"Kirk and McCoy? Really? I'd assumed that Kirk was a gender-specific occupational hazard."
"I know, I always thought the Captain was a ladies' man, too." Christine smiled at Nyota and hoped that she didn't object to the softened language too much. She hated having friends who didn't like each other, but she hadn't really anticipated becoming friends with Jim Kirk. "I've known for a little while, actually, but I didn't want to gossip."
"Which is why you came right to my room to tell me that you saw them in flagrante." Nyota took a first, testing sip of her hot tea, and raised her eyebrows at Christine, just barely smiling. This was how Christine had known Nyota would react: teasing, but not judging. Not really.
"They were not in flagrante! They were just. Um. Necking. And obviously I had to tell somebody!"
"I don't know, heavy petting, whatever you want to call it." Christine shrugged. "Making out. Shirtless."
"Ooh." Now Nyota was leaning forward a little, like she didn't want to miss another detail. If Christine knew her, she probably didn't even realize she was doing it.
"Yeah... I mean, of course I've seen Dr. McCoy changing his shirt before, just not... like that."
"He is pretty well-built."
"Yeah... to be honest, at first I wasn't sure if it was, you know, for my benefit. On account of me having had that crush on McCoy for a while..." Christine bit her lip, feeling a blush coming on. "You know the Captain isn't always so subtle about making his points."
"Um, yeah. So what changed your mind, then?"
"Well..." She lowered her voice, even though no one else was in the room and the door was locked. "He -- Kirk -- kind of made a joke... a remark along the lines of ... me joining them?"
Nyota put down her teacup. "Did you just squeak?"
"Maybe a little!" Christine squeaked.
"Chris! Get a hold of yourself!" Nyota's voice was raised, but she was still smiling. "Are we going back to high school here?"
"No! I mean, I hope not! I worked pretty damn hard to get this job, I'm not going to screw it up by going all Peeping Tom on my direct supervisor."
"But you do kind of want to join in."
"I was tempted. You would have been, too. There was a whole lot of pretty on display there."
"I don't know... it wouldn't be easy to turn down a shirtless McCoy." She took another sip of her tea while she pondered the question, looking like she was translating a tricky bit of Cardassian in her head, and then sighed. "But, no. Adding Kirk to the mix sort of kills it for me."
"Selective. Plus, you know, taken."
"Fair enough. You go have fun with your boyfriend. I'm going to go have a very relaxing sonic shower and hope my boss and my boss's boss learn a little discretion."
"Good luck with that!"
"Okay, okay, that first time? That was not on purpose. That was pure accident. Hand to God."
Leonard couldn't think of anything to say that his eyebrows couldn't say for him.
"I swear!" Jim was still holding up both hands like he was trying to stop traffic. "Total coincidence. But after seeing how she reacted... and how you reacted... and how your dick reacted..."
"You brought it up with me in a mature conversation, and explored the possibility of discussing the idea with her? Oh, wait, no you didn't. You tricked me into blowing you on my own desk, right before she was supposed to come in for a meeting. Which you'd looked up with your oh so special Captain's access codes for the ship's schedules."
"Oh, please, like I couldn't have figured that --"
"Not helping your case here, Jim." McCoy always felt a little bit like he was struggling to keep up with Jim, physically, especially when he was following the Captain down the long, quiet corridor back to his quarters. "Why couldn't you, just for once, explain your freaky sex games before expecting me to be a star player?"
"Well... where's the fun in that?"
"And no, I am not exaggerating! I know anal sex when I see it!"
"Wait," said Nyota, cutting her off, "doesn't that make it three times now? I hate to say it, Chris, but I don't think even Kirk could manage to do that by accident."
"It's... Sexual Harassment," Gaila pronounced carefully, looking up from her cup of hot cocoa and the butterfly chair she was curled up in. Christine liked inviting Gaila over because she always seemed so at home in Christine's quarters, loving the soft furniture and warm colors of her decorating. "I had to learn about this when I came to the academy, in this special counseling session thing. It's wrong for them to put you in an uncomfortable situation in your workplace. And you don't feel like you can confront them about it. Right?"
"Well, I could talk to them." Christine frowned. "McCoy is a friend. He really saw me at my worst over the whole Roger fiasco, and I never felt like he was judging or anything. If I wanted to tell him to stop... showing off... I think I'd be okay talking to him."
"You wouldn't feel like your job could be threatened?" Nyota had her eyes locked on Christine's, with that no-bullshit-now look she got sometimes.
"I don't think so. McCoy might feel awkward about it, but he'd blame himself, not me. And he'd get over it in a little while." She got up to mess with the atmospherics, changing the song on the speakers to something a little quieter, and adding a few degrees to the ambient temperature. "I don't know Kirk as well, but I don't see him being the vindictive type. He'll find somebody else to mess with if he gets bored."
"So what's stopping you, then?" asked Gaila. "It sounds like you could just talk to Dr. McCoy, as a friend." That was the other thing about Gaila: she had a way of making everything sound so darned simple.
"I... you know, I don't know what I'd say."
"Say, Dr. McCoy, you and your boyfriend seriously need to get a room," said Nyota.
"How about, hey Mr. CMO, I may be your nurse, but I do not need to see how you respond to pressure point stimulation?"
Nyota laughed and offered Gaila a high-five. "Hi boss, I thought I was prepared for work today, but if you want I can go back and get a roll of singles!"
"Guys!" Christine held up both hands, trying to take deep breaths and head off an uncontrollable laughing fit. "Okay, okay, I get it. Really."
"Hey Dr. Bones, you have any boning scheduled for today?" Gaila muttered under her breath. Nyota stifled a snort.
"Ladies," Christine pronounced. "I get it. I just... I don't know if I could pull it off. Without, um... you know... giving myself away."
"Giving what away?"
"Ohhh," Nyota finally said. "I see the problem now." Her eyes widened in faux shock. "You want it! You want it bad."
Christine blushed. Gaila bit her lip and tried not to grin.
"So what if I do? You've got to admit they're hot. Yes, Kirk too. You haven't seen them together..." Her eyes fluttered a little, and her voice lowered. "They're both all strong and sweaty and.. and... handsy. All grasping at each other and biting on each others' necks... I know I should tell them to stop, but I just..."
"Uh, why?" Gaila shrugged, provoking Nyota to raise an eyebrow at her. "No, really! Why do you think you should stop it if you're enjoying the show?"
"Because it's wrong. I'm supposed to be working, not watching porn! Even really really hot naked guys manhandling each other over biobeds porn. Still wrong."
"If that's wrong..." Gaila looked a little lost.
"You know," Nyota said thoughtfully, "Maybe Gaila's right after all. Everybody knows Starfleet doesn't enforce the fraternization policy unless there's evidence of coercion or somebody complains. If it's what you want, well, you work hard enough. You deserve to go for what you want and enjoy it."
"How am I supposed to do that?"
"I think I've got a plan," said Gaila, leaning forward in the butterfly chair. "Listen closely, and do everything I say..."
"So, that was a success," said Kirk, trying to act casual while he wound one arm around the shoulders of each of his bed partners.
"Mission accomplished," agreed Christine. She felt exhausted and loose-limbed and profoundly relieved, like the tension had finally been lifted. She hadn't realized until now just how draining it had been to try to pretend that nothing was going on between the three of them.
"Guess so." McCoy grudgingly curved his body around Kirk's side, giving in to the demand for cuddles.
Kirk wrapped his hand around Christine's waist, tickling her side with the pads of his fingers. She arched her back in a happy stretch.
"You boys never should have let me see the inside of the Captain's Quarters. Now you'll never get me to leave."
"Hey," said Kirk, turning to face her so that the tip of his nose brushed against hers. "Who says that wasn't the plan all along?"
Christine hummed thoughtfully, not trusting herself to be sure that she was hearing what she thought she was hearing. Kirk pushed himself up on his arms and clambered over her, pausing for a moment to look down at her and wink. When he came to rest on her other side, she was sandwiched between him and McCoy, who promptly picked up his arm and draped it over her hips.
"What Jim means to say is, as far as we're concerned, you're more than welcome back whenever you like."
"Really? I mean, you two seem so, you know, cozy together. In the biobeds, and the supply closets, and..."
Kirk laughed. "Oh, and having a gorgeous new partner would just kill that. It'd be awful."
She smiled and playfully pushed him, tumbling against him in the bed, but then stilled. She let her face grow serious, thinking through the implications. "It isn't just sex, though, is it? You two love each other. I'm not sure where I'm supposed to fit in there."
"Well," said McCoy, "that's probably because we've been a couple of prize idiots and haven't gotten around to asking you where you want to fit."
"Huh." Christine sat up between the two of them and hugged her knees, thinking, while Kirk rested his head against her hip and McCoy picked up one of her feet and stroked it slowly with his thumb. "I don't know. I feel like... with you, Dr. McCoy -- I mean, Leonard -- should I...?"
"Just call him Bones."
He scowled. "Good God, no. 'Leonard' is fine."
"With Leonard, I mean, I feel like we're pretty close. Honestly, since the whole mess with Roger, I trust you more than almost anyone else. And sometimes... I mean, I'm sure you both know I've had some fun thinking about the little shows you've been putting on for me. But sometimes... I just sort of fantasize about going to bed with you and lying down together at the end of a long shift. I put my crush on you behind me when you got together with Jim, but... there are feelings there. And I'm a little worried bit about them."
"Huh." McCoy -- Leonard -- frowned deeply, and shifted a little in the bed.
"Come on, Bones," said Jim softly. "It's okay. You've got feelings, too. Somewhere in there."
"I'm with you," Leonard said to him.
"Yeah, I know. And you have a crush on your lovely naughty nurse here. Looks like we're all okay with that."
"Well..." Leonard's eyes were looking a little wild, so Christine just acted on impulse for once, and bent herself over to kiss him full on the mouth. For a moment they both closed their eyes and just felt each other, acknowledging easily what was so awkward to try to say out loud. Leonard's kiss was slow and patient, but hot, full of desire and curiosity even after an exhaustive threesome session. When they opened their eyes, Jim was grinning at them.
"I think that answers that one, then." He smiled, and Christine laughed, and he held her chin up in her hand. "So where does that leave you and me, Chris?"
"Well." She looked straight into his eyes, and saw nothing there but warmth and openness. "We're friends, right? Kind of new friends, but, friends. And... I really liked about half an hour ago, when I was riding you and you had those nice strong hands wrapped around my waist. So there's that part, too."
"That. Yeah. That pretty much works for me," said Jim, eyes dancing.
"It seems kind of... asymmetrical?" said Christine.
"You're right," said Leonard. "You both fuss over me, for some ungodly reason, and I can't seem to resist either of you, but there's a big question mark between the two of you."
"It's unfair." Christine frowned. Just when she thought she'd found something great, she had to go and think about it too much.
"Well," said Jim, "Maybe it is? But I think it's worth a try. We can consider it a work in progress, you know?"
"Want to stick around and see how it turns out?" Jim's eyes flashed between both of them, and looking at the exchange of feelings between Jim and Leonard -- Leonard's apprehension and doubt; Jim's enthusiasm somehow softening him, soothing him -- Christine started to get how falling in love with Jim Kirk happened to a person.
"You know," said Christine, "I don't think I'd mind keeping an eye on it."