He had stated it over and over again. He had even bragged about it. James Tiberius Kirk did not do crew.

His exploits with women were well known throughout the ship. Each time he returned from shore leave the tales of his various dalliances always preceded him.

Some were amazed that with his out of control libido that he could refrain from dabbling in a few discreet indiscretions with one of the many lovely crew members, but he never did. He was well disciplined, and he was proud of it. Never once had he even looked at a female crew member beyond a quick appreciative glance as they walked by...well after all, he was a man. However he always talked with them looking in their eyes giving them the utmost respect and he received it in return. He liked that. He liked the confidence they had in him and the fact he made them comfortable in his presence. He knew he would lose that if he broke his own set of rules and that was just not going to happen.

However, he had to admit that things had altered slightly after the incident in Mirror universe. He had never looked at Nyota Uhura as anything but a very capable Communications Officer. He had always dealt with her in a professional manner. Yes, he had snapped at her plenty of times under stress. Hell, he snapped at everybody when he was under stress, but he liked the fact that she understood the pressures of the captaincy and never took his quick temper personally. They would often exchange glances after a crisis was over where he would give her a quick smile and she would return it giving him a slight nod. It was their way. He knew that she understood that his anger was never really directed at her and she never reacted as such. She was a strong woman and he admired her greatly.

That was why now things were difficult for him. There was no other woman on the ship that he admired as much as Lieutenant Nyota Uhura. The last thing he ever wanted to do was to lose her trust and respect...and yet he knew that his attitude towards her had begun to change when they returned from Mirror universe.

It had started innocently enough. He found himself catching his breath when he realized that there had been a transformer malfunction which landed them in an alternate universe. He had tried not to stare at her. Never had he seen a uniform like the one she wore that oozed sensuality. True the Federation Standard uniform was short and he was used to seeing leggy women, but seeing her exposed like she was, her perfectly formed abs...and god those boots...it just sent his blood boiling. It was then that he realized that she was more than just a capable Officer...she was a very desirable woman.

He had never looked at her like that before, seen her that way before. Her perfectly formed body seemed to draw him in a way that no woman had been able to do before. It wasn't just her body, even though that was what had first caught his attention in that outfit. It was more than that. It was her grace, her intellect, her controlled voice under pressure. It was everything and anything about her.

He found himself making excuses to talk to her on the bridge. He always kept it formal, never looking directly at her. There were times, however, he would close his eyes and just listen to her response.

Several times he caught Spock eying him curiously. He knew he had to be careful. He wouldn't call it obsession, but he found himself thinking about her constantly. He wondered to himself it it was possible to step out of the ark of safety and expose his hidden feelings to her. He quickly tossed the idea. He knew he dared not. It was too risky.

No relationship where he had become emotionally involved with a woman had ever worked out and he always ended up nursing his wounds. He couldn't show his pain. He was the captain and he had to appear to 'get over it' so to speak, but it was hard. On the outside he projected himself as calm and self assured. On the inside, however, he was often an emotional mess. He couldn't confide to anyone when his heart was aching, not even Bones. Bones being his friend, knew him well enough and could detect his pain. He would then invite him to join him for a drink, which he did because it made him feel better. Time always helped and he promised himself that in the future he would guard his heart. He was the captain. He couldn't afford to love. Love was a distraction.

He avoided emotional attachment by trying to fill the void that resulted from his need for intimacy with empty sex, but no amount of sex could replace the joy he felt when he actually slipped and fell for a woman. He knew the signs. He was at that point again, and it scared him to death.

His attraction to Nyota Uhura would be his undoing if he wasn't careful. Bones was already somewhat suspicious. They had just arrived and were in orbit at Starbase 12 which was one of his well known 'prowling' spots. Most ships that were in that sector of the galaxy would stop there. Rarely was the Enterprise the only ship there at any given time and this time was no exception. He had just spoken to the captain of the USS Valliant who was also there. They had docked together several times and Madison the captain had some lovely, willing female officers. They wanted a good time, and he wanted a good time. It was quick and painless. They got what they wanted, he got what he wanted.

However, he had no such desires on this trip. After beaming down, he found himself watching Uhura who beamed down at the end of her shift. She was with Checkov whom he knew was like a brother to her and Kirk found eyes following her as she entered the bar where he had obtained a table in a back corner.

He noticed Checkov left Uhura and walked over to a group of officers from the Valliant that he obviously knew. Several men approached Nyota upon Checkov's departure and Kirk found himself feeling irritated. She sat down with one of them after he had obviously offered her a drink. Kirk wanted to go over there and interrupt the guys little 'macking' session, but he didn't know how, so he sat at the table in the bar at the space station and brooded.

He looked up when he saw Bones come in. He held up his hand signaling him and Bones came over.

"Hey, Jim." Bones said grinning. "Are you waiting for someone? I don't want to interrupt anything."

"There's nothing to interrupt" Jim replied sourly.

"What's up with you? Did some woman turn you down?"

Jim took a swig from his shot glass, keeping Nyota in his line of vision.

"No. I'm fine, Bones. Just tired I guess" he lied.

Bones didn't reply. A woman's laughter rang out and Jim watched as the officer leaned across the table talking to Uhura. He had taken her hand in his and it was obvious to Jim that the man planned to 'score' that night. Why was he so irritated? It wasn't his business!

"Jim what's going on?" Bones leaned forward onto the table staring at him intently.

"There's nothing going on Bones" he said leaning back in his chair. More laughter rang out and he glanced across the room.

"Looks like Uhura is having a good time" Bones remarked chuckling.

"I fail to see what's so funny" Jim snapped before he could think.

Bones stared at him a moment, his mouth slack.

"What the hell is your problem?" He leaned even closer, his voice a whisper.
"Are you going to tell me or aren't you and don't tell me anything about you being tired. I know you. Out with it!"

Jim stood up. He had to get out of there. "Look Bones, I'm sorry. I think I'll just return to the ship."

Bones suddenly looked concerned. "Return to the ship? You must not be feeling well. I 'll beam back up with you so that I can check you out thoroughly."

"That won't be necessary-"

Bones stood up. "I insist. You've been acting weird lately and I'm not taking 'no' for an answer. If necessary I'll pull rank on you, captain."

Kirk knew he was trapped. Could he risk telling Bones? After all, he was his best friend. He sat back down and glanced again at Uhura.

Bones followed his glance on the couple and then looked at Jim. "Is something wrong with Uhura?"

"No Bones. Look, I told you I was just tired." He couldn't tell Bones. He could handle this. He just needed time.

Bones knew he was lying and was immediately irritated. Jim was supposed to be his friend! "Fine. I expect you to report to Sick Bay tomorrow at 0800 hours. That's an order."

Jim didn't reply and Bones got up and stormed out of the bar.

Jim ordered another drink. He knew that he should confide in Bones, but what the hell! What was he going to say, that he was a lovesick school boy? He quickly downed the drink and ordered another.

He watched as Uhura stood up and the officer put his arm around her waist as they walked towards the exit. He had to do something.

The alcohol took control and he quickly intercepted them at the door.

"Lieutenant!" he snapped using his most commanding voice.

She turned and looked at him surprised. "Yes, captain."

"A word with you please."

He eyed the young officer who was waiting by the door and tried to squash the jealousy he felt.

She came over to him. "Sir?"

God, she was beautiful. His eyes quickly raked over her and then focused on her face which had a puzzled expression on it.

"Did you complete the translation of that last transmission from planet Darius II? I asked that you would have it for me by the end of your shift."

She stared at him. "Sir, I beg to differ with you. You said that I could complete the translation and have it to you by the end of my shift tomorrow."

He drew himself up and stared at her. "Lieutenant, I believe I told you that I wanted it today and you have failed to do as I requested. I expect to have that transmission when I report to the bridge in the morning."

She stared at him unable to believe what he had just said to her.

Her voice was hard. "Very well, sir. Is there anything else?"

"That's all. Dismissed." he then turned and walked out of the bar. He knew that she would have to return to the ship in order to have it done when he requested. He had never abused his power before and suddenly guilt overtook him. What in the world was wrong with him? He was immediately ashamed of his behavior.

He quickly beamed back to the Enterprise and returned to his quarters. He would have to apologize. He knew he was wrong. It wasn't her fault that he could be a complete jerk at times.

He went to the bar and poured another drink. Just then his door chimed.


He was surprised to see Uhura standing there with a PADD in her hand.

"Lieutenant" he said nodding. She was obviously upset.

"Captain." she responded, her voice like ice and her face a mask of barely controlled anger.

"Lieutenant, I am glad you came. I must sincerely apologize to you for my behavior this evening. I guess I'm just tired. I took my frustration out on you and that was wrong." He gave her his best smile.

Immediately her anger seemed to dissipate and she smiled back. "That's alright, captain. I was upset at first because I knew that you told me that you wanted it by the end of my shift tomorrow. When I returned to my quarters, I noticed that I had written it on my PADD and you had signed off on it. I came here to show it to you."

"I realized that too." he said continuing to lie. "As I said, I am sorry. Perhaps you can still salvage your date. It's not that late."

Even as the words escaped his lips, he felt a pang of jealousy. He wondered if this man was someone she always met up with when they stopped here.

She stared at him. "Date? What date? Are you speaking of Andre, the man I was in the bar with?"

Kirk nodded and tried to appear disinterested even as he tried to mask his feelings.

"He's just an old family friend. It's nothing like that."

Kirk felt his heart leap in his chest and he tried not to smile.

"Still, I did ruin your evening. I feel I must make it up to you." Maybe he would have an opportunity to feel her out, see if he had a small chance.

She shook her head. "That's not necessary captain. It was just a mistake. I don't expect anything from you."

She suddenly appeared nervous as he found himself staring at her. Did she detect something? He quickly looked away.

"If there's nothing else, sir..." Her voice stammered slightly.

"No, that is all" he said noticing her awkwardness. "Dismissed."

He watched her as she left. He realized that she became nervous when he offered to make it up to her. She wasn't the slightest bit interested in him! He felt his stomach constrict.

He had to get over her somehow. He sank down on the sofa. He had to get a grip. He had to be careful. He couldn't afford to let his feelings interfere with his duty. Alcohol and jealousy didn't mix well at all. He would have to somehow keep up the pretense that she was just another capable crew member. Perhaps in time, the feelings that he was dealing with would dissolve, even though he seriously doubted it. Until then, he just had to continue to pretend that they didn't exist.

He got up and exhaled. He had to report to the Sick Bay first thing in the morning or Bones would have his head. He decided to take a shower and go to bed hoping that the next day he would be able to see things a lot clearer. He realized that he was lying to himself and most likely he would continue to lie to Bones also. He wanted her badly and he knew that he couldn't have her.

He'd have to return to that bridge and pretend that his growing romantic feelings for her didn't exist and he did not know how much longer he could endure living that lie.