Charity Begins at Home K/R, Su/R [NC-17]

This gorgeous image is the work of famed photography, Dick Zimmerman. I hope he doesn't get mad that I'm sharing it with you, but something this hot should be shared...

Disclaimer: Paramount owns Star Trek. I only own my fantasies.

Summary: Events lead up to the beginning of TWOK. A story of endings and beginnings and the limbo of in between.

Janice walked into the auction tent and took a seat discreetly in the first chair she came to just inside the entryway. The rows of folding white picnic seats were full of 'old money' and she felt out of place even if she failed to show it. Several heads turned her way, curiosity definitely getting the better of good manners as more than one woman tried to place the mysterious stranger entering their midst.

Rand had known an outsider would draw attention in this upper-crust harem, so she had dressed for anonymity if not discretion. She had chosen a civilian wardrobe that was totally retro--a sleeveless black poplin dress, matching wide-brimmed hat and dark glasses--an effective disguise from the one or two people who might possibly recognize her from a previous social meeting. A brunette wig, covering her dark blonde hair, completed the deception.

Pretending not to notice the continuing subtle stares and covered whispers, Jan casually perused the bid sheet in her hand. Quickly dismissing the rows of photographs of handsome professionals, her eyes focused on the last picture of the page. The sole reason for her attending the Annual San Francisco Women's Charity Bazaar was captured in a succinct caption under that picture: "Be sure to bid on a late dinner in Paris and float down the Seine with Starfleet's Most Eligible Bachelor, Admiral James T Kirk!" Janice recognized the headshot of Kirk in uniform from his official biography in the Starfleet registry.

She needed to get James T. Kirk out of her system. Many years ago Sulu had thrown her attraction to Kirk in her face, saying she would not be good for anyone until she could get past her obsession for Kirk. Back then she had thought his words mean and spiteful--it had certainly meant the end of their tumultuous relationship--but now she realized he was right. As much as she had accomplished in her life, she still had that nagging feeling of 'what if'?

Jan was far too mature and self-aware now to think she and Kirk could ever have more than a good time together, but she had to admit that those feelings still existed. She had lied to herself and to Sulu years ago. She was not lying anymore. Today she was going for broke--a very real possibility considering who her competition was--to win an opportunity to be seen as a woman and not a fellow officer. So now she sat in the back row of a tent waiting to bid on 'the man of her dreams,' praying she could handle the reality better than her more ethereal tormentor.


A gaggle of doctors, lawyers and Indian chiefs had been auctioned off in a frenzy; the tent full of women bidding like a pack of hungry sharks. Janice perked up and took notice as the auctioneer grinned mischievously off stage, seeing that she was down to her final bachelor. She returned her attention to the audience as she announced, "And now, ladies, it's time for our last gentleman of the afternoon. I promised you a real treat and I know you'll all bid generously as I introduce our final bachelor, Admiral James T. Kirk."

A wave of "ohs" and "ahs" washed over the crowd as Kirk walked onto the stage. Jan smiled at his confident walk, remembering his old adage, 'never let them see you sweat'. She knew he must be chanting that under his breath right now but one would never know it and he would never tell. She had to admit, there was definitely a reason to 'oh' and 'ah'. Kirk was in civilian attire, something Rand had seldom seen. This afternoon he was wearing tailored jeans and an ultramarine colored long sleeved shirt. A skinny white cotton-knit tie hung casually around his neck, held in place with a slack windsor knot. Kirk tossed a tan soft suede jacket jauntily over his left shoulder and walked to the center of the stage, his trademark lopsided grin firmly in place. When the backdrop picked up the vibrant blue of his shirt, he fairly glowed sexual energy and Jan suspected the front row of women would be too stunned to bid.

The auctioneer went for the kill, knowing this was her last chance to rack up. "Alright ladies, I told you I saved the best for last. The date with Admiral Kirk will include supper in Paris, coupled with a gentle float down the Seine. Now let's start the bidding at something worthy of such a night. Do I hear three thousand credits?"

At least twenty paddles went up in the air, no one batting an eye that many of the previous bachelors had sold for that amount or less. The bidding was fast and furious, with it settling into a serious competition between Rand and four other women once the bid reached eight thousand. Kirk started getting into the game by looking each woman in the eye and smiling his most incorrigible grin. It seemed to work, he kept them in the hunt and his price kept going up and up. Jan knew it was for charity but she wished Kirk would tone it down a notch or two so she would not totally blow all her savings.

After a few more thousand credits had passed, it was down to Jan and a beautiful redhead. Jan's heart was in her throat but she sat in her chair with practiced ease, pretending to be reading the program while holding her bid paddle nonchalantly in the air, as if to imply she would keep bidding no matter what the final cost. At twelve thousand, the redhead shook her mane and sighed in defeat. Kirk gave her a quick wink and stepped up next to the auctioneer, anxious to see who had outbid all the others.

Jan took her time walking down front, partly to compose herself and partly to let Kirk get a good look at the woman who had just *won* him. She made no effort to hide her own perusal of him and was hard pressed not to give it away when he chuckled at her open review. Jan knew Kirk liked bold women and she was trying to set the stage for the rest of the evening.

It was now or never. When Kirk recognized who had come to claim him it would tell her if she had just wasted twelve thousand credits. Nearing the front to talk to the auctioneer, Jan tilted her head back and lowered her dark glasses, letting Kirk see her eyes and the rest of her face. Instant recognition flashed in his eyes, his grin turning from easy flirt to delighted surprise. Jan's heart hammered in her chest but she managed a saucy wink before replacing her glasses and conducting her business with the auctioneer.

Kirk stepped off the stage and came up next to Jan, wrapping his arm easily around her waist and leaning in low to whisper in her ear. "Janice, if you had only asked, I bet I would have gone out with you for free."

Jan let out a rueful laugh as she answered, "Oh, so *now* you tell me."

Handing Rand back her credit chit, the auctioneer offered with a suggestive look, "Enjoy your evening."

"Oh, no worries there," Janice answered breathlessly and turned back to her date, who seemed to be taking it all in stride. Kirk kept his arm casually around her waist as they strolled back down the aisle. Many of the bidders were also on their way out so it was a start and stop journey through the crowd. At some point Kirk stepped behind Janice, placing a hand on her bare shoulder as a way to keep in contact within the milling crowd. Jan strongly considered hyperventilating right then but persevered as they made it back to her seat to collect her cropped jacket, protection from the lingering chill in the air. Kirk took her overcoat out of her hand and draped it over her shoulders, smoothing it in place with a seductive rub. He grinned mischievously when he felt her tremor under his touch, but offered her an out for her body's betrayal by nodding toward a latte cart just across from the tent entrance. "I don't know about you, but the overcast is making me a bit cold. Why don't we go over there and get something warm to drink?"

"That sounds great," Jan answered, appreciative on both fronts. She wanted to kick herself for reacting so easily to his touch. The last thing she wanted him to think was that she was the same infatuated woman he had known before.

After getting a coffee, Jim motioned toward an open bench somewhat out of the ebb and flow of the throng. Taking a seat, Kirk turned and gave Rand a curious look. "So, Janice, why the Mata Hari look? The wig, the hat and glasses, who are you hiding from?"

"Oh, well," Jan sighed, "I was really going for 'Breakfast at Tiffany's', if you must know," giving him a pained look for confusing Audrey Hepburn with Mata Hari. His patient expression told her he was still waiting for a real answer to his question.

"Well, this way I kept my anonymity if I lost and stopped any tongues from wagging about 'old crew' if I won," she admitted delicately.

"Are you worried about that?" he asked impassively over a sip of coffee, but Jan did not think the question was as casual as he professed.

"Not so much, but I wasn't sure how you'd feel about it," she added nervously before looking away. How did he always cut to the crux of the matter in a single question?

""I'm just glad someone bought me. I was afraid they'd have to toss me in a grab bag or something just to get rid of me." His remark was flippant, not pressing Jan on their past relationship too much. For all the months they had served together and his staying aware of her career throughout the years, Jan knew she and Kirk were not friends, yet he seemed willing to act the part today.

"I hardly think that would have been an issue, sir," Janice said with a roll of her eyes, Kirk trying to be humble, was not a convincing act.

"Call me Jim, Janice," Kirk offered with a little laugh, "it's bad form to call your date 'sir'. It kills the mood."

"Well then, Jim, I don't think you had anything to worry about. I mean, a float down the Seine, a dinner in Paris, most women would tolerate some pretty bad company for such a nice evening." Jan grinned at him, enjoying the give and take.

"Touché'" Kirk laughed at her jab.

A gust of wind almost took off with Jan's hat but she caught it, then decided to remove it and the wig, tossing them together on the bench between them. A quick tug on her hair clasp and Jan's own mane cascaded around her shoulders. She shook her head side to side a few times to settle it and was startled by the intense way Kirk was watching her. Freezing, like a deer, Jan held still as he reached out and pulled one errant strand into place.

"Blonde suits you better than brunette," he declared softly as he gingerly caressed her cheek, smoothing her hair back behind one ear.

"Thank you, Jim." Jan smiled shyly at the compliment.

"I always wanted to watch you style your hair in that basket weave," he teased, backing up from the sensual undercurrent growing between them and trying for the understanding that had once been theirs.

"Oh, all the boys did," Jan quipped playfully, ironically more comfortable with the kidding. "Mister Scott called it a feat of Engineering, saying any lass that could defy gravity and come out of a phase red alert without a hair out of place definitely belonged in Engineering. I think it was his sole reason for recommending me to AdTech School," she added, only partly in jest.

"You did always present yourself as rather 'dainty'. Even though I knew you had the aptitude, I was surprised when you took him up on the offer," Kirk answered candidly.

"I think the term you're trying not to use is 'frou-frou'. I was *very* frou-frou back then." They both laughed at her admission. "The backlash of growing up in a mining colony as the only girl in a house full of brothers. I could do the job as well as any of them but I was tired of lubricant, sensor dust and the smell of burnt relays. When I got a chance to get away and go into space, I took it. Of course, the first place they wanted to assign me was Engineering. I refused and ended up in Administrative Services."

"I'm glad you finally saw the light and took Scotty up on his offer. At least you listened to one of us." Kirk sighed dramatically at her stubbornness.

"I listened to you too. I just needed a little longer to make the leap you offered me." Jan acknowledged with pride his desire and recommendation for her to enter the OCS program.

"Yes, and look at you, you're already a lieutenant," Kirk beamed at her, this time sincere in his praise for her advancement. "You'll be caught up with the rest if they're not careful."

Jan knew he meant Uhura, Chekov and Sulu, the core junior officers of his old command team. "I heard you're recruiting them as mentors for Mister Spock's end of year training cruise."

"Yes, I can't go out into space with just cadets. They may be Spock's most promising students, but I'm too old for *that much* danger." Kirk still had humor in his tone but Rand caught the underlying edge of distaste that had little to do with the cadets, except perhaps for an envy of their youth.

"Ah, yes, but I much prefer the celebration of maturity over the celebration of youth," she sympathized good-humoredly, only Kirk would consider himself old by having barely lived a third of his expected lifespan.

"There is nothing to celebrate when you reach my age," Kirk scoffed in derision.

"Sure there is. You're never too old for cake, ice cream and presents. I think turning twenty-nine was worse than turning forty-nine."

Kirk did a double take at Rand's confession. He knew she was a year older than him but she had always seemed so much younger in appearance and action.

"I know what you're thinking. Yes, in some ways it took me a long time to grow up, but I'm not that awkward yeoman anymore." She hoped he could see that was the truth.

"I wasn't thinking that. I was thinking you didn't look your age then and you still don't now." His smile was no longer melancholy.

"Thank you, I think that's probably the best spin I've heard in a long time." Jan smirked, despite the way her heart revved at the compliment.

"I am good, aren't I?" The humbleness was gone, replaced with good- humored ego and an impish shrug of his shoulders.

"Very." An admonishing glance was the best she could muster to accompany her reply.

A hard gust of wind blew in and set Jan's teeth to chattering. "You know, as much as I love San Francisco, I wish it could have a summer during *summer*. It always feels stupid to wear a coat in August."

"I know," Jim commiserated, finishing the last of his coffee, "during this time of the year I try to spend as many weekends as possible at my cottage in Anacortes."

"Anacortes? Where is that?" The idea of some place warm perking Jan's curiosity.

"It's north of Seattle in the San Juan Islands. It used to support an oil refinery, but nowadays it's pretty much a sleepy town with a fishing fleet and an art colony." His smile was full of warm memories and sudden insight. "In fact, I think they're having their annual art festival this weekend."

"Oh God, that sounds like fun." Imagery of street vendors awash in a sea of color suddenly popped into Jan's mind.

"You want to ditch Paris and go there instead? The festival runs until dark tonight and there's some beautiful scenery to take in if you've never been in the area." Kirk seemed to warm up to the idea and reeled off a whole change in plans. "We could check out the festival today, I could prepare you a fresh salmon dinner at my place tonight and then we could sight-see tomorrow. If you have the time, my place has plenty of room."

Jan's head was spinning at how a promised few hours in Kirk's company had quickly turned into a few days. She tried to regain her composure before speaking. "It sounds great, but I'd have to go pack a few things."

Shaking his head, Kirk tried to put her worries to rest. "No, you don't, the house has a full service replicator. I hate to pack and unpack; it's a waste of time and stifles spontaneity."

Jan grinned and decided not to touch the spontaneity comment. She was sure she was not the only woman to have been invited to spend some time there taking in the sights. Just what sights were still to be determined. "Then lets go! Sun and art festival? A home-cooked dinner? Who could pass that up?"


Jan thought the best part about being an Admiral had to be unlimited transporter credit. Public transporter stations were always jammed with people in a hurry, but military stations would beam flag officers wherever they asked to go at a moment's notice. It was a nice perk for someone earth-bound.

Arriving at the town station, Kirk and Rand stepped out into the warm sunshine and quickly decided their jackets were no longer needed. Stripping them off, Jim took both jackets inside the shop next door and asked the owner, a friend of his, if he would keep them while they enjoyed the sights. Now, divested of encumbrances, they could wander the hundreds of booths that made up the festival.

The afternoon was a whirlwind of colors, smells and textures. From the wild primary pigments of a striking impressionistic painting, to the heady masculine scent of fresh leather a craftsman was turning into a stylish purse, Jan was impressed by the vast array of talents on display. Stained glass, hand-blown glass, pottery, wire sculptures, paintings in every medium, hand woven fabrics, they were all examples of the traditional arts, not the current version of holograms and layered digital work that many called art today. Those fields seemed to be monopolized by technicians rather than artists. Jan supposed they were all art, but somehow, she thought the older forms were more from the creator's heart than his intellect.

Over the course of their wandering, Jan noticed she and Kirk had mostly found a comfort zone with each other. It was not the same familiarity as before, but it was not limited by their old relationship either. As the afternoon progressed, Kirk had taken her hand in his, keeping Jan close by him when the crowds got thick. It was a simple intimacy, yet far more than anything he would have shared with her on the Enterprise.

As they neared the final few booths, Jim set her pulse racing when he came up behind her as she admired one last painting. Her mind forgot the textured leaves captured in metallic oils and concentrated on the heat standing at her back. The natural scent of him intertwined with the remnants of his cologne, making Jan's nostrils flare in excitement and her skin flush all over. The hairs at the nape of her neck bristled in electric spark as his exhalations teased the dampness on her skin. He had to know what he was doing to her. A hand coming to rest softly upon her hip almost made her scream.

"Lovely," he murmured near her ear. Thankful for the break in the tension, Jan cut her eyes to his, thinking he was commenting on the canvas but discovered his eyes were looking in admiration at her.

Her lips were mere inches from his. She looked from his eyes to his mouth and back again before speaking. "Didn't you mention something about cooking me dinner?" It was all she could do to keep herself from turning into him and meeting those sensual lips.

"I did. Would you care to help me shop for this momentous occasion?" His smile was a complex medley of humor and desire.

"I would. Should I call the press?" She liked this game of 'tease and take'.

Laughing at her comeback, he spun Jan around and started her in the direction of the market, muttering good-naturedly, "You always *did* think you were in charge...."


Jan was still giggling as they pulled up in front of Kirk's house. The drive from the market had been a short one, but not something she had anticipated as they had shopped for dinner. Kirk had persuaded Troy, store-clerk and local youth of some acquaintance, to loan them his scooter so they would not have to 'walk all that way home'. Apparently it did not occur to Troy that they could call a cab. Apparently, seeing the scooter parked out front had given Jim the idea that two people balancing bags of groceries on a bike would be *fun*. Jim got the bike, promising to park it safely out front so Troy could pick it up after work. He even made Leon, another steam-rollered clerk, promise to give Troy a ride to retrieve said scooter.

"Jim, that was just wrong on so many levels," Jan tried to scold between snickers as she slid off the back of the scooter.

"Why? He could have said no. We needed a way home; his scooter was a way," Jim answered too innocently.

"Who has ever been able to tell you no?" Jan laughed challengingly as they neared the front entry, looking at Jim rather than the house they were nearing.

"More people than I care to remember," Kirk answered with arched brows as he palmed the door open. "Now, come in and make yourself at home."

The house was just like Jim, a blend of today and the historical. One wall of the living room was lined with real books while another was dominated by a Deltan fertility shawl. Two extremely overstuffed chairs were positioned near the fireplace, a Rigelian barter table between them, proudly displaying a handsomely carved antique marble chess set.

Trying to take in everything at once, Jan followed Jim into the kitchen as he deposited the bags of groceries unceremoniously on the counter. "Your house is beautiful," was all the eloquence she could summon.

"No, what is beautiful is still to be seen." Taking a quick look at his wine rack, Jim chose a bottle and grabbed an opener as he motioned with his head toward a cabinet near Jan. "Snatch a couple of glasses out of there and come see what is really beautiful." Jim walked outside onto the deck, leaving Jan to follow.

"They call this Sunset Beach," Jim announced in a soft and slightly reverent voice. "All it took for me to see was this," he motioned toward the horizon, "and I knew this house had to be mine."

One step outside and Jan knew exactly what Kirk meant, the sun was melting into the ocean as they watched. Jan felt, rather than saw, Kirk take the glasses from her hands because she could not tear her eyes away from the view. The receding yolk stained the sky in warm tones of orange and red, while cool indigo slashed through the brilliance, beginning to lay claim of the sky for itself. She stood, transfixed, as nature painted a real work of art right before her eyes. The sun was gone but the sky was still glowing as Kirk handed Jan a glass of wine. "It will stay this light for hours, sort of dusk in limbo."

Still entranced by the sunset, Jan sipped her wine, whispering, "My God, that was beautiful." She turned and watched Kirk light a fire in a wide copper basin, its sturdy wrought iron frame a commanding presence on the low table that had residence of the deck. The young flames that began to lick the charwood in the pit cast Jim in an intimate glow and Jan's voice caught in her throat, unable to say anything more about beauty. The flicker of the firelight danced in his eyes for a moment, the flinty sparks shining like embers before he backed out of the reach of its luminescence.

Jim looked up at her and smiled, seemingly unaware she had lost her ability to speak. "How about I start the salmon and you create that salad that seemed to become a part of the meal? I don't know why you keeping trying to make me eat green stuff," Kirk chuckled in mostly feigned exasperation as he walked back into the kitchen.

Eye contact broken, Janice finally found her voice, "*I* didn't pick out the asparagus," she tossed back in her defense, following him inside.

"Everybody knows roasted asparagus goes with grilled salmon--it's tradition. I'm only eating it out of reverence for our culture." The grin that went with that line of blarney was scandalous.


It was nearly ten o'clock and the sky still glowed faintly. Jan stood out on the deck, sipping a very nice pinot noir, the remnants of their second bottle. Kirk had excused himself and gone back inside for a moment. She had admitted to Kirk that dinner was delicious. True to his word, he had prepared a wonderfully pan-seared salmon drizzled with a balsamic reduction. She noticed he had put away quite a bit of 'the salad' too.

Momentarily alone, Jan considered the tension she still sensed between them, thinking it finally of a good kind. Gone was the feeling of his distancing, the unease she remembered of her last few weeks aboard Enterprise. She had confessed to Kirk her interest in him while down on Miri's Planet, something forbidden for one who worked so closely with the captain. It was not uncommon to be alone with him in his quarters for hours, compiling reports, finalizing logs, all the administrative work that necessitated why the captain even had a yeoman. Her admission had compromised their working relationship. Somehow, the sickness from the aging virus was not given the same latitude as a transporter malfunction. Maybe her fight with Sulu had been for the best--it made her accept Mister Scott's recommendation--giving her a face-saving way of leaving Kirk's command without being just another love-sick crewwoman.

But now the air between them crackled with anticipation, not dread. They had danced around each other once or twice in the kitchen, their bodies occasionally rubbing as they worked next to each other preparing dinner. Tonight, Kirk was at ease in Jan's company, making jokes and flirting during the meal, finding reasons to touch her as he had never done in the past. It was Heaven.

Barefoot and sans jacket, Janice shivered from the gentle breeze blowing in off the water. It moved her to take a seat next to the fire pit just as Kirk returned bearing a draped tray and a wicked smile. "Can I interest you in--s'mores?" he asked, whisking away the napkin with a flourish.

"Oh my God! I haven't had any of those since I was on the Enterprise!" Janice laughed and flushed at the same time, remembering how she used to make them as a treat for Kirk, something to appease his sweet tooth and provide a burst of energy when they had late night work sessions. It touched her that he obviously considered those memories good ones. Back then, she had thought the treats overwhelmingly rich. Now, looking at the tray laden with marshmallows, graham crackers and chocolate bars, she suddenly developed a craving for the ooey-gooey confection.

"Good! Me neither." Kirk laughed as he sat the tray down on the table next to the fire pit and made himself comfortable on the deck. He patted the area next to him in encouragement for her to join him at eye level to the flames. As she eased down to the decking, Kirk loaded a marshmallow on a skewer, grinning like a kid as he handed it to Jan. "You melt and I'll squish," he delegated as he began breaking the crackers and chocolate into perfect squares.

Jan burnt the first one but Jim claimed he liked charred sugar and made his s'more with the blackened clump of goo. Her second marshmallow toasted much better and Jan almost felt guilty for eating it herself. The tastes of the chocolate and the cracker practically exploded in her mouth with a rush of berry flavors as she sipped her wine. The commingling of sweet and tart was nearly a sexual experience and, looking over at his dark eyes; Jan knew Kirk had planned it as such. Still holding the look between them, Janice squeezed her s'more, pushing the chocolate out past the edge of the cracker. She held the cracker slightly up above her head and licked the oozing chocolate that threatened to drip. The tip of her tongue played in the gap between the layer of crackers, showing its skill at claiming all the ooey goodness it found there.

A soft moan came from Kirk as he watched, enthralled by her violation of the s'more. Finally making his move, he leaned over and kissed the trace of chocolate that clung to the edge of her mouth. His tongue made short work of it and then moved over her lips, seeking entrance. Jan let him in, savoring his flavor more than the dessert. One of Jim's hands came up and buried itself in her hair while the other slid around her waist, pulling her closer to him.

It was almost an out of body experience, the reality of being in his arms. It was all happening in slow-motion. She could feel the tug on each strand of her hair as he ran his fingers through it, each wrinkle in her dress as his other hand moved slowly up her body and gently cupped her breast. Her nipple flared to life as his thumb brushed against it, teasing with delicate strokes. His lips were soft but demanding as they nuzzled against her neck before reclaiming her mouth, his tongue exploring her own.

Jan did not know how her hand got inside his shirt, but she reveled in the feel of his skin and the dense muscle under her touch. Her other hand found itself at the top of his thigh and she moved it inward to capture him. He growled low in his throat at her caress against his hardness, pushing back involuntarily in response. He throbbed in her hand and Jan's pulse matched the beat.

Her own breath grew ragged as his hand began a sensual journey up her bare leg. Reaching the wet satin of her panties, Jim pulled back slightly and looked into her eyes. Jan could feel the heat from the fire pit against her face but it was nothing compared to the incendiary scorching of his stare. The fire cast his face half in shadow and half in orangy glow, ironically dividing him again into light and dark, much like their last horribly intimate encounter. The hunger in his questing eyes thrilled her like prey, summoning old memories and a heavy surge of adrenaline. It lasted less than a second but Kirk registered the momentary flinch.

Jan took a deep breath to settle herself and looked hard at Jim, realizing this time the eyes asked for permission, this time the hand was held out, waiting for her to come to him. She found the strength to nod her head, giving a silent answer to his silent question. With new confidence and renewed desire, she grasped his hand and allowed him to pull her to her feet. The past was the past and she could do nothing to change that ugly moment between them, but she could damn well fight to keep it from ruining her chance to experience his attentions the right way.

In the bedroom he effortlessly removed her dress, leaving it in a heap at her feet. Jan made herself busy undoing the buttons of his shirt, pushing it off his shoulders and trapping his arms in the sleeves. She started to leave the useless tie around his neck--liking the absurdity of it against his bare skin--but decided to add it to the pile of clothing on the floor. Still entangled in the shirt, Jan laughed when Kirk stood stock-still as she unzipped the fly of his jeans. Pushing them off his hips, she grinned even more, understanding his stillness when she realized he was 'commando' under the jeans.

All their clothes soon encountered the floor and Jan found herself pressed back against the bed. Closing his lips over one of Jan's nipples, Jim kissed and sucked it while one hand roamed lower and slid inside her. She moaned as he explored her deeply. Breaking contact with her breast, he captured her lips, quieting her cries but not the rhythmic rocking of her hips against his hand. He used his knee to make room for himself between her legs and slowly began to work himself down her body. Jan writhed uncontrollably as he nibbled and kissed his way down. Pulling his fingers away, he replaced them with his tongue, pushing her legs up the bed, holding them wide as he settled himself between her thighs and pleasured her.

Jan came hard and he slipped his fingers in once again, keeping her on the crest of one long orgasm. Finally, unable to bear anymore, she pulled Jim up to her, kissing him deeply before pushing him against the pile of pillows. She made her own survey of his body, tasting his throat and nipples before allowing him a view of how she swallowed his cock. She licked and teased his head before taking all of him. As her lips closed around his shaft he hissed and slid his hands into her hair, abandoning his fingers to its thickness.

Jan lost herself in bringing to life all of her old fantasies and Jim soon was moving his hips to match her pace. He froze and begged her to stop, telling her he was near the edge, but she only grinned up at him and sucked harder. She knew he would not last long inside her if she stopped now and she wanted that ride to last a long, long time. Liking the idea of being in control, she stroked him hard and felt him tense with the first tremor of coming. He erupted in her mouth and down her throat as his own body went rigid. His hands once again locked in her hair and held her still as he shuddered several more times before releasing his grip and pulling her up to lay against him.

"I'm useless now," he grinned at her lopsidedly.

"Oh, I don't believe that," she whispered mischievously against his lips as she ran her fingertips along his flank.

"Well, maybe not useless..." He laughed evilly as he proceeded to demonstrate to her just how many different ways he could make her scream.

In the end, she was right, he was not useless and she had the ride of her life. He was more talented than even she had dreamt he would be. He rode her and then she rode him, sweating and sliding across each other's bodies as they sought ecstasy together. Jan cried out as she came repeatedly. Not ready to let her drift, Jim drove deeply into her, massaging her hard bud with his fingers. He pounded her again and again, seeking his own release. Right on the edge, she brought him with her as she tensed around him one last time. He cried out as he came, holding onto her tightly until the surge calmed down.


In the soft color of morning fog, Jan awoke to Kirk stroking her hair as it cascaded across his chest and belly. Sometime during the night she had curled against him and slept with her head resting on his stomach--a very hungry stomach by the sound of it.

"Sounds like someone needs breakfast," she teased, grinning up at him. God, he was a beautiful sight to wake up to! The night had been better than all her dreams combined and now she was staring up into nearly amber eyes--smiling eyes twinkling like little suns.

"I burned up a lot of calories last night, didn't you?" He smirked at Jan but tenderly brushed her hair out of her face as she rolled over and looked at him.

"I think you're the best weight loss plan ever." Jan's heart trilled at the smile that lit up his face, quite content with the silliness of their conversation, in fact, thankful that they could just keep it fun. "But I think somebody needs feeding, so why don't I show you I know how to cook too?" Patting his growling tummy, Jan rose from the bed, grabbing Kirk's shirt from the floor and slipping it over her nakedness. Appreciating the heat in his eyes, she leaned down, kissing him in a way that promised more to come before walking to the kitchen.

It did not take long for him to follow her, arriving in nothing but his jeans from last night. Almost without thinking, she handed him a cup of coffee, strong and black, just the way he liked it, then snatched another kiss before returning to her cooking. She had loved pampering him on the Enterprise but it had been a long fight to get him to accept any of it. Now, he was eagerly looking over her shoulder as she mixed pancake batter, looking very content at her efforts to feed him.

"Can we have bacon too?" he asked with pleading puppy eyes.

Jan branded him with her own stare, trying hard to silently explain that he should not push his luck, but quickly realized that was always a wasted effort with Kirk. "You find me bacon and I'll cook it," she gave in with a good-humored sigh and shake of her head.

The bacon appeared.


"God, those were good pancakes, Jan," Kirk acknowledged with one last bite.

"What about the bacon? You *better* have liked the bacon," she grinned at him with a cocky tilt of her head.

"It's all gone, isn't it?" He proudly pointed to the empty platter allowing it to speak for him and then frowned slightly, as if suddenly sad it *was* all gone.

"Just don't tell Doctor McCoy it was me that fattened you up, okay? I'm over being reprimanded for letting you cheat on your diet." Jan shook her head at the memory of some of those tirades. She had gotten very good at playing dumb and innocent. In fact, she had enjoyed sneaking him treats when McCoy had him on rations. She knew she was not the only one to do it either, a sample of fudge, or a few home-made cookies always seemed to be shared with the Captain when the crew received care packages from home. It became a game for some to sneak him goodies when they saw Kirk eating salads in the Mess. McCoy never figured out how he got the contraband treats, but he never quit trying to staunch the flow.

"I never tell McCoy anything, especially about what I eat," he said with a positively rakish grin and Jan suddenly blushed, knowing he had left the topic of food and moved on to other things.

Seeing him sitting across from her, shirtless and tan, no sign of the s'mores, pancakes or bacon yet evident on his nicely matured and muscled frame, Jan forgot about food too. The kitchen remained a wreck as they revisited the devastation of the bedroom.


"I did promise you a tour of the sights around here," Kirk offered in sighed apology from his side of their shared pillow; it seemed all the others had found their way to the floor.

"I've been enjoying quite a few sights, thank you," Jan snickered and waggled her brows, unable to pass that line up with a more serious answer.

The humor that lit his eyes told Jan that feeling was mutual, but he rolled out of bed and peeked up at the sky through the bedroom window. "Yes, well, I would still like to take you out to Washington Park, and maybe Deception Pass too. It would be a sin for you to miss either place while you're here."

The image of him looking over his shoulder, framed by the muted light from the window, nearly seared itself into her retina. "Then I suggest you take those delicious cheeks into the shower or we're doomed for failure." Jan sat straight up in bed, covering her mouth with her hands and tried to stifle the sniggering giggles that threatened to take possession of her, not believing what had just come out of her mouth.

Shoulders shaking from laughter he could not contain, Kirk turned with arms raised in surrender, "Yes, ma'am, heading for the shower now, ma'am," a mocking salute tossed in and he was off to the shower.


They made it to the park without any further incident, unless one called a fit of giggles at the sight of Jim in bike shorts something out of the ordinary. She had tried not to notice the nice outline his posterior had presented in the close-fitting shorts, but it was just too much to ask of her. He had sighed and looked plaintively up at the sky, but Jan knew he enjoyed the attention. However, she was very put out that *she* had to lead the way on their short ride to the park. Some cryptic remark of 'tit for tat' did not temper her loss.

The sun was on the decline as they reached a high point on the loop road and Kirk called a halt. The view was magnificent and Jan was entranced by a lone, gnarled evergreen, practically bare of greenery, yet still standing sentinel at the edge of the rocky, sloping bluff. Leaving the bikes and walking to the twisted landmark, it seemed as old as the rock itself and Jan felt a certain sense of serenity in its presence.

"It's called the 'look-out tree' by the locals." Stroking the bare trunk, worn smooth by the constant wind during the ages it had stood vigil, Kirk nodded out over the cold waters to the left and right of their position. "If you stand in it's crook, you can pretty much see all of Burrow's Channel and most of Rosario Strait."

"It seems wise to me," Jan remarked soberly as she stared solemnly at the ancient evergreen, not caring if Kirk made fun of her for attributing wisdom to a plant.

"You're not the first person to say that," he answered with a shrug of his shoulders. "Lots of decisions have been made with this tree's help." He did not offer if he was speaking from personal experience or still from local legend.

They walked down the slope and took a seat on the grass, content to take in the view. The warm sun and steady breeze were very relaxing, especially to those that had gotten little sleep the night before. Jim leaned back upon his elbows, focusing his stare out over the water and seemingly lost in his own thoughts.

"Janice, why did you come to the bachelor auction yesterday?" His laughing eyes were gone and Jan realized now they had probably been camouflage all along.

Her heart somewhere in her throat, Jan tried to appear calm, she had been expecting this question since yesterday afternoon. She never expected her original flippant answer to satisfy him for long. Sitting up, she looked over into serious, expectant eyes and knew it was time to confess.

"Have you ever known someone who, no matter when you see them, no matter how long it's been or under what circumstances, that you feel a jolt? I mean, like a current of electricity passing through your body?" Not waiting for him to answer what was a rhetorical question anyway, Jan pressed on. "Well, that's what you do to me. You've always had that affect on me, and, no matter where I go or what I do, when I see you my heart races and the room overheats." She broke eye contact with him and looked back at the old tree, seeking some of that serenity it had shared with her earlier.

"I know now it's just natural attraction, my body's response to what it instinctively prefers, but I can't seem to outgrow it. So, I thought maybe if I sought you out--now, when our careers and relationships wouldn't be compromised--I thought maybe I could get you out of my system." She knew her cheeks were flaming red by the heat she felt but she refused to give in to embarrassment, that was the old Janice, not the woman she was now. Instead, she finished her confession by looking him straight in the eye.

His eyes were still serious, but kind. He leaned over and gave her a soft kiss, his hand coming up to hold her chin, making her look at him. "I'm glad one of us was brave enough to do it." His smile was tender--even shy--and Jan felt her mouth gape open as she processed his own confession.

"Did you think you were the only one with feelings they had to keep under lock and key? You weren't, but a captain can't allow himself to notice a beautiful yeoman. And, if he notices, he certainly can't act upon it. When you left, you took away the temptation, but not the desire. When I saw you yesterday, I thought the same as you, perhaps now we could share a moment together." His eyes were searching, trying to gauge her reaction.

Jan thought he had never been more handsome than when he looked at her then, his expression a guarded mixture of humility and uncertainty, a rare look for Jim Kirk. Years of suppressed anxiety oozed out of her, turning her limbs to jelly. She had not expected a reciprocation of her confession, at best she had hoped for an understanding tolerance of her nagging obsession.

"If I faint, will you keep me from falling off this cliff?" Jan asked in a breathless voice once she could speak at all, practically delirious from the endorphins running amuck in her system. "Since this date has turned out pretty good so far, I guess I can spare you a few more hours." She bumped her forehead against his to take the sting out of her words.

"You're too kind," he answered drolly, tolerating her teasing but suddenly looking serious again. "You said something about not compromising relationships *now*. What did you mean by that? Did it compromise a relationship in the past? Was I the problem between you and Sulu?" His eyes were intense again, his brain busily dissecting everything she had just said for more clues.

"I didn't even realize you knew Sulu and I were a couple back then. We tried to keep it discreet." Her relief short-lived, Jan pulled back in surprise at how much he had known about her personal life and how quickly he had taken a Freudian choice of words and connected the dots.

"I knew about you two, but it wasn't against regulations and neither of you let it affect your work, so what business was it of mine? Should I have made it my business?" he asked in an edged tone.

"No, if you had said anything one way or the other it would just have made matters worse. Sulu is devoted to you, but he can also be jealous of you, especially where I am--was--concerned. He always felt like he was second choice, that if you would have noticed me, he wouldn't even have been in contention." She could not believe she was telling him this, her shared dirty laundry with Sulu, it seemed so wrong to say yet she could not stop herself.

"Jan, was he wrong to think so? No man wants to come in second." The question was carefully spoken, dancing around the implication of cuckolding.

"No--maybe--I don't know. We broke up because he told me I should just go ahead and seduce you, so I might be able to get on with my life. I was crushed and angry at him for saying something so cruel. Now I understand, many years too late, that he was right all along." She looked stricken and then resigned, knowing it was far too late to take back any of her words. Admitting her attraction to Kirk was one thing, confessing how it had come between she and Sulu was something else.

"Do you still love him?" Keeping his voice calm, he asked the only question that really mattered.

"Yes, but that's my problem, not yours. I haven't seen him in over two years and then it was chilly at best." She answered truthfully for all the good she felt it would do her. Sulu had been polite but cool the last time she had seen him. Frankly, if it had not been in a crowded social situation, Jan doubted she would have gotten that much of a response.

"Well, I happen to know he's on my duty roster for three weeks in March. Do you think Admiral Cartwright would let you take a quick tour for old time's sake? I'm sure Spock wouldn't mind another mentor for his cadets." Kirk's mind was formulating a plan to reacquaint her with Sulu, calculating and dismissing perceived roadblocks like a war game instead of a romance.

"No, that wouldn't be a good idea, he'd just think I was doing it to be close to you again." Jan shook her head sadly at his offer, knowing he meant well, but that it was doomed for failure. When she had been transporter chief on the Enterprise during the V'ger crisis, Jan had seen it in Sulu's eyes then, his suspicions about her feelings once Kirk was assigned permanent command. She had transferred off the ship as soon as she could.

"I'm sorry," Kirk offered tightly, wavering, as if he felt it was both too much and too little.

"It's not your fault I made a mess of things. Maybe, someday he'll forgive me. Thank you for the offer, though; I have no doubt you could get me a berth if you tried." She looked away, unable to focus and unwilling to let him see how close she was to tears.

"I'm not an Admiral for nothing, you know." He might be facetious with his remarks, allowing her a little breathing room in a conversation that had taken too dark a turn, but Jan knew he was serious about his offer. "Now, why don't we get back on our bikes and ride to Deception Pass before my joints seize up here on the ground?" He lectured from his spot on the grass, holding out a hand, pretending to need assistance.

"I'm not going to feel sorry for you. *I* wasn't the one to say, 'oh, it looks like a beautiful day for a bike ride.' So, buck up, Mister." Jan scoffed as she got up and dusted the dirt off her hands, totally ignoring him on the ground. She wanted the lightness between them to return--she needed it--fought for it. Humor could hide all sorts of pain and Jan knew Kirk understood that very well.

"Damn, do you talk to Cartwright like this?" Kirk, still sitting, asked with brows furrowed, a laughable pout in his voice. He pretended he had not seen the shimmer of tears in her eyes.

"No, but then the circumstances aren't quite the same between us either." Jan replied blandly, biting her cheek to hold in repressed laughter, loving him all the more for his unspoken understanding.

"Oh, well then, I see your point," Kirk conceded, a silly grin on his face as he managed to get up under his own power.


Jan was awed by the size of the trees that surrounded them, all giants that provided substantial shade from the sun. The ride to the pass was much longer than their short trip to the park. By tacit agreement all serious topics of discussion were banned as they pedaled along the curving road. If anything, they rode in silence most of the way, side by side when the road allowed. It gave Jan a great opportunity for some silent introspection.

One of her considerations was Kirk. Jim had stripped his sweatshirt off and tied it around his waist, leaving just the clingy bike shirt for protection. Jan did not need to be a physicist to understand why she was still attracted to him. At nearly fifty, he had only gotten better with age. Jan's natural affinity for broad shoulders and a strong frame was highly rewarded when she looked at him. While Jim had definitely filled out over the intervening years, he had not gone soft. His arms were etched with muscle as the sun glistened off sweating skin--tanned skin that was a deeper bronze than when he had been in space--a natural byproduct of being on Earth and loving the outdoors. His hair had developed quite the curl and grown significantly darker, even if the bright summer sun was still broadcasting strong highlights of gold and copper.

The physical attractions were numerous, but Jan had been surprised and thrilled by his easy demeanor with her. Although she knew it to be an anomaly in his regular behavior, he had been remarkably relaxed and carefree the whole weekend. Maybe he had been seeking something himself--sanctuary perhaps--a familiar face in the crowd, someone from the past who allowed and accepted him just as he was. Amazing how nostalgia made the past a safe haven from the present. It had to be hard to be a demigod to all those around you. Even more so than on the Enterprise, at the Academy he was a living legend. To the thousands of cadets he was heralded as the epitome of the classic Starfleet Officer. Jan did not envy the burden he shouldered.

Now, she understood, he was just a man nearing his fiftieth year who was trying to survive and do his part to make the universe a better place. It warmed her heart to know he trusted her enough to share a part of his real self with her, for once letting his guard down in her presence and just being Jim Kirk. He was relying on her to grant him grace, counting on her affection for him to let him be mortal. Ironically, when she was a yeoman she had considered him just as the cadets did these days, practically a deity. Now, she thought maybe his spending time with her was an attempt to escape all of that pressure.

The swirling aquamarine waters that flowed under the bridge were nearly irresistible in their call. Jan stood on the old iron bridge, caught up in watching the tiny vortices within the chaotic current between Fidalgo and Whidbey islands. Kirk had pointed out to her the dedication plaque that explained the bridge was built in the 1930's by the Civilian Conservation Corps. The corps being an organization founded by President Roosevelt during the Great Depression to train starving men with employable skills, providing them an opportunity to make a living wage so they could sustain their families. A testament to their efforts, the bridge still stood, only needing the routine maintenance any structure of age would require.

"You want to walk down to the bottom?" Kirk asked enthusiastically, as if he expected nothing short of agreement.

Jan hated to disappoint him. "Maybe. Is there an escalator at the bottom to bring me back up?" Legs aching from the miles of pedaling to get there, Jan recognized sitting in Ops had softened her up more than she wanted to admit.

"No, but I suppose I could get you beamed out if absolutely necessary." His look told Jan that he would throw her over his shoulder and carry her back up the trail before he would call for such a rescue.

"Hmmm, if you promise I can wade in the water once we're down there, then I'll give it a go." The summer sun glistening off the chop made the water look far warmer than Jan knew it could be but she still intended to test it.

"Sure!--if you don't mind shriveled toes." Kirk slipped his hand into Jan's and pulled her to the top of the trail that ran steeply along the bluff that supported the bridge, not about to let her reconsider the deal.


The journey down the trail was humbling. No matter how many planets Jan visited during her career, the majesty of Earth's natural wonders could still overwhelm her. Huge red cedars, Sitka spruce and Douglas firs lined the path, guarded at their bases by enormous ferns that towered over them both, yet appeared insignificant when compared to the ancient behemoths that sheltered them. The ground was carpeted in a dense layer of fallen needles, deadening footfalls and allowing their journey to continue on in silence. A beam of sunlight made its way through the dense canopy of greenery, highlighting a botanical rosary of pinks and yellows, a flowering vine attempted to take full advantage of a break in the shade. The rich smell of humus was nearly inescapable, taking Jan hostage as it permeated her senses, the musty loam making her feel like she was in a cave and not skating down the side of a shore cliff.

The air was much cooler here in the shadows. The trail near the bottom of their descent was almost all shadow. A reverent hush encompassed them in the gloom except for the sound of the rushing current just outside their view. Jan was thankful for the sweatshirt tied around her waist, loosening the knot and slipping it on as the sweat from her earlier efforts grew chill against her skin. Kirk had yet to acknowledge the cold as he led the way to the water, turning back every so often to be sure Jan was in tow or to help her down a sharp grade in the path.

Exiting the scrub, Jan had to shield her eyes from the renewed brilliance of the sun. A careful journey over a ground littered with felled and trimmed trees finally brought them both to what passed for beach in the narrow straits. The ground was blanketed with smooth stone, the remnants of glacial erosion from the nearby Cascade Mountains. Flecks of silver and black mica embedded in the egg shaped rocks glittered like diamonds strewn along the beach. It was beautiful, appearing as pristine as the day it was created.

"Too bad we have to go back to San Francisco." Kirk sighed sadly as he looked out across the water. "We could have gone kayaking tomorrow. It's a rush to tackle the currents out there."

Jan looked skeptical as Kirk motioned in resigned longing toward the swirling vortices of the strait, the same whirlpools that had given her shivers as she watched them battle from the bridge above. "Ah, yes, too bad." She tried to sound sad, but knew there was more relief in her voice than disappointment.

"Fine, scoff at the chance. You'll regret it later." Jim scolded her lightly.

"Maybe, but right now all I want to do is wade in the shallows." Jan took his rebuke in good stead, walking out into the gentle waves breaking ceaselessly on the rocky shore. Even through her shoes the cold took her breath away. Once committed, she refused to retreat, slogging parallel to the beach, attempting to generate a bit of heat. Trying not to let Jim see her teeth chatter, Jan taunted, "What's the matter? Afraid of a few goose bumps?" She baited him as he stood resolutely on the beach, showing no interest in joining her in the frigid water. "It's invigorr-rating," she claimed with only a mild stutter from the freeze.

Kirk grinned at her false bravado. "No, I prefer to get my invigoration from other sources, thank you."

"Yeah, so I've heard, tame stuff like bull riding and free-climbing," she grinned back challengingly.

"Yep, pretty boring compared to polar bear wading. But, you know, if I join the club now it'll just mean somebody is going to get more than *her* feet wet." Both his tone and his look were mild, but Jan suddenly expended great energy in seeking the shore.

"Oh, no you don't!" she warned him off in a defiant but anxious voice as he took a step toward her.

"What?" Still wrapped in innocence, Kirk held his hands out from his sides, acting like he did not understand her warning or the stern look she gave him.

Jan bent down to scoop up a double handful of water, poised to attack with a drenching if he came any closer. Failing to stifle a giggle, she still managed to stand her ground. "I mean it! You'll get soaked if I do!" She watched him for even the slightest movement toward her.

Tilting his head, Jim bit his lip to keep from laughing out loud, but the corners of his eyes crinkled, showing Jan just how funny he considered her warning to be.

Jan knew she was in trouble--the grin--the innocence--it spelled doom for her remaining dry. Deciding it might be better to flee up the beach, away from the temptation of the surf, she bolted, hoping against hope for a reprieve. She lost. Strong arms caught her up before she had made three paces, lifting her off the ground. She tried to squirm free, laughing and squealing as she fought to avoid her fate.

"But it will be invigorating," he reminded her as he captured her flailing legs and marched into the water--soaking himself as much as he did Jan.

"God! Stop! Oh God, it's cold! Lemme outta here!" she screamed as he let her go and she struggled for the beach. Yanking off her sodden sweatshirt as she reached land, she turned and glared at him. "That's not funny!" Jan yelled, but found herself unable to suppress a perverse snigger. She watched Kirk drag himself out of the water, just as soaked as her but seeming not to care.

Looking up at the blazing sun overhead, he smirked and offered unrepentantly, "you'll dry," although the kiss he placed against her cheek did seem to propose a truce.

"That's beside the point," Jan bit back through choked laughter. She wanted to be mad but found it difficult to muster up a good tirade as Kirk casually stripped off his bike shirt. When he straddled one of the smooth fallen logs that littered the beach, stretching out, obviously intending to lay there until he was dry--she suddenly lost all thoughts of ill will. If they had been alone on the beach she would have taken him right where he lay. However, their antics had drawn the notice of other beachcombers, so she mimicked his behavior and gave herself to the sun instead.


Janice was rerouting a freighter full of heavy equipment from Delar to Geault, the recent victim of several massive earthquakes, when she felt Admiral Cartwright come and stand silently by her side. She knew, by his patient sigh, that he was waiting for her to give him her attention, not just attempting to observe her vaunted logistical skills.

"Yessir?", she asked, looking up expectantly into his grizzled, if strangely paternal, features. Cartwright was a hard man, but a fair one. She and Christine had grown so much under his command, glorying in his praise for a job well done or smarting from a thorough dressing down for something less than ideal. He taught them that their mistakes cost lives, lives already in crisis, often desperately depending on their skill and efficiency to save them. Both of his extremes toughened them up, made them a force to be reckoned with, someone who could give even a Tellarite a moment's pause. However, now, the stony expression on his face gave her no indication of what was on his mind.

"Lieutenant, I have an important communiqué I need you to deliver up top," he said quietly, using the fleet term for the main space station in orbit around Earth.

Jan cut her eyes over to Christine, who was studiously ignoring the whole conversation, while feeling her brow climb just a bit in surprise at his request. What could be so secret that an encrypted comm could not deliver safer and more discreetly? What was going on? She had been out of the local traffic loop for weeks with not much time to catch the scuttlebutt from Christine.

Admiral Cartwright cleared his throat, causing Janice to refocus her mind on his request. "Sir?" she asked on auto-pilot before catching herself and adding," I mean--yes sir," letting out her breath as his stern stare grew less so.

"Good. Take this padd up top and deliver it to bay four. Go nowhere else and speak to no one except the transporter chief. Got it?" His tone implied she better understand.

"Yessir," she replied guardedly, feeling like a parrot who only knew one phrase. It was not common to perform covert ops as a part of her day-to-day functions. Cartwright's closed features told her to shut up and follow orders--no questions this time. It was not something he asked of them often but she trusted him implicitly when he did.

"Yessir," she 'pollied' once again, taking the proffered padd from his hand, "Bay four, no stops, no talking." The best she could hope for was the rationale would become clear once she reached her destination.

"Good, now move out, Lieutenant." Cartwright motioned Rand on her way, watching her leave before glancing over at the tall brunette who had heard it all. "Got anything to say, Commander Chapel?" he challenged crustily.

"No sir!" Chris replied quickly, eyes locked on her board to keep her smile mostly in check. Just as Janice was monitoring transport traffic in the outer rim, she was doing the same locally--specifically--the comings and goings of up top. Christine *knew* who was assigned to bay four.

"I didn't think so," Cartwright grumbled, but Chris thought she heard a bit of veiled amusement just the same.


The trip up top was uneventful but Jan felt her heart racing anyway. The transporter chief waved her off, apparently already advised of her coming and dismissing her from any further attention. She stepped off the pad and sought the long spiral corridor that would spin her off toward her target.

Bay four was on the rearward edge of the tilted station, away from the view of the Earth, facing inky blackness far darker than any moonless night. The brilliance of Sol was not in sight through the small corridor windows as she approached the bay doors. Stopping to take a cleansing breath, Jan waved her hand over the door sensor, expecting it to approve her as a matter of course. Cartwright would not have sent her up without warning if he had not taken care of such details.

As the door opened, Jan saw three familiar faces turn toward her--two were surprised, the third, less so. The plot crystallized in her head and she fixed her eyes on the instigator wearing admiral's bars. Her heart still skipped a beat at the sight of Kirk, but now Janice just accepted it as a part of their reality. She could manage reality, it was fantasy that nearly unhinged her.

"Ah, Lieutenant, nice to see you. I think perhaps you have something for me?" Kirk grinned his most innocent smile, totally ignoring the sidelong glances from Uhura and McCoy. He had been quiet, practically morose up to this point in their journey to the Enterprise and anything bringing out the imp in him was immediately suspect.

"Yessir, I do," she acknowledged, playing straight man and not liking the role.

"Come, come, give it to me." Handing Uhura the book he currently held, he motioned Janice over to him, eager for the comm padd.

Jan brought it to him, a sense of deja-vu flashing through her head as the action triggered countless other times she had brought something for his signature or review. Yet, this time there was interest in her and the delivery, not just the perfunctory acknowledgement of duty. Kirk took the padd out of her hand, entered a cipher and scanned the message. Jan noticed he seemed to hold the padd out further away from himself than she remembered.

"Janice, it's good to see you again." McCoy smiled in delight before pulling her into a warm embrace.

"Thank you, Doctor. It's always a pleasure to see you too." She turned her smile on high and grinned into his bright blue eyes. It never mattered that McCoy thought of himself as everyone's father. His drawl and southern charm always turned her to mush when he used it against her.

Jan looked over at Nyota and laughed, knowing she understood all too well about the doctor's talent for bewitchment. Uhura laughed too, stepping up and hugging Jan, greeting her like family.

"Good to see you, Jan," she said cheerfully. "Did you get orders to come with us?"

Janice's eyes grew big and flicked over to Kirk who was still reading the padd. Her stomach did a small flip flop at the thought that the message she had just delivered could very well be exactly that. It would explain Cartwright's behavior, his acquiesce to an old friend's request against his better judgement.

Nyota caught the nervous glance and realized her innocent comment touched a sensitive area. She thought Jan was past her thing for Kirk, but the glance implied otherwise.

At that moment Kirk burst into laughter, drawing all their attention to him. He stood there and laughed, wiping a tear from the corner of his eye as he got himself under control.

"Janice!" he summoned, motioning for her to come near. She walked to him warily, confused and skeptical of what was going on but she tried to keep those thoughts to herself. "Tell Cartwright he got me with this one, will you?" His grin lit up his entire face, reminding Jan of how relaxed and fun he had been with her those many months ago.

"Yessir," she answered carefully, still bemused and lost by what was going on. Kirk and Cartwright were colleagues at best, not old Academy pals wont to play pranks against each other.

"What the hell is so funny, Jim?" McCoy demanded, never patient or discreet when he felt left out of the plot.

"Just a birthday joke, Bones, maybe later." Kirk turned, grinning at McCoy, his cheeks pinkening at the idea of even sharing the message from Cartwright.

Jan traded looks with Nyota, maybe it *was* just boy's club humor after all. She smiled sympathetically as Uhura rolled her eyes, knowing that the Communications chief had to deal with such far more than she did in Ops. Yet Jan knew Uhura had no problem taking them all--even Kirk--down a peg or two when she had reached her limit of testosterone.

Still standing close, Kirk reached out and hugged Janice in obvious goodbye. The dismissal was expected, the familiarity in front of others was not. Jan's own face flushed crimson as she hugged him back, knowing there were more looks being exchanged behind her back.

"Here he comes--now show him how you really feel," was whispered quickly into her ear. Jan's heart was in her throat. 'He' had to mean Sulu--but could she make him see past his hurt from so long ago?

"Sulu, look who's come to see us off!" Kirk shouted across the bay at the slender figure coming near. Sulu had been in the shuttle doing their preflight check off. Kirk, from his vantage point facing the docking port, had seen him re-enter the bay, timing his hug for best effect.

Jan turned quickly, breaking Kirk's embrace as if it were nothing. She fixed her eyes on Sulu, her face radiant and hopeful. Sulu walked toward them in a measured step, his eyes taking in everything--the closeness--the dismissal--the smiling blue eyes focused solely on him. She prayed he believed what he saw, that she had no longer had any doubts about her feelings for him.

"Hi, Jan, it's nice for you to come see us off." She heard him speak calmly, hoping the hesitancy in his voice could be attributed to surprise at getting a send off from an old friend.

"Oh, I wouldn't have missed it for the world." Jan improvised quickly, stepping closer to Sulu but still not sure of his reaction.

The ones not ensnared by the invisible tractor beam of old love shared another look amongst themselves. A novel could be written with all the unspoken communication flying around the bay. Surprise at just how blithely Jan had dismissed the long-time object of her affection being only the permafrost of the iceberg floating past them now. It had always been ignored--like the emperor's new clothes--but now the spell appeared broken. Despite the exposure, this emperor did not appear embarrassed by his nakedness, instead he seemed quite pleased to have lost his mantle of idolatry.

Cocking his head, motioning the other two toward the shuttle, Kirk stepped near the entranced couple and spoke kindly, "No rush, Mister Sulu, we have plenty of time."



Lofty Passions K/U [NC-17]

Image compiled by Iddy

Disclaimer: I own none of these characters and gain nothing but your interest.

Summary: A scene from a future story.  Takes place immediately after the 5yr mission and my nod to everyone's obligatory hayloft scenario.

He works in the barn with no shirt on because it's hot. The horses need fresh hay and he's in the loft, slinging some down to the stalls below. You just happen to climb up to see the view from the loft window and the afternoon sun is casting its warm, golden glow through the floating hay chaff and you see him in the glittering haze.

The heat has cast him in a warm sheen ...his skin glistening and making you burn with the need to touch the tiny rivulets as they run down his chest to the wonderful spot below his navel - where the hair peeks out from his low cut jeans. The spot you remember all too well and have tried to forget...

Your hands itch to pull the stray bits of straw off his back--jealous that they can touch him so intimately and you dare not. He looks up at you, his wayward lock wet with sweat and melted to his brow...the sun catches his eyes and you sit down on a handy bale, your knees too weak to sustain you.

He grins that little boy grin, delighted you changed your mind and decided it wasn't too dirty to visit after all. He stops and stands still, wiping his brow with the back of his hand, and you can only sit - lost in the ache of wanting to touch those muscles that ripple. He seems oblivious to what he is doing to you, but you know better, you know he does it just to drive you wild.

He reaches down and picks up a water bottle, taking a big swig of the cool nourishment and offering it to you, making you come to him if you want any.... You are on your feet and moving before you realize what it is he's offered. You reach out for the tantalizing bottle as he drops the prize and pulls you backward with him into the fresh bedding.

You find yourself in the hay, his warm lips on yours, teasing and tickling places you had forgotten, but he remembered. His hands roam your body, caressing it like a temple. You pray for salvation and kiss him back like a pilgrim in holy rapture. You stroke his slick body, touching the sweet spots that still call to you in your dreams.

Your hands move to his fly, working to free him from the tight jeans that have driven you crazy all day. You are not gentle; you are past that and he laughs against your mouth - delighted in your aggressiveness. Freed from his jeans, he decides to reciprocate. You find your shirt unbuttoned and sliding off your shoulders as you leverage yourself up, working on your own shorts. Your bra quickly follows; and you vaguely see it go flying across the loft....

Finally unrestrained, you push him back into the hay, straddling him in eagerness. His eyes are afire with just as much desire as you feel. Gone is the need for foreplay. You want him, need him inside you, just as much as you ever did on Potakai. You ravage his mouth and impale yourself on him. It is exquisite - the feeling of completion he gives you.

You move together - it will not last long - the mutual need is too great. You arch in ecstasy, his hips slamming hard into you, meeting your own driving rhythm. He pulls you down hard against his chest, crushing you to him and consuming you in a kiss as he comes. You hold on, accepting his passion like the desert devours rain. You lay across him, totally exhausted and contented at the same time.

He nuzzles your ear and whispers, " I missed you"....


Realizations Aftermath K/U [G]

Image courtesy of Paramount and moi

Disclaimer: Paramount owns Star Trek. I own everything else.

Summary: Based on TOS episode "The Tholian Web". A continuation of Uhura's encounter with Kirk on the Observation Deck.

Uhura barely made it into the lift before the doors closed. Running really late had made her careless. It also made her very alone with an equally late captain. She smiled awkwardly as she felt his cool gaze take her in.

"Good morning, Captain." She nodded tentatively, not sure how Kirk would react considering her unexpected kiss last night on the Observation deck. It seemed like an eternity before he deigned to respond.

"Good morning, Lieutenant. I see I'm not the only one tardy." He smiled pleasantly, courteous but impersonal.

So that is how it would be - a forgotten memory...


Longings, A Pale Knight K, Mitchell [PG]

Image courtesy of Paramount

Disclaimer: The characters are Paramount's, their actions are mine

How we became friends was a mystery to all - even to us.  You were always the noble one, the worthy one, and I paled by comparison. Normally, I would have scoffed at your chivalrous behavior, wanting nothing to do with such purity.  But you made me want it, you made me forget my cynical thoughts and dream I could be as worthy.

Your armor was so well fitting, the gleam so bright, it was hard to distinguish it from your natural glow.  Mine, not so well fitted, more a mask than a skin, but it served me well.  I did not use mine as often as you did yours - it's one good deed was stopping that deadly bolt aimed for you on Dimorus.  It pierced my plate, but only grazed skin.  You, fresh from your bath in the stream, would have died from its poison.

And now I lie here, momentarily mortal, catching my breath before battling you again.  The images of our youth run through my head and I know how this fight ends.

I've always known…

You will fulfill your destiny…you will slay this dragon.  Is that not what a White Knight is supposed to do?



By Strength of Will K/U [PG-13]

Image courtesy of Paramount and moi

Disclaimer: I earn no riches from Trek other than my fantasies.

Summary: A glimpse of how Kirk reacts to his feelings toward Uhura after "Healing Touch."


In the reality of Alpha shift, I ignore the curve of your neck, 
the tempting pulse at the base of your throat.
I will it away-- I will you away--
But you come to me in the Dark and I brush my lips against your 
skin, lose myself in your soft hair, your scent... .

In the harsh light of the Bridge, I ignore the velvet of your 
voice as you give me a communications update.
I will it away-- I will you away--
But in the Dark, you come to me and whisper in my ear, your warm 
breath arousing me without effort... .

In the relaxed atmosphere of the Rec deck, I ignore your playful 
flirts with the crew, with everyone, save me.
I will it away-- I will you away--
But you come to me in the Night, and I stand before you, 
demanding your attention from all the others... .

During the seriousness of a briefing, I ignore your luminous eyes 
and seek no solace in those depths.
I will it away-- I will you away--
But in the Night, you come to me and I lose myself in those 
moonless orbs and take more than comfort... .

During the heat of battle, I ignore the fear in my heart when I see 
you flung from your post.
I will it away-- I will you away--
But from the Depths, you come to me and I caress each bruise... .

And now, I lay here, caught between reality and fantasy, too 
spent to fight and too consumed by Duty to give in... .

And, I will it away-- I will you away--


Just Another Bedtime Story K/U, K/R [ PG-13]

Image courtesy of the Internet.  Thank you.

Disclaimer: I earn no riches from Trek other than my fantasies.

Summary: A coming to terms at the end of the first  five year mission. 


"Were you ever going to tell me?" Janice asked with just an edge to  her voice. 

"Tell you what, Jan? I don't know what you mean." Uhura asked in confusion, caught off guard by the seriousness of her friend's tone. The party was at an end and Uhura had believed herself all alone with her thoughts on the third floor Rec Deck. Perhaps the melancholy of tonight's farewell party for the crew and their families had struck too deep a chord in her former Enterprise shipmate.

"That you slept with the Captain." Rand clarified coldly, her eyes shiny--like winter ice in the sun. Her approach having been as silent as a panther stalking its prey. 

"Whatever gave you that idea?" Uhura stuttered, stunned by the direct accusation of a truth she had vowed to protect.

"I saw how you danced together tonight. Your bodies knew each other, danced their own dance. I know it when I see it, a lover's intimacy, and I saw it between you two." Janice continued, never wavering as she scrutinized Ny's face. 

"Jan-- I don't know what you saw-- " 

"It doesn't matter how long ago or how recent, the body always remembers." Rand interrupted matter-of-factly, "I'm not angry, Ny, just curious. Years ago it would have made me angry. Hell, it would have made me blind with jealousy. But now, even now, I wonder what it would be like…to be loved by him. I love Hikaru now, but there are--feelings--I still have to reckon with." Janice sighed softly and turned a distant stare toward the observation window.

"You know," she began haltingly, still staring into the void, "back during our first year, he came to me, came to my quarters and tried to rape me. A part of me didn't want to fight. A part of me wanted him, no matter the cost--" 

"Oh, Jan, you don't mean that!" Ny interjected as the rumors of who the *imposter* really was during that mission to Alpha 177 came rushing back to her.  Jan had never discussed the incident with Uhura and she had left it alone, never realizing the extent of what had happened between the Captain and Janice until now.  Her own memory of the confrontation on the Bridge between *both* Kirks--identical except for their behavior--rewound in her head.  If the vicious one had used Jan's feelings against her… .

"Yes, unfortunately, I do. Oh, I knew it wasn't about love, not even lust, so I fought him off and it turned out to not even be the Captain, or, at least not all of him. And you don't know how much it hurt to know that the one time he came to me, he wasn't whole--just half a man--and only his dark side wanted me." 

Rand cut her eyes toward Uhura, looking for judgement in her eyes and finding none, before continuing. "And I knew I had to leave. I had to get away from any man who could make me consider such a thought. It wasn't his fault; if anything, he was too nice. There were many times he should have called me on the carpet for unprofessional conduct because I often let my attraction to him interfere with my work--distract me. But no, he tolerated my idiocy and even encouraged me to make something more of myself." 

"Jan, Captain Kirk always wanted what was best for us. He saw such potential in you. Scotty did too; that's why they both recommended you for ADTech school." Uhura tried to soothe her friend and diffuse the situation that had opened such a quagmire of obsessions and secrets. 

"Perhaps. At the time, I just thought of it as a way out, a way to escape the dreams and the fantasies he awoke in me. However, the hesitancy in his eyes just grew stronger. I had admitted too much, made him nervous and uneasy in my presence. I couldn't stand it any longer. I left because I knew I could never have him--I thought no one from the crew could. And now, I see I was wrong again--*you* got to live the fairytale." She turned and focused her stare on Uhura and the other woman felt as cold as the space just beyond the window. 

Ny's heart came up into her throat as she looked into Jan's piercing eyes. How did she answer her? Lie? Deny the truth? Could she do that to one of her closest friends? Tell her to mind her own business and risk losing a deep friendship over something from the past? Or tell her the truth and betray another confidence? 

A part of her was angry for being called out on something that was clearly none of Jan's business.  But then, she remembered the doe-eyed yeoman who stood in the shadow of the woman before her now. An innocent who had confessed too many yearnings during late night sessions with a best friend. A friend who had listened and felt relief that she was not enamored with the man she served with on the Bridge. And then, in the blink of an eye, it *had* been her. And with that thought, all anger was gone. She sat down on the couch and reached out her hand to the woman who stood on the precipice of hurt and betrayal. 

"Jan, come sit with me and let me tell you a story." 

Rand looked at her as if she had sprouted wings, but moved to the chair and sat in front of Ny. 

"Once upon a time there was a fairy princess who lived in a big white castle, and one day, the princess went out into the market and was captured by foul bandits. They took her to their keep and planned to ransom her. 

"The princess' favorite knight gathered his army and scoured the land, looking for her, but he found the keep too late. The bandits had taken fright of the knight and his army, so they burned the keep and ravished the princess, leaving her behind to die. 

"The knight was distraught and called his physician and bade him save the princess. The physician used all his skill, but needed the help of the mage to turn the tide. The mage asked the knight for a piece of his soul--the only way to lure the princess back from the Dark. 

"The knight gave it gladly, for he could not bear to lose his princess, but later, the knight felt hollow and the princess cried bitter tears. She had no desire to rule her realm and the physician feared she would fade away. 

"One day the King called his knight and bade him go on a journey, to take the princess to a powerful psychic. The knight rode his great mount, the princess seated behind, across the plain. They rode for many days, to the Cathedral of Knowledge. There the psychic told the knight that the princess needed more of his soul; and only by kissing her and breaking chaste could he hope to return her spirit from Oblivion. 

"The knight grew angry. How could he hope to save the princess by breaking his vows? The psychic told him he would have to do both, at the cost of his honor. He must touch the princess and make her mortal once more, then stand by her side everlastingly--never again to feel her lips or breathe her breath. The knight battled all his demons: how to touch his princess and then show nothing but his jailed visor. He prayed to his Gods and asked for direction.

"In the thunderous nocturne, they led him to the princess and laid him down in the soft linens.  She took fright at first, for she had rarely seen the knight bereft of his cold armor, but his tender smile and gentle touch bespoke a trusted heart. He wiped a fell tear from her eye and banished her fears in the night. 

"The princess grew stronger upon the dawn--tho' the knight took a vile wound, but hid it from sight. The princess, radiant, smiled at her knight and begged to go home. The knight, wounded but proud, mounted his steed and bore her home. 

"And now, the princess is home and Queen of her realm. And the knight, her proud champion, still yet bears the scar...."

When Ny finished speaking and sat back on the couch, Jan shook herself, breaking the spell and blinking her eyes rapidly to ward off any tears. She studied Uhura's face quickly, assessing all the meanings of the story she had just been told. Bits and pieces of the past clicked into place; conversations she had shared with Ny and Sulu began to coalesce. How, years ago, Ny had been kidnapped by Orions and the Captain had nearly started a war to find her--how it had taken several months before she had made it back to full duty. The princess and the knight… no, not a fairytale after all. 

"I'm sorry Ny. You should have told me to mind my own business." She offered in quiet embarrassment. 

"For what, Jan?" Uhura asked sadly as she stood and moved to the door. "I just told you a bedtime story, one I tell myself on occasion." 

Unable to answer, Jan merely watched her leave.