Popcorn Surprises
Disclaimer in force

This is set the day before Insurrection begins.

This was acquiring more and more distaste by the minute. Will hated this part of the job. It was almost as bad as escorting diplomats around the ship for whatever reason they were there. The one and only thing he actually enjoyed about the whole circumstance was that he was required to spend the time with his best friend. His best friend that he planned on spending the rest of his life with....she just didn‹t know it yet....and granted he had a lot of work to do to get there.

They were in her quarters, their usual spot for the crew evaluations. She sat on one end of the couch, he sat on the other....their typical arrangement. For the moment they were separately reviewing lists of names and files to go over....or rather he was going over what he wanted to say to her tonight.

His first thought was nothing....nothing at all. They would just live out the evening like they always did. Then he thought better of it, maybe just a little friendly flirting would do the trick.

Or, maybe a little more intimate kind of flirting? No, too obvious.

The second idea sounded good. Will looked over, watching as Deanna was clearly concentrating a great deal on what was being displayed on her padd screen. Though, he suspected she knew about his occasional.....well, frequent glances....in her direction, she pretended not to notice. Did she know? Works for him either way.

He was getting restless, not disposing of any work either. Finally he tossed his padd on the coffee table in front of them, "You hungry?" he asked, almost impatiently.

Deanna slowly turned her head to face him, lowering her padd as she did so. She had a rather surprised look on her face and she raised her eyebrows in suspicion. "Am I hungry? Will, I just ate dinner an hour ago....you did too."

"Yeah, I know, but....well, how about just a little snack?" he asked.

Deanna sighed and tilted her head back in that familiar manner of hers. "Fine. Just a little something would be nice I guess," she went back to her work, silently grateful for the interruption, but they were way behind.

Will almost jumped up and in three strides, was standing in front of the replicater. "Computer...popcorn, no butter, light salt."

Deanna chose to not glance in his direction when he sat back down. He was being more fidgety this evening than he usually is. He set the large bowl of popcorn down and ate a couple bites before resuming his studies of his padd. Deanna reached over and grabbed a handful, slowly popping a couple of pieces in her mouth at a time.

A few more minutes went by without either saying a word. Will had just run out of patience....this is getting worse. His plan was falling apart right before his very eyes. Time to take action. Idea number two was underway.

He fingered a piece of popcorn and discretely aimed it at her head. He tossed it the short distance. Deanna was interrupted again, this time by something gently hitting her head. She eyed Will slightly but he was busy, engrossed in his reading. Slowly, she turned back to her own work, willing to forget the little incident.

Will smiled to himself....this beat the heck out of evaluating a hundred officers one by one. He decided to try again. He aimed and let the popcorn go. Quickly he looked back down at his padd. Deanna didn't let it go this time, "What are you doing?"

A slight hint of smile played on her lips. Will tried to look innocent, but gave up, "I'm just trying to see how close I can get to your head without hitting it."

She offered an annoyed chuckle, "Well, stop....and get back to work, we should have finished this yesterday."

Will raised his customary eyebrow at her, "Yes, ma'am."

Another minute went by and Deanna felt the third piece hit her head. She put her padd down and fully turned to face him, "Okay, see...now you're in trouble."

Will faced her as well, "I'm in trouble?"

"Yes....very much so in trouble, young man. Now you're going to have to come sit over here by me, so I can keep a close eye on you." She patted the empty space next to her.

Idea number two was working better than he thought it would. He happily complied and probably sat a little closer than she would have liked. Deanna didn't say anything so, he decided not to worry about it.

Before continuing, she looked at him with slight amusement on her face, "Let me guess, you were one of those trouble-makers in school weren't you?"

He laughed quietly, "I had my moments."

Deanna began to return to their work, "Uh-huh. And, did you always hit the girls you liked in the back of the head with popcorn during class?" she asked with a playful tone.

Will's expression grew serious, "No, I would never do that.......I used paper airplanes," he added, sounding like a shamed little boy.

Deanna rolled her eyes, "Will Riker, what am I going to do with you?" She brought her padd back up and began looking through the files once more.

Will just kind of half-smiled, and responded in a low voice, "I can think of a couple things."

Deanna's revenge was at hand as she hit him on the back of the head with her padd, "That's not what I meant, mister. What I should do is tie you and your libido down to a chair."

"Well....that does make it more fun." He ducked as she aimed for his head again....this time she missed, no thanks to his skills in dodging blows. He jumped up off of the couch, "Maybe I should sit in this chair over here for the remainder of the evening."

Deanna nodded, "Yes...I think that would be wise for your health, Commander." Will made a face when she addressed him as 'Commander' that she hadn't seen before. Curious, she asked, "What?"

Will sank down into the cushions of the chair....he briefly wondered why he didn't have these in his quarters, "It's nothing really.....just that I absolutely hate it when you call me by my rank.....I guess you never knew that."

"Oh...I see," in attempt to lighten the mood a little, she added, "Well, if it makes you feel better, I don't like it when you call me 'Counselor' either. But just to let you know, I always did pick up slight disappointment from you when I called you by your rank.....I just didn't think it mattered that much."

Will smiled, "Well then, I guess we should stick to a first name basis when we're not on duty?"

Deanna smirked, "Maybe next time, Commander. But tonight, you definitely deserve to be called by your rank. Now, Ensign Lauren McQuiston...in Stellar Cartography. She has wonderful potential, but is lacking in the confidence that she needs to....." She looked up to find Will starring at her, and not paying the least bit of attention to his padd. "Will? Is there something wrong that I should know about? You've never acted like this before during an evaluation."

Will broke his stare, "No...I'm sorry, Deanna. Umm, Ensign McQuiston...." he brought up the right file on his padd, "Yes, I noticed that too. She lacks the confidence to get ahead in her carrier. I'll speak to the department head, see if we can get that confidence up." Now it was Will's turn to look up and see Deanna staring at him. "What?"

Deanna seemed to be at loss for words, "I...I don't know." For the briefest of moments, she could have sworn that she was in love with this man across from her...but only for the briefest of moments. Her expression was making him very uneasy and he shifted uncomfortably in his chair. Bringing his eyes down to break her gaze, he let out a held breath.

He heard Deanna do the same, "I'm sorry, Will. For everything. Please....come back over here and sit with me?"

Will's somber face lightened up a bit at the suggestion. "Sure....only if you promise to not damage my head anymore with that weapon of yours."

She laughed, "Well...if I remember correctly, you stated it." Will responded by smiling back. They began the dreaded task that laid before them. Two hours later Will tossed the padd on the table again and rubbed his eyes. Deanna yawned and stretched in a cat-like manner. Will wasn't certain if she did that on purpose considering present company, or if she did that all the time.

He looked away before she noticed him watching her. Leaning back against the couch, he spread his arms across the top, daring Deanna to draw into their embrace. She took the hint and did just that. Laying her head just below his and placing a hand on his thigh, she sighed happily. It was always wonderful when they were able to share these moments together. Secretly, she wished they could share them all the time, not when they were just 'able' to.

She began rubbing her hand reverently across his thigh, smoothing the fabric of his pants as she did so. Will found the gesture extremely relaxing and pulled her closer into his arms. She snuggled as close as she could get before sitting on his lap. Yes....this was what she wanted. But how would she tell Will? Were they ready? At this moment, they certainly seemed to be.

Will let the moment linger a few minutes longer before he spoke again. "Well," he said gently, "I guess we should get some sleep. It's pretty late and I have to prepare the lounge for the Regent Cuzar's arrival tomorrow."

Deanna frowned. She didn't want him to leave just yet, but knew better. "You know, all we seem to do these days is diplomatic missions."

"Well, I'd rather be escorting diplomats than fighting in the front lines of the Dominion War."

Deanna lifted her head up, "I suppose that's true." She brushed her fingers through his hair as she lost herself in those blue eyes. "Well then....I guess I should let you get some sleep."

Will smoothed his fingertips across her soft cheek and kissed her lightly on the lips. Regret was felt on both sides as they pulled away. Will stood up and proceeded out the door with on last look in her direction.

Deanna smiled at him, "Good night, Imzadi."

Will was caught off guard at the word but regained equilibrium quickly. "Good night....sleep well," he replied, then exited through the doors.

As they closed, Deanna laid out on the couch, thoughts of a future together swarming through her head. She'd have to do something about that beard though.