A/N: This is a response to a prompt on LJ. Uh, beta'd by the lovely magicdaisy as per normal.

Random funny: I had, at one point, briefly mentioned to zephtastic that I would probably never write an mPreg...look what I wrote! Lesson: Never say never. It comes back to bite you in the ass.

Disclaimer: I'm just floating through someone else's dreams and prompts I own nothing

UPDATE as of 09/01/10: This is revamped and freaking hopefully it is devoid of all errors, made to look a little prettier, and all in all just ridiculously awesome. So, for any original readers who were waiting for me to fix it before printing it, saving it, flaming it…here ya go! For all new readers, yay for you waiting! You get the better version! (dances) Dance with me!


Hands were everywhere on his body, trailing, mapping, racing with each other to memorize every single inch of his skin. Fingers played piano concertos on his ribs, over his chest, settling on his abdomen. He leaned back into the body behind him, a soft sigh escaping his lips as the man behind him picked up his pace, thrusting into him with short, even strokes.

He bit his lip, trying to hold onto this feeling, knowing even now that it wouldn't last forever. This connection, stronger than any other he had ever experienced, he knew he wouldn't keep it. He turned his head to the side, receiving an awkward, messy kiss that was perfect for the flaws in the angle and the small stutter in the hips behind him. He reached back with one hand, needing to touch as they continued to share this moment through every form of contact imaginable.

With his other hand, he entwined his fingers with the musical ones still twitching out music over the muscles of his stomach, guiding the other man's hand lower to grasp him, stroke him, connect them just that little bit more. He groaned into the kiss when the touch was made, the other having now trapped his fingers between his, working both their hands to bring him closer to completion.

'Don't have much time,' he heard, felt, and tasted as the words were breathed over his lips.

His brows furrowed, trying to keep up with the words that circled in his head as his body was stimulated and praised in a way he had never thought possible. He gazed into hazel eyes, his own blue marred with confusion and struggling to keep that feeling a pleasure kept wracking his body. He wouldn't last long, he knew that, but he wanted to last just a few seconds more, just a few seconds…

'Come on, darlin'. Come for me…' that last simple command and he seized, his body…

Jim jolted awake, his hand automatically reaching for Bones', despite the fact that Bones hadn't been there for three years and when he had been it was only for three days. Still, the effect of the other man had lasted, and most days, still nights, and afternoons when he woke from any sort of sleep he reached for the hand that for three days had been draped across his abdomen almost anytime they were in bed.

He sighed tiredly when his hand met not the other strong hand of the man he had been harboring a lingering affection for since they parted on logical and amicable terms three years ago, but the mess that had been left over from his dream, waiting just under the seam of his boxers that had ridden up in his sleep. He shook his head, settling further into his pillow as he looked up at his alarm clock to check what time of night it was. It was early. He knew that automatically. These dreams never actually let him sleep through the night. As good as they were, Jim always woke up, his body too excited, and his mind hoping without reason that this time when he woke up it would be three years ago, and a tall, brunette man would be breathing heavily behind him.

It was five in the morning, which was pretty good, considering he usually woke up around three. He had about an hour and a half to himself before his life had to begin again, but he doubted he would be getting more sleep and honestly he liked having these little moments to himself.

He looked across the room, where he could see with the help of a nightlight another small bed. In it lay a small girl, almost three years old.

Bones' parting gift to him.

Joanna Lynn, Jim's daughter shared with an absent man who lived somewhere down south, had been born nine months exactly after Jim and Bones had parted. With chestnut hair, and Jim's same vibrant eyes she was easily the most beautiful child in all of Iowa. She had a smile that lit the darkest room and a mind that would have her teachers reeling for years to come. She was his pride and joy, constant annoyance and reason for living.

He knew from the second he found out about her than she would be his greatest joy, having always hungered for a family in the worst possible way. When she had been placed in his arms after he had awoken from his sedatives, he wasn't ashamed to admit that he had shed a few tears as he checked her hands and touched her feet in awe. And when she opened her eyes he knew it was love at first sight. The tired trust and love blinking up at him from Joanna's eyes had just been monumental. It was more than he could ever describe.

Almost three years later he was still in awe of that, despite the fact that she could be trying at times. Sleepless night when she was just a baby, trying to break her of her need to have a pacifier, and now potty training and nights where she just did not want to settle for bed…it could be stressful at times. But he wouldn't trade it for the world.

He hefted himself out of his bed, careful not to make an excessive amount of noise. Jo would most likely stay asleep until he woke her, seeing as she hadn't gone to sleep until midnight. However, it was better safe than sorry. He trudged out of their shared room, the only actual room in his apartment, and he set about his morning routine, getting ready for his shower to wipe away the mess his dream, memory really, had left him with.

Jim set about checking the locks and security to make sure that Jo couldn't open the door and wander out into the hall. He turned on the holoscreen, making sure to set it on cartoons and he left out a small bowl of cereal with a glass of milk and spoon, so that she could eat in case he didn't get out of the shower before she went foraging for food. He doubted he would be in the shower for long, but just in case, he always liked to make sure that she was properly occupied.

When he had completed his morning checklist, he entered into the small box of a bathroom and stripped down, not bothering to check the mirror to see how tired he looked this morning, because it was always the same. He always looked as if he couldn't sleep for more than three hours, and he knew that was a point of contention with the few people who actually cared for him. They all offered at different intervals to take Joanna for the night, but without her there with him, Jim found that he could hardly sleep at all.

He stepped under the spray of the shower head, letting out a small moan as his muscles relaxed under the heat. His mind went back to his dream, not for jerking material, but just to, yet again, wonder about his sanity that he was still so obsessed with a man he had only known for three days three-nearly-four years ago. He wasn't sure it was normal for anyone to be that hung up on someone who was little more than a stranger.

When he had gone down to New Orleans for his nineteenth birthday, he knew he had gone to let off steam, have a bit of good dirty fun. And he had. The first few days of his weeklong trip had been spent with a different person each night. They would have their fun for a few hours and either he would leave back to his hotel room, or they would.

On the fourth night though, at a local bar, close to a cemetery he had been taking a tour at, he met Bones. Tall, strong, mostly silent unless he ordered another whiskey, and with the greatest ass Jim had ever seen on a man, it had been impossible for Jim not to go over and strike up a conversation. Bones had been in New Orleans for a week already, attending medical conference after medical conference, and generally escaping his wife, whom he had just discovered had not one, but multiple affairs.

He was letting loose, and Jim…saw the perfect opportunity. They had talked for hours, which had been irksome at the time. Jim had just been looking for some quick fun, and Bones had looked like he needed to use Jim for some hard memory-erasers. It had been kind of fun though. They just went on inanely about anything from the freakishly old man dancing with a young woman who didn't look a day over sixteen, to the service of the barkeep. It was nice and Jim had never really connected with any of his conquest the way he did with Bones, whom Jim had named for the song that had been playing in the background when they met.

When they went back to Jim's hotel room, the next two hours had been spent creating the most amazing sex Jim had ever experienced, and when Bones asked him if it would be okay to crash with him, Jim had been way too tired to even contemplate saying no.

Waking up with that hand resting loosely across his stomach and deep, loud breathing ruffling the hair on the back of his head had been disconcerting at first, but as he settled in again, ready to go back to sleep for the rest of the morning, he realized it was kind of nice. He had never woken with anyone in the bed with him. He was a leaver and most of the people he brought back to the room with him were leavers as well.

After he had awoken the second time with that same hand still against his stomach, he had decided that maybe the spending the rest of his vacation with Bones wouldn't be such a drag. He had, for all intents and purposes, enjoyed actually talking with someone who didn't think he was a complete idiot, and also wasn't a complete idiot himself. And the sex was phenomenal!

Their next two and a half days had been spent practically glued at the hip, dining together, drinking together, and sleeping together. Jim had physically felt something in his chest being crushed when Bones said his wife was calling. Bones had gone on and on about how he should probably be starting over, and how his wife probably wouldn't change her ways, but as he came back from outside the café they had been at in the French Quarter, Jim knew that wasn't the case.

Their time together had ended four hours later, with one last roll in Jim's bed, before Bones went back to his hotel room to pack and find a shuttle back to where ever he had come from. Jim had never been so happy that they hadn't exchanged names, or numbers, or anything stupid like that. Bones had been Bones and Jim had been Kid. They didn't know where the other had come from, and only knew the vaguest details about what had made the other want to come to New Orleans in the first place.

Six weeks later when he had come down with a flu that simply refused to ebb, Jim went to his neighbor and only friend to discover that he had been given a birthday gift from a man who hadn't even known he was getting him a present.

Jim stepped out of the shower, shaking the water out of his hair and grabbing the towel from its rack. He toweled himself dry, pausing for a few moments to run his fingers over the silver lines that had stayed on his stomach, even after he regained his normal body build, as well as the dark pink line where the doctor had performed the Caesarean.

He wrapped the towel around his waist before he went to the living room to search through his laundry basket for some clean clothes. He was better about Jo's clothing, but he didn't care about his. He worked at a mechanic shop, so they always looked dirty and wrinkled even if they were clean and pressed.

When he was dressed he settled down on his ancient couch and picked up his even older padd to read for the last hour before he had to wake Jo.


Jim had forgotten about the milk he set out for Joanna's cereal, so when he went to the kitchen to grab things for Ms. McCurdy, Jo's babysitter, he had to dump the glass of warm milk into his sink. It was kind of a waste, but Jim usually didn't do it that often, so he wasn't too angry with himself. He hardly even thought about it as he pulled out two apples and Jo's favorite lunch kit.

He then went back into their room with her bag in his hand, turning the lights up to forty percent as he entered. Jo made a small noise of protest, her small hands going up to wipe at her face before she turned away from the light.

Jim smiled as he went over to her small bed, setting her bag against the side. "Jo-bear, it's time to wake up. Gotta go see Ms. McCurdy."

The noise of protest came again, and continued until Jim sat on the side of her bed. He stared at her exposed head, her hair, wild and curly, covering her face from him. With an exaggerated sigh, he reached out and began tickling her, the only sure fire way he knew she would not only wake up, but get out of her bed, too.

The ear splitting shriek was common place, so Jim barely flinched when it assaulted his ears. She squirmed and writhed beneath his finger tips. He heard a few breathless, 'Daddy's between her peals of laughter. His smile was radiant, too, as he finally let up and pulled her out from under her blanket to set her on the floor.

She glared up at him stubbornly, reminding him of her other father. "That wasn't nice, daddy!" she huffed, crossing her arms petulantly over her chest.

Jim shrugged. "Daddy's aren't supposed to be nice, Jo-bear. We're supposed to wake sleeping pirates up, and make them get dressed, and brush their hair…we're really quite evil."

She looked like she couldn't agree more, her large blue eyes still glaring up at him and her bottom lip pushed defiantly out. He wasn't deterred, having been on the receiving end of that look more than his fair share of times. He just tugged her to him, pulling her night gown up over her head before checking her overnight pull ups.

Second night in a row she had kept them dry.

He smiled at her proudly, which helped with her glare a little. She couldn't keep a pouty face if he was smiling.

"You need to go potty, baby?" he asked.

Finally her glower broke completely, and she nodded. "Yeah, I gotta go potty."

He led her, nearly completely naked, to the bathroom, where she insisted she could go by herself. He nodded and left the room, but left the door open. When she came back out the pull up had been left on the bathroom floor, because she wasn't quite coordinated enough to pull them back up by herself. Jim left them there to deal with after he had her dressed and eating her cereal. It wasn't like they were wet after all.

Jim gasped theatrically when he saw her lack of all clothing. "It's a nakey-baby!" he proclaimed, causing her to giggle and run away from him as fast as her little legs would carry her. He took off after her at a quick walk, enough to stay close to her, but let her think that she could escape him for the few seconds before he scooped her up and took her back to their room. "We gotta get that bottom pants-ed before she goes back to her heathen ways!"

Her laughter was music to his ears and he scooped her up with a chuckle of his own.

"Pirates don't like pants, daddy," Jo told him seriously. "Pirates like be'en nakey."

"Ah," he said, studiously. "Well, this pirate needs pants if she wants to see Ms. McCurdy. Otherwise, I'll just have to lock you up in your room, like all the other bad pirates' parents do."

She wiggled in Jim's arms, until she had her arms wrapped tightly around his neck, her face tucked under his chin for protection. "No, daddy! I don't wanna be 'lone!"

She pulled back just long enough to look in to his eyes, her own wide with actual anxiety; as if she were afraid he would actually leave her in the apartment while he went to work. Jim shook his head at her, but kept on with it.

Jo didn't quite get the concept of jokes yet. She laughed when others did, but beyond that…

"Well, then," he said with a sigh, "we'll get you dressed and you can go to Ms. McCurdy's while daddy is at work."

She nodded, seriously as he set her down on the floor, pulling out and dressing her in her clothing for the day. When they were done with that small task, Jim took her to the kitchen and settled her in her seat, positioning it to where she could see the holoscreen while she ate. Jim kept her company at the table, reminding her to eat her cereal if she got too engrossed in the cartoons that were playing. Every now and then, the cartoon would demand that the kids watching it participate, and she would scream out, "Go!" at the top of her lungs.

When she was done, they found themselves in the bathroom again, Jo on a step-stool, brushing her teeth lazily while Jim tried to put her hair up into a high ponytail. She kept moving her head, though, because in her mind, it was easier than moving her arm to brush her back teeth. Jim eventually gave up and just waited until she was done with her teeth, and she had spit out her toothpaste, one, two, three, four times.

After she was finished, and had washed her mouth out with water, mouthwash, and water again, Jim went back to his task, finally getting her long hair up into a ponytail. She made faces in the mirror at Jim, while he brushed her curls onto less of a frizzy mess and into more tame, prettier version of her hair, which would be a complete and total mess by the time he picked her up after work ended.

With that done, they headed to Jim's neighbor, Ms. McCurdy.


Ms. McCurdy, Maggie Jay, to her friends, was only about ten years older than Jim, with dark red hair and vibrant green eyes. She had been with Jim since he had returned from New Orleans, and practically glued him to her side since he found out about his little girl growing rapidly inside his body. She was a nurse, but she worked opposite schedule of Jim as head nurse of the swing shift. She would watch Jo in the mornings, until she went to work at five, just a scant thirty minutes after Jim picked his daughter up.

Jim dropped Jo off at her apartment, only staying for a brief five minutes while Jo crawled onto her chair to watch the same cartoons she had seen at their place. Once he was sure that she wouldn't miss him leaving, he snuck back out, down the staircase, and out to the parking lot, where his old hovercar waited valiantly to take him to work.

He parked at the back of the building, next to his manager's car, and for just a few moments, he yet again took some time to himself. It was a morning routine now. He tended to need these seconds to ramp himself up to actually go in there. For as much as he liked his job, and he did, he could never get over the monotony of it, of Riverside in general.

His apartment was his only source of newness, a place that generally lacked routine. Joanna was fabulous when it came to spicing up life, and Ms. McCurdy came over sporadically to throw his evenings into chaos. Outside though, in the real world, he couldn't help feeling that there was nothing new. Everything in Riverside was as it always had been, with very few changes ever happening. The only thing new was the gossip and that too tended to cycle.

It was boring, and he hated it.

He hated that he had been here for so long, and that there was very little hope to ever escape. He detested the very idea of Jo spending her entire life here. Riverside had nothing to offer his little girl. She would never be accepted. She was too smart, too pretty, and worst of all she was way too much like Jim. His stigma was already carrying over to her, and he just couldn't stand that.

When he had actually sent her to a daycare center as a baby, she had been a fussy child. She didn't like anything they did, and nothing would sooth her until he got there. Somehow that meant that she would never be accepted and that they should all just ignore her. They didn't necessarily ignore her, of course, but he had come to pick her up and had overheard a conversation between two of the girls there, one telling the other to 'only check the Kirk girl about every hour or so.'

He rolled his eyes.

He took this time to amp himself up, not rile himself up. He took a deep breath and pushed his door open, entering in through the back door with his key.

"Honey, I'm home!" he called through the empty storeroom.

From one of the rows, his manager Marcus came out and glared at him from under his bushy brows. "You're late, Kirk."

"No, I'm not. I'm on time just like I always am," he flashed Marc a cocky smile as he went to the front to clock in.

Marc just rolled his eyes and disappeared into the row. Jim was on time, actually. He hadn't been late to this job since he had landed it two years ago. Marc was just like that, though. He gave all of his employees a hard time, and since Jim had been around the longest, he was prone to get a healthy portion of the attitude. From what Michy, Marc's wife, said, the more he liked someone the more unbearable he became.

Jim wasn't saying it was fun, but grouch was different to be around.

He unlocked the front by himself, and prepared for a day of doing little to nothing. They didn't have many customers at the moment, and the few that they did wouldn't need Jim to fix anything major. Most likely they would need Helen, their stereo and paint expert. Jim would just sit at the computer and play chess all day, until Marc came by and told him to do inventory or something equally as menial.

All run of the mill.

All horrifically routine.

Helen came in just then, yelling back at Marc, "I don't need your shit every morning, Marcus! Once a week is plenty!" She rolled her dark brown eyes and glared at Jim as he leaned back on the register. "What are you looking at, pretty boy?"

Helen did not like Jim. Not at all. They had had a fling just before he left for New Orleans…and well, it hadn't ended well. When he came back knocked up, she had made it her personal mission in life to make him feel like the lowest of all creatures. Not that he really held it against her. At the time, he kind of had felt like the lowest of all creatures, even when Maggie Jay was yelling at him for feeling like that. Now though, she was just mean to everything with a dick.

Jim sometimes wondered if he had done that to her, but couldn't find it in himself to really care. He had made it very clear that there would be no 'them' when they started screwing around. If she couldn't handle that then she should have told him 'no' four years ago, instead of harboring this unneeded hatred.

He smiled, just to piss her off more. "I was looking for the pterodactyl screeching in the store. Kinda shocked me to find out it was you."

She pulled a 'sad face' which really only made her look constipated. "Is that the best you got? Here you're always saying you're a genius, and you can't even make a decent insult." She tossed her long braided hair over her shoulder, before crossing her arms defiantly. "Honestly, Kirk, if you can't find something nice to say, be a good dog, and don't speak."

"If we're going by that rule, shouldn't you have a muzzle?"

"Try it, pretty boy!" she growled, tossing her hair over her shoulder again before she went back into the depths of the store, presumably to bitch at Marc for 'keeping that prick employed.'

Jim shrugged, turning back to the computer to do some quick checks on their inventory before he pulled up a game of chess.


Jim was working on his sixth game of chess when his monotony was broken. The front door slid open, and though he couldn't see who it was through all the shelves that were blocking his view, he heard the distinct giggle of his daughter, and the shuffling of her little feet as she ran around the shelves like the mechanic's shop was some sort of wonderland.

Marc came out from one of the aisles, looking around wildly. His bushy moustache wiggled under his nose as he pursed his lips, slowly stalking through the store for Joanna. "I hear that monster laughing," he said into the store, causing more giggles to erupt from Jo. The door slid open again and over one of the shelves he could see dark red hair coming closer to the register where Jim was always located.

Ms. McCurdy came into view just as Marc went to go looking for Joanna. Her green eyes focused on Marc for a moment, before going to the thick salt-and-pepper hair devouring his upper lip. They stayed like that for a few minutes, and Jim could see from his counter that Marc was forming a glare as Maggie Jay took a deep breath. "Your moustache looks very nice today, Marc. Did Michy groom it for you this morning?"

He glared at her, wholly unimpressed. His moustache had been a constant point of contention with at least half the women in Riverside. All of them wanted him to shave it off, and since he had kept it for well over six months, Maggie Jay had made it her business to comment on it every time she saw him. Mostly, they were subtle barbs, but sometimes she went as far as pulling on it and telling Marc it was almost time to euthanize the tribble.

"There really are days I want to cut the power to your braking systems." He shook his head and stalked off, reaching into his pocket for the lollipop he hid there just in case moments like these happened and Jo showed up at the store.

Maggie Jay tilted her head just a bit to the left, before she looked up to Jim. "Check my brakes before I leave, will you?"

He smiled and nodded. "What are you doing here?" he asked as she walked up to him in her normal, I'm-a-nurse-and-I need-to-be-everywhere-now way that she had.

She reached the counter with a disinterested look on her face, looking around presumably for Helen, whom she despised almost more that Jim did. "Jo wanted to see you, and I figured, since it was almost your lunch break, that it wouldn't hurt anything."

"Gimme fifteen minutes and I'll be ready to go," he said, minimizing his chess game and pulling up inventory…just in case someone came in while he was gone. Marc didn't like the simple task of minimizing one screen to pull up another. He was prone to get cranky and actually make Jim mop instead of the small little droids they had to sweep up the store, and Jim was expressly allergic to any physical labor that didn't involve a car.

She shrugged and played with one of the rearview mirror decorations that littered Jim's counter, one of the tentacle-looking monster-thingies that glowed when you smacked it against something. She twiddled with it for a second, before asking in that calm way she had, "Are you going to the bar tonight?"

He looked at her curiously. "No, you work, don't you? Hard to go to a bar with a two year old." He looked back at the screen, more for something to do, than the need to actually look at it. "Besides, I think I'm reaching the end of my bar-hopping days."

He had to be. He had Jo, and as much as he would like to maybe, one day meet someone willing to have a family with someone who already had a family, he sincerely doubted he would meet that person in a bar. He sincerely doubted he would meet that person in Riverside. Maybe if he moved and when Jo was a little older, he would start going out more, but he liked his alone time with her. Hell, he didn't even mind sharing it with Maggie Jay. He didn't think that he should disappear so randomly for a night when Jo was so young.

Maggie gave him a bland look, her thin lips disappearing as she pursed her lips. "I switched shifts with one of my nurses," she said sternly. "And you're only twenty-two, Jim. You need to get out further than work, or my apartment. You haven't gone out in a month, and I don't know when the last time you got laid was."

He looked at her in horror, wondering why the hell she had thought about things like that. But she just rolled her eyes, and pointed her finger at him. "Tonight is Starfleet night, remember?"

He gave a humorless snort. "With all the red people roaming Riverside lately, it's hard to forget."

"Yes, well, tonight is the night they're stopping over for a bit of relaxation and rest. Lots of new people, who don't know Jim Kirk, or who he is, or even what he did. They could help relieve some of your tension," she said wisely, folding her arms onto the counter to look up at him, as if daring him to argue.

"I'm not tense," he denied quickly.

"Whatever you say, Jim," she dismissed with a lazy shrug of her shoulder. "I'm watching Jo for the night. Just go to the bar, okay?"

He met her gaze, forcing a sigh out. He didn't want to argue with her, but he just didn't feel like it. He always went to the bar on Starfleet night, and he just…really didn't feel like it this year. He was content to stay at the apartments and bother Maggie and play with Jo. He didn't know how to explain that to her though. He knew he had been staying inside a lot these days, but was that so bad? He thought it was better than maintaining his title of slut and delinquent, especially for the sake of Jo.

Maggie Jay looked like she had already made up her mind, though, and would probably lock Jim out of her apartment until she knew he had gone out and done something.

He was about to begrudgingly give her his promise, when Helen came up to his side, a cold smile twisting her lips. Jim rolled his eyes, having been quite fine with ignoring her for the rest of his day. She apparently had other plans, and the only thing he could be thankful for was the fact the Jo was being entertained by Marc. "Who's going to the bar?" she asked.

"Eavesdropping is one of your less attractive qualities, Helen. Shouldn't you be painting death threats onto my car?" Maggie asked with mock-curiosity, her green eyes betraying her boredom and the sheer depth of disdain she held for Helen.

"You would be so lucky to have my art on your car," she snapped haughtily. She took a moment to compose herself, flicking her hair over her shoulder. Her dark brown eyes flicked between them, and she sighed with a false calm as she hoisted herself onto the counter. "So, Jimmy's going to the bar, huh? Gonna soil the name of Riverside for another year?"

"Your acidic attitude is your least attractive feature. Clamp it or I'll find a muzzle for it!" Maggie said just as quickly as Helen let the barb out of her mouth, and her vibrant green eyes narrowed dangerously on the other woman as if calculating the different ways she could kill her, and make it look like an accident. She was a nurse after all.

Jim was just struck by the irony that this was the second time someone had threatened to muzzle his coworker today.

"Shouldn't you let your pet fight his own battles, Ms. McCurdy?"

The women turned to have a staring contest, which he bet that Maggie Jay would win, only because the woman was made of pure dilithium and Helen was barely made of aluminum. He shook his head, determined not to get in the middle of the quarrel, even if it was over him. He just didn't feel like it. Didn't feel like involving himself in anything Helen brought up. She just wasn't worth it. Maggie could handle herself just as well with him as without him.

Marc came out from the depths of the store, Jo in one arm just then. He took one look at the scene, and more importantly at the fact the Helen was on his counter, which was a big no-no in Marc's code of conduct. "Hey! Get off my damn counter! Does this look like a jungle gym?" he yelled, startling Jo to the point that she stared at him with a frown, lollipop stick poking between her lips.

Helen jumped off the counter as if she had been burned, glaring at the three of them, probably convinced they were the entire reason the world suffered at all. Not that any of them cared; hell, Jim actually felt pretty smug about it.

He smiled at her obnoxiously, giving a light shrug. Then turning back to Jo, he said, "Hey, Jo-bear. Were you looking for me?"

Her blue eyes focused on him and she broke out into a large grin, displaying her orange-tinted teeth for him. "Daddy!" she yelled, wiggling from Marc's arms and running around the counter to Jim. He picked her up and pressed a kiss to her temple before he settled her on the counter by this computer console. She pulled her sucker out of her mouth and held it out for him to see. "Marc gave me sucker!"

From beside him, Jim heard Helen mutter, "How fucking sweet," before she walked away, obviously feeling a little put out because Jo could be on the counter while she could not. At least that's what Jim was chocking it up to.

"That was nice of him," he said to Jo, while glancing up at his boss, who looked uncomfortable with being 'ratted out.' He looked back down to Jo. "Did you say 'thank you?'"

Manners were another thing they were having difficulties with. Jo didn't seem to think, as a pirate and all, that she should be made to use manners. Either that, or Jim really was a bad influence. Lord knew he still struggled to say thank you. He did try for Jo. He would like her to have some semblance of couth.

She nodded and stuck her lollipop back into her mouth, reaching out to him demandingly. Jim sighed and pulled her into his arm, looking at his boss again as he did so. "I'm going to lunch, Marc."

"Do the inventory first, Kirk," he said, moving to where Jim had been and frowning, presumably when he saw the minimized chess game.

"On it, Marc." He didn't even turn around to say it. He was already heading out the front door with Maggie Jay trailing idly behind him.

"Do it, or you're fired, Kirk."

"Impervious, Marc."

Jim and Maggie Jay heard mumblings but neither really picked up on what had been said by Jim's manager. Neither of them honestly cared either. Marc just liked to grump. It was part of his charm.


(still dancing)