and seeing the expressions. "He never seen female flesh yet?"

"No. I think we're a bit amazed by your ability to talk about sex while in the shape your in." Beverly replied.

"Seven or so months of no sex can have the weirdest effect on ones mind." He smiled as his eyes closed again.

"On your mind Imzadi." Deanna corrected. She leant forward and kissed him on his cracked lips, giving them some needed moisture before hugging him carefully.

"Leg still on?" He asked groggily.

"Yep. And we're working on another dive today. So rest and be patient and hopefully we'll heal this leg up better." Beverly leant forward over the bed and squeezed one warm clammy hand and gave it a chased kiss.

"I'll have to be...sicker again." His voice slurred. "I like all this attention." He mumbled before falling asleep again.

"His fevers still up but at least he’s conscious." Removing her hand from his forehead, Beverly then paged the nurse before grabbing her bag. "I'll bring you back something special from the deep dark depths of the ocean." She winked before opening the door for the nurse. "He just woke up Vanessa, but still seems a little warm." She passed on the info before receiving the nurses nod and making her way out to find her fiance.

"Is he better?" Deanna asked Vanessa as she analysed the readings.

"A little Deanna. Although he should be better by now after all this medication. It's almost like he's never had to fight an infection before." She shook her head in confusion. "At least he looks angel like when he sleeps." She grinned sharing Deanna's laughter.

"And he knows it I'm sure." Deanna's mind narrowing on the brief conversation, realising that their alien nature to this timeline was probably some of the fault behind Will's immune system being unable to fight the infection. "Can he start eating soon?"

"Fraid not. It's the tube for him for now. But we've beefed up his dose a little to compensate. But if he does wake and want something let me know, I know how he whines when we don't feed him more than liquid." Vanessa removed the bandages and replaced them with clean ones before packing up her gear and heading out.

"Thanks Vanessa."

"No problem, all in a days work." She grinned as she exited, leaving Deanna with her charge.

She reached over and caught the other hand, holding both of them in hers, marvelling at their size and the gentle comfort they could give. Wishing they could hold her in their warmth, she watched as he slowly gripped her own with his large fingers, making her smile as her wish came true.




The waves rolled high and low throwing everyone around on the surface. Their safety lines bow straight at times. Paul looked at his soon to be wife and watched her determination, snapping closed is own scuba gear regardless of the unstable motion of the boat. She was determined to go diving, nothing was going to stop her, Not even the chance of her own death, Paul surmised. Craig kept shaking his head, thinking them all crazy for being out here. "We're right over the spot." Craig called into the wind signifying for them to make haste before he lost his nerve and turned the boat around.

Beverly nodded to say she was ready, and kissed Paul as she made way to the platform at the back of the boat. Readying her equipment, and securing her mask before making the plunge beneath, she gave him an OK sign with her fingers and delved backwards into the raging sea.

The thrashing waves made it hard to swim to her goal but as soon as she sank deeper she began to find it a little easier, making headway with Paul by her side at every flippered kick. Within the disturbed sandy gloom they soon spied their treasure. Paul hung back for a second until Beverly turned and beckoned him forth down into the crevice.

The sea encrusted hull of the shuttle was camouflaged brilliantly by enemi and other sea life, something of a blessing to Beverly. She finally admitted to herself that she needed Paul down here with her, but what she didn't want was too many questions from him afterwards. With one good push, the entrance to the shuttle budged open once she'd found the right place. Fish flitted out of the opening at first shocking her until Paul's hand stayed her shoulder.

Entering the calm interior she asked Paul to stay by the entrance as she slowly shuffled through the floor littered debris for the smallest of saviours for Will. Halfway through the mess she spied something of help, another hypo. If the other one was broken this would at least be worthy of spare parts. Nodding in agreement to herself once she spied the cracked injector head. As she stuffed the object in her catch bag, something rolled amongst the hypos last whereabouts, a canula of something. As soon as she grabbed the module a large sea eel swirled past her frightening her into an unbalanced float backwards into Paul's arms.

His comforting embrace helped her get her heart beat back to a more natural level as she watched the eel scurry out through the cracked forward screen. Paul's nudge prodded her into nodding she was fine, handing him the canula and her catch bag, hesitant in losing them if something else crept upon her.

After a few more moments, she scoured the interior collecting the most basic needs, and more canules. No sense in dragging everything up when Paul was present. Another dive alone with Deanna would be best she thought as she spied some of the padds laying about. Giving the last of her catch to Paul she then made it over to the front control panel, heading in at an angle to access the transponder section.

She had no idea what she was doing, except for what Will had taught both her and Deanna. Will knew there was no way he'd ever get down here, resorting to training them as his replacement. Finding the right set of isolinear keys, she placed them into emergency mode, only to watch the black panel light up red then die. She thumped it hard, earning movement from Paul to her side.

Beverly shook her head and signed for them to leave. It would have to wait another day until Will was coherent enough to teach her more than simple technical first aid.

Making sure Paul had the catch bag strapped tightly to his side they started the long climb upwards to home, depressurising every 20 metres till they reached the wild waves of above.

The clouds were still grey and heavy with rain when Beverly pulled off her mask and flippers. Dropping her heavy tanks to the deck, she raced over to Paul's side, grabbing the catch bag desperately, and checking it's contents.

"Bev, that wasn't a plane. What the hell was that?" Paul's first words fell on deaf ears as his soon-to-be wife jumped in the air with glee.

"We've got it!" She screamed in delight, ignoring his question. "We can go back now." She thrust her arms around his middle and hugged him tight.

"Craig!" Paul called out. "Head us back in, seems we've come up trumps."

The tall red haired man looked over the guard rail and nodded. "Your phone rang, quite a few times in fact." He said before firing up the engine and pulling anchor.

"Thanks." He called back, instantly grabbing the small device from inside the cabin.

The smile partly slid from Beverly's features as she watched Paul pacing the deck, mobile phone in hand. All she could hear from this end was his uh-huh's and nods. He ended his call and swore, dropping his head and rubbing his eyes with one hand.

"Problem?" She asked taking the phone from his hand and moving him down into the cabin from the cold whipping air.

"Your cousin's just been scheduled for theatre. Some of the other doctors have decided to take action upon my backwardness."

Beverly's mouth gaped wide. "You mean their going to amputate without your permission?"

He nodded. "That was Vanessa informing me that Deanna was in a state, time has been booked in the theatre and your cousin has gotten worse. He's unconscious and heading into coma status if we leave this any longer. Seems the Gentamicin has finally done it's worst." He cursed again and finally looked her in the eyes. "But they're holding off until we return. But it's not looking good. Whatever that magic potion you think you have is, it had better work." He moved off into the forward bedroom, leaving Beverly stunned in the galley.

Gripping the gritty cold handle of the hypo, she let the first tear slide down her cheek before rubbing away the others. A small smile graced her face as she looked down into the belt pouch of her wetsuit and pulled out a small cylindrical device. For the first time a sense of relief escaped within those tears of joy, a dramatic change from the tears of sadness she had born so far. Beverly Crusher held up the two devices in the cusp of her hands and praised whatever gods existed, providing her with the possible chance of saving Will.

"It will, it will work." She murmured holding up the items in her hand and placing them carefully onto the table.





Beverly and Paul found their patient very pale and small in the bed he lay when they walked in. Deanna was missing, but a trio of doctors barged in after them, instantly arguing they're point about Will's leg. The limb was uncovered and so disfigured by the swelling and signs of infection that she herself saw the doctor's reasons. Paul dragged them outside leaving her alone with Will in the quiet but electronic packed ICU. The on duty nurse was even missing.

Beverly smiled and opened up her small plastic bag removing her medicorder and the one hypo she'd managed to clean out. At least this one was fine, she'd tried it out first on an unfortunate orange, making sure that the injectors were clean and precise in pressure. The second one found today was useless for now.

Slotting in the anti-biotic, she dialled up a light dose, not wanting to produce too drastic a change, for the sake of the other doctors eagle eyes. One hand holding the medicorder, the other hovering over the angry leg with the hypo, she located the exact spot to hit the infection at it's weakest spot. The soft hiss drew no sound from Will, but gained a sigh of relief from herself as she watched the changes over her read-out. Changing hypos she grabbed hold of a painkiller and issued a smaller dose so it didn't clash with the masking drug of the Pethidine.

Will's heartbeat changed to a lower level and his breathing slowed to a normal pace. All signs she had wished for months ago. Packing away her equipment, she thanked the gods, as she hid the last item just as the doctors entered back into the room.

"Gentlemen. I think you'll need to review your diagnosis. I see no bad turn here at all." She said before pushing past them to the door. "And as for my permission to remove his leg, that's a no." She swished her red hair in a final display of annoyance at their primitive ways, before letting the door close behind her. A grin and a small 'yes!' echoed around the corridor as she went in search of Deanna.


Beverly found the small Betazoid curled up on Paul's couch. A box of clean tissues and the discarded ones lay next to her on the small coffee table. Her reddened eyes as they opened and spied her gave away the torrent of tears she'd spilled earlier. One of the doctors had given her some calmative's when she'd found out about their plans for Will. Now she wore the same calm expression Will had on a number of times when he'd first started re-living the effects of ICU psychosis.

"Deanna. I've just come to tell you..." She started.

"They want to cut his leg off!" Deanna sobbed reaching for the tissues again.

"They won't now. They need my approval and they won't get it." She held Deanna in close rubbing her back, giving the counsellor the comfort she needed. "Did they move you out here away from Will?"

Deanna nodded and tried to pull herself together. The door swung open and Paul excused himself. "Sorry ladies, but you might want to know that that strong blue eyed guy is awake and calling for you both." He jerked a thumb behind him and made way as two women flashed past him.




He heard Beverly enter, asking for the nurse to leave them for a few moments. The air changed beside him indicating her presence before even having to open his eyes to her, hands embedded in her white coat pockets, and a large smile on her face. He tried to grin back, giving a limp version of a grimace instead.

"Tell it....to me....straight...doc." He whispered.

"I'm going to do better than that." She said moving to his leg and producing her medicorder from one pocket, letting it hum gently as she analysed it's findings. Glad for once that it didn't falter and die like it normally did. "I have a little medicine man magic you might find relieving." She said with a smile.

Her sudden revealment of the hypo in hand drew a surprised yelp from Deanna as she spied the nearly full canister. "It's working?" Deanna asked.

"Yep. Will's already had a dose too. The reason he's awake and not dying right now." Beverly smiled as she placed it back into her pocket and moved up beside him. "I can only use a small amount of the antibiotic, so it doesn't look suspicious. But hopefully it'll lower the infection over the next few days. We've got a tight timeline." She said running a hand over his forehead. "If you’re still declining in a few days your lined up for surgery. And your not going to like the results."

She scanned him again and packed it away before watching Will grin. "Way to go doc." Will had dreamed about this kind of help for months. His wish come true.

Deanna dropped heavily into a chair with relief and gave a small suspicious smile in Beverly's direction. "Why didn't you tell me?"

"Because I only just issued it a few moments before I came to get you. I also didn't ring from the boat as I didn't know if it was still useable. If it'd been contaminated it could of made him worse. So, I did a little research downstairs in the lab after cleaning out the hypo from our first attempt at retrieval and loaded the canister. I'll issue a new dose every few hours and hope for a change." She said smiling at the results. Blue eyes still glassy but open and full of life. His temperature was already levelling out.

"Beverly....thank..you." He said before his heavy eyelids glided shut, his exhausted mind finally letting go of the life struggle, falling back into a deeply needed sleep.

Deanna pulled one of his hands into her own and starred at him. "He wouldn't of handled the surgery well." His fear , when Paul had first mentioned it, still made her feel nauseous.

"True." She replied. "I just hope this is enough until we find more. With both this and the Gentamicin it should cure the Osteo. But if there are any adverse effects, I'll need more than one hypo. At least I have a few canules to start with." She felt his forehead again and watched the long lashes that still flickered while shut.

"Perhaps in a few days time." Deanna said pulling her feet up onto the chair, curling into it.

"He's already suspicious of the shuttle. Might not be a good idea to tell him. Perhaps if we contact Craig we could go without him." Beverly mused.

"He'd be angry that you didn't trust him." Deanna replied.

"Sure. Then again he'd be suspicious of us diving again so soon. But, not if I mentioned that I had papers down there that might help Will further." Beverly suggested. "Or better still a new formula for fighting infection."

"Beverly we can't. The prime directive!" Deanna said loudly, suddenly closing her mouth as she realised where they were.

"I'm not going to give it to him, I'm just going to say these are a few new formulae's I've seen at some seminar or something. When we don't find it, it won't matter." She said. "Anyway, he knows this change in Will's criticals is my doing, he's going to pressure me into telling him sometime."

"We can't make him uneasy about us, not with Will so bed bound. I don't want to leave Will alone either right now." She admitted. "I think we should wait until Will is healthier then perhaps tell Paul the truth. He deserves to know."

"I understand. Look. I figure we have a few days use of this." She patted the hypo in her pocket. "Then we seriously need to find more. Even the osetogen unit if we can. Otherwise we're back where we started." She nodded with her chin in Will's direction before jumping slightly at the nurses return.

The nurse instantly felt her trespass into the now silent room and apologised for the sudden entrance, re-taking her place at the ICU desk to watch the various monitors of her patient.

Ignoring the nurse Beverly continued their conversation on another track. "He'll be fine for a while Deanna. Are you coming home?" She asked.

Deanna shook her head. "I want to be here when he wakes. He needs me." She adjusted the sheets lower to let him cool, already the paleness lessening from the hypo.

"I'll let Paul know your still here. I've got an early appointment tomorrow, but I'll let Psych know you may be absent from work for a little longer." Beverly said before waving her way out of the room, leaving Deanna to move her chair closer and place her head beside his on the pillow, ignoring the nurses frown of disapproval.




A light hiss echoed around the quiet room, drawing Will back, to open his eyes on his fairy doctor with the hypo in hand. "Glad to see you back in business doc." He said before lightly coughing from his dry throat. A hand instantly cradling his side.

"Me too." She replied, moving beside him on the bed edge. She moved away his long hair from his face and felt his forehead. "Your a bit cooler today. A good sign." Will smiled back.

"My side hurts." He said pointing to his abdomen. His tongue still thick from the various daily drugs.

Beverly grabbed his fingers away from the sore zone and held them in her hand. "We had to remove a Kidney. But the other one is fine." She said watching him swallow hard and stare at the ceiling. Eventually his eyes moved back to hers.

"I can survive with one?"

"Sure. I think you, Will Riker, could survive anything after all this." She lifted his clammy hand and kissed it before rubbing it gently with her other hand, watching out for the IV needle.

"I should hope so. This would have to of been my worst mission yet." He said breathlessly.

"And the most frightening for me. I feel normal now that I have some items of use to fix you up with." She winked. "And when your better I'll need your help in getting the transmitter going."

"Blanked out?" He asked, his mind switching into command mode before Beverly's eyes.

"I think we'll leave this for later when your more rested." She suggested only to bare the fiery glint in his eyes. "OK. OK. Yes it winked out. I set all the chips in the exact order you taught me and it flashed once then wouldn't work. Drove me nuts until Paul dragged me back to the surface. Just wish I had a little Geordi Laforge in me." Her side lopped smile made Will snort.

"Wish we had a Geordi Laforge here in person." He smiled back. "Don't worry, if you can give me some details later I can try an think up a plan. That's if they stop doping me."

"But we love you when your all sleepy." Beverly grinned.

"Yeah sure. Um. Bev? Where's Deanna?" Will said glancing around the room.

"I sent her home. She needed some sleep and a bath. I'll go home at lunchtime and check on her. She's under strict orders to stay there. Otherwise I'll strap her down." She wiggled her finger at him. "So no calling her with your communicator OK?"

"Sure Bev." He smiled.

"And no this either." She added pointing to her head and swirling her finger at her temple.

"Don't think I have the energy." He confessed. The strain of maintaining their connection through the bond was always harder for him both physically and mentally.

"I know. You're doing well Will. Hopefully we can have you back home again soon if the infection keeps receding like it is." The results so far were more than good. Will was constantly being examined and bone scanned twice a day now. The doctors' happy nods moving him further and further away from the scare of amputation each time.

"Does Paul know what you're doing?" He said as he watched her slap her medicorder to awareness.

"The meds? Yes in a way. We told him I had some experimental stuff on our 'plane' down there. And he's now seen the results." She waved her hand at his leg. "But he hasn't asked any further about the retrieved vials and hypos, more the crashed shuttle actually."

"You let him see it?" Will hissed, grunting from the aborted attempt to sit up, his side spearing him with jaggers of agony.

Beverly was at his side helping him get comfortable within seconds. "Relax. It was too rough to take Deanna and endanger her too. Someone had to be here for you if everything went a rye. And for your information Paul badgered me to let him dive. The shuttle's pretty battered and covered in sea life anyway. He did enquire as to what kind of air craft it was but he hasn't asked again since I ignored his question. Probably thinks we're secret agents or something." She shrugged before closing her medicorder and pocketing it back into her white coat.

"So I'm not going to end up with one leg?" He asked hesitating, gently rubbing his side.

"Not if I can help it. Besides I have a regenerator at home that needs fixing. Get better and I've got a whole new career for you." She grinned as Will groaned.

"Great. First officer becomes chief engineer. Remind me to talk to the Captain about a pay rise for the extra curriculum learned on this tour." He smiled back before closing his exhausted eyelids.

"I will." She pulled up the sheets to his neck and kissed him on the cheek, smoothing his hair back. "Get some sleep. I need you better." He grunted accent before he embraced the darkness from behind his eyelids and dreamed of sweeter times.

Beverly watched him for a few minutes until she finally got up and moved to the door. Praising the gods, she moved off to get a bit more work in before her lunchtime dash back home.




Will for the first time in weeks was mobile. OK it was a wheelchair, but a better advancement than being pushed through the corridors on a moving bed. His head was spinning but he kept the problem to himself, hating to ruin his first upright excursion. They were moving him out of ICU and back into a room a few doors down from where he'd been a few months prior. Tubes still hung across his body and attached to the upright pole on his chair, but for the first time in ages he felt human. The Gentamicin treatment was no longer clouding his veins or thoughts and most of all, his leg had finally shrunk from the swollen mass it had once been.

"Here we go Mr Riker. Room 488." Vanessa said as David held open the door.

"Home sweet home." Will groaned.

David laughed before getting one of his aides to help Will into the freshly made bed. The sun peeking through the window having warmed the top sheets. "Comfy?" He asked the breathless Commander.

Will nodded to his physio. "Good. I'm just here to assess what we have to do to get you up and running again, so relax. No physio today. I think you've strained enough so far." He winked at the breathless man.

Will nodded and swallowed hard on the nausea he was feeling. "Does Deanna know where I am?"

"I've taken care of it Mr Riker, she said she'd be along later for dinner." Vanessa said arranging his tubes and IV lines.

"Dinner?" He asked.

Vanessa was carefully wiping around his feedtube while David was carefully watching Will. "Paul's cleared you for fluid intake orally, although we'll be keeping this though for a little while longer until we know you can keep something down."

"Great. First date in ages and I'll no doubt bring it all back up." He grimaced.

"The sign of a great companion for life." David winked. "If they run away screaming then you know they won't last." He chuckled. "Have you tried to sit up by yourself?"

"Once. Hurt like hell." Will answered.

"Kidney I presume." David mused. "Well we'll start some light training tomorrow when your better settled. Then we'll start to move you up to crutches etcetera. But if you want to do a little pre-training, then you can carefully start to wiggle your toes on and off. Both legs. The soreness should of settled a bit with this leg." He said indicated Will's evil looking toes. "So start slowly. I want to see some results in the morning, but not pain lines okay?"

"Sure David." Will smiled, morphing it into a grimace as he tried to move the numb digits. "Easier said than done." He said exasperated after a few seconds.

"Give it time. I don't expect a big change tomorrow. So don't stress. Stay calm and see it as something to freak Deanna out with." He moved to the door and ushered Vanessa out. "I'll see you tomorrow Will." He waved once and then left his patient for more down the corridor.

Will sighed and looked around the room for something to do. "Guess there isn't except to sit here and wiggle my toes." He mused. His head was still clouded and spinning, but slowly now. Propped up on pillows he tried to lower himself, giving up when his side warned him. It'd been days since the op, but still it bugged him. Oh what he wouldn't give for a regenerator, well...one that worked.

Shifting carefully he managed to lower himself into the cool sheets. Appreciating the ability to move by himself without screaming. Looking to the clock he watched the hands slowly ticking by, eyes growing heavier as the hands budged closer to dinner time. Eventually the silence and rhythmic ticks drew him into another deep sleep. A blissful place to hide from the cruel reality of his new cell.




"Your late." Beverly intoned as she sat on the couch, casually leaning into Paul's chest.

Throwing her coat onto a hook by the door, Deanna turned and dropped herself heavily into the opposite chair. "Didn't want to leave Will until he was asleep." She smiled.

"Want a drink?" Beverly offered. Shifting up-right, Paul held her back, himself getting up to make the hot chocolate her knew Deanna craved like an addict.

"You know this isn't a good thing to sleep with?" Paul hinted.

"After my long day I don't think it'll make much difference." Deanna replied. "So who allowed Will to eat anyway?"

"Let me guess you want to string me up?" Paul asked with a glint in his eye.

"Pretty much. He still can't keep anything down. Spent most of my night helping Vanessa clean him. Will's ego is a bit bruised." Accepting the warm mug, she encircled it with her fingers and blew into it to cool it down.

"He'll be fine after a few days. Just don't go at feed time." Beverly winked.

"But I have some good news apart from the mucky news." Deanna beamed. "He was wiggling his toes when I entered. Not the bad leg, but at least the other one. Though there was a lot of frown lines while he was trying to get the other foot to wave."

"David and I ran a test yesterday while he was sleeping. He still has feeling in his left leg, which is a perfect sign for recovery. But the lower bones have deteriorated." Paul admitted.

"Upped his calcium?" Bev asked.

"Yup. Though he's going to have to restrict his activities for quite some time. No contact sports. Walking is fine but I'd even discourage him from running on it. " Adjusting Beverly, Paul moved under her back, mimicking their prior arrangement on the black suede couch. "Not bad considering he was due to of been legless by now."

"Don't remind me. He still wakes sometimes looking for a stump. He's sleeping less now too, more restless." Deanna sipped her hot chocolate and sighed at the utter bliss. Aside from Will, Paul was the only other to make the beverage just the way she liked it.

"He's still begging for pain killers no doubt." Beverly sighed. "Couldn't face those blue eyes yesterday. Too addicted from the last few moths of pampering."

"I know what you mean. But he'll get over it. It's better this way than having him struggling to get off them later." Paul took a sip of his brandy. "At least he can't get up and help himself to them. But here when he returns he'll need to be watched. I suggest that only one of you prescribes them to him at correct dosage times."

"Paul!" Beverly slapped his arm. "Will Riker is not an addict!" She spoke in a horrified tone, surprised that Paul would think such things.

"I'm not saying he is Bev darling. But your blinded by your family link. Anyone can become an addict to the stuff when pain from past injury is involved. And yes, he still will be in pain when he comes home, maybe for the rest of his life."

Deanna paled, hurriedly placing the mug onto the coffee table before she dropped it. She'd been trying to block Will's pain ever since the accident had happened. The fear of that pain being ever present, drove her into panic. Beverly jumped out of Paul's arms and ran to Deanna's side. "It might not be true Deanna."

"Or it might be." Paul argued. "Are you sure your a doctor? Because I've seen it happen hundreds of times. This is the reason for this attempting to draw him off them now."

Beverly flashed fiery eyes at her partner. Their moment of bliss in each others grasp soon forgotten. "You, Paul Andrews, should be a bit more caring when you open that mouth of yours." She snapped turning back to the Betazoid curled up in her grasp, eyes closed and the light sound of sobs echoing around the room.

"Look I'm sorry but it could very well be the truth." He sighed. "Perhaps I should go." He said making his way to the door. Beverly's hand hurriedly snaked around his arm, holding him back from the threshold of the door.

"Don't go Paul. I'm sorry. Stay please." Her watering blue eyes no longer carried the angry fire that had snapped like a viper earlier.

He sighed and shook his head. "No, I think I've upset enough people tonight. I'll see you tomorrow, for lunch perhaps?" He hoped.

"Paul. Please come back." Deanna whispered. Her voice barely heard.

Paul fidgeted on the door step and finally sighed a deep alright as he stepped back in. Beverly immediately hugging him. "This is something you're going to have to get used to. Still want to marry a hot headed red head?" Beverly apologised.

"Sure. Hate to see your cousin angry though." Paul replied moving back to the couch as Beverly closed the front door and smiled relief at Deanna.

"Don't worry. I can control Will." Deanna smiled. The petit Betazoid did have the most amazing control over Will Riker, the tall blue eyed giant that made brand new ensigns tremble even without his knowledge.

"She can." Beverly added when she saw Paul's disbelieving smile. "Totally gentiled him with just a smile."

Deanna had to stifle her laugh. "Well not that badly."

Paul shook his head and made way to the kitchen grabbing another Brandy snifter for himself and Beverly. "So do you girls want to dive on Saturday or have you retrieved everything from down there?"

"Actually Saturday would be good." Beverly answered hoping the conversation wasn't leading where she thought it was.

"Excellent. I'll let Craig know tomorrow. Actually I've been meaning to ask you something." He moved back to the couch and watched Beverly take a nervous gulp of her Brandy, flushing her cheeks instantly. "What is that down there...really?"

"A crash site." Deanna answered swiftly.

"Yeah. I guess that by the cracked windscreen, but I haven't seen many planes like that." He pushed. "And what did you give him to make him so much better in so little time?"

"Paul. Can we talk about this some other time?" Beverly asked.

"Like when you disappear? What is it?" He pushed.

Beverly looked to Deanna, the counsellor nodding her head after a time.

"Look it's really just a secret design that Will was working on. It looks different because it was a prototype that he'd spent all his money on. Nothing weird and espionage like." Beverly lied.

"And the medication? We've got the best drugs available to cure patients like Will, but not as fast as that." He prompted.

"You can't tell anyone this Paul." She waited for his nod. "I was working on an anti-inflammatory. It's not even up to specs to be tested on humans yet. If I'm found out..."

"You'll be crucified for using non-humane methods on a patient." Paul finished, slapping his forehead. "Beverly, you shouldn't of done that."

"What was I supposed to do? Watch a family member go through hell of losing a limb or even his life when I had the answer in my hand? No I did the right thing Paul and I don't regret it." She stood and faced the night sky out the decking windows.

"You could of consulted me. Ran a few tests by me first." He offered to her straight backed posture.

"He was dying Paul. Beverly did the right thing." Deanna entered the stifling silence. "If she hadn't of done it I would of."

Paul flopped down onto the couch, head in hands. His muffled voice escaping his balled fists. "Who knows then?"

"Just you and Deanna." Beverly said finally turning away from the glass door and unclenching his fists with kisses on each knuckle.

"And a few curious nurses. OK. We say nothing until someone asks. And in the meantime I want a sample of whatever it was you used." He looked her in the eye until she nodded accent. She rose, keeping her joy to herself that he hadn't asked her to promise never to use it again. She was sure he would of barred her from Will's ward if she'd said no. Returning from her bedroom, Beverly dropped an empty canister into his hand.

"What's this Bev?" He said with a calm but peeved voice.

"A sample. I used it all, but you should be able to recover enough residue from the glass to look into the chemistry compounds." Her head kinked sideways made him smile.

"Crafty as ever. I guess your going to say you don't have the formulae either?" He groaned with her nod. "I wish you trusted me more, both of you." He sighed.

"I'm sorry Paul. I had to do it. And I couldn't implement you into it by telling you. I really am sorry." The normally fiery doctor melted into Paul's arms as he held her tight and whispered his own apology into her ear. The small shape of Deanna creeping out of the room wasn't noticed and the duo began a silent intertwined sway. Both lovers confessing their sins and sorrows as the night wore on.





A happy grin covered the bearded face of Will Riker as he was steered down the corridor. Beverly fussing with a nurse on his left, and Deanna on his right, as a tech assistant pushed him slowly towards the lift. He was going outside after many an argument. He'd of course had to complete one length of David's challenging physio maze but he'd made it, barely. As reward, Will was going outside for the first time since the beginning of his second incarceration. Will radiated glee as he looked forward to the pure fresh air beyond the glass panes, not the dry suffocating air conditioning that sucked the energy and moisture from every pore. His whole body craved the outdoors, and Deanna's large smile provided proof that even she was feeling his huge change of demeanour.

No longer was he angry, frustrated and hurting today as the past week had been testament to. Pain was being blocked by enthusiasm and excitement for now. And the relief of freedom was enough for him to bury those feelings for now. "Nearly there Mr Riker." The tech said as he reversed the wheel chair around and backed Will into the lift. Will had to hide his smirk as Beverly nearly collided with the lift door as she dodged the spinning patient. "Whoops! Sorry Doctor Crusher." The tech said realising he'd nearly knocked over a superior.

"I told you Ben was reckless." Beverly said, straightening her doctors jacket and smiling at Will.

"Yeah. That's why I like him, we go corridor surfing late at night." Will winked while Deanna smothered a laugh with the tech.

"Can't leave any man alone." Beverly mumbled under her breath, turning her back on them and watching the lift numbers decrease.

An electronic ping rang out and the lift doors opened into the main entrance, the glare of sudden sunshine reflecting off the polished stainless steel and marble, made Will squint at first. Letting his eyes become accustomed to the true light, he took a deep breath as the automatic doors swished open, the fresh air welcoming him into it's embrace outside.

"Do you want to go under the tree over there Will or sit in the sun next to the fountain?" Bev asked as the tech pushed his patient over the slippery grass surface.

"I think he's photosensitising." Deanna jibed when Will didn't respond to Beverly's question. Truthfully he was trying to stifle the tickle in his throat. The last thing he wanted to do was to cough and have them turn him back around to his room.

Clearing his throat, he replied smugly. "Well I don't feel green yet. But any colour apart from white would be appreciated." His voice was raspy but at least he hadn't coughed.

"Aw but the pale skin colour makes me feel so maternal." Deanna whispered seductively in his ear as the tech paused, waiting for a direction from the team surrounding his charge.

"That will get you in trouble Deanna." Will grinned back. One finger pointing to Beverly's direction. "To the fountain?" He suggested.

"To the fountain." Deanna agreed nodding as Ben put his muscles to use and got the chair moving again over the parkland towards their goal.

Once there, Deanna thanked the breathless Ben for his help, while Beverly fussed over Will's blanketed legs. "It's fine Bev. I'm not cold."

"You sure?" She speared him with a no-nonsense look.

"Beverly I'm fine." He said in a warm caring manner as he stopped her hands from fussing. "I'm just relieved to be out here again, and in real air."

"But the minute you get..."

"...cold. I'll tell you." He promised.

"And what about the goosebumps?" She pushed.

"They'll go in a minute once I acclimatise." He offered.

"Will your not climbing mountains! Now come here." She harranguined, pulling another blanket around his shoulders making him look like a little old man. "Now that's better." Beverly stood back to admire her wrapped patient.

"He looks so cute." Deanna cooed.

"Deanna." He whined.

"Sorry Will. I couldn't resist." She fished around in her bag over her shoulder and produced some plastic cups and a bottle of sparkling apple juice. "Something quenching?" She offered, pouring him a glass regardless.

He took one of the preferred cups and took a small sip, letting the tingle of bubbles play on his taste buds. "Not bad."

"You hate it?" Deanna deflated a little.

"No I like it. Sweet just like you." He said moving forward carefully and posing for a kiss with his lips in position. Beverly burst out laughing at the sight. "Thanks doc, looks like I can always count on you for moral support." He rolled his eyes until Deanna planted a quick kiss to his lips, halted his next comment.

"So my big handsome man, know what day this is?" Deanna asked tugging on his hand. His attention formerly on Beverly with a stuck out tongue.

"Release day?" He scratched his beard, before rubbing a hand around his untrimmed chin.

Deanna watched him, beginning to think she'd need shears next time to trim his beard if it grew any longer. "No." She watched him carefully sag into his chair, secretly enjoying the warmth of the blankets as a cool breeze blew around the grounds. "August 19?" She prompted to the confused man.

He blushed lightly and placed a grin on his forgetful features. "My birthday."

"Correct. So happy birthday, birthday boy." Beverly said jumping forward to hug him.

Will was nearly smothered as Deanna joined the fray, plying him with delicious kisses and sensual thoughts. Beverly moved back to the basket she'd been carrying while Deanna and Will continued their embrace. Moving slowly onto his good knee, careful not to tip up the chair, she surrounded his shoulders with her arms and gently nibbled on one ear.

Deanna slipped her mind gently, but deeper, into Will's through the bond. He greedily accepted her link and sent her his own love and warmth via the same way. Both with their eyes closed, they hugged each other as one. Deanna, sensing his half concealed sadness, began broadcasting erotic feelings and images till he groaned with pleasure. His groin ached for once with a good pain. Something he'd wondered if he'd ever feel again.

"Not in the wheelchair people." Beverly called out breaking them apart, cheeks red with embarrassment. The blushing couple pulled away and tried to straighten clothing and blankets, Deanna finishing off by rubbing her lipstick off Will's lips and moustache.

Will cleared his throat. "Sorry." Deanna's voice laughing lightly in his head.

"For a recovering patient you sure do have some energy resurgence I see." Beverly joked. "Now let's see if we can put it to better use, shall we?" She said uncovering a cake and lighting the candles.

"Not sure if I have that much energy." He joked at the number of candles burning brightly.

"Just make a wish Imzadi, and blow out the candles." Deanna said helping to hold the cake up to him.

He took a deep breath and managed to extinguish a few before having to take another breath and finish the rest of the lit candles. A round of applause and Will blushed again before coughing a few times. Deanna immediately arranged his blankets tighter. "I'm fine Imzadi. Thank you." He smiled.

"So what did you wish for?" Beverly asked, cutting a slice of cake for Will and Deanna. She knew they'd both share. Will had only started eating pureed food and she wasn't sure if he'd each much of the sweet dessert.

"Chocolate cake." He grinned.

"Ah your wish has come true." Said Deanna as she scooped a small amount into his mouth. "And mine." She grinned taking a bite herself.

"Not exactly how I wanted to spend my birthday, but at least I'm with friends, and my surrogate family." Will mused looking about the area from his wheelchair. His leg no longer propped out straight in front of him, but carefully resting on the footrest under the blanket, silently throbbing in tune to his heartbeat. It wasn't used to vertical lengths of time. But David had said it'd do him a world of good to get used to it.

Deanna snaked her arm around his neck and pulled him in closer for another kiss. [You'll always have more than family Imzadi] she sent. Goosebumps raised over his arms and he tried to hide the shiver it produced.

"Are you sure your warm enough." Deanna grinned, knowing it wasn't the cold that'd brought it on.

"Enwrapped in your arms I am." His devilish blue eyes glinted. She playfully slapped him on the arm and headed back to get another slice of cake. "Hmm left for chocolate. I've always known you've had another lover on the side."

Beverly stifled a snort of laughter before she choked on her own cake. "Will you two behave." She joked. "I'm trying not to asphyxiate myself here." She shook her head. "So how's your physio coming along?"

"Good. I nearly made it into this chair by myself, well.....before collapsing into a pile of body parts....that is." Will said, placing both hands behind his head and leaning back. "But seriously... pretty good. I'm actually making progress according to David."

"Excellent. Paul said he's very happy with your healing abilities." She winked, both knew her drugs were responsible. "It's all coming along nicely. We can even start thinking about bringing you home soon." Beverly said.

"At last, my stomach is really gurgling for more of your home cooking Imzadi." Deanna added.

Will grinned. "And I'm eager for something other than pureered peas and carrots." He reached over and took the glass of apple juice from Deanna before she could drink it herself, taking a long draught of it.

"Will! You can't do that!" Deanna said instantly, taking the glass from him. "Small sips mister."

He just grinned and cleared his throat. "So, when can I go home?"

"You just never let up do you? A few weeks, we'll see how you progress with physio first." Beverly said packing up the party things. "Then I can get you home to do a little fix-it job on the various instruments I've got hidden all over the house. Some that will hopefully help you recover even better, that's if they work, that is."

"A regenerator?" He watched her nod.

"Consider it a birthday gift. We had a little win with our dive last week. Thought you'd like it."

"Well I did wish for something like that." He grinned. "Not sure if I can fix it though." He scratched his head, disturbing a few strands of loose hair from the small ponytail at the back of his neck.

Beverly got up and hung the basket onto the back of his chair. "Don't worry. I'll try it on a few samples first if you do get it going again. It's probably only water damage."

Adjusting his blankets away from the wheels, she disengaged the wheel lock and began to spin him around. "We're not going back in just yet are we?" He whined. His lungs wishing he could stay outside in the fresh air longer.

"Afraid we are Will. You've got an appointment later this afternoon and we need you back and rested in your bed first." Beverly strained in getting him moving at first, the grass making it harder to push through the grounds until she got him onto the walkway. "But we'll do a little sight seeing first the long way round." She watched him relax a little and take in the sights as Deanna walked beside him hand in hand.




"Well you've certainly turned into an energetic young man." Paul said, his grin widening as he watched Will Riker straining, arms shaking with force as he held onto the walking bars.

David turned and grinned while Will made no comment other than to close his eyes and slowly sink into the tech's arms. He gasped hungrily for each breath as they lay him gently onto the floor and David began to stretch his over worked muscles.

"None of your other patients worth watching?" Will quipped once he could talk and breathe at the same time. Paul squatted down beside the red faced man handing him a towel to wipe away the sweat from his face.

"Nope. None that require my attention right now anyway. How's the leg?" He indicated with a jolt of his chin in it's bandaged direction.

"Throbbing. Seems to be keeping good tempo with my heart right now." Will groaned as David and a tech sat him upright.

"Watch the head spin Will, we're going to get you up and standing again. Tell me if your hurting." David ordered. Will just nodded and held his breath until he felt stable enough to open his eyes. His back ached, his legs throbbed, his arms were jelly and his head was thumping like a kit drum. But he ignored it. Giving David a small nod and smile instead to indicate that he was ready to go again.

His right leg was heavy and tired from supporting his increasing weight. Not only had Will started to eat again, but David had strapped weights onto him to push him further than yesterday and the day before. Gripping the parallel bars either side of him, Will Riker began the long road of recovery as he took each step as carefully as possible. His left leg seemed surreal even if he was only placing light pressure to it, his arms bearing the biggest brunt. Two steps turned to three, three to four before he reached David's toes at the end of the bars. Lifting his heavy head from his toes he faced David with a lop sided grin before his arms caved in. A mountain of Riker landing in David's waiting arms.

"Well done Will, well done. You've earned a good rest now." He patted his patients' gasping back as the chair was wheeled up to him. He sat heavily and starred at the ceiling until he felt strong enough to move any part left that wasn't humming with exhaustion. David knelt down and held one of his hands in his. "You've improved well Will. We'll have you on those crutches again in no time, chasing the nurses up and down the corridor." He winked.

"Not if his girlfriend has anything to say about that." Paul chuckled.

"I guess David ....hasn't seen her .......in action yet." Will said breathlessly with an ever widening grin.

"Now your frightening me." David laughed. "OK. Now for serious talk time." He wheeled Will over to his desk and poured him a glass of water while Paul leant up against the side of the desk David now sat at.

Will rolled his eyes. "Now I'm in trouble."

"No. But you will be if you don't follow these simple rules. Listen to David for a minute and learn." Paul commanded. Will nodded and sat back heavily after shakily placing the empty glass back onto the desk.

"Will, your doing extremely well for a patient we weren't even sure would ever walk again on two legs." David smiled, his green eyes flashing respect. "But you will need to understand that this doesn't mean everything will go back to how it was. Your left tibia will always be brittle from the bone disease that ravaged it. Over time it'll strengthen, but not enough that you could consider doing certain things that place immense pressure on it such as running, jumping or contact sports."

Will frowned and looked to his lap. "But it's still plated right? Surely that'd give it strength?" Finally raising his head, hoping fear wasn't prevalent in his eyes.

"It's still plated, and we'll remove some of the pins soon. But it doesn't compensate for the chalk like structure your tibia has become. The Osteomyelitis has ravaged the calcium deposits, in time it will build again but never as strong as before." David was speaking in an even tempered way to keep Will calm, even as he saw the distress appear on his patient's face.

"So I'm a cripple for life?" Will threw his hands in the air and swung his chair away awkwardly, his arms still lead heavy.

"No." Paul stepped in. "You can walk. You have two legs and a strong will to push through this. And you have a beautiful woman who wants to be your wife."

Will let out a harsh chuckle. "Beverly's been training you in the art of Will deception."

"No. Your future wife has. She said you'd be like this. She even suggested we had this manly chat together rather than involving them." Paul admitted. He moved away from the desk and stood in Will's path, blocking any thought of escape if he'd had the strength to push himself out of there.

"If you want out of here Mr Riker, then you have to play by our rules, or we'll be seeing a lot more of you down here. Maybe even one leg less next time." David hinted. Will swung his head around and regarded the smug smile on the physio's face. "It's true Will. It's a miracle you've made it this far. Push the envelope again and who knows if you'll walk, limp or be bagged away next time."

"Our patient's a little quiet now." Paul remarked, as he regarded the large man huddled in the wheelchair before him, one hand holding up his dropped head. "I see Dr Crusher really does know you inside out. Think I should be worried about marrying her?" He added a smile.

Will chuckled lightly. "Sure. Be afraid. Be very afraid." He finally looked up. "So. No running, contact sports or hoping or the wrong leg. Anything else?" He swallowed hard and tried to keep his emotions hidden below his poker face.

Paul nodded. "Be honest with us. If it hurts don't do it, if it still hurts tell us. We're not aiming to lop it off, we're preventing it from happening."

Will nodded. "Sure." He sighed deeply and placed a weak smile on his unkempt bearded face. "Know where I can get a good beard trim?" He enquired to the two other smiling companions.

David moved forward and slapped him on the back, giving him a deep wink. "Trudy on floor four does a good all round trim for my best patients. I'll send her up. No sense sending you home like a bushman."

Will's head whipped around. "Home? You're sending me home?" If his fingers weren't so damn sore from gripping bars he would of crossed them. He watched David glance to Paul, moving his own gaze to his doctor and Beverly's fiance.

"Give me three days of the superb improvement you've shown here today and yes, we'll let you lose on my antique furniture again." He laughed when he saw the apologetic look on Will's face. "Relax. I had a cat who did the same thing. Not hit it with walking equipment exactly." He chuckled. "But took the edges off wooden things quite skilfully." Paul winked and laughed as Will shook his head.

"Sorry. I'll replace it when I get some paying work to repay your kind deeds." Will admitted sitting up higher in his chair now that he had a goal in sight.

"Never mind. And no repayment needed. It'll be a while till you work again anyway." Paul informed him.

Will for once agreed, nodding and placing his hands and arms out wide. "Not sure what I could be useful for anyway." He said looking down at his sweat soaked body.

"How about a lunch buddy?" David provided as his stomach rumbled and the clock hit noon.

Will grinned. "Sure. If your buying and there's no tube."

"Done. I think we can try something a little more solid today anyway. I'll let Vanessa know on the way." He watched Will groan and hold his stomach. Laughing as he knew the man was not favourable of the trials of eating thicker foods lately.

The awakening of his bowels was something Will hadn't missed over the last few months. The hassle of getting out of bed was now being programmed into his schedule of physio, along with stumbling into the bathroom in time, in aid to not make a mess like a frightened little boy. After all he'd been through, Will Riker thought he'd seen the last of humiliating things that could effect him. He was wrong.

"Just make sure Deanna isn't present." Will moaned.

"She's gotta learn if she wants you home." David commented.

"Just wants me for sex I'm sure." Will said in a sly tone as the lift doors closed and they rode up to the canteen.

"Then we'd better get you fit then." David chuckled.

Will grinned, looking up he noticed they'd passed his floor. "Eating out?"

"Eating up." Paul answered, pushing him out of the lift door once it'd opened with it's mighty ping. Secretly Will missed the computer's voice of the turbolifts of his own time, even if they suspiciously sounded like Deanna's mother.

"We decided to get you out more often." David said directing them to a table beside a wide pane of glass that overlooked the bay.

"In a sweat soaked hospital gown?" Will enquired. "Nice."

Paul chuckled. "I'll go get us something Will. David?"

"Some of Sally's supreme chicken sandwiches would be great. And a cup of Java thanks Paul." David watched as his friend wandered off leaving him to entertain his bemused guest. "What?"

"So supreme Sally a close friend?" Will waggled his eyebrows.

"Something like that." He blushed back. "So....you ever tried sex in a wheelchair yet?"

"You've been around your patients too long." Will grinned.

"Hey, no kidding I've seen it happen." David laughed, hands held up in surrender.

"Then the answer is kind of a yes." Will said back. "Didn't get far though."

"Too restrictive?" David's eyes glinted.

"Something like that." Will chuckled and shook his head. "Beverly Crusher put a stop to it just when I was starting to remember the moves."

"Hey it'll come back. Your sex life I mean. It's not like your third leg was pinned or anything." He winked and quietened down when he noticed Will's sobering face and an olive hand clasping his shoulder.

"Boys talk?" Deanna enquired taking a seat next to Will, clasping her hand in his.

"Hello my love. Been eavesdropping?" He inquired, looking up with brilliant blue laughing eyes.

"Hard not to." She smiled, kissing his cheek. "You need a bath."

"I told you." Will whined to David.

"Just consider it a way to keep the women away from him." David shrugged.

"Now why didn't I think of that earlier." Deanna replied, seductively letting her hand travel down his chest. Will coughed a little before blushing and catching her downward hand. Giving her a stern look for stirring him up. "Not fair Deanna."

"Just making sure Paul fixed everything." She smiled, giving Paul a hug when he returned to the table laden with food.

"Hello Deanna. Brought a hot chocolate over for you when I saw you head over here. How's work?" He eased into his seat across the table from Will to spear an olive out of his salad.

"Thanks Paul. My hero." She said sipping the hot liquid. "Things have been busy. Rosemary took one look at my return to work as a chance to laden me with the most difficult patients for being away so long." Deanna looked sideways to watch Will as he sat puzzled, starring at his lunch with not an ounce of urge to eat it.

"What is that?" Deanna asked before Will could form the words. Her Imzadi's expression let her know that he'd just advanced to something harder and far worse than pureed vegetables. "And who's going to toilet train him?"

"Deanna!" Will groaned. "Will you stop discussing my foils at the dinner table."

"Why? You were earlier." She laughed.

"That was different." He replied, picking up a fork and prodding the beast on his plate.

"Ah yes, mens business." She winked and leant closer to the object.

"Surely you're not going to tell me you've neither seen meatloaf before?" David broke into the conversation.

"This is meat?" Will said prodding the mass again.

"I don't believe this. Where have you two been? You don't know meatloaf?" David shook his head.

"Hey. Don't worry Will. I don't exactly like the stuff either, but it'll be good protein for your system to work on." Paul apologised. "Here cover it up with this."

Will prodded it again and then poured some tomato sauce over it to hide the grey mass. "You sure the feed tube isn't an option." He said after taking a bite of the mixed texture. He swallowed hard and immediately reached for Deanna's chocolate taking a gulp before anyone could stop him.

He pushed away his plate and sat back defeated and groaned as he felt the large slippery tomato covered bite progress down into his stomach. Deanna watched his reaction while wiping tomato sauce off the rim of her glass. "How's the chocolate?"

He looked up and frowned. "Doesn't go too well with this." He said pointing to the grey beast.

David pushed the plate back in front of Will and raised an eyebrow. "Remember our agreement?"

"Yeah. But it didn't involve poisoning. How much do I have to eat? And how often?" He added as he realised how long it'd taken him to get off the pureed vegies. He silently begged the gods that he wouldn't be expected to live on this for the next few weeks.

"If you eat half of it, we'll let you off this time." Paul instructed as he happily began chewing on a lettuce leaf.

"Swap?" Will bargained, almost wishing for the vegies.

Paul shook his head and smiled. "You need protein and lots of it, especially for a growing boy like you." He pointed with his walnut skewered fork.

"Great." He groaned lifting the fork again and closing his eyes as he managed a few more bites, overseen by his carers who demanded at least twenty chews before swallowing. Losing count of the forkloads he eventually lay the fork still on the half empty plate feeling quite full and exhausted.





He must of dosed off for a few seconds as he found himself being swung around and headed back out of the canteen. The unmistakable voice of Paul brought him back to awareness. "Good effort Will. You've earned that beard trim this afternoon. I'll have it set up so you can look handsome by Beverly's shift."

Backing into the lift, Will was able to see Deanna trailing behind them, moving now to his side as they moved back to his room. "Impressing Beverly now are we?" Deanna smirked.

"Only to make you jealous." He managed.

Deanna curiously watched him, analysing his mood until she realised. "Paul I think we'd better hurry. I don't think Will's too well." She said seeing the glazed look to his eyes and the pale clamminess his face began to take to.

"Ah that'd be his stomach rebelling. A sure sign that he shouldn't be mixing hot milk with solids." He smiled, pushing his patient a little faster through the corridor, beckoning to Vanessa with his fingers for assistance. "Sorry Vanessa, but could you help Mr Riker? He has a few demons to expel. Thanks."

Vanessa smiled, immediately knowing to grab the right gear and cleaning cloths. Wheeling Will into his room, Paul navigated his patient to the bed, leaving him beside it. "Just let it out Will, you'll be alright. I'll be back in soon to check on you." With that he left his patient to some privacy. Deanna stayed by his side holding his hand tightly as his innards became outards, leaving him limp in her arms as she held him.

Vanessa left briefly, immediately returning with a few techs to help him into the shower before lowering him back to bed, clean. Spent of strength Will slipped immediately into a deep sleep, regardless of the drugs he normally took, the ones required to help him sleep through the constant numb ache his body kept shouting back at him.

Paul entered moments later. "Demons all gone?" He enquired as he placed a hand on his sleeping patients forehead.

"Quite a few by the looks of it." Vanessa said gathering her bits and pieces.

"Has he had his pills?" At the shake of her head he moved to the bedside and removed them. "We'll see how he copes without them, but make sure he takes the anti-bacterial ones as soon as he wakes." Vanessa nodded and left, gear in hand.

"I'll let her know once he wakes." Deanna said making herself comfortable in the side chair by the sunny window.

"Thanks Deanna. He'll probably wake soon once the original dose wears off. In the meantime, I'd better go and make up to Vanessa for the mess I caused in Will's eating and toilet training schedule." He winked and made his way back out leaving Deanna to curl up Will's fingers in hers.


Will groaned and cursed as pain shot up from every muscles type he knew of, and many other he never knew he had. A fiery trail of agony reminded him exactly where he'd left his lower half, as his lowerback and left leg worked in tandem to shout for his attention. A cool hand ran across his smooth cheek, appreciating a newly trimmed beard. He felt the difference as the resistant bristles no longer dragged on his opposite cheek when he moved across the pillow.

"Aftershave?" He murmured. Smelling a rich sent of pine, similar to the one he used himself back on the Enterprise. The thought stirring hope. "We're home?" He asked, eyes still closed from heaviness of his eyelids.

"No Imzadi." She sadly informed him, feeling his hope die in his chest, replaced by a deep moan. "I'm sorry. I thought the aftershave might cheer you up. I couldn't resist." She traced each line and dip in his features, focusing on the soft skin where stubble had been only a few hours before.

"Not your fault Imzadi." He replied, a tired hand squeezing hers. "Ache all over." He mumbled.

"I've called Vanessa. You fell asleep before we could give you your pills. She'll be here soon." Deanna comforted him, absorbing some of his pain into herself, cringing a little at it's intensity. She'd been doing it on and off since the accident, and with Beverly fully aware of what she was doing to herself, had told her off many a times over it. Even Will has refused at first, but the small quantities of painkillers he was now on was barely enough to cover the constant ache of healing parts. His doses were small to ward off addiction, but only large enough to provide for the patient to at least recover in some semblance of comfort.

Will held onto her tight both by hand and soul as he craved her care. The removal of the pain a blessing he selfishly embraced until he was awake and aware enough to brace for it himself. He slowly let go of her help, hearing her sigh in relief at the link being severed. "Thanks." He said, his voice still trembling.

He took a few deep breaths concentrating on the Betazoid breathing techniques Deanna had taught him. Vanessa appeared eventually, glass of water and pills in hand. Helping him sit up enough for the dose, he swallowed quickly before being lowered back to the bed imprint he'd made previously.

Shortly the pain lines began to soften and his blue eyes became less intense in their harsh gaze. "Feel better?" She asked, watching him nod slowly.

"I can really feel the difference when the pills aren't working." Will said, pushing back the bed covers to allow a little cool air to tingle his gown clad chest. "Not that pushing myself in physio helps." He remarked.

"I heard you actually walked yesterday." Deanna ran her fingers through his long hair, watching his long lashes blink slowly.

"With the support of arm, beams and men." He smiled. "But yeah, I guess I did. Paul even hinted I'd be coming home soon." He swallowed hard and looked away.

"Will?" She asked, feeling the slam of emotions so deep and sad she nearly unbalanced from her spot on the edge of his bed. "Will. Talk to me."

"We're not going home are we?" He finally whispered, his eyes catching hers with a deep revelation that had finally hit him. The months of sedation covering the truth with a thin veil of hope, now uncovered by trilated doses and shocking realism.

Deanna swallowed too. She'd been waiting for it to hit him. In a way he was still better off than herself. At least he was based on the same planet of his birth. "Not our real one Imzadi, but it is home for now." She slowly moved over and kissed him fully on the lips, plying his trembling lower lip with soft kisses.

A tear glided down his cheek, neither aware of who had produced it. "It's slim, but there may be hope. And we can't give up on that slim chance now Imzadi. We're safe, well fed and cared for and employed. Relax until your better, then we'll work things out." Her angel-like voice and the love she sent enveloped him, enthusing a warmth that heightened him from despair.

"You always know what to do or say with me Imzadi." He voiced, working a bare smile onto his lips.

"And you know just how to get my attention my love." She kissed his forehead and left him to rest.




Deanna entered Will's room, straight after her arduous shift of work, only to find it empty. Ruffled used sheets were still bunched on the bed and his dressing gown missing. She smiled at ease and placed her basket of fruit down onto a nearby seat, before giving the room a once over. Resting into the deep comfort of the stuffed chair, her hand snaked into the basket, picking an apple up in it's grasp. After rubbing it to a glossy shine on her skirt, Deanna took a large cracking bite from it's juicy centre, with great satisfaction. Paul had re-adjusted Will's diet to include a limited selection of various fresh fruit daily now, just to boost his fibre content, and to get him back to natural solids. Ever since then, Deanna had started to bring fruit to work to share with Will, the man who constantly vowed that he hated fruit. Hence the little games she'd play or bribes she'd make while spending most of her break time with Will, just to make sure he ate the whole apple and didn't hide it under his pillow.

Vanessa had informed her with mirth about the tales of where she'd found half eaten fruit hidden, and just in the first few days, that was until Deanna had decided to keep watch.

A sound of movement came from behind the ensuite door, breaking her momentary daydream, and the door finally swung open to reveal her Imzadi. Concentrating hard on his crutches, Will didn't notice her at first as he struggled out of the door frame, struggling to keep the crutches out of the way while closing the door behind him. He looked wonderful to Deanna, in a wild sort of way. He was now filling out in all the right places, hiding the previously disease ridden, gaunt shape he'd held before. The dressing gown cord was hanging low across with thin hips, not tied properly, letting her view his wonderful broad hairy chest.

Taking another bite of her apple, the loud crackle caught his attention like a rabbit in car headlights, making her giggle at his wide eyed look.

"Caught me." He grinned widely once his heart had stopped thrashing in his ribcage. He held himself still for a while, balancing, and trying to hide his breathlessness before making the final distance to her side. She moved the basket and watched quietly as he manoeuvred himself into the chair beside her, with a sigh of relief escaping his lips as he turned and gave her a smile.

"Your making progress." She admired, squeezing his hand once he'd leaned the crutches up against the wall.

"You mean I'm dangerous now don't you?" When she shook her head, he laughed. "Beverly thinks so."

"Ah but Beverly has seen you in action before, don't forget. She knows all about the risks of you being mobile. So your emotionally on the up?" She asked changing track.

He leaned back, letting the seat swallow him up as he lay back deeper into it's comfort. "I'm getting my strength back, they're letting me eat things of better variety and texture, and I'm able to go to the toilet by myself. What more could a man want." He joked.

"A woman." She winked, laughing once he rolled his eyes with a groan.

"Don't remind me. You know, I get this feeling that Beverly is stalking us. Ever since we crashed, she's managed to break up anything sexual between us every time." Deanna couldn't help but laugh at the serious look on his face.

"She's just jealous of your stamina to abstain. She probably can't believe it either" Deanna suggested with a smirk.

"She's helped." He answered just as the door opened and Beverly entered. "See what I mean?" He held out his hand in her direction.

"What?" Beverly asked, performing the same rabbit manoeuvre Will had earlier.

"Will thinks your deliberately trying to keep us physically apart." Deanna said half interested.

"Well I am." Beverly responded tiredly. "He's not ready for the usual amount of energy it takes for a full grown man to......"

"Enough! I've heard enough. I'm going back to bed." Will moaned. "Bruise my ego.....just when I'm getting it back too." Grabbing his crutches he swung them into place with practice and heaved himself up with Deanna's help.

"Sorry." She gave an apologetic look. Watching his awkward ascent she tittered to herself. "I see you haven't perfected that yet." Beverly mused.

"Just a bit low. I'm better on higher chairs and beds." He said mechanically with anger in his voice. "What did you want anyway?" After months of lying flat, Beverly took a step back having forgotten how tall and menacing he was, even hunched up on crutches.

"Will! Stop it." Deanna said moving to his side and grabbing his dressing gown cord, grabbing it like she was holding back a wild bull, and tying it tighter to cover up the pyjama shorts and bare chest.

"Sorry." He finally said, lowering his eyes and balancing still at the foot of his bed. "I'm just tired, achy and damn sick of being ordered around like a little boy. Raising his head he apologised. "Sorry Bev." He swallowed hard and looked down to Deanna to see her move in front and slide her arms around his chest.

"My big grumpy bear. I think we can excuse you, this time." She muffled into his chest before plying it in small kisses.

"Apology accepted Will. I have to admit it's taken you a while to explode like this though." She winked.

"They lowered my pain killers again. Kinda makes me volatile." He said sheepishly before kissing the top of Deanna's head.

"You said you ached. Anywhere I should worry about?" She enquired.

"Let me see, shoulders, neck, arms, lower back..." He ticked them off in his head.

"OK. I get the picture. Seems like David's been pushing you hard again. I'll see if I can book you a massage this afternoon. Does that work for you?" Beverly asked, one finger twirling with a piece of red fiery hair.

"Delightfully." He replied.

"Excellent. Then to bed with you." Deanna said, helping him move towards the bedside, and removing the dressing gown once he was sitting on it's edge. He expertly slid his bandaged leg in under the sheets and let Deanna place his crutches within arms reach of the bed once he was settled.

"You'd make a wonderful mother." He said.

"And you'd make a wonderful father." She replied, leaning over and kissing him fully on the lips. The sound of Beverly's throat clearing made them break away in raucous laughter.

"I told you she had it in for us." He winked, smiling as Beverly joined in with the laughter.

"I'll see you both later, but I just wanted to let you know that Paul's enquiring to your release. I'll let you know more this afternoon after your massage." Beverly said before slipping out the door, missing the wide grin Will now wore.

"Hmmm a massage and release. My kind of day." He whispered to Deanna as she lay her head under his chin and allowed her fingers to twirl through his chest hair. "Think we can sleep together again like last time?"

"I'm sure it'd be fine. Someone has to keep an eye on the sick little boy." She joked. Will's ice cold hand up the back of her shirt gave way to a loud screech from her as the cold fingers found a wickedly ticklish spot. "Not fair." She giggled once out of his reach.

"You did taunt me." He grinned first before sobering. "Can you stay long?"

"I'm afraid not. I have patients all afternoon. But I will be back later for dinner. I've made sure Maurice knows to add an extra tray for this room. Not that I'll need it after having to finish off your dessert last night." She admitted.

"Thanks. I love your company, especially in here. Since the return of lucid thought, this room isn't so interesting any more. Kind of lost it's curiosity a few months back. Plus you can eat the peas. Have an unhealthy aversion to them ever since I knew they could mush them." He winked.

"No problem. I'll leave the fruit but I'll have to go now. You'll behave won't you?" She asked making her way to pick up her personal items before kissing him on the cheek.

"Never." He answered as she scooted out the door in a flash.




Lying on his stomach, Will Riker was unsure whether he was in heaven or hell. The working hands one minute eased the tight twitching muscles, and the next they dug in hard to deep corded pain. Margaret was a pro in the physio circuit, praise earned all around by her fellow colleagues in her remedial massage techniques, but to Will, she must of been having a bad day. Although she wore a smile and a sweet voice, the word devil spawn kept bounding around his mind, and was underlined each time she drove a thumb into a particularly sore spot.

"Nearly there Mr Riker." She said as she heard him grunt shortly after a swift intake of breath. "There we are, all done, you can roll over now." Her sweet charming voice drew a mumbled unheard reply from Will about Klingon women being kinder in touch.

Carefully turning his body over, she helped him move his leg without dragging it on the bed's surface. And as the towel began to slip, she repositioned it to cover his modesty, continuing to embed her hands into his shoulders and chest, slowly working her way down to his legs.

The increase of blood flow from the invigorated muscles made him feel light headed and hot. A drip of perspiration glided down his face as he reached for the water, now that his top half was clear of her ministrations. He gulped deeply and lay back as she carefully began to massage the bottom of his feet, first the right and then the left. Margaret spent more time slowly manipulating the abstract digits, until her patient began to snore. Smiling, she wiped her oiled hands on her towel and removed Will's, pulling the sheets back over his lower half. By the time she'd collected her equipment and turned down the lights Will was deep asleep.

Deanna's arrival, laden with homework, didn't even disturb him. Making herself at home Deanna laid out her books on the corner table and took over the two cosy seats, starting on her paperwork. She knew she could of gone home, with Will out for hours he'd never of missed her, but she wanted to be with him while she did the paperwork, now spread out over her knees and furniture. She's always worked better in Will's company, especially where bureaucratic paperwork was required. So there she sat, working quietly and listening to the deep snores coming from the half covered man before her.

Eventually Beverly entered, having finished her shift aswell. The darkness of night already closed in outside. She instantly grabbed a piece of Will's fruit from the basket and began munching on it from hunger. "You owe him a pear now." Deanna whispered as she finished up the counselling forms.

"I hardly think he'd notice." Beverly winked. "You know how often I've seen him eat fruit? Twice. And one of those times was mashed banana here in the hospital."

Deanna giggled. "Well I've seen him eat lots of fruit. Jealous now?"

Her friend just shook her head and smiled before taking another bite and moving over to her ex-patient. Will Riker, in this time zone, was Paul's patient not hers. But with all he'd gone through she was glad. Her lack of skills with this current times' medical quick fixes was still a very deep learning curve.

Lifting the sheet she choked as the pear nearly went down the wrong way. Dropping the sheet she ran into the ensuite to grab a glass of water and to hide the coughs, hoping not to wake Will. When she returned red faced and watery eyed, Deanna was by her side slapping her back. "I'm alright now thanks Deanna." She wheezed. "Just wasn't ready to view Will naked under there."

A curious look filled Deanna's face as she turned and lifted the sheet to reveal the naked body of her Imzadi, completely nude except for the bandages wrapped around his leg. "Are you saying there's something wrong with that?" Deanna asked dropping the sheet back into place and sitting on the edge of his bed to stroke his cheek.

"No. But I wasn't ready for it." Beverly blushed.

"I thought you'd of spied his naked body enough over the years to expect it, especially under hospital care Beverly." Deanna giggled.

Beverly just shook her head and checked out his chart, sniffing the air. "Smells like he's had his massage."

"Certainly has, you didn't think all this oil was just him being sloppy with his food did you?" Deanna jibed.

"Enough you two, I'm trying to sleep." Will mumbled, trying to turn to his side, only to find his movements restricted by Deanna sitting on his sheets.

"Poor Willy." Deanna cooed.

He grumbled under his breath and wrestled the sheets higher over his body as he turned his back to them. Feeling the delights of Margaret's massage still ever present. His left leg was a little tingly but bearable for the first time that day. "And Beverly?"

"Yes Will?" She leant forward.

"Replace the pear." He replied before resettling himself and finding sleep again.

Deanna's laughter stopped when Beverly gave her a glare of disdain. Her finger beckoning her over to a corner. "Now that Mr accident is asleep I thought I'd ask if you were coming home tonight?"

"Might be. Not sure. I was supposed to have dinner with him. But if he doesn't wake I may come home. Why?" Deanna asked.

"Nothing important, but I was just going to go over a few things with Paul tonight about Will's moving schedule. Seems like he'll be coming home with us in the next few days." Beverly whispered close to Deanna in case Will wasn't really asleep. "Thought we'd make it a surprise and give him a welcome home party. You know how he used to do it to all of us every time we had something to celebrate."

"Ah Beverly, I'm not sure if that's a good thing right now." Deanna looked down sadly. "He was a bit emotional not long ago when it finally hit him he wouldn't be going back to his real home. The Enterprise. It might upset him a little."

Beverly mused, one finger tapping her chin as she crossed her arms. "Well maybe just a cake then?"

"Sure. But make sure he's taken some painkillers first to put him in a good mood."

"They're not to make him happy Deanna." Beverly drilled.

"I know, but he does ache less and smile more." Deanna shrugged her shoulders and gave a sly smile.

"I can see I'll have to be the one to give him his medication then." Beverly shook her head. "And as for tonight, if you come home in time, we'll discuss Will's exit left. If not then briefly in the morning over breakfast." She said laying a caring hand on her arm.

"Thanks. I shouldn't be too long. I'll see you later."

Beverly nodded and headed home, leaving the Betazoid Counsellor to wait for her dormant partner to wake. Maurice entered not to soon after, two trays balanced on each hand as he entered the room.

"Eating in I see." He winked. "I'll let you wake the lad, I'm sure you're a prettier face to wake up to than me."

"Only when I've brushed my hair." She replied to the kind attendant. He lay a tray on Will's lap table and another by the door for Deanna to pick at, then made a bow and exited the room to leave her alone with Will. Removing the cover on Will's she smiled. Thin slices of Roast beef with peas gracing the plate with a side of salad. She knew he'd dodge the peas.

"Will sweetheart. Dinner time." She called softly into his ear as she gently rubbed his warm back.

He eventually stirred and rolled over to look into her eyes as he slowly blinked his sleepy ones. "Peas?" His first words drew a smile from her.

"No." She lied, watching his relieved smile, until it turned into a frown.

"Liar." He responded, sitting himself up to confirm his suspicions. He could of sworn the little green spheres were laughing at him. "Well they won't be eaten tonight. For all I know they're probably from last night and the night before." He moaned.

"Revengeful peas? Will, I've got to get your medication changed." Deanna laughed as she checked her own dinner, finding just a simple small salad as asked.

Will's chuckle joined hers and she sat upon his bed end, plate and fork in hand, waiting for him to attempt his dinner. Picking up his fork he prodded a few things first then carefully began to eat his meat first then started work on the salad. It was slow progress as usual. The new pain killers killing off his appetite. Eventually everything was cleared except for the lonesome peas and an olive. Moving quick Deanna speared the olive and rescued it from the peas before he could blink.

"Remind me never to fight over olives with you." He said, full and satisfied with the fill he'd eaten. It was a very small dish compared to what he used to eat, but then again he was still healing and not nearly as athletic as he used to be.

"You have to eat the peas Will. Doctor's orders." She pointed with her empty fork prongs.

"Which doctor? The scary one or the vicious one?" He asked.

Deanna snorted with laughter. "Will!"

"Well I guess they're both scary when standing over you syringe in hand and both vicious with their blackmail." He shrugged.

"Well both will come visiting if you don't finish those poor peas Will." She pushed.

Just then a gentle knock rattled on the door and Vanessa slipped in. "Thought you'd like your pills by now." She smiled.

"Only after he's eaten his peas." Deanna said arms crossed.

"Great timing Vanessa, dope me up and let the peas run away while I'm asleep." He grinned.

"Well I hate telling you this William, but Doctor Andrews did mention something about peas first pills last."

Will rolled his eyes. "You too?" He shook his head and sat himself upright again, chasing the last peas around his plate until they'd all gone. "Hate peas". He moaned as he accepted the pills and glass of water.

"Well at least they're not mashed." Vanessa announced, taking his tray and removing Deanna's aswell. "Have a good night's sleep William." She smiled and removed herself quickly.

"William? Used to be Will to all the girl friends before." Deanna teased.

He sighed and gave her a cheerful smile as he pulled her closer to lie against his chest. "Vanessa doesn't follow rules well. She either calls me Mr Riker, which reminds me of my father too much or calls me William. What would you choose?"

Deanna cocked her head to the left in thought before looking him straight in the eye. "Willie?" She moved back out of his grasp and dodged his tickling fingers.

"So how's life outside the door?" He enquired.

"Good. Work's been busy. I managed to finish a few reports and forms while you were sleeping earlier. Means I can sleep easy tonight now. Rosemary keeps throwing more and more each day my way. I think she believes I'm a push over to pass work onto." She explained.

"Want me to warn her off?" He said seriously. "You know. Commander to the rescue."

"She'd classify you as a patient and sort you out in no time. She's strong minded. Besides, I can sort it out. I'm going to take a little time off soon anyway. She'll dislike me even more then." Deanna's hair swung back over her shoulders as she flicked it away from her face. The straight brown hair as tantalising as the dark curls had been.

Will Riker couldn't resist her hair. In truth Deanna had considered giving him the bits she'd chopped off when she shortened it, but had thought better when she realised she wanted him to smell her hair personally, and not hidden in his cabin with a clump of off cuts.

"So I'm going home soon then?" Will asked after he'd shaken his gaze from her hair.

"Yes. Very soon. But Beverly said not to tell you, so keep quiet, alright?" She whispered into his ear before blowing a cool breeze into it. Ticklish he turned away before turning back and grabbing her in a bear hug.

"I love you Deanna Troi." He said lustily as he kissed her lips and then her neck.

Just then the door swung open and Vanessa appeared, breaking the two apart. "Sorry. Left my clipboard in here. Bye!" No sooner had she interrupted than she had disappeared.

"Think she's working for Beverly?" Will asked.

"I think so." Deanna replied. "Now. Where were we?" She asked moving back into his grip.

"Somewhere close to ugh left a bit?" He joked until she kissed him long and sweetly on the lips.

"No I think we were actually about to tuck you into bed. Speaking of which, did they dress you?" She asked, peeking under the covers until he pulled them from her grip and covered himself up.

"Yes. Gave me a nice bath too from what I can remember of it. The massage pretty much knocked me out." He looked up into her sparkling eyes that were filled with mischief. "Why? Hoping to take a peak at something? Making sure all the goods are there before taking me home to play with?" He asked.

"Well a girl doesn't want a nasty surprise after waiting all year for Christmas." She giggled.

"I can assure you counsellor that every is in working order, well I think so, we haven't exactly had time to try it have we?" He grinned.

Grabbing her papers and jacket, Deanna walked slowly to the door, her mind impishly coming up with an evil answer. "We will commander, we will." She laughed back. "Just be good and eat all your greens. You'll need the energy." And with that she left him to consider the consequences.





Teetering on the edge of the footpath, Will Riker was basking in the new days sun as he waited for Paul to bring his car around. Both he and Beverly has disappeared to retrieve the car from the parking lot a few moments before, having left him at the registration desk with Deanna, to walk him out the front to wait. Clad in a simple white tee and long baggy navy shorts, the suns warmth touched skin that had yearned for it's qualities for what seemed a decade, this making him smile deeper as he took a deep breath of the fresh air.

Deanna's hand snugly attached to his arm caught his attention. "So partner, maybe we're supposed to hobble back." She suggested as she got impatient with taking him home.

"I like a challenge." He fired back, knowing she was jibing him for using his crutches instead of the wheelchair. He'd adamantly refused to be wheeled out the doors. He wanted to walk, he'd said and Deanna being left alone with him had given in to his sudden stubborn streak.

"Maybe not that kind of challenge if you knew how far it was on sticks, and with one shoe." She winked before rubbing his arm in comfort. "I'm proud of you Will." She smiled.

One curious eye brow rose up high on his forehead. "Why?"

"Because your wonderfully brave for what you've had to go through. And because you've got your determined streak back. The Will Riker I know and love." She purred.

He chuckled, and readjusted his arms around the crutches to lean down and kiss her. Dropping Will's bag to the ground, Deanna wound both arms around his middle giving him support to lean on her as they embraced. His strength slowly ebbing away the longer he stood upright. Deanna knew, and Will knew she knew, but he wasn't damn well going to give in and confirm it to her.

As they hugged each other, they linked as one and supped of each others love until a familiar throat cleared itself.

"You two OK?" Beverly asked getting out of the car.

"Just peachy." Will said sliding a large grin in place. "What took you so long?"

"Paul got called back just when we got to the car. Sorry. But we're all ready to go now once we get your hide inside." She said opening the front passenger door, and moving the seat back allowing for Will's long legs. Hobbling on one crutch as Beverly took the other from him, Paul helped him into the car seat, careful of the one bare foot.

After a lot of heavy breathing and juggling on walking equipment he was settled and soon buckled in by Deanna with a kiss. Moments later and Paul gunned the engine, and they were off back to his new home, with Will watching the public buildings merge into architectural sprawl.

"Think it's any easier to get out than in a car?" Will enquired once they pulled up in front of their house.

Paul laughed at the slight concern creasing Will's forehead. "Why? Worried I'll have to get a can opener out?"

"No. Just petrified that I'll be forever locked in here and fed peas." He replied just as Deanna opened his door and released his seatbelt.

"You still on about those peas? Boy you hold a grudge don't you." Deanna's sweet voice broke in.

Will just chuckled until he was faced by three people and a set of crutches. "Well here goes nothing I guess." He said as he swung himself 90 degrees around to sit out of the car. With Paul's help he levered himself up onto the waiting crutches. Jostling until his balance was right and then making the final few steps to the door. Once inside will immediately headed for the nearest comfy chair he could find in the living room, moving away a pile of medical journals, and collapsed into it.

"You alright?" Deanna asked sitting beside him, regretful in not removing the journals herself.

"Yeah fine. It was just a little tiring, more than I thought." He smiled. "Guess I'm not ready to join the marathon yet." He replied, plying the back of her hand with a large kiss.

"Hmm strange mail." Beverly said, slipping an envelope into Will's hand. "It's addressed to a Commander William T. Riker."

Will frowned at the envelope in his hand after checking that Paul hadn't come back in yet. "He still moving the car?" At Beverly's nod he proceeded to open the envelope. Jumping back in fright as small silver stars of confetti shot out as he pulled the welcome home card from it's envelope. He looked up with a sly grin on his face. "Really had me there Bev."

"Welcome home Commander." Beverly said giving him a large kiss and heading for the kitchen after ruffling his hair.

Looking slightly peeved, Will tried to straighten the mess she'd made of it, before Deanna did the same thing. She wrapped her arms around his shoulders before he could try and re-arrange it again and whispered into his ear, making his lips curl up at one corner as he smiled.

"You promise?" He asked, almost begging. When she nodded he pulled her in close until and turned her over onto his lap to kiss her stomach. She squealed and struggled to pull down her shirt quickly when Paul came through the door, cake in hand.

"Not again." He shook his head. "Do you two think you could wait for some privacy first?" Paul said placing a candle decorated cake onto the coffee table in front of Will.

"I told you he works for the devil." Will whined.

"Beverly." Deanna explained, as she struggled up-right to roll off Will's hips.

"They think I'm the devil because I keep busting up their supposed love life." Beverly added as she advanced and lit the cake, after placing the plates and utensils beside it. "Welcome home Will." She smiled.

"Thanks. Everyone, thanks." Will sighed. "You know I really wasn't sure I'd be here after the last mess I got into. So I guess what I'm trying to say is...."

"We're just happy your alive and twin legged too." Deanna snuggled up into his side, pulling his arm over the back of her shoulder.

"Actually I was going to ask if the cake was filled with peas." Will said carefree, watching with glee as Beverly and Paul fell into fits of laughter. "But thank you for all you've done to keep me sane, alive and a burden in the medical society's side."

"No problem Will. In fact, I figure I can derive a few good papers out of this. Perhaps even publish a journal of two about your fight for survival." Paul smiled, handing the cake to Will and indicating for him to blow.

With one almighty blow he managed to destroy the flickering lights with a round of cheers. He accepted a slice from Beverly as she cut up the cake and handed it around, playing with it more than eating. He caught a frowning glance from Deanna and chomped down on a large spoonful just to make her satisfied that he was eating. Eventually he put the plate down when no one was looking and washed it down with a gulp of coffee from a mug preferred by Beverly.

"Didn't think caffeine was allowed." He winked as he breathed in it's fragrance and drank deeply of the hot liquid.

"Normally no, but you seemed a little tired from the trip here, and I didn't want to be fishing your face out of the cake." Beverly replied as she collected the plates, making a note of the large mound of crumbs he'd compiled from the previous slice of cake. "Feel like anything else to eat?" She pushed, concerned about his eating habits. The lack more than the over eating he used to indulge in onboard the Enterprise.

He shook his head in negative fashion, dodging their eyes. He was still too thin for her liking regardless of the forced three meals a day he'd been ordered to eat under Deanna's watchful eye.

"Well I guess I'd better be getting back to work, I still have a few things to do before the end of day." Paul said standing up and kissing Beverly as she rose too. "Just don't drink too much of that coffee Will. You'll need a good night's sleep after today's excursion home."

"Susie, your home nurse will be around early tomorrow to keep you up to date on your physio." Beverly explained at his quizzical look.

"I should be fine." Will replied to them both. Hell he could almost count on the coffee being the least of his troubles sleeping, he still couldn't sleep properly even with the painkillers, limited as they were. Only once, after nights of sleepless complaints, had Beverly issued a small dose of 23rd Century painkiller. The futuristic and highly sort after drug had been locked away for emergency use only by the red haired doctor. Her excuse being it was the last she had, and damned if she was going to waste it as a sleep inducer.

Will gave his thank you's to Paul as he and Beverly wandered out the front door leaving Will in Deanna's hands. She was watching him carefully, almost reading every line and fake smile he had planted on his face.

"Want to move outside into the sun?" She asked finally when he looked her straight in the eye and raised an eyebrow.

He sighed at first, sizing up the distance to outside compared to the bedroom. "Actually I think I'll take a nap first." He ran a hand through his hair, messing it up until it spiked in some areas, newly cut and trimmed after Deanna had egged him on about the maintenance of long hair.

"You sure? It's a lovely day out, and only a few hours until dinner time. I could set you up out there with a good book and a drink to soak up the sun's rays?" She offered.

"Nah. I really don't think I can make it to two places. I think the bedroom is my best bet." He said before grabbing his crutches and setting them up ready for him to spring himself onto them. "I take it I'm sleeping in the same room as last time?" He queried. Deanna nodded as she gave in, sensing his stubbornness rising, and helped him onto the supports until he was balanced and wobbling off to his bedroom.

He negotiated the furniture and doorways like a pro until he came upon the bed. It was low which had caused problems last time, but he was ready and aware. Hobbling on one foot, both crutches leant against the wall, he took Deanna's arm and slowly seated himself onto the edge of the bed, letting Deanna help him to remove his trousers while he removed his top half. Clad in nothing but his boxers, he swung his healing leg in under the covers, accepting her delightful lips upon his as she kissed him good night.

"Sleep well." Deanna wished his way after closing the curtains. Seeing him instantly heading into slumber, she blew a kiss and closed his door, leaning up against the door's back and letting out a small tear. Will's emotions were turbulent since the moment he'd arrived to find a cake waiting for him. She'd known the party idea was bad in the first place, now she had to suffer his sad silent tears as she felt him release himself to the empty room behind her back. Giving him room, she blocked his private emotions and made for the sun outside. At least one of them should enjoy it she thought as she set herself down and contemplated how she was going to comfort Will that night.




Will Riker groaned with pain when he awoke. The starry night was out and galling him with their flickering wave to join them. With a light cough he cleared his throat and attempted to get up, finding his head thumping it's revenge for him to lie back down. Cursing the doctors ill attempts at providing adequate painkillers, he tried again, this time successful in sitting up and pushing the bed clothes away. He was warm from their embrace and no longer craved it as he swallowed on a dry throat and begged for water. He smiled once he saw the upturned empty glass and a jug by his bed. She'd known he'd need it.

He drank deeply and coughed again when he drank too eagerly from the second glass. Taking a few deep breathes he replaced the glass and reached for his crutches just as the bedroom door opened.

"Will?" Deanna's light voice whispered. "Are you alright?" She cracked open the door wider until she spied him on the bed edge, crutches already under each arm, prepped and ready to lift off in hopefully a forward direction.

"Yeah. I'm fine. What time is it? I think I overslept." His dry voice grated over his croaking vocal cords.

"It's late. About three in the morning. Beverly and Paul went to bed hours ago. Want a hand?" She asked just as he launched up and stumbled forward until he was still, balanced and facing the right direction.

"Nope." He smiled. "But I'd kill for something to banish this headache. Think you could get me something while I'm in the bathroom?" He asked scratching his beard with one hand.

"Sure. I'll be right back." She widened the door for Will and shot off to the kitchen while he made way to the bathroom to expel a badly bursting bladder.

She waited on the couch for a while, wondering what was keeping him until she heard the facilities flush. He slowly wobbled out to the couch and sat down heavily. "This head is killing me."

"Not the leg?" Deanna asked.

"Leg too but mainly the head. Think I'm a little under used to coffee." He smiled until he found it too hard with the blindly pain of the ever increasing headache. He accepted the pills and water from Deanna downing them in one practised move.

Deanna took the empty glass from him and speared him with a concerned look. "You'll need to eat something with those. Name your order."

Ignoring her he gave her a curious look back. "What are you doing up this late?"

"Looking after you." She kissed his nose. "I'm off duty tomorrow until your settled. And I kind of was waiting until you woke." She blushed. "Now. What do you want to eat?"

"Nothing. I'm fine, I just need to kill this headache so I can go back to sleep." He said, almost shrinking when he saw her face.

"Will you have to eat something with those, and no, one teaspoon of cake doesn't count as a nourishing intake." She whispered harshly, running a hand through his spiky hair. "And don't fight it, I saw the crumbs you made of that slice."

Severely chastised he gave her an innocent look that bespoke of misery. "Damn pills kill my hunger every time. I'm not hungry and I certainly have no desired to eat any of that Risotto I smelt being burnt earlier."

"Picking on Beverly's cooking? She'll put you to work in the kitchen with that kind of attitude." She giggled. "Not to mention that you were faking sleep. How about some toast?"

"Sure. I think I can manage that." Once he'd given in she'd spun away from his side and headed straight for the kitchen, snapping on the toaster and accessing the fridge in lightning speed that made Will envious of her mobility.

"Do you want jam or vegemite?" Deanna said quietly but holding up the jars for him to see. She watched him squint and wave for her to choose. "OK. Half and half then." She said to herself as she skilfully managed the toast. The again it was the first thing Beverly and she had discovered that they could cook without making it inedible. She also poured out a glass of milk and headed his way to sit beside him, plate proffered to his waiting hands.

He nibbled at first until she nudged him to finish the first piece, the plate balanced on his leg. "You've got to eat Will." She said playing with his hair as he forcibly finished the second piece. "Your supposed to be at least a few kilos heavier by now."

"I know I know. Just hard to force myself back into this stuff. I didn't have to physically eat for months with their tubes and things. Just seems a bit too time consuming now, not that I've got anything else to do." He shrugged.

"Hey I'm sorry to push Imzadi, I'm just worried about you that's all." She kissed his stubbled cheek and smiled. "Besides I'll have to go back to work in the next few days and I want to know you'll be fine on your own."

"Imzadi." He replied, draping an arm over her shoulder and pulling her into his chest after balancing the glass of milk on the couch arm. "I'll be fine. All I have to do is rest until my physio session or you and Beverly come home. Besides, I survived last time didn't I?" He said.

"Will?" A new voice whispered in the half light of the full moon.

"Hi Doc. I'm fine." He said, letting her know he was OK before she asked for the thousandth time.

A sleepy doctor wandered through the darkness to sit opposite the cuddling couple. "So you finally woke up. Glad your eating." She watched Will nod and reach for his milk, taking a swig and leaving a white moustache until Deanna after giggling herself silly wiped it away with a paper towel. "How's the head?" She added once Deanna had finished her outburst.

"You have the most uncanny knack of locating pain don't you?" Will mused. "The head's pounding but Deanna gave me something a few mins ago. I'll be fine once I sleep it off."

Beverly nodded and made her way to the kitchen, riffling through the fridge until she located the orange juice and poured a glass of the fiery liquid. She sipped the cold drink in the kitchen, spying the cupboard door ajar from Deanna's hunt for the painkillers. She closed it and thought nothing of it at first until she turned back and checked the contents. "What colour were the pills you took Will?" Her voice muffled by the cupboard.

"Um, blue I think." He looked to see Deanna nod. "Why?"

"Just checking that you hadn't mixed your painkillers. We can't have the codeine mixing with the hydrocodone. Might make you a bit ill." She said moving back into the living room and flashing on a light.

"Spoil the romantic qualities why don't you." Will said blinking his eyes from the bright unnatural light.

"Just want to check your leg while your up and awake." Beverly said starring at his adjusting eyes.

"Now? Can't it wait?" His voice rising.

"Will." Deanna said, keeping him sitting on the couch.

"No. I'm sick of being prodded every time you find me still enough to intimidate." His blue eyes flashed with anger. " For once I just want some free time with Deanna, without medical staff or with you interfering." His voice was deep and full of authority, his verbal assault catching both woman in it's fire.

"That's enough Commander!" Deanna said dragging herself away from him and slapping his arm.

"Not now Deanna." He replied in a no nonsense grunt, knocking over the milk, as he grabbed his crutches and struggled to rise. In his hurry to hobble away he over balanced, tripping over the spilt glass and ending up on the floor before either Deanna or Beverly could catch him. He stifled a scream of pain, just as the glass broke beneath him, and his injured leg jarred against the floor. Sudden hands were hauling him over to his back in seconds as he clenched his teeth and breathed rapidly through the pain.

Witnessing the spots of blood on his abdomen Beverly swore. "Of all the stupid..." Beverly muttered as she ran for her bag once he was stable on the floor. Deanna had his head cradled in her lap when the doctor returned. "No major damage..luckily." She said after a few panicking seconds as she scanned first his leg and then the fresh wound with the tricorder. Snapping the device shut she looked him in the eye, his anger still boiling there. "If you'd of allowed me to scan you the first time this wouldn't of happened Will." She grabbed some bandages, after moving away his dressing gown from his lower abdomen, and began to dab away the surface blood from his cuts.

"I said I wanted to be alone with Deanna. Now back-off. I don't need anyone." He spat back, trying to lever himself up with shaky arms, vehemence lacing each word.

A light slap rang through the air, stinging his face, and settling him back down. "I said that's enough Will." Deanna commanded. "What's got into you?"

"Nothing." He mumbled, eyes cast towards the ceiling.

Beverly looked away when he'd quietened down and snapped open the wrapper around the tweezers in hand, leaning over him and pulling out the small shards of glass. "Next time give him a plastic cup. We can't afford to replace him or the glassware." Beverly said softly to Deanna as she hung onto the irate but silent patient. "There, almost done." She scanned the area to be sure, then wiped away more of the blood and placed an adhesive padding over the area. "They're only surface cuts, he'll be fine." Beverly said packing up her gear and moving it out of the way of the fallen Commander.

"Can we move him?" Deanna asked.

"Well I for one am not leaving him on the floor tonight, though he does deserve it." Beverly said placing her hands under his armpits and readying herself to lift him with Deanna's help.

"I said..."

"Enough Will! Your already in trouble for tonight's episode, any more comments and we'll lock you in your bedroom to face Paul in the morning." Deanna snapped, sending her anger along the link to sting his own aggression dead. Both women heaved him upright, a few choice swear words mingled about until Will was seated on the couch.

"You mister are going to bed." Doctor Crusher's fiery order made him gulp as he still evaded her gaze.

They got the crutches under him and walked him back to his bed until he collapsed into it and rolled over and away, presenting only his back to them as he wrapped his shaky arms around the soft contours of a pillow. He wept quietly once they'd gone.




"I hate those tablets. He gets so moody with them. Anyone would think he was menstruating." Beverly said picking up the debris. It was late and both of them had only a few hours until morning. At least Deanna had time off, but the doctor had a full card for the morning.

Deanna seemed lost in thought as she helped clean and pack away the things. Once done she said her thanks and made her way back in to Will's room, closing the door and removing her gown.

Creeping between the sheets towards the warm body she felt minute tremors as soon as she touched his shoulder. Brushing the back of her hand gently across his cheeks she found tears tracking their way down his cheeks.

"Oh Imzadi." She whispered before draping her arms around his shuddering body. She sensed and felt the anguish and remorse from the centre of his being, erupting in unchecked release. "Let it all out, I'm here for you."

His gulping tears soon trickled down to mere sniffs after a short time, letting her to finally release him and to check his bandage on the right hand side of his stomach. Dark blood had spotted the bandage but showed no signs of major blood loss. She faithfully believed Beverly's opinion and ignored it, turning back to her large patient.

The sniffs had stopped and a deep sigh filled the air as sleep began to take him away from her again, leaving her to pull him back onto his back and lay her head gently onto his chest. In responsive need, he drew his arms around her and pulled her tighter to his chest until they both fell asleep as one.


Deanna crept out of the bedroom the next morning, jumpy when Beverly's hand touched her shoulder. "How's he doing this morning?"

Deanna pulled a few strands of hair away from her face and adjusted her gown before continuing. "That fall really damaged him emotionally. He spent most of the night in tears." Deanna sighed sadly before moving past Beverly and heading to the kitchen.

The red haired doctor followed her friend, still keeping her voice low. "It's the drugs. We can't do anything but watch out for the highs and lows."

"I'm starting to feel he's never going to reach those highs you keep mentioning. He's in pain. And I can feel it without even having to look into his eyes." Her frustration laced each word. "Can't we change doses or something?" Deanna almost pleaded.

"Why. He's not capable of something stupid is he?" A serious frown locked itself onto Beverly's face.

"No." Deanna shook her head, thumping herself down into a stuffed chair. "But his negative feelings aren't helping his recovery or our own patience."

"He'll just have to find something to take his mind off it. Perhaps get him cooking again. My stomach would appreciate it." Beverly patted her tum as Deanna giggled. "Though he's only just returned home. I'm sure he can still do a little cooking without endangering himself. Maybe we should test him while your home for the next few days." She suggested. "See if he's competent to be left alone."

"He'll know it's a test." When Beverly frowned she answered further. "Your eyes squint when you're making notations in your head. He'll know a mile away when you've got your doctors hat on."

"Ah. But I won't be here. You will." She smiled. "Ask him today if he needs anything from the supermarket, I'll pick it up on the way home." Beverly said biting into a cold piece of left over pizza.

"Well if it's Will or cold pizza for breakfast, I'll urge Will along." Deanna replied with disgust as she looked at the drooping slice that Beverly was tucking into.

"Excellent." She said, sucking each finger after pushing the last morsel into her mouth. "I'll make for the bathroom then. Can't be late if I want to get home on time tonight." She waved and headed upstairs to her own spacious bathroom. Deanna shook her head at the doctors strange eating habits and let it lie as she got back up to inspect the kitchen supplies herself. Sipping on an orange juice, Deanna peered into the gaping maw of the near empty fridge before heading back to check on her charge. If he wanted breakfast, she'd have to work miracles, especially with the limited varieties of fruit on the table top.




Will Riker ambled over to the stool in the kitchen, still in his blue dressing gown, as Deanna attempted to squeeze the life out of an orange. "You didn't have to freshly squeeze it Imzadi." He smiled. "I'm not worth that much trouble."

Deanna paused in her offensive for a minute to take in his ruffled bed look and the large chest that peaked out of the open gown. His baggy shorts only just making him respectable for company if they hadn't all left for work. "No but you make me want to mother you." She replied. "But in reality I drank the last of the juice this morning waiting for you to rise. Consider this my payment for being greedy."

"Thanks." He said with a Cheshire grin and a raised eyebrow to add. "Do I get a roll in the hay as payment too?"

"Only when Beverly clears it." She laughed at his rolled eyes.

"I can just see her now making notes about our first session of sex." He whined.

"And have you asked me yet whether I want this so called sex your hoping for?" Pouring the pulpy mass into an acrylic glass, she handed him his juice and ruffled his hair.

"Do I need to? I felt your hand last night on my thigh." He grinned before taking a gulp of the thick drink, leaving a frothy orange tide line on his moustache.

"It was for therapeutic measures." She covered.

"Funny. I don't remember a cramp there, maybe left a bit.." He tried to duck her playful slap only to find her lips pecking his cheek as he swerved.

" Just drink your juice, take your pills and take a shower Will. I'm going to freshen up before your physio drops by." She kissed him long and hard on the lips before pulling away. Halfway up the steps she turned and caught his attention. "Oh, and Beverly wants to know what you need to keep yourself sustained in the food department. There's some paper and a pen in that first drawer next to you. Make a list and I'll phone her later. And beware, the lack of nutrition in this house will scare you. I promise."

Will watched the slim Betazoid glide up the steps with ease before disappearing into her room, the one she hadn't stayed in last night. Swallowing the large handful of various sized, and coloured pills he grimaced as they tickled his throat downward. Finding himself without any entertainment he set about fishing out that pen and paper before coasting each cupboard and finally the fridge. "Siberia." Will remarked as he gazed at the one pathetic curling pizza box inside, finally closing the door on its lonely existence. "She wasn't kidding about scary." Shaking his head he nibbled on the cold toast Deanna had made, glancing at the titanic mess she'd made of the orange juicer, very thankful he wasn't really hungry right now.




Deanna came back in from the garden to grab another glass of water, catching the last grunt from Will as he lifted his bad leg as instructed. "Good, now keeping your leg up and stable. I want you to wiggle your toes for me." Rosie relaxed back in her seat, and watched intently both her patient's frown and the toes that moved in small increments. "Excellent. Hold it there....." Getting up and wiping the sweat from his brow she helped him lower his leg without him jarring it on the floor. "Terrific. I'll let you rest for a bit before doing a few light stretches." He sat there, recovering on the edge of the portable physio table she had permanently set-up, at the far end of the living room, with the sunshine peaking in through the drawn blinds.

Will accepted the water she handed him, oblivious to Deanna's presence. "He's progressing beautifully Mrs Riker." Will nearly choked on the water, coughing and spluttering from his physio's comment.

"Oh sorry William." Rosie said patting his back and taking the glass from him. "I forgot you weren't married yet. Here let me wipe your eyes." He'd finally stopped coughing up the water, but his eyes were still glassy and tear filled.

"I'm fine." He whispered. "Just caught me unawares."

"He didn't know I was behind him." Deanna winked to the apologetic woman.

"That I didn't. Didn't know I was married yet either. When did that happen?" He smiled. Deanna had moved around to face him.

"Ah I think you were unconscious." Deanna got into the joke and continued it regardless of Rosie's shaking head.

"I'm sure the two of you have the devil in you. Always pranking about." She smiled and immediately began to massage Will's foot once she had it in her steady clutches, moving further up the leg as she went to release tense and taught muscles, that were only finally being used after such a long time. "Now. Have you tried putting full pressure on your leg yet?"

"No. Not sure if it'll hold me up." Will answered, his eyes averted from Deanna. In truth he was scared. He had no intention of being a bed ridden cripple again. And if it took him longer to walk by being careful with the first few steps, then so be it. The adventurer who'd always taken short cuts was for once being overly cautious.

"Well I don't mean for you to stand on it without the crutches, but I want you to place a bit of weight onto it every day. Releasing the pressure from the crutches. Just to get it used to load bearing. Let's give it a go now." Rosie pushed as she placed his leg back onto the ground and handed him his crutches.

Getting up from the low padded table, he shuffled forward onto his crutches, using them as scaffolding as he carefully released weight from his right leg, swinging it over onto the left until he was equal. His lip began to curl up in tandem with the teeth clenching as he felt the throbbing strain pounding up into his groin. What felt like an hour was truly only one minute, but it was painful no matter how long. Rosie, a small but stronger middle aged carer, had her hands around his waist to steady him as she finally allowed him to lean back to his usual stance onto one leg.

"Well done. I want you to do that once every day for at least 1 minute. Next week we'll increase it. But always make sure someone is with you alright?" She watched his blue eyes as he nodded, making sure her instructions had been heard. Waiting until Deanna had removed herself to outside once more, Rosie gave him time to recover. "Good. I want you to sit down and rest now, while I do a finally check on flexibility for my report to Doctor Andrews, and then you can get some sleep. Are you sleeping alright?" She asked viewing the pain lines surrounding his eyes.

He sat down heavily and took a couple of deep breaths before facing her questioning eyes. "I toss a bit according to Deanna."

She nodded and made a note on her chart. "Sleep with the blankets off your leg, only a light sheet, if you want to keep it warm. You'll find the lack of pressure helpful in sleeping without pain. I know what you big men are like. Always thinking you can handle anything. But I want you to do something for me, admit if it hurts, admit if you need help and accept any help anyone offers."

He nodded and gave a large smile. "You know me too well."

"I've seen it all before William. You're no different from any bull headed man I've had to exercise, but over the years I have learnt that you do have a choice. And that choice will make a difference in your recovery." She finished her lecture with a warm hand on his shoulder. "And I know you will recover if you keep up with your exercises." She smiled.

"And the goddess did speaketh." Will joked.

"Yes she did. But now she's late for her next patient." She replied, packing up her equipment. "I'll be back tomorrow same time. Just try the leg once a day until we build back those muscles, then we'll get you to repeat it twice three times." Will hobbled off the table and walked over to the door to say goodbye.

"Thanks for everything Rosie." He smiled as she ran to her car, long hair flying in the gentle breeze. "And travel safely." He added as she jumped into the hospital's company car.

"So we're alone now?" He heard Deanna ask as he clicked shut the front door. Soon followed by her hands as they surrounded his waist and moved upwards underneath the tee shirt to encompass his growing chest. He arrested one of the hands before they moved any lower and gave it a kiss once released from the material.

"You are such a tease." He winked as he awkwardly turned around.

"I know." She smiled. "Done that shopping list yet?" She asked.

"Yep. It's on the fridge under the magnet. You know, I'm sure buying a whole supermarket would be just as easy to fill this house." He joked as she made her way over to the four filled pages.

"I take it your appetite is back?" She queried as she eyed his requests.

"Not really, but I figure stocking up won't hurt when it does return." He grinned. Deanna's musical laughter tickled his ears, as she began to dial Beverly's direct number to her personal fax.


Hitting the send button she turned around to view her ruffled senior officer and lover.

"Um." He stopped in his tracks, finally waving her away. "Sorry, never mind." Grabbing his crutches he thrust them under his arms and made a daring escape back towards his bedroom.

"Will? What is it?" She asked halting him with a hand on his forearm, staying him before he could slide past the door frame.

"Nothing." He gulped.

She gently stroked his arm up and down to comfort him. "You're still not used to these drugs are you?"

"I'm OK." He lied. "I just...." He paused and finally looked to her sideways, his head still downcast as he leant heavily on his crutches. "I wanted to know if you had considered our chances of getting out of here."

"This planet? Sure. But my main concern was and still is, about your health and well being Imzadi." She found herself still rubbing his arm, waiting for him to talk further. "This is what's been making you moody isn't it?" She stated rather than asked.

He swallowed hard and looked to the ceiling of the bedroom he'd almost escaped to. "What the hell would I do in this world if we are trapped. I can hardly offer up my experience with fixing replicators. Face it, I'm going to be a rather large burden on the both of you until I can even walk without these things, let alone find a job somewhere. " The whole time he'd been mumbling his fears, Deanna had felt the anguish that'd been lying inside all this time. What would an executive officer of a ship that hadn't even been conceived of in thought yet do?

"I love you as a burden Will. It's my chance to take care of you for once." She watched him close his eyes, squeezing out one solitary tear. "Have a shower, get dressed and we'll have a talk in a better place than a doorway." She urged him through to sit on his bed while she bent down and carefully began to unwrap his leg, glancing up to his bowed head before looking back to her job, careful of the few pins left embedded in the tissue.

The beautifully sculptured leg of Will Riker now bored the signs of a war that had been waged. Bright pink skin contrasted harshly with bruised white skin, not to mention the patches of leg hair missing. More pink lines of scarring travelled up and down in various areas, highlighted by the surgical pins. Deanna shook herself from her day dream, finding her fingers tracing the pink lines. Snatching away her hand she faced Will, apology on her lips, until she realised he was now lying flat on his back.

"Will? Are you..."

"Fine." He replied, sitting himself back up again. "You’re the first person to touch that leg without medical curiosity or pure revulsion." He stated coldly.

"It'll heal." She quickly leant forward and planted a small kiss to his lips before offering a hand. "To the bathroom." She said holding her nose in jest. He limped past on one crutch to the plastic chair, removing the gown and shorts in piles on the floor, before seating himself ready for the warm flow. He handed the crutch to Deanna, signifying he was ready to do this alone, and Deanna blew him a kiss and headed out the door, one ear listening to the sound of running water.

A few minutes later and a freshly drowned man called for help. Acting as his personal care she helped him back to the bed once she'd dried him in the shower bay, dodging the last few drops of water from the shower head. "Mmm you smell wonderful." She purred from behind him, as her hand snaked around his torso to gently run through his damp chest hair. Her head rested against his warm back with her eyes closed as she focused inward to sense his current feelings.

The slamming of his mental shields shook her for a moment until she heard his deep voice crack. "Not now Deanna." Pulling back she unhitched herself from his stiff body and threw the towel at his head. Storming out of the room, she left him to fume alone. The sound of each opening and slamming cupboard door, left a mark on his heart. Why did he keep doing this to her? Why?

He heard Beverly come home soon after and the sound of Deanna's emotionally high pitched voice. Beverly's footsteps advanced to his closed door only to be stopped by Deanna's request. No doubt her had just narrowly missed a tongue lashing from Beverly. Guilt pierced his body for the pain he was putting her through, a habit that was becoming more and more regular. Angry at himself he turned in, turning off the light, hoping he could lose himself in the darkness. Hoping he could apologise in the morning and start a fresh.





He awoke to just himself. No Deanna. No comforting body keeping him warm throughout the night, or guarding his soul. Not a sign of her scent either, the usual giveaway when she checked in on him at night. His heart dropped lower in his chest, all hope of last nights aggression being a dream was truly for real.

Eventually he gathered his strength and hobbled out of the bedroom barely dressed when the door bell rang. Deanna gave one glance in his direction and ignored his sheepish moves to get out of her way, as she opened the door to Rosie the physio.

"Good morning Deanna. Is he up and in?" She asked at the top of the front steps.

"Hi Rosie. Sure, he's in but don't expect him to be sibyl." Deanna opened the door wide and helped the woman with her equipment, leading her through to the living area where Will was leaning up against the wall, arms crossed.

"Oh William. You're not pulling this poor girl into the dark depths of your anger are you? It just won't do." She almost tapped her foot in irritation of her patient's disgruntled being. "Now. Get over here and show me your balancing act on two feet without those crutches." She said setting up her table and finally crossing her arms to watch him.

He silently agreed, moving into position in front of her, slowly righting himself to place his left foot flat on the floor. Evening out his mass onto both legs with a grimace. By the time she told him to stop, he was dripping perspiration like a rain cloud.

"Excellent William." She said passing a towel over to him. "Lets get you seated and soften up those muscles. Have you tried walking on it a little without all your weight on the crutches yet?" She watched him shuffle onto the padded physio table, and saw the shake of his head. "Well we'll try it in a moment then." She said as she warmed up her hands and began to softly massage the mangled leg.

"How do you do that?" His voice nearly making her jump as she concentrated on each muscle.

"Do what William?" She asked innocently.

"Touch it." He said almost in a repulsive tone. His eyes not even directed at the limb.

She gave a slight musical laugh in response. "It's only a leg William. Nothing dangerous. Why? Would you prefer not to have a leg?" She raised one eyebrow and nodded when she saw his eyes flash a brilliant blue. "Thought so. I know why your up and down and driving that poor lass in there crazy. Oh yes, I know you are." She added when he gave her a who me look. "Your angry that your not fully whole and unscared from all this. Your a handsome man William, any woman can see that and vanity shouldn't be part of you right now. Retrieving your health should." She smirked at the hurt on his face. "Reality does hurt doesn't it."

"I'm not vain." He replied louder than he meant too. Almost sounding like an ill tempered little boy.

"Well maybe not for yourself, but you are vain that you don't want to share your precious body with that pretty girl out there, and just because one part isn't as good as the full set." She chuckled to herself. "She loves you regardless of this." She nodded to the leg still entrapped within her hands, the only reason, apart from the crutches being too far away, from stopping him from storming out of the room to stew.

"I don't want to talk about this." Will grumbled.

"Of course you don't because you don't want to face the truth of what I've just said. I've had many hundreds of patients just like you over the years. I've seen it all before." She continued, "My advice." She paused ready for a reply, but pleased once she noted she had his full attention. "Love her, give her all of your body, and mostly of all, your soul. A beautiful and intelligent girl like that dear Deanna doesn't come around very often."

Will sat quietly for the rest of the session, even through the painful hobble she called walking, as he made it across to the couch and back.

"Your progressing well." She noted verbally as she marked her diary.

"I guess two metres is OK." Will shrugged his shoulders. Holding onto the couch back with white clenched fingers.

"For you it's fantastic. Keep this up and we'll have those clumsy pins out very soon." She slapped shut her book and placed a hand on her plump hip. "Now, I'll see you tomorrow, and I want a smile this time, OK handsome?"

Will gave a snort of laughter and nodded to her requested. "Anything for you Rosie."

"Good. Now let me leave you in peace to talk up that gorgeous girl outside. I'm sure she'd like some company." She winked and cluttered her stuff under her arm and let herself out in a whirlwind of speed. Will stood stunned in the now empty house.

Perhaps she was right, he thought. He had been a right heel about something as small as a few scars. Hey, he'd seen plenty of girls impressed in bars by scars. But was she the kind to like them? He considered the finer points of what Deanna would and wouldn't like until he swore under his breath to himself. Damn it. He'd give it a go and see where it got him. At least if she loved him like this he knew her love of him was far past physical attraction. But was she just being kind? He shook his head, no, no one would of stuck around this long if they didn't truly have some kind of affection for him.

Shaking his head he dispelled the nervous thoughts to the dark corners of his psych and made for the closed glass door to the garden.

Deanna sat in the cane lounge that was shadowed from the harsh sun from a rather over grown jasmine bush. The lushly sweet flowers were attracting a buzz of bumble bees that surrounded the silent princess amongst their midst.

Abhorrent to wake her, he carefully lumbered over to sit in the chair opposite the petite Betazoid. He sat there for what must of been hours as he watched her doze lightly in the noon day warmth. Her peacefulness almost lulling him into slumber too until her eyes sudden opened and took in his form.

She yawned at first, struggling up straighter. "Has Rosie gone?" She asked. Her voice missing the musical trait she normally carried within it.

Will nodded. "She left a long time ago."

"What time is it?" She asked, still sleepy. And no doubt still peeved at him.

Will twisted his arm to view the watch laid across his wrist. "Just after 4." He replied.

Deanna shot off the chair and grabbed his arm. "We're late." She sighed heavily giving him a glance before letting his wrist go. Will glanced at his watch, and smiled at it, a present from Beverly to keep him on time with his medication.

"I already took it waiting for you to wake." He grinned, satisfied that he'd done something for himself without having to disturb her.

"You took the right ones?" She interrogated.

"Blue ones with the wee little writing on them in the orange tinted bottle." He put a huge grin on his face and waited for her to join him with her own matching smile.

"Phew. I was worried Beverly would have my hide." She said sitting back on the wicker couch and pulling up her feet to sit on them. Her voice softening. No longer angry at him.

"I know. So I did a little exploring and found them. Been taking them long enough to know what goes where and when." He waggled his eyebrows.

"I should hope so." She laughed. "You seem a little happier Imzadi. Care to talk?" She tentatively asked. She was unprepared for his response, normally Will Riker the patient was short tempered every time she mentioned the word chat, not to mention the word 'talk' or even to probe him. This time he smiled and wobbled carefully to her side. As she shuffled over to make room, he sat down and drew one of her hands into his.

"Why do I keep hurting you?" He said at first. "You've done nothing but show love, affection and concern. Can you forgive a scarred angry man like myself?" He waited, starring into her onyx eyes with his large glassy blue orbs. He was radiating pure sorrow but also a sense of understanding to her.

"No." She answered, shock transcribing across his features. "I can't forgive a scarred angry man 'like' you, because I only want you, no other, no copy. Just you Will Riker. I want to be selfish and have you all to myself and to share with no one else." Her words, melted the shock into pure love and tears as he pulled her into his chest, unable to talk from the flood of emotion.

There they sat for an unknown time. Embraced in each others arms, sharing their feelings and fears through the bond that had made them decades ago as one.

"You are too good for me Imzadi." He finally said.

"Yes. But I figure you deserve me." She said dodging his playful swipe. Will got up to chase her only to see Deanna run fair smack into Paul as he appeared in the doorway.

Peeling Deanna off the front of him, he held her at arms reach to inspect her, before smirking. "You alright?"

"Oh fine. Just ran into the arms of the wrong man." She giggled as Will finally caught up to her side. "How's things?" She asked the green eyed doctor.

"Not bad, but I thought you'd better know, there's been some strange people asking for you at the hospital." He watched as Will went straight into red alert mode. His back straightening and the hard set of his jaw line spoke of a definite military pose.

"What kind of people?" He asked, his eyes almost interrogating Paul.

"Before I do, is there something I should know about? You know, like what the hell is lying at the bottom of the sea and where do you all really come from?" Paul's arms were already crossed across his chest, his form barring them from exiting through to the house.

"Paul...Who were the people? What did they look like?" Deanna almost pleaded, hope in her voice, lacing each word rather than curiosity.

"Two men, with very important looking documentation." He answered sizing up the man before him. For the first time he recognised the military stance in Will Riker's posture. Nothing before had really added up, but over time he'd trusted them, even fallen in love with one of them.

"Who really owned that so called plane of yours?" Paul pushed. This mystery surrounding the trio had finally bugged the back of his mind for far too long. "Must be something special to keep silent about all this time."

Will tried to advance, halted by Deanna's hand, wrapped tightly around his arm. "Will."

"Paul. You don't want to go there." Was Will's simple answer.

"Go where?" Beverly asked, moving up behind Paul, arms laden with journals.

Her fiance spun around, ignoring the menacing look Will was giving him, and walked her inside with a hand on her upper arm to the living room, depositing her onto the couch. "I want the truth about you three now before I go to the police." He was still standing and obviously annoyed.

Beverly's mouth gaped open. "The police? For heaven's sake Paul, what's so bad that you think the police need to be called." She dumped her journal's to beside the couch with irritation. "What's Will done now?"

"Someone's looking for us." Will interrupted, his painful lumbering stride was unable to distract her from his words. "And Paul thinks we've been duping him with some fantastical scheme."

Beverly turned and looked Paul in the eyes, trying to hide her fear, and possible joy. "Did they say who they were? What did they look like?"

"I think a little explanation from you first would be appropriate wouldn't you say?" Paul still stood arms crossed, his anger easily felt by Deanna as she leaned against the entrance to the garden.

Silence reigned supreme, the young doctor watching as both women finally gave a small nod to the tall bearded patient, as if there was some kind of command structure amongst them.




"Paul." Will got the man's attention before sitting heavily into a chair, Deanna moving in from the doorway to sit upon the chair's arm. The three now sat before him like a group of caught out teenagers. "Deception was never our intention. Circumstances left us with no other options than to follow the rules laid down by our superiors. A prime directive that disallows any knowledge falling into less advanced cultures."

"You make it sound like I'm inferior." Paul rolled his eyes, his still angry glances, prompted Will to continue.

"No. But we do have a rather large advancement in technology, something we can never let fall into the wrong hands. Hands that can change the future from the path that already lies." For once, Paul listened to each and every word not only as words but the tone, finding a commanding presence he'd never noticed before.

"So, Captain? Commander? Admiral? Whoever. Don't tell me your from outer space?" Paul gave a nervous laugh, finally getting up to pace. Aware of the guilty look on Beverly's face for lying to him for so long.

"Commander." Will answered. "I'm Commander William Riker, first officer of the USS Enterprise, until that is, we fell through a freak wormhole and crashed here." He waited for Paul to blink before continuing. "I have you, Counsellor Troi and Chief Medical Officer Beverly Crusher to thank for keeping me alive." Will gave a small smirk, an eyebrow rising to the occasion as Paul gave a hearty chuckle.

"Geez, I'm starting to think I've been taking the medication around here." He nervously rubbed a hand through his hair. Beverly moved to his side, take his hand and moving him back to the couch, sitting by his side.

"It's true Paul. I'm sorry. We only hid our backgrounds because no one would of believed us, let alone helped." Beverly laid her head on his shoulder as she wrapped her arms around him. Will awkwardly staggered upward, leaving the two to come to terms with themselves, heading into the bedroom at a determined pace.

Deanna caught up to him at the dresser in his bedroom. "Will?"

He turned, the glint of gold in his hand, his communicator. "We should never of kept him in the dark." He murmured, turning the device over and over between his fingers. A flash of blue gazing up to hers in slow motion.

"Will. What if they're not Starfleet?" She had to ask, he knew that.

He sighed heavily. "Then we're in trouble." He looked back down to the communicator and stuffed it into the pocket of his shorts. Making a beeline out of the room. Paul held Beverly in his arms, his chin resting on her head, bringing a smirk to Will's face as he saw them mirroring the same hug movements he and Deanna often made.

Paul heard Will's re-emergence from the bedroom, and opened his eyes to look at the officer that leaned heavily on crutches before him. He understood now why it had been so hard for this man to of been injured, to of been trapped in a bed for so long, watching his body wither from lack of control of his situation. He also saw the regret Will Riker wore across his face from covering their tracks.

After getting his breath back Will held out the communicator between thumb and fore finger, letting the light catch it. "Did they have a symbol like this on their persons?" He asked, still winded from the fast pace he'd performed on weary crutched arms.

Beverly let go as Paul leant forward taking the small metal badge from Will and running his fingers over the surface, reflecting through his memory of the brief meeting he'd had with the men in black. "No. Dressed in black, kind of modern looking suits. Nothing out of the ordinary. They just said they were looking for a possible crash victim or three about eight months back. And gave your descriptions perfectly." He shrugged.

"Shit!" Will swore, almost losing his balance until Deanna snagged his waist and helped him sit down. Waves of anger and disappointment reverberated off of him. He ran a shaky hand through his hair, leaving it spiking upwards in tufts.

"Names?" Will asked, this time aware that the people in question may not be who they were expecting.

"Agents Danz and Malcoff. From the Department of Aviation Affairs." Paul answered flipping the communicator back to Will, catching it deftly between his fingers and pocketing it away. "Friends of yours?" He added.

"Unknown." Will pondered. "Deanna I want you to organise transport out of here. Beverly, pack up as much medical supplies as possible were moving out." He commanded sitting forward ready to get up.

"Wait a minute. You can't just pack up and leave like that." Paul held a hand up stalling the large man for a moment. "Your booked in for surgery in two days time to remove those pins. If you don't it could cause more damage than your willing to chance."

"Paul's right Will. Your not in any shape to run." Beverly agreed.

Will sighed heavily closing his eyes and running a hand across them. "Then I'll stay and you two leave." He looked up to two pairs of angry eyes.

"If you think we're leaving you here, you've got another thing coming." Beverly said, anger lacing every word.

"Beverly, we can't allow for all three of us to be caught. One of us may be able to bluff them better than three in separate interrogation scenarios." He stated the simple truth for under cover agents in the field. But Beverly wasn't buying it. They were only here by accident, not to collect information. And in no way was Will Riker well enough to traipse around the country when he could only just cope travelling to the hospital one way.

Paul groaned. "Now you've really got me worried. Who did you say you worked for?" Beverly stroked his arm to settle him, letting him know he had nothing to worry about.

"Don't worry Paul we won't drag you into any of this." She said, Will nodding in agreement.

"What makes you so sure they're trouble? Aren't we jumping to conclusions too soon?" Deanna wondered out loud.

"She does have a point." Beverly said, her forehead crinkling with a small frown.

"We can't take chances Beverly. I'm not exactly fast in the legs department. But you both have a point. Apart from looking for us, did they say what they wanted us for? Any other questions they asked?" Will watched Paul reflecting through his bizarre meeting.

"One of the staff directed them to me. They were after the Director of the hospital to inquire into your location, said they were searching all major hospitals in the area. Luckily the director is away at a conference and they met with me instead. I informed them that with such a busy hospital as ours, it was hard to acknowledge every single admission into our care. They flashed pictures of all three of you, gave your names and left a contact number if I did happen to find you." He finished his statement and got up, locating a glass and pouring some water from the tap to quench a nervous thirst. Paul was still unsure whether to believe their wormhole story, but the small talk Beverly had had with him while Will was in the bedroom did make sense. "It seemed like they knew you well, so if you're really from somewhere else, I'd be asking if whoever set up that wormhole did it on purpose to dump you all here."

Will's head jerked up, instant alert flashing behind the orbs of steel blue. Paul watched as the other women stiffened their spines too.

"It could be true. We still don't know where that wormhole came from. And the probability of a rogue hole near Earth is probably a number even Data couldn't calculate." Beverly was up and pacing now, one hand across her chest supporting the other hand massaging one shoulder.

"I believe for my patients sake, I believe that you all should stay put." The tone of Paul's voice was laced with authority, the kind Beverly always used with her patients. "With all the close shaves you've had, I can't allow you to miss treatments because of a group of suspect people, who may or may not turn out to be friendly."

"He does have a point. Will isn't ready for travel, and without proper and constant care we're putting your life at risk, Imzadi." She placed a soft hand against his cheek and caught his gaze in hers. "And to cover our tracks perfectly we would have to end all contact, meaning we'd be alone out there with no chance of affording proper care if something should happen." Deanna had finally spoken up. Her comments all valid and truthful, leaving the group to sit quietly and contemplate their options.

"There is one way to solve a whole lot of questions in one go." Plunging his hand back into his pocket he pulled out his communicator and gave it a heavy glance before swallowing hard. He looked to each of his officers, finally making a decision. He depressed the silver symbol against the gold background, waiting for the familiar chirp to announce an open line. "Commander Riker to the USS Enterprise do you read me?" He waited before calling again, a slight crack in his voice revealing the serious strain it was placing emotionally on him when no answer came. After another try he clicked shut the connection and flung the device onto the coffee table. "Now we know it's not the Enterprise for sure." He whispered. "And I've probably just given away our location to maybe some rather unfriendly people." Anger laced the final sentence before he sat back heavily in the still room.

One by one they turned to Will. He was they're superior even if Deanna and Beverly outranked him due to his medical condition. He weighed up their situation in his head, meeting each of his friends poker faces, finding no choice but to follow his own instincts. "We stay then. But the first sign of trouble and we're out even if I get left behind. Understood?" He waited for the nods and smiled. "Good." He turned to Paul and gave the man a nervous smile. "I apologise for the deceit Paul. But it was for protection only."

"Apology accepted. But you will have to tell me more of this interesting future you come from, where miracle medicine is prevalent." He winked.

"I'm sure Doctor Crusher would be more than willing to tell you, but we can't allow it. Any small change made here in medicine today could alter our future drastically." Will hated not sharing with this man who'd saved his life many a times already, but he couldn't allow feelings to interfere with the timeline.

Paul smiled and gave a short burst of laughter. "And you three here won't make a difference?" He asked.

"Who knows, maybe we were supposed to be here. Quantum mechanics was never a favourite of mine. Always made my head spin." Will grinned.

"Speaking of spinning, are we still on for that dance? Or is it all off due to lurking men in black?" Paul asked Beverly, holding out a hand for her to move into his embrace.

"Sure. As long as Will here promises to go to bed on time and not to play up with his baby sitter." She giggled.

"OK. I see. Conflict over, so now the Will bashing begins again. Great." He whined.

Deanna laughed and smothered him with a large kiss until the sound of Beverly clicking her tongue in disdain pulled them apart. The small group of four fell apart in laughter. A happy release from the intense discussion earlier.




Deanna had lain Will's arms reviewing the day, hoping to keep the slightly acidic edge of depression from his core. He was heart broken when no one had responded to his hail. But he'd hidden if from them all except from her empathy. They'd eaten together alone, the doctor duo dancing and feasting at some gala event. Will having cooked for the first time in ages, revelling in the control he had of each item, twisting and turning the ingredients into pure taste bud heaven. She'd made the comment then that he could always be a chef if they never got home, regretting it the minute it'd left her lips. The home cooked meal turning to sour defeat in his mouth as he faced a future of never flying among the stars again.

A day later and again she lay in his arms reviewing his day, his disasters and his smiles. He'd continued his silent torment. Allowing his mind to sort out the various hurdles he now was about to face in a future so bleak and unknown.

He was a born adventurer. A Christopher Columbus of the sky. Not only was his hopes dashed of seeing those stars up close in this timeline, but the adventure of simple sports was now no longer an option for his weakened health. Something he was still hoping could be fixed by the regenerator, that she'd found him working on during the day. A hobby for when Rosie, or she herself, wasn't around.

She reached down and fingered the bandage that covered the deep cut across the meaty pad below his thumb joint. Without the proper tools, fixing any kind of equipment was dangerous, and Will had proved it by trying to force open the stuck compartment of the hand held regenerator with a screw driver. She'd just been walking back through the door, mail in hand when she'd heard his yelp and sourced his pain. A small patch up job later and he was back doing the same stupid mistake again. Only this time he managed to snap it open before the tool slipped into soft flesh again.

Beverly had said nothing but gritted her teeth, holding back harsh words from the silent statue before her, as she stitched up the cut once home. But then that had been all she ever had had to worry about, keeping Will Riker in one piece, before Paul had come home to warn them of their possible hunters. The possible fear of having to leave her lover and future husband if things turned bad.

Deanna sighed and placed her hand inside his tee shirt, submerged under the blanket she'd draped over him as they watched the stars on the garden patio. It was still warm at night for Autumn, even if they were only a few days into the seasonal change. She ran her hands over his still thin torso earning a deep groan from him. Waking him briefly for slithers of blue to appear between his half open eyelids. "Imzadi" He mumbled. Still sluggish from the painkillers for his hand. His mood was decidedly higher.

"Time we went to bed. You're due at the hospital tomorrow." She whispered into his ear, tempted to nibble on it.

He chuckled lightly moving a hand to gently tuck a stray length of hair behind her ear before doing what she'd thought of earlier.

"Ow." She pulled away, a hand cradling her ear.

He gave a small smile before pulling away her hand and massaging the unmarked lobe. "That'll teach you to think and not act."

"And teach me to wake the sleepy giant." She handed him his crutch and got under his other arm, helping him limp to bed. His injured hand making it hard for him to use the other crutch. At least it forced him to walk a little more on his healing leg, improving it's strength with each attempt.

"You know, this would be a lot easier if you hadn't of cut corners this afternoon." Deanna panted, letting him fall back onto the bed once they'd made the marathon distance from the patio.

"What and miss the chance to be carried by my princess to bed?" He waggled his eyebrows.

"Glad to see your pleased my highness." She curtsied before finding herself pulled on top of him. A chorus of giggles filling the room. "And for your information, my princess, I wasn't cutting corners, this damn world just doesn't have a hardware store that stocks tycho di-lockers." He grinned.

Deanna pulled herself up and peeled his tee shirt up exposing his belly. Her lips leaving a trail of sweet wet kisses trailing up the fine line of hair, her index finger tracing the small scar from his kidney removal, her other hand helping him to remove the garment out of the way as she reached his broad chest. She straddled him and teased each nipple with her tongue until he moaned a deep base groan that vibrated through his body, tingling hers in tandem as she began to trail her kisses up to his lips, slipping her mind finally into his and teasing his passion with erotic senses chilling enough to make him cry out for her.

Entwining their mutual feelings for each other, they bound their love into one, igniting the bond to stronger depths until he began to pull her closer to feel his need. His hands drawing up under her top until he flinched from his cut hand, trailing with fingertips instead to continue the sweet torture his touch was performing.

She fought against the tie in his shorts only to stop suddenly, frozen like a rabbit in headlights when she heard the front door click, followed by voices filling the living room. Will's fingers still beckoning her on, so bound up in her love that he was unaware of the others' return. "Will, stop! Not now! Beverly's back." She hissed, fighting off his fingers, until she accidentally hit his healing hand. Returning him to the real world in an instant.

"Argh." He hissed, sitting upright so quickly, that Deanna lost her balance, falling to the floor before Will could catch her. Seating her directly onto her bottom with a loud thunk.

"Will?" Beverly's voice rushed into the room first, followed by her body second, thinking the worst, but seeing the most bizarre scene yet. Will half seated on the bed, sweat dripping off his nose as he held his palm cusped in his other, while Deanna sat awkwardly on the floor adjusting her top, and rubbing her behind as she slowly rose to fall in next to her fellow suspect upon the bed.

Paul moved in took Will's hand after feeling his forehead, while Beverly crossed her arms and wore her best interrogation pose. "I'm fine." Will said after clearing his throat. Taking his throbbing hand from Paul's clutches.

"I think you've learned your lesson Will, don't you Paul?" Beverly asked. Glancing to see him trying not to laugh.

"I think personally we should leave them alone. They're quite capable of abstaining from sex by themselves by the looks of things." He chuckled. "Good night kids." He waved before leaving the room, dragging Beverly in tow.

"Well, that went well." Will said sarcastically before falling back to the covers exhaustive.

Deanna giggled and shook her head before deciding that tonight wasn't possibly the best time to have another go.




"Up! Now!" Beverly demanded to the sleepy man ensconced on the couch.

"Hey just give me a minute will you?" Will grumbled back. He'd been happily asleep when Beverly had shaken him awake, hustling him into the shower and making sure Deanna got him dressed and ready to travel. "Never had to get up this early before." He whined.

"We've got to drop you off before work that's why Will. No time to rest here, you can do that at the hospital." An ugly frown only partially concealed the worry in her eyes. She gripped his elbow and with Paul got him up and stable before he could seriously consider her pallor.

"Beverly?" He asked to get her attention first while Paul opened the door and headed off to set up the front seat of the car. "Are you alright? You look a little pale." Secretly he'd heard her earlier that morning between dosing off, her being ill in the bathroom.

She stopped her pushing and looked up to the man she considered her brother, or in Paul's case, her cousin. He was worried about her, his blue eyes analysing every line and tone of her face. Giving him an effort filled smile she patted his back before pushing him out the door again, her arm over his shoulder as she let him know she was just a little tired. He nodded, accepting her lie for now, hoping to get Deanna to talk to her later.

Once strapped into the car, Will rolled his shoulders, before taking in the early morning sun highlighting the houses and nature strips lining the road. For a primitive, polluted world it was still beautiful. "How long will I need to be at the hospital?" Will asked, daunted by the possibility of their unknown trackers finding him there.

"A day at most, just to let the anaesthetic wear off and to make sure there's no complications." Paul replied, indicating and making a right hand turn into the hospital's front entrance. "I know your worried about those Agents but there's no sign of them so far. And I'll distract them if they do turn up. You have my word."

Will eyed the doctor carefully before giving the man a smile and shook Paul's proffered hand. "Thanks." He said before accepting the med techs help to get out after Deanna opened the door and unbuckled him.

Paul glanced back at Beverly in the back seat as she scrambled to get out, her books weighing her down. "Leave them. I'll bring them around after I've parked the car." He offered, soon refused by a pale smile and down cast eyes as she continued the struggle until fully out and rushing to catch up to her family.


Will was admitted and resting in bed not long after arriving. His usual family of medical staff were all there to greet him. Having missed they're longest admittee to their ward for a long while. Vanessa had even fussed about him, disallowing him to change into the surgical gown without her help.

"I think she likes you." Deanna teased as she sat on the bed and glanced at the nil by mouth sign above his bed.

"Enough to feed me?" Will hoped. For the first time in ages he felt hungry, and luck would have it that he was being denied sustenance.

"Just a few more hours Will and then you can eat afterwards." Deanna's hand gently moving away invisible hairs from his forehead.

"Speaking of eating. Is Beverly alright? She looks sick." He asked.

"She's fine Will. She'll let us know in time when she feels like talking." Deanna said whispering it into his ear as she kissed his cheek and moved off the side of the bed.

"What do you mean by that?" Will queried, her answer forestalled by Paul entering the room, clip board in hand.

"Nothing. I'll see you later Will. I need to check on my department. Bye!" Within seconds she'd scooted around Paul and had hurried out, making her way down to the lifts.

Waiting for her floor to arrive, Deanna looked back to the last few days reviewing Beverly's behaviour. She'd noticed it well before Will, but hadn't said anything. The predicament her friend was about to be in was her right alone to let them know. The chance of rescue or capture right now was making even Deanna queasy. Let alone poor Beverly, and the thought of maybe leaving behind a lover.

Woken by the loud ping, she shook her head from all her concerns and placed a cheerful smile on her face ready to receive Rosemary's scorn for her constant compassionate leave claims.




Beverly leant up against the back wall of Will's room while Vanessa prepped him for surgery. She'd cleaned and rewrapped his leg and had just given him his injection, smiling as he grimaced while the needle slid deep into the vein of his arm.

All this time, Will had kept one eye on the silent doctor. She was troubled he thought. Until slowly things began to lose their sharpness and the prep started to take effect.

"Now don't fight it William, we want you asleep while we remove the pins. It's not exactly a comfortable thing to be awake for." She cheerfully comforted him seeing him struggling against it.

"He's never liked to lose control Vanessa." Deanna said as she entered the room catching the nurses last statement. "Have you Will?" She asked her sleepy soulmate. Touching his shoulder in understanding. He mumbled a reply, making her giggle until she spied Beverly lost in thought. "Ah, Vanessa, could you give us a moment alone." She asked the kind nurse as she watched her patient under going the effects of the pre-op.

"Sure. I guess with Dr Crusher here I can leave him alone. I need to let Paul know he's ready anyway. I'll be back in a sec." Vanessa packed up her equipment and left the room to the trio. One losing lucidity, the other really not there either.

"Beverly. Do you want to talk about it?" Deanna asked, helping her friend to a chair as small tears began to escape down her cheeks.

"I'm sorry." She sniffled, wiping away the tears with the backs of her hands.

"Don't be. Let me help you." Deanna sat down patiently, with the box of tissues on her lap from Will's side table, knowing that to push her would only clam her up. "Will's out of it so it's really only you and me here right now. Your secret is safe with me." She placed a hand on Beverly's, as the other moved from eye to eye, dabbing away the tears. Deanna as her best friend blew her nose in anger.

"I shouldn't be crying. I should be happy." She snuffled.

"Your you Beverly, you can do anything you like." The Betazoids calm, smooth words made the red haired doctor finally smile.

"Your so easy to be charmed by." Beverly smiled before her lower lip began to tremble again. Tears threatening to spill once more.

"I know it's not about Will. It concerns Paul though doesn't it." She stated rather than questioned.

Beverly nodded, ready to tell all when the door opened and Paul strode in, halting quickly when he saw the state his fiance was in. Rushing to kneel in front of her he took her into his arms. "Beverly sweet heart. What's wrong?" He pulled her into his chest and accepted a few tissues from Deanna when he felt his shirt soaking. Ignoring the dampness he helped wipe her face from the tears, until she smiled.

He knew it wasn't about Will, for he'd glanced that way before coming to her aid, not to mention that Deanna wasn't panicking. He kissed her nose and sat back on his heels to gaze at her. "You even look beautiful when you cry."

"Liar." She smiled, sniffing away a few more tears. "I'm sorry. Now is not the time."

"Sweet heart?" He prompted.

"No. Please. See to Will." She gestured to the mumbling man in the hospital bed as Vanessa entered with the surgical techs.

"You sure?" He asked for the last time. Not wanting to leave her in this state.

Her nod and a gentle push with one hand bade him to focus on his work. Giving Will the once over, and shining a beam of light into his eyes to test for coherency, Paul turned and ordered his team to move Will onto the trolley. Giving her one last look as they exited the room, he blew her a kiss, leaving the two women alone, while he began to make notes in his head for Will's imminent surgery.





Will could only make out the sobs of a woman as he lay there dazed in a barely conscious state. A chatter of people, a tilting of balance and the feel of hands dragging him sideways was all he knew in those last few minutes within his room. He gazed at the ceiling, seeing Paul lean over him as they travelled down the corridor, the ceiling almost hypnotising him as the fluorescent lights flicked past. He gazed sideways briefly as they stopped and turned a corner heading towards the lift, the shape of two men in dark clothes watching him pass by unnerved him.

Recognition, and the haunting words of a conversation not so long ago, sprung him suddenly upwards into Paul's hands, the doctor pushing his back flat against the trolley bed.

"Relax Will!" He heard the distorted words, spoken in slow motion compared to the heavy beat of his quickening pulse. "You're going to be alright." The same malformed sounds continued repeatedly until he fought the pressure on his chest no more. The lift doors finally closed and sealed the men in black, from his terrified vision, away.

He tried to tell Paul, to find nothing but air escaping his lips, as the pre-op worked it's way through his system. "He's just a little nervous." He heard from someone on his left. "You'd think he'd be used to it after all this time."

Light flared around him as the lift doors opened, squinting till he adjusted in time to watch the hypnotising lights above him once more. He dosed off for a second, till he felt the many hands again, lifting him onto another table under the even brighter operating lights.

A hand grabbed his arm and the dulled sting of a needle and IV were added, along with someone checking his pupils again for dilation. A wired plastic coverlet was attached to his index finger, and his heart beat rang loud within the sterile room, vaguely out of tempo with the other mechanical pings from what he could tell. "Breathe deeply Will and count to ten." Commanded Paul as a mask was fitted over his nose by another form. The green garbed shape hovered over him, as other masked men organised their tools, waiting until the number three halted between his lips and darkness took him under. The image of two men in black watching from above in the observation room was the last thing he saw.




Beverly was sitting in the waiting area with Deanna, a styrofoam cup of tea in hand as they waited for Will. Beverly had revealed all and she suddenly felt better for it, wondering why she'd stirred herself up so much for nothing. Well not nothing, but something that should be embraced rather than tormented over. Deanna's hand was glued to her shoulder as they sat there quietly listening to the hospital clutter of overhead pages and the rattle of trolleys and beds. The ping of a lift far away was heard and another trolley coasted down the corridor only this time is was accompanied by her lover.

Standing up and depositing the cup into the recycling bin, she made her way over to him and his patient. Deanna in hurried tow behind them, half lost in Will's subconscious somewhere.

"How'd it go?" She asked when they entered the room and Paul stood offside, watching the staff move Will across to his bed, techs racing to hook up his IV and other fluid lines.

"Very well." He replied. Thanking the men before finally turning to her once the four were alone. "I'd call it a successful operation." He smiled pulling the green cap from his head and sticking it into his trouser pocket. "Although he did freak just before we took him into theatre."

"Probably just nerves." Beverly shrugged.

"That's what I thought." He said, watching as Deanna moved to Will's side and took his hand in hers. "He'll be out for a bit while the anaesthetic wears off then we can feed him and take him home once the coast is clear." Paul checked the bandaged leg, and rearranged the sheets away from it, smiling as he saw the delight in Deanna's eyes that the shiny pins were no longer there.

"Thank you." Deanna said, before focusing back on her big Alaskan bear of a man. His presence encompassing her world for now.

Paul reddened a little after realising that he'd been starring at the private moment between the two for too long, finally turning back to his now happier, soon to be wife. "Want to tell me what's had you all in tears." He asked.

She shook her head. "Later, perhaps tonight if your not working late." She suggested, feeling a warm atmosphere with wine would be a whole lot better than a hospital room, with him still dressed in his surgical gear.

"Sure." He nodded. "He'll be fine when he recovers, although a little sore at first. The pins came out easily enough. Just needs some rest." He said to Beverly as the red haired woman of his dreams glanced back to the heavily bandaged limb.

"I think he can cope with that." She smiled for the first time in his presence in hours.

"Can you excuse me for a while. I'd better change and do some rounds before I'm cited for patient neglect." He winked, giving her a full luscious kiss on the lips, before saying his goodbyes.


The pinkness covering his eyes brightened a little as Will struggled out from under the heavy clouds of sedation. A queasiness stirring up from the pit of his stomach as his body fought the anaesthetic that was slowly wearing off. "Erghh." He groaned as he moved to what he thought was left, turning a little to his side, the dull ache of his leg informing him he had a body amongst the mist.

"Relax Will. You'll feel better soon." A voice promised, followed by a cool hand gracing his forehead, smoothing back errant hair.

He mumbled something, not even sure what he was saying himself until a few minutes later when he found the fog lifting. Cracking open his sticky eyes, he found the owner of the hazy hand to be Beverly as she watched his sluggish movements. "Your stomach must be a bit tender." She said half to herself.

He grunted to confirm her theory, before closing eyes again, and falling back into a deep sleep.




Will woke up a few hours later, clear headed but still clumsy in movement. But this time round, his mind remembered with crystal clarity, the fear that had pervaded his drugged thoughts right before the surgery. He grabbed, in terrified fashion, for the first human thing he could perceive. Latching onto Deanna's hand in desperation, almost clawing at her as if she were a lifeline. "They're here." He managed before his tongue tripped over his mind, and his thoughts ran away into the mist.

"Will?" She was almost frozen with worry, every pore of her being was picking up on his fear, and simulating it in a flock of goosebumps up and down her arm. Sitting before him on the bed, she ran a hand over his shaking back as he struggled to rise off the bed, still half curled on his side.

"Need to go." He managed before his strength gave out and once more he became a puddle of Terran flesh, laying flat on his back now.

Looking to Beverly for help, she watched her friend leave through the doors, hopefully to return soon with Paul in tow. "Imzadi your alright. You came through this fine."

He rolled his head around the pillow as if shaking it, trying to wipe the jumbled thoughts from his mind. "Get out of here." Will repeated. "Need to get out! Please!" Exhaustion kept him flat on his back, leaving him to pant for each needed breath. "Please.....understand me." The drugs clouding his vision. "Not safe." He tried to push her away just as Paul entered to witness his disobedient patient.

"Will!" Deanna called out, resisting his weak attempt in removing himself from her clutches. She was almost paralysed with his terror now, unable to close her gaping mouth.

"In corridor..." He mumbled wide eyed, before swallowing hard. "In theatre...watching." He gasped for air. Trying to keep his unresponsive eyelids open. His crazy eyes searching the room in fear.

"Sorry Deanna. I'm going to have to move you." Paul said placing his hands on her small waist and moving her aside into Beverly's arms. "Mr Riker. Your safe. It's just the medication making you see these things." Paul found he only needed one hand to keep Will down, but he was more worried about Will injuring his leg, more than the constant unpronounceable mumbles he was throwing in his direction. "Please Will. I'll have to sedate you if you continue this way." Still Will struggled until Paul shook his head, believing there was no other option than to proceed with the calmative.

"Paul?" Beverly, watched at the far end of the room as he and Vanessa administered an injection to the cursing Will Riker on the tangled bed of sheets. His screeches of panic becoming worse just as they issued the needle. Soon after he began to slow, his head lolling to one side, his eyes still wide and searching for understanding.

"I'm sorry. He would of damaged himself if I'd of let him continue." Paul apologised to the miserable looking Betazoid. "He'll be calmer now for a while. Hopefully it'll help him settle by the time the anaesthetic totally wears off." He checked the pulse and temperature readings, as Will curled up on his side once more, his movements incredibly slow now.

"It's not like him." Deanna caught their attention. "He was terrified. It sounded like he wanted to get out of here, like something had spooked him. The Aviation Agents perhaps?" Her eyes were haunted as she sunk herself into Will's consciousness.

"He must be hallucinating from the drugs, dredging up memories of our conversation a few nights ago." Paul replied medically, as he wrote on Will's chart, issuing a few directives to Vanessa before she left the room with her orders.

"Are you sure there's no one here meeting your dark buddies' description?" Beverly mused, well aware that Will, fairly often wasn't wrong when he was as stubborn as now, especially to inform them of some kind of danger.

"I would of been informed. You of all people know how restricted these levels are even to family." He replied, gesturing towards the corridor. After the other day, Paul had moved Will's recovery room into the restricted access level, giving them special access passes. Even an armed security guard sat by the lift and stairwell.

"I just haven't seen him so wired in a long time, that's all Paul." Beverly sighed, curling her arm around Paul's, and moving towards the doorway.

Deanna moved in closer to Will to run a hand through his damp hair, his eyes closed, but his lips still whispering. Circling the bed, she finally sat on the side behind him, leaning over the curve of his lower back and hip to rest a hand over his chest, gently circling her fingers across the broad area while sinking her love deeper into his mind via their link. He wasn't asleep yet, but unfocused enough not to be called lucid. He moaned a few times until she tightened her hold on him, letting him fall into her embrace as he slept.

Deanna hadn't felt her friends leave, nor had she heard them, leaving her to her private moment with Will. Her Imzadi needed her until he wasn't seeing monsters under the bed. And here she would stay until that occurred. A single daughter of Betazoid to protect her Earthling prince from the terrifying nightmares. She smiled deeper as she took in his long lashes as they lay across his flushed cheeks. Never had she seen such beauty in a man before, on any world, that could match Will Riker. Thanking her deity, she snuggled up against his back and waited till he awoke so she could smoother him in waking kisses of love.


Outside Will Riker's world of fog, the hustle and bustle of the ward continued regardless of the guard leaning back in his chair, stretching to crunch out all the kinks after finishing the latest crossword puzzle in his lap. Unawares of being watched, an errant hiss signalled the start of his deep sleep cycle. And a dark shadow crossing past his slumped form wasn't even noticed by anyone.

As the visitor crept long the corridor, it kept to the darkness, sinking even deeper into it as a door opened, and the familiar form of Deanna Troi tiredly made her way down the corridor, heading for the drink machine. She'd spent hours so far in Will's sleepy presence, but was finally drawn from his side by the need of sustenance, or at least a hot drink. She was exhausted from the long days trials. Sitting down, unaware of the people slipping by, she focused on her drink and gave herself a little time to her own being. Giving the shadow it's chance to move.




Will was just starting to wake. He'd seen Deanna slipping out and had heard her weary footsteps, guiltily aware that he'd caused them. Pretending to be asleep, in his mind, and giving her time for some personal attentions like food, was one way of doing her a favour. Before he greedily needed her strength and presence once more.

He rolled over to lie on his back, arms crossed behind his head as she tried to shake off the last vestiges of Paul's knock-out drug. Closing his eyes, he tried wiggling his toes, at first finding them stiff until he worked past the cold numb pain that awoke with them. As he clenched and unclenched his toes, the door opened and closed in a whirl. Will smirked at Deanna's selfless attempt at hurrying back for him before he knew she was gone.

"Dean..." He half murmured until a large heavy hand clamped down over his mouth and a knee pressed down hard over his stomach, pinning him to the bed sheets. Opening his eyes wide, he struggled to release his arms from his assailant, but they were also pinned behind his head within moments.

"Shhh." The heavy figure whispered as he struggled to push the man off him. Will for the first time realised there were two attackers, when the other one leaned over and whispered into the man's ear. The black shape's weight leaning over him was starting to hurt.

Will tried to shout, his muffled cries going no further than the immediate room. As the man turned to his companion to reply to his question, Will saw his chance to turn the odds. Twisting his body he managed to unseat the man, releasing a wrist in time to reach for the nurses button. Only millimetres away, the cold muzzle of something cold and metal pressed against his neck. "I wouldn't do that Mr Riker." The voice warned, the nuzzle pressing harder until he moved his fingers away from the buzzer, hardly catching his breath before the hand moved back over his mouth, and the same knee came crashing down tighter into his abdomen. He grunted his discomfort drawing not even a hint of satisfaction from the dark clothed men.

"I'm going to release you, but I want you to stay calm and listen to me. No screaming for help. Just listen. Believe me when I say that I'm here to help you Commander Riker." The man began to loosen pressure to his lower half, once Will had nodded acceptance.

It'd taken Will a lot to trust this man. But by using his command rank, it already raised the odds that it wasn't a local band of agents on his tail. Figuring the only way to get answers, to allow this man to introduce himself, was well worth agreeing to shut up. Even for the benefit to breathe properly, and to of course relieve the ache the knee had caused on old injuries. Will resisted opening his mouth, as the heavy man moved away, fearing it'd clamp back down the minute he even looked like speaking.

"Excellent." The man said, once he was upright and off the bed to view his prey. He watched Will intently while he recovered from the sudden attack. "I'm sorry to of done this Commander, but it was for the best. The less people the better to clean up this little mess." He dusted his hands together looking back to his partner briefly who had his back to Will, facing the door. For all intents and purposes Will could swear the man was looking at something in his hands.

"Who are you?" Will took the chance, demanding an answer, and hoping that it didn't require his stomach to be kneed again. He was almost dreading the long winded explanations from these guys, but every mystery tale had to have them, he mused.

"Call me your angel of mercy if you like." He gave a pompous stance, with arms out wide. "Seems like you've fared pretty well for a man in primitive, under rated facilities such as these." He fingered the table top, searching for non apparent dust between his black gloved fingers. Will waited patiently.

"I, Commander Riker, am Commander Danz, first officer of the ISS Venesique. and this..." He pointed to his partner who finally turned around, tricorder in hand. "Is Lieutenant Commander Malcoff. And we're here to perform a temporal purge."

Will nearly laughed at the melodramatics, that's if he hadn't of been so shocked. "Timefleet?" He queried, one eyebrow raised in thought, the pieces starting to make sense. "Geez, you bastards really had me worried there." Will blew out a large gulp of air. Hoping he was right in guessing they were his saviours and not his aggressors.

"Correct Commander. We're hear to restore this past and move you back to your proper timeline before you cock anything else up." He ground out, pulling down on his black suit jacket, a sure sign this man normally wore something more military than the current cut of clothing.

"Me? Cock up? It's not like I was the one to open the damn wormho.." The same hand as before clamped down over his mouth, as his partner signed a warning.

"Keep silent." Danz ordered as he moved behind the door, Malcoff hiding in the bathroom, just as the door opened and Beverly's voice flowed in. She was still mid stream in her conversation with Deanna when she felt the door close behind her in a sudden whoosh. Turning her face to the right, she found a phaser pointed directly at her, halting her next words.

"Danz!" Will warned with anger in his deep voice. He struggled up right gaining everyone's attention for a second before a loud knock came from the other side of the door. Will smiled at the loud noise Deanna made of the door until Danz pushed Beverly further into the room and dragged the banging mad, Deanna inside.

The small Betazoid came up short to the tall burly man, but was still at phaser height, enough to see the weapon eye to eye and keep silent. She tried searching via her empathy, to discern the situation, only to feel nothing but well guarded territory.

"Would everyone just calm..." Before Will could say anything more. He watched as Deanna tried to throw the man with a Makbarra move only Worf could of taught. Danz landed heavily but Malcoff, firing out of the bathroom doorway, let off a close warning shot, even before Beverly could get her hand close enough to the lone phaser on the floor.

"As I was saying." Will groaned. "Would everyone just sit down and take a few deep breaths?" He grumbled running a hand heavily over one eye.

"Who the hell are these people Will?" Beverly was the first to shout out her question, gingerly rubbing her stinging hand from the lasting heat of a light phaser burn.

Danz was grumbling some kind of futuristic curse as he got up and dusted his backside loudly. "Commander Danz." He said sticking out a hand in friendship.

"Timefleet." Will added.

"Pack up your bags ladies, we're going home." Malcoff drawled from the far corner, surprising Will who had begun to think the man was mute.

"Home?" Deanna looked to Will and then back to Danz.

"Well not ours, but yours." Danz corrected. "Your jobs are to find places to stuff up, our job is to come along centuries later and fix them." He shrugged.

"With that attitude I find it hard to believe." Will replied.

"Be civil Commander. We are rescuing you from this dump." He replied in almost a bored tone. He was still limping a little as he moved back over to Will's side. "Now. Let's get things packed and skip this ball of pollution." He clapped his hands in anticipation, of getting this assignment over and done with, but finding them still glancing at each other. "What now?" He groaned.

"How did you find us?" Will mused. Still not sure if these were the right guys. Sure they'd had run ins with Timefleet before. Their trip back in time to visit Cochrane had drawn them out only recently in the last few years of duty. But how did they really know these officers were for real? The threat of changelings was still ever present within the fleet. "And why take so long?" He added.

"Well apart from your white rabbit down the hole routine being embedded in our data banks, you've also been carrying your communicators around on your persons, long enough for us to triangulate your possible movements. Although most of the hospital data wasn't available due to the Eugenics war, we did know you were bed ridden for quite sometime." The smug smile on the man's face was starting to irritate Will, not to mention Deanna and Beverly if their faces were anything to go by.

"I'm not going." Beverly said adamantly.

A silent groan erupted from Malcoff until Danz began to chuckle. "Certainly Doctor." He dismissed her announcement, and turned to the other two stunned officers. "Alright love birds, pack up your gear. We've only got a certain amount of time till this timeline becomes torn into another alternate line."

"Now wait just a damn minute." Will shouted. His temper was flaring up, and to hell if it caused his pain in the arse rescuers, to take off and leave him behind. "What do you mean your not coming Beverly?" Will asked softer than his earlier outburst. He watched her swallow and meet his eyes hard on.

"I'm pregnant."




Will's jaw dropped. Every piece of the puzzle made sense now. Every little thing that he'd picked up on, with Beverly's behaviour over the last week, finally made sense. "Your pregnant?" He asked again.

She nodded in tandem with Deanna. "Paul doesn't know yet though Will."

"Beverly you can't stay here." Will almost pleaded, sitting himself up taller, running one hand along the small of his back. He'd hated to leave officers in the field before, and right now he wasn't the least bit happy at the thought of leaving someone as close of Beverly behind.

Both Danz and Malcoff were silent, almost as if they knew this would be played out before them. Smugness decorating Danz's features in pure delight. At this, Will had finally had enough. He really needed to sort this out without Danz looking like the ghost from Christmas future.

"Could you gentlemen allow us a few minutes alone together?" He asked indicating to the door with an opened palm, still sitting upright amongst his bed clothes, with a wild ruffled hairstyle that was anything but officer like material.

Danz nodded. "Five minutes Commander, then we start making plans out of here." He didn't wait for acknowledgement, just strode out after his junior officer once the corridor was clear by their tricorder readings.

"Beverly?" Will prompted her.

"I'm sorry Will. I'm happy here." She sat heavily into one of the padded chairs. "For the first time in ages, I think I'm making a major difference here."

Will mused for a little before spearing her blue eyes with his own. She could tell by the look on his face, that he'd worked it all out, the truth that is. "It's not the medical side is it Beverly? It's about Paul and the Captain."

She gave a small snort of laughter. "No getting anything past you Commander."

She twiddled with the edge of her skirt, until Deanna's hand steadied her nervous fingers. "It's been years that Jean Luc and I have had feelings for each other, but that damn ship keeps getting in the way." Deanna looked up and glanced at Will hoping he understood the similarity, the way she'd felt while Will flaunted with the Captain's ship too. Beverly brought a smile to her face, lighting it up from real inner desire. "Where as Paul has been a real comfort to me over this past year. And we're engaged." She held up the glittering ring and admired it's affects in the light.

"Well I guess Wesley isn't a problem then." Will mused, scratching his gown clad chest, half in thought.

"No. Then again, with the so called powers of time travel he didn't exactly return to visit me on the Enterprise either." A sledge hammer of sadness hitting each word. "I think this is what I need Will. I'm sorry. I'm going to miss you all, but I can't leave, not with this." She touched her stomach tenderly as tears filled her eyes.

Deanna wrapped her arms around her closest friend and hugged her tight, almost rocking her as reality hit them both. No more would they joke together nor comfort each other. They were going to be separated far worse than just distance, but time itself. "I'm going to miss you Beverly Crusher. But your heart lies here, you've told us that just now. You have my blessing and Will's too I'm sure." Will's nod was all he could do, unable to get past the knot in his throat.

Beverly nodded. "Thank you. All of you." She said before the doors opened and the operatives moved back inside.

"Decision made?" Danz asked.

"I'm staying." Beverly announced in a determined voice to the commander.

"Thank you. You've made my job easier." A kindness for the first time seemed to seep into his voice. A layer of sincerity that Deanna was wondering if he was at all capable of. "We couldn't pick you all up until you'd became pregnant, and not to mention, having made the decision to stay. Meaning we had to wait and hope Commander Riker's unfortunate circumstance went to plan and didn't end in tragedy."

Will rolled his eyes. "To think help was seconds away. Wish you'd told me."

"Sorry Commander. Timefleet would of had my arse in a sling if we'd of interfered too early." Danz gave a week smile.

"So what happens now?" Beverly asked, her arm was still around Deanna, neither of the two wanting to be the one to let go first, and say goodbye.

"Malcoff." Danz indicated for his officer to move to the foreground.

"Thank you Commander." He cleared his throat and proceeded to bring up a list of items on his tricorder. "First, we need to do a sweep and remove all items removed from the shuttle. I believe a simple clean up duty at the house of Doctor Paul Andrews will suffice. And then there's the location of the shuttle."

"Easy. We've got the location via the GPS coordinates, I can get them easily off Paul." Beverly supplied to an impressed Commander Danz.

"Excellent. I guess that's a plan then. Please relay us those coordinates at your soonest Dr Crusher. Then we can transport it aboard our ship and make way back to your century." Danz replied.

"Transportation of such a large item to a cloaked vessel? Surely we'll be seen unless your able to cloak way outside the vessels hull." Will queried. Moving awkwardly to relieve a sore muscle.

Danz smiled. "Glad to see your impressed Commander. Oh, and it's top secret too." He winked. "OK. Then that just leaves you." He nodded to Beverly. "Anything these two friends of yours need to know before we make tracks?"

"Sure. Could I have four padds to make notes on, and a little time to make some entries?" She requested. Malcoff instantly slapped his hidden communicator, requesting four 23rd century padds, the items materialising within moments at his feet. Beverly ran her hands over the objects as soon as he handed them to her. Feeling the unnatural surfaces beneath her fingertips, she knew this was the last chance she'd ever have of using working, modern technology. Trying not to be sentimental about computer padds, she nodded her thanks.

Danz then speared them all with a commanding gaze, holding their attention. "You've got four hours to get yourselves registered out of here, back to the house and off this planet before we break rules. Understood?" He watched each nod from the surrounding officers, finally looking back to Beverly. "If you could hurry along those coordinates, we would appreciate it. Just use your communicator to contact me. We'll pick the shuttle up before arriving at the house. I suggested you spend the time left saying goodbye." He looked to Malcoff and made a hand signal. "I'll see you in 3.54 hours." He smiled, vanishing immediately after in a swirling mass of blue, as he transported out, Malcoff in tow.

The three remained silent, neither looking at each other, until Beverly broke the tension first. "Well. I'd better go talk to Paul, and get the papers ready to sign you out Will." She watched his exhausted blue eyes turn down to his lap. "I'll be back soon." She made to leave, finding Deanna's hand on her arm.

"Your very brave Beverly." She whispered, aware that Will had fallen back to the bed covers, dragging his hands over his face and hair in nervous frustration and concern.

"Or mad." She smiled. "I'll be fine. I'll even send you notes from the past. Just promise me you'll look me up in the history pages." They held each other hand in hand at a distance.

"I will." Deanna replied sadly. Wiping away a steady stream of tears.

"Do something for me?" She waited till Deanna nodded. Pulling her into a tight hug. "Just take care of Will." Beverly whispered. "I'll be fine. It's him you should be worried about in the 21st century." She chuckled, trying to hide the tears. Forcing herself to let go, she broke away from Deanna's grasp and head for the door, she paused once more, door half a jar as she turned back and placed an evil grin on her face. "And hurry up and marry him before the Enterprise does."

Will's deep chuckle followed her out into the corridor. She was going to miss his mirth and that dashing smile. Stalling her sorrow, she went to find the father of her child to be, before having to say goodbye to her closest of friends.





Beverly found herself surrounded by the comforting arms of Will Riker as she helped him out of the car, and fishing her hand towards Deanna for his crutches. He leaned hard on her from the drugs still in his system, but was far from wheelchair material.

"I'm going to miss smothering you." He grinned as she finally managed to pull away and take a deep breath.

"Just take your crutches little brother, we've still got things to do before getting sentimental." She smiled back.

"Little?" He raised an eyebrow and chuckled until Deanna prodded him forward with an urgent finger in the small of his back.

"In Will, now." Beverly smiled at her two friends play, sad that this would be the last she saw of them, as they drifted into the house leaving her behind on the lawn by Paul.

"You sure you want to stay?" He asked. Glad of her nod, but aware of the hurt it was causing her, and his part for creating the decision she had had to make. "I love you Beverly. You've made everything glow with promise since you fell into my life." He said, whispering kisses against her ear lobe, suffused with warmth to see her smile at his touch.

"Well my prince, shall we go in? Not much time left until we're alone and at each other's mercy." She winked, hiding the tremendous anguish swirling around in her stomach. He nodded and guided her into the living room to the flurry of Deanna dragging boxes and odd socks full of hidden equipment, dredged from the bottom of the ocean, next to Will on the couch.

"You'd think I would of noticed something by now." Paul laughed at the vast quantities of unknown objects littering the floor.

"Let's just say that I had a lot of time on my hands to do the hiding." Will winked as he pulled a small set of broken padds out of the bottom of a fruit cake tin. One Deanna had just gathered from the kitchen for him. Paul shook his head in amusement at the strange happenings before him. Just then his mobile rang, heading him out into the private garden to take the call.

"Will, maybe you should head for bed and take a small nap?" Beverly frowned at the yawn he'd tried to unsuccessfully hide. He was exhausted just by looking at the dark lines around his eyes.

"No. I'm fine. Besides, I only have your company for the next few hours. I can sleep afterwards." He shrugged off her concern. Giving her a double take as she handed him his medicine. "Surely I don't need them now? Or is this to get me to sleep and miss saying goodbye?"

He regretted the comment instantly at the shock on her face. "No Will. I don't want to let you creep away without saying goodbye." She sat down beside him on the couch, moving aside a small isolinear chip, and running a hand up and down his arm to calm him. "But who knows if they'll treat you on their ship, or how long it'll be until your on board the Enterprise again. I just think we're better off taking precautions and still feeding you these pills, until you are safely back home." She reached up and ran her hand through his spiky hair. "I am going to miss your insubordination." She smiled.

Nodding, he slipped the pills into his mouth with a swig of water, handing the glass back to her questing hand once finished. He sighed and gave her an intimidating look into her eyes, which quickly morphed into a slightly embarrassed admission. "Maybe I do need to take a little nap after all." He said as the mixture of the surgery, the pills and the emotional drain took it's toll.

Beverly kissed him gently on the cheek. "Lie down Will and get some sleep, I promise to wake you in time." Pulling him sideways onto the couch, she rested his head into her lap and gently stroked his back till he was snoring his way to dreamland. She remembered the gentleness of his friendship, his command style that was braced by strength, courage and a unique fondness from his crewmates, to the kindness he showed when Odan had passed on by. She was going to miss the gentle giant. The big brother that was always there for her and many others, and the man that she knew would be a wonderful father someday. "You're a real ladies man Will, but I know you've got the heart and soul for only one true love." She whispered as she brushed away another tear.

"Asleep?" Deanna asked, noticing her Imzadi stretched out over the couch when she returned to the living room, a large bag over her shoulder.

"Just." Beverly smiled. "He's still exhausted from surgery. Normally I wouldn't of extracted him from his bed so soon, but I know he'll be in safe hands with all the bells and whistles of modern technology up there."

"He'll be fine as always." Deanna smiled back. "Want me to help move him?"

"No. I'm quite happy holding him till he wakes." A small tear escaped and travelled down her cheek. "I'm sorry, I just can't seem to stop crying." She admonished. "I keep remembering the old times, with us all together." She sniffled.

"You can still change your mind." Deanna said as she watched her friend struggle to keep the rest of her tears at bay.

"No. I've made up my mind. I just hate the fact that I've only got a small amount of time to say farewell." She sniffed and straightened her posture, before looking down to Will's peaceful face and grinned. "He must of been quite beautiful as a little boy."

"Not according to his father." Deanna smiled. "A real terror I hear. So where's Paul?" She asked, playing with the ends of her hair, pulled back from her face into a small ponytail.

"He's out in the garden. Phone call." She replied.

"Ah. In that case I think I'll go ask him if he wants something to drink before I put the kettle on." She winked. "I think I can even rustle up some biscuits for a small afternoon tea if Will hasn't eaten them all."

"Or Paul." Beverly grinned. "Thanks Deanna. I'd appreciate it." She watched her friend for the last twenty years flow into the sunlight dappled garden in search of her husband to be. Swallowing hard from the sad tightness of her throat, she gazed down to Will's murmuring lips and kissed him gently on the cheek. She was going to miss him, she was going to miss them all.




Will awoke to the glorious smell of freshly ground coffee and a gentle nudging. Looking up into Beverly's eyes, he frowned at first, wondering how he'd gotten there until he remembered her motherly touch in getting him to sleep.

"Hello sleepy. Fancy a coffee and some of your home made biscuits?" She asked as she helped him sit up from her lap. Stiff but fresh from sleep, he felt rejuvenated and hungry. "Now if only the circulation would return in my legs as quick as you sitting up at the mention of food." She grinned.

"Hey what can I say...I'm finally hungry" He grinned. "And it's only because I know they're edible." Adding a large wink to his grin. "Your going to miss my kitchen slave abilities around here." He jibed until Deanna, a mug of coffee in one hand and some biscuits on a plate on the other, garnered his interest, as she placed them onto the couch edge.

"Well I for one would like to know how you managed to receive a lap snooze from my soon to be wife." Paul queried, his smile giving away the humour behind the question.

Will inhaled the fragrant coffee's delight before allowing the glint of mischief to reach his eyes. "She loves my snoring." All three fell apart laughing at his comment, Beverly nearly choking on her coffee, having witnessed the elephant sized power of Will's snoring in the past.

A few moments later, and the sound of crunching biscuits being scoffed and coffee being slurped, filled the afternoon air. Sweet twitters of birdlife filtered in from the garden, in therapeutic form. "At least we can sit and relax, now that everything's packed and ready to go." Deanna mused sadly as they talked about the last few months together.

"A pity we can't just wormhole here, for afternoon tea." Will muttered, playing with the crumbs on his plate.

"I'll look after her Will, I promise." Paul replied, seeing the look on Will's face. "I know you're not really family, but I sometimes wonder if you're just as close."

"I always felt Will was a kind of brother to me, for a long time. And not just to me, but to many of the crew too." Beverly admitted running a hand through his hair while she got up and exchanged places with Deanna.

"Not when they stuff up I'm not." Will laughed, as Deanna curled up to his side. He pulled her in tight to his embrace and cuddled her till she muttered that she needed to breathe.

"Well I guess this is the final time all four of us will be together again." Paul said bringing down the camaraderie a notch. "I know we all wanted to make this a happy occasion, but I felt there was something that you needed to take with you. Something to remember your travel back in time, even if Will here slept through most of it." A small chuckle emerged from his audience at the limp joke, before he leant forward and handed a small box to Will, Deanna leaning in tighter to admire the contents as he lifted the lid.

Paul enjoyed the smile that played over their faces. "I felt you needed to remember us in some small way." He shrugged his shoulders at Will's unspoken thank you.

Held in the palm of each hand was a framed photo. One of the framed memories was of the hospital staff that'd helped him recover over the past year, complete with Paul and Beverly present, obviously taken while asleep the other day, as the staff were positioned all around his bed, him asleep in the middle, twisted in his sheets, mouth a agape in a pleasant snore no doubt. He chuckled and shook his head. "Always knew you two fooled around when I was sleeping." He winked, finally taking in the other picture. It was taken when they'd gone on a picnic together, before his leg had become infected. All four of them had posed while a stranger had agreed to take their photograph. He looked up with tears glistening his eyes in Deanna's direction, watching as she too wiped away her own tears of happiness. "Thank you." Will finally said. "We'll cherish these."

"Always the thinker. That's why I love you." Beverly cuddled up into Paul's arms.

"After my intelligence and not my body? Not sure whether I should be happy or sad." Paul announced in mock consternation until she kissed his nose.

"I also have a few other things to hand to you both. These are a little more serious of course. Firstly I have a few padds for both of you and the Captain. Please don't read them until you're home. I don't think we could all cope with more tears right now." She waited for their nods as she placed the three stacked padds with a clonk before them on the table. "The other is of up most importance. It's medical data for Doctor Selar. Instructions, and a care program to get Will back to fighting fit again. She's the best, and I won't have anyone else treat you Will."

"I'll have to be a little more careful without you around then, now won't I." He smiled.

"That you will. Now....it's still going to be a long road of recovery Will, but you'll be better off in the long run. I've suggested a complete replacement of the internal bone structure with a Quasi-Cal form. They'll take out your damaged leg bones and reset the new structure in it's place, rebinding the muscles, ligaments and such in and around it until it heals and melds into place."

Will grimaced a little at the specifics. "Sounds painful."

"Not if it's done right. You'll be fine. Selar knows what to do. Osteology is one of her specialities." Beverly assured him, finally placing the last padd to the pile with a smile. "I guess that's it."

"I promise to check up on you Beverly, and to see how you both fare." Will replied.

"I should hope so." She smiled. "Just because your a hundred or so of years in the future, it doesn't mean it's an excuse not to follow me up." Her blue eyes matching the twinkle of humour in Will's.

Their conversations twisted and turned, revealing things to Paul, that had happened before their visit to the 21st century and current. A mixture of happiness, melded with fear and sadness in the nearing hour of their departure. As the large clock by the door chimed, Danz appeared on cue in their midst, padd in hand.

"Time people." He said, glancing at his two soon to be passengers. "Have all items been taken care of?" He asked, glancing at the pile of bagged equipment.

Will nodded, balancing upright onto his crutches, Deanna helping his stiffened body. "All items accounted for and ready for removal." He said sadly.

Danz headed for the pile of bags in the middle of the living room, affixing a communicator to each and then both Deanna and Will. A silver V over a gold oval. The exact same copy of their own communicators, but locked into a specially coded signal. No doubt Danz wasn't about to give them the chance to tinkle with 24th century technology at all. "Time to say goodbye, we leave in one minute." He stood back and watched as the group hugged as a whole, tears and kisses of goodbye shared amongst them until Danz beckoned them to beside the bags.

"Never forget us." Will said as he held himself upright on his crutches, trying to stand tall and commanderly, before the beam dissolved into sparkling light and removed them by atom and molecule, from the room. The musical tinkle of the transporter beam, was instantly replaced by the broken sobs of Beverly Crusher, as she saw the last of her impromptu family leave before her eyes. She sunk to the carpet, before Paul's arms could catch her, her strength gone from the emotional turmoil she'd kept raging inside all day. "I will miss them so much." She cried as Paul gently pulled her head to his chest trying to comfort his soul mate.

"So will I my sweet. So will I." He replied, looking to the place where moments ago three beings and bags had stood. The mysterious transfer of their bodies made him mentally shake his head, and wonder at the marvel of the incredible technology that one day, would grace the Earth.




Will and Deanna found themselves transported into a barren room with Danz by their side. Two plain beds lay against each side of the medium sized room, with the bare necessities of personal amenities inserted into a small room off from the main area.

"Where's the door?" Will asked. His keen eyes picking up the one missing item to allow them freedom to roam the ship. "I thought we weren't prisoners?"

Danz took a step back from the steaming first officer. "You're not. Just detained until we return you. I'm afraid we can't take any chances of releasing any nasty bacteria onto our ship. Of course we apologise for the brief sterile nature of these quarters for you both, but we can't divulge too much to your curious eyes about your future either." Although the smile seemed smug, Deanna knew he was only doing his duty.

Will who was slowly losing his strength to stand erect, moved off to one of the beds, where Deanna helped him sit, she herself positioning her body alongside his onto the comfortable bedding. "They'll be fine. How long until we reach the Enterprise?" Deanna asked, her command posture returning to the forefront, as she placed the padds down beside her.

"We'll be leaving this sector in a few hours once we have the correct data computed, and then back to your century within moments. Although you won't he headed for the Enterprise directly." Danz said nonchalantly.

Will's head jerked up, Deanna's hand keeping him seated. "Hang on a moment. Where are you taking us?"

"Relax Commander. You will reunite with the Enterprise but our records show you need to arrive back at Canius Four's medical facility first. I believe that injury of yours needs very strict care instructions, and we can't interfere by healing you here, or on your ship which is currently occupied with another matter. We have strict timelines to follow. I'm sorry but those are the realities we're dealing with here Commander Riker." Danz seemed almost understanding of Will's unease, softening it with what Deanna had felt was sympathy.

Will grunted his agreement, seeing the reasons for Danz trajectory. "So what's the Enterprise's current mission?" Will asked, curiosity peeking his interest.

Danz smiled before heading for the door. "Sorry Commander Riker. Classified, although then again, since you've only been away for three days, you probably already know where the Enterprise was due." With that he slapped his communicator and left via a transport beam.

"Well that was informative." Will rolled his eyes, looking down to find his own communicator missing.

"He's right though about bacteria. We just don't know what we may of contracted from that time period. Most of the diseases prevalent then were wiped out before our time, requiring no inoculation." She removed his crutches to the spare bed and helped take his jacket off before he swung his legs carefully up onto the bed and sunk heavily into it's surface.

"Well at least we know we're headed for a safe timeline, with my kind of medical care." Will mumbled as Deanna's fingertips traced the lines of his face, sending him into a deeper state of calm. Will's leg throbbing from it's lengthy time upright. He'd really only just had it operated on not long ago, and so far he'd fared well after so soon a medical treatment.

"I'm going to miss Beverly. Who's going to have hot chocolates with me now when I want to moan about you." She said with a heavy sigh.

"Worf?" Will supplied much to her amusement.

"Oh sure. Me and Worf chatting over prune juice." She laughed. "Seriously, I will miss her."

"You won't be the only one Imzadi." He said sadly. She nodded in agreement as she felt his own grief tearing him up inside, from their division. And not only would Will be affected, but Deanna still had to contend with telling the Captain and the rest of the crew. Beverly Crusher had earned her position with the Enterprise family as much as any one else on the senior staff, and crew. And her absence would be felt by all who'd been mothered at some time by the fiery red headed doctor.

Deanna snuggled down beside the Commander as his breathing deepened and she felt him slip into the world of dreams. Placing her head onto his broad chest, she thanked the goddess that she hadn't had to leave Will behind as well. A blow she wouldn't of recovered from at all. Chasing away the bad thoughts, she focused on Will's turbulent emotions as he dreamed, slipping into his mind and suffusing it in her love for him, so that they both could enjoy a short respite of calmed sleep before their next stop home.


The Canius Four medical facility went straight into red alert status, as the large ship appeared on the sensors approaching at high warp, without a known Federation signature they could associate with the craft. Though moments later via subspace communication, the ship had halted as instructed and explained it's reasons for trespass. Letting down their shields, the facilities' administrator welcomed the ship in to dock, greeting the first officer of the mystery vessel in their main board room, as Danz disembarked via his own transporter.

"Commander Riker?" The administrator repeated, with surprise written across his face. "I've received no message that he was injured."

"No. Right this minute, the Enterprise is still unaware of their missing first officer and counsellor. If you could relay their position to their ship, and accept them as patients, it would make my day a whole lot shorter." Danz smiled hoping the administrator would take a bite of the cherry, and just agree to take the time displaced officers off his hands.

"Fine. But what ails these officers?" Carl Enzare wasn't just going to accept anyone without full documentation to admit them, especially after the changeling scare they'd had during the Dominion war.

"They took a wrong turn down a wormhole and ended up in 2001 of Earth's history. The commander sustained some pretty bad injuries, which were heal assisted by their primitive standards back then, but he still requires a full medical check. Who knows what he's brought back in his blood." Danz shrugged, evidence of his annoyance lacing his words before spearing the administrator again. "So you see Mr Enzare. Without the Enterprise being available at short notice, he needs your high standard of medical care. The counsellor is fine of course but a little check wouldn't hurt either."

The administrator sighed, starting to pace across the wide pane of transparent aluminium that framed part of Danz's sleek ship. "Fine. When can you delivered them?"

Danz smiled. "As soon as you have quarantine set up to receive them."

Enzare nodded. "Give me an hour and we'll contact you when ready for transport. Though I do need to request the patient's status. Is he capable of before beamed in?"

"He's fine. It's more of a clean up job than life saving." Danz smiled. "So, Mr Enzare, if you're ready to start preparations, I'll go make mine." At the sound of hands clasping and shaking, Danz was recalled back to his ship. He wandered back down to the storage bays to view his cargo, via the small vid screen as they slept, wondering if he should beam them asleep or awake.

Stepping up to the small transporter padd beside the sealed room, he punched in his command codes and nodded to the officer on duty to transport him inside. Vanishing into a myriad of twinkles.




Will was woken by a gentle nudge and the whisper of moist lips tenderly tempting his. "Time to wake up William Thomas Riker." Deanna's voice echoed in his ear and around his mind.

Cracking open heavy lids he saw Deanna's face move out of the way, to show a pair of black boots on the floor before him. Lifting his head he watched Danz crouch down to eyelevel with him.

"Time to disembark Commander." He smiled.

"Already?" Will mumbled as he struggled upright, grimacing as he realised his medication was wearing off and his leg wasn't exactly happy about it either.

"Correct." He said offering a hand to Will Riker, to swing around as Deanna grabbed his crutches. "Allow me to thank you for making my job easy."

Will nodded, still drowsy from the short nap. "You're welcome." The commander said as he wobbled at first on his crutches until Deanna ran her arms around his waist, giving him the added support he needed.

Danz still continued to smile crookedly, as he prepared his farewell to his package of wayward goods, finishing the long mission with a happy ending. "Keep safe, the both of you. I don't want to have to pull your backsides out of the frying pan again." With that he slapped his communicator and again the room dissolved into another enclosed room. This one appearing more like a Starfleet medical suite than the previous abode. Something a little more Enterprise-like, than Danz's ship.

"Commander Riker?" A voice enquired, glove encased hands supporting him as he stumbled from the release of the transporter. Deanna nearly over balanced them both, as she swayed with Will's and her own disorientation, from beaming through the quarantine field. "I'm Doctor Wortert." The voice introduced itself. Gaining their balance, they viewed their new host, a short balding man wrapped up in a medical quarantine suit.

"I get the feeling we're not exactly wanted." Will quipped to Deanna.

"Not exactly Commander, we just don't know what you've collected on your travels, we need to be prepared for anything." The doctor replied, almost tutting as he viewed the commander's drastic change in condition. "If you would both care to take rest upon the individual biobeds, then we can then start to return you to health and to less restricted premises." He indicated by hand to the monitored beds.

"She's not ill though." Will said, on the defensive.

"No. But orders dictate we run tests before releasing her. The same with you, if you were uninjured. But for now, if you would be so kind as to follow orders, we can then be under way and see about getting you some pain suppressant for that nasty injury." The doctor counteracted. He could see the way Will was holding himself, regardless of the show of pain in his eyes.

"Come on Will. Don't start getting flighty now." Deanna grinned, helping him hobble over to the first bed.

Once seated Wortert and his associates took blood samples. Checking the blood for any change of shape or consistency, wary and on guard if these missing officers were in fact changelings in disguise. Will Riker's condition was so drastic that no one could believe it had only just happened over three days. A wariness wore a mantle on them all, felt most of all by Deanna as she sensed their guarded actions until the test proved otherwise.

"Excellent." Said Wortert holding up both Will and Deanna's blood samples, happily finding no change. "Let's get to work shall we?" He said. The staff busily gathered around and began to take a plethora of samples and scans till Deanna was finally cleared and the quarantine fields dropped.

"You may go now Counsellor Troi. You're cleared for duty once your ship arrives to collect you." Wortert said moving his hands in a shuffling manner, a nurse moving to her side to show her out. His back was already to her before she could ask about Will, his attention returning back to his patient, as his staff fussed over the man. Ever since Will had laid down on the biobed, and it'd squealed it's findings, they'd been glued to his readings for every moment.

"What about Commander Riker?" She asked, warding off the nurses urgent tugging towards the door. She could feel the twinges of pain from Will, as they unwrapped his leg, baring the fresh puncture marks that equally marched down his shin. A painful indication as to where the pins had poked through for months before hand.

"Well...." he started, still keeping his busy back to her. "we'll need to do a lot of work first up but he'll be back to duty under the guidance of light duties soon. Now, if you could please follow the nurse, she'll take you to find your quarters to wash up and rest if you like." Wortert offered.

"No thank you. If at all possible I'd like to stay with the Commander." Deanna asked politely gaining a smile from the doctor as he turned round to her.

"Ah. I see. There's a slight attachment of feelings?" He pried.

"Sort of like that." Deanna blushed. "But I also have a padd with his doctor's orders on it for full required treatment." Wortert frowned at the padd, as if it were something dangerous. "I don't mean to tread on your toes professionally doctor but Beverly Crusher was his physician for many years, and with intimate knowledge on how he was treated recently. Her orders were very specific, especially as to instructing Commander Riker to be placed under Doctor Selar's care once on board the Enterprise." She looked to Will, to see his eyes closed tightly, the numbness of his pain ever so slightly filtering through to her.

"I'm sorry counsellor but the Enterprise is days away from arriving, are you saying you want this man to suffer until another doctor of our level of calibre arrives?" Wortert seemed to be having trouble understanding the Betazoid's views, thinking maybe she had a concussion he'd missed earlier.

"I am well aware of that problem doctor, but I feel that anything major should be left until Doctor Selar is present. As second in charge to the away team mission, I am totally responsible for his health." She added, keeping her reasons to the forefront, and not her emotional attachment.

Wortert mused for a while, glancing back to the padd in her hands before taking it and perusing the information. "Very well. I can see you're not going to budge, but I am sorry, I would be remiss in my duty if I were not to perform my duties on a needing patient. We'll proceed with the bare necessities until she arrives but I still recommend the flush."

Deanna nodded. "As long as he's comfortable and cared for, I'm happy to allow for that level of care."

"Excellent. Then we will proceed with our basic plans till your doctor arrives. If you'd finally like to follow nurse Dorna there, she'll take you to your quarters. I'm afraid we need this room clear of unauthorised medical personnel." He apologised.

"I'll be fine Deanna." She heard Will call, from under the mass of staff. "Go and sleep. One of us should at least rest." He said quietly once she'd reached his side and was holding his hand in hers. Wortert was close by her side, a bit miffed that she'd squeezed in between his staff, interrupting them.

"You sure?" She asked again.

"Definitely. We're in Starfleet's hands now. We're safe. A little sore, but safe Imzadi." He mouthed the word Imzadi silently to keep it from the listening ears of the staff, carefully probing his leg southward.

"I'll be back soon." She replied with a smile, placing a kiss to his lips, ignoring Wortert's throat clearing. She almost skipped out of the room, as she followed the nurse, bursting with new hope in her heart and her steps.

"So what's happening doc?" Will asked, allowing a smile to play his lips, hiding the grimace he really wanted to show as another jolt of pain erupted throughout his body. "And can I get some pain killer soon?" He added, gulping hard as he fought another wave of nausea.

"In time Commander Riker. In time. But first up we need to run an arterial flush about your system. Giving you a full course of pain blockers now would be a waste of time, but we can give you a small dose for now while we're setting up the procedure." He said, placing a calming hand over Will's tensed fist. "I am sorry for the delay. We'll get you on the road to recovery in a matter of moments." He said issuing a hypo to Will's neck, watching as he relaxed and accepted the dull haze he was sliding into. "We have a lot of work to do, so please remain calm, your in safe hands now." He smiled.





Will woke to the curious feeling of something being suctioned out of him. As he rolled his head sideways he viewed the curious device attached to his arm, a large monitor array blinking alerts and levels as two shunts removed and purified his blood. One vein used to remove the precious life blood, cleaned and checked for impurities, as the other needle embedded into an artery in his shoulder replenished his body with a new supply. He lay back and groaned from deep within his stomach at the hideous feeling it provoked. Sure, he'd had this done before on the Enterprise, he just didn't prefer to go through it again right now.

"Ah Commander, you're awake, we shouldn't be too long now." Wortert's face loomed over his own, surrounded by a haze. Will tried to nod but found himself slipping off into slumber again, before he could even put it into action.


A refreshed Deanna Troi entered the medical bay, dressed in a clean uniform for the first time, in what had been almost a year for her. Finding the area devoid of staff she let herself in through the double doors to Will's suite. A nurse by the door, nodded her ascent for her to enter, directing her to still stand aside till they'd removed the various trolley's of equipment away from Will's side.

"Is he alright?" Deanna asked Wortert as the doctor moved to her side, he'd only just finished fussing with his patient and noticed her presence. He guided her by the arm, to Will's bedside before speaking.

"He's sleeping pretty deeply but that's to be expected from an exhausting process such as arterial work of this kind. The process went well and we can clear him of any impurities now." He smiled as Deanna relaxed a little in the shoulders. "He's been sedated and we're running a broad spectrum of antibiotics as per Doctor Crusher's orders until the Enterprise arrives. But we'll leave the leg, it's not in any danger right now." He smiled

Deanna nodded and looked back to her Terran lover, curled onto his side in the large biobed. "Can I sit with him for a while?" She asked.

"Certainly Counsellor. I'll have a nurse bring you a chair." She watched until Wortert had left before advancing on Will's form. Hesitant, she slowly let her hand hover over his forearm before resting her fingers over it's hairy length. She gently ran he fingers lazily over the fine hairs, watching at his handsome face with a smile, as he moved a fraction closer towards her. The smell of fresh bedding and the scent of cleaning agents revealed his recent bath at the hands of Wortert's staff. His peaceful sleep a blessing, allowing her to relax in his presence for once.

The gentle voice of one of the ensigns, holding one side of a large comfortable chair, jolted her from her dreamy scope of Will's features. "Excuse me counsellor. But we have something a little more comfortable for you to rest in." She greeted them with a smile, moving aside and thanking them before they left, leaving her alone with Will once again.

Taking a seat within the large padded chair, she curled her feet up onto the base of the chair and took Will's hand in hers, drawing it up to her cheek to feel it's male softness against her delicate skin. Kissing it with love she replaced it back to the soft warming sheets he lay in, peaking under the covers with a mischievous glint in her eye at the beautiful sight of his naked form.

With all the weight loss he'd sustained he was still an amazing sight to behold. Even though the arterial flush had left him with a marble like pallor to his skin. Watching his eyelids flutter with REM, she fought off the desire to join him in his dreams, drawing back from the bond that had grown stronger ever since the crash. Thinking back she realised just how much they'd all come to depend on each other, especially Will's dependency on her touch. He'd craved her presence ever since waking up in pain in the wrong century. Her gentle caresses of his mind to dull the pain, was an easy step in rebuilding the bond, that'd begun to renew the moment she'd let it.

She ignored the urge to join with him, letting him sleep unbound to her soul, watching and waiting for those blue orbs to grace her face followed by his trademark smile. She sat, still, silent and restive as the hours passed by, waiting for her prince to return to her side.





Will felt like he was wound in cotton wool. Everything was fuzzy and white when he opened his eyes at first to the bright lights beaming down upon him, not to mention the warmth from the blanket cocooning him kept him almost tropical in heat. He groaned as he tried to move, finding everything stiff from lack of movement, wishing for one of Margaret's massages.

"Relax Will, I'm right beside you." He heard the sweet voice of his Imzadi pronounce, before the cold tip of a hypo hissed into the crook of his arm. The world widened as the whiteout reduced and the relieved smile of Deanna gazed down at him. "Welcome back." She grinned as he moaned and tried to cover up his light sensitive eyes.

"How long?" He mumbled under the broad width of his arm.

"As in slept? Two days on and off." She replied, trying not to laugh as he removed his arm and did a double take at her answer. "We practically fed and cared for you inbetween snoring sessions." She jibed him.

"Be nice." He grumbled as he rolled over, trying to cover his aching head with the blanket Deanna was trying to remove.

"I believe she is Number one."

The familiar commanding voice spun both Deanna and Will around to it's source, seeing for the first time in ages, Captain Picard and Doctor Selar, standing by the door with Wortert prancing in the background.

"Captain!" Will struggled upright only to find Deanna holding him down easily with one finger.

"Rest Commander. I believe you've had quite an ordeal." Picard said advancing to beside his newly recovered first officer.

Doctor Selar glided to the foot of Will's bed, with Beverly's padd in hand. Obviously the new admittees had been talking before hand to Doctor Wortert, now thoroughly informed as to Will's condition. Selar pulled back the blanket and sheets, exposing the bandage clad leg, waiting a minute before undressing it to reveal the ugly scarred limb. Watching Picard, Will saw the flash of emotion cross his Captain's face, as he viewed the angry evidence of his missing officer's crash landing.

She scanned and touched the raw heat of his battered leg. Giving her report in clinical Vulcan style. "This will need major work Captain. I suggest we perform the necessary surgery here before transporting the Commander back to the ship for recuperation."

"How soon?" The captain requested.

"We can schedule it for tomorrow morning, allowing transfer back to your ship within 48 hours." Wortert confidently beamed to the well known Starfleet Captain.

"Number one?" Picard bounced the question to the one person whose permission still was required.

"We will need to replace your existing leg bone with a polymer substrate Commander." Selar informed him. The curious frown on his face prompting her to explain further until he rested back heavily on the bed. Remembering the same discussion in another timeline before.

"This is going to hurt, isn't it?" He groaned. Deanna pulling him into her embrace as his distraught memories flashed back to the previous hours of agonising surgery, in the past.

"Only in recuperating Commander. It's a long laborious operation, but you will be unaware of it while in progress." Wortert explained.

Will looked up into Deanna's eyes, trying to hide the trepidation he felt at having to undergo surgery again, on the same leg that was only just starting to heal after the last time. She ruffled his hair as she ran her hand through it, her other hand clasped around his tightly, to let him know that he wasn't alone in this. He nodded, giving his permission wordlessly.

"Excellent." Wortert clapped his hands. "I'll inform the staff. Doctor Selar." He offered a hand directed to the door. "If you'd like to follow me I can introduce you to my staff who'll be working with you."

Selar nodded. "That would be beneficial Doctor, although I do have one nurse I wish to add to your existing team."

"Certainly." Wortert's agreement almost regal enough to include a bow. "Captain, if you'll please excuse us?"

"No apologies needed doctor, I'll find my way out soon." Picard replied before watching as the two doctors moved off from the room, in full discussion of the impending surgery. Once alone he finally looked down to the pale man on the bed, a far cry from the large muscled officer he'd sent on a simple mission only a few days ago. Will had his eyes closed, even though he wasn't asleep yet. His small, quick intakes of breath, suggesting pain. "Welcome back both of you, although I am quite surprised at how long you have been gone."

"It's a very long painful story sir." Will replied, eyes still closed as he tried to mediate his pain through Deanna's relaxation techniques.

"And one which ends with my Chief Medical officer still missing." Picard prompted.

"I'm sorry captain, but she opted to stay behind. I tried to reason with her but she won out." Will replied.

"Perhaps now is not the time to discuss this sir. I can have a brief report to you tomorrow if you like." Deanna suggested, knowing that Will wasn't up to the line of questioning the captain was wanting to pursue.

"Agreed." He said, knowing himself that she was quite right. Will Riker wasn't well, and the time for questioning would come. "I should leave you to get some rest Commander." He said to Will who finally opened his blue watery eyes.

"Thank you sir." He managed before closing them again and rolling over to Deanna's side, his back now to the Captain.

As the captain made his way to the door, Deanna caught up to him feeling awkward for Will's behaviour, gently halting him from slipping through the door by a hand on his arm. "I'm sorry sir. Commander Riker doesn't mean to be rude, it's just the pain he's been through. It's made him more human and less of an officer this past year, as he's struggled through it."

"It's alright counsellor, I understand. He's hurting. Hopefully when he's back on board we can have a moment to talk privately." Picard said, trying to hide the hurt he was feeling from Will's change of character. He was used to the strong forceful Commander who was as close as he could call, a friend. The soft repose of the man before him didn't sit right with him, although try as he might, he fought hard to cover this realisation from the counsellor. She had someone else to worry about right now.

Deanna waited till the door closed behind the captain before returning to her sleeping partner. Will Riker was nodding off again, regardless of the awaiting surgery. Gently kissing the top of his nose, she pulled back and smiled as he mumbled a slurred 'Imzadi' to her.




The toss and turn of hands shifting him from hover stretcher to the hardness of another bed, woke Will to the bright surgical lights of some kind of sickbay. Unaware of the first move he started to raise his head in curiosity, only to have it pushed back down to the small pillow support behind his head.

"Lie still commander. We'll be starting surgery soon once we get you prepped." A voice informed. He felt sleepy, and tired, and not just from over sleeping. A metallic taste danced across his thick tongue, an indication of medicine or anaesthesia of some sort that was gnawing at his energy reserves, working hard to knock him out.

"Secure alignment of the patient please, and initiate joint stasis." The words revolved around him as limbs were moved, clothing and blankets removed, all oblivious to the patients exposure, until another light sheet was laid over his trim waist. A pressure of some kind overlaid his limbs, accompanied by a light buzz and a glow of blue. A small malleable device was attached to the back of his neck, finalising his body into an immovable position. He struggled uselessly, finding nothing working, followed by a hiss of a hypo that clouded his mind to a floating darkness.

"Patient now rendered stable, blood pressure stable, respiration normal....... Consciousness now disapating." Were the final trail of words to reach him as he enveloped himself within the folds of night, unaware off the work about to proceed upon him.

Doctor Selar's voice was unheard by Will Riker as the medical team readied themselves. "Let's started with Pelvic balance, then proceed with total osteoplastic replacement of the tibia."


Deanna watched through the observation window for the fourth time that day. Will's surgery was long and complicated, not to mention gruesome as she remembered when they'd pulled out the diseased bone limb. Surgically removed from amongst the muscle and tendons of his mangled leg. He had a new limb now. An artificial construct that would do just aswell as human bone could. The doctors and nurses, with backs bent in tired decent, were still attaching each ligament, muscle, blood vessel and tendon back onto the new form.

Rubbing a tired hand across her forehead, she tried to chase away the headache lying there. A persistent ache that was caused by her constant worry over Will. Sure he was in better hands now, but still she had room for worry.

Movement drew her back from the replicator, glass of water in hand, to see doctors' Selar and Wortert shake hands and part ways. Wortert was heading her direction, out of the surgical bay, while Selar stayed behind ordering the nurses around to clean up and make the patient comfortable.

"A success Commander Troi. You need not worry. The surgery was very smooth, although aligning the pelvis did take a little longer with his muscles so tight to one side." Wortert explained.

"How long till he wakes?" Deanna asked, looking back through the window, noticing the blue force field still hugging his form.

"A long time I would hope. He needs to keep still and rested to allow the tissue connection and regeneration to settle. We'll keep him sedated for a day or so dependant on his healing ability." The doctor smiled, watching as Deanna's eyes filled with tears of happiness. Wrapping an arm around her shoulder he moved her away from the window till he had her full attention. "I suggest you go back to your ship. I would think your Captain is waiting for a few overdue reports by now. Not to mention that you need some sleep Commander." His words were filled with compassion and not that of his earlier political pushiness.

Deanna nodded, giving one last look over her shoulder to see the nurses lowering the lights over Will's sleeping form. "Thank you." She said, he legs wobbly with relief, as Wortert guided her gently out of the room, and directed her down the busy corridor to the nearest transporter room.




"So Beverly volunteered to stay back?" Even though Deanna had spent the last few hours reporting to Captain Picard, covering every point and hazard of their stay in the past, he still couldn't fully comprehend Beverly's reasons for staying behind.

"Yes Sir. It seemed, according to Commander Danz, that everything happened exactly as it should of. Leaving Beverly behind, to him was part of the mission." Deanna answered, watching as Jean Luc starred into his aquarium, then finally after some lengthy silence, turned back to her.

"And this Doctor Andrews? She had an affinity with him?"

"Yes sir. In fact they were engaged a few months before we were rescued by Timefleet. Before we left, Beverly also discovered that she was pregnant." Jean Luc shoulders stiffened and Deanna felt as well as saw how the news affected him. "She was very happy sir."

Jean Luc stayed silent for a moment longer before pulling down harshly on his tunic, facing her with a poker face Will would be proud of. "And this is all in your report counsellor?"

"Yes sir." She replied sympathetically.

"Thank you for the briefing counsellor, you may go now." He dismissed her, sitting heavily into his ready room chair and immediately picking up her report padd, scrolling it for information he really wasn't reading.

"Captain." Deanna waited till she had his attention. "It was a hard decision for her to make, leaving you and her family on board the Enterprise. Especially for a world not ready for her skill and knowledge. But I know Paul truly loved her. And he will take care of her, and their child without a doubt." Deanna read the flash of sadness from the captain but proceeded with what she had to say, he needed Beverly's decision to be justified, and her pregnancy was it. Finally turning for the door, she gave him an understanding glance. "She was happy to stay when we finally parted. I thought you should know that sir."

He could only nod. Unable to verbally accept that his dancing doctor had finally given up the chase they'd danced around each other for years. She'd found another to replace him, gathering a new dancing partner into her life. He waited and watched the doors close behind the small Betazoid counsellor before he even allowed one tear to escape .


The buzzing hum of a force field was the first thing to pervade Will Riker's world of slumber. The second being a persistent itch that demanded an instant nose scratch. Whether it was lack of strength or medication, for some reason, Will couldn't lift his rubbery arm to touch his nose, and it was starting to infuriate him. He groaned with annoyance as the itch became worse the longer he tried to ignore it. Finally he forced open his eyes to find an answer into the lack of mobility he was experiencing.

Frowning with irritation, he squinted at a dark silhouette above his face, until he felt the familiar tingle inside his head, soon followed by her delicate cool fingers as they traced the fine lines around his eyes. "Imzadi?" He mumbled.

"Imzadi." She replied, moving around so he could see her in the little light there was in the room. Her faced bathed in a blue glow as she met his eyes. "You must be special. You've got your own room all to yourself." She whispered.

"Great. Why can't I move?" He asked.

"They spent a very long time re-aligning your body Will. I don't think they want to have to do it again." She smiled.

"Then could you do something for me?" He asked.

"As always Imzadi."

"Scratch my nose, please." The pleading quality in his voice almost made her laugh until she caught the sigh he gave once she'd scratched the facial feature.

"All better?" She asked with mirth.

"You wouldn't believe how close you came to saving my life." He joked, hoping to hide his anxiety.

"Oh I can believe it." She smiled. Her sense of his current claustrophobic emotions was a hit of fear so sharp and strong to her, that even his blue smiling eyes were transparent to what he was truly was feeling. She reached down and ran the backs of her fingers over his cheek in sympathy.

"So how long until I have to stay like this?" Will asked. He gulped hard trying to quell the churning of his stomach and the paranoid fear the clam shell provoked.

"We'll have to ask Doctor Wortert about that but I believe they were talking about moving you back to the Enterprise in a another day or so." Deanna immediately picked up on his fear as it escalated, finding a hole in the clam shell to place her hand on his rigid fingers. The neural device on the back of his neck was disallowing any signals past his neck, freezing any movement what so ever, but he still had feeling at least. The delicate nature of her fingertips grazing his statuesque form made him force a smile to his lips. " It won't be long Will, just relax."

"A day or so." He swallowed hard and dodged her eyes. The communicator on Deanna's newly replicated uniform chirped for attention, ringing loudly in the silent room.

"Counsellor Troi here."

"Sorry to disturb you Counsellor, but your mother is waiting for you on a subspace link." The fresh voice of the young Ensign over the network, sounded like he'd already been ten rounds with her mother. Deciding to put him out of his misery she nodded, giving a smile to Will.

"I'll be on my way ensign, please patch it through to my quarters on the Enterprise. Troi out." She squeezed Will's fingers and kissed his nose. "If I don't go she'll turn that poor Ensign into my next counselling patient." She winked. "I'll be back soon Will."

"I understand." He replied, a sadness creeping into his voice.

"Will." She smiled at his face, filled with conflicting emotions. "I won't be long. Try to get some sleep." She waited for what passed as a nod and blew another kiss in his direction before leaving the room. Passing a small amount of nurses on her way out, she noticed Alyssa Ogawa catching up with some old friends.

"Alyssa? Could you do me a favour?" She asked after pulling aside the young nurse.

"Certainly counsellor, you want me to keep the Commander company?" Her sparkling eyes, shinning with warmth.

Deanna gave a small laugh at the officer's presumption. "Precisely. Seeing as he's such a people person, I think he needs a little company in there. Would you mind Alyssa? It's only for a few moments while I take an incoming call."

Alyssa's face lit up in mirth, aware of the burden she'd lifted from the Betazoid's shoulders. "I'd love to Counsellor." She smiled. "I'm sure I can cope with him for a few moments, especially with the practise I've had in caring for him in the past."

"Thank you Alyssa. You're so sweet." Deanna gave a quick hug and raced off before her mother harassed the communications ensign once more.




Will was trying his hardest to regulate his heart rate when a welcome face entered the room. "Company at last." He smiled. To him, Alyssa Ogawa had been missed for too long during his travels in the past.

"I see your respiration is up a little Commander Riker. Anything I should be worried about sir?" She asked, checking the read out before giving him her full attention.

Will smiled and gazed at her pips, remembering that she was now a lieutenant junior grade. "Just a little case of the nerves Alyssa. And you know to call me Will when I'm bed ridden and at your mercy." He replied.

"You know, there's nothing to be afraid of in here... Will." She said gauging the anger that flashed in his eyes for her to accuse him of being fearful.

"Just not a fan of being pinned down in small confining spaces." He answered realising it wasn't her fault he was stuck here. "Deanna wasn't sure how long they were going to keep me like this. Do you have any idea?"

"Looks like you'll be starring at this ceiling for a little longer than first thought. It was going to be one day, but Doctor Wortert and Doctor Selar suggested another day on top, just to secure full stability in your newly stretched muscles." She sympathetically rested a hand on his shoulder. "Never thought you were one to be claustrophobic." She smiled.

"Normally no. But after being trapped in various primitive medical facilities, that'd just love to chop bits out of you at a moments notice, I've come to fear immobility. Kind of the likes of these quarters, and devices are just as bad no matter which timezone." He grinned uneasily.

"Rest easy Commander, your surgery is finished and done for." She replied.

"So how is the leg?" He enquired. "Hard to tell from this angle."

"Doing well. The graft of your body's anatomy onto the plasti-construct went well. We had a lovely time earning ourselves some prestige back ache from it too. Aligning your pelvis was a bit tricky. It was only a few millimetres out but it meant we had to loosen and tighten some tricky muscles and such. But you'll be up and walking soon. I guarantee." Alyssa's demeanour was one quality that shone out from many of the other nurses. Her compassion and gentle easy going nature with her patients, was one reason Doctor Crusher had kept recommending her for promotion, and had used her services religiously by her side. Will had always appreciated her care of him every time he'd managed to mangle himself on some away mission. She was kind, calm but also strong enough to keep him bed ridden with a few simple words. No doubt she'd learnt that from Beverly he thought.

Trying to keep his mind wandering away from his current situation, he found himself losing the battle. "Um, you wouldn't happen to have a sedative or something would you?" He asked rather awkwardly.

"I'll have to get Doctor Wortert's permission first. Eager to catch some sleep?"

"Yeah. Feel damn tired but my heart's racing too much in here to close my eyes." She new exactly which 'here' he meant.

"I'll talk to the doctor once Deanna returns. Maybe a calmative would be better, settle those nerves of yours." She smiled checking a few other panels and finally moving to the clam shell section above his leg. "So how was Earth of the past?" She queried as she checked settings.

"To tell you the truth I think you'll have to ask Deanna. I either slept or snored through it all according to her." He laughed until a sharp pain halted him.

Alyssa hurried to his side and placed a hand over his chest, as she'd opened up the clam cover, trying to keep him level with the bed. Even with the neural block, his body spasmed by itself. Firing nails of pain up and down his spine. "Steady now Commander." She said as he gasped for air. "I'll go get Doctor Wortert. Just hang in there." She said quickly as she slapped her communicator and went in search of help.

Will's "I'm fine." Was lost on her as the doors closed behind her. His spasms returning to the normal dull ache of before. "Well I would be if someone would just put me out of my misery." He groaned afterwards as he continued to stare at the ceiling, the creeping numbness of cramp crawling into dis-used muscle tissue.




Walking the corridors of the Enterprise was certainly very strange, almost dreamlike. Everything as it was months before. The ship, the people and the bustle of duty. Deanna had already been back on board twice, but she still hadn't returned to her cabin on either occasion. Most of her hours had been spent so far, since returning, with either Will or explaining to the Captain about their trip down the rabbit hole.

She almost sniggered to herself with that thought. Some weird phrase that Will had used that'd involved a white rabbit and a shrinking girl. An ensign passing by her at the time smiled back, not sure why the counsellor was laughing, but if the counsellor was happy, everything was fine onboard the E.

The E. Her home. Her old home, but more importantly in the right time. Turning down from another junction she entered into section C, finally arriving at a set of cabin doors. Heading for hers she paused and walked back a few paces, to stroke the brass plaque of the previous door. Glancing around and finding herself alone, she cheekily turned back and balanced on her toes to kiss the brass plaque sweetly. Blushing furiously at her childlike activity, she scurried back to her own named door and entered her code, before anyone else came down the corridor. And before anyone else saw the red lipstick over the brass etched words; Executive Officer Commander Riker William T.


Her quarters were exactly how she'd left them. Including the red rose sitting in the vase, the one that Will had given her the night before their mission had started. Strange how two days later they'd fallen out of time, taking them over 10 months to return. But only five days had now passed to this flower, and more for herself than it would ever know.

Shaking her head and moving to the blinking light on her computer, she pressed her communicator, and steadied herself for the conversation she didn't really feel up to. "Counsellor Troi to Ensign Thoma. I'm ready to accept my mother's call in my quarters now."

"Putting her through Counsellor." The relief in the ensigns voice was evident.

"Little one! Oh thank the goddess you're alright! When I lost contact with you I thought the immediate worst. Where have you been!" To Deanna, Lwaxanna's words seemed more like a blur than a series of questions.

"Mother! I'm fine. We're back and safe. You can relax now." Adding a smile, Deanna watched the flushed face of her mother calm. Though her black eyes were still investigating her daughter for more information.

"Then why are you looking so tired and ill little one?" She pressed. "Maybe I should visit and see for myself that you're alright?"

"Mother, please don't call me little one. And I truly am fine. It's Will...."

"Will!?! Oh that poor boy, what has he done now? I truly think that he would be a lot safer here working at the Betazed Embassy than running around like some....."

Deanna blocked out the next few moments of Lwaxanna's tirade, till her persistent voice demanded that she listen to her mother when she was talking to her.

"Mother. Please let me explain." She took a deep breathe and smiled warmly at her mother, as the daughter of the fifth house showed tears of relief within her black orbs. "It was a sudden event that was terrifying to all of us, but we survived. Will suffered a few injuries that laid him low, however, within another day he should be well enough to return to the..." She paused. A dagger of ghost-like agony shot through her, making her double up in sympathy. "Will?" She whispered to herself. Her mother was silent, having seen her daughter's suffering, the pain traversing across the bond from her Imzadi.

"Troi to Selar. Is everything alright with Will?" Her hand may of been resting on her communicator, but her fingers were counting the beats of her heart till Selar's calm voice replied.

"Selar here Counsellor. Commander Riker is experiencing severe muscle cramps, but it is nothing to concern yourself over. We are administering a suppressant to relieve his pain, and expect him to return to slumber shortly. And I do suggest the same for you counsellor. He will need you when he wakes afterwards. Selar out." Short sweet and very much like the Vulcan doctor. Deanna shook her head.

"Oh my sweet Deanna, what happened to you both. Please tell your mother my dear, and in detail." Lwaxanna's voice brought her back to her surroundings, realising that she'd forgotten about her mother, Will's pain having taken her attention away. After a few minutes, the pain faded and Deanna smiled once more. "It's a long story mother, but one with a happy ending."





The captain entered Commander Riker's assigned room, for only the second time since he'd been recovered. The rescue mission for the injured miners of Delva Nine, had been completed successfully, till the fateful occurrence that had resulted in destroying the order of his crew. The botched ending to their mission had left a rift in his heart, that'd made the Captain almost recluse in talking to his first officer, afraid that he would mention her absence.

Blocked by the doctor's at first while Will recovered, he at least knew he had an excuse, but he still regretted leaving his meeting with Will for so long. Deanna had briefed him and even counselled him for his loss of Beverly, for truly it was a moment of grieving he was going through. His red haired doctor who'd meant more to him than any other woman, but untouchable due to duty, was now gone. In the arms of another man in another time she now lay. A memory of the past that until less than a week ago had been enjoying breakfast in his quarters with him.

Pushing aside his dark brooding emotions, before he scared an ensign, he forced a mask of calm over his features and moved through the main doors to the medical facility. He nodded to a few of the medical staff that greeted him, outside Will Riker's ward, and pushed on forth through the final set of doors. The calm faded as he heard the gasps of pain. Words of encouragement filtering around the small humming room as a huddle of staff surrounded their patient.

The clam shell that the commander had lain within was now gone, sunken into the biobed's stand, leaving his first officer naked, and balanced on his side, with a casual sheet draped over the front of his hips. Doctor Wortert was running a device of some sort up and down the length of Will's back regardless of the moans, and small flinches from his patient. Alyssa was beside him, tray in hand as well as Doctor Selar at the foot of Will's bed, reviewing his leg via her medicorder.

"Nearly done commander. Just a bad cramp." Wortert assured his patient.

"Problems?" Picard asked as he finally came to rest beside the doctor's left side. He looked down to the back of Will's head and noticed the twitch of recognition from him.

"No Captain. Just getting him fit and mobile for transfer today." The small stout doctor informed him. "His stay in stasis hold caused a few muscle spasms of the spine. It happens occasionally when a patient is tractioned for so long, during or even when first released, Captain."

Picard nodded and moved around the biobed to face the tightly clenched eyes of his friend and exec. Glancing to the foot of the bed he noticed Will's newly formed leg, still encased in a slim lined blue humming regenerator cast. The plasti device covered the whole leg, from the foot right up to the top of his thigh, keeping his leg still and stable while it healed. Will's grunt brought him back to see his bright blue teary eyes slowly open, upon a sigh of relief as Wortert explained the procedure was now over. Helping him lie down onto his back, the Commander still looked pale to Picard.

"Nice of you to join us Captain." Will finally said after catching his breath. "Come to taunt the patient?" He said ignoring Alyssa as she straightened the covering sheet, returning him to a modest state.

Picard smiled widely, having missed his first officer's humour, while away on an alternate mission. "I thought I'd see how well you squirmed under all this care, Number One."

"Out of ten, I'm sure I'm a nine right now." He grimaced in reply before Wortert cleared his throat to get their attention.

"Excuse me Captain Picard. But Commander Riker will soon be well enough to travel in a few hours time, of which we can then transfer him to your ship upon your approval." Wortert explained.

Doctor Selar, who'd been gently holding Will's leg throughout the de-cramping exercise had now moved up to stand right behind Wortert, arms behind her back at a rigid stance. "I concur with the doctor's findings. Commander Riker is now stable enough to be released into our care facilities on board the Enterprise, sir. "

Picard nodded and evaded both their gazes by looking down to Will's face. His gaze unfocused on the ceiling, as he obviously listened in to his travelling status. "I take it Counsellor Troi has been informed?" Realising the Betazoid counsellor was missing.

"Yes sir. She's aware of the imminent transfer, and will meet with us onboard." Selar stated, having informed Deanna minutes before the Captain has arrived.

"Didn't want to hear a grown man moan." Will mumbled to anyone and no one.

Placing a hand on Will's shoulder, Picard tried to suppress a grin, failing in the end. "Relax commander you're nearly home. Then you can moan all you like." He turned back to the waiting staff and gave a strict nod. "Proceed with his transfer, I'll be on the bridge if you need me. And Number one...try to keep yourself out of trouble."

At Picard's last comment, Will Riker gave a restricted chuckle. "Aye sir. No hanky panky. I'll try to remember that in the future."

"Make it so." Picard said before heading out the doors, listening to the hectic scramble behind him, as the doors closed upon the doctor's final arrangements to move his first officer home.




The Enterprise's sickbay was large to say the least. Though it was vast in size mainly due to the necessary duties required of it. It's designated sections throughout the ship accommodated emergency medical treatment rooms for possible injured evacuees, project rooms for the varied medical sciences, and specialised stasis and treatment rooms. And the name Enterprise demanded they had only the best, hence it also boasted a few well appointed rooms for recovering patients. Patients who needed the 24 hour care that sitting alone in they're own cabins wouldn't provide.

Moving down into the quieter section of the treatment rooms, Deanna passed along one of the many corridors till she came across the open reception area, a nurse already in attendance to greet her. "Good morning Counsellor, he's awake and ready for you in room four."

Deanna smiled sweetly in reply. "Thank you ensign." Following the wide hallway she located his room on the left a few doors down from the reception, and bit her bottom lip before pressing the door plate.

"So how's the Commander enjoying his new home?" Deanna asked as she entered Will Riker's private room.

"It's bearable." The large grin that came naturally to his face, broadcast to her how much he'd missed her for the last few hours. "They had me up and walking again earlier." He bragged. It'd been three days since the operation and already he was feeling surer in his wobbly gait.

"So you're dangerous again." She replied dryly, before dropping a few items from her hand onto his side table and kissing him fully on the lips. Sensing his gladness of her presence she decided to sit on the edge of his bed rather than the small chair beside him. A habit she was beginning to perform daily. "The Captain's been grilling me again about Beverly's decision." She brushed aside his wayward hair. "He's blaming himself for her not returning."

"About as stubborn as me." Will replied with a deep sigh.

Deanna laughed at his statement. "Yes he is. I'm beginning to think it's a common trait of Terran males. A redundant gene that makes them keep their loved ones dangling for decades before wedding them."

"Ah. It's called an engagement phase." Will smirked.

"Yes. But your so called engagement phase like the captain, included other women to keep us jealous and wanting." Her comment was meant in jest, but it still held a horrible truth to Will. He'd wasted years chasing women who'd had not even a chance of glancing his soul, let alone merge with it like Deanna did.

"I take it you've counselled him?" Her simple nod informed him, but didn't relax him. Will knew the Captain was going to interrogate him about Beverly's choice. And quite frankly, he didn't know how to answer the hard questions he would no doubt ask. Deanna's hand on his thigh brought him back to present time.

"And just before I left, he handed back your mission de-briefing logs. He's posed some questions of them." Deanna said, finally picking up the padds she'd brought in moments before, placing the first into Will's large warm palm.

"Great. Homework." He moaned, rolling his eyes. "I honestly don't see how my logs would be worthy of reading anyway. All I ever did was sleep." He grumbled. "Let's see what I've missed out." As he read in silence, Deanna rubbed the top of one of his hands curled around hers. Making little circles on the skin as she watched him read and mumble. She must of started day dreaming at one point as Will's voice, jerked her back to reality.

"I'm sorry Imzadi. What did you say?" She asked politely, as his curious blue eyes watched and waited for her to return to this world.

"I was just asking if you'd found anything in the computer banks on Beverly's life after we left." He re-asked the question.

Shaking her head she gave a small smile of sympathy. "Not at first, but I've got Data doing some research for me during his off-duty time. Which is pretty much zero. He's performing your duties as exec. right now, along with his usual workload on top." She pulled his other hand into her own, to kiss both of his large paws lightly.

"Hmm, that's it make me guilty." He replied in jest, freeing a hand to hold it over his heart.

Once the laughter had cleared Deanna finally got up her courage to peek under the blankets to the braced leg. She knew how he hated people even looking at the mass of healing tissue and bone, let alone touching it. It was fine, and looked like any other leg, entrapped in the brace. A few tell tale signs of scarring were evident below the knee, but the body of the leg was covered for now. Showing she didn't care she kissed his knee before replacing the blankets.

"Your one kinky Betazoid you know that?" He grinned as she moved back to his side and hugged him in his propped up position, on the bed. The sterile shirt and shorts were adequate to cover him, but no where near as soft and comforting as his normal apparel.

"And I can't wait to get you back to our quarters to finally cuddle that ruggered body of yours without these rough sickbay garments." She winked.

Will gave a deep chuckle and squeezed her hand tighter to his. "My sentiments exactly."




"Good morning Will." The captain greeted quietly. The pinnacle of the Enterprise's command structure slunk into Will's room, looking as if he was trying to avoid finding others inside. To his relief, only his first officer lay within, flat on his back and with a sleepy grin on his face.

"Good morning Captain." Will grinned, as he added. "We're alone sir." The captain's quick nod of acknowledgement making Will extremely curious. "Is there something you wanted to talk about sir?" He asked. Fully aware that his superior had been using his first name since the moment the captain had entered the room.

Taking a seat, he appeared for a moment as a frail old man. He looked drained and small as he fitted into the comfy chair by Will's bedside. Jean Luc Picard cleared his throat in the silent room before turning sad eyes to his friend. "I just wanted to hear off the record about Beverly."

Will could see how much inner turmoil it had taken to share this piece of personal grief, his cares and worries, from the heart. "As in what I left out of my reports?" Will made sure the Captain really wanted to know the hard truth. He hadn't been looking forward to this moment since the time he found himself fully lucid for the first time in months.

"Correct." The Captain confirmed. "We all know that Starfleet reports from missions, no matter how successful or non, are required to contain every spec of detail. But we're all trained to keep the emotional side out. I realise you weren't as mobile as Deanna was to gather everything about our missing doctor, but I do know that she thought very highly of you, more as a kind of surrogate family member." A small smile appeared at the corners of his mouth, trying to block out the picture of Beverly mothering Will in his head.

"Something I've thought of with most of the senior staff." Will replied with smile. Taking a deep breath, Will brought himself upright, stiffly throwing a few pillows higher up on the bed so he could sit up right to face the captain, who's helping hand was gratefully accepted. Once settled he took a deep draught of water from his bedside first, before proceeding with the intimate details. "Beverly did consult with me on many separate occasions with how to proceed with Paul's advances." He smiled.

"Well with your dating expertise, I'm sure she did." Jean Luc said it as a jest, but it did nothing to cover up the anxiety he was exhibiting. "And this Paul was caring and considerate of her needs? You had no disagreement's with his views of her?"

"He doted on her the minute he rescued her from the sea. Probably still thinks he's marrying a mermaid." Will winked. "But seriously, I couldn't see him hurting her at all. They were in love. Beverly just kept trying to ignore it at first, that was until we broached the subject of 'what if'."

"As in...what if you weren't rescued." Picard supplied.

"Exactly. We had to be truthful in realising that with the transmitter failure onboard the shuttle and the inability of being able to fix it, and a wormhole that may already of closed, we were already facing odds that were looking grim." Jean Luc had moved during the conversation, returning to his chair with a jug of water in hand for Will, who's voice was already raspy from their short conversation so far.

"Thank you." Will said after he'd refilled his glass, and quenched his throat. "So there we sat one day, under a tree in the hospital grounds, contemplating our future. I had Deanna, and Beverly....well...she had Paul. A very kind and friendly man who worshipped the ground she walked on. So when Beverly approached the question of whether to follow her heart I said yes." Will at this point was focused on the opposite wall. Aware that his words confirmed to Picard, that his first officer was partly to blame with his lover never returning.

"At least she wasn't alone Will." Picard said after a few minutes.

"No. She wasn't. She had Deanna and I, but Paul filled most of her nights with dinners and dancing. She enjoyed every moment of it. And he was a pure gentleman. He even came to ask me if it was alright to ask for Beverly's hand in marriage."

"And what was your view?" The hazel eyes burrowing into the side of Will's face, waiting until Will finally faced him. Blue eyes sure of their answer.

"At first I was shocked that he would ask. Fearing that the connection between him and Beverly would injure my captain. Then I realised the what if equation. She was happy Jean Luc. More than happy. I gave him my blessing and I finally approved of his advances towards her." Will turned away when finished, placing the empty glass on his bedside table.

A light hand on his arm, turned him back to Jean Luc. "Thank you Will." And with a small smile of gratitude, he proceeded to the door.

"Sir?" Will asked.

"I'm glad she found someone to love her as I did, but who had the courage to advance further and marry her. Thank you for making sure she was happy and cared for Will." Before Will could form another word, the doors had slipped open enough for Picard to escape the torture of personal expression.


"Very good Commander." Selar surmised without removing her eyes from the medicorder held before her. "We can release you soon, if you follow the proper guidelines of relaxation." The last words followed by a raised eyebrow in Will Riker's direction.

Will was smirking, in fact laughing inside, but he wasn't about to be speared by another Vulcan glance and the threat of longer recuperation down here medical, for the sake of verbal laughter. Stowing his witty reply, he nodded sedately.

Selar snapped shut the scanner and moved forward to re-wrap his leg back up in the brace. "The physio has helped effectively in stabilising the muscle groups in your leg Commander. Please keep using the cane though until total stability has been sustained."

"Thanks Doctor." Will smiled. He was used to the hard Vulcan's manner, but knew she was only doing her work, and being Vulcan. "So any set date for release yet?" His eagerness to escape was hard not to notice.

"Soon Commander soon. I suggest you rest for now, before your Captain starts demanding for your presence on the bridge." Seeing Will's eyes light up, she held up one slim hand. "But not so soon. You still have a long way to return to your former stamina, Commander. And the position of first officer is a physically draining job." With that, Doctor Selar repacked her medi-kit and left the suite, leaving Will feeling amused and chastised at the same time.

"Well that went well." He chuckled to himself before lying back down, arms crossed behind his head, humming a tune. Deanna wasn't due till later that day. So for now, there was nothing to do but to stare at the ceiling and rest up, before he was ambled back down the corridor to the torture of more physio.




Will Riker limped around the sickbay facilities, feeling a little under dressed as he waited impatiently for his chaperone. After a light breakfast and a long hot shower, Ogawa had left him replacement clothes on the end of his bed, along with his own personal dressing gown. The thick blue material, hardly fitting for an officer outside of his bedroom. But if it was a sign of release, then he was happy to wear it like a badge of honour.

Soon after his morning duties, Doctor Selar had performed a last minute check up, scanning him from head to foot in an agonisingly slow motion. Her findings were pleasing with his vastly improved health. So much so that she finalised his release there and then, allowing for him to be able to recuperate in his own quarters from now on. He was both willing and able. After two weeks of intensive care and physio he was able to hobble around on a cane, his left leg still wrapped in a brace but getting better every day.

At least he could put pressure onto it without the worry of it snapping he thought. Long gone was a lot of that terrifying fear. The pressure of adequate and up to date medicine at his fingertips had brought back the adventurer in him. The Will Riker who wasn't afraid of getting too close to the edge, and pushing the limits. He'd nearly succeeded in tearing a few freshly healed ligaments a week ago, when he'd taken off the brace to walk around the room unimpaired. It had been painful, but worth it for the chance of finding his nerve. Selar still checked on him frequently because of it, but for now she was off following up a minor injury in engineering, leaving him free to wait for Deanna.

As he turned back to do another round of the room, he heard the door hiss open and close, admitting his favourite visitor. "Your late." He grinned as he turned carefully to face her, his unsteadiness bringing her to his side even faster.

Clutching his arm, she waved a finger at his nose. "Never, ever try to do that again mister. I've only just got approval to take you home. You trying to ruin that?" She scorned.

Ignoring her demands he gave her a leering grin. "So who's home we going to Imzadi?"

"Yours of course. Less furniture to trip over than in mine. Besides mine's more valuable. Betazoid heirlooms are not the thing to practice walking around." She winked.

"Hmm wouldn't want to anger the dragon now would we?" He chuckled. Lwaxanna had caught up to the Enterprise on their way to the Antares cluster, making a grandiose entrance as usual in search of her briefly missing daughter. The captain was still dodging her every step.

"Now now Will. She is almost your mother-in-law." Deanna teased, moving around to hug his lean, broad chest.

"So what your saying is, she's an optional extra when I do marry you?" He grinned as he fingered her engagement ring.

Her playful slap on his cheek made him chuckle deep within his chest, the massive vibrations making Deanna cuddle up to him harder, as she enjoyed the feeling against her small body. "If I allow you to marry me you mean." She teased. "Picking on my mother like that. You should be ashamed."

"Well I don't see you holding back when you 'pick on' her." He mumbled. "Hey we leaving this dreadful place or am I grounded now?"

"Your released Commander. Come on. I've got something to show you." She smiled.

"I bet you do." He waggled his eyebrows.

"Will!" She laughed.

"Hey. I'm hurting here." He moaned, holding his chest with one hand, while the other steadied himself on the cane.

"Surely after a year of abstinence you could hold on just for a little longer." Deanna winked as she lead him out the door. A deeply sighing man followed her, making her smile.

Mingling with the hustle and bustle of the corridor, Will didn't really seem to mind how under dressed he was any more. Most of the officers passing him by, gave him a friendly nod or hello, hardly noticing his state of dress. Deanna was enjoying the sense their curiosity, wondering how he'd managed to injure himself again. The shipboard grapevine was already filled with gossiping stories. Some even laying bets as to how.

Halfway to their quarters he paused, taking a deep breath. "Never thought it'd be this hard to walk home." One hand was gripping the cane like a lifeline, the other resting up against the side panel for stability, that was until it beeped it's acknowledgement.

Deanna gently rubbed his arm in support, drawing his arm over her shoulder now instead of leaning against the demanding wall panels. "Just lean on me Will. We're nearly there." She comforted until he started to amble in the right direction once more.

"Boy am I looking forward to the couch when we get back." He ground out as they finally reached the turbolift. Waiting for a car, he lent down and gave her a quick peck to the lips. "I really do depend on you way too much Miss Troi." He said, emotion swimming in his eyes.

"Is that the best you can do to say you love me?" She giggled. "Because I love you too Will." She said, watching his eyes widen. He swallowed hard and finally let a small smile replace the shocked features.

"You're the lover of my soul Imzadi." Just as he lent down to kiss her the lift doors opened and a rather embarrassed ensign stood back, trying to forget that he had even seen the two senior officers, and their nearing passion.

"Sorry sirs." He excused himself, deciding to exit onto the wrong deck, feeling it would be better than to stay in the lift for his correct floor. His fast retreating back made Will roll his eyes at Deanna's laughter.

"Hey don't laugh. He may just need to see you for counselling now after, especially for interrupting his superiors during an important mission." He waggled those eyebrows again until she could hold in her laughter no more.

"Stop that Will!" She screamed, tears of joy streaming down her cheeks. "I need to breathe properly." She gasped. "Besides, that gown is too revealing to hide your primal feelings." She grinned, resisting her own urges to run her hand through his chest hair, as it peeked through the gown's open neck. "Just wait until we're in a less restrictive environment Will."

"Has mere mortals ever stopped us before?" He winked just as the doors opened onto their deck.

"Just get moving Mr Riker." She said, grabbing his arm that lay over her shoulder, pulling him into motion. A few more heavy steps and the doors of Commander William T Riker parted, allowing the couple to stumble through to the nearest comfy object of furniture. Deanna would of preferred resting him in bed, but the couch was closer and he was getting heavier by the minute.

Will sighed once he sunk into the cushions, relieved that Deanna was strong enough for both of them to raise his leg onto a small stool. He lacked the energy to do it himself. "I never realised how long those corridors were."

"Well it is a little farther than up and down the physio room." She smiled, wiping away a small bead of perspiration from his forehead. "I'll get you some water."

He reached up and clasped her wrist with his fingers, pulling her back to the couch to sit beside him. "Deanna. I really don't know what I'd do without you." He smiled. "This lack of strength has really got me rattled, but your persistent nursing has made it more than bearable. Thank you."

"Your welcome Will." She said, affectionately moving aside a strand of wayward hair from his hot forehead. "Now my poor little sick boy, sink back into that couch and I'll get you that drink." She ruffled his hair before getting up and finally ordering two cool drinks for the both of them.

"Mother wanted to have dinner with us tonight, but I put it off." She said, starting the idle chit chat they'd prized while pretending to be just friends. "I thought you'd be a little tired from the transfer here to be able to block her all night."

"I think that is the best thing you've done all day, except for cuddling up to me." He grinned. He let his head fall back to the head of the couch, watching the stars warp by upside down through the glass. "I can't believe how drained I feel."

"Never mind Will. Doctor Selar did say it'd take a while even in this timezone to build yourself up again. Anyway, I kind of like you this skinny, means I can finally get my arms all the way around you now." She laughed, pleased when Will chuckled over the joke.

"Do me a favour?" He asked, lifting his head up to look her in the eye as she nodded. "It means unhitching yourself from me though."

"I think I can cope with that." She gave him a dangerous look.

"Any chance of removing that brace? It's rubbing a little." He replied sheepishly. "I don't think I can sit up that far right now."

"I know your tired Will. It's really not a problem." She said pulling from his warm grasp to swivel round to his propped up leg. "That's why I've taken leave from my duties. To be with you when you need me." She replied, kissing his uncovered knee once she'd removed the brace.

Will's sigh of relief made her chuckle, as she placed the lightweight brace onto the floor. Rubbing the skin gently to bring back a little feeling, she traced the lines and spots of dermal damage. "I was talking to Alyssa yesterday and she said that maybe in a few weeks we can start to look at repairing this leg cosmetically." She mentioned, still tracing the left over scars from the past.

"I knew you hated scars." He moaned. Flinching from her touch as her fingertips tickled the pink raw flesh up and down the limb. A slight burn of sadness coated his emotions.

Deanna's eyes opened wide in shock as she realised what he'd thought she said. "No. Will. That's not what I meant. I think your handsome regardless of scarring or not. I just thought you might like to know. That's all." She placed a hand on his cheek and gently guided his face to hers, placing a kiss to his lips. "I love you Imzadi. All of you."

He swallowed hard, burying his emotions under a tonne of good reasons for being here, against her and in her hands. Dropping his head slightly he looked to his lap and began to play with the gown cord. "Even the bits that stick out of this bare all gown?" Raising his eyes he let a mischievous glint appear in his eyes. "I can't believe I walked from sickbay in this. What was I thinking?" He smiled.

"Probably what I was thinking. At least it won't take long to rid you of it." With a quick peck to his cheek she then dived her hand inside the overlap across his chest letting her fingers touch soft chest hair. The trail of her cool fingertips against his flesh making him moan for all the right reasons.

"Imzadi. I don't think I can handle this right now." He smiled, with a look of bliss that proclaimed the pure ecstasy of her motions.

"Handle what Will? It's not like I need you to do anything. Leave it all to me." She seductively smirked as he let his head roll back heavily to the head of the couch. Her hand trailed lower and lower until she reached the band of his sickbay boxers. The fine fabric, nothing like his usual silk, pulled away from his already heated body allowing her to finally reach her goal. Stroking carefully she felt more than just stirrings of his amour for her. A good sign to her that nothing had been harmed during his travels. Not that she had suspected before hand, but he had always wondered. Something he had let slip while dozing off in her arms one night.

"Imzadi." He groaned as she stopped and laid her lips to his. His heart beat was up, the heavy thump of it's beat evident in the vibrations it gave as she lay her hand over it. "Don't stop." He whispered exhaustedly.

About to perform his wish a sharp chirp broke the air, followed by the emotionless voice of one Vulcan doctor. "Selar to Riker. Are you ill?"

Deanna looked to see Will wasn't exactly able to catch his breath to answer, his head still flung back, raggered gasping was all he could perform. Slapping her badge Deanna took point. "Troi to Selar. I'm sorry Selar he's fine, just a little exhausted from the walk here. He'll be fine." She lied, crossing her fingers in hope the Vulcan doctor would leave it there.

"According to these readings the Commander was not walking at the time. Please tell him to desist his actions now before I issue a hypo for his ailment. Selar out." Troi had to gulp air a few times to stop herself from bursting out laughing at Selar's attempt at discretion. Glad in the end that she hadn't exactly announced to the whole sickbay what she and Will had been doing.

Looking back to Will she noticed he was breathing more rhythmically now. Signs of sleep on approach, confirmed by a glance at his eyelids, now fully closed. Giving in to a deep sigh, she picked up his wrist and smiled at the sickbay monitor wrapped around his forearm, seeing his head roll in her direction.

Eyes still closed he smiled at her. 'Think we got caught?"

"I think so. One of Beverly's spies for sure." She giggled as Will finally opened his tired eyes and grinned.

"Told you she was ruthless. Sent orders for Selar on those padds for sure." He replied before letting his eyes close again.

"Well my orders are to send you to bed Will. You can't sleep here. Selar would have you back in sickbay within nanoseconds if she knew." She said, encasing his leg within the brace once more and gripping his wrists in hers, ready to pull him up.

"Don't think I can make it." He ground out once he was sitting upright, already swinging about with exhaustion. "Someone used up all my strength minutes ago."

"Come on." She said, once he'd shuffled to the edge of the couch, balancing her weight to lever him up. Heavily dependant on Deanna and the cane, Will's anger started to rise till she squeezed his arm in sympathy. "It's alright Will. It won't be long till your up and around by yourself again."

"It's just so damn galling." He ground out, panting for breathe as he fought to keep upright and walking.

"Rabeem Imzadi, rabeem." Crawling at a snail's pace, they made their way to his bed, the sheets already peeled back and inviting him in. "Just a second Will." Deanna said, halting him from falling back onto the bed once seated heavily onto it's edge. "Let's get you de-robed first." Removing his brace again, she followed by untying his gown cord and removing the whole article before he fell backwards with a groan.

"So damn tired." He mumbled as she helped lift and swing his newly formed leg under the covers.

"Not surprised. You've had a long day." She crooned as she sat beside him on the bed, bending down to kiss him goodnight.

"Mmmmmm. Jasmine?" He inhaled deeply.

"Thought it'd be a nice touch. A reminder of our recent times together." Deanna sweetly kissed him, leaving a hint of moisture on his lips afterward, pulling the sheets up to cover his chest.

"Stay?" He asked, patting the other side of the bed with encouragement, before she got up and left.

"I don't know Will. You need to sleep." Deanna replied as Will snagged her hand.

"That's all I want to do too right now. Stay? Please." The pleading look her gave her melted her right there and then.

"Imzadi." She smiled. "You're the one who'll be explaining if we're been found spooning together."

"I guarantee that I never tell tale about my women in bed." He tiredly mumbled.

Deanna laughed lightly, taking off her clothes and slipping into a smaller pair of Will's boxers, one of a bunch stuffed in the bottom drawer that people gave him for Christmas and birthday presents, without knowing his proper size. The pair of blue boxers sat daintily on her hips as Deanna slid between the sheets and cuddled up to the curve of his body. His arm guided her in close, to lay her head on his chest as she called for lights off.

"Thank you. " he mumbled before he finally dozed off. Both slept peacefully, neither spooning, but as one in each others arms.




The glowing green surface of Bettlelax Nine glowed through the view port, coating the watchee in a green hue that only enhanced the deep furrowed frown on his face. Light from the corridor outside filled the room for a minute, highlighting his hunched shoulders as he leant against the plexiglass.

"You know...I could sense your mood ten decks away Will." Deanna's voice lilted.

"Pity it couldn't off stretched farther." His sarcastic comment drifted in the half light.

Wrapping her arms around his middle and resting her face into his warm back, Deanna stood there quietly waiting for him to bare all. They'd done this dance a million times since they'd both worked together on the Enterprise. A tango of sorts that never failed to pull out the direct cause of Will's brooding.

For a few minutes more, he watched the planet below their orbit rotate, until he finally gave in to her presence.

"I wonder if leaving Beverly in the past was the right thing to do." One foot forward.

"It was Will. She loved him, she was having his child." Another foot forward.

"But the captain..." One foot backward.

Deanna smiled as they Tangoed. A dance within a conversation that always brought results to the empath. She truly loved the sometimes irrational Terran man, enough to ride his emotional waves like the gulls of San Francisco Bay.

"Will. I came here not only to diffuse your simmering depression but to show you something." Her direct words making the man push away from his stance against the window, finally turning as she draped her arms around his neck.

"And what Miss Troi, have you brought me? Good news I hope." He gave a bad attempt at a smile, one even he would of been displeased with.

"Computer. Lights." She said, illuminating the room to full glare, making Will squint for a while, as Deanna dragged him to the couch to push him down to sit. Internally glad to relieve the pressure of his leg, he gave a snort of laughter at himself. "Realise that standing wasn't the best way to mope did you?" Deanna ribbed him.

"Yeah." He replied bashfully. "Another week and I'll be chasing you around this room without a squeak of pain."

"In your leg that is." Deanna winked as she settled in next to him with a few padds in hand. "Will. What we did and Beverly chose was right. Timefleet wouldn't of allowed her to stay if it hadn't of been. And I also have proof why they let her stay."

She had his attention now. It had always stuck in Will's mind that Timefleet hadn't batted an eyelid when Beverly had demanded to stay, in fact they'd embraced it. "So what did a our cocky time travellers know that we didn't?"

"Well, I finally got Data's message late last night, that he had the information I required. A background history of Beverly in the past, and any descendants. Well now I know why it took him so long. With information missing from the eugenics wars, it was a pretty bad jigsaw puzzle, to put back together again. And the amount he gathered filled up four padds." Deanna smiled.

'That's our boy Data." Will grinned. "So what did he find?"

"Well she gave birth to a son, called William, and then a daughter two years later called Deanna." She laughed.

"Well I'll be." Will said, as his earlier depressed state had vanished into a blaze of happiness. Deanna leant against his chest and snuggled in tight, as she progressed through the life history of Beverly Andrews.

"Associate Director of new medicines." Will read out loud. "She did do well."

"Both her children married, giving her five grand children, and then another six great grand children, before she died a year after her husband passed away." A silence settled over them both as they sent their silent wishes to the dearly departed.

"At least she lived to the ripe old age of 94. In those days it was considered quite a milestone." Will mused, as he dropped the padd and picked up another, scanning down the lineage of descendants. "A lot of William's and Deanna's in this lot." He smirked. "Must of been a family tradition to keep their great great great grandmother happy."

"And she was happy Will. We all need to realise that. She went where a lot of us have never truly explored yet. She got married. And strangely enough, found her soulmate not in another reality, but another timezone." Deanna explained.

"Love has no boundaries." Will whispered before kissing the top of Deanna's head.

"What I really wanted to show you was the last few descendants that Data traced her lineage to. Look at the last few names." She exchanged the padds and watched his eyes grow wide with wonder.

"David Andrews married Laneira Banks, who had a daughter called Jessel, who then married a Howard." Will stopped speaking out aloud.

"Who then married Felisa, Beverly's grand mother on Alveda III." Deanna finished for him.

"Wait a sec. Are you telling me that Beverly is a descendant of herself?" He scratched his head.

"If she didn't go back, her whole lineage would of suffered the demise of non-existence, and she herself would of been erased from time." Deanna said taking the padd out of Will's hand and cuddling into him further.

"Well I'll be." Will laughed. "Timefleet were right." Joy crept into his voice and he instantly pulled Deanna way from his chest so he could hungrily place a kiss to her full lips.

"Deanna? There's something I wanted to ask you since we returned from Earth's history." Will said rather nervously.

"And that is?" Deanna prompted. His sudden emotional change made her sit up and peruse his poker face, but it wasn't there, instead she found him looking slightly sheepish.

"Well, when we were on the planet, we had a few nasty scares right?" He asked.

"Sure. You kept nearly dying on me." Deanna said watching as Will smiled.

"Yeah. I did have a bad habit of that." He smirked. "But since we've been back, we've been separated by quarters. I guess what I'm trying to say is...I'm missing having you to wake up to in the morning." He blushed.

"So you want me to move in?" Deanna asked watching him nod. "You do realise the Captain may be a little off about it."

"Not if I ask him to marry us tomorrow." Will mused.




"Tomorrow?" Deanna repeated.

"Tomorrow." Will Answered. "Will you Deanna Troi, after many months of engagement, take my hand in full wedded bliss?" He said with a famously large grin on his face.

"Are you sure? Maybe you should heal a little more, first." She asked, her mouth still wide open in shock.

"As sure as I'll ever be." He laughed before wrapping his arms around her and pulling her to his chest. "And if I could bend this knee and kneel on it, I'd propose the tradition Earthern way, all over again to prove it to you." He grinned

"And she lived happily ever after." Deanna mumbled.

"What was that?" Will asked, gently moving her away from their embrace to hold her at arms length, watching her face for any sign of refusal. Damn her poker face was good, something he now wished he hadn't of taught her.

"I said yes." She beamed, throwing herself back into his embrace, and snuggling into his shoulder. "Yes, I want to live out the rest of my days with you and all our children."

He chuckled loudly, the vibrations shaking them both in his mirth. "Just think of all the little Will and Deanna's we can create. We can make our own history."

"And realise Beverly's last wish." Deanna said. Will's curious frown prompted her to explain. No doubt he'd been too tired to of remembered, when Beverly had made the request to Deanna. "The one she said to me before we parted." She prompted. But still Will wore a puzzled frown. "She wanted us to be together, said we were crazy waiting this long." She smirked.

Will's smile became all encompassing as he broke into laughter. "Well I guess we're safe now then. Who knows what descendant may of come looking for us out of vengeance for Beverly." He joked. "So. I guess it's decided then? After I talk to the Captain that is." He frowned then.

"You don't think it's a bit early to ask the Captain? You know, with him losing Beverly and all?" He queried.

"You're not trying to get out of this now are you?" Deanna put on her best Lwaxanna impression, looking down her nose at him till he squirmed.

Looking like he wanted to be anywhere but, he gave a lopsided smile and brushed her cheek with the back of his large, gentle giant hand. "Never Imzadi. I want this, truly I do. I'm just wondering how the Captain will take it."

"He's known for a long time since you first proposed that we were going to be married. The ceremony is only a formality of our love William. We'll both ask him later today. Alright?" She watched him grin from ear to ear.

"I love the way you say William." His voice whispered before he covered her lips with his breathless own. Unlocking their lips, he offered her a hand and gazed into her eyes. "And I love you my Imzadi. Be my soulmate Deanna, for eternity."

She gazed back, sinking into the pools of blue. "I accept Imzadi with all my soul." Deanna whispered pulling him up and towards their bedroom. Love and fire the only thing on their minds as they finally let go of their inhibitions, and began the first step towards their new future.

A tangle of clothes lay over the floor, removed without a strain of fabric in sight, as raw passion was restrained and the slow sensual rhythm of love won out. Murmurs and groans echoed from the sheetless bed, as limbs twisted into one that night.

Deanna called out Will's name, as she arched back, urging him to continue his ministrations, when he suddenly stopped. His head swung around the room, panting from exertion, looking for the source of distraction. His heart was thumping and his body ready to perform, but something had garnered his interest, right in the middle of heightened passion. Deanna tugged urgently on his shoulders, trying to bring him back down to her lustful, and wanting self. "What are you doing?" She hissed in desperation.

Giving a good look around the room, he turned back to look down upon his angel and grinned. "Thought I heard something." Seeing she wasn't amused, he turned to good old Riker humour. "Just making sure Beverly wasn't going to walk in and stop us again." They both laughed, remembering the lengths they'd gone to just to have sex the last year, unsuccessful each and every time.

"Think we could proceed now that the room is clear mister Riker?" Deanna asked once his deep laugh had calmed down, and they were both able to breathe again.

"I think I can do that." He grinned before tracing her belly button again with his tongue, a deep groan of ecstasy emitting from his victim and lover.

A wedding would soon be planned, and children and grand children. But for now they had finally realised their love, and had faced their fears through many a troubled times to be together once more. As the two immersed themselves in their love for each other, their bond become stronger, weaving their souls together and producing an heir. After decades of struggle, two soulmates in the form of true Imzadi, were one.

The Enterprise continued it's orbit of Bettlenax nine, regardless of a signature glow in the living room of Deanna Troi's quarters. A young man smiled, embarrassed about checking up on these two, but happy to see the pair realising their dreams after so long. Dispersing into thin air, he continued his journey of the stars and time, glad that his mother's wish had finally come true.


Story completed 23/12/01

Story editing finished 6/6/02