AN: Written for the First Anniversary Ficathon for where_no_woman on Livejournal for the prompt: Why did Yeoman Janice Rand really leave the Enterprise?This is a one-shot and will not be continued. Takes place after "The Conscience of the King."

A Wanderer's Heart

Janice Rand had wandered from planet to starship her entire life. She'd never truthfully absorbed the feeling of living in a planet full of vegetation and open skies, but she didn't mind. She knew the hum of starships and the vast glittering light of stars in space, and that was nature enough for her.

When she was stationed upon the Enterprise to be yeoman to the infamous Captain James T. Kirk, Janice's nature of a wanderer's heart quelled, and she actually started to feel as though the ship was her true home.

Maybe her friends were the reason she stayed, or maybe she had the best opportunity over any other Yeoman in Starfleet – to assist Captain Kirk. Janice knew that whatever it was, she was planning on staying. After all, the Enterprise's mission alone to explore new worlds sang the same song that was alive in her heart.

As for other reasons, Janice ignored them. She ignored the ship gossip, the speculation, and she kept her feelings guarded – closely, away from the scrutinizing eyes of others and the notice of her captain.

It was silly – foolish, to ever think she would have a chance. Her worst competition was the ship itself.

Yeoman Rand, instead, fell into routine and lived her live to the fullest. She loved her job more than anything. Adventure was at every corner, and as long as she could be by Captain Kirk's side, it was satisfaction in itself.

She held the trays up and stood at Kirk's door, waiting politely for him to let her inside. As she waited, Lieutenant Sulu walked by, nodding and reminding her that after her shift, he looked forward to another fencing lesson. She was actually getting pretty good, and Sulu was a great teacher.

The Captain's door slid open, and he looked down at her and then at the food with a wolfish grin. "I was just on my way out," he said. She balanced the trays in one hand, and stuck her finger on his chest, directing him back inside with a warning pout.

"First you eat." He started to protest, but Janice tilted her head and made a face, and Kirk closed his mouth – defeated with a wry grin.

"I must be the only captain in Starfleet to take orders from his yeoman," he said dryly. He sat down at his table like a wounded puppy, and she took off the lid of the top tray. He made a sour face at the fresh salad greens and fruits in front of him.

"You're the only captain, sir, to have the most thoughtful and diligent yeoman," she said back at him with a flirtatious grin.

"I can't argue with that," Kirk said, anxious to divert the conversion. "Ah, Rand, what is this? Where's my pork sandwich I requested last time?"

She wrinkled her nose. "This is better for you. Finish this, and I have a treat for you, sir."

He looked surprised, but his intrigue rose. Janice kept her composure, though she was unable to keep her own excitement from bursting. "Yes, if you're good and eat all your vegetables, I have pie in this other container that was underneath your salad tray."

He shifted his eyes to the container, still covered, next to his healthy meal. "Where did you get rations for pie? Janice – it's too much."

She shook her head. "Don't worry. I had extra. Besides, this is a special pie. It's rhubarb cultivated one of earth colonies, and I hear the botanists add a special sweet kick to it. I was excited the moment they sent over the recipe in Science Division's news report."

"That sounds…quite observant of you, Yeoman. You follow Starfleet's Science Division's newsletters for new recipes?"

"Well, it's just a little interesting additive they include. The rest of the report is rather boring," she said with a smile, and he smiled in turn. "Now, eat up, Captain. There are no red alerts, and as far as I know…" She looked down at her padd. "No upcoming missions in the next thirty minutes."

"Ah, well," he said after taking a few reluctant bites of his salad. "I need to stock up anyway. We're approaching a fairly new star system with an M-Class planet of low-tech inhabitants. Commander Spock has more details on it, but we've already contacted them, and we're going to be setting up a meeting and exchange supplies and information." He paused and met her eyes, and Janice felt a curious wave come over her as he stared. "I suppose this is a good time to tell you of your surprise, Yeoman."

"Me?" she said shocked. "What do you mean, Captain?"

"Well, these people, the Venuthians, are artistic people. Some of the supplies they offered in barter were painting supplies. I thought you might be interested, especially of the reflective oil media they couldn't stop raving about," Kirk said, and Janice felt a stir of excitement. It was no secret she loved art and that her quarters was full of paintings and sculpture.

"Oh! Oh dear, I should have saved those rations," she said, suddenly feeling defeated, but Kirk shook his head with a laugh.

"It's already been arranged. You'll just have to come with us to pick out what you want. We're offering them some technology in exchange."

"Oh, Captain!" she said, throwing up her hands. She felt like she could hug him, but she pulled back and folded her hands in front of her and felt a flush warm her cheeks. "Thank you. I assume I'm coming with the landing party?"

"Right," Kirk said. "You'll join me, Commander Spock, Doctor McCoy, Sulu and Uhura too. They all have something to bargain," Kirk said, and suddenly Janice didn't feel so special. She felt wilted for a moment, but she became instantly relieved. The last thing she wanted was for the rumors to increase that she was getting special treatment from the Captain!

She made a motion to his salad, and with a grin told him to "eat up" while she stewed with happiness over the being a part of the team to meet the Venuthians. Begrudgingly, he ate the food, and in the end he accepted her pie with a wide smile. Janice watched for a little while, and she made a motion to leave and catch up with her duties before the mission. Kirk reminded her of the time they'd meet in the transporter room.

Yeoman Rand, of course, didn't need to be reminded. She was more than ready, since off-ship missions were rare for those of her rank.

"Captain, I have received another transmission from the Venuthian Prime Minister, who wants to caution us again about the problems they're still having with vagrant groups in the area over narcotics. He does not think it will interfere with our mission, but he wants to make us aware of the situation," Commander Spock reported.

"Noted, Mr. Spock. Thank you," Captain Kirk said, and he turned to the landing party waiting in the transporter room. "Phasers at stun, everyone, though I hope we won't have to use them." He shot a commanding look at the two security guards accompanying them, and he turned Janice with a reassuring smile, and the rest of the crew found their positions on the transporter chamber.

When they were all rigidly set to beam down, Kirk nodded to the transporter attendants, and suddenly, they were instantly displaced onto the surface, a short whirring and whoosh of energy separating and reaffirming their body before they became whole again.

Everyone was instantly alert to their surroundings, and most everyone in the landing party (except the security personnel) relaxed when they met with the Venuthian Prime Minister, a tall man in beige robes with graying hair, as he greeted them with an outstretched hand and a smile. Janice couldn't help but notice the gold shimmer to their skin, which seemed to be indicative of their biology.

"Prime Minister Tralee, I presume?" Captain Kirk took his hand in a firm handshake, and Tralee's enjoyment only seemed to increase by this meeting. Janice observed a slight anxiety in the man, which could be rightfully attributed to the problems with their vagrants.

"Captain, it is so good to meet you in person," Tralee said, his voice much more jovial than Janice had guessed considering how tall and plain the man appeared. She looked around the rest of Tralee's entourage and the Captain had been right about the low-tech nature of the Venuthians. Their surroundings were like something out of Ancient Rome, though some technology seemed to be spattered about, as the minister's security detailed wore communicators and weapons on their hips.

"Likewise, Prime Minister. On behalf of the Federation, I'm honored to be the one to share this first meeting between our two peoples," the Captain said graciously, and Janice immediately noted how much she loved that about him. She watched on, next to Kirk's side, as the talks continued, and she took on their surroundings and admired the lush, natural beauty of the Venuthian world.

Janice made some notes, even beyond Captain Kirk's usual instruction, and she became used to what to record now, without much of the Captain's input. He would probably note her thoroughness later; especially, since they were taking inventory in the gifts the Venuthians were giving them.

When everyone received their gifts, Uhura seemed pleased with her custom-made hairpins, and Sulu was glad to have a new fencing sword. Spock was even content at a library of digitized history of the Venuthians evolution, which was quickly downloaded to his padd. Doctor McCoy had a few choice words with the apothecary on the validity of the herbs he was promised, and after a moment that could have turned tenser, the Captain clapped a hand on McCoy's shoulder and warned off the argument with a gentle smile. Doctor McCoy had not choice but to back down. Janice chuckled slightly, but she was instantly distracted when the Prime Minister himself approached her with a gift.

"My dear, it's Yeoman Rand, isn't it?" Janice nodded, and quickly he handed her a box of sweet smelling jars of oils as he gave her a knowing smile. "It's always a pleasure to meet another artistic soul."

"Th-Thank you, sir," she said, and she instantly cursed the sudden frog in her throat. "I'll treasure these." The Prime Minister's grin seemed go glow like his skin, and Janice confessed to him that she couldn't wait to use them. Captain Kirk came up quietly behind her, and she felt a gentle hand on her back. He released her as soon as Commander Spock came to join them to converse with the Prime Minister about his gifts. The two security guards brought over the technology they were exchanging, and Commander Spock began instructing the Prime Minister and his associates on how to operate them.

Before Spock was done with his lecture, everyone jumped to a startling crackle in the sky. A loud bomb shook the heavens, and everyone knelt for cover in surprise. Instinctively, Janice backed into the Captain, hovering to protect him as Spock and McCoy came over and did the same. Everyone had their phasers out and ready, even Janice, and the two security guards with Uhura and Sulu circled around the rest of them in the middle. The Prime Minster and his people were pulling back, trying to retreat toward their transport vehicle for protection.

Suddenly, wild fire broke out. Hot red lasers were firing everywhere, and the Captain gave an order to duck behind a ring of stone pillars to give everyone protection. Mr. Spock had already tapped his communicator with orders to beam the party up. They were almost out of the clear until people started coming out of the thick bushes toward the Prime Minister, firing haphazardly, and paying no attention to the newcomers in their path.

The two security guards were hit badly in their chests, and Janice panicked as she saw the huge black marks that seared through their uniform and skin. Another stray laser hit Sulu in the leg, and she heard him cry out. Janice almost sobbed in relief as they started to dematerialize, but in the corner of her eye she sensed it: danger, coming right for the Captain.

Everything around her seemed to slow as the atoms in their body started to pull apart. Still, she felt they were whole enough to still get hit, and when she heard the piercing sound of the primitive laser buzz past her ear, she listened to the loudest command in her head: Jump!

She bounced quickly in front of the captain, and she felt something burn at her shoulder; thick and hot pain that ate away at her nerves and disrupted the flow of her blood. She saw stars, then nothing - feeling the wave of disruption from the transport, and then she cried as they all became solid again, and as quickly as she felt the pain, she was lying in Kirk's strong arms.

"Janice!" he exclaimed, and she lifted her hand up to her wound and felt the burnt skin there, blistering already over the ripped flesh and blood. Her head felt dizzy, otherworldly - like she wasn't herself. Her body shuddered in pain, but the only thing Janice could do was whimper as she looked into Captain Kirk's eyes.

She had never seen that look on his face before. There had been many women; some died, some betrayed him, and some left him with stupid, satisfied smiles on his face. There had been crewmen that had died, deals that had gone bad, and war cries on the tip of his tongue. Janice felt her eyes close, but she resisted, trying to keep them open to study the strange yet frightening expression on Kirk's face.

Janice lifted up her hand toward him. "Captain," she said in a breathy sigh of relief. But she couldn't outrun it anymore. The darkness came, and the terrible expression on the Captain's face was branded like a scar in her mind.

Doctor McCoy was surlier than usual as Janice awoke in sickbay. He was yelling at Nurse Chapel, and as usual, the kind-hearted nurse was taking his moods in perfect stride. She humored him quietly, becoming extremely cold and almost robotic as he ordered her around the bay.

"Doctor, Yeoman Rand is now conscious," Christine said placidly, but the both of them rushed to her bedside to assess her vital signs.

"Janice, how are you feeling?" Suddenly, the cross Doctor had disappeared, and Janice was experiencing McCoy's tender side.

"Awful!" Janice said, which was the first thing that entered her mind. Not only was her shoulder itching like crazy, but also she couldn't get the image of the Captain's horrified face out of her mind. Janice glanced down at her shoulder and saw it bandaged up.

"We had to reconstruct a lot of your skin and nerves. There was a lot of damage." Doctor McCoy grumbled. "Those Venuthians have some pretty prehistoric weaponry, and it just made a mess of things. Sulu healed up well, but Crewmen Alexander and Quinn are ... well, they didn't make it." His eyes shifted, and Janice could see the pain in his hardened face. She felt his comforting hand on her unaffected shoulder. "We're glad you were so lucky."

"And the Captain? Was he hit?" Janice looked back and forth to Doctor McCoy and Nurse Chapel. They seemed mildly surprised.

"The Captain is fine," Doctor McCoy said.

Christine gave her a small smile. "You saved his life, Yeoman."

Janice sighed in relief. "Oh, good, because when I was shot, I saw this horrible look on his face, like I had failed." Janice looked at her hands in her lap, averting her gaze from theirs. Her face was already feeling hot. She had saved the Captain's life. If she wanted to avoid gossip before, now it was going to be impossible.

Not that it mattered. The important thing was that the Captain was safe.

"Ah, I should probably inform the Captain that his Yeoman is awake," Nurse Chapel said, but Janice interrupted.

"Oh, could you tell him that I'll return to duty tomorrow? I think I'll be fine then," Janice said, and she tried to roll her shoulder. It felt fine at first, but the moment she moved it she thought it was going to snap right out. "Ugh!" And Doctor McCoy rushed to her side again.

"Now you listen here. I did some pretty risky surgery on you, and if that laser were a half an inch south, you wouldn't be sitting with us now. The damage was so close to your heart it's a miracle it didn't damage it," McCoy said, mumbling something about caveman weaponry again, and then continued, "I'm giving you leave from work for a week, Yeoman. Crewman Donaldson can cover for you."

"A week!" Janice hollared. "Donaldson! He's barely hit puberty! No, the captain won't like that, Doctor McCoy, and if I know the captain," and her voice turned really soft, "he'll bully Donaldson into not eating his proper meals..."

She saw McCoy grin at that, but the doctor was stern.

"I take it our patient is unsatisfied with her leave time?"

Janice started as the Captain was leaning against the doorframe of sickbay, listening to the whole conversation. She felt mortified, but she lifted her chin and peered at him sternly, not intimidated by him.

"Don't worry, Captain. The patient will just have to follow the Doctor's orders," McCoy said gruffly, and he turned to Janice with a look that reminded her of her grandfather, a look and command you knew better not to argue with.

Janice sighed in defeat and looked away. "Alright, fine, but when can I get out of this sick bay?"

"You're free to go tonight. I still have a couple more tests," McCoy said, pacing around. He started toward the door of his office, and he gave Kirk a warning look. "Don't stress out the patient too much, Jim."

Captain Kirk raised an eyebrow, though still grinning. Janice figured it was an inside joke, and it was probably better that she not know about it.

"Captain," she said formally, but her voice trailed off. Her hands seemed to be fidgeting again, beyond her control. "I'm so glad you're alright."

"Yeoman, do you realize what you did down there?" he asked, seemingly irritated by her formality.

"I suppose I saved your life," Janice joked with a teasing smile.

"You suppose...That laser beam could have hit my heart. If you hadn't jumped in the way..."

"I know. You came very close to being killed, but as an officer, it is my duty to serve the captain, and no matter what my rank is..." she babbled but he stopped her.

"No, Yeoman, it's not that." His voice was cold, angry, and she could tell he was holding something back. He was definitely not calm, and his face was turning red. She saw him take a deep breath and calm himself, turning his back to her as he started to pace the room. "You could have died."


"You shouldn't have done that. I don't know what you were thinking, just throwing your life away like that, but you shouldn't have..."


He turned around and she could feel her blood blazing. Janice held back the tears now, but with the antibiotics, she barely had the strength not to cry. "I'm just a yeoman. You're the captain of this starship, a great starship - the best in Starfleet. But regardless of what Starfleet says, without Captain Kirk, the Enterprise is less than what she can be. We all know that."

Captain Kirk stared at her in surprise, unable to know how to react to Janice's perception of him, of herself.

"No life is better than the other, Yeoman," he said to her softly. "And what about me? What about what I think?"

"What you think is very important, sir, and without what I did down there, you wouldn't be thinking now at all," Janice said, and instantly, he was at her side, leaning over her bed and peering into her eyes. If she didn't know Captain Kirk better, she almost thought he'd lean down and kiss her, to shut her up and soothe the wild emotions emanating from him.

He opened his mouth to speak, but Janice stopped him. She sighed heavily and closed her eyes. "I'm sorry, Captain." He paused and let her continue. "I'm very tired. Can we please talk about this tomorrow?"

"Of course, Yeoman," he said, backing away from her bed. Janice leaned back onto the pillow, and she felt him hovering over her, watching as she closed her eyes. He didn't stay long, and she heard him speak to McCoy before the sickbay door hissed closed from his exit.

For the first two days of her sick leave, Janice was glad McCoy made her take off work. Truthfully, she was really sore, and she couldn't do anything with her wounded shoulder. Mostly, she stayed in bed in her quarters, reading novels on her padd or experimenting with sculptures and sketches with her non-dominant hand. Several crewmembers came to visit her, and for the first few days she was so dizzy with visitors, she had to feign soreness just to get them to leave.

Sulu seemed to be the worst culprit (even with his sore leg). The first day back he visited her four times that entire day, and although Janice found his worrying sweet, she was starting to get annoyed when he kept bugging her about the botanical garden on the ship, which she sadly had been avoiding since the mission.

Scotty stopped by and gave her a bottle of whiskey, not knowing she loathed the stuff. He could tell by the face she made on how she took her whiskey, and he made a few suggestions of mixers to mask the taste, which weren't half bad.

Janice was the most surprised to see Commander Spock visit her. He was very formal, inquired about her health, and he once brought Uhura along, as the two of them played music for her and eased her frantic, anxious mind. Mostly, they took her mind away from thoughts of the captain, and how he'd been affected by Janice's almost-fatal heroism.

Later during the week of her leave, Janice started to feel restless. Her shoulder was healing up much better than McCoy had thought, and she was anxious to get back to work. Plus, she heard a crewman mention to her in the mess hall that Kirk was ready to punt Donaldson out the nearest airlock, and he couldn't wait to have Janice back. (She bet he was getting fat too, coercing Donaldson for barbecue pork sandwiches. She'd have to set the captain straight away on that.)

But Doctor McCoy was very adamant about her completing her full week of leave time, even if she was feeling better. He wanted to make sure that she was fully healed from the Venuthian's "prehistoric" weapons. On the fourth day of her leave, Janice was more than restless; she was bored. Now that her arm was fully healed, she was able to paint again with her dominant hand, and she pulled out a few paintings she'd been meaning to finish.

Besides painting, Janice also filled up her free time with a lot of thinking, thoughts that she'd been too cautious to dwell on before. Mostly thoughts involving her return to her post and the captain.

She tried to believe that things would go back to normal, and even though she had saved the Captain's life, she didn't expect special treatment. She just did her job like anyone else. However, she couldn't get the Captain's horrified expression out of her mind. When she fell into his arms, she'd never seen that look on his face before, and it scared her on what deeper meaning it could hold. More than anything, Janice never wanted to see that look on his face again, especially if she was the cause of it.

For every life lost on the Enterprise, the captain treated the victims like they were his personal friends, that the losses were always great, but they would move on in the name of their brave spirits. Crew were injured all the time, and even Sulu had been injured before, sometimes not even earning a visit from the captain, where Kirk was content to hear the medical report from McCoy over the intercom.

However, her situation was different, and Janice knew this. Captain Kirk was actually scared, beyond anything else, that she would die in his arms saving his life. She could almost read the thoughts on his face in that moment, and it answered a lot of questions for her, a lot of questions Janice was always to afraid to even ask herself.

She admitted at one weak moment that she wanted the captain to look at her legs, to even regard her. Consequently, the incident was dismissed, and things went on as usual and it was never spoken of again. But they both had felt it, the intensity between them every time their eyes met. And always, Janice could see the captain fight a war within himself. He wanted her; it was obvious, but his position and decorum prevented such things. Succumbing to their desires would only become a domino effect of hardships for both of them within their Starfleet careers.

And Janice was a better woman to deny such urges; she cared about Jim enough to subdue her own desires for the sake of his career, for hers too. But mostly, it was all for Jim.

In the time her thoughts plagued her, swirling around in her head like a frightening storm of paranoia and regret, she was painting, and somewhere in her mind, her fears and desires birthed from paint onto her canvas. Inside the nebulous ball she painted, truth would come forth in another form, the truth of her own heart.

She looked at the canvas and noticed the blank space on the painting. In one corner a swirling violent nebula weighted the canvas. In the other, the blank white space was forming into a shape already in her mind. She felt her heart beating in her chest, and she had a realization. Janice Rand came back to the start, tempering all thoughts, all desires, and she listened to the childlike murmur that she had stowed away into the far recesses of her soul.

She picked up a conte crayon and began sketching out a shape. "Computer, please display schematics of the Starship Enterprise." She ordered the computer to bring it up on the viewscreen, and she looked at it, suddenly remembering every port and conduit as if it had been a part of her since birth.

Then, Janice painted. She knew what she had to do.

After she finished her painting, Janice decided to seek out Commander Spock. With easy access to the command shifts, she found that he had taken dinner at his usual time, so she set out to meet him in the mess hall, hoping she didn't walk into Captain Kirk as well.

When she found him eating alone, with none of the other lower ranking crewmembers brave enough to sit with him, Janice approached him. He raised a single eyebrow to her as he observed she was out of her standard uniform, wearing a pink dress and silver sandals.

"Commander Spock, I'm sorry to disturb you while you're eating," she said politely as she sat next to him. He nodded to let her continue. She threw a glance over her shoulder and looked around the room not too discreetly, hoping no one would overhear them. She turned back to a curious Spock and said, "Commander, please, I need a favor."

She explained everything to him, knowing that since Jim Kirk wasn't there to interrupt, maybe it really was her fate to go along with this decision.

Janice Rand waited patiently in the Observation Deck. The ambient lighting was giving off the effect of night, and she looked out into the vast sea of stars and felt her heart swell. If things went to plan, soon Captain Kirk would meet her here by relayed message from Commander Spock.

She turned around and looked at the wall, seeing her painting wrapped in parchment paper as a gift to the Captain. Underneath it, she hoped he liked it, especially since he wasn't going to be happy about her decision.

"Yeoman," he said, and she could hear the rigidity warring with the curiosity in his tone.

"Captain," she said, turning around to face him with a smile. He approached her side, and he glanced out at the stars before meeting her gaze.

"I suppose the first thing to ask is why, Yeoman?" For all his professionalism and regality, the Captain looked hurt. She didn't expect anything less, but it didn't make things any easier. "Why did Commander Spock put in your request to transfer? I thought the Enterprise was your home."

Janice shook her head. "It is, Captain, ever after moving around a lot when I was a girl, the Enterprise was the one true place I wanted to call my permanent home." She tilted her head and looked at him. "But we both know I can't stay here, not after what happened." She saw the captain purse his lips after inhaling a short breath.

"When you saved my life," he said, like a dangling answer to all the questions he'd been asking himself about her request. It sounded so hollow, but they both knew it meant so much more.

"I saw this look on your face when I took the shot for you," Janice said, looking away from his eyes and walking over to her painting. "I knew what it meant. I had to think about, but I knew how you felt then."

"I thought you were going to die, Janice. Nothing in the universe mattered. I just didn't want you to die... like that, for me," he confessed, as if he'd been waiting eons to tell her. It was admission enough for Janice.

"I know, Captain, and that's not how things should be. That's not how your life should be," Janice said, and before he could retort, she shook her head and pleaded, "Captain, I don't want to tell you how to live your life, but we both know your first duty is to the people of the ship, not just one yeoman, but everyone. You've never felt like that for anyone else on this ship."

"No, you're right," he said quietly.

"What I can do is tell myself how to live my own life, and what I choose is for the Captain of this ship to be the Captain, without any distractions."

"Yeoman, if this is some twisted sacrifice for my behalf..."

"It's not," she said sternly, turning around to meet his eyes decidedly. "There is no one else in Starfleet who I'd rather serve, Captain, but you can't love me like I want you too. You can't; it's not your nature, and it's not your destiny." She let out a small laugh. "It took getting shot for me to realize this."

Kirk looked uncomfortable, and he stared at her without knowing what to say. Janice smiled lightheartedly at him. "I'm going to transfer, and you're going to go on and become a great captain who people trust with their lives. And when I transfer I'm going to strive to be something better. It's what I can give for myself when I've lost you."

Before Kirk could respond, Janice turned around and ripped the parchment paper off to expose her painting. She turned around and reveled in the expression on Captain Kirk's face as he gazed upon it.

"I'm not entirely leaving, Captain," Janice said, and his eyes met hers for a moment before getting entranced by her painting again, a painting of the Enterprise beside her nebula of emotions. "I'm leaving a part of myself behind for you to remember."

He stared, and suddenly, as Janice blinked, he rushed over to her and scooped her into his arms. She felt his lips cover hers, and she melted against his taste and his strong, bold smell overwhelming her. She felt weak within his arms, and for a quick moment, she was willing to go back on her decision – to throw everything away just to stay like this forever, but she knew she couldn't.

He broke away from her and she licked her lips. He looked down at her, and she wondered if he was trying to take her image in, all of it, to remember her when the days came and she wasn't here to fill the void.

"I love you, Captain Kirk," she said. "I think I always will, but I want to love you more, and to do that, you have to become the great man I know you can be – and I want to become a great woman that you can hear people talk about and then say, I knew Janice Rand once..."

He smiled at her, and she laughed, and they fell into comfortable warmth as he continued to hold her, slinging an arm around her as they looked back at her painting.

"You're already known as the yeoman who saved Captain Kirk's life," he said softly.

She nodded, giving him one of her infamous flirtatious smirks. "I know, but I want to be the yeoman who saved Captain Kirk's life, and have the skills to prove it."

He laughed heartily, and she felt his lips press against the top of her head. "You will, Janice." He whispered to her, making her heart feel full. "You will."