Jim Kirk doesn’t cry when he’s had a bad day (he also no longer drinks, thank you very much) nor does he have temper tantrums (okay that one time, but the aforementioned drinking hadn’t stopped yet). In fact, he’s taken to Starfleet like a fish to water. Discipline was no longer a cage, but a tool to be used or cast aside as necessary. He loves, no, fucking loves his job, his crew, his ship and possibly his pilot. They’re in their first year away, exploring the unknown parts of space. It’s an amazing adventure, new life forms, new civilizations, new everything. The universe is shiny and free and Starfleet’s brass has been off their backs, leaving them be… until today.
Today started quiet, lots of orbital survey which meant Jim had the perfect opportunity to lose himself amongst long overdue reports and research proposals. He’s fine with quiet. Quiet means no disasters, no fights; no evenings spent listening to his mother cry into a bottle of tequila. It’s not that Jim hates his birthday; he just never really had one. On his tenth ‘birthday’, he’d asked Sam why other children had parties and presents for their birthdays when he did not. In retrospect, Jim doesn’t begrudge Sam’s answer. The pain of losing his father combined with the hormones that make all teenagers assholes- Jim would have said the same:
“It’s not really fair to celebrate on a day when so many people died, is it Jimmy?”
At least he’d said something. Their mother had just waved Jim away and ignored any further inquiry, but he already understood. It’s not right to celebrate a tragedy, and he never asked again.
He’s about to lose himself on the first research proposal on his desk, when his console chimes happily at him, indicating he has a communication from Starfleet HQ. Jim doesn’t recognize the authentication code. He’s not upset. Christopher Pike does have better things to do than continually check on him. Jim’s a Captain now and certainly not exhaling a disappointed sigh before he hits the console to answer.
“Kirk.” Admiral Reed pops up on Jim’s screen and suddenly Jim’s finding himself defending what seems to be a catalogue of every order he’s ever given, and when the Admiral makes a swipe at his crew, Jim nearly bites through his tongue to keep from punching the screen. He punches the bulk head instead. After Admiral Reed has signed off with a thinly veiled warning. After Jim’s taken a deep breath, digesting every word. He doesn’t even mean to, feels like his brain disconnects from his body and he can’t do anything about the frustrated cry and the pain that follows immediately when his hand connects with metal.
“Fuck!” He’s glad the walls are perfectly sound proof; and he doesn’t have to look to know he’s shattered bone. For whatever fortunate reason, Captain’s quarters are located on the same deck as sickbay, same deck as CMO’s quarters. Bones isn’t on duty, but Jim manages to get to his quarters, hand wrapped in a towel, without being seen.
“Good fucking god, man, what the hell did you do?” Leonard’s reaction is what Jim expected, but he’s thrown off by Hikaru sitting on Leonard’s couch, in civvies, drinking a cup of tea. “Come on, let’s get you fixed up.” Instead of letting Jim inside, Leonard ushers him away from the door and toward his lab down the hall. If the throbbing pain in Jim’s hand were any less, he would have been able to muster more than a passing thought about it. He sits, a little miserable, on a chair, clutching his wrist while Leonard examines his hand.
“I’m not going to ask why you were taking on a bulk head with your bare hands,” Leonard reaches for the regenerator, “but I’ll have to set some of the bones before I can mend them. “ Jim closes his eyes, trying to ignore the pain when his bones grind together and the subsequent burning itch that comes with cell regeneration. He focuses on his breathing, slowly drifting away into darkness and startles when Leonard pats his hand. “You’re fine now,” his voice quiet and Jim’s sure he’s giving him an opening, a chance to talk, to let Leonard in; but it’s a chance he’s not sure he can take, not now.
It happened before, opening up and all that. He tries not to remember his birthday in second year at the Academy. He’d just wanted to be alone and sleep the day away; but Leonard had appeared with a bottle of Jack and fed Jim shots until he’d just started babbling his life story and cried on Leonard’s shoulder, like a child, mourning a parent he’d never known. Right now, Jim doesn’t have the energy or enough liquor on this ship to deal with his birthday and Starfleet’s bitching about proper procedures. He pushes himself up, cracks a grin he hopes Leonard doesn’t read as fake and slaps him on the shoulder.
“Thanks Bones!” He leaves and makes his way back to his quarters, trying to convince himself that he isn’t fleeing but rather just returning to work. It only takes an hour of reports before Jim feels stir-crazy, and he pays a visit to the bridge, just to quickly check up on things. He is the Captain after all. Captains need to know what’s going on. He arrives on the bridge where Spock, who is in command right now, is sitting in the Captain’s chair, monitoring the orbital scans; and Leonard, who is supposed to shortly begin duty in sickbay, is quietly talking to Hikaru, who is most certainly not even supposed to be on the bridge today. They stop talking the moment they notice Jim on the bridge, and something suddenly doesn’t sit right in Jim’s gut.
Hikaru excuses himself, quiet with a brief nod to Jim, but nothing more, even avoids looking Jim in the eye. Before Jim can say anything, Leonard excuses himself as well, and Jim ends up with an hour-long report from Spock on the progress of the orbital scan. When he finally leaves the bridge, he’s certain Spock dragged that out as revenge for ‘letting’ him command what promises to be their dullest and most tedious planetary survey yet. Even Nyota, who has perfected the look of polite interest, looked bored, but Jim’s focus lies in the feeling of his gut, sick, anxious, like his insides are twisting together into a knot. He tries to breathe, but something about Hikaru avoiding his eyes, the intimate tone in his voice while he was talking, and suddenly Jim finds himself in front of Hikaru’s quarters.
It takes a few moments before he rings the chime. Normally, he would have simply used a security override, but it doesn’t feel right. Nothing feels right today. The time it takes Hikaru to answer the door is odd, what’s more odd is that he steps outside his quarters.
“Hey Jim,” Hikaru looks at him but keeps his distance, “what are you doing here?”
“I,” Jim’s not sure why he’s here. They’ve never officially defined their relationship. Sure, they moved from casual fuck buddies to monogamy, but they don’t talk about the future, take each day at a time. If Jim tells Hikaru that he just needed to see him, that seems a definition, a commitment, and Jim right now has no idea if Hikaru even wants that. “You wanna grab a beer?”
“Sorry, I can’t right now,” he pauses, “I’ve got a thing, but I’ll catch you in an hour?”
“Yeah,” something inside Jim gives, an odd numbness spreads from his gut across his body, “yeah, yeah, sure.” Stunned, he walks to his quarters, blown off, rejected, feeling utterly alone in the world. The bottle of Jack seems to open itself and before Jim knows it, he’s three shots into the bottle and looking through his personal PADD, the one he never lets anyone see. He listens to the last conversation his parents ever had, like he does every year. No one knows he’s hacked into the Starfleet archive and downloaded all the sensor data from that day. He takes another shot, and continues flipping through the files. He’d never admit this, but in the depths of his files, he’s saved every message Hikaru’s ever sent him. Hikaru, who has been growing increasingly distant, Jim rubs his eyes and there’s wetness on his hand. “Shit.” He closes his eyes trying to will away the silent tears.
At some point, he must’ve fallen asleep because he startles awake when his door chimes.
“Computer, turn off door chime.” He doesn’t want to see anyone right now, just wants to be alone. He turns on his sofa when the door slides open. “The hell?” He sits up to see Hikaru walk through the door. “What’re you doing here?”
“I thought we had plans for beers,” Hikaru slides onto the couch beside Jim, “I’m sorry I’m late, but it looks like you’ve got one hell of a head start.”
Jim looks at him, doesn’t trust this change in demeanor. Did Hikaru realize he noticed the change in his behavior? Was he just appeasing him? Throwing him a bone? So, instead of answering, he just shrugs.
“Well, you don’t smell like you drank a bottle of Jack, speech isn’t really slurred. Come on; let’s grab a beer in the lounge.”
It’s not really a request from the way Hikaru pulls at Jim’s arm. He wants to refuse, wants to make Hikaru explain his behaviour, but he’s still intoxicated and Hikaru is determined. The lounge is at the far end of the ship. The halls are quiet and briefly Jim considers stopping to pull Hikaru into a dark corner, but every time he slows down, Hikaru pulls him onward.
“I don’t know-,” Jim’s feeling overwhelmed, “please stop.” Jim pulls his arm away from Hikaru. “Hikaru stop.” He leans against the wall, miserable. At this point he’s not even sure why; it’s hard to sort his thoughts, especially with Hikaru watching him like that, scrutinizing, reading him when Jim half the time has no idea what goes on in Hikaru’s head. “Hikaru, I-,” but he’s cut off.
“Jim.” Hikaru hasn’t moved. “Trust me.”
They shouldn’t be magical words, shouldn’t calm Jim down instantly. He feels a bit like a puppet or a robot that’s been programmed to respond to Hikaru’s voice. Still, he runs his hand over his face and takes a deep breath, trying to fight the turmoil inside him.
“Okay, I’m sorry.” Another deep breath. “I’m fine.” He lets Hikaru lead him to the lounge, walks in first because Hikaru falls back, doesn’t think any of it, all he wants is a beer, a quiet corner and a comfy chair.
“Surprise!” The choral of familiar voices is almost deafening.
Jim looks around, straight back to stunned and confused. There are balloons and garlands and streamers in gold, blue and red; there’s a cake the size of Keenser; but what gets him the most is that a huge portion of his crew has managed to cram themselves into the lounge. And right in the front, beside Leonard, there’s Spock and Nyota and Pavel and Montgomery and Keenser (on a chair beside said Keenser-sized cake) and he can see Cupcake (Kenneth, really, but he and Jim bonded over a love for chess), Christine, Gary, Kevin, Gaila… Jim’s dizzy from the amount of smiling faces he is surrounded by. Gary starts the sing and within seconds the swell of voices, the sound of an archaic naval song*, burning candles, real candles on a cake, Happy Birthday, Jim in big cursive letters, not Captain… Jim… The sudden warmth spreading through Jim’s insides is almost too much to bear.
He’s passed around, congratulated, slapped on the shoulder, fed cake and champagne, the real kind, not from a replicator. He trades stories and anecdotes, manages to keep things light, to not look like he’d do nothing rather than run away because all he really wanted was a soft chair and a beer and Hikaru’s company. No. All he really wanted was to be alone, but he isn’t and when Gaila embraces him with a cheerful ‘you didn’t think we’d forget, did you?’ he realizes they love him like he loves them. The warmth inside Jim becomes a wave, washing away guilt and while it can’t wash away the horrors he’s seen, he feels them beginning to turn into faint memories.
Everyone has brought a gift, and at first Jim feels awful. He’s never been good at receiving gifts, but when he unwraps the first one, and holds in his hand a small piece of shaped metal. It takes him four more tiny boxes to realize it’s a puzzle. There had to be at least 500 of them, and his crew stood by him, watches him open every single one of them. People came and went as their duty roster required, but by the many faces he’s seen Jim’s certain all of them came by. He eats more cake, because damn, it’s delicious, and looks at the pieces thoughtfully, wonders what they’ll become, though he already has an idea. The last box is larger than the others and when Spock gives it to him, Jim swears a smile haunts Spock’s face. Jim carefully puts the pieces and what looks to be a stand for the finished product into the box and closes it carefully.
“That’s tomorrow’s project,” because Jim’s off-duty until 36 hours from now and he’s beginning to feel the day. He doesn’t sneak out per se, but he very quietly retreats while the celebration continues, taking the box with him.
“Leaving without saying goodbye?” Hikaru’s just behind him, leaning against a bulkhead, arms crossed but there’s a smile playing around the corners of his mouth.
“That why you’ve been avoiding me?” Jim’s feeling odd about being subjected to a surprise party. He liked it, just, was he supposed to thank Hikaru? What was the etiquette here?
“Yeah,” and to Jim’s surprise, Hikaru actually looks sheepish when he takes Jim’s arm, “come let’s get you to your quarters.”
Usually, getting Jim to his quarters means ending up almost having sex in the hallway, or having sex against the door of Jim’s quarters the one time they didn’t quite make it. Ensign Fioretto still blushes every time he sees either of them. It’s different now with Hikaru’s arm around Jim’s lower back gently leading him toward his quarters. Jim doesn’t ask about the satchel slung around Hikaru’s shoulder. He assumes it’s filled with their usual faire, though with Hikaru close like this, Jim’s not feeling particularly kinky and tries to suppress the urge to pull the man close and just allow them to be normal for one day, like a regular-
“Where are you?” Hikaru searches his face. “Come on, we’re here.” He smiles and opens the door to Jim’s quarters with a few keystrokes.
“I never did give you my access code,” Jim smiles and allows himself to be pulled inside.
“Hasn’t stopped me yet, has it?” He leans in and Jim expects all the tension to explode into a night which will leave them both bruised, sore, and walking gingerly for a few days. When Hikaru’s lips gently touch his, he’s not sure how to react, and when Hikaru’s hand slides up to the back of Jim’s neck, Starfleet suddenly seems far, far away. Everything suddenly seems far, far away. Hikaru kisses him slow, tender, in a way that makes Jim’s heart shiver in his chest. Usually, they’re all about raw, passionate, and almost primal physical communication. This, this is new and strange and unknown, and when Hikaru runs his hand over Jim’s chest, Jim can’t help but shiver under his touch.
“So sensitive,” Hikaru smiles at him, pulls Jim’s uniform undershirt over his head and stands back to watch him.
“What are you doing?” Jim feels odd, exposed, and naked. Jim never feels naked; he’s strut through planetary arenas in nothing but his skin and a layer of sweat. So why was it so difficult looking Hikaru in the eye right now?
“Appreciating the view,” blood thrums in Jim’s ears when Hikaru crosses the distance between them.
“Listen,” Jim’s not sure what to do with his hands but Hikaru takes them and doesn’t let go, “about today… I-,“ but Hikaru doesn’t interrupt him and somehow, something breaks in Jim’s guard. “today meant- I mean-,” he leans his head against Hikaru’s shoulder, whispers against his neck, “it meant so much to me, I don’t know what to say.”
“You don’t have to say anything.” Hikaru pulls him close. “Leonard told me, about Tarsus IV, about everything, but it’s in the past. You don’t have to punish yourself for something that-, fuck Jim, you were just a kid.” There is something so raw in Hikaru’s voice, something that touches Jim to the core, and it feels like he could spend eternity wrapped in Hikaru’s embrace. However, it’s not quite eternity when Hikaru moves his head. Jim feels Hikaru’s breath on his cheek, so close, so fucking close. Their kiss is deep and slow and when Hikaru drags his tongue over Jim’s lower lip, Jim feels himself shiver like blushing virgin.
How they end up on the bed, Jim isn’t sure. He’s also not sure when Hikaru lost his shirt or Jim lost his pants. All he does know is that Hikaru’s lips are traveling along his spine leaving bursts of heat against his skin. Those lips, that tongue, those teeth scraping over his ass cheek, and Jim can’t help but moan low when Hikaru spreads him, licks him apart. His hips buck; and he’s sure he’s lost most of his higher brain function. He loses the rest when he feels Hikaru’s tongue press into him and just grips the sheet and hangs on.
The way Hikaru kisses him, kisses him there, all tongue and fire, like their lives depended on it; and, fuck, Jim is so close, so fucking close when Hikaru moves away, cheek still pressed against Jim but the lack of heat, the lack of- Jim lets out a rather undignified noise when Hikaru bites his ass. Jim can feel his damned grin when he does. And Jim finds that he doesn't care because Hikaru makes it up with that tongue and when he replaces it with a slicked finger, Jim can't help but lift his hips off the bed.
"No," Jim expects a firm tone, but Hikaru's voice is soft, "I said I'll take care of you." He places soft kisses over Jim's back, ass and legs. "I won't leave you wanting for long. Trust me?"
"With my life." He could have said 'yes' or 'fuck off and fuck me already' or even flipped over and ground himself on Hikaru's cock. He doesn't. "With my life." He repeats and Hikaru sighs softly against him.
"I know," more fingers and slick and Jim has a very hard time keeping his hips still. They've done the slow thing before. Hikaru's taken hours bringing Jim just to the edge and then denying him release until Jim begged for it. He's taken Jim hard, face first against the mattress leaving Jim with rug burn over his chest and knees, but this feels different; and when Hikaru flips him over, Jim looks at him puzzled. "I want to see your face." Hikaru simply says and pulls Jim up onto his lap. "Want you close. Want to feel you."
"Shit." It's all Jim can say before Hikaru pulls him down, fills him oh so fucking good. The kiss is fervent, feverish, needy and sends electric sparks along Jim's nerves. Jim feels like he's on fire as he moves with Hikaru, strangely aware of how well their bodies fit, how they adjust to each other perfectly. Sex now is a far cry from the laughter filled clumsy first few times, but tonight, Jim's breath hitches, they're not fucking or having sex, they're making fucking love. Jim realizes this just as Hikaru switches his angle and hits him, oh shit yes there! He whimpers against Hikaru's neck; and Hikaru just pulls him even closer.
"I've got you, Jim, I've got you." Like a mantra, over and over, showers Jim's face and neck with desperate kisses. Jim wants to cling to this moment forever, right here at the edge, clinging to each other just before taking the fall.
"Hikaru," he gasps, pupils blown desperate to hang on.
"It's okay," Hikaru doesn't ease his thrusts, "you're safe with me." He kisses Jim's jaw. "It's okay," the words are barely audible, barely a breath against Jim's ear. "I love you."
The words travel along Jim's nerves like lightning, hitting every part of him at once and he comes so hard, he sees white for a moment, feels Hikaru's fingers dig into his back as he follows. It takes them a few long moments shared in silence and breath before they can move again. Jim takes Hikaru's face in hand, searches his eyes, like maybe what he'd heard was just a figment of pre-orgasmic haze. Hikaru smiles, almost shy, flushed and out of breath.
"I do," Hikaru says as if to emphasize, as if Jim doesn't believe him, but fuck, of course Jim does. And he tells him so, tells him with those three words and a sloppy, tired kiss before they both collapse in a tangle of limbs. There’s nothing else to say, so Jim wraps his arms around Hikaru who settles quietly against his chest. A perfect fit.
When he wakes up, the bed beside him is empty and he panics for a moment until he smells coffee. He shuffles into the living area, stark naked, sticky and hair awry to find Hikaru standing beside the table arm stretched out at Jim with a cup of coffee.
“Morning,” he pulls Jim close, kisses him, morning breath and all.
“Coffee,” Jim replies with a smile and takes a sip.
“I hate to dash but I have a duty shift in ten minutes, “he kisses Jim again, “and if I stay any longer, I’m going to be very, very late.” Jim frowns playfully. “I may have made you breakfast. Shower. Eat. And above all, relax. No work, you’re off-duty until tomorrow.”
“Yes, mother,” he shakes his head with a grin.
“None of that,” Hikaru slaps his ass and pulls him close, “I’m coming back for you.”
“Is that a promise?”
Hikaru smirks and dips his head to suck-bite Jim’s collarbone until Jim moans, until redness gives way to purple and a mark begins to form that he knows will blossom by the time he returns to Jim’s quarters.
“I’ll take that as a yes.” Jim’s smile is broad as he watches Hikaru force himself to leave. He steals a piece of bacon from the artfully arranged plate Hikaru left him and strolls into the shower. Pauses. Right there on the shelf above the sink is Hikaru’s toothbrush laying quietly right beside his with an arrangement of Hikaru’s other toiletries. This is unexpected, Hikaru’s never before left anything of his in Jim’s quarters save for the odd forgotten sock. He remembers the satchel and smiles because he knows inside his wardrobe; he’ll find a change of Hikaru’s clothes.He showers, gets dressed, finishes breakfast and sits down with his box of puzzle pieces smiling because he's finally found a place where he belongs.