::::A dealers joker :::

Author - Leanne

Rating - PG I'm guessing

Disclaimer - Pretend you can see the words here

Note - Takes place after the end of the episode Gambit



Captain Jean Luc Picard strode out from the Enterprise's turbolift and onto the bridge, his relaxed walk clearly indicating the full night's sleep he'd enjoyed. Walking down the ramp he stopped upon reaching the centre of the Bridge only to find it empty of the Enterprise's First Officer who was scheduled to have been on duty for the last two hours. He turned to Commander Data who sat at his customary place at Ops, "Where is Commander Riker?" he asked leaning over the android.

Data looked up at Picard and the Captain was sure he saw a glimpse of puzzlement on Data's face. "He is in the Brig Sir, as you requested."

Picard let out a short burst of laughter but stopped short when he realized no one else was laughing and Data seemed completely perplexed by his behaviour. "You're serious aren't you?"

Data swiveled his chair around to face Picard. "Yes Captain, did you not ask me to escort Commander Riker to the Brig as he was facing a possible twelve court martials?"

"Yes Data but it was a joke."

Data's head cocked to the side as he accessed all the data available to him. "I am sorry sir, I was not aware that an assumed court martial was considered humorous."

The Captain thought about explaining it to him but realized he should instead be more concerned about getting Riker out. Picard's eyebrows rose at the thought that his First Officer had spent the night in the Brig, one thing was clear, Riker would not be happy. Picard tapped the Comm. badge on his chest trying to keep the hint of humour from his voice as he spoke. "Picard to Brig."

<Lieutenant Carvan here Sir.> Came the reply.

"Carvan, please allow Commander Riker to leave the Brig and ask him to report to my Ready Room."

<Aye Sir.>

Moments later a very tired and annoyed looking Will Riker entered the Captain's Ready Room. His eyes showed the worry and fatigue of the past few days and Picard was assuming from the bags under his eyes he'd gotten very little sleep on the hard bed of his cell. "Ah Number One glad you could join us."

"Sir" Riker stumbled, thinking of a way he could get out of his shift on the Bridge and head back to his quarters, even if to just get changed.

"It's quite alright Will, what's one more court martial hmm?" Picard tugged his uniform top down while Riker stood switching his weight from one foot to the other. The Captain hadn't failed to notice the nervous stare he was receiving from Riker, he leaned back in his chair looking sternly at Will for his response.

"Captain I tried to extricate myself but I had no Comm. Badge. And Carvan refused to let me out," He glanced towards the door where he knew Data was sitting completely unaware as to what had happened, before he continued in his best authorial voice "just as Data had ordered him."

"As it should be wouldn't you agree Commander?"

"Well.yes sir." How could he not approve of an officer following their orders.

"But?" Picard prompted.

"I think Data missed the point of the joke."

Picard decided his second in command had suffered enough and nodded his head in agreement and smiled widely. "So it seems."

There was a moment of silence as Will looked down and shuffled on his feet. When he looked back up the corner of Picard's mouth was curved up in a grin. "Go and get some sleep Number One, I think I can handle things here until your shift tomorrow."

Will's entire body sighed in relief even though he tried not to show it. "Thank you Captain." The pair of them walked out on to the Bridge and Will walked to the nearest turbolift and stepped in but before the door could close Picard came into his view. "Before you get some rest Will, Counselor Troi called and wished to speak with you upon your release."

Before Will could respond the doors had closed, leaving him open mouthed. They'd all known, maybe not the Captain, but Deanna. She'd left him in the Brig all night on that hard bed, all by himself with only his thoughts to keep him company. Then in an instant a broad grin spread over his face, she wasn't going to get away with it so easily. After the lift had stopped he made his way down the corridor to Deanna's office. Before he got to her door he tried to shift his emotions to feelings of suffering and anxiety, knowing she would be able to sense him more clearly the nearer he got. When he reached her door he stood outside, gently roughing his hair and clothes up making it look like he'd had a traumatic night. Pressing the chime he waited for the sound of her voice before the door opened.

"Will?" She questioned at his appearance, the hint of a smile she tried to hide from him not completely disappearing.

He walked in only far enough so the door would close and looked at her seated behind her desk. "The Captain said you'd asked to see me." He stated flatly, looking her straight in the eyes.

"Yes," her smile entirely faded as she stood up and walked over to him "what's wrong?"

"I spent the night in the Brig Deanna, but I was under the impression you knew that." He ran his fingers through his hair, trying to push back the unruly locks that fell over his forehead.

He saw her face drop as she realized he wasn't the slightest bit amused by the fact that neither she nor any of the other senior officers had let him out of his confinement. Deanna reached up to lay her hand on his arm. "Will, it was just a bit of fun. It's not very often that you are on the receiving end."

Will sighed in exhaustion and frustration "Is there something you wanted to talk to me about Deanna or am I here purely for your enjoyment?"

Taken back by his response her hand dropped from his arm. "I didn't think you'd be so upset Will, you've endured far worse than the Brig before. I would've thought it was quite luxurious in comparison to that mercenary ship or even the Klingon ship you served on."

"It's not the conditions that upset me Deanna, it's the fact that when I needed you most, when I could be facing dismissal from Starfleet that you abandoned me as some kind of sick joke." The only flicker of emotion on his face was the desperate pleading of his eyes.

At that she laughed softly. "What are you talking about? You won't be court martialed you were doing you're job."

Will stepped passed her to gaze out at the streaming stars, his shoulders sagging, initiating his ultimate defeat. "Data didn't know the Captain was joking, he sent a report to Starfleet headquarters." He turned to her, his misery evident by the loss of the glint in his eyes that she loved so much. "I'm finished."

She looked at him unbelievingly and took hold of both his hands. "Don't be silly Will, none of that will hold up, you saved the Captain's life."

He clenched her hands tighter, "You know what Starfleet's like, only the facts mean anything." Leaning forward he pressed his forehead against hers and closed his eyes. "I guess last night was just a taste of things to come." He said softly.

Deanna gently rubbed her forehead against his, suddenly forgetting what they were talking about and wrapping her arms around him, the closeness of his body temporarily catching her off guard. She pulled back from him her face deadly serious. "You'll be fine Will, I promise."

Will simply nodded and began to walk towards the door, but Deanna's voice rang out through the room before he could reach the door. "Where are you going?"

"Thought I might go to the holodeck, get in some fishing." Turning he saw the puzzled look on her face. "Seeing how easily I was able to reel you in." He erupted into a fit of laughter as a look of pure shock crossed her face.

"William Riker!" She admonished him "That was beyond evil, you nearly had me believing you then."

"What do you mean nearly? I felt you're concern when you had your arms around me." He winked at her and she saw the mischievous twinkle return to his eyes.

Deanna blushed, both from embarrassment that he had been able to pick up on her emotions so easily and because concern hadn't been the only thing she had been feeling. She quickly searched the room for something to throw at him but by the time she'd found a padd he was gone from the room, the sound of his laughter still ringing in her ears.



The sound of deep breathing above him brought Will Riker out of his fatigue
induced sleep. Opening his eyes he saw the tall figure of a Klingon leaning
over him. Startled by the appearance Will scurried backward on his bed, trying
to force his eyes open fully. Wiping them free of the grit which had become
etched in the corners, they slowly opened to a mere sliver to allow him to see
the towering form of Worf.

"Worf what are you doing in here?" Cracking his eyes open further, Will looked
down at the chrono, it had only been an hour since he'd gone to bed.

The Klingon let out an awkward groan. "Sir, I've been instructed to return you
to the Brig."

A huge sleepy grin spread over Will's face as a revelation came to him. "Deanna
put you up to this didn't she?" He laughed and slid back down on his bed, now
that he was aware of who his intruder was. "You know I didn't think she would
rope you into this Worf. Is this the best she could come up with because if she
wants to play with the big boys she's going to have to come up with something
more original."

"Counselor Troi did not send me, Commander Data did." Worf stood motionless
beside Riker's bed, Will looked him over noticing he had a phaser securely held
in its holster on his waist.

"Data sent you?"

Worf sighed softly "Yes sir, please stand and I will accompany you."

"Can't I get changed first?" Will got to his feet dressed only in lose fitting
pajama bottoms and moved to pick up some clothes which sat on a chair on the

"I'm afraid not Commander," Worf held out his arm to indicate Will should move
towards to door. He did as was instructed but bent down to pick his robe up off
the floor, Worf stepped in front of him blocking his path. "I believe the
commander required swift action." said Worf causing Will to straighten, one
hand loosening his phaser.

Will eyed him, a serious facade sliding into place, he sighed heavily.
"Alright! Damn by the book android." He muttered as he tried to swagger in a
straight line from being woken so suddenly.

They walked down the corridor to the turbolift, the whole time Will being the
bearer of inquisitive and appreciative looks as the female members of the crew
both young and old took in his broad, hairy chest that was exposed for all to
see. Sleepily he stumbled along, Worf's hand gripping on to his bicep while the
other hovered over his phaser. "Come on Worf, what's this all about, and is
there really a need for the phaser?"

The two of them stepped into the turbolift and Worf let go of Will's arm,
dropping both hands to his side after the doors had closed. "I'm sorry
Commander I am just following orders." The turbolift began to move at his
instruction and Will leaned up against the wall feeling more than a little
vulnerable in his lack of clothing.

"Well can I at least speak to the Captain? Surely this is a mistake."

Worf continued to look straight ahead, his Klingon composure unnerving Riker.
"The Captain is not to be disturbed, he's taking a priority one message from

"Starfleet?" The lift came to a stop and Worf ushered Will out. He walked
backwards for a few steps almost tripping on the cuffs of his pajamas and
dragging the waistband down slightly in the process. "So it's true?" He
continued, pulling his pants back up, no longer worried if people were looking
at him or not as they neared their destination.

"Commander I can not discuss this with you." They rounded the corner and walked
through the doors to the Brig without a further word from either of them. Will
stood just outside the cell not wanting to return to the exact place he'd spent
the previous night.

He looked at Worf and upon seeing no sign that there had been some terrible
error, stepped over the threshold of what would be his accommodation for
another night. He heard the sound of the force field going up behind him and
sat down on the bed only to see Worf disappear from the room.

His entire head began to throb with tiredness as he lay down on the thinly
cushioned bed and closed his eyes. All he wanted was some quiet, uninterrupted
sleep on a soft comfortable bed, and to be left alone with his dreams. As he
gazed out of his cell, his body finally submitted to exhaustion, though his
eyes still flickered open every few minutes to check his surroundings. The
first few times nothing had changed but then he thought he saw two women
standing watching him. By the time he'd opened his eyes fully he found himself
alone, apart from the Lieutenant that stood watching guard.

He rolled over turning his back on the room, closing his eyes once again.
Wriggling to get comfortable he folded one of his arms under his head and tried
to forget where he was. Then he heard voices. Dismissing them as his
imagination, just like the two women before, he rolled onto his back locking
his hands behind his head. When he heard the gasp that came from outside the
small chamber he turned his head to see three women watching him. The one that
had gasped stood with her mouth wide open, her eyes never wavering from his

Will swung his legs down and stood up to walk towards all three sets of eyes
traveling the length of his body. "What the hell is going on?"

"Err, nothing Sir." The three of them hurriedly walked from the room and Will
glared at the Lieutenant on duty. Shaking his head, he wandered back to his
only piece of furniture. Collapsing back down on to the bunk Will groaned out
in frustration and covered his eyes with his arm. Never would he take sleep for
granted again.

For the next hour he continued to toss and turn, until he heard the gentle
clearing of a throat. Looking up through the haze of sleep, he saw Deanna
watching him. "Something I can do for you Counselor?"

She smiled "Did you catch any fish?"

Will shook his head at her. "This isn't funny Deanna."

"Oh I don't know. I kind of like the idea of having you half naked and on
permanent display. Beats going to the zoo any day."

Will grinned at her response and wandered over to the force field. "You're
going to try and get me out of here right?" He stood inches away from her, only
the beams of light separating them.

"I'm sure the Captain knows what he's doing Will." His chest was directly in
front of her and she felt a surge of relief that due to the interference of the
force field she couldn't reach out and touch him.

He lifted his arm to rest against the side of the large opening to take his
weight. "I don't even know if the Captain is aware that I'm here, Data sent out
the troops for me. Worf mentioned something about him talking to Starfleet
Headquarters and not being disturbed."

"Well then I guess you'll just have to wait until he's available."

Will was about to protest when he suddenly became aware of the fact that Deanna
was even here. "Wait a minute, how did you know I was here?"

She couldn't resist a chuckle at his complete ignorance. "Are you kidding? The
sighting of a bare chested First Officer being led to the Brig under guard, how
long do you think that's going to take to circulate the ship?"

Will rolled his eyes and began to pace the confined area. "I've had enough of
this, I want to speak to the Captain."

Deanna didn't flinch she just continued to watch him. "Now! Deanna." He yelled,
and she jumped not expecting him to shout at her.

"What do you want me to do Will, storm into his ready room and demand your
release?" He continued to pace and she willed herself not to instruct the
Lieutenant on watch to drop the force field so she could reach out and stop him.

"I don't care what you do, all jokes aside I'm not just your friend and Imzadi
I'm your commanding officer and I want out of here." He said sternly waving his
hands in the air and pointing at her.

She moved back and crossed her arms across her chest, ready to leave should he
have another outburst. "You aren't doing yourself any favours speaking to me
like that Will."

"Please Deanna," he pleaded "I need some sleep."

"Something I can help with?" Came a voice from the open doorway. Will didn't
need to move to see the person, he knew the sound of Beverly Crusher's voice
all too well.

"Great." He sighed and walked over to sit on the edge of the bed, his head in
his hands. When he looked up Beverly was standing next to Deanna, a huge grin
lighting up her face. She winked at him but didn't say a word, which made him
even angrier. Being alone here was better than having the two of them staring
at him like he was a fish in a bowl of water. "Do you mind, I've got man's
business to attend to," he said standing and running his thumb around the band
of his pants, first looking at Beverly then Deanna.

Beverly continued to smile, not at all fazed by his comment. "I'm your Doctor
Will, I've seen more of you than I care to remember." She turned to Deanna,
seeking her confirmation that they weren't going anywhere and she wasn't
disappointed. Deanna couldn't hide her smile. "And I've seen you naked more
times than Beverly."

Will groaned and slid down off the bed and on to the floor, one of his legs
stretched out in front of him while he held the other up against his chest.
"Please just get the Captain." He begged sleepily as his eyes fluttered, his
head dipping every few seconds as he fought to stay awake.

He didn't hear the force field go down, nor the sound of another pair of
footsteps as they approached. He jumped slightly when he felt Deanna thread her
hands through his ruffled hair. She kneeled down beside him, her big dark eyes
looking into his. "You're so cute when you're sleepy." Will tried to force a
smile but had enough trouble with trying to focus on her. "The Captain's here,
it seems Data had sent a report to Starfleet Headquarters but he's sorted it
all out."

Will let out a huge sigh of relief. "Going to dismantle that android."

Deanna laughed softly and held his head up in one of her hands. "Let's get you
in to bed."

"Is that an offer?" Will leaned on her, her small body supporting his larger
one as she sat him upright from against the bunk edge. She ran her fingers down
the side of his face and kissed him on the forehead, then looked up to Picard
and nodded her head.

Picard approached Will, his shadow falling over the dozing Commander's face.
"Maybe next time you'll reconsider the thought of assuming my job Number One,"
he smiled at Riker's slight nodding of his head. "Get some sleep Will. We'll
see you tomorrow on the Bridge, the position of First Officer is still yours."

Will nodded again still waiting expectantly for Deanna's answer but the only
thing he heard was the familiar sound of the transporter. He felt her hands
searching for a hard grip under his arms, soon helping to lift him off the
floor and on to his bed. Pulling back the covers, she rolled him into place
and tucked them under his chin once she had untwisted and straightened his

The soft pillow and cushioning under his body felt like heaven and he sought
Deanna's hand, her free one smoothing back his hair. "Thank you, Imzadi." He
mumbled before sleep claimed him seconds later.

Hours later, feeling more refreshed than he had in days, eyes blinking open,
Will rolled from his side on to his back. Immediately he let out a startled
yell as he found Data looming over him. "Data please not again! I'm not going
back in there. The Captain said-" Will was cut off as Data held up his hand and
interrupted him.

"I am here to apologise Commander, I did not wish to cause you such distress.
Counselor Troi suggested I should come to see you as soon as I was able to and
before your anger had a chance to escalate."

Will smiled at the android, Deanna had gotten the last laugh after all. "Thank
you Data, why don't we put it down to a misunderstanding this time. Tomorrow
I'll teach you some of the finer points of humour."

"I would be most grateful for anything you could teach me Commander, thank
you." With that he turned and left the room. Leaving Will to fall back in bed,
a smile still plastered on his face. Tomorrow Data would begin to learn the
basics, the art of playing practical jokes on the unexpecting. And Will Riker
knew just the guinea pigs Data required.

The End.