Author's Note: Originally started for the girlsavesboy challenge over on LJ. I thought it'd be fun to try making a humorous story (SEE: part one) and from there it grew into a Five Things story with an unexpected side of a romance. Part two is sort of an AOS update on the TOS episode The Man Trap with spoilers for the ending and some changes made. Set post-film with all mentioned characters/places are taken from Trek canon, if not STXI itself. Big thanks to fringedweller for betaing! Cheers.
Disclaimer: Characters mentioned are used without permission and are trademarks of CBS/Paramount/Gene Roddenberry. I do not own them and am simply borrowing for my purposes. Please don't sue.

another day, another daring rescue
by Bether

(or, five times Janice Rand rescued Jim Kirk and one time she didn't need to)


His eyes aren't open but he knows it's her all the same. (She smells like lavender, vanilla and stress.) "You suck," he informs her when she's close enough that he can speak to her without alerting The Evil Warden or one of his many minions.

Her footfalls stop abruptly and he finally opens his eyes to see her standing just out of arm's reach with her hands on her hips and a pointed Look on her face. This one roughly translates to, I would so hit you right now if you weren't my commanding officer and currently somewhat incapacitated.

"Excuse me?" she asks, one eyebrows rising in that way everyone on the senior staff seems to have mastered except for him. Damn them all and their ridiculous eyebrow skills. "Is that any way to greet your rescuer?"

He makes a face at her. "I happen to know for a fact you could've been here hours ago." He does, too. He heard some of the minions discussing it. "But no. You left me here. All alone. At his mercy."

She rolls her eyes and moves to his side, eyes scanning the displays around him. "Don't be such a baby."

"I'm not," he shoots back and it's okay because he's not whining—really. Starship captains don't whine, they just don't.

"You are," she replies in her Very No-Nonsense Voice, which generally brokers no arguments. (Not unless he's in the mood for some verbal sparring, anyway.) "Besides he is your best friend."

Pulling another face, Jim grimaces. "Not when he's in doctor mode he isn't. Then he's a sadistic tyrannical hypo-wielding sociopath."

Janice snorts softly. He doesn't find it as unattractive as it probably is; he wonders if that means he's used to her or something else. (Probably used to her. Yeah.)

"I'm pretty sure at least two of those things are grounds for his medical license being revoked, so I'm going to assume you're exaggerating—as usual." She punctuates with her classic, You know I'm right Look, apparently done making certain he's mostly healed.

Jim pouts expertly. (So expertly that if pouting were an intergalactic sport, he'd totally win the top honors. He's badass like that.)

"Stop that," she chides, signaling The Evil Warden's Second (aka Head Nurse Christine Chapel) over. "I'm getting you out now, aren't I?"

Taking a moment, Jim grins and bats his eyelashes at Christine in the hopes she won't stab him in the neck (a la Bones the Sadistic) with the hypo she has in hand.

Then he turns his attention back to his yeoman. "So you are." He pauses, tensing as the hypo is applied, before relaxing again because it wasn't that bad. "What took you, anyway?"

Even though she's smiling at Christine, Jim can tell it's as much to avoid his gaze as an expression of gratitude. "Oh, you know…" she shrugs noncommittally, "this and that."

Ready to test out the painkillers (or whatever was just got shot into his system), Jim sits up. So far, so good. It's almost as if he wasn't stabbed in the gut by an angry Gorn two days earlier. Only not really because his muscles all ache and there's a general feeling of unwell about him but whatever; he's the captain and these things happen. (Or maybe they happen because he's Jim Kirk but the moral of the story is that he's almost used to it by now.)


She's watching him—probably to be sure he doesn't try to leap out of bed like that one time he ripped all his newly regrown skin open and had to be operated on again—and, as such, cannot avoid his imploring gaze.

(He loves his eyes. They're blue and awesome and make girls do what he wants most of the time, even Janice Rand and she's kind of a hardass.)

She folds, although the aggravated expression he gets for his trouble makes it seem less like folding and more like… well, tolerant exasperation. "Look, I just get a lot more done when you're not pestering me, okay?"

He pouts again, mostly to annoy her.

"And I refuse to get behind in filing our reports just because you—" here she points accusingly in his direction—"can't entertain yourself for more than two minutes at a time when we're supposed to be working."

"Hey now, that's not true!" he objects. "I can entertain myself for at least five minutes." He smiles winningly. "You're just more fun." There's some double entendre in there, so he waggles his eyebrows for good measure.

Janice does not look amused. "Don't make me leave you here, Captain, because I will."

The first time she said that, Jim hadn't believed her. He'd woken up from the surprise sedative twelve hours later with a wicked hangover and standing orders to stay in Sickbay another day. Sufficed to say, he doesn't want that happening again.

"Fine, fine. I'll behave, scouts honor."

"You were never a scout," she points out in a way that would probably make Spock proud—for the logic of it all.

Jim plays dumb—mostly because it's entertaining. "What's your point?" He makes sure he's all angelic innocence when he speaks even though she hasn't bought that act since her first day on the job.

She's shaking her head as she helps him stand. (He's a little wobbly on his feet but it actually feels better than sitting, so there's that.) "I'm already regretting this…"

He makes a point to look affronted. "Hey! Who's the captain here?"

"You are, sir." He's pretty sure she's sassing him based on tone and all previous interactions. He doesn't actually mind, though, because (1) she's springing him from Sickbay and Bones' not-so-tender mercies, and (2) they both know she's the one who really keeps the ship running—at least the bits that seem to breathe bureaucracy, anyway.

Part of him wants to say, "Damn right I am," but he learned that lesson the hard way, too, so he holds his tongue there. Instead, he grins slyly as she helps him into the turbolift. "So, your cabin or mine?"

Janice rolls her eyes and doesn't dignify that with a response. He doesn't mind much—she did rescue him, after all. (Plus, his body's still too banged up to make good on any real offer, anyway.)


The appearance of Nancy Crater (née Bierce) disrupts Jim Kirk's Very Important Captainly Decision-Making Balance. He still has Spock to provide the Voice of Reason and Logic but Bones is too distracted to offer the Voice of Humanity and Emotion. This puts him off-kilter and it's for that reason that he doesn't put together the inconsistencies of "Nancy" and the attacks on his crew before being singled out as the next victim himself. No, really—that's the reason. Because he totally would've figured it out otherwise. Bones just wasn't doing his part.

Of course, that's not much comfort when he's being manhandled by "Nancy" and having all the salt sucked out of his body. (Which, by the by, is more painful than it sounds like it'd be. Seriously.) And Bones is just standing there, immobile as he stares at "Nancy" and damn if that doesn't hurt, too. In a different way, obviously, but still. Sucks.

Jim hears screams of agony and it's only when he's on his knees that he realizes they're his. He tries to reason with Bones—tries to understand how he can let his supposed best friend writhe on the floor in agony—but it's for naught. Somehow "she" has him hypnotized and the white-hot pain inside of him is so much, God so much; he's going to die there. He's going to die there and Bones is going to let him.

There are sounds—sounds he should know, would know if he weren't dying and in a ridiculous amount of pain (and did he mention the dying?)—and a flash of light that's so familiar and the monster that's wearing Nancy's face stops to cry out in pain. Which shouldn't make Jim so stupidly happy but it means a reprieve from the pain he's in, so he's okay with it.

Bones is shouting at the wielder of the shiny lights—phaser fire, his brain corrects sluggishly—for hurting "Nancy" and the other person is yelling back that she's protecting the captain and shouldn't he be doing that too? Some best friend. Spock so needs to start liking him in this universe, so he can be BFFs with the Vulcan instead. (Although he has this weird vague memory from the meld where Spock kills him over a woman, so maybe he's screwed in the friend department.)

"Nancy" lurches toward Kirk and it's the last thing "she" ever does. The new addition fires again—and a third time and then the illusion of Nancy is gone and there's just a monster left behind. His vision's still swimming but Jim manages to look up and, hey, he knows that woman! His Yeoman is standing in the doorway with a fierce glare directed at Bones, her phaser still held high as she tells him off.

Jim manages to smile at her just before passing out.


Jim has been trying to placate Admiral Nensi Chandra, or at least not piss the man off any worse, for the better part of an hour when Janice walks into his ready room with a stack of PADDs in one hand and a mug of coffee he prays is for him in the other. (Seriously, she looks like an angel of mercy, especially compared with the man currently scolding at him from Earth, and that coffee like the nectar of the gods—or some kind of better metaphor.)

"Captain, I have—" she cuts herself off when she hears the Admiral on the viewscreen facing Jim. Placing the coffee on his desk—handle turned toward him, bless her soul—and handing him the PADDs, she smiles and mouths a quick apology for not chiming first.

Waving it off, he glances at what appear to be personnel reviews before returning his attention to Chandra's latest rant. The man's always got his panties in a bunch about something Jim's done or doing or possibly planning to do—although about half the time it seems mostly for the sake of bitching and moaning than out of any actual fault on his part. Jim thinks his mother must've blown up a lab on one of Chandra's ships at some point or something because Jim thinks he'd remember earning the man's ire during his tenure at the Academy or since beginning his command. (Well, unless he was drunk. Then maybe not.)

Janice is frowning hard and glaring at the back of the viewscreen, which makes Jim's lips twitch a little. He appreciates the solidarity but it's kind of ironic, since she reams him regularly on similar topics. Of course, in those cases he probably deserves it, so. There's that.

When Chandra pauses long enough to take a breath, Janice somehow materializes beside Jim and in the Admiral's direct view. It's then that he realizes he'll probably hear about letting her enter during their conference, as well. Joy.

"Excuse me, sir, but with all due respect—" which is Janice-speak for, if I could, I'd give you the single finger salute right now—"I believe you should direct your complaints to Starfleet Command, not Captain Kirk."

Chandra opens his mouth but isn't allowed time to reply.

"As Captain's Yeoman, I make certain all reports are filed properly; that means in a timely manner with correct notation and logging procedure. If you're not receiving them at a speed or in a condition you find acceptable, then it's the job of Starfleet to pass new regulations because everything we do is up to—if not beyond—the standards they've set forth."

This, Jim thinks, is probably a stretch—especially in regards to away mission procedures—but he knows Janice works her end by the book and has him do the same with whatever paperwork-type stuff she (semi-)trusts him not to mess up.

"Kirk, reign in your crew," Chandra spits out, his face and neck an interesting red color.

Instead of following that dictate, Jim grins widely. "I do, sir," he says with no small amount of pride—he knows exactly how hard it is to stand up to the men at top from where he sits, and it can only be harder for Janice being lower ranked and enlisted. "When they're out of line. And I have their backs regardless."

Period, end of story.

"As everything Yeoman Rand has stated is correct, I believe we can consider this matter closed. Kirk out." He switches the screen off before Chandra has a chance to respond.

When he looks at Janice, her ears are pink and she's not quite meeting his eyes. Jim, on the other hand, is still grinning from ear to ear. "That," he says as he stands and claps her shoulders enthusiastically, "was brilliant, Randy. You were brilliant."

"I didn't mean to tell him off like that," she blurts out.

He wonders if she's just realized what she said and who it was to because the color is draining from her face. It's not the same as when she tells him off; this could actually have consequences, although he's not willing to let it jeopardize her posting or career because it really was awesome. Not to mention deserved.

"Really, I didn't mean to. He was just—it wasn't fair, what he was accusing you of." Some of the anger must resurface because she straightens and her eyes narrow at the now dark screen. "Admiral Chandra would never have spoken to Pike that way when he was captain."

He forgets sometimes that she worked for Pike first. But the Admiralty was a different beast for Pike—before he was one of them, that is. "I know."

He's usually not one to take such abuses, either. It's just that Jim feels like he's still earning his posting, and he isn't sure it's his place to argue with unfair admirals yet. There's something to be said for respect going both ways, though, and he appreciates that Janice was willing to stand up for him, rank be damned.

They stare at each other for a long moment before Janice steps back and tucks a bit of hair behind her ear.

"You need to sign those personnel reports and if you comm me tomorrow, even your replicator won't be giving you any coffee for a week."

Jim pouts prettily (because he is pretty, so he's going to use it) and they talk shop for a few minutes. Then he shoos her out and off duty with a leer and a fresh remark about the spa day she and Yeoman Barrows are going to share during her day off. But he loses her ire when he adds, "Thanks for that," as she's about to exit.

It's nice, the smile she shoots him from the door—one part grateful, one part exasperated and all earnest sincerity. "Anytime, sir."

He returns it with a surprisingly genuine one of his own. (Surprising only because of how rare its appearance is.) And then it's back to work because Admiral Chandra wasted an hour of time Jim really needed to be spending on task. Jerk.


It isn't fair, in Jim's opinion, that he alone gets pistol whipped by the phaser-type weapon these colonists have. True, the phaser stun isn't a fun feeling but it's much more merciful in terms of recovery. (Plus, he's gotten used to being good-looking and injuries rarely enhance this when they're to his face.) Also, it makes it hard for him to talk and he loves to talk. He may have been accused of liking the sound of his own voice too much once or twice. So that's rather frustrating, as well.

Of course, all of this is secondary to the fact that he's currently being held hostage by said colonists. If he wasn't so annoyed about the whole thing, he'd actually be pretty impressed. They played nice long enough to figure out he was the leader of the group, then managed to get hold of him long enough to transport away to current location unknown. (The room he's in is generic metal with no windows, so he doesn't have much to go on here.)

The thing about being held captive that they never tell you is that it's usually boring as fuck. Jim should know—he's been taken hostage quite a bit. Flattering, if irritating. Granted, he's happier left alone than being interrogated because that generally involves violence or torture on his person and who wants that? But all he's got are four walls to stare at as he waits for either (1) an opening of some kind, or (2) a rescue. Based on track record alone, he's betting on the latter taking place.

And it's boring. Especially when he can't even muse aloud or whatever. Jim tries to figure out a way to measure the time—a distracting if not terribly interesting pursuit, since he has nothing to measure by beyond counting in his own head and that isn't very reliable (or fun). So all he knows is that some amount of time has passed when he hears what sounds like a ruckus outside his cell-box-thing.

There's yelling and the sound of weapons discharging and then some banging on the door before it bursts open to reveal Janice Rand. Her hair's half loose of its usually tidy bun and she's panting and Jim's pretty sure he's never been happier to see her in his life. He tries to grin but ends up wincing because, hey, pistol whipped. (Stupid colonists.)

Janice smiles at him before calling over her shoulder, "He's in here!"

Spock and Bones materialize relatively quickly, the former briefing him as the latter tuts and curses and makes his face feel better.

Then the four of them plus Uhura and the two security officers that were part of the away mission make a quick exit. Janice has the lead with one of the redshirts and maybe it's his imagination (or the drugs Bones stabbed him with) but she looks fierce, her face set in a frown and phaser drawn. It's not just for show, either—she's the first to fire at the only colonists bold enough to try to stop them from reaching their shuttle. Hits her target too; Jim reminds himself not to piss her off anytime soon.

Once they're safely on their way back to the ship, courtesy of Spock acting as pilot, and Bones has fixed him up well enough that he can talk again (no, seriously, it was painful not being able to share his wit—and he's certain his crew missed it; how could they not?), Jim calls Janice over. "Impressive display down there, Yeoman."

She doesn't have to ask to what he's referring. "Thank you, sir."

He thinks she might be a little proud because her cheeks flush a little. (He doesn't hate the look on her.) Jim stifles a yawn with a smile. "Thanks for playing rescuer, Randy."

That makes Janice grin back. "Well, I can't let you have all the day saving glory, now can I?" she points out, eyebrows arched. (She's sassing him again—and quite probably laughing at him a little—but Jim can't bring himself to mind.)

"Day saving glory," he repeats, closing his eyes. (What? His lids are feeling kind of heavy.) "I like the sound of that. Think Starfleet would make that some kind of prize if I asked?"

And the day saving glory goes to… has a nice ring, he thinks.

There's a momentary pause, during which he suspects Janice is trying valiantly not to laugh at him, and then: "Hope springs eternal, sir." That's her I'm Mocking You Now tone.

Jim falls asleep with a muttered, "Smartass," and a half-smile on his face.


Sitting with a patient smile on his face, Jim Kirk silently curses Leonard McCoy. Because his is all his fault—he's the one who ditched Jim to treat injured engineers in Sickbay. Honestly! (Okay, so maybe plasma burns are more important than sharing a meal with his best friend but still.) This is his fault because he abandoned Jim and that meant he was free when this supposedly unassuming woman took it upon herself to sit with him. Supposedly unassuming because underneath the hot exterior is someone who rambles incessantly as she tries to impress Jim and damn if that isn't unattractive. There is no try where attraction is concerned. Either it is or it isn't—end of story.

Anyway, she's one of the colonists currently being transported by the Enterprise and he's doing his best to make sure she's not offended because this is the kind of mission that Jim's pretty sure he can actually complete without massive injury or an intergalactic incident. So he's just going to suck it up and smile (pained though it may be) and pray Klingons attack or something.

Jim's pretty sure he's never been quite as happy to see Janice Rand as when she approaches the table. Except maybe when she comes to spring him from Sickbay and whenever she busts in with a phaser to save him or whatever.

"Captain Kirk, sir," she's all formality as she addresses him, back straight and expression serious, "pardon the interruption but you're needed on the bridge."

"Thank you, Yeoman." He smiles apologetically at the woman, standing quickly. "Duty calls. Hopefully I'll have a chance to make it up to you before we reach the colony." Except not. Not at all.

In fact, he decides to take his meals in his personal dining area or his ready room or private quarters until the ship reaches the Juhraya colony just in case.

Jim heads out of the mess with Janice, keeping the relief from his face until they're in the hallway. "You're a lifesaver, Randy. That was…" He shakes his head. "Just—thank you."

Janice rolls her eyes, but she's smiling and her eyes are bright with amusement. "Not a problem, sir; I know a captain in distress when I see one."

They enter the turbolift and he gives a moment's thought then decides, "Bridge." She's watching him openly, head tilted thoughtfully. Staring, really. It's actually a little unnerving; he's used to attention, sure, (hello, he's James T. Kirk) but generally with attempts at subtlety, too.

He decides he's had enough when they're about a second out from their destination. "Halt." She doesn't seem surprised but makes no move to speak, so he prompts her: "Something on your mind, Randy?"

Janice shrugs. "You could've… you know. Just now in the mess—that colonist, she wanted you." It's just like her not to mince words, too.

Jim blinks. "So?"

"So why not… work your charm?" She shakes her head a little. "Actually, you probably wouldn't have even needed to—she was falling all over herself to try and impress you."

Jim can't quite shake the feeling he's missing something here. "It was annoying." He grimaces. "She was annoying."

Quirking a brow, Janice eyes him curiously. "So? She was also beautiful."

"So—so I don't have to come on to every woman alive that shows an interest, beautiful or not." He sounds mad. He realizes with surprise that he is mad. He has no idea why, but he is. "I am capable of thinking with more than my dick, you know."

Janice is visibly taken aback—a sight not often seen. "I know." She says it like a promise.

It should but it doesn't placate him any. "Yeah? Doesn't really seem like you do." He turns to face the turbolift doors. "Resume." His back is straight and his expression tight.

The doors open seconds later. When Janice starts to follow him out onto the bridge, Jim turns to face her. "You're dismissed, Yeoman."

She's surprised again—and maybe a little hurt, it's difficult to tell—but she nods smoothly as she steps back into the lift. "Aye, sir."

Hours later, when he's laying awake in his quarters, Jim still has no idea why he got all bent out of shape over something so stupid—or why it's still bothering him, even now.

and one.

As is usually the case, Jim gets all the answers he wants at the least opportune moment. (Seriously, what is that about? Lame.) He's on Risa for a few days Shore Leave, chatting up a beautiful woman when it hits him like a fuck-ton of bricks. This woman, who is gorgeous with long legs and curly brown hair and smiling coyly in the way he knows means he'll be getting lucky tonight, is very much not Janice Rand—and that bothers him. Because he wishes she was.

Well, shit. That's inconvenient.

Of course, this leads to Jim not getting lucky that night—or any other during his shore leave and feeling more stressed than when he was forcibly ejected from his ship earlier in the week for some down time. Because knowing his yeoman is an attractive, clever, witty, intelligent, fierce, awesome person is fine; he can see her everyday knowing that and it's no big deal. Realizing he has real feelings of a strong nature for her and knowing he'll be seeing her every day without any hope of anything happening ever is a different beast. One that sucks.

So he decides to take Option #3. (Not that he has any idea what that might be but he doesn't believe in no-win scenarios for a reason—and isn't above changing the rules of the game when the need arises.) Jim's still deciding what that means when Janice arrives to brief him on what he's missed during his short time away.

To his credit, Jim tries to listen to her, he really does. It's just that her mouth is making him kind of stupid and maybe it's just him but her hair looks extra shiny today and—crap. Was he supposed to respond somewhere in here?

"Sir?" Janice has her Actually Concerned expression on. "Is everything all right?"

As per the usual, his mouth is moving before his brain gets the memo. "Actually, no. I've been having a problem, and I was hoping you could help me with it."

Janice is instantly sitting straighter, the PADD she's been referencing forgotten in her lap. "Of course, Captain."

Jim drums his fingers on his desk and pretends he isn't feeling like a nervous thirteen-year-old. It's not nearly as convincing in his own mind as he'd like.

"See, I've come to realize… recently… that I have feelings… for one of my crew members." He tells himself he's not a chicken for keeping it vague, really. He just doesn't want to make her uncomfortable. Yeah.

There's surprise (and maybe something else? aw, fuck, he can't tell) on her face but Janice pulls it together pretty quickly. "Are you worried about these feelings interfering with your ability to do your job?"

Taking a moment to consider that, Jim eventually shakes his head. "No. It's distracting, I'll admit, but if I thought it'd hurt my ability to perform as captain, I'd transfer… er, the crew member in question."

Janice nods her understanding. "So it's Starfleet regulations you're worried about then?"

Shrugging, Jim shakes his head again. "No." He grins ruefully. "I think we both know I'm not exactly a stickler when it comes to rules and regulations."

The inelegant snort she lets out should not be as adorable as it is. (Yup, he's done. It's Carol Marcus all over again.)

"Point." Janice leans back in her chair and crosses her arms. "So what's the problem then?"

Jim does not blush because Starfleet captains don't blush or flush or whatever. They're manly and stuff. But his smile might be a bit bashful. It's really only a little, though, because bashful isn't really his thing.

"Well, what if I say something and she doesn't feel the same way? This is a spaceship—it's not that big. And I'd feel awful if she felt she had to transfer or something because of me." Never mind that he'd hate to lose her. He refuses to even think about that right now.

The you're an idiot stare is in full effect. "You're an idiot." Janice smiles warmly. "If there's a woman aboard who'd transfer because you told her you have feelings for her, I'll eat my uniform."

Now Jim can't help but grin. "Okay." He leans back and hands resting behind his head.

She blinks at him a few times before shaking her head ruefully. Then she picks up the briefing again. This time Jim actually does pay attention… mostly.

When she's done, Janice stands and waits to be dismissed.

Jim nods it but stops her before she exits by speaking again: "Hey Randy?"

She pauses, glancing over her shoulder. "Hm?"

"I like you."

Her brows furrow a little. "I know that. I like you too, sir."

Jim suppresses a sigh. She has to be dense now of all times. "No. I like you."

Her mouth forms a little "O" shape. "You—I—but…" It should be funny watching her stammer because she's always so composed. Except that it isn't, not really. Not right then.

Her face is pale and it seems like she might start hyperventilating—not exactly the reaction he'd been going for.

"Breathe, Randy," he says, standing. Just in case he needs to move to help her or something like that. Seriously, she's not looking so good. Well she is in her way but that's a given.

"You can't," Janice insists. "You—shouldn't." Her eyes are wide and pleading and if he wasn't so confused, he'd probably get caught up in them or something pathetic like that. (Carol Marcus part two, seriously.)

But he is confused, is the thing. Jim frowns. "What?"

And then Janice starts blathering. Janice! (Jim wonders if he fell into another dimension without realizing it.) "I—I can fix this. Just… I'm gross, you know? I like peanut butter on pickles and eat frosting straight but only if it's blue. And I'm messy! My office and quarters look like hurricanes blew through. Clothes and PADDs and stuff in piles all over the place."

Her rambling does not at all abate his confusion. "Why—?"

"It's just—you, you're Captain James T. Kirk," Janice says. Generally speaking, he likes it when people say his name like it means something. This time he doesn't. "You shouldn't anything your yeoman of all people! It's just—proximity or something."

This time Jim does sigh as he walks toward her. "Janice, it's okay." He puts a hand on her shoulder (in what is hopefully a comforting gesture and not sexual harassment of some kind) and tries to smile. Try being the operative word here. "You don't have to spare my feelings."

She's giving him a little bit of the, you're certifiable look. "I'm not. I—you're just… you can't—feel about me… like that."

Jim crosses his arms. "Well, I do."

Janice digs her heels in further. "Well, you shouldn't."

"You keep saying that!" Jim feels like throwing his hands up in exasperation. Doesn't she know he doesn't do things like this? Why is she being so damn difficult? Oh God, he sounds like Bones. This is not a good sign. "It doesn't change the facts."

"But I—I'm so…" She shakes her head miserably. "And you're all… you and…"

It's then that Jim realizes she's still trying to protect him. She's always saving him—from himself as much as outside forces. She's pretty damn good at it, too.

Thing is, he doesn't want to be protected or saved this time. He doesn't need it. He wants to fall and see what happens. And, sure, he hasn't tried that in a long time but hey. Boldly going new places to do new things is part of the job description here.

Jim leans down just a little bit. "I'm going to kiss you now, okay?"

She's staring at him as she nods dumbly. (He'll forgive her that because, hey, he's been known to make women stupid—and because he knows if he tries to say anything, he'll probably get knocked over the head for his trouble.)

Jim frames her face with his hands, leaning down just enough to ghost his lips over hers. Her whole body, which up to this point has been filled with tension, relaxes into him and she instinctively pulls him a little closer. Which, let's face it, he's not complaining about.

When he pulls away, Janice appears to have regained some of her calm. "So." She clears her throat. "That happened."

Jim on the other hand is grinning like a dumbass. Not that he cares. "Yup."

He thinks his smile must be infectious because she returns it hesitantly. "I… wouldn't mind it happening again." Or maybe that's coyly. He likes coy. Coy is sexy.

"Good." Jim knows he's looking too satisfied, but he just can't help it. And probably wouldn't bother to even if he could. "Me either."

And then Janice the Ball Buster returns. "But only when appropriate." She narrows her eyes at him, expression serious. "That means not on duty or in front of the crew."

"Yes, ma'am," he agrees with a mocking salute. (So maybe he sasses her sometimes, too. From the way she's fighting a smile, he thinks she doesn't really mind.)