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         The room was silent for several long moments as Will and Deanna tried to digest what they had just heard. They stared at each other, and then at Crusher, in disbelief. Twins? In all the thinking they had done about having a baby, the concept that they might be having two babies had never crossed their minds.

 

         Deanna recovered her voice first. "My god, Beverly...are you sure?"

 

         Crusher grinned. "Absolutely...take a look for yourself. Although, I must admit, this little one is a bit on the shy side. He or she seems to be using the other baby to hide from the scanner!"

 

         Deanna couldn't help but giggle in spite of her sense of shock. "Aww..."

 

         Beverly watched her friends as they stared at the screen in amazement. She felt a rush of almost giddy excitement on their behalf. The whole situation still worried her somewhat for Deanna's sake. She had so much on her plate with Will's condition, and a baby added a whole new dimension in difficulty to the situation. And two babies...that was almost unthinkable.

 

         And yet, with all that they had been through, she couldn't help but be happy for them. If anyone had asked her a few weeks before if Will Riker and Deanna Troi would be having children, she would have said that Will's illness had made that impossible. And now, they would have the family they had been dreaming of -- times two!

 

         "Wow..." Will looked from the screen to Deanna and back again. "That's...wow, I mean...wow."

 

         Deanna laughed. "I know, a little unbelievable, huh?"

 

         "Yeah..." Will's voice trailed off in disbelief. Then he looked down at Deanna again, his head finally clearing. "This is amazing, you know. You're amazing."

 

         Deanna shook her head. "I didn't get here alone, you know..."

 

         "Well," Crusher cut in, "I think you are ALL remarkable." She looked at Deanna in mock annoyance. "In fact, pregnant women have no right to look so good -- you should have seen me with Wes, it was hideous, really. You and the babies check out somewhere between great and fantastic -- all disgustingly healthy. And the commander here is doing better than even I anticipated." She watched as her two friends shared a grin. "I'm really thrilled for you in spite of myself...lets just try to keep it this way, huh?"

 

         Deanna nodded quickly. "I promise Beverly. Not even a hint of anything threatening for us, not now...this is my family." She locked eyes with the redheaded doctor's and held them until Crusher looked away.

 

         "That's what I thought." The doctor turned back to them with a smile. She busied herself with finishing up with Deanna and getting things back in order. She motioned that it was all right for Deanna to get up and put herself together. As she was putting the last of her equipment in it's place, she called over her shoulder, "So, are you two EVER going to get around to getting married our what? I mean, the last I heard we were due for a wedding around here..."

 

         Will flashed one of his famous Riker grins. "Gee, Doc...I thought Deanna was the Betazoid around here. But you're doing a pretty fair job of reading my mind at the moment." He turned to Deanna expectantly.

 

         "Oh, so suddenly it's my job to explain everything, huh?" Deanna glanced up at him in mock irritation. But then she too smiled. "Well, we know we want to be married before we leave the Enterprise. Most all of our family is here after all, and we really want everyone to be with us. So, I guess that doesn't leave us much time, does it?"

 

         Beverly shook her head. "As much as I want to keep you here, especially until these babies are born, the best I can do is three weeks, medically speaking...and that's because I need you --" She jabbed a finger at Will, "kept her for observation. In the meantime, we're all being sent on a little sidetrack to sector 126. That itself should take our three weeks...from there about another week to get you two back to Earth...so, at least there's another month." The doctor made a halfhearted attempt to sound cheerful -- and failed.

 

         Deanna didn't miss it, but she let it go...for now. Instead she asked half seriously "Should you be telling us all this, doctor?"

 

         Beverly shrugged her off with an annoyed wave of her hand. "Oh no you don't, Deanna. From what I've heard, you haven't managed to shake off Starfleet just yet."

 

         The younger woman stared at her friend open-mouthed. "How did you..."

 

         "Come on, Deanna! You know what the gossip mill is like around here. You can't sneeze in the observation lounge without Engineering being aware of it." She chuckled slightly at her own statement.

 

         "Yes, Beverly. Except that the only people besides Will and myself who knew anything about that were the Admiral and --"

 

         "The captain." Will offered helpfully.

 

         "Ahh, yes. That's right. Deanna fixed her fried with a knowing smile. "The captain...I'd almost forgotten."

 

         "There's nothing to forget!" the doctor hissed irritably before calling for assistance in getting Will back to his quarters. When she turned back, she found two pairs of curious eyes staring at her from the faces of her two very amused friends. "Oh just get out of here, I have work to do, and you two are enough to give a girl cavities!

 

         A short time later they were on their way. Beverly Crusher watched them go with the sting of tears in her eyes. "I'm going to miss you..." she whispered, too softly for any ears beyond her own.