In Iowa most restaurants have a “no shirt, no shoes, no service,” rule, but this planet’s establishments are apparently a little more relaxed about the attire of their patrons. Kirk is having lunch with his favorite chief medical officer, who is telling him fantastic, if vaguely disturbing, stories about medical school, when he hears a burst of excited noises from the doorway. He strains his neck to see and Bones stops talking and turns around.
“Oh no,” Bones mutters, as Sulu and Chekov come into view, heading straight for their table. “This is not happening.”
“Oh, I’m pretty sure it is,” Kirk says in answer, trying not to laugh. The best he can manage is to stifle a snort in the back of his fist. Poor Pavel, he’s thinking, as his navigator, his very nude, very embarrassed navigator, shuffles between two tables awkwardly, his hands clasped in front of him, backside exposed to the poor diners on his right. He’s much skinnier than Kirk realized, bony and pale—except for his face, which is a burning red.
“I vas vinning,” he says defensively, and shoots Sulu, who is not making any effort to hide his own giggling, a dirty look. “You know zat poker vas invented in Russia.”
“And perfected here,” Kirk finishes for him.
McCoy—the only one, besides Chekov himself, not amused by recent events—groans loudly and covers his eyes pointedly with his hand. Then, on second consideration, he covers Kirk’s too.
Spock is upside down. A quite unsatisfactory position. Just 3.8 seconds ago, he was right side up, his feet comfortably on the ground, exploring a remote area of jungle apart from the small town where the rest of the crew is enjoying their leave. Then something went wrong.
A misstep, he supposes.
Now, he is suspended from a tree branch by some sort of incredibly strong variety of rope tied around his ankle. A crude device, but effective. Used, most probably, as a trap for enemies. He is rather curious to discover what sort of people devised such a contraption, but he is not so curious that he does not reach carefully for his communicator—still, luckily, on his person—and attempt to contact the captain.
“Spock?” he hears. “Are you all right? You sound…different.”
“Any change in my speech is almost certainly an effect of my present position.”
“Your present—Spock, I have no idea what you’re talking about but if this is some weird sort of sex thing I don’t want to hear about it.”
Spock wishes he could convince himself that he has merely misheard the Captain, an unfortunate side effect of the blood that has rushed to his head.
“On the contrary, Captain, not everyone uses a shore leave as an excuse to engage in such activities. In addition, if you had been correct in your hypothesis, I am sure I would not be contacting you at this moment.”
“No need to be rude about it,” the Captain huffs. “So what’s up then?”
“I think it would be quite correct to say, at this moment, I am,” Spock answers. “That is, I seem to be…stuck.”
There is a short pause, and then a loud burst of laughter from the communicator.
“I have not even explained the situation yet, Captain,” Spock reminds him calmly.
“I know,” comes the uneven answer, “but there is no possible explanation of that sentence that is not funny.”
“What did I tell you about large hand gestures?” Uhura hisses at Sulu angrily out of the corner of her mouth. It’s not a great time for conversation, as they are currently surrounded by a circle of half-naked women, who are dancing around them and throwing pink flower petals in the air happily.
“There was a bee,” Sulu snaps back, trying to control the volume of his voice. “What was I supposed to do? Let it sting me?”
“Yes!” Uhura yells, then shakes her head and crosses her arms, and pretends she never lost her cool. The girls have formed two lines now, one on either side of them, and are bowing and twirling elaborately. Uhura is certainly not jealous that Sulu is staring more at a tall blonde behind her than at Uhura herself. She is only annoyed that he is yet again not paying attention as she explains for a second time the importance this people places on gestures. And how enthusiastic they are, on top of that. They see one flailing arm and assume it’s a proposal and the next thing you know you’re being carried in an elaborate procession on the shoulders of broad, blue skinned humanoids who don’t take “it was all a misunderstanding” for an answer.
They are let off in front of the local tribe leader, who offers them both a hearty congratulations.
“What’s he’s saying?” Sulu asks, not very discreetly.
“He told us he hopes we have a long and happy marriage,” Uhura mutters back through a fake smile.
“Wait—that’s what was going on? A wedding?” His voice is not at all quiet, nor is it appropriately cheerful.
“Yes. That’s what I was telling you. What did you think was happening?”
“I didn’t know. I was hoping maybe they were worshipping us as gods or something.”
It takes all of Uhura’s strength not to ask the tribe’s leader for a divorce right then and there.
Scotty has done some pretty reckless things in his life—usually, he’ll admit, after he’s had a drink or two—but this time he’s playing it safe. There’s been too much bad luck plaguing shore leaves recently. He almost didn’t leave the ship at all until the Captain convinced him he was being superstitious.
Still he’s promised himself he’ll be cautious. No card games with the natives. No exploring remote regions by himself. No sudden gestures—Uhura and Sulu are still working out their annulment, after all.
The square at the center of town is almost like something you’d see on Earth, which is reassuring. There are flowers growing up through the cobblestones, innocent children playing in front of the buildings. As Scotty starts to relax, two girls run by; they look about seven or eight, though on this planet, who knows. One of them has a cobblestone flower in her hand, and as she passes by she blows on it and all the petals twirl away in the wind. It’s quite a pretty sight, for a moment anyway, until one of the strange round discs tickles past Scotty’s nose and he sneezes.
When he opens his eyes again he’s back on the Enterprise.
Well, he thinks, that was unexpected. But it could be worse. At least he still has all his clothes on.
This was not the plan.
The plan was to find some pretty native girl, break out the old, “I’m just a lonely starship captain down on leave, care to keep my company” line, and sit back and watch her fall for that famous Jim Kirk smile.
And so this—this—Bones slamming him back against the hotel room wall so that the pictures rattle, fisting his hands in the bottom of Kirk’s shirt like he just wants to tear it—and go ahead, Kirk wants to tell him, happens all the time, I got a million spare—bruising his lips down Kirk’s neck, biting and growling into his shoulder—this was not the plan.
But that’s all right. Jim Kirk has always been a flexible fellow.
Bones kisses once, again, a third time a bit longer, at Kirk’s collar bone, then pulls his shirt off properly and the next one too, and starts to trail his mouth down. Kirk is already moaning—“Bones—Bones—oh fuck—Leonard!”
Before he quite knows what’s happened, Bones is standing again, catching Kirk’s mouth again, swallowing his groans. “Do that again,” he whispers hoarsely against Kirk’s lips.
“Call me Leonard.”
Kirk grins and starts to push the other back until they’ve fallen over each other on the bed. “Leonard, Leonard, Leonard,” he whispers, lips barely touching the doctor’s jaw. Then Bones exhales a long, shaking breath and bites the edge of Kirk’s ear, and this time he doesn’t whisper so much as he groans, “Leo-nard,” loudly. He can’t help coloring a little at the low rumble of laughter this elicits (this is also not part of the plan—blushing is never part of James Kirk’s plan).
“Maybe I should warn you, I’m kind of loud,” he smiles, voice low, breath close against skin, running one hand down McCoy’s side and creeping his fingers up under the regulation Starfleet blue.
“I know,” Bones smirks back quietly. “I had to room next to you two leaves ago.” Then he starts to yell, “Oh yes oh yes oh—”
There is a thump against the wall behind their headboard, interrupting Bones’s very, very inaccurate and much too high pitched impression. “Shut up, please,” comes a heavily accented young Ensign’s voice.
“Guess our neighbors aren’t too happy with us,” Kirk says, sounding unconcerned.
“Oh, fuck em,” Bones answers easily, shifting slightly and stripping off his shirt.
“Plenty of time for orgies later, Bones,” Kirk reminds him, reaching for the buttons on McCoy’s pants. He kisses him firmly and adds, “Right now let’s just focus on me.”
“You know, I was really hoping that getting a room next to McCoy would mean a quiet night this time,” Sulu mutters, staring sadly at the wall that separates him from his neighbors. Their headboard is making loud banging sounds, occasionally punctuated by drawn out moans.
“The best laid plans,” Scotty starts to quote absently, still mostly engrossed in his cards.
After a few moments, and a loud “Leonard!” from the next room, Chekov reluctantly folds and then asks, “Perhaps if I told zem again to be quiet?”
“I do not believe such a request would deter either Dr. McCoy or the Captain,” Spock says calmly as he takes his turn.
“The Keptin! You really believe it is him wit ze Doctor?”
“Well, they did leave the bar together,” Scotty answers, glancing around the table quickly before deciding to stay in.
“FUCK YES!” a familiar voice screams, and Uhura rolls her eyes.
“Gamma shift is going to be awkward tomorrow,” she sighs wearily, and moves in her chips. “In.”
“Tomorrow?” Sulu asks incredulously, and gives a hearty fake laugh as he leans over and puts his hand on Uhura’s thigh. “That awkward ship took off a long time ago, darling.” At this, his dearest wife flicks her eyes across the table and Sulu, realizing his mistake, nervously folds under the influence of Spock’s Vulcan death stare. A subtle but effective tool for disarming opponents.
“I just can’t believe he fell for that old ‘I’m just a lonely medical officer down on leave,’ line,” Uhura says to break the silence.
There is a pause, as she, Spock, and Scotty reveal their hands. “I can,” Spock answers finally. “Also, I believe I have won again. A most fascinating game, this poker. I understand there is a version in which the losers must remove articles of clothing?”
Everyone looks at Chekov, who blushes and answers, “Yes, but ve are not going to play zat way. Ever. My turn to deal.” And he does.