“C’mon Bones, it could be fun. You’re a doctor. Don’t you want to see Galen’s writings or maybe even the original Hippocratic Oath?”
“Galen was a dick,” he mumbled, running his hand through his hair.
“Nothing, kid. Alright, let’s go.”
Bones watched his feet while walking up the lengthy flight of stairs and didn’t notice that Jim stopped until he ran into him. “What the—watch it, Jim.”
“Why is there a statue of you in the Smithsonian Institution?”
Statue? Leonard paled, glancing briefly at the statue in question before blustering past Jim.
Jim tilted his head. “Is that anatomically correct?”
"Come on, Jim, you know that's not me."
"Yeah, but..." Jim trailed off, his eyes still studying the statue’s form.
"We don't have time for this." Leonard rubbed his face tiredly. "We still need to get to that tactics panel Admiral Archer is chairing. Plus that panel on Andorians that you were dying to see."
"Threesomes and foursomes, Bones. That's always fun."
"It's nowhere near as fun as you think it will be."
"Okay, what about.."
McCoy moved away from Jim and the offending statue towards another when he brushed against a pretty Clrena girl knocking her into the emerald toned Orion girl next to her. "Excuse me, Miss. I didn't see you there." McCoy said as the Orion girl held the Clrena's striking blue elbow steadying her. The Orion girl winked as Bones dragged Jim from his contemplation of them both. "They're outta your league kid."
"Hey, isn't that Aphrodite?" Jim's unerring ability to find any scantily clad female form in the room was right on target. "Wow, she's smokin' hot."
McCoy grimaced. "Yes, Jim, because limestone is much prettier than fleshtones."
"Bones, you cannot--"
"Okay, no. I am not watching you drool over a statue.” Especially not one of Her. “Let me know when your hormones grow up."
Jim watched Leonard stalk across the museum, knocking another girl, this time a blonde human girl into a dark-haired human male in his rush to leave. Which, for once, was fine with Jim. He wandered back to the statue of Eros, or Cupid, god of love.
The resemblance to Bones was striking, even down to the scar on his right thigh. Wait, why would a god have a scar? And that most definitely matched the Bones’ scar. Jim thought this bore more thought, and maybe a trip into the archives.
Three days later, they were back on the Enterprise. Jim was no closer to his quarry, and couldn’t seem to get a moment to himself to do more research. His current interruption, a crewmember from Botany, was attempting a reschedule. Now Jim was first in his belief that the captain should be approachable, but this was ridiculous. Spock was currently keeping up with duty rosters, and the mandatory sparring program was McCoy’s brainchild.
"Ensign Carson." Jim interrupted. "You're a Starfleet officer, act like one. If Dr. McCoy believes this is necessary for your well-being then I suggest you do it."
"But Cupcake is an ass--"
“Lieutenant Murphy, Ensign.” Kirk corrected sharply. “Rein in that tone.” Jim softened his look before continuing, “What’s the real issue here, Swenna?”
Ensign Swenna Carson took a deep breath while visibly gathering her composure, "he treats me like a fragile Correllan snowflake. I'm not going to learn self-defense that way. And Dr. McCoy won't change the sparring time so I can have a partner who will actually be useful."
"You're on Gamma shift, are you not?"
"And your sparring time is set up perfectly for you to sleep your requisite hours, spar, then shower and change for Gamma three times a week, am I correct?"
"Then kick Murphy’s ass."
"I'd suggest sparring with Lt. Uhura between now and your next session with Lieutenant Murphy. Or Lt. Gaila. Both could teach you enough to get his attention."
"I don't think--"
"Dr. McCoy chose Lt. Murphy for a reason, Ensign. When you’re in the field, even if you’re just studying soil samples,” Kirk spit out quickly before she could object *again*, “you will need the awareness he can teach you.” Kirk gave her a quelling look. “Kirk out.”
“Kirk to Lt. Aaron Murphy.”
“Rec Room. 15 minutes.”
Jim entered the recreation area in ten minutes and wasn’t surprised to see Murphy standing next to the best table tactically—clear view of the room and closest to an exit.
Jim motioned for Murphy to sit with him. “Relax, Murphy. This isn’t formal. I just want to know what’s up with Ensign Carson.”
If anything, Murphy blushed and became more tense at the captain’s words. “She’s half my size, Captain. I don’t know why Dr. McCoy paired us.”
Jim, on the other hand, was beginning to suspect. “Do you want her to be trapped on an away mission?” At that, Murphy’s mouth twisted grimly. “Teach her what she needs to know.” Jim pushed away from the table and smacked Murphy on the shoulder. “Bones wouldn’t have chosen you if he didn’t think you would be the absolute best for her.”
Jim left the Rec Room and headed to the nearest console. He nodded and smiled at various crewmembers until he was alone in the hallway. “Computer, locate my CMO.”
“Chief Medical Officer McCoy is in Primary Sick Bay Lab 4.”
Good, Jim thought. Jim reached his quarters as quickly as he could. Running, however, was out of the question. Jim wasn’t about to sit through another highly logical rebuke from his first officer about how command golds were for stately, yet purposeful strides, not causing rampant panic throughout the crew.
Rampant, indeed, that was so stretching the facts.
A couple of the younger engineers were slightly startled. They were carrying delicate equipment, but it all worked out. Once the door closed Jim locked it, settling at his console.
“Computer, tell me about the Eros statue at the Smithsonian Institute.”
“The Eros Statue was carved by Praxiteles in BCE 364. It was recovered with a number of artifacts in 2063 from an underwater cave near Macedonia.”
“Tell me about Praxiteles.”
“His record is incomplete. Ancient Grecian artist. Most of his currently attributed work was of the Olympian love gods.”
“Tell me about the other artifacts.”
“The pottery and weapons are currently being displayed at the Olympian Museum in Corinth.”
“Was there anything special about that find?”
“Original reports included a large metallic sculpture that went missing within twenty-four hours of its discovery. Photos of the sculpture survive. The movie ‘Wargod’s Blood’ was inspired by the inscription.”
Jim studied the image of an angry warrior with his wings unfurled and his sword held in a killing stroke onscreen. The image wasn’t perfect, but it was definitely the same subject as the Eros statue. It also looked remarkably like Bones after he caught an intern ‘poisoning’ a patient. An inscription at the base of the statue caught Jim’s eye.
“Show the inscription onscreen.” Ancient Greek appeared on the screen. “Computer, translate.”
“An exact translation is not possible.”
“Extrapolate from the earliest Greek available, and send the original to a blank personal PADD.”
“That’s convenient.” Jim mumbled. “Locate Uhura and Commander Spock.”
“Lieutenant Uhura and Commander Spock are currently eating lunch in the observation room on deck 7.”
Jim found the couple easily enough.
“Captain.” Spock greeted Jim. “Is there something amiss?”
“No, and we’re not on duty. It’s Jim.”
“Jim.” Uhura said wryly, “was it something important, or is everyone else unavailable for Kirkian-level harassment?”
“Kirkian?” Jim smirked. “I’m worthy of new words, Uhura?”
Uhura rolled her eyes and gave him a pointed look.
“Fine, you two are no fun.” Jim placed the data PADD on the small table between the two, careful not to touch either of them. “I have a mystery to solve. I want to know everything about that statue.”
Uhura took a look at the picture of the angry god and her eyes widened. “Is that?”
“I think so. I want to know how it’s possible.”
“Fascinating.” Spock didn’t take his eyes off the statue. “It looks remarkably like Doctor McCoy.”
Jim barged into Primary Sick Bay Lab 4.
Leonard carefully put down the Petri dish he was about to scan. “Have you ever heard of knocking, brat?”
“You’re Cupid, I can prove it.”
“Seriously? You’re coming to me with this now? Is this about the statue?”
“Not that one.” Jim slides another PADD across with the copied information. The statue of Cupid enraged is onscreen. “Tell me how much of a coincidence it is that there are two statues of you as Eros with the same scar?”
“Insufferable brat,” Leonard breathed. “Everyone has a double, maybe I had one in Ancient Greece.”
“With. The. Same. Scar.” Jim bit out.
“Fine.” Bones dragged Jim by the arm to his office. Activating the CMO’s privacy codes, he poured them drinks and began telling his tale with the words, “You really should have let this go.” Jim’s eyes widened at the alienness in Bones’ voice. Later, Cupid finally allowed Jim to speak.
“Why Jocelyn? I thought there was that whole Cupid and Psyche true love thing.”
McCoy mumbled. Kirk would have to be as good as Uhura to decipher that though. "Shot, what?"
"I said, you nosy bastard, that Psyche was a result of shooting myself with an arrow. I was horsing with the satyrs while on a job for my mom. It took the entire house of Love working together to unravel that mess. And it only worked because I consented after seeing her in my Uncle’s Golden Chariot. Turns out she wanted to travel more than she wanted a family. I wouldn't change it though, because my son Bliss is wonderful."
So the betrayal thing in the myths were correct, Kirk thought. "And that harpy Jocelyn?"
“Actually harpies are more pleasant.” Cupid took a long swallow of his bourbon. “I liked her once. Another arrow. It was one of my lead arrows, but it had been altered by the bow. It would have killed Joanna instantly if I hadn’t stepped in front of her.”
“I thought the lead arrows created hate in a person.”
"Altered, Jim." Cupid scowled at him. "It means changed. Look it up. Once it passed through my leg, it ended up hitting Jocelyn. Joanna was safe though. And the rest…is history." It wasn’t history though. It had changed Jocelyn as much as it changed me, Cupid thought.
"What? No. You can't end it there." Jim stopped Leonard's forward momentum with a hand on his shoulder. "You said it would've killed Joanna. What did it do to you and Jocelyn?"
It tore out all the love, Cupid thought, but replied, "It made things more difficult for me."
"Difficult, how, Bones?"
Cupid wiped a hand across his face. "Just drop it. Please?"
"Okay, but I want to meet Bliss and Joanna."
"C'mon, Bones, they’re your kids. Is Joanna a goddess? I bet she’s hot. What’s her godhood? I want to meet them."
"You can't, Jim." Cupid shrugged his hand off and dematerialized Jim into one of the Jeffries Tubes four decks below Engineering. Jim, of course, knew the ship like the back of his hand and would ultimately be sharing a sandwich with Scotty before too long.
"That asshole." Cupid paced towards the door to his office. "Has no idea that I can't be in the same room with any god left except my father without hurting them in some fashion." Cupid paced back to his desk. "He just wants to meet some hot goddess, nevermind that she's my DAUGHTER and I haven't seen her in centuries." Cupid smacked the desk with his hand sending PADDs scattering.
“Careful there, son.” A shower of sparkles preceded the dark-haired, leather clad God of War. Ares snapped his fingers putting everything back to normal on Cupid’s desk.
“Dad!” Cupid hugged his father, well, more accurately, Cupid flung himself at his father. Speaking into his father’s chest Cupid mumbles, “It’s been 84 years.”
Ares, always a softie with his children, allowed the lengthy contact, something Cupid appreciated.
The door to Bones’ office swishes open.
“Bones, I’m sor—“ Jim stops just inside the doorway. “Oh. Um, I’ll go.” Jim vanishes almost as quickly as he entered.
“I can bring him back if you want.” Ares offered. “Chains or leather? Or what about those Braltan silk bonds.”
Cupid snorts. “Thanks, but no. If there’s any Captain roping to be done, I’ll do it.”
“Because you’ve done a wonderful job so far?”
“Cupie, sweetie.” ‘Dite pushes some hair behind her ear. “You’re totally bumming me out.”
Aphrodite reached towards her son, but swayed as his aura hit hers.
She gave him a bittersweet smile. “I know, sugar. Just tell him.”
“What good will it do?” Cupid finally released his father and moved further away until his mother’s color became more naturally pinkish. “It will just hurt him.”
“You don’t know that.”
“Your mother is right.” Ares made a face, crossing his arms across his chest. “I will deny it and blast you into atoms if you ever repeat that.”
Cupid chuckled. “Right, is Tartarus rising? You two don’t agree on anything.”
‘Dite’s color was still pale, but she still crosses the room to touch Cupid’s face gently. Her skin became more ashen, but she managed to say, “Tell him,” before she sparkled out.
“Is she?” Cupid asked worriedly.
Ares looked thoughtful for a moment, “She’s resting...back in her home temple. Bliss is with her.”
“He’s fine? How is Joanna? I hate that I’m so cut off…”
“Bliss is fine. He’s been hanging with Erato lately. I do believe we’re going to suffer through many thousands upon thousands of lovesick sonnets, but maybe it’ll give you a boost...”
Cupid ignored the boost comment entirely. “And Joanna?”
“She’s caring for Jocelyn.” Ares held up a hand. “No. Jocelyn hasn’t changed. Joanna loves you still, but Jocelyn can’t.”
Cupid flinched. His whole world changed when his action caused a human to be incapable of love. It tainted his godly powers. It caused him to roam the world for thousands of years. It cut him off from his family. The one god strong enough to withstand his wrongness was his father. The emotions Ares handled as part of his duties were of a similar nature to that of the loveless Love God’s.
“Lady Themis sent word to your mother.”
Cupid’s heart hammered. “She did? She hasn’t told anyone of a vision in millenia.”
“She regrets that Zelus used your arrow with Nemesis’ bow.”
Cupid’s eyes hardened. “Tell me something I don’t know.”
Ares scowled and pushed Cupid into his chair with a wave and a thought. “You will respect Lady Themis. She was watching Zelus, but this was not her fault.” Ares stroked his goatee, obviously strategizing the best way to approach the topic. “Zelus was a child, Cupid. Not unlike Bliss and that debacle with the Hestian Virgins.”
Cupid seethed, but settled down. “Right. So? The vision?”
“Bring love to one who hasn’t felt it before.”
“What? I’ve done that. For centuries.”
“Why are you so dense?” Ares rolled his eyes. “I blame the blonde bimbo.”
“Enlighten me then, Dad—and leave Mom out of it.”
“Not love between two mortals, not those marriages you had for companionship. Love. True love.” Ares made fake gagging noises. “Let someone love you, son. Let Jim love you.”
“True,” he emphasized, “love can only be based on truth, Dad. Jim is not going to love me when he finds out the truth.”
“Don’t make me force you. This has to end.”
Ares snapped his fingers and Cupid found himself in the captain’s quarters.
“Seriously?” Cupid snarked quietly to the ceiling before unsuccessfully attempting to dematerialize back to his office. His father’s laugh woke the sleeping captain.
“Bones?” Jim’s eyes widened. “Uh, not that I’m complaining, but shouldn’t you be entertaining your friend? Or at least be wearing pants?”
“Friend? Oh. Right.” Cupid sat down on the edge of Jim’s bed, but didn’t put on any pants. “That was my father, Jim.”
“Pants.” Jim squeaked.
“Look, I have to get through this and if I can distract you all the better.”
“Okaaayy.” Jim leaned back into his pillow getting more comfortable.
“The red matter. It’s all my fault, Jim. Your father, Vulcan. All of it.”
“What do you mean?”
“Where do you think the Vulcan Science Academy got red matter? They didn’t create it. They just capitalized on its existence.”
“But that was in an alternate universe, Bones, that doesn’t explain--“
“Olympians exist differently Jim.” Cupid rubbed his eyes tiredly. “We’re outside of time and space. We don’t generally involve ourselves with mortals in a specific way.”
“Olympians?” Jim was back to squeaking. “Not the after shift Romulan Ale then.” Jim muttered to himself. “But what about the Trojan War? Odysseus?”
“Okay, some do use mortals to further their own agenda, but over the millennia the odds aren’t as high as you’d think.”
“Has anyone ever broken the spell of your arrows?”
“No. It’s not possible for a human.”
Jim’s face fell. “Oh.”
“Wait. No, that’s not right. Uncle Herc did it, but he was a demigod.”
“How did he do it?”
“He had already been in love, true love, before. So he knew the feeling, and my arrow didn’t stand a chance.”
“What happened after that?”
“I married Psyche. Look, can we not talk about this?”
“So what happened to you? I mean, you’re a god, an Olympian. You threw up on my shoes in the shuttle, man.”
“What do you think would happen to a Love God without any Love?” Cupid snarled.
“Oh. Right.” Jim ran a hand across his hair. “You’ve been married though…since Jocelyn, right?”
“Companionship, Jim. Not love. Mortals’ lives are so fleeting.”
“Why haven’t you hooked up with any other gods or goddesses?”
“After Psyche, the idea of spending an eternity with someone just didn’t appeal, especially without it being true. I’m a god of love Jim. Even crippled, I can’t stay where it’s not true.”
“How do you know it’s not true?” Jim’s words were oddly stilted causing Cupid to look up from his hands.
“Why didn’t you want to watch me looking at the Aphrodite statue?”
“Gaila? You didn’t like her either.”
“Jim you know Scotty adores her. And they’re both in love with Enterprise.”
“What about Zirane from the Galileo? You didn’t like him either.”
“He was cheating on you, jackass.”
“And the time I dated Carol?”
Cupid was getting aggravated. “Your point?”
“You knew those weren’t love.” Cupid nodded at Jim. “So look at me. Right here, right now.”
Cupid looked. Blinked. And looked again. “Are you sure, Jim?”
Jim nodded. “Of course I am. According to regulation 734 subsection 16.9, the captain is always right.”
“Regulation 734 subsection 16.9 states that you have to wear shoes and gloves in the presence of the Melvaran High Council, Jim.”
“I’m still right.” Jim reached for Cupid’s hand to pull him closer. “C’mere.”
Jim kissed Cupid’s lips gently. Cupid drew in a shocked breath as he leaned back. A blue shimmer, remarkably similar to the color of Jim’s eyes, flashed over the god’s entire body. Cupid shuddered once, his wings unfurling.
Jim looked in awe. He reached then stopped halfway, looking in askance.
Cupid nodded and then groaned in pleasure as Jim’s ran his fingers through the feathers. Another bright flash of light and a bowl of apples appeared on Jim’s nightstand. Cupid’s delighted laughter rang through the captain’s quarters.
“What?” Jim paused in his ministrations.
“You want to live forever?” Cupid nodded towards the bowl.
“Seriously?” Jim picks up one of the golden apples and looks at it pensively.
"I've had a hundred and sixty-four wives, seventy-three husbands, and I'm not going to lose you. Eat the damn apple Jim."
"Seventy-three husbands? You have something against marrying men?"
"Oh give me a break, during some of that time two human males couldn't marry. Would you just focus for once in your life? Do you not want to stay together forever?"
"That is so weird."
"Okay that's it." Leonard reaches for the golden apple but Jim leans away, taking a large bite.