A/N: Sorry sorry!! I'm not dead i swear! Just feeding, over feeding probably, a Leverage addiction that shows no signs of fading away. At any rate here's the next installment, mostly just an excuse for shamelss Jo/Chekov fluff. lol. All mistakes are mine, I hope there aren't too many but...yeah, there probably are. Sorry again. Enjoy! - pj
"Here are those protocols you asked for Captain," Jo handed him the PADDs and resumed her place behind and to the right of his chair, clasping her hands to keep them from fidgeting. God she wished she was in engineering right then. But Scotty and his team were testing some new chemical compounds they'd discovered and he'd made it very clear Jo was to stay away while they did so, citing her 'bad luck' and his 'bad measuring abilities' as reason.
Kirk furrowed his brow, sensing her presence but not looking up. She didn't usually stand around like that. She liked to go off and mingle with the rest of the bridge crew usually if he had nothing else for her to do, but she'd been hovering near his elbow all morning.
"Looks good, will you give this to Chekov so he can input it into the computer?" He handed the PADD back, testing a theory. He could have just as easily transferred the data to Chekov's con, but he thought he'd noticed some tension between his bridge crew that morning, especially the four that had gone to the planet the night before. he needed to be sure
Jo's eyes widened minutely and her gaze whipped to the blonde ensign and then back again.
"Of-of course," she said quietly, and Kirk watched with interest as Jo walked quickly over to Chekov's station, handing him the PADD from as far away as possible and then turning to return to his side. Kirk narrowed his eyes.
Jo would never pass up an opportunity to chat with the helmsmen unless they were in some sort of emergency, which flying at warp two toward the uncharted Toille system certainly was not. Jo and Sulu were both as good with their tongues as they were with their swords and it was not uncommon for them to trade barbs and gentle ribbing for an entire shift without so much as a raised eyebrow from the rest of the crew. And Jo's casual flirting with Chekov had become standard. He wasn't totally thrilled about it but it was harmless so long as they…wait.
Were Chekov's ears always that red or was he…
"Spock, take the con," Kirk said, his eyes still burning a hold into the back of his helmsmen's necks, "Uhura, Sulu, Chekov and McCoy, meet me in my ready room."
"Finally," Jo breathed, slumping against the bulkhead of her quarters. "The day from Hell is over."
There was no other way to describe it. Not counting the fact that she'd woken up smelling rank of bar and old socks, her head had felt as if she'd spent the entire night banging it against the wall and her whole body was uncomfortable and achy from being curled up on the floor of her bathroom.
But, that wasn't the worst part.
The worst part was that she remembered. She remembered everything. Every single teensy, weensy, hot, sweaty, sticky detail. Every word they'd exchanged. Every move they'd made. The way Chekov's hands had felt on her hips, his lips on her's.
The absolute humiliation she'd felt when she realized neither of them had been in their right minds.
Her brain had kept buzzing all morning while on the bridge. She was distracted and quiet, her bottom lip was raw from being chewed out of nervous habit. Because she'd liked kissing Chekov. Liked it a lot more than she expected.
But she doubted that he had had the same reaction. They were completely different people from completely different worlds. It would probably never work.
And she'd been so wrapped up in her own thoughts that she hadn't noticed that Sulu and Chekov were just as distracted as she. And Uhura was so eager to please she'd almost surpassed Jo in the Yeoman department.
But the Captain had noticed. Jim, Jo had discovered, noticed everything.
When he put two and two together, or at least part of it, he'd called them all into his ready room.
And what a dressing down that had been. When the truth came out in all its drunken, raunchy 'omg what the fuck did we do' glory, Jo had prayed the floor would simply open up and swallow her. Uhura and Sulu had been put on Gym sanitation duty for a week to help them 'learn responsibility' and Chekov and Jo had been let off with a warning and the promise that if either of them ever touched Romulan Ale again their punishment would be much worse than cleaning the Gym showers and wrestling mats.
None of them had argued, knowing that as long as what had happened stayed between the five of them, and stayed away from the ears of the CMO, they'd gotten off light.
Jo sighed and dropped her head into her hands. She was going to change into some more comfortable clothes, replicate a chocolate Sunday and get in bed for a week.
But before she could finish the third part of her plan, her door chime rang. Thinking it was probably Uhura there to give her an earful over what had happened, she dropped her spoon and ran over to the door licking chocolate sauce off her lips as she swiped it open.
"Do we really have to go over this again I-," she stopped suddenly and her eyes went as wide as saucers.
Chekov furrowed his brow in confusion, "go over vat again?"
"Andy!" she yelped, then, realizing her appearance, in an oversized sweatshirt, no makeup and her hair a mess, she jumped to the side so he was just looking into her quarters. Which, in their current state, wasn't all that much better of a view.
"Don't look at me!" She ordered when he started to poke his head around the corner toward her.
Chekov reeled back quickly, confused by her erratic behavior, "Jo?"
"What do you want, Andy?" She said, her voice muffled by her hands as she pressed her face into the wall.
"I, um, I vanted to talk to you. I thought ve should after…you know. Everyzing."
Jo sighed, "Why didn't you send me a MessageLink?" she asked mournfully, looking over at her computer and seeing no blinking alerts.
"I…it did not occur to me."
"Well it should have. I'm so gross right now!" she closed her eyes as embarrassment flushed her cheeks once more and she shrugged further into her sweatshirt.
Chekov shifted on his feet, staring at the floor, "I don't sink zat. I don't' sink zat at all."
There was the sound of slight shuffling and he looked up to see one of Jo's blue eyes peering at him from around the corner of the bulkhead. He recognized a smile even if he couldn't see it.
"I'll meet you on E deck in half an hour."
Jo arrived on E deck twenty minutes later and saw Chekov pacing outside the doors of one of the chemistry labs. He looked up at the sound of the turbolift arriving and grinned when he saw her, now 'presentable' in a pair of jeans, a Woodstock 2035 t-shirt and red streaks of hair framing her face.
Jo stepped into stride beside him and they ambled down the corridor for a few moments in silence, neither knowing how to start.
"So, how's your head?" Jo asked finally. She saw Chekov wince slightly in her peripheral vision and felt a stab of sympathy for him.
"Better now. But it vas unbearable this morning."
Jo nodded with a grimace, "yeah. Mine too."
The silence stretched on for two more corridors.
"I don't know what he was so upset about," Jo said finally, "It's not as if we did anything he hasn't done at least a dozen times."
Chekov didn't need any clarification as to what or who Jo was talking about, "I think the Keptin was more upset for us than he was at us."
"What are you talking about?"
"Well, Sulu and Uhura are senior officers. They're supposed to set an example for the 'younger more impressionable crew members'," he used air quotes to indicate his true feelings about that expectation and Jo had to laugh. Chekov had never seemed anything other than content with all of Starfleet's rules.
"Oh yeah, we young-ins, so easily corrupted," she shook her head, "anyway it wasn't their faults. I'm the one that made that stupid bet."
"And I accepted it. Zat means I am as much to blame as you." He paused and then, "by ze way, I believe you owe me a debt."
Jo's eyes sparkled a bit and she stopped, turning to look at him, "I totally drank mine before you."
Chekov stopped as well, raising an eyebrow at her, "no, you didn't," he smiled, "and you said if you lost you would tell me somezing no one else knows." His voice was serious but his eyes open and honest. Jo nodded.
Then she turned and walked away. Chekov stared after the girl for a moment, then she glanced over her shoulder at him and jerked her head.
"Jo, vere are we going?" Chekov questioned a bit impatiently. She'd brought him to engineering without a word and they'd been walking for nearly ten minutes, weaving their way further and further into the bowels of the ship.
He'd only ever seen this area of the ship in video feeds, but Jo seemed perfectly at home among the pipes and billowing let-off steam around them.
"We're almost there, Andy, I promise."
Ten minutes after that, she stopped and dropped to her knees, entering a code on a panel that was hidden beneath a long row of titanium pipes, and sliding into a Jefferies access tube.
His only answer was to have a small pale hand shoot out and grab his, pulling him into the tube after her.
Once inside Chekov followed her on his hands and knees, not unappreciative of the view.
"Stop staring at my ass."
He coughed and choked a bit, but tried to do as she asked. Though he secretly suspected she didn't really want him to stop, because crawling on your hands and knees certainly did not require one to sashay their hips quite that much.
Chekov thought he'd been very reasonable up to this point. But they'd been crawling in the cramped space for almost five minutes now and he was beginning to think Jo was just leading them in circles.
"Jo, if zis is your way of getting me to admit that you won ze bet I-"
He was cut off as Jo pushed open another access door and crawled out, "we're here."
He closed his mouth, suppressed a sigh of relief and followed her out into the small space. It was some sort of manual override center. There were wires and pipes everywhere along with panels of buttons and readouts and override levers. The entire space was octagonal in shape, maximizing wall space, but only 10 feet across at its widest point.
"Vere is 'here' exactly?"
Jo just smirked and flopped down on the floor, folding her hands on her stomach. He tilted his head at her but, at her impatient look, he laid down beside her.
He mimicked her position and looked up…and forgot to breathe.
"Bozhe moĭ," he whispered, "vere are we?"
Jo smiled. "The belly of the warp core," she whispered, equally breathless. Less than twenty feet above them the warp core pulsed in a slow, steady rhythm. Blue light bathed the room in an other-worldly glow and, now that they were on the floor, they could feel the ship vibrating with every beat. It was warmer here too, but not humid, and every now and then a dilithium cluster would hit the reaction banks and spark a bright yellow light and purple light. It was mesmerizing, hypnotic, like an open flame but bigger, so much more powerful.
Jo found herself reaching for Chekov's hand, their fingers weaving together and falling between them, their shoulders almost touching.
"This is my favorite place on the ship…maybe in the galaxy," she whispered, "Nobody knows that."
Chekov felt something swell in his chest and he gasped a breath, unsure of how to respond.
"I don't know vat to say."
With some effort Jo tore her eyes off the spectacular view and turned her head to look at Chekov.
"Admit I won the bet and tell me something no one knows about you."
Chekov turned to look at her as well and their faces lay mere inches apart, basked in the warm blue glow of the warp core.
His eyes locked with hers.
"I've vanted to kiss you since the first moment I saw you." He said quietly.
Jo blinked slowly and the small smirk fell off her lips. She didn't know what to say to that.
So she didn't say anything.
She tilted her head up, just slightly, and moved forward, pressing her lips to his, shy and tentative. Soft and light.
Despite anything that had happened the night before, they both counted it as their first kiss.