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Appreciation

Lieutenant Uhura had a nice ass. This wasn't a revelation; but Jim rarely had the opportunity to appreciate the fact. For professional reasons Jim worked hard to stifle his reactions to beautiful women while on duty - well, mostly. He might smile a bit too broadly when Rand turned around after bending over a console, or flutter his eyelashes at Chapel when she gave him a hypo - but hey, no reason not to be friendly. However, with Uhura there were other reasons to keep himself in check on and off the clock. Jim didn't want to damage his fledgling relationship with her husband and his first officer, Commander Spock.

In fact, Uhura was with Spock now as they walked ahead in the same direction Jim was going at 07:30 local planet time. But they hadn't seen him yet, which meant if Jim could just be quiet he could continue to admire the way her strides accentuated the curves of her -

"Captain," said his XO, pivoting mid-stride, turning to face him, and straightening to attention.

Damn Vulcan hearing.

Uhura turned as well, prim and proper, PADD in hand. A hint of a suppressed smile was on her face as she stood at attention. They were on much better terms now than at the Academy.

Jim waved with his hand to put them at ease, trying to look groggy and slightly sleepy. He didn't want them to get suspicious as to why he hadn't announced himself immediately.

"Would you care to you join us?" said Spock.

"Yeah, yeah," said Jim falling into step with them.

"This is so exciting, Captain," Uhura said, much too poised this early in the morning. "I can't wait to get down to Camus II and see the Rosetta Stone Dr. Lester has discovered. A long dead language - fantastic!"

'The Rosetta Stone' was what Starfleet was calling a pillar that had both ancient Cardassian and the language of the ancient Camus denizens on it. It was the reason the Enterprise was here. The stone had been degraded over time, and Spock was going to use the Enterprise's state of the art science facilities to recover the ancient script. Also, the linguist in the Camus II team, Dr. Coleman, was not well versed in ancient Cardassian. Fortunately, Uhura was.

"Mmmm..." said Jim. "I can't wait to see Dr. Lester. She was hot when we were at the Academy - in both timelines." But in the other timeline Jim and Dr. Lester had been...well, passionate—intellectually, physically, and emotionally. They'd almost gotten married.

Jim knew the details of his other self's relationship with Janice - Dr. Lester. Spock the elder had melded with Jim just after the destruction of Vulcan. The emotionally compromised Vulcan had botched the meld - Jim was left with all of the Elder Spock's memories, which included the memories of his other self.

Uhura rolled her eyes. "But in this timeline she had the sense not to get involved with you during your student days."

"Hey," said Jim acting affronted, "in this timeline she dropped out of the command track and went into the sciences only a few days after my first semester. It would only have been a matter of time. Time I may well now have."

Nyota let out a small huff. Jim smiled brightly.

Raising an eyebrow, Spock said, "May I remind you, that according to your own account she tried to kill you in the other timeline."

In fact she had tried to kill Jim and had killed her entire research team, except for Coleman.

Jim was undeterred. "Oh, Spock, don't be illogical," Jim said. "That was the other timeline. She was bitter in that universe because women couldn't be captains-"

"The other universe was so messed up," said Uhura.

"But in this universe she left the command track herself much earlier," said Jim. "And her discovery of ruins on Camus II is much earlier as well. She's more accomplished in this universe than the other. Don't you think the psychology behind that is fascinating, Spock?"

Spock blinked. Jim winked at him, knowing the Vulcan was probably a bit befuddled. Despite his brilliance, Spock did not have an intuitive understanding of human psychology.

Stepping forward as they approached the turbolift, Uhura pressed the call button. "It is interesting, Captain. Without the compulsion of misogyny, she chose the same path anyway but has been much more successful. It shows just how injustice can really warp people - and keep them from their full potential."

Stepping into the lift and pressing the code for the transporter room, Jim said, "Precisely, and in this universe she might not be space-bat-skat crazy."

"Hmmm..." said Spock tilting his head.

"And therefore may have nothing to do with you," said Uhura with a smirk.

Tilting his head, Jim gave her a tight half smile. "I assure you, in our very brief acquaintance at the Academy, I still managed to make an impression."

The half-Vulcan's lips quirked upwards. "Considering your behavior during your Academic years, Captain, that might not be an advantage."

"Ha, ha, Spock," Jim said without smiling; but inwardly he was smiling. His first officer was joking with him. They were still a long way off from the friendship he'd shared with the other Spock, but the potential was clearly there. After being in the elder Spock's mind, Jim craved that friendship. He wanted the same camaraderie, the same belonging.

Fifteen minutes later they were on the surface of Camus II. Dr. Lester and Dr. Coleman were there to greet them.

In this timeline Janice wasn't wearing her hair in a dowdy style like the last. Instead, she wore a sleek pixie cut. It wasn't precisely sexy, it was adorable...which was sexy in its own way, in Jim's opinion. Instead of a dress she wore a practical, yet fitted, body suit that didn't hide her toned body or pert chest and looked ideal for excavating ruins. A woman who wasn't afraid to get her hands dirty, Jim surmised. Nice.

Dr. Coleman looked as Jim remembered him. Which was to say, creepy. In the other timeline he'd been involved with Janice, too, and had conspired with her to help her switch bodies with Jim. It was a shame Jim's memories of being inside Janice's body were so vague. He really wished he could have memories of having those breasts to appreciate -

Shaking his head at the thought, Jim stepped forward. It had been years since he'd seen her in that one class. But she was just as beautiful as he remembered.

Offering his hand he smiled. "Dr. Janice Lester, so nice to see you again."

Was it his imagination or did Dr. Coleman scowl?

Tilting her head, Janice furrowed her brow slightly. "I'm sorry, you must be Captain Kirk. Have we met?"

Jim couldn't see, but he could feel Uhura smirking behind him. His eyes instead went to Coleman. The man was definitely smiling.

A/N: Yes, it's been a while. I had a baby girl – just to make my four year old son's life miserable. Or that's what he'd tell you. He hasn't committed infanticide yet, so I think things are going relatively well.

More on Jim and his botched mind meld with Spock!Prime in "How the Mighty Have Fallen"

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