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         Deanna walked back to the quarters that she now shared with Will, a millon and one thoughts swirling through her mind at once. Everything was happening at once, and though that was a fact of life that she was now finding herself having to grow accustomed to more and more since the accident, it was still quite unnerving. Dispite her conviction on the issue, the fact that she was having a baby, Will's baby, had barely sunk in. And now they would be facing the realites of the realities of the transplant sooner than expected. The implications of that were something she was struggling to putt as far from her mind as possible.


         She stopped at a sound, unsure if there had been anything to hear until she felt a hand on her shoulder. "Captian?"


         Picard smiled somewhat uneasily at the woman before him. Her earlier anger, though not directed at him, was still fresh in his mind, and heaven knew she had enough to deal with. "Deanna, I just wanted to let you know that, after speaking with the admiral, I think --"


         Deanna cut him off without really thinking. "Sir, with all due respect, If you're going to tell me that you and the admiral are willing to forget what happened this afternoon and return to business as usual, because you feel that I acted irrationaly out of the stress of the situation, please don't bother. I meant everything that I said and did in there. My resignation would have come regardless, it was only a matter of time. Now, if you would excuse me, sir I was on my way back to Will, I've been gone long enough as it is." She stopped her adress suddenly, somwhat alarmed at the tone she had just taken with her now former capitan. She looked down at her hands. "I'm sorry sir, none of this is your fault, it's just..." she shrugged, allowing the sentence to drop of on it's own.


         Picard nodded inperceptibly. He felt for her. Will and Deanna were like the children he had never had in many ways, and seeing them suffer this way tore at his heart more than either of them might ever know. "How is he?"


         Deanna fought the urge to look away. "Better than he was...Beverly wants to do the surgery tomorrow." She tried unsuccesfully to keep the fear from her voice as she looked up at him.


         "It can be done you know." He offered the reassurence with a wry smile.


         Deanna couldn't help but return the gesture. "Comming from you sir, that's a ringing endorsment." Then she added softly, "Thank you." If she hadn't thought it inappropriate to embrace the capitan in an open corridor, she would have hugged him. As it was she made a hasty good-bye before he could see the tears in her eyes.


*  *  *


         Sandra, the duty nurse who had been sitting with Will while Deanna was in Sickbay, met her at the door to their quarters. "We were beginning to wonder where you had disappeared to," the good natured blonde chided playfully.


         Deanna smiled. Sandra's warm, positive attitude was catching. "I'm sorry, I was held in Sickbay longer then planned." She leaned around peering toward the closed door of the bedroom area. "How has he been today?"


         "Wonderful, if I do say so myself! Slept for about an hour in the beginning, but he's been up and alert ever since. Fussed a bit about being "babysat", but other than that, he's been the model patient. Think he's looking for you, though." She offered a wink and another grin to Deanna as she gathered her things and turned toward the door. "You remember to just call down if you need me again. If I'm not on duty, Sarah Parker will be. Everyone's pulling for the Commander, and well do all we can to help you both."


         Deanna thanked the other woman for her kindness, watching her go. She wondered just how she was going to get through the day without the kindness of the family she had found here. Shaking her head, she moved toward the bedroom and the answer to her unspoken question. A sudden crash from behind the door caught her attention, quickening her pace across the tiny room to a near run. "Will?" Her alarmed voice preceeded her through the door.


         Riker was on his knees near the bed, gasping as though the wind had been knocked out of him. Deana was beside him in a second. "Just what are you trying to do in here, make a jail break? Come on, lean on me." Between the two of them, they had Will half way to his feet when Beverly and her team came through the door unannounced.


         "What the hell is going on in here?" The doctor sized up the situation before the question had even left her lips. She motioned for two of her nurses to take over for Deanna, and after getting him back into bed and stablizing the situation, pulled her aside. "What happened, his readings were going crazy in there?"


         Deanna shook her head, the worry clear in her eyes. "I don't know. I got stopped by the Capitan for a few minutes after I left Sickbay, then I met Sandra at the door, and before I could get to the bedroom, I heard him fall. Is he going to be all right, Beverly?"


         "He should be fine, it looks like most of the reaction came from the suddeness of the fall, rather than the other way around. That's the best news I could get right now. He should be fine as soon as he has time to calm down a little, but I don't want him up again. He can stay here tonight, but keep a close watch -- and ONLY because I know you two need this right now, understood?" She pinned Deanna with a sharp look and dropped her voice to an even lower whisper. "And do yourself a favor and don't try lifting him again, all right? You're under enough stress as is to put you in a higher risk cataglory with this baby than I'd like, and if you're going to do this, I don't want you taking unnessary chances. Understood?"


         Dark eyes widened in response. "I didn't even think...I --"


         Beverly waved a dismissive hand in her direction. "Don't worry, chances are pretty good it wouldn't have done any harm, but I'm not taking any chances, so don't try it again. That fiancee of yours isn't exactly on the light side, you know!" she grinned. "Listen, don't worry, I'd just perfer to overeact than underesteemate here, IF you don't mind. This is my best friend's baby we're talking about after all!"


         "Shhh...keep your voice down, Beverly, I      haven't had a chance to tell him yet!" Unfortuately, Deanna's voice came out louder than she had planned, and Will cast a questioning glance in their direction.


         "Tell me what? Something the two of you would like to share with the patient?" he asked in good natured confusion.


         "As a matter of fact," Beverly announced, hoping to give Deanna time to pull it together and wipe the stricken expression from her face, "there is." She dismissed the rest of the team with a nod, then turned to Will. "I spoke with Deanna about this earlier, and she had been planning to tell you before your little stunt, but now you'll just have to deal with ME." she grinned down at him teasingly, waiting until she got his groan in rsponse before turning serious again. "Will, I want to go ahead with the surgery tomorrow."


         Will closed his eyes tightly in frustration. Deanna sat beside him on the bed, taking his hand in both of hers. She said nothing, but her presence alone was enough to sooth the tangle of emotions running through him. Slowly he opened is eyes, and turned to Beverly again, nodding for her to continue.


         "I know this is all a bit sooner than we had planned, but your about as stable overall as you're going to get right now. Also, your blood pressure is lower than it should be, and I don't want it dropping any more than it has already. The best shot at success is now, and we're running low on time."


         Will swallowed, then nodded. "So, let's do it."


         The doctor grinned again. "That's what I wanted to here. Now, get some rest tonight, both of you. And Will, if you pull another stunt like that, I promise you, you'll regret it. You don't need to be giving us a scare like that -- especially Deanna, you hear me?"


         Agian, Will noddeed, this time with an apologetic look to the woman beside him. "Yeah, Doc. I hear you."


         "Good. Night you two!" Will was still thinking about what she had said, and the wink she threw in Deanna's direction was therefore completely lost on him.