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         Will Riker had never been so glad for the end of his shift in his life. He'd been pulling double shifts for the past four days, and it was starting to get to him. If it hadn't been for Deanna, it probably already would have.


         Deanna. Now there was something that he had never anticipated. Ever since the Briar Patch six months ago, He and Deanna spent almost all of their off duty time together. That had been a saving grace these past few days. Somehow, Deanna had adjusted her schedule so that she could be up with him when he came off duty. And couldn't think of a moment when he had been more grateful for that than he was right now.


         "Hey Riker, wait up a minute!"


         Will groaned. In his present state of mind, the sound of Beverly Crusher's voice did little more than grate away at his nerves. "Yes, Bev. What can I do for you this evening?"


         The red-head stopped directly before him, her almost chipper grin only serving to further aggravate her companion further. "Oh, nothing. I just wanted to make sure you remembered about tomorrow. I know Deanna was really excited about the whole thing when we talked about it earlier. Must be a very important day for the two of you."


         Will's mind whirled quickly. Tomorrow, what could tomorrow be? Oh god, he was way too tired for this right now. He couldn't think like this. And he had no idea what the doctor was talking about. "Oh, absolutely. I could never forget anything so important, Beverly, don't be silly. Nothing to worry about on that front." He wasn't sure if the front was working or not, but he was too tired to care.


         Crusher grinned. "Good man, Will. Knew I could count on you. Night, now!"


         Riker offered a tolerant smile. "Good night, Beverly."


         She watched him disappear into the turbolift before tapping her commbadge. "Crusher to Troi."


         *Troi here. What's up, Beverly?*


         Crusher grinned like a cat who had her prey in her sights. "We're in business! He took the bait completely!"


         An audible groan came over the open channel. *There is no "we" in this Beverly! I'm no helping you with this!*


         "Aww, come on, girl. Where's your sense of adventure these days?"


         *Sorry, think that last mission sucked me dry in the adventure department, Bev.*


         "Don't give me that, I know better."


         *Uh uh. No go. I won't lie to him.*


         "You don't have too! Just don't bother correcting him."






         *All right, you win, ok? Now let me be. Will is going to be here any minute, and he's exhausted.*


         "Aww." Crusher couldn't help her teasing tone. "I'm sure you'll be able to give him all the attention he'll need."


         "Troi out." The other woman replied shortly.


         Beverly chuckled at the now closed channel, and headed for her own quarters and long overdue bedtime.


*  *  *


         Riker made his way into his dimly lit quarters, knowing what he would find even before he got there. "Deanna?" He called quietly, not wanting to wake her if by some chance she had fallen asleep.


         "In here!" Her familiar voice called from the bedroom area.


         God that was a wonderful sound to come home to. He loved in the world had it taken them so long to get back to this place?


         "Hi there." He reached out to pull her close the moment he entered the room where she stood waiting for him. The kiss hello he offered her became a little more involved than either expected.


         Finally breaking the contact, Deanna looked up and smiled. "Hello, yourself. How was the shift?"


         "Endless. How do you manage to wait up like this, anyway?"


         A playful smile lit her eyes. "Well, let's just say that I have some incredibly motivating reasons in my life."


         "Mmmm...guess I'm just lucky then." He grinned back.


         "You're also exhausted, Will." She looked up at him worriedly. "You really can't keep doing this, you know."


         Will pulled her close, offering a quick squeeze of thanks. He loved her for her concern. She worried too much, but at the same time he loved her for it. "Yeah, I am tired. But, don't worry ok? Tonight was the last of it for a while."


         She looked up at him hopefully. "Promise?"


         "Yup." He grinned, "If you promise to be here whenever I *do* come home."


         "Done deal, Mister."


         "Thank God!"


         Deanna giggled softly. "You should get some sleep, are you hungry?"




         She didn't miss a beat. "Focus Will. Food and your sex life are two totally separate issues."


         "Ouch! You can be cruel, you know that?" A tolerant smirk was her only response. "Oh, all right, ok I give up. Nah...I'm fine."


         "You sure?" That slight worried look had returned to his face.


         "Positive. Now, let's get some sleep. At least tomorrow, we'll have some time together that doesn't involve the bridge, huh?" He flinched the moment the words left his mouth. Tomorrow! God, he had to figure out what it was he had to remember. And fast!