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[personal profile] velvetfiction
Title: Follow Through
ST Ship Olympics Team: Team Blonde Ambition (Kirk/Rand), for Event #2
Universe: AOS
Rating: PG
Word Count: ~2800
Summary: Starfleet sought to make us a functional unit, a captain and his assistant; what we ended up as were partners.
Notes: Huge thanks to [ profile] hellokatzchen for courageously throwing herself at all the awkward phrasing and errant commas that used to reside in this fic.

It did not start with a glance across the room or a chance meeting or even something as innocuous as a conversation. No, it started, as would only happen to the two of us, with an elbow to the face.

"Ow! Dammit, Rand!"

I stepped back and watched the cadet impassively. I had pulled the jab, so he probably wouldn't bruise. He'd certainly feel it, though. "Next time block it then," I instructed.

The glare he gave me needed work, too. It had the potential to become appropriately intimidating, but right then he just looked like a sad puppy.

"Again," I instructed. "Remember, not everyone you might go hand-to-hand with will be bigger than you. You need to be able to cope with an opponent who can slip inside your reach."

He grumbled but got into the ready position, waiting for me to come at him again.

Starfleet mandated that all command-track cadets demonstrate basic proficiency in at least three distinct styles of hand to hand combat. Most human males opted for the more energetic fighting styles, where their size and strength could easily be used to their advantage. The aikido class, on the other hand, was inevitably made up of almost exclusively females. If we saw three males of any race in a semester, that was a lot.

At the time, I couldn't understand why Jim Kirk had chosen aikido as his third class. Rumor had it that he was at the top of his class in kickboxing and something of a prodigy in Suus Mahna. I thought maybe he'd been hoping to pick up some girls from the class. (Years later I learned he had chosen it, in typical Kirk fashion, because he wanted the challenge of learning a style completely unsuited to him.)

Saying, "You can't," or even, "You shouldn't," to that man was like waving a red flag at a bull.

And what was I doing in the class? Well, my parents had been training me in aikido since I was old enough to walk. TA-ing the class at the academy was a nice way for me to make some extra credits while I worked through the Admin Corp track.

I attacked him again, and this time he managed to keep my elbow out of his face. He did not, however, follow through properly and I was able to easily sweep his legs out from under him. He landed on the mat with a loud THUD and the rest of the class stopped to stare at us.

I sighed audibly and put my hands on my hips. "Well, at least you kept my elbow out of your face, Cadet. But do you really think being flat on your back is going to do you any good in a fight?"

He looked up at me with a cheeky grin, no doubt aware of the audience that we'd gained. "I do some of my best work flat on my back," he said with an exaggerated eyebrow waggle.

"Save it for someone who's interested, Kirk," I said but offered him a hand up nonetheless.

He hauled himself up and readied himself for another round of abuse at my hands.

That scene repeated itself in some fashion for the rest of the year. But slowly (from my perspective) and painfully (from his) we brought his flailing limbs under control. I came to respect his determination, despite his tendency to be a cocky sonofabitch, and I think he respected my skills in return, even though they were mostly used for slamming his ass down to the mat.

The morning after the exams had taken place (as a lowly TA and a fellow cadet, I wasn't allowed anywhere near the exams), I opened my door to discover a large vase filled with multicolored tulips. The attached card simply read: "I couldn't have passed without you. Thanks. - K"

How he found my room wasn't much of a mystery - anyone with a little bit of persistence could find it out fairly easily. And that was without even resorting to hacking into Housing's database. What was a mystery was how he had discovered that tulips were my favorite flower.

I decided it didn't matter. By then I had figured out that Jim Kirk was a law unto himself. (Little did I know how right I was.)

Okay, so maybe that wasn't the real start of things between us. But it was, at least, the beginning of the beginning. The end of the beginning didn't come until years later, when I had been on the Enterprise for nearly three years.

Working on a Federation starship, let alone the flagship of the fleet, was not something I had expected to do. When I graduated from the academy, I was placed immediately as an assistant to Admiral Lui's Yeoman. I expected to spend a couple years there, and then be placed with one of the more junior admirals as their personal yeoman. But that was Before; before the Narada, before the destruction of Vulcan, before Starfleet lost three quarters of her officers, crewmen and cadets.

How or why they picked me to be Jim Kirk's yeoman, I'll never know. Maybe they'd always intended for me to join the Enterprise; maybe they wanted someone who'd already proven some measure of control over Kirk; maybe they picked names out of a hat. Well, regardless, I suddenly found myself uprooted from my nice, comfortable existence in San Francisco and thrown head first into planning and executing the five year mission of Starfleet's flagship.

I'll never forget the look on Jim's face when I walked into our first planning session, about a month before launch.

"Rand?" he blurted out, taking in my uniform and the stack of PADDs in my grasp. "You're my yeoman?"

I admit that my smile may have been slightly vicious. "Yes, Captain."

He dropped his head to the and whimpered a bit. "You're going to kick my ass if I don't do what you tell me, aren't you?"

"Only if you don't get your paperwork in on time," I replied sweetly.

And that set the tone for the rest of the mission. I bullied, cajoled and occasionally bribed him, while Jim dodge and whined and eventually got his paperwork done. Together, we managed to keep the Enterprise limping along and Starfleet off our backs.

About three years into our mission, we were in stationary orbit around a lovely planet in the Evadne system for some much needed shore leave. The previous few months had been quiet, but that actually made shore leave all the more necessary. We were all going a little stir crazy on the ship, with nothing more exciting than a stray comet to interrupt the monotony of mapping empty grids.

Jim managed to drag me down to one of the main cities with him and, although I protested, I didn't really mind. During my time aboard the Enterprise, I found a niche on the ship and made several very close friendships across departments. I was particularly close with Christine in Medical and D’Vanya in Geology, but somehow, it was Jim who wormed his way into the "best friend" position.

Part of it was enforced proximity - we spent a minimum of three hours a day together, one in the morning for the day's briefing and two in the evening to recap and deal with whatever reports had to be completed. Not to mention the quarterly marathon sessions where we'd lock ourselves in his ready room for six hours at a time to bang through all the blasted requisition forms that Command made us fill out.

Forget all those team-building exercises that Command keeps insisting we take part in. You really want to know how two people are going to work together? Lock them in a room together for six hours with a mountain of Starfleet paperwork to complete. They'll either come out as best friends or hating each other. Or both.

Thing was, we also started finding excuses to be together - even when we were off-duty. Sometimes we'd spar, sometimes we'd have meals together or watch a vid; other times we'd just sit by the window in his quarters and read or talk quietly. I was the only person on the ship (besides Dr. McCoy) to know the full story of Jim's childhood. He was the only person (besides my father) to know how I got the small crescent scar on my left shoulder. Starfleet sought to make us a functional unit, a captain and his assistant; what we ended up as were partners.

And that was why I was really perfectly happy to spend the day with Jim, wandering around the port city of Le'Callah and looking for presents for Jim's brother’s family. The weather was pleasant and it felt good to be wearing civilian clothing again. Sure, I could rock the official miniskirt and boots just as hard as the next girl, but there was something undeniably freeing about wearing jeans and a pretty top. The fact that Jim's trousers looked like they had been pained on just added to my enjoyment of the day.

We tromped through the city, popping in and out of various shops. Jim always knew what to get his brother, and it was easy for me to pick out a few things for Aurelan, but we were both stumped when it came to finding presents for the three boys. Peter seemed to have inherited his father's interest in biology, so when we stopped for a snack at one of the many cafes lining the streets, I hesitantly suggested a grow your own bacteria kit.

"That's a great idea, Jan," Jim said around a mouthful of something that resembled chocolate pudding. "But where would we get one?"

I thought for a moment, then pulled out my PADD, and tapped at it a few times. "There's a science center over by the hovercraft port; I bet the gift shop there will have something. And we might find something for the twins, as well."

We finished up our meal, paid the bill and began making our way across the city. Which was when I learned to never let Jim Kirk navigate on foot in a city. After fifteen minutes of arguing with him that the shortcut he was taking us on was leading us in completely the wrong direction, I threw up my hands in defeat and followed along quietly.

Thirty minutes into our "shortcut" we found ourselves in one of the less friendly neighborhoods of the city. That was when Jim stopped long enough for me to locate our position on the map and find the shortest route back to the more touristy areas. Neither of us were particularly worried - it was still daylight and we were both perfectly capable of defending ourselves - but I had hoped to make it through this week without acquiring any new bruises.

I should have known better. The damned Kirk-luck that the crew always talks about runs both ways, and it has gotten Jim into as many scrapes as it has gotten him out of.

We were rushed from both sides of the alleyway. They were common thugs from the looks of them, armed only with knives and not phasers - a small bit of luck for us.

"Do you really want to do this?" Jim asked in a world-weary voice that somehow still managed the promise of a great deal of pain if the wrong answer was given. I was rather impressed. He'd come a long way from the sad puppy dog look of his cadet years.

"Ah'll tell dju what," one of them replied in heavily accented Standard, "dju can go, but leave da pretty bird wid us."

Discretely, I turned so that Jim and I were back to back. "You don't really want to do that," I told those approaching from my side of the alley. "I hit harder than he does."

That earned a laugh until Jim interrupted. "She does, you know. But I suppose you won't take my word for it." They paused for a moment in confusion, but one apparently decided to risk it and charged me. That seemed to be the signal for the rest to resume their advance.

I pivoted so that the first attacker rushed by me and into one of his buddies from the opposing side. While they disentangled themselves, I reached for the next unfortunate to come within arm's length of me.

"You never take me anyplace nice anymore, Jim!" I complained as I flipped the thug over. The loud pop signaled that I had successfully dislocated his elbow and he dropped his knife. I kicked it away and turned my attention to the last of my would-be attackers.

"You can't say I don't provide excitement for you, though," Jim replied. I could hear the dull smack of flesh on flesh punctuated by the occasional loud thud of bodies hitting stone, which told me he was holding his own just fine.

When the last thug tried to rush me, I used his speed and weight against him to pin him to the ground. I turned to see the last man standing lunge toward Jim with his knife. I held my breath but Jim perfectly executed the block that I'd drilled into him so many years before. He then pulled his attacker into a choke hold.

"See," he said to me with a boyish grin, "I can learn."

"Very well done, Cadet Kirk. Full marks."

"That's Captain, dammit."

"Whatever." I waved him off with a grin. "Now what are going to do with these gentlemen?"

Jim pretended to think it over for a minute. "Well, I don't really want to cause an interstellar incident, but, then again, I doubt anyone would miss these fellows. So, I say we kill 'em. Oh you don't like that idea?" he directed that last question to the man in his hold, who had begun whimpering.

"Well I suppose I didn’t want to have to do all that paperwork anyway," Jim said in mock disappointment. "Here's how this is going to work - we let you go and you let us get back to our holiday without any trouble. You go your way and we go ours. Clear?"

“Yessir,” the man agreed, nodding so hard that it looked like his head might just fall off.

Jim and I each released the men we had incapacitated and they scampered off, along with the other would-be attacker (those who were still conscious, anyway).

Jim joined me, wrapping his arms around me. "Are you okay?" he asked, face pressed into the top of my head.

I just nodded, enjoying the warmth and comfort of his embrace. He gently tilted my head up, so that I was looking him in the eye. He held my gaze for a moment, as if searching for something, and then kissed my forehead.

"We should probably be going. I have nephews to spoil, after all."

We made our way out of the alley and back to the main thoroughfare with our arms wrapped each other’s waist.

"Aren't you proud of me?" he asked that evening, after we finished shopping and returned to his quarters on the ship to drop off the presents. "I remembered that block."

"But you still forgot to follow through," I pointed out. "If that guy had actually known what he was doing, you would have had your ass on the ground again. See?" To prove my point, I jabbed my elbow at his face.

He blocked it, but, as I predicted, he still lacked damned follow through. It was all too easy to sweep his feet out from underneath him. He surprised me, though, when he wrapped his arms around me and took me down with him.

And then we were laying on the floor, me sprawled on top of him, his arms still wrapped around me. Both of us were panting slightly - and not from exertion.

"Still need to work on that, Kirk," I said.

"But I managed to surprise you, Rand."

"That you did. But your movement is as constricted as mine now. What's your next move?”

"This," he answered with a grin. Suddenly I found myself being flipped onto my back and pinned in place by his body.

"That works," I breathed, relishing the feel of his body. He shifted carefully, so as not to crush me, and gently brushed an errant lock of hair away from my face.

"So, Instructor, do I pass?"

"Yes," I whispered. "Yes, you do." And then I closed the distance between us to claim his lips with my own.

And that is how it ended - and how it began.

Date: 2011-03-25 12:11 am (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
Nice! I love Jim/Janice and anything having to do with their backstory. Nice Job :)

Date: 2011-03-27 01:04 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I loved that Janice was his instructor first. Favourite bit. :D

Date: 2011-04-01 08:31 pm (UTC)
From: [personal profile] samueljames
I really enjoyed this.


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