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08 July 2007 @ 05:07 pm
Successful Negotiations and Inexplicable Attraction [30 Rock; Jack/Liz]  
TITLE: Successful Negotiations and Inexplicable Attraction
FANDOM: 30 Rock
SPOILERS: "Hard Ball"


Liz flounced into the office, her narrowed eyes honed in on one target -- Jack -- as she blew right past Jonathan and up to Jack's desk, gritting out, "I want you to crush Josh! I want you to crush him!"

Jack blinked, and smiled slowly. She was learning -- slowly, but she was learning. Glancing past her, he nodded at Jonathan to close the door. Then, he looked back up at his disgruntled (and today, oddly attractive) protege. "So..." he began slowly, "you didn't happen to see Josh by chance, did you?"

A scream ripped through her gritted teeth, and she whipped her purse in the direction of his couch. He wasn't quite sure what it hit, but the sound of breaking glass soon followed its landing. "He was downstairs! Having lunch with some guy from The Daily Show! Jack, he's trying to get on another show! Behind my back!"

Jack surmised that had she been holding something else besides a purse, she would've thrown that too. That suspicion was confirmed when she pulled a balled-up knit hat out of the pocket of her coat, just for the express purpose of flinging it at his couch.

"Lemon." He slowly rose to his feet and carefully went over to her. He never thought he'd see the day when Liz Lemon would scare him. But he was just the slightest bit afraid now. She had a fire burning in those intense eyes of hers, and the boots she was wearing were high enough to hide a dagger in. For some reason, the idea of Lemon whipping a dagger out of one of her boots and brandishing it at him was oddly arousing.

As was the way she stomped in -- buckets of feminine fury and unadulterated sex appeal. That's another day he never thought he'd see -- the day he'd actually be sexually attracted to someone like Liz Lemon. But in she came, her anger and flushed cheeks making her suddenly, unexpectedly gorgeous; Jack had wanted to sweep everything off his desk in an instant and throw her down on it.

She was still stomping around. And Jack was still highly attracted to her. "Lemon," he tried again.

"And you know, maybe I wouldn't be as pissed about this if I had expected it," she kept right on pacing (stomping), shaking her head, cheeks still flushed. "But Josh is... an idiot! He's not smart enough to come up with something so devious!" Angrily, she threw her hand up, gesturing to him. "That's something you would do, but not Josh!"

Without warning, she spun on the heels of those impossibly high boots and whacked him in the arm, demanding, "Why the hell did you drag me into this, anyway? Couldn't you have just handled the negotiation on your own and kept me out of it? GOD," she whacked him again, and Jack was thankful she still wasn't holding her purse, "you are just IMPOSSIBLE to understand."

Maybe he was, because he certainly didn't understand what happened next. He just wanted to stop her from hitting him, so he'd reached out and caught her by the wrists, shouted her name -- her first name -- "Liz!" -- and waited until he'd gained her attention.

Her chest was heaving as she met his eyes, a fire amping up the perpetual intensity of her own, and... then everything was a blur. Somehow they ended up crashing against the wall. His fingers were digging into her hips, hers were in his hair and they were kissing feverishly. This was not a tentative, fumbling first kiss like Jack always expected it to be (when he allowed himself to think about something so terrifying); it was aggressive, their lips bruising each other, tongues tangling, fury-fueled adrenaline coursing through them.

Jack pressed the full weight of his body flush against her pliant curves and felt her gasp into his mouth before their lips broke soundly. The fire of fury had disappeared from her eyes, but Jack could have sworn he saw a new kind of flame sparking there as she panted against him, "What are we doing?"

"You know very well what we're doing," Jack just about growled, sliding her coat off her shoulders and letting it hit the floor.

Liz nodded, staring at his lips, and whispered a, "Yeah," before they were once again fused together from lips to toes.

Jack supposed he should have seen this day coming. He spent all his time with her; she was always right there, looking at him with those big, brown eyes (he'd been wrong when he called them "shark's eyes" and had felt bad about it ever since). And Lemon was reasonably attractive, though sometimes it was hard to tell beneath all the frumpy clothes. She'd stunned him in that red dress at Gerhardt's party, though. He had, in fact, wanted to kiss her at evening's end. Her soft voice put an abrupt halt to that, though, and he had unclasped her necklace instead.

The idea had plagued him ever since that night. He found himself wondering more often than ever what it would be like to kiss Lemon. He grew more and more enamored with her by the day, until today when everything bubbled to the surface, and he snapped.... and apparently, so did she.

Now here they were -- against the wall, kissing fervently with no signs of stopping. Lemon was hanging on to the lapels of his suit jacket and his hands were on her hips, thumbs drawing lazy circles on her hipbones. Apparently she liked this, because she arched into him and his name shuddered out of her, snapping every one of his nerve endings to full attention.


"Stop me now, Lemon, before I can't," he warned against her neck.

He felt her head shaking in the negative, no -- no? -- and she yanked on his lapels to bring their lips back together. Jack pulled her away from the wall with his hands clasped around her waist and brought her with him as he blindly made his way to the door, locking both of them swiftly. Then, they stumbled in the direction of the couch. Lemon gave one more tug on his lapels and before he knew it, they were horizontal... and she had yelped in pain.

He pulled back, propping himself up with his hands pressed into the couch cushions on either side of her hips. "Lemon, are you okay?"

She was clutching the back of her head and laughing -- he really did enjoy her laughter -- and shook her head. "This couch has the crappiest armrests in the history of crappy armrests."

He gently touched the back of her head and apologized in a whisper. "Sorry." Their hands met behind her head and he clasped one, lacing their fingers together as he brought them to his lips. He kissed her knuckles, feeling the need to give her one last out. "Liz..."

He watched her eyes soften for a moment at the sound of her first name -- he had to make an effort to use her first name more often, even though her surname had become, in his mind, a term of endearment. Then, she shook her head and told him, "Let's do the awkward stuff later."

So he kissed her again. Their hands tugged at each other's clothes. And then everything became wonderfully, delightfully hazy.


Afterwards, there had been no time for the "awkward stuff," as Lemon had put it. There was another panic with the Jenna situation and she'd had to straighten her clothes haphazardly and run out. He didn't get to see her again until the next morning, for their second attempt at Josh's negotiation. "Good, you're here!" he'd greeted her, immediately jumping up from behind his desk. "Josh and his agent are on their way up."

She'd made some lame joke about how they'd then be going down, and he just couldn't resist telling her it was lame... though he enjoyed that she was getting into this so much. He smiled at her, and she smiled at him, and he had wanted to kiss her, if only briefly, and bring up what had happened the day before when Josh and his agent strode in. Then, both of them had to snap into negotiation mode.

Jack could tell, just from the way Lemon was seated in her chair and glaring up at Josh, that it was taking every ounce of her strength not to jump up and strangle the kid. When she started to reply to Josh's query about the headshots, Jack reached out and covered her wrist with his hand. It was meant to stop her, and it did -- she grew silent -- but something else happened in that instant. His thumb gently stroked the back of her hand. She turned to look at him while he looked at his hand on her wrist, and then Josh's agent brought up The Daily Show.

The rest of the negotiation had gone better than Jack ever could've imagined -- he hadn't had to dole out a raise and didn't have to increase Josh's time off. When that wasn't enough to placate Lemon, however, she jumped in with some demands of her own, which had thrilled him endlessly. She'd forced Josh to do the worm while listing off reasons she was better than him, and made his agent do a crab walk.

"Wow! Liz," he remembered to use her first name this time, "you took this like a natural, more than I ever--" Then they both noticed what was happening; Josh's sex-addict agent was enjoying his sojourn as a crab just a little too much. "Okay, now the crab is getting aroused. Shut it down. Shut it down."

Both Josh and his agent left hastily, and the sound of the door slamming behind them was almost jarring as Jack realized -- they were alone together once again. They smiled nervously at each other and Jack tried to remember the last time a woman made him nervous -- like, palms sweating kind of nervous. Liz Lemon sure didn't seem like the type of woman to make a guy nervous, but... here he was, looking at her and worrying about which way this was going to go.

"So..." Lemon finally broke the silence with a chuckle. "Yesterday was... weird, huh?"

His brows arched. "I don't know that that's the adjective I'd use to describe it. I was going to say it was... passionate."

Jack watched her cheeks flush, and her eyes darted off to the side as she admitted softly, "Yeah. It was."

He dared to reach out and take her hands, squeezing them before drawing one up, kissing her knuckles. He couldn't help but smile at her -- despite the poor taste in clothing and the gender-ambiguous shoes, she really was very lovely. "Liz..." He turned her hand over and kissed the underside of her wrist. "I was thinking that tonight--"

"This can't happen, Jack," she sighed out.

His eyebrows flew up. "I'm sorry?"

He watched her glance down at their laced fingers, her mouth opening and closing on unformed words, like she was trying to figure out the best way to reject him. She untangled their fingers one by one and took a tentative step back from him. "Look, Jack, you're a great guy. And yesterday was great, but... this can't happen. You're my boss, and - and it would be too... weird."

"Weird as in..." he prompted.

"Weird as in weird. I mean, you're... you, and I'm... me. And it just--"

"Lemon, I'm not proposing marriage to you. I was going to suggest that we try seeing each other outside of work, and... see if there's anything of substance beyond the attraction."

Her eyebrows went up. "You're attracted to me?"

"I would've thought that was obvious yesterday." But judging by the look on her face, Jack guessed she hadn't even factored attraction into it at all. "Liz, since we met you have bewildered me. You're completely unlike what my definition of a woman was, but... in spite of that, or maybe because of that... I started to feel a pull around you. You fascinated me in the beginning, and the more and more time I spent with you, the more and more fond of you I became. My attraction to you is inexplicable, Liz, but it's there. That's why I'd like to try dating you, to see if there's something beyond the attraction."

Jack Donaghy wasn't one to beg for a date. Hell, he could snap his fingers and Jonathan could bring him a thirty-page list of women wanting to go out with him. But Lemon had somehow ruined him from the vapid twenty-year-olds he was used to. Something about her, about that pull made him almost want to drop to his knees and plead with her. Maybe he was finally following that traditional Donaghy route toward insanity.

"One date?" she questioned, folding her arms across her chest, and Jack tried not to look down. She really had a nice chest. It often proved to be quite the distraction.

"One date," he affirmed. "If it's dreadfully boring, we'll cut our losses and just chalk yesterday up to an adrenaline rush. Or, if you prefer, temporary insanity."

That made her laugh, and again Jack was helpless to resist smiling at her. She dropped her hands to her sides and he took her relaxed stance as invitation to step closer. She didn't step back this time, rather looked expectantly up at him, and Jack leaned down to gently dust his lips across hers. "Tonight?"

Lemon (Liz -- he had to remember to keep calling her that if she was going to fall madly in love with him) smiled and nodded. "Yes."



"Good." He kissed her again and was pleased when she kissed back. He had just closed his arms around her when the door suddenly came open and Jonathan came in.

"Sir, uh -- oh, no."

They jumped apart from each other, and Jack looked up to see his assistant looking at him, aghast. Jack merely raised his eyebrows in response. Jonathan would never understand his inexplicable attraction to Liz, anyway. Hell, even he himself didn't understand it. "Yes, Jonathan?"

"I'm... sorry to interrupt, but... Miss Lemon is needed downstairs. They're filming Jenna's salute to the troops song."

"Okay." She headed for the door and threw him a glance over her shoulder, the slightest of smiles flitting across her lips.

When she disappeared around the corner and Jonathan had closed the door, Jack chuckled and shook his head at the empty office.

That may have been his most successful negotiation yet.


{x-posted to 30_rock and jack_liz}
Uther Pendragon's Loyal Wench: steve 40YOV 02firthgal on July 9th, 2007 12:43 am (UTC)
Oh, this was so, so excellent!!! My goodness, the passion! Whew! Definitely got my heart racing, I loved that. Also, when I saw that this was based on a scene from "Hard Ball" I had to go back and watch that episode again, and I forgot how incredibly hilarious it was, one of my favorite episodes. Especially the part where Tracy sings "I Will Always Love You," hee, The Bodyguard spoofs will never get old. Anyway, I love that little look that Jack gives Liz in the scene where she storms into his office, and I love what you have written for his thoughts! That was definitely what that look in his eyes said to me! And the kissing part was so perfectly described, again, I could feel what they were feeling. And then the afterwards scene, I love how you added that he rubbed her wrist with his thumb, such a nice twist on that little moment. I am so happy that you decided to write this one from Jack's POV, you captured him beautifully. Excellent writing, I loved it!

Any chance that one day we might get an NC-17 fic? I am such a perv! But seriously, you describe their passion so beautifully. Anyway, I've practically written a book here! I'll leave you alone now. But I loved this fic!!!
a.: J/L; to me you're strangeregalish on July 9th, 2007 01:24 am (UTC)
HEEE. I ♥ you! (But not in a queer way, lol!)

So glad you enjoyed this! Hard Ball is one of my fave shippy eps, and I've always kind of seen it as a turning point for Jack and Liz. For some reason everything before it seems awkwardish, but by the end of Hard Ball when Jack places his hand on Liz's wrist, the dynamic seems decidedly more... comfortable. Intimate, in a way. Which is exactly what spurred this fic.

And I'm so excited to hear the Jack POV turned out okay! The first few lines in I decided to use his POV and I was scared the entire way, hahaha!

I am totally going to be doing an NC-17 fic. Any time writing smut for a new fandom, I have to work up to it, LOL. But then once I get going... whew! Hehe, j/k.

Next step? R-rated. Stay tuuuuuuned!

And as always, thanks so much for the awesome review! I love your reviews so much I wanna take 'em out behind the middle school and get 'em pregnant! *giggle*
imaclanni on July 9th, 2007 01:46 am (UTC)
now this is what i'm talking about. hot. funny. amazing. thanks for sharing this!
a.: K; you're a sweet little mysteryregalish on July 9th, 2007 02:04 am (UTC)
Hehehe, thanks much! I'm trying to work up to an R, hehe! Next one probably ;D
agent 99: f is for feymouseydork on July 9th, 2007 02:25 am (UTC)
For some reason, the idea of Lemon whipping a dagger out of one of her boots and brandishing it at him was oddly arousing.

Adorable fic, and I loved that sentence. The idea of Liz with a dagger cracks me up, so great.
a.: L; i'm tired of being cautious;regalish on July 9th, 2007 05:27 pm (UTC)
Haha, that was my fave line to write -- Liz with her dagger ;D

I'm glad you liked this! Thanks so much for reviewing!
Bob Loblaw's Law Blog: Okajimascullyseviltwin on July 9th, 2007 02:27 am (UTC)
That was really great! I love the spur of the moment thing because it's so true to both of their characters. Also... the KILLING Josh... I could totally see her acting like that.

Nice work.
a.: J/L; she is everything i needregalish on July 9th, 2007 05:30 pm (UTC)
Thank you so much! I'm glad you enjoyed this. The spur-of-the-moment thing is, in my opinion, how Jack/Liz will happen (if Tina Fey ever lets it happen, haha). If they tried to plan something you know it would just go horribly, horribly awry.

And the crushing Josh part was one of my absolute favorite scenes out of "Hard Ball", because of that and because of Jack's reaction to it. *giggle*

Thanks again for the review!
Tally: David Cassidymusical_junkie on July 9th, 2007 03:46 am (UTC)
That was 100% pure (guess...) awesome.
You should totally delve into the higher ratings more often.
a.: G; from such great heights;regalish on July 9th, 2007 05:31 pm (UTC)
Heee! Thank you muchly for the AWESOME review ;D I'm glad you liked this.

And I totally will be doing more of the higher-rated fics very soon. Just gotta work my way up to those R's and such, hehe.
Cross Wordgoodtoast on July 9th, 2007 05:06 am (UTC)
What a great take on Hard ball. I love this episode, and you've made me love it even more.

The way you wrote out their thoughts was pitch-perfect. They were all so possible for the characters, and oh how I wish they were real ;)

And I loved that their anger and frustration just led up to the defining moment of passion. If/when they hook up in canon, my money is on that way.

So, great fic, and I look forward to the next *not subtle hinting*
a.: J/L; you're the reason for therapy;regalish on July 9th, 2007 05:33 pm (UTC)
Thank you so much! I'm so thrilled you enjoyed this; "Hard Ball" is one of my fave Jack/Liz eps, too (right up there with "Black Tie" and "Hiatus").

And I am in total agreement with you about how Jack/Liz will happen -- their relationship has just always had that slightly volatile air to it like if there's so much as one moment where they snap, that's pretty much it. Hehehe. Which is why I love them so terribly much.

Thanks again for the kind review! More Jack/Liz to come very soon :)
csiAngel: 30 Rock J/Lcsiangel on July 9th, 2007 10:01 pm (UTC)
*applauds excitedly* Yay! Excellent additions to that episode. Such passion, and humour! And I love Jonathan looking aghast! LOL!

Oh I just adore these two *happy sigh*
a.: L; if you wanna have some funregalish on July 9th, 2007 11:40 pm (UTC)
*giggle* Thanks Jac! Glad ya liked this. I'm getting closer and closer to an R-rating, yay! Hehehe. It was fun writing Jonathan's horror, too -- him and his man-crush on Jack, hahahaha. I ♥ Jonathan. :D
Miamiecsi_miamie126 on July 11th, 2007 02:15 pm (UTC)
"Stop me now, Lemon, before I can't," he warned against her neck. How HOT was this sentence. Curse you! *shakes fist* Now that line is playing in my head with Alec's voice. *shakes fist further*

Lemon gave one more tug on his lapels and before he knew it, they were horizontal... and she had yelped in pain. Kill the armrests. Kill 'em all!

Once again, you have proven to be a great (if not one of the best) Jack/Liz 30 Rock fanfic writers out there. Heck, you should be a 30 Rock writer, just to satisfy our massive need for Jack/Liz.

And why the hell are you making a R rated fic for? Go straight to NC-17 damnit!

(Sighs. I should stop reading Jack Attack: The Art of Agression in Business
a.: MB; kiss me goodbye;regalish on July 11th, 2007 07:19 pm (UTC)
Hehehe! Thanks so much, that's so sweet of you to say! I'd LOVE to be a writer for 30 Rock, but I think Tina Fey would end up firing me for putting TOO MUCH Jack/Liz into each and every episode, hahaha.

And yeeeaaahh, still gotta work up to that NC-17. Hehe! I do this with every fandom. I need to get courageous enough to just jump in and do it (er... so to speak, haha!).

Thanks again!
stephen@charleneforever.com: 30 rock: jack/liz (and looking away)michellek on July 15th, 2007 05:59 am (UTC)
This was not a tentative, fumbling first kiss like Jack always expected it to be (when he allowed himself to think about something so terrifying)


I loved this. So adorable and sexy, which is pretty awesome.
a.: L; i learned the truth at seventeen;regalish on July 16th, 2007 12:59 am (UTC)
Hehe, thanks so much! Jack pretty much would be terrified if he ever thought of kissing Lemon, haha. He'd have to go out to a bar and hit on a dozen young, hot women just to erase the traumatic memory. *giggle*