Commander Riker had never seen the captain so smug. The captain's mouth, normally a tight line, curved into a broad grin, and his eyes twinkled.
The door opened automatically, and Picard warmly gestured Riker in first.
"You are enjoying this far too much, Captain," Riker said, his own eyes twinkling.
The captain chuckled. "You enjoyed making fun of me last month," he said, running his hand over the various art projects and studying them. "Oh, look, the same child that made a doll of me made a doll of you!" He picked it up and attempted an American accent. "Hello, I'm Commander Riker. I couldn't wait to be here! I love Commander Riker Day!"
Riker laughed good-spiritedly. "But Captain," he protested, lifting a hand and punctuating his remark with mock seriousness, "Commander Riker enjoys it as much as Captain Picard enjoys Captain Picard Day!"
"Oh, no," Picard said, shaking his head jovially, "He likes it much more. In fact, it's the best day of the year!"
"—closely followed by Captain Picard Day!" Riker countered gleefully.
Picard's grin softened, but there was still a hint of mischief in his eyes. "You are not going to win this time, Will. Now, how about you take a look at some of these wonderful art projects? I mean, this child obviously got your beard right."
"Yes, I certainly do look like a caveman," Riker agreed seriously, stroking his beard. "As much as your head looks like a pumpkin."
"Will! That child won the contest!" Picard protested jokingly.
"Only because you didn't want to judge, so you closed your eyes and picked randomly."
"No, I actually liked his sculpture," the captain replied with more than a hint of sarcasm.
"Then I bet I'll just love this one!" Riker said, picking up a rolled up drawing and unfolding it. "Oh!"
He'd expected another juvenile interpretation of his looks, but was surprised to find a rather good representation. Strange expression aside, the picture looked a lot like him.
"This one is good!" he said, surprised. "Whoever made this is talented, but they think I get hit on the head a lot."
"I happen to know the person who made that. They'll be glad to know you like it." The captain's eyes were twinkling again, and Riker wondered what that meant.
"Who made it?" the commander asked.
The corners of Picard's mouth twitched upward. "Turn it over."
Riker did so, then nearly dropped it.
"Captain?" he said, flabbergasted.
"I did tell you I was going to make an entry. It's a good likeness, isn't it?" Picard was clearly finding his reaction amusing. He'd purposely placed it in view, Riker realized.
"Yes, except for that stupid expression on my face."
"I couldn't let you get away with making fun of me," was the calm excuse.
"I never thought you were much of a painter," Riker countered.
"Oh, well, Data helped me," Picard said offhandedly.
Riker's mouth dropped open. "You must've had to pull rank on him."
Riker shook his head in amazement. "You joke around with me and you pull rank on poor naïve Data to help make fun of me. Who are you, and what have you done with the captain?"
"Oh, I'm the same person," Picard assured him. "Now, I'm needed on the bridge, and you need to judge these wonderful pieces of artwork." He swept his arm around to encompass the entire table. "Good luck, Commander."
"Thanks a lot, Captain," Riker muttered, half-joking.
A/N My sister challenged me to write a Riker-centric fanfic, since I usually write Data. I complained I don't get plot bunnies for Riker, but then this happened. But Data had to pop up somewhere.