The mistake, actually, was in agreeing with anything McKenna suggested. That’s the line Jim’s going with when Hikaru asks. Which he will, probably at the exec meeting in - Jim checks his middle monitor – eight minutes. He absently taps on his mouse, not really looking at the screen as he closes old tabs, and tries to ignore his stiff, bare finger. At least the swelling is down enough to type.
“Kirk.” Jim tries not to jump visibly as Nyota walks up behind him. Open floor plans were de rigueur at startups now, but fuck if he didn’t sort of miss cubicles with their partial walls.
“I’ve got the press briefings prepared for when we go live with the beta tomorrow,” Nyota says, then narrows her eyes. “What did you do this time?”
“I – why do you think I did anything?” Jim asks suspiciously as he looks at her. Yeah, they’ve been living in each other’s pockets for over a year, work-life balance gone to hell ever since they’d caught the eye and money of the Starfleet Angels, but he didn’t think he was that easy to read.
“I’m awesome,” he says, aiming for nonchalance as he leans back in his leather chair. Perk of the position, and death and Nerf arrows to anyone who gets in early to nab it first. “Everything’s awesome. Well, except Ops, but that always goes down to the wire.” Every goddamn time, actually, no matter what sort of schedules (and threats) Spock sends out to the team.
Nyota rolls her eyes at him, just like she’s been doing ever since that Cal dorm party, though Jim likes to believe there’s more affection behind her glare now. “You’ve been staring at the Product team all morning, Kirk.”
“Um,” Jim replies eloquently.
His raises his right hand to rub his neck, then aborts the gesture when he remembers the bum finger. He looks down at his naked hand again, feeling a little smaller when Nyota lets out a low whistle as she gets it. He is so fucked, and it’s only been a week since they signed the papers.
It’d probably be best to walk over to Hikaru’s desk right now, fess up that he has no clue where his ring is, hasn’t since last night’s practice match, but he’s not really keen on doing that in front Sulu’s entire team. Harder to blame McKenna when he’s right there too, laughing with the rest of Product and UX as they brainstorm ways to crash the latest build.
“It’s McKenna’s fault?” he tries. If he can get Nyota on his side, maybe there’s some hope yet. “Him and Scotty, and, really, the entire the Dev team.”
“Oi!” Scotty’s call comes from a few yards away, inside the one closed room the office has, even if it’s all glass. “Isn’t there suppose a meeting on now? And Jim, don’t be besmirching my name to that lass.”
Jim stands up and Nyota shoots him a sympathetic look as she walks on, murmuring, “Time to face the music, Jim.”
He undocks his laptop quickly, thinking about possible angles he could use to block a view of his hands. A pad of paper, pen, charger, and a random hardcopy of Enterprise’s business plan come along as well; maybe he can build a fort at the head of the table.
He walks into the meeting room behind Gaila, who, as usual, has just now dragged herself into the office, carrying a nonfat latte for Nyota and a venti candy bar in a cup for herself. Jim gives her a hopeful smile and goes for the whipped caramel chocolate pumpkin whatever, getting an elbow in his side for the effort.
“Only a sip,” he mouths at her as they sit down, grinning as she relents and lets him steal away the mug. He only takes the one sip, too; T-minus one day before the big release and he needs his top programmer well caffeinated.
He counts heads while Scotty starts recounting the previous night’s adventures to the rest of the room. Everyone’s here, save Hikaru and Pavel.
“…clumsiest attempt at fielding I’ve ever seen. Didn’t even manage to keep the ball in, just tumbled arse over teakettle past the boundary and comes up cursing a blue streak about a jammed finger.”
“Hey now,” Jim says, pulling together the few remaining shreds of his dignity, “If you guys had just agreed to play a normal game, kickball or soccer or, hell, softball – you know, something with gloves - I’d be fine. But no, McKenna gangs up with the Robau brothers and the rest of your guys in Dev, signs us up for a cricket league…”
“And our fearless leader couldn’t let you take the field without him, despite knowing nothing about the game.” Hikaru walks in, dropping a kiss on the crown of Jim’s head as he goes to his normal seat down the table, and Jim can’t help but spin his chair to watch him, like a flower tracking the sun.
It’s not exactly professional, he realizes absently as he continues to stare while Hikaru pulls out a chair for Pavel, then one for himself – but everyone knew what sort of work culture they’d be getting with a startup run by Jim Kirk. And, anyway, they’d all attended the commitment celebration in the Mission last week when he and Hikaru had finally signed the papers and exchanged rings.
The ring that he’d pulled off his stinging hand last night – whoever had invented cricket clearly hadn’t given much of a shit about broken fingers – dropped into his shorts’ pocket, and completely forgotten about until he woke in a panic this morning. He’d started searching the bathroom floor where he’d shucked off his grass-stained clothes the night before, but there’d been the distraction of Hikaru in the shower, and–
“… right,” Jim says, blushing slightly as he snaps back to the present and finds the entire exec team watching him expectantly. Nyota and Gaila are grinning like idiots behind their coffees and Spock’s lip is twitching slightly. Assholes. “Shall we get this meeting rolling, guys?”
He ignores Bones’ muttered “Hell, yes” on his left and pulls up the agenda he’d stashed on the network yesterday, careful to keep his hand hidden behind the laptop’s screen. Bones is always cranky before an iteration goes live, or when they’re in the middle of a build, or, well, he’s always cranky, period.
Looking down, Jim blinks. He’d typed the agenda up in a rush before practice, but he was pretty sure that RING: SMALL CIRCULAR BAND NOT ON KIRK’S FINGER was not suppose to be the first discussion point. Of course, his laptop hooks up automatically with the room’s projector behind him, so the note, written in that pretentious humanist typeface his designers insist on using, is visible to everyone else too.
A scan of the room, and it’s clear from the red ears that Pavel knew what was coming, but the shit-eating grin on Sulu’s stupid face marks the guilty party.
“Kirk, if you could see your expression,” he says, shaking his head as he gets up and strides around the table. “Not sure if you should be outraged or feeling guilty, hmm?”
It’s really not fair that Hikaru knows him this well, and he refuses to look up at his smiling friends and co-workers. A hand brushes his down-turned face, and he feels two distinct spots of cool metal on Hikaru’s middle finger.
“Not that I minded your… distraction techniques this morning,” he whispers into Jim’s ear, then straightens and raises his voice, “but, as much as I’d like to see you suffer more, we can’t have the CEO distracted the day before we have our public release. You owe McKenna big for finding this on the pitch last night, by the way.”
Hikaru tugs at Jim’s hand until he looks up, then slowly slips the second ring off his hand and back onto Jim’s, dark eyes never leaving Jim’s.
“You’re such a show-off, flyboy.” Jim licks his lips, trying for tone that doesn’t scream completely besotted. The snort from his left suggests he doesn’t succeed.
Hikaru saunters back to his chair, a rare wide grin on his face.
“Just don’t think you’ll get off so easily if you lose the next one after Prop. 8 gets overturned,” he tosses back over his shoulder, and, judging by the expressions around him, Jim is never going to be able to live this one down. Ever.
Fuck keeping the workplace perfectly professional – if Jim wanted an environment like, he’d be hopping on the Google shuttle every morning or coding in the Financial District. The cocky geniuses here at Enterprise suit him just fine.