Chapter 1: 1
Zing Went the Strings of my Heart
‘Reel Love Challenge’ presents…
Zing! Went the Strings of my Heart!
Risa, Moon I, the dock
Jim shoves Hikaru two handed into the men’s room, ignoring his stifled yelps and releasing a shower of snow off his coat. Jim drags him into the cubicle where it’s a tight fit with burly shoulders, long limbs, his sax, and Hik’s bull fiddle, the cover still steaming from disruptor burns; shit, they’re lucky they’re still alive and uninjured. And he can’t stop grinning, adrenaline lighting him up, and if he knows Hikaru’s love of excitement, his friend feels it too.
Chests heaving, feet in puddles of piss, they strain their ears for Nero’s men. Hikaru opens his mouth to speak and Jim bares his teeth, shakes his head. “Shut. Up,” he mouths and Hikaru closes his eyes, draws in a noisy breath until Jim elbows him in the ribs to make his point and wrestles his arm free to raise a finger to his lips; if Nero finds them – they’re toast.
It’s an eternity before either of them moves again.
“Give me your coat,” Jim finally whispers and, when Hikaru frowns and shakes his head, Jim says it more firmly, “Just giveit to me, okay?”
“But it’s fucking cold, man.” It really is on this shit moon. The Risans haven’t bothered with their fancy climate control system here since it’s just one big space dock, home to a rag-tag of migrant workers waiting for visas and littered with storage depots.
Jim and Hikaru have been here a week, waiting to get a free ride to paradise below, but they might as well be criminals the little luck they’ve had trying to move on. It’s the usual problem – you need money to make money, or dumb luck - and they have neither now they’ve lost their last credits on poker. Jim’s smart, so’s Hikaru, but the guys on this outpost, well, they don’t do much except work, jerk-off and gamble and the card games have been way out of their league.
“Not as cold as when you’re dead.” Jim’s fucking serious. He takes Hik’s coat and rolls his eyes when his friend shivers dramatically. “Wait here and lock the door,” Jim hisses, twisting so he can push the door open. He takes his clarinet out, leaves the sax and shoves the heavy case under Hikaru’s chin.
“Where the fuck are you going? They might still be out there.” There’s a fine sheen of sweat on Hikaru’s brow and his normally immaculate hair is wild, strands plastered to his forehead.
“It’s cool – I’m pretty sure the coast is clear. I’m going to check, see if I can work out how to get out of here.” He pats Hikaru’s arm in a gesture of brotherly love – though it feels less like The Waltons and more Cain and Abel the way his best friend’s glowering at him like it’s all Jim’s fault or something.
They lost their comms, having dropped them in the parking lot in their haste to escape, and it would be kid’s work to trace them via the user IDs; it was Jim’s idea to take holos of the carnage, of the seven men Nero and his crew massacred. Trouble is they only managed to send one to the cops and unless they get the hell out, they too could end up six feet under. Ducking into the hanger was a good idea, the place is full of security and cameras; only trouble is they have to get out again.
It’s real late, and the dock’s pretty quiet, just a few containers being unloaded from a ship on the other side of the hanger, but it’s brightly lit, safe on the surface – though, considering the atrocity they just saw committed, Nero’s going to need more than a bit of stark lighting to deter him should he set eyes on the two of them again. Jim knows they’ve been followed, he can feel it in his bones, but he’s maintained an air of fake positivity – it’s all he’s got.
On wobbly legs, Jim creeps to the entirely self-service and automated mini mall at the dock’s entrance where he spied a couple of shady characters earlier and, sure enough, they give him a few credits for the coats and his clarinet, no questions asked. Then he scoots around looking for an answer – a wide grin breaks across his face when he sees it, a clothing replicator. Perfect.
Jim Kirk knew he was hot. Steaming, toasty, bad-ass hot, but looking now at his own reflection, he has to admit, he had no idea. Shame he didn’t think to replicate a shitty stick to fight off the male attention he’s going to get. He’s interrupted in his drooling by Hikaru’s whiny tones. The guy always had such a positive attitude. Whatever happened?
“Remind me again why I have anything to do with you, Jim?” Hikaru leans closer to the smeary mirror and tries again to attach the false eyelash.
“You have to pull faces when you apply cosmetics, Hik. You’ve seen how girls do it, right?” Jim touches his shoulder, “Here, Iet me.” After all, handsome as his friend is, Hikaru doesn’t have the same natural born advantages. He smirks.
With a huff of irritation, Hikaru turns to face him and Jim stands between his thighs. Hikaru stares past Jim’s shoulder, a muscle twitching under his powdered cheek while Jim pinches another eyelash out of the multi-pack and removes the adhesive strip. “How come we can afford this ‘finery’ when we’re poor?”
“There!” Jim grins, pouting at his reflection. It’s hardly finery, the credits didn’t stretch to anything flashy but Jim makes his blond wig fucking popand now he’s applied make-up and glorious matt red lipstick he’d so do himself. He tweaks his bangs to cover his eyebrows and blows himself a kiss. “Well, hello, Princess,” he purrs.
“Are you just going to ignore every question?” Hikaru looks pretty mad now, fixing Jim with a sidelong look made all the more intense by expertly applied eye shadow.
“Hik, you’re giving me a hard on,” Jim bats his own lashes experimentally. “Fact is, I’m giving myself a hard on. Damn I’m hot!”
“Yeah, yeah and some like it hot, I get it.” Hikaru rolls his eyes, making a passable attempt of Jim’s voice. “Couldn’t you get something, I dunno, more…classy? We look like a pair of hookers.” Jim pouts in irritation – see, there’s that whiny tone again. He decides to ignore it - they can get with the banter once they’re safe; meanwhile he’ll keep it light.
Jim cups one of his ‘breasts’ reverently, “I don’t know what you mean, I reek of class. Wow, I’m stacked!”
“We forgot something,” Hikaru dumps his cosmetics into his purse, “nail varnish – it’d add that certain...”
“Too much, “Jim says firmly, appraising himself, “I don’t want to gild the lily – though you can, if you like, when we get some cash.”
“I don’t fucking like,” Hikaru grabs Jim by the arm and shakes him, “I don’t like wearing a bra stuffed full of paper towels, I don’t like wearing panties that crush my balls and I don’t fucking like being a girl. I like girls, I like them more than, well, a lot, okay, but I don’t want to be one. I like being a boy.”
Jim shushes him looks down at Hikaru’s hand, where he’s pinching into Jim’s bicep. Hikaru lets go and adjusts his purse over his wrist.
Jim half turns to admire himself in the mirror one last time then bends for the final touch - shoes. The replicator did good with its ‘women’s-wear for men’ menu: “Just look at these babies,” he sighs, kissing the toe of red, patent leather stilettos. Stocking clad toes slide in easily and Jim strokes up his leg, feeling a little murmur of arousal when his skirt drops. He’s never been on the other side of this experience – it’s so fucking cool though he does feel a slight twinge of regret when the recycler swallows their boy clothing.
“End of an era,” he sighs.
“No, not era, Jim, it’s a moment – soon as we get out of here, soon as I’m in warp, I’m freeing my manhood.”
They stick their noses round the door and tiptoe out freezing a few meters from the men’s room when they catch a glimpse of Nero’s men patrolling the other side of the dock, unmistakable in their fine suits and jaunty hats. Damn, damn and damn.
“This way,” Jim hisses, “now get into fucking character. He’ll never for a second think it’s us – we’ll be okay.” Though Jim’s heart doesn’t appear to agree with that statement.
They walk a wide arc in as nonchalant a manner as their new shoes will allow, heading for the back end of a supply ship where they saw a group of women boarding with dozens of bags and cases.
Safely hidden, they wait. Jim runs his finger across the hull – the ship looks like it should be in the shop, still filthy from it’s re-entry into the atmosphere.
“The captain’s kind of drunk,” Hikaru whispers.
Jim overhears Nero’s smooth tones as he questions a woman by the gangway -“Well, if you do see him, be sure and comm me.” Jim imagines Nero handing a card over, long, manicured nails glinting in the yellow lighting, his unblinking, insane fucking eyes all fake warm and congenial - it’s clear - if they don’t get on board, they’ll be vaporized and no one to miss them.
There’s the click, click of Italian shoes as a couple of hoods leave Nero’s side to search the men’s room. Jim bites his bottom lip, exchanges looks with Hikaru because, damn that was close. They’ve got to get out of here, and this shit-box ship looks like the only way. He’s got no fucking idea how they’re going to sneak on board but he’ll work that out when the time comes. Jim’s nothing if good at improvisation. “I have some news for him… very important family news,” Nero continues.
Jim hears another man’s voice:
“We will be tardy if we do not board, Nyota.”
“Shut up, dearest,” a woman, presumably Nyota, snaps. Then her tone softens, “We’ll be sure and let you know, sir, now, if you’ll excuse us…”
Jim bends to peek and he sees Nero’s snakeskin shoes heading away towards the men’s room. Damn those Romulans and their enhanced senses. Guy can probably smell their presence, the scent of fear.
Jim fumbles inside his purse and pulls out his compact, “Come on, here goes nothing,” a deep breath and he slips into his best runway walk as he circles the front of the ship, the sax on his shoulder and Hikaru by his side. Shit, the shoes pinch already, but he focuses on the goal pausing to reapply his lipstick, with the mirror angled so he can check it’s safe.
“I can’t walk in these things, how the hell do women walk in these things?”
“It’s a weight distribution thing,” Jim says, pitching his voice higher, then clearing his throat. Damn, this is going to hurt in more ways than he anticipated. He adjusts the strap on his sax case and takes another couple of purposeful steps, linking arms with Hik. “Come on, you’re beautiful, baby, we’ll just have to weight our breasts so it’s easier—“ He stills, cranes so he can hear the conversation between Nyota and a Vulcan, her tiny, elegant hands maroon tipped and animated as she speaks, in contrast with the calm Vulcan who listens impassively.
“I’m through with guys. No. More. Guys.” The last three words punctuated with a finger poking the Vulcan’s silk clad chest. He doesn’t flinch, merely clasps his hands behind his back.
“It is illogical to presume men are the root of the problem,” the Vulcan says evenly, “in fact, dearest, our latest defectors were women and they left us to get married...” He pauses, “...to each other.”
Nyota glares at him. “You know I love you, Spock?”
“Of course, since you insist on reminding me.”
“So end of discussion. I’ve made my mind up. No more men in the band. I’m sick of them hitting on me, on the girls - they keep getting knocked up – I’ve got a business to run. And we’re two band members short and a three-week residency.”
“I have notified our agent we require a saxophonist and double-bass player and she is currently searching for replacements. Until then, Number One will fill in with the computer adequately.”
Jim clutches at Hikaru when a cartoon light bulb goes off in his head with a thoomp.
”Will you stop doing that!”
Both sets of eyes drop to Hikaru’s breasts where a paper towel’s reared its head. Hikaru fiddles and fixes and Jim does his best, heart-melting ‘sorry’ face while shielding him from view. “Did you hear that?” he says, thumbing over his shoulder.
“Romeo and Juliet?”
“No. Well, yeah – they need a sax player and someone on bull fiddle. It’s fate, Hik!”
“No, Jim – it’s crazy - we’ll never get away with it!”
“We’ve got to. It’s just for three weeks, man – and it’s a matter of life and—“
His words fade when Jim’s eyes are drawn towards a figure loping towards them. He’s glad his chest is bound so tight else his heart would surely have fallen out and hit the deck such is the sheer, unadulterated hotness of the disheveled man striding across their path. He’s tall, his hair looks like he’s just got out of bed, thick and dark and pointing in every direction.
“Jesus,” Jim breathes, his fingers digging into Hikaru’s arm whose eyes follow Jim’s gaze.
Then it’s Hikaru’s turn to do some gripping of his own. “Holy fuck– will you look at that walk!”
It shouldn’t be anything special, it’s just a guy walk, but long strides, big fucking shoulders that must be every designer’s dream hanger, tapering down to narrow hips, and it’s like the guy’s on castors the way he fucking glide swaggers across their path. The guy must hear the steam coming out of their ears because he turns for a moment, a ridiculously handsome scowly face, with big hazel eyes fixing them with a glare with instantly morphs to twinkle. He touches the brim of an imaginary hat as he nods, says , “Ma’am,” without breaking his stride. He’s pulling a trunk behind him and carrying a beat up guitar case. There’s a definite southern note to that voice, deep and grumbly and baritone…
“I’m in love,” Jim announces sincerely, rooted to the spot. “I am re-born, I…”
“Need to shut the fuck up and remember to talk like a girl.”
“Okay,” Jim says, clears his throat, tries again, pitching higher, ”okay,” pleased with how it comes out kind of breathy and he thinks that might be something due to the effect of the dark Adonis gliding past.
“He’s gay,” Jim announces sagely, his cock throbbing just a little.
“What? How can you tell? No one can tell that shit.”
Jim glowers at Hik. “Is that hope in your eyes, now you know there’s a chance? Well, let me put you straight—“
“Ha. Ha. Ha.” Hikaru’s voice is a warning.
“Look, asshole, if he was straight, he’d have hit on me, I mean, you can see how hot I am right?
Hikaru rolls his eyes and watches Hot Guy disappear into the men’s room.
“Put your tongue away - we need to get on that ship, Jim.”
“What I need is to marry that guy,” Jim says wistfully. “maybe I should just…”
“But you’re a girl, Jim, remember?”
“Pardon me,” Jim says, attempting refined lady and advancing towards Nyota, “I hear you have a problem. I am pleased to say we might be able to help you out.”
Nyota raises an eyebrow. “Good evening, miss?”
“Call me Jemima,” Jim says smiling his best demure smile which, truth be told, is a little rusty, “and this is my partner, my friend—“ fuck - he can’t come up with two names just like that.
“Daphne,” Hikaru says smoothly, tossing his hair and blinking at Jim.
“You’re musicians,” Nyota says.
“And you’ve been left in the lurch; I couldn’t help overhearing.” Jim lifts up the sax. “We were hoping to head out to Risa and find work, but we were robbed in the powder room. Perhaps if you can give us passage we can fill in? At least until you find replacements? ”
“You can’t trust anyone these days,” Hikaru chips in, clutching imaginary pearls and smiling sweetly. Jim so wants to kick his friend - but he’s a lady now.
“Yeah, we lost our tickets, our comms, everything.”
“That is most unfortunate,” Spock says, “but we have not heard you play. Our collective is unparalleled.”
“I think what boyfriend’s trying to say is that we have a rep to maintain, Jemima; we can’t take you on without at least a reference. Our agent’s looking into finding replacements so it’s not so bad, thank you all the same.”
Jim looks at Hikaru – “We can audition. Now if you like. It won’t take long...”
Nyota sighs, “Okay, show me what you got.” She turns to Spock, “Sweetheart, can you go see if Leonard’s hiding in the men’s room? I saw him a while back but I think he’s hoping I won’t notice our lead singer’s gone AWOL.”
Jim takes out his sax, inserts the mouth-piece and licks his lips, “What kind of music do you guys play? We can pretty much turn our hands to anything, though we sway more towards old tunes, swing, jazz…” Hikaru’s already pulled his bass out and is examining it – the first chance he’s had to check for damage. By the look on his face, all is well.
“Saxa Woogie,” Spock suggests impassively and Jim has to suppress a giggle at how incongruous the words sound coming out so serious.
“Good choice, man,” Hikaru nods approvingly and runs his fingers over the neck of his double-bass then gives it a twirl on the spot. “’kay, Jim, er… Jemima, 2, 3, 4—“ and Jim launches into the opening bars, watching with satisfaction as Nyota begins to tap her feet.
Within moments, three girls emerge from the ship grinning at each other and surround the two of them; one tosses a trumpet at Nyota who joins in butting shoulders with Jim while the girls link arms and improvise the vocals. There’s a tall brunette and two blonds Jim notices with delight – he should fit right in.
While they play, Jim keeps one eye on the door to the men’s room over the shoulders of the small group of passers-by, including the bleary-eyed captain, who’ve gathered to enjoy the impromptu performance. His heart’s tight with anticipation; if Leonard is Hot Guy then this is going to turn out to be a helluva trip.
Sure enough, just as they finish up, and their little audience applauds and whoops, Spock emerges gripping the arm of Hot Guy who looks like he’s going to hit him, face pink with barely contained rage.
“Are you out of your Vulcan mind, Spock, what are you? My mom?”
“That would be medically impossible, and if it were so, I would have disowned you by now.” Spock nevertheless lets go and straightens the front of his suit jacket where it’s become rucked up, presumably from some kind of tussle off-stage as he tried to persuade Leonard to come out.
“If you’ve damaged my guitar I’ll…” Leonard glowers and one of the girls, blue-eyed with ash blond hair and gorgeous cheekbones, approaches him. She touches his cheek.
“Come on, baby, I’ve got some Valium in my bag, you’ll sleep through the whole trip.”
Leonard’s lost any southern charm from earlier, his voice louder and growlier by the second. “I don’t wanna sleep through the trip, Christine, fact of the matter is I don’t want to go on the fuckin’ trip in the first place.”
“Len, quit cussing, there are refined ladies present,” Nyota indicates Jim and Hikaru, “meet our new band members – Jemima and Daphne - say hi.”
Leonard appears to take a deep breath and closes his eyes a moment to compose himself. When he speaks again, his voice is quieter, more courteous. “Hi.” He holds out a large, tan hand to Jim who takes it with a pounding heart, remembering to keep his grip light though it lingers a little too long - but so fucking what, the guy is, did he mention – hot. “And I apologize for my language,” Leonard adds, ducking his head and doing that hat thing again. “I’m hoping I can make it up to y’all.”
Yeah, Jim’s hoping, with those lovely, warm, long fingers.
But it looks like Hikaru is having similar ideas: “Oh, I’m sure you can,” Hikaru steps between Jim and Leonard and tilts his head to the side, his eyes sweeping up and down the tall figure, “a big hunk of a man like you.”
Lady or not, Jim decides he’s going to kill his friend, soon as he can get his hands on a weapon.
“It is an inefficient use of your time, attempting to engage the doctor in any romantic relationship,” Spock says sagely, “his sexual proclivities are directed exclusively towards members of his own sex.”
Christine snorts by Leonard’s side.
“I’m not a doctor, I’m a musician - how many times I gotta tell you, you green skinned—?“
“Leonard!” Nyota warns him. “Now get your fine ass on board before Spock has to pinch you.”
“Yeah, come on, doc,” Christine slaps him on the butt and then smiles at Jim and Hikaru. “See you ladies on board – I’ll save you a bunk.”
“So we’re hired?” Jim turns to Spock as he puts his sax away.
“It would appear so,” Spock says, “I will draw up the necessary documents.”
“Awesome!” Jim slaps Hikaru on the back a little too hard, but hey, he had no business flirting with his future husband. The fact that Bones thinks he’s a girl, and their whole relationship is already based on a lie - well, there’s no such thing as a no-win scenario Jim’s learned. “Let’s shake on it!” He takes Spock’s hand and when the Vulcan raises an eyebrow, Jim immediately realizes his mistake – he’d forgotten Vulcan’s are touch telepaths and from the way he remarks smoothly “fascinating,” they are both so busted. But then Spock will also have picked up that they’re on the run and their motives are pure and Jim’s counting on this buying them some time.
Zing Went the Strings of my Heart
In his bunk space, Jim kicks off his heels groaning when his poor feet practically hiss like balloons. He rubs his arches. Fuck, he’s going to have to get some pain relief from somewhere.
“Anyone got booze?” he calls through the curtain, wondering if he dare remove his wig because his scalp’s crawling and his neck’s sweaty and he just wants to be a guy again for a few minutes and relax.
“One thing Miss Uhura won’t tolerate is booze and boys!” six female voices sing-song in unison followed by a peal of giggles which goes right to his cock. Jim sighs and stretches out in the bunk, his feet pressing against the cool wall at the far end; damn he loves girls and boys equally - though, recalling Leonard’s gorgeous tan face, those expressive eyes and that voice he might swear off women once and for all - and all other men, come to think of it. Jim reaches under his skirt and slides his hand into his panties while replaying the image of Leonard (Len? Leo? - the name does not suit him) okay, Leonard, walking. He’s interrupted five seconds in by his privacy curtain opening a crack and Hikaru’s upside down head appearing from the bunk above him.
“Are you jerking off, Jemima?”
Jim pulls his hand away and rolls away from the smirk. “Don’t you knock?”
“No door, bro,” Hikaru does some kind of acrobat thing and moments later he’s beside Jim on the bunk. “Want some help with that?” he elbows Jim in the ribs good-naturedly.
Jim folds his arms. “Fuck off, I’m faithful now – this is the new me, no more fuck buddies, no more boys, maybe no more girls – I’m saving myself for my wedding night.”
“Where’s Jim Kirk?” Hikaru feels Jim’s forehead without the back of his hand, “and what have you done with him?” Jim shrugs him off. “Wanna share?”
“What? Talk about my feelings?”
“No, you ass, wanna share the hot cowboy?”
“That’s a shame – I’ll just keep him all to myself.” Hikaru couldn’t sound more smug.
“I have a nail file and I’m prepared to use it,” Jim hisses, then he frowns, takes Hikaru’s hand. “I’ve never asked you for anything, Hik, but this – just keep away, okay?”
Hikaru shakes his hand free, wipes it theatrically on his skirt and mimics Jim’s voice, “Never asked me for anything, okay, how about the time, with the twins? Or that time with the Andorian…? Or,” he adds, stroking his chin, ”the time—“
“—I haven’t asked you for anything today, dude, come on!”
“Yeah, because becoming a girl, no way -that counts.”
Whatever cool repost Jim was about to come up with is de-railed by that voice a ways down the aisle; Leonard sounds scared, grumbly yet still so sexy. Jim squints, shifts up on his elbow, so he can hear better.
“McCoy, it is against regulations to conceal yourself in the restroom. Your behavior will jeopardize our passage.” It’s the Vulcan.
“God dammit, you pointy-eared bastard, I have aviophobia, it’s a fear of flying in god damned space and I’m…let go…let go, dammit!”
Jim’s feels a surge of need to help, to save Leonard or some such shit, or at least win scout points; okay, to all intents and purposes it would be a woman Leonard will see come to his assistance, but Jim’ll straighten it out later; for now he’s got to… he pokes Hikaru, who’s dozed off beside him, hard in the ribs and hisses in his ear making his friend jump.
“Where’s your secret stash, Hik?”
“I don’t have one.”
“You always have one. I’m serious. I’m just asking you for one thing.”
“Okay, but please say you won’t use that expression ever again. I was falling asleep, man.” Hikaru fumbles between his breasts and pulls out a tiny flask holding enough Romulan Ale to work the mojo on a mammoth.
Jim drops a kiss to Hikaru’s forehead and clambers over him, ignoring the girly shriek. He drops into the aisle to see Leonard and Spock near the rest room.
“I don’t fucking give a rat’s ass about regulations,” Leonard’s saying and his face is a mix of pink flush with a green tinge which, Jim thinks, doesn’t stop him looking hot in the slightest.
“McCoy,” The Vulcan’s voice is firm and dispassionate.
Jim remembers in the nick of time that he’s a girl, he’s a girl and puts a little wriggle in his hips which isn’t quite so easy now he’s barefoot, and considering he can’t get to Leonard’s side quick enough. He worked in Riverside Pub, back on Earth, enough years to know a little about how to talk an aviophobe down and he’s just got to fucking do something.
Jim adopts what he hopes is a sympathetic rather than a predatory look but, it’s hard, real hard to squash the feeling of wanting to fight Leonard’s corner, of just wrestling the Vulcan to the ground then running off down the aisle with Leonard in his arms until they can hole up in his bunk and Leonard can show Jim just how grateful he is.
“How many years I gotta know you, Spock before you start using my first name, damn you? And will you fucking let go of my arm before I box your Vulcan ears?” Leonard’s eyes flicker towards Jim for a split second but he’s in full rant mode now and doesn’t acknowledge Jim. “Tell me your last name,” Leonard growls, jabbing a finger in Spock’s chest, struggling to free himself, “so I can be as much of a tight ass as you are – seems only, ouch, fair—“
“I doubt you would be able to pronounce it, Leonard.” Now right there, was that a little show of emotion from the Vulcan? Jim’s curiosity is peaked. The two men turn to him when he says, “Good evening, gentlemen, I wondered if I might help—“ Damn, he sounds like a maiden aunt, which is not going to result in Leonard falling in love with him. Jim feels a little swell in his chest at how McCoy’s dark expression softens momentarily at his words even though he knows that’s caused by Leonard’s deep rooted chivalry when in the presence of a woman rather than by cupid; still, Jim’ll take it for now.
“Let the lady past, Spock!”
Spock looks at Jim long and hard, perhaps to remind Jim he’s aware that he’s a fraud, but says nothing, merely loosens his grip and lifts his nose to a regal resting posture, then places his hands behind his back. “There is no need for assistance, madam, we were merely having a discussion.”
“No Spock, you were sayin’ I can’t go to the restroom, that throwing up in my bunk is preferable to doing it in there – in a sanitary way. That your idea of a discussion?” Leonard folds his arms and adds, “Bully.”
He looks Jim full in the eye for support and, lord help him, Jim’s real glad his panties are a size too small because otherwise his skirt would be tenting now, such is the effect those thick, scowly eyebrows are having on him. Yes, Leonard has Jim’s support and he opens his mouth to say as much but it’s like jumping onto a moving train trying to get a word in edgewise now Leonard’s on a roll.
“The hull could break open, we’ll all burn in seconds til we’re dark, iddy pieces of charcoal, then,” Leonard thumbs in Spock’s direction keeping dark eyes fixed on Jim, “Mr. Unpronounceable Surname won’t look so smug.”
“It is against regulations to enter the restroom until we have left orbit,” Spock says stubborn and as immovable as a rock being pounded by waves.
“Well,” Jim says softly and counting on his awesome eyes doing the work for him as they so often do, “but I need to powder my nose, and I wondered if Mr. McCoy wouldn’t mind accompanying me. I get kind of nervous too – maybe we can cancel each others fears out? What do you say, Mr. Spock?” Jim lowers his eyes and cocks his head in what he hopes comes off as modest, though it’s not a pose he’s had much experience of, truth be told.
“It is against regulations for males to…”
“Let it go, Spock, there’s a lady in need here,” and yeah, it totally melts Jim the way McCoy says here-yah, all southern and drawly, to say nothing of the way he ducks his head and holds out an arm for Jim to take it. “I’ll be sure to come back soon as we’re ready for take-off, don’t get your britches in a bunch.”
Spock’s eyes dart to the side for a second as he maybe considers the meaning of the idiom but he does move aside.
“McCoy, I do like your cologne,” Jim says, fluttering his eyelashes as McCoy leads him into the restroom. “What is it? I might want to buy some for my nephew.” It’s just two stalls and two sinks, a hand drier and a tiny sonic shower so that, to Jim’s delight, they’re forced to stand pretty close, space being at a premium in the cargo ship.
“No cologne, darlin’, just good old shampoo,” Leonard drawls; he’s gotta stop touching those deliciously big fingers to that imaginary hat, Jim thinks, or Jim won’t be responsible for his actions – fuck the man smells so good.
Jim swallows and turns to the mirror, looks McCoy’s reflection in the eye. “Actually I lied to you, McCoy—“
“Leonard, “he’s corrected, “How so, ma’am?”
“Leonard, of course, thank you, and you’ll have to call me Jemima. I have a confession to make - I’m not frightened of flying, but I do have something that might help.” Jim reaches into his cleavage and draws out the flask and starts at the way Leonard snatches it from his hands.
“Thank fuck, if you’ll pardon my French,” Leonard’s cheeks flush red, “but between you and me, darin’, I’m real scared of flying.” Well, not exactly between the two of them, given what he’s just witnessed, but Jim lets it slide, fixes his eyes on Leonard’s lush mouth, “Spock knows but he keeps booking these gigs – it’s like he purposefully works out the most un-ergonomic routes just to make me suffer.”
“But you’re in the band, Leonard, Spock can’t very well leave you behind, can he?” Jim says gently, daring to rest his hand on a broad shoulder. “What do you play? The guitar, right?” Jim’s voice is practically a squeak, such is the effect of the heat radiating up his fingers from that moment of contact.
“Sure, but as a matter of fact I sing mostly, Jemima.”
Jim should say something polite in response only he’s mesmerized by the sight of raspberry colored lips, plush and womanly almost, pursing round the slender neck of the flask. Thing is, Leonard’s drinking way too fast so Jim makes himself damn well snap out of it.
“Take it easy with this stuff, it’s got quite a kick.”
“I’m counting on it,” a raised eyebrow temporarily pulls Jim’s gaze from that glorious mouth then he’s forced to suffer the sight of a totally lickable, thick column of neck when Leonard leans back to swallow again. Jim can’t miss the beads of sweat on Leonard’s nose nor how his hand shakes a little when he lowers the flask, the other gripping the sink behind him for balance, but if Leonard doesn’t slow the fuck down, there’ll be cartoon spirals where his pupils should be.
When the ship begins to rumble and the safety announcement cuts in informing passengers to return to their bunks or the seating area, while Jim experiences the rush like always, it’s obvious Leonard isn’t feeling the love; the last of the colour drains from tan cheeks and his eyes flip to wild. He tries to dart past Jim into the stall – “I need to…” he begins, “ I need to get…”
“Yeah, I know, “Jim moves closer still and, rests his hand on a shaking chest hoping this won’t have the effect of making Leonard feel claustrophobic on top of everything else. “I got you, Leonard, just breathe, okay?” Fucking Romulan ale doesn’t work for shit, still…”Maybe have another drink? “
Leonard lifts his head and cracks open an eye, then flinches at the announcement:
Take off in t minus two minutes…
Leonard twists round and doubles over the sink, resting his head in his hands. Part of Jim’s mind, in a dim recess he doesn’t visit so often, has him wondering if he’s being a creep, taking advantage like this, using every opportunity to touch Leonard, but he also can’t deny the genuine concern and need to comfort this man, feelings of desire and protectiveness warring in him when Jim takes in the bowed head and scrunched up eyes; so Jim lifts a tentative hand and slides it under Leonard’s jacket, purely so Leonard knows he’s got someone there, you understand, then he rubs what he hopes are soothing circles across sweat dampened cotton trying to ignore how muscular Leonard is.
“I’m sorry you had to come to the rest room because of me,” Leonard manages to say through gritted teeth. He opens his eyes, still hunched forward, he says, “You know, I feel better…” then when the ship whines around them he jackknifes upright, eyes shooting to the side like he’s listening to some internal rhythm, “I may throw up on you…”
“No you’ll be fine,” Jim’s braver now, trailing a hand across Leonard’s damp brow, sweeping aside a few stray hairs which have stuck to his forehead. Damn, Jim loves this, he admits, how being a girl gives him license to express tenderness towards strangers. Sure he’s held Hikaru’s hair plenty of times, so to speak, and while there was concern for his friend, it didn’t make Jim want to pull Hikaru close and hold him and never let him go. Maybe Jim’s feeling maternal, yeah, that’ll be it – whatever... it’s nice, really nice taking care of someone.
Then Leonard has to go and spoil the moment—
“You remind me of my mom,” Leonard says, pressing his hip into Jim’s thigh for more contact – damn he smells good, all sandalwood and clean sweat breaking through the spicy ale scent from the flask.
Take off in t minus sixty seconds…
And that’s when Leonard throws up… when things were going so well too…
Jim grimaces though his hand doesn’t leave Leonard’s back; he watches Leonard’s mouth gape and spasm, listens to him groan then hands him a paper towel. Once Leonard’s sluiced out his mouth, and rinsed his face, Jim tells the computer to sanitize the sink and freshen the air.
And that’s when Jim gets who Leonard reminds him of - it’s this hot doctor in Jim’s favorite TV show when he was a kid; it was kind of cheesy and camp and the sets rattled a lot but that guy, he might have been Jim’s first crush. Now what was the character’s name…?
Leonard stares into the bowl and frowns, “Fuck, I think I may have puked up stomach lining, bones too.”
Bones! that’s it, that’s what the guy was called. Fuck, Jim hasn’t thought about that show in years; it’s the same southern drawl, the same sexy sneery mouth (though fortunately not the same hairy knuckles) – it’s like Leonard’s a reboot of Bones!
Leonard, no Bones because the name just fits, straightens up, runs a hand through his crazy fucking hair, then takes Jim’s hand and kisses it.
“Thank you, darlin,” Bones says, all sincere and dashing, “mind if I hang onto this?” He nods at the flask resting on the sink unit. Jim nods dumbly, Hikaru won’t mind – it’s a small sacrifice for his friend to make, you know - to ensure Jim’s future happiness.
“You realize we’re on our way now – at warp – it all happened while you were…” Jim indicates the sink. “Looks like you didn’t notice.” He grins, feeling mighty pleased with himself.
“Thanks to you, Jemima,” the way Bones pronounces it, Jim-mi-ma, it gives Jim a little kick of delight to hear his real name uttered, even by ‘mistake’. “I’m always better when we’re on our way, it’s mostly the build up gets me every time. And,” he leans into Jim again, “between you and me, I’m generally a bit of heavy drinking helps some.” He smiles apologetically and shakes the flask, “damned waste of good ale, sorry. Least I’ll be able to make it back to my bunk and pass out, eh?” He suddenly peers at Jim’s face making Jim flush around the neck, his breath’s so close and warm. “You need to fix your face, baby girl, you’re looking a little sooty—” Sooty? Shit, the stubble – Jim turns away.
“Yeah, ship could do with a clean, right? Guess I got something on my hands.” He makes for he door, “And you’re welcome.“
Reluctantly Jim follows a much more cheerful, almost imperceptibly swaying Bones down the narrow aisle towards his bunk. The girls look concerned and flash him warm sympathetic smiles. Jim expects Bones to collapse, instead he pulls out his guitar case stowed underneath the bed. “Come on, ladies, though it surprises the hell out of me, looks like we didn’t all go out in a ball of flame, so I say we celebrate with why we’re here. Music!”
Jim pushes past him gently, flushing a little when he sees Leonard arrange the guitar strap around his big shoulders and wedge a plectrum between his lips as he fiddles with the strings, canting his ear to listen as he tunes up. The girls - Jim’s learning their names, Janice, Christine, another gorgeous, willowy brunette with the nickname Number One - exit their bunks. They all look like cupcakes, he thinks, bows in their hair, Disney princess pjs, and plaid for one or two. He totally neglected to replicate nightwear not thinking further ahead than getting the hell away from Nero.
Hikaru’s sitting on the edge of the bunk, stocking clad feet dangling off the side; his arms are folded and his face is a portrait of sarcasm – seems he doesn’t share the same view of Jemima being a selfless and supportive companion for their hunk of a singer as the rest of the girls.
Damned if he cares- Jim’s pretty sure a halo of hearts is circling his head after twenty minutes in close confines with Bones, but he does have other shit to worry about; Jim stretches up and whispers, “I need beard suppressor, so do you - where we gonna get some?”
“Replicator in the rest room?” Hikaru says casually, smiling down at the girls from his perch, watching them surround Leonard as he plays a few experimental chords.
“I’ve got no fucking credits left, Daphne,” Jim hisses.
“Hey, Jemima, you know anything goes?” Janice calls to him.
“What? Oh, the song, sure - sax intro coming right up…”
Jim flips open his case, puts the strap over his head, then scoots up on the top bunk next to Hikaru, “You’re on drums, lady,” he says, and Hikaru reaches for Jim’s case and begins to rap with his palms. Meanwhile, Number One sets up the backing track and the girls squeeze into the top bunk opposite, their legs moving in unison, painted toes and animal slippers sliding left then right in a makeshift, cutsy can-can, till Jim’s done and they can come in on vocals.
in olden days, a glimpse of stocking
Was considered really quite shocking
And Bones has found a ukulele from somewhere - Jim tries not to be too obvious in his admiration when he rests his sax, drinking in long, tan fingers flying over the strings. He feels a hand slip round his ankle and Christine beams up, “Conga, Jemima?”
Hell yeah, he needs to work off his Bones buzz or he won’t be able to sleep. Jim bounces down, waits for Christine to rest her hands on his hips then sashays up and down the aisle as he plays, leading the girls kicking sideways behind him. He winks at Hikaru as they pass privately thanking some deity that they can’t hear his friend singing because as a man (and most likely as a woman too) Hik’s voice is an outrage.
They all giggle when the song ends and Christine squashes up next to Bones, leaning her head on his shoulder.
“Feel better, asshole?”
The corner of a full mouth quirks, “I guess. If we’re going out might as well do it in style, huh?” Damn, the way he’s all bashful through those gorgeous lashes, Jim could just…
“Hey, Len, sing one of yours, go on!” Janice leans over and kisses him on the cheek. Damn, that’s a lot of female attention - Jim isn’t used to this - he’s the one who’s the honey-pot as a general rule but, rather than feel jealousy, he allows his mind to run through several images of how handsome a pair he and Bones would be, the two of them hand in hand…never mind Bones thinks he’s a girl. This totally will be a surmountable problem, he just needs to allow his genius mind to come up with something then they can start looking at the Dwell catalogue together.
Bones thrums his fingers on the board then plays a couple of experimental chords before shyly announcing, “erm, this one, you maybe haven’t heard before - except for Chris here, suffers my singing in the shower most days…” He loosens the speakers from his PADD and attaches them to post, and taps the screen. His cheeks are adorably pink when he mumbles, “I’ve called it ‘Take me Home’…might change it…and Chris did the drum track, she insisted…” he winks endearingly at her and then begins to sing:
of all these things
that drag me down
I've got no where to go
they say that life
is in these hands
you give everything
you give yourself away you give
and still you choke
and find yourself running for the door
Jim watches and listens from a distance gripping the neck of his sax so tight there’s sweat forming on his palms. He can’t fucking tear his eyes away from Bones’ fingers, the side of his head, the way his forehead creases, how his eyebrows are all scrunchy and serious, and he certainly can’t block out the surge of emotion he feels in response to the naked feeling in the delivery.
Janice nudges the girls and whispers some instruction to them so that when Bones finishes up with the last chorus they’re ready for their improvised backing vocals.
so come and take me home
lead me to your door
take me where you are
lead me to your door
and let me in
just let me in
and let me leave
just let me leave this world
come on now let me leave this world
at least just for a while
The girls, sing ‘oo-oo, oo, oo, oo-oo,” while holding hands and swaying with big soppy grins on their faces. Hikaru joins in but Jim can’t move, can barely fucking breathe.
Bones looks up finally, a slightly goofy look on his face and Jim swallows, glances at Hikaru then lays down his sax and claps as enthusiastically as the rest of them.
“Damn, he’s seriously talented,” Jim says to Janice who’s standing closest to him.
“Trouble is, he can only write songs when he’s miserable,” she says, scratching at one of her curlers.
“Yeah, he’s written a hella lot of songs in the past six months.”
“Why? What happened?”
“He got divorced – some asshole called Joss. He really broke our boy’s heart, you know.”
Jim wants to find Joss, wants to beat the crap out of him, then immediately shake his hand for making Bones available to him.
Jim notices how Bones is leaning over a little, maybe not all the Romulan ale was expelled via the sink into the black after all, for his guitar’s slipping from his fingers, head lolling. Chris lifts the strap over Leonard’s head and arranges a pillow for him. She’s so top of the list for chief bridesmaid, Jim thinks. Christine removes Bones’ boots and Jim’s heart clenches when he notes how one of Bones’ socks has bunched up round his toe. Janice hoists it up and stretches his long legs out while Chris pulls the blanket over him. Bones has one eye open and the other’s shuddering like he’s trying to stay awake but he’s soon snoring with the curtain drawn.
The girls disappear to their own bunks – it’s pretty late, almost 2am, and with the time difference they’ll be exhausted when they arrive on the far side of Risa at dawn, so Jim makes to turn in, still wishing he had some nightwear. It’s unavoidable but he’s going to feel kind of vulnerable in just his bra and panties; the way he kicks about in the night, he’s likely to end up with the covers round his feet with chest hair and treasure trail exposed and, should anyone pull the curtains back, they’ll get the fright of their lives.
He plumps up his pillow and rubs his chin, and calls quietly to Hikaru who’s already drawn his curtains. “How we gonna get beard suppressor without any credits?”
“Replicators are computers, Jim-mi-mah! Computers are your bitches, go fiddle with it!”
Jim scratches his chin and sighs, okay…
“Fuck off, Hik,” his voice is gruff with sleep and he buries his head under the pillow.
“Hey, darlin’, you’re dreaming…” and Jim must be because he swears he can feel Bones squeezing into the bunk next to him. He drags the sheet over himself and thinks ‘high pitch’ because his voice sounded so fucking wrong just then. He clears his throat, “Hey, Leonard…sorry, I was dreaming about back home.”
“I’m sorry, it’s just we have an emergency—“
“What? Where?” Jim sits up and smacks his head on the bunk above. The answering thump from Hikaru’s fist or foot is immediate.
“Hey, lady!” Hikaru giggles and the mattress above him bounces; Jim turns over to be confronted with, yes the totally dreamy but not dreamed Leonard McCoy. Face partly in shadow in the confined space, for a moment he looks like an old style movie still, until his expression changes to endearingly concerned as Bones stretches out a big hand to touch Jim’s cheek. Jim holds his breath; Bones needs to move, his other hand is way too close to Jim’s demi-boner, and while Jim’s the master of talking himself out of a corner, this one might be a challenge too far. He swallows then he’s distracted from this really, wonderfully intense moment of unresolved sexual tension (just on his side, yeah, but…) by more giggles, all coming from Hik’s bunk.
“Leonard,” Jim says stupidly, his voice a squeak. “What’s the emergency? Something up with the flight?”
A gravelly chuckle makes the impending discovery of what’s now a full boner more likely – damn, no one has a right to be that damned sexy.
“Nope, it’s just…” Bones looks at him sideways, conspiratorial, “do you have a cherry?”
“She lost that years ago!” squeals Hikaru.
“I’m surprised you can hear me above all that giggling, Daphne!” His mind processes what Bones just says. “Cherry? Just one…erm… cherry?”
Leonard’s all dimples, and he leans closer, “between you and me, Jem, one’s too fuckin’ many.” His hand goes to his mouth and he covers it. “Sorry?”
“It’s okay, when you’ve been around guys, musicians, as long as me, you’ve heard it all.” Damn, Bones needs to move; Jim can feel the heat pooling in his balls, he has to move. “So? Cherry? And I thought you’d passed out?”
“Chris has a stash of anti-alcohol. And Number One’s making cocktails. That girl’s good but when she demands cherries, you get cherries – perfectionist.” He shrugs. ”Though between you and me putting anything but a tongue into bourbon’s sacrilege – I’ve tried tellin’ her but…” Another grin and Jim is so fucking lost he feels an overpowering urge to break out of the confines of the small space or he’s not going to be answerable for his actions – those lips look so…and Bones must never, ever utter the word ‘tongue’in his presence again unless they're both naked.
“No cherries here,” Jim croaks. He nods upwards, “we having a party?”
“But I haven’t got a thing to wear! Our bags were stolen.”
“Sure you have.” Jim feels something soft tickle then trail across his throat and he reaches a hand to touch feathers – a boa.
“Perfect! Gimme five while I fix my face and I’ll be right up.”
Bones nods and slides out of the bunk elegantly, his hand pressing on Jim’s stomach for purchase, ”sorry,” he drawls.
“Don’t be,” and none of the breathiness is faked this time.
When the curtain opens, Jim sees a pale leg disappearing upwards as another party-goer crams into Hikaru’s bunk. Bones grins, steps onto Jim’s mattress and hoists himself up, star-print sleep pants and long, sinewy, perfect feet disappearing out of view.
Jim counts to ten, wraps the sheet around himself and scuttles down the aisle towards the rest room only remembering to veer towards the ladies’ at the last second. Good thing he has awesome hacking skills, that replicator is going to deliver again – something pink and girly. But first he slips into the stall - he needs to take care of the very unladylike tenting in the front of his sheet – it’s only polite after all, though it has been helping with the whole high-pitched thing.
Bones is leaning against the back wall of the bunk and Jim’s managed (with minimal wrestling) to gain pole position so he’s pretty much sitting on Bones’ lap. But then again, so’s Janice, who’s got her legs draped across Hikaru’s legs and partly under Chris where she lies on her belly across Hikaru’s lap, her Disney princess clad ass in the air. Of course, it’s wasted on Hik, who only likes boys, but Jim? He’s on cloud fucking nine, the big puppy pile, the scent of girls, all bubbly and pink and intoxicating mixing in with the clean sweat on Leonard’s throat.
There’s copious amounts of bourbon being circulated, some of it neat, the rest shaken up in experimental mixes with milk, juices, anything the replicator can come up with. And as Bones gets drunker, as Jim follows him drink for drink, Jim gets more and more cocky and rests a hand on Bones’ thigh – least he thinks it’s his thigh; he’d have to move to check and he hasn’t the strength.
Jim rest his cheek against Bones’ stubbly jaw and he closes his eyes, lets out a little doggy sigh of happiness.
“You flirting with me darlin’?” the soft, moist mouth near Jim’s ear, sending a shudder through him, “Because beautiful as you are, I’m a one man guy, you know?” A strong arm wraps around Jim’s neck and he feels his cock stirring again which is a miracle because he is so fucking drunk.
“I know, you big, southern hunk of a thing, but a girl can hope right?” There’s sudden silence around them and Janice, Chris, Number One and Hikaru look at them with big, bleary eyes.
Chris pats Jim’s arm with her foot. “There, there, Jemima, get your heart broken why don’t you? You won’t be the first!” She leans back into Hikaru who’s eyes bug and transmit all kinds of secret words to Jim he doesn’t want to hear over her shoulder. “Hey, ladies, raise your hands if you’re in love with Leonard McCoy!”
They squeal and raise two hands each, Christine’s, to Jim’s satisfaction knocking Hikaru’s nose.
“And, and…” Number One adds, “raise your hand if you totally would settle for pity sex with Len!” All hands shoot up again.
Jim can feel Bones’ chest shaking as he laughs, “Aw shucks!” he drawls, all movie cowboy. “Y’all making me blush.”
“WE WISH!” they chorus.
“Me too,” Hikaru says, untangling his leg from under Number One’s arm so she can reverse out of the bunk, “and I’ll raise more than my hand for you, sugar.”
“She means her skirt!” Christine snorts. Jim glowers, like that’s what Hikaru means. Maybe Hikaru needs a reminder of how he promised to back off. Only he didn’t promise.
With great dexterity, Jim manages to wriggle his fingers so they’re near Hik’s arm and he pinches the flesh so hard he reckons his friend must be anaesthetized drunk because other than frown momentarily, he doesn’t squawk or react in any other way – and that should have hurt.
“You not raising your hand, Jim-mi-mah?” Hikaru smirks.
Jim shakes his head piously. “I just like Leonard; does there have to be something else in it? You have to go and sully everything with sex, Daphne, that’s your problem, you’re always so coarse.”
Hikaru’s look is pure indignation. Jim draws Bones’ arm around his waist and snuggles back more though his ears burn a little at the hypocrisy of his statement. Out of the two of them, Hikaru’s the gentleman and Jim’s the frat boy. But not anymore; Jim’s turned over a new leaf – this is the refined Jemima, alumni of the Riverside Conservatoire of Music - a name he totally made up but hell, who’s going to check on a detail like that when he’s so The Man (Woman) when it comes to sax and clarinet?
Jim feels something wet on his ear; is Bones shedding a tear?
“Oh, Leonard, some day your prince will come, you’ll see,” Janice says with a hiccup. “Don’t worry about him, girls, he always cries when he drinks too much.”
“No way. No prince. I’m celibate – have been ever since…” Bones shoves an arm past Jim’s cheek towards the curtain where Number One has re-appeared with another jug full of something. It’s violet, beautiful and swirling with slices of Jim’s favourite – kiwi; he licks his lips and lets more of his weight fall against Bones solid, warm, chest.
“Celibate since that sax player at the rest stop on Rigel V,” Number One says smoothly eliciting a cackle from the girls and a growl from Bones.
“Oh, and, wait…jush wait,” Christine slurs; in her effort to sit up she digs an elbow into Hikaru’s ribs, “what about that other guy, the one with spiky blond hair – also a sax player – on, shit what was the name of that outpost, full of those wriggly wormy things…anyway, that time…remind me just how big his dick was, Len, baby?” Her face is inches away from Jim’s who inhales the goodness that is her breath; it’s as intoxicating as the jar being sloshed around and passed between them in their happy cage.
“The one wearing spectacles,” Bones sighs, “it’s a kind of celibacy.” He raises his glass, and toasts them . “A man’s got needs, but between occasional bouts of faceless, mind-blowing sex, believe me - I’m one hundred percent celibate.” His head thuds against the wall when he downs his drink in one.”And you know what they say--”
“--there’s no such thing as a bad blow-job.” Janice nudges Jim enthusiastically and loses her balance almost falling out of the side of the bunk but saved by Number One who shoves her back in. Janice’s breasts land across Jim’s knees and he sighs happily, craning over Leonard’s muscled, beautifully hairy arm to take a sip of his drink.
“There’s a pattern!” Hikaru announces spoiling a very comfortable silence.
“Yes, Daphne, enlighten us,” Jim glares at him.
“Sax players,” Hik stares at Jim, “you might be in with a chance, Jem, if only you were a boy, huh?”
“But I’m a girl, I’m a girl,” Jim mutters sadly, letting out a soft sigh when Leonard lands a chaste, fraternal kiss to his temple.
Jim makes the most of it, leaning on the luggage rack and drinking in the sight before him. Bones removed his t-shirt when Chris spilled the bucket of ice over him, so he’s bare-chested, sleep pants having slouched down his hips, and bare feet tapping out some imagined rhythm on the sticky rubber flooring. Occasionally his tongue clicks against his teeth as he perhaps experiments with some percussion arrangement or something – he’s writing a song and Jim bites his lip, a little moved and sure he’s intruding. He coughs loudly and makes for the rest room, pausing to ask, “You okay, sugar?”
Leonard looks up, sad hazel eyes a little blood shot and he says, “Sure I am…jus’ writing…” Jim wants to crawl into that bunk with him, draw the curtain and drag those baggy sleep pants down with his teeth then show Bones just why he’s such a natural sax player, instead he swallows, tosses his boa round his throat because he may make a damn fine lady, but the Adam’s apple just won’t go away.
“You wanna talk?”
“Maybe some other time…”
Jim nods and hides out in the men’s room, giving his balls a good scratch while gazing at his love-stoned reflection. “You are so lost,” he whispers. Then he takes a sonic, cleans his teeth with a brush courtesy of his new best friend, the replicator, and emerges to find Nyota’s joined Leonard. She looks glorious, immaculate in her mauve, satin pajamas, and she’s got her trumpet.
“Early morning bugle call?” he whispers. He glances up the aisle and the curtains are all drawn with no obvious evidence they’ve been up all night partying. Nyota and Spock have slept in the captain’s quarters, a condition of their passage while the captain piloted the ship.
“Maybe,” she smiles conspiratorially at Bones, takes one last look at his PADD, and stands. “Okay?” she says, puckering her lips and lifting the trumpet.
Bones nods, closes his eyes and begins to sing:
You don’t know what love is…
…until you know the meaning of the blues…
‘til you love the love…
…you had to lose…
You don’t know what love is…
And Nyota plays, soft and plaintive, accompanying the heart-breaking lyrics, her eyes on Bones, taking his subtle cues.
how those lips that taste of tears
soon lose their taste for kissing
Jim gazes at Len’s lush mouth and feels a wave of want wash over him, a need to prove him wrong, to show him it’s not all over.
There’s a movement above them and Number One sticks her head out, leans her chin on her hands and nods along. Nyota launches into an improvised solo during which the girls rise one after the other and file past to the rest room, not one of them daring to break the spell until the song’s over and Bones releases his hold on every damned one of them. Everyone, that is, except Jim who tries not to shake as he returns to the safety of his bunk to wrestle back into his dress ignoring the look of sympathy from Hikaru who’s standing transfixed, staring down the aisle as if he’s seen the meaning of life right there before him.
You and me both, Hik, you and me both...
Zing Went the Strings of my Heart
They arrive in Risa shortly before dawn and speed through the spaghetti highways, past the busiest, most lucrative tourist locations in Alpha Quadrant.
Jim tries in vain to snooze in the mini-bus. Now he isn’t focused on Bones, he’s unable to erase the bloody images of what he and Hikaru had witnessed less than twelve hours before.
“It looks way nicer from here,” he mumbles into Hikaru’s shoulder, jabbing a finger in the direction of the smallest of the two moons, silver discs low over the dark jungle canopy.
“Word,” Hikaru says and shoves Jim over so he has to settle for snuggling the greasy window.
The Mambo Pinto is chi-chi and exclusive, famed (according to Spock) for its old-style music and conventions. For the next three weeks, Nyota’s band, Take Me to the Bridge, are the main act. They’ll headline a variety of themed nights, showcasing tunes from the early part of the twentieth century, with the occasional original Leonard McCoy number thrown in.
Jim leans on Hikaru’s double-bass in the lobby and examines their surroundings, his heels sinking into the deep pile carpet, and his wig wafting in the climate controlled lobby.
“Smells nice in here,” Jim yawns rubbing an eye and losing a clutch of eyelashes when he forgets he mustn’t touch.
“Bajorian violets,” Hikaru says, pinching a blossom on a tall stand close by.
Bones is a little bouncy in the line. He’s reverted to slightly manic euphoria now they’re on terra firma, having slipped away to the men’s room during the landing and suffered a noisy but smooth re-entry alone. He and Christine are roomies in 412 and he snatches up his keycard and they walk arm in arm to the elevator.
Jim has to stop himself punching the air when they’re allocated 414, for the thought of sleeping in a bed only inches away from Bones is making Jim’s mouth water. Almost as much as the prospect of removing his disguise in the privacy of their room and giving his balls some air. And he can’t wait to take a bath; Jim loves baths.
When the elevator pings, Hikaru, temporarily distracted by a purring floral display near a water cooler, reverses into a curly haired, skinny youth on the way out through the doors. The kid drops his sun-hat, Jim crashes into the pair of them, and both music cases land in a heap.
“I am most sorry,” the youth says, clicking his heels, gray eyes sweeping over the pair of them. They settle, to Jim’s surprise, on Hikaru. He has a strong accent, Russian maybe.
Brushing down his dress, Hikaru swears under his breath. He snatches up his purse, looks up and freezes half bent retrieving his beloved bull fiddle. His eyes widen, his mouth stretched into a rose red gape.
“Not at all, young man,” he croaks, ignoring Jim’s amused expression.
“Chekov, Pavel Andreievich,” the Russian announces, doing the click thing again, this time with a half bow making his curls tumble dramatically. He looks like Caravaggio’s wet dream with his cheek bones and innocent expression. But you don’t fool me, Jim thinks.
“If there is any damage, here is my card. I am most wealthy and would be happy to make good cost of repairs.” He reaches into the breast pocket of an immaculate suit jacket and hands his card to Hikaru, his nails sporting a better manicure than the two of them combined. “Good day to you, ladies. I hope to see you again.”
“I certainly hope so, young man,” Hikaru purrs, a definite flush to his cheeks.
Jim nudges Hikaru and nods towards the Russian with a little eyebrow raise. Hik finally closes his mouth and they both track the youth’s saunter to the front desk while they wait for the elevator to return. Jim overhears, “penthouse”, “boat”, and “laundry”, and snaps his purse shut hurriedly sure Hik has no idea he’s just picked the youth’s pocket or he’d have already suffered a lecture.
“Curly goodness,” Hikaru says shakily, walking into the elevator.
Jim grins, “And you’d never have to do a days work again as long as you live. Still he’s a little young for you, huh, Hik?”
Hikaru ignores this. “The accent alone, imagine that in your ear when you…?” he’s interrupted in his musings when the door swishes open on their floor. Hikaru looks questioningly at Jim when he doesn’t get out.
“Here, take my sax and run me a bath, I’ll be right back, I forgot something!”
He lifts a wheat colored linen suit to the light and strokes it lovingly; being a girl has stoked his appreciation of fine men’s tailoring no end. He sniffs the cloth – it smells clean enough to him - then he slips the Russian’s key card and a tiny key (which also, somehow ended up in Jim’s hands during the collision in the lobby) into the inside pocket. He looks sideways at Hikaru – even thus occupied, his friend manages to look disapprovingly at him.
“You’ll make a gorgeous 1920s lesbian, Jim. Where the fuck did you find that?”
Jim steps closer to the mirror; he strokes his chest and raises his arm above his head to sniff his armpit. He’s going to have to get busy with the wax, Jim thinks, scratching his belly-button. “It’s not stealing…I’m going to put it back.“ He runs a finger across the suit’s lapel then checks the label – fucking bespoke, wow, he hasn’t touched such fine fabric since that time he screwed the guy in…
“Look, I will put it back, okay - just as soon as I’ve…”
“—won your man? What are you, crazy? Don’t you see that whatever it is you’re planning to do isn’t going to work?” The john flushes and when Hikaru moves out of sight to wash his hands, Jim flips him the bird and hides two more suits and a white shirt under his mattress. He’s glad he thought to drape them on the chair when he came in, soon as he saw the bathroom door was open – Hik’s in a damn judgmental mood.
“What isn’t going to work? My plan is genius!” He calls over the sound of running water.
“Go on – talk me through it – I’m thrumming with excitement watching you at work…no, wait, let me guess…” Hikaru emerges from the bathroom and stands way too close to Jim, glancing down at the suit, “you’ll wear this and because you are the model that Armani never discovered but totally should have – that is what you keep saying right? Tell me if I’ve got it wrong…” Jim rolls his eyes as Hikaru continues, ”Oh yeah, then Len will fall in love with you because... “ Hikaru adopts his ‘Jim pose’, legs wide and this horrible smirk on his face, then launches into his Jim voice. “My eyes are man magnets.” Hikaru allows this to sink in then adds, “and I get to be flower girl. Awesome.”
“You’re talking way too loud, man,” Jim pouts, feeling his neck color.
Their eyes shoot to the door when there’s a sudden knock. Hikaru, who appears to have become way too fond of his disguise, still looks the part. Jim on the other hand looks like a hairy guy wearing women’s underwear – he needs to hide. Now.
“Be right there!” Hikaru calls, ushering Jim towards the bathroom.
“Hey ladies, what’s your room like?” Fuck, it’s Bones.
“Wait!” Jim mouths and he tears the bed covers back to conceal his suit before shoving his wig back on. He holds up a finger, indicating Hik gives him one more second until he can slide into the brimming bath, still in his underwear fumbling to arrange his bangs. “Fuck, Hik, this is way too hot—“
“Well sorry,” Hikaru sneers and moves deliberately to the door panel, punching it with a force Jim’s sure Hikaru wants to apply to his face. The guy needs to chill the fuck out.
Jim has to stop himself gasping at the sight of Bones in sparkling white boxers and nothing else. He looks as fresh as a daisy and smells like a bowl of fruit.
Luckily Hikaru must have emptied an entire bottle of complimentary bubble bath into the water which conceals Jim’s less than womanly chest hair. It also hides Little Jim, who has perked up and has decided to play a game of ‘up periscope’.
Bones runs a hand through freshly showered hair revealing a dark shock of hair under his arms. He sits on the edge of the bed, tan, muscular legs a mile long. Jim can’t hold back a groan, and sinks deeper arranging the foam as best he can.
“Nice, Jem?” Bones smiles from the doorway all dimples and sparkly puppy eyes.
“Oh, yeah…” Jim manages, lifting a face cloth to his eyes. “Aching limbs – nothing like a bath for those…”He slides one hand under the water and gives his cock a reassuring squeeze then hastily pulls out when Bones sounds a lot closer.
“Your room’s better than ours, we only have a shower.”
Jim teases up a corner of the face cloth and can’t help making a little strangled noise when he sees Bones crouching by the bath, elbows on the side, chin on hands, his beautiful, soft mouth inches away. Damn it’s a good thing the water’s deep or he’d be so busted, Little Jim craning instinctively towards his goal.
Jim puts everything he’s got into sounding nonchalant. “I’ll come take a look later.”
“I don’t mind swapping, you can sleep here with Jemima,” Hikaru says magnanimously, “Though, Len, she snores like a man, I’m warning you!” The bastard.
“That’s real sweet of you, Daphne, but Christine would never forgive me if I abandoned her – she likes me to snuggle up.”
Snuggle? Not fair – Jim fucking loves snuggling only Hikaru never will, no matter how cold it is. “Well, there you go,” Jim says, his voice muffled by the cloth, “and I wouldn’t like the snuggling - I’m a bed hog.”
“That she is,” Hikaru agrees now also standing in the bathroom. Jim can feel both sets of eyes boring into him and he tosses the cloth into the water, squirming a little at the way Bones is gazing at him with a slight frown on his face.
“Hey, Jem, you okay? You look a little pink around the cheeks…” and, oh god, no, long fingers fold as Bones moves his knuckles to feel Jim’s cheek, Jim’s slightly stubbled cheek. “You look kind of sooty again,” Bones says, but he hasn’t put two and two together. Yet.
“Don’t mention the facial hair, Leonard, she’ll cry.” Hikaru smirks moving out of sight to the balcony. “Computer, doors!” A blast of tropical air, the sound of sea birds circling the harbor and hover cars pulling up below, flood the room. “Will you lookit this view!”
“Yeah…” Jim breathes as Bones straightens elegantly and lopes away, his taut ass rolling out of reach. His hand goes under the water again, but it’s to press to his stomach – fuck, he feels a little queasy. “Computer, close bathroom door,” he mutters, unable to cope with another glimpse of Bones looking like that until he’s at least caught up on some sleep.
“Leo and me, we met in med school.” She clicks her bag shut and toes it under the bed.
Bones has gone ahead to rehearsal in the ballroom and Jim’s kinda glad to have an opportunity to talk to Chris, find out something about Bones, and see if there’s anything to learn he can use to bag his man. There’s a little voice in Jim’s head that won’t shut up. It keeps reminding Jim that Bones is a decent guy, how he’d hate Jim for lying and for twisting shit so he can find an opportunity for an in. Jim pushes such thoughts away. His plan’s so going to work - Bones will be powerless in the light of his persistence, just see if he isn’t.
“That’s why Spock calls him ‘doctor’.”
“Yep,” she moves to the door, “and because it irritates the hell out of him.” They head to the elevator.
“That doesn’t seem very, I don’t know, Vulcan,” Jim remarks.
Christine laughs, a great throaty laugh which makes Jim grin. “No it isn’t. Spock’s not your regular Vulcan, you’ll see… and Len’s very fond of him, though he’d sooner have his eyeballs fried than admit such a thing.”
“Why did he drop out of med school?”
“Man trouble. Well, sax player trouble, the infamous Joss – we like to call him ‘The Bastard’ round these parts,” she air-quotes with pink tipped fingers. “They met in high school, but Joss was a package; he couldn’t deal with Len being away and had an affair. And our Len doesn’t forgive and forget – if someone breaks his trust, they’re gonners.”
Jim scalp prickles and he falls silent.
They cross the lobby and enter the ballroom. Christine whistles in appreciation. Jim turns a circle taking in the tall, elegant windows hung with miles of billowy nets and rich velvet, the gleaming chandeliers, a dance floor and round tables dressed in white.
“It’s a fucking barn– how’re we going to fill it?”
“It’ll be jumping by 8 o’clock tonight, see if it isn’t,” Chris reassures him. “There’s a convention comes out here every year –they all look very cool, wearing the fringed skirts and spats. Only thing missing is cigarette smoke, but you can take authenticity a bit far, right?”
Jim nods and follows her to the low stage on one side of the dance floor. There’s no sign of Bones, only Spock sitting ram rod straight at the grand with, to Jim’s amusement, Nyota perched on his lap. Their eyes are both closed as they indulge in a long kiss, sweet and gentle. Something about the image reminds Jim of swans and he feels a little twist in his gut that he’ll never have something like this.
“Aww, look at you two love birds,” he coos, winking at Christine. The pair break apart and Nyota brushes some imaginary lint off her blouse. He fancies there’s a slight green tinge to Spock’s cheeks, but it could be a trick of the light, though the smudge of lipstick on his mouth is real enough.
“You’re early,” she says and Spock stands all politeness but again, Jim fancies he can detect something close to discomfort in his body language. Curioser and curioser – the Vulcan’s he’s met, and that’s not many, are pretty much a closed book. What the hell is up with Spock? Then he remembers that Spock’s fully aware of his real identity as well as why he’s here and Jim puts the questions aside for now. He jumps onto the stage and rests his case on a chair in front of the piano.
“Couldn’t wait. I guess,” Jim says turning to see Hikaru finally stroll in with his bass. Jim inserts the mouth piece into his sax and wets his lips - “Wanna get started, warm up some?”
“Sure thing,” Nyota says, “Pent Up House…” Jim toes his foot-pedal, turns the sax to bass, holds her eye, “2, 3 and…”
He watches Spock’s fingers begin to move, face impassive and head slightly cocked to the left. He’s good, damned good but it’s not until Spock noodles through the next solo that Jim finds himself wondering how the hell a Vulcan can play jazz anyway. The chaotic, frenzied brass synchronizes beautifully with the calm, bluesy piano and he only notices Bones has joined them when they’ve finished and he turns to see where the clapping’s coming from.
“This a private affair, or can anyone join in?” Bones drawls, popping the last of an ice-cream cone into his mouth then licking his lips.
“An illogical comment since we are in the same ensemble,” Spock replies, folding his arms.
Bones grins and takes two long strides to the piano, “Groovy,” he says putting on a ‘hep cat’ voice, then grins wide when Spock arches an eyebrow. “It’s weird, huh, the way he does this - plays jazz?” Bones says over his shoulder to Jim.
“Yes, I admit I was thinking that,” Hikaru whispers.
“I find the number of mathematical permutations…interesting,” Spock explains.
“Do you now?” Bones says, raising an eyebrow at Jim. See? There’s a bond forming already! – Jim tries to transmit wordlessly to Hikaru who refuses to catch his eye.
Jim grins stupidly when Bones lifts a stool to the front of the stage and settles on it, faded jeans pulling as he allows his thighs to splay, tight t-shirt struggling to hide his broad chest. Jim’s started to play a little sexy refrain in his head every time he sets eyes on Bones, like the ones they used to play in old time movies to herald the sexy ‘broad’ making an entrance as the camera panned up her legs - bwa-na-na-bwa-bwa-BWAAA. In Jim’s totally un-humble opinion, Bones is hotter than any Hollywood siren ever was with his full lips and easy loping walk.
“You want to try something, Len? How about that new song you’ve been working on?” Nyota says, fortunately oblivious to Jim’s internal musings.
“Sure.” Bones reaches into his back pocket and takes out his comm. “Here’s the piano arrangement, Spock. I’ll send it to your PADD.” Bones waits while Spock glances over it then nods he’s ready. “I’ll need to get Number One to come up with some strings, maybe oboe – I’ve got it roughed out on here too - but we’ll do it like this for now. You sure you’ve got it?”
Spock’s lips twitch almost imperceptibly but he makes no comment, merely launches into a flawless, plaintive piano intro.
The song is autobiographical, evident by the sheen of tears in Bones’ dark eyes when they open again, though Jim realizes Bones can’t see any of them; he’s inhabiting a pain once felt, one he transforms through his voice into something beautiful which speaks to all of them. Jim, if he ever had any doubt, knows in this moment that he loves this man. It’s a feeling he hates. It makes him feel uncharacteristically weak and backed up in a corner, and painfully aware of all his short-comings.
Jim’s fingers clutch the neck of his sax and he drags his eyes away to scan the rest of the band who are standing and sitting in reverent stillness. Christine blinks back tears as she listens. Jim suspects she’s heard this before, knows that Bones runs his songs past her first, and he feels a ridiculous shot of jealousy that he’s not the one so close.
I don't know where I'm going
But I do know that I'm walking
I don't know
Just away from this love affair
The lyrics are deceptive in their simplicity yet far from prosaic. Jim thinks the wonders of the universe can fuck right off because, this is the sublime, right here in baritone and jeans.
I can't say that I'm waltzin'
Not that I don't like waltzing
Would rather be waltzin' with you
The applause and whoops from the band shake Bones out of his little world. He gives a self-deprecating, wonky grin and inclines his head with an unspoken ‘you’re welcome’.
Jim doesn’t clap; he daren’t move, worried he’ll draw attention to himself and the aurora of cupids which must be waltzing in pairs around his head. He looks away when Hikaru touches him lightly on the arm and lets out a relieved breath when Nyota passes across their field of vision temporarily allowing Jim to gather himself. She hugs Bones whose large hand pats her fraternally on the back.
“It’s great, Len, you up for including it in tonight’s set?”
“Yeah, if Number One’s sure she’s got it…”
Number One makes the sign for ‘okay’ and Bones passes her his comm so she can upload too. Nyota whispers something in his ear and turns to face them. Jim stretches his lips, runs his tongue across his teeth waiting for the next number to appear on the PADD. He’s seen the set list but he’s learned already that rehearsal’s a fluid affair with these guys and as much for experimentation, for bonding, as anything else. He feels a pang, knowing they’ll have to leave this happy little family soon – wishing he could be a part of it on honest terms, but it’s not possible. No way.
Nyota taps her screen, and Jim’s PADD refreshes.
“Ladies, you ready? After that amount of sadness, we need to goose it up a little! Feeling Good, after four…” She counts them in, finger-clicking with her left hand, her other poised with the trumpet against her lips.
The old Nina Simone classic is given that big band feel through Number One’s magic - adding strings, making Nyota sound like half a dozen trumpets, and mixing in a tuba track to give Jim’s sax more muscle.
Bones transforms into cocktail lounge lizard, striding across the stage, owning the lot of them, clicking his fingers through the middle eight and even flirting from the stage with the cleaning staff who pause in their work to watch.
The beach? Fuck – Jim hasn’t got a thing to wear.
Hikaru tosses sun lotion into a canvas bag and adjusts his sunglasses. He looks at himself in the mirror and removes them again to pull on a floppy sun hat.
Not strictly speaking – not with this skin, but Jim shrugs. “It’s cool, you go – I’m tired.” Plus, he does not want to have to shave his chest, armpits and legs like he just helped a complaining Hikaru do.
His friend looks faintly ridiculous in his one piece swimwear, cock tucked down the middle underwear model style, package barely concealed by the vintage style swimsuit’s flouncy skirt.
They’ve managed to get a small advance from Nyota, reminding her they lost everything when they were ‘mugged’ and now Hikaru has a whole new wardrobe, including the paneled one-piece in fetching violet. Jim’s not convinced by the swim hat despite agreeing a wig wouldn’t survive the water despite being made of finest, replicated human hair.
“You know how those girls are going to wrestle and try and duck me under—“ Hikaru’s saying, throwing the cap into the bag.
Jim narrows his eyes while he thinks about it. Wet, slippery girls…well, maybe…
“No, Hik, I’m tired. Need to be at my best tonight.”
“Since when did Jim Kirk say no to some semi-nude fun? I’m getting worried about you.”
“Being in love’s fucking tiring,” Jim says earnestly. He’s lying naked on the bed, tooting the sax tunelessly, flexing and un-flexing his tortured toes. When the fuck is Hik going to leave already?
Hikaru shakes his head and pulls a sun-dress over it, struggling to get it down over his broad shoulders. Serve him right for lying about his dress size - lying to a replicator, seriously…
“Okay, lover-boy, I’ll see you later!”
Jim yawns theatrically, lifting a ‘weary’ hand to wave as the door closes behind his friend’s fine ass. Then he leaps out of bed and reaches underneath it where he’s stashed the Russian’s clothing borrowed from the laundry room.
He decides on the linen suit, and roots through his purse for his reading glasses – they’ll provide that final, killer touch.
Dressing is an unexpected pleasure, the shirt slipping across his shoulders. It’s made from finest Egyptian cotton – something he’s never been able to afford. Dammnit - it feels good to be himself again, with the afternoon stubble on his cheek okay to stay, and his face clean of thick make-up. He grins at his reflection, mimes hand guns, “Welcome back, James T. Kirk,” he says and strolls out of the room barefoot.
He wonders up and down a few corridors hoping to find shoes waiting to be cleaned that will fit. In the end he’s forced to buy a pair of chucks (it’s all he can afford) from the hotel boutique. They don’t really go with the fine tailoring but he hopes it’ll come over as the eccentricity of the rich – or at the very least hipster cool.
He makes for the bar and orders a double shot of bourbon to steel himself, “Put it on 414’s tab,” he says grinning when he spots Nyota. She’s in a red polka dot sun-dress buying water to take to the beach.
“Hi!” he says, enjoying his man voice. She narrows her eyes and gazes at his face long enough to make him feel a little uncomfortable.
“Do I know you?”
He leans in to give her the full wattage of his boyish smile. “Do you want to?”
She really doesn’t look like she does, but it’s fun knowing she doesn’t see Jemima sitting on the stool. When he opens his mouth to use one of his killer lines he’s cut short by Nyota’s eyes sweeping his face; she lifts her chin and turns on her ankle like a dancer, her pony tail swinging behind her. Spock is one lucky Vulcan he thinks, leaning half off the stool so he can track her lovely butt as she leaves the bar.
He waits another ten minutes and heads for the dock where he examines all the boats there and lifts a hand to shade his eyes to scan those moored further from the jetty - he hasn’t a clue which one is Chekov’s.
A guy sidles up to him and makes an approving sound, pointing in the general direction Jim was looking.
“That’s one beauty,” the guy says, “The Enterprise, belongs to that millionaire Russian kid, first time he’s come up here without his folks.”
The boat’s a glorious vintage, perfectly restored, twentieth century fantail yacht, its wood shining in the sun.
“They don’t make them like that anymore,” he says sincerely and, after a few more minutes talking boats, he says goodbye and heads to the beach.
As Jim strides along the boardwalk, he spies the girls playing volleyball and, thank you god, Bones is out there too, diving about on the sand and making full use of his height. It’s bright and sunny and, because it’s Risa, the temperature is perfect. Now all he has to do is get Bones to spot him and the rest will be history!
He finds an empty chair under an umbrella far away enough from where Spock is sunning himself, looking very serene in immaculate navy blue shorts. It’s also close enough to Bones and the girls so a stray ball might give Jim an opportunity for an in.
Jim kicks off his shoes, places his hat on his lap and perches his reading glasses half way down his nose. He fires up the cheap, complimentary PADD he found in the hotel drawer. It’s full of ‘inspirational’ texts. Of course, he’s not interested in reading, it’s just a shield as he watches Bones surreptitiously over the top of it.
The girls are in bikinis and wearing baseball caps and Bones looks fucking edible in his white trunks, his skin olive and gleaming with sweat and sun cream. Hikaru’s there too, naturally, but Jim tells himself if he's spotted he'll deal with that when it happens.
It’s some time before fate deals Jim a hand and the ball comes rolling towards him to stop at his feet. He counts under his breath, partly to keep calm, “One-elephant, two-elephant...” Eleven elephants later a long shadow falls across him and a pair of familiar feet come to a halt in his peripheral vision. The toes twitch in the sand inches from his own.
Jim tsks irritably, “Hey, sir, careful!” he says in faux irritation and trying on his Russian accent. He keeps his eyes fixed on the PADD and turns his body away a little.
“Beggin’ your pardon, sir, our bass player, Daphne’s gotta helluva punch on her.”
When Jim grunts, Bones crouches down and peers at him. Jim can smell clean sweat, potato chips, he thinks, and he’s real glad his hat’s where it is because his senses seem to go haywire when Bones is around and fucking everything turns him on.
“It iz no problem, now leave.” Without looking up, Jim waves a hand in the direction of the volley-ball pitch, “I am reading journal.” He places his forefinger to his bottom lip and teases it as if he’s trying to concentrate.
“Hey, I said I was sorry.” Ah, there’s that snarky tone he’s only ever heard Bones use on Spock. Truth be told, it kind of turns him on, all growly and drawly like that. And he can’t help wondering what that attitude would be like if (when) they’re in bed. It’s a strain for Jim, reining in his natural charm, but he needs to keep the fish on the line.
“Is true and thank you, but I am nevertheless irritated by how you broke my concentration. I was reading a very complex study in ziss medical journal.”
“Is that right?”
Finally Jim allows himself to look up . His eyes trail up, past Bones’ white shorts, mercifully not wet because, if they were, Jim might find himself wrestling Bones to the sand. It’s so not the kind of behavior you expect in a public place. The baggy shorts have slid down so Bones’ hipbones are at eye level, as is the fine line of hair disappearing tantalizingly out of sight.
“Yes, is right.” Jim crosses his legs and pushes his glasses up. He looks Bones right in the eyes which are narrowed, crazy eyebrows drawn together; Jim’s desperate to sweep his tongue across them. “Now, if you will excuse me…”
“Excuse you? What’s your problem, mister?”
“My problem iz I am trying to work and I have been rudely interrupted.”
“Unbelievable.” Bones picks up the ball one-handed. “You make sure and have a nice fucking day, why don’t you?” And with that he saunters away back to the group muttering under his breath. Damn, Jim hopes he hasn’t overplayed it.
Jim sees Bones waving his hands around and pointing in his direction. Jim’s hoping against hope he’s telling Hikaru all about the hot Russian guy with the killer blue eyes. When Hikaru throws down his sunhat and stomps towards Jim, he makes a pointless attempt to look very small. He should have anticipated how, Hikaru, ever the gentleman, would never stand for rudeness. Jim’s had to hold him back many times – Hik’s the kind of guy who just won’t let hair in the soup go by. Ever. Fuck.
Jim’s shielding his face with the PADD. “Sir!” Hikaru’s growling, “Way I hear it - you don’t know the meaning of the word ‘manners’ – why the…” Hikaru’s mouth falls open when he taps the PADD to make him move it, and sees it’s Jim. He stares speechless for some moments before shooting a look over his shoulder and then back to Jim. “Jim? What the ever loving fuck?”
“I’m not Jim,” he replies weakly with the lame accent, “I am Mr. Chekov, Russian millionaire. Zat is who I am.” It’s worth a try…
“You’re an asshole. You’re going to get us busted here. Why were you so rude to Len? I had to stop him coming back here to punch you out. Good thing I said it was better a woman handle it.”
“It’s unresolved sexual tension. I will marry him, zen he’ll forgive me.”
Hikaru clenches his hands by his thighs. “And what’s with the accent, no one talks like zat!”
Jim raises a finger coolly to his lips, refusing to be crushed – seriously, it’s the best accent he can do and Hikaru is being less than supportive. “If you continue to call me zis - Jim - I will report you to the police. I am trying to work and now you interrupt me too. I ef been coming here for years and this place is not what it used to be.”
“Yeah, right, now it’s FULL OF LIARS…and…have you even thought what would happen if the real Russian finds out you’ve been impersonating him and stolen his suit? You’re going to land us both in jail, Jim.” Jim really doesn’t know what to say to that, not that he can get a word in. “Look,” Hikaru says, lowering his voice, “I’d better go back; they’re going to be wondering why I’m taking so long.” Indeed the girls are standing by Bones who, arms folded, is watching them talk. Jim pushes past Hikaru and turns his back on his judge and jury.
“Hik, you’ve got to help me out here,” he says, dropping the accent, ”I fucked up. I hoped playing hard to get would get him interested but now he just thinks I’m a dick. Tell him I’m sorry, okay, tell him I’ll make it up to him and for him to come to my yacht tonight for supper and drinks. He’ll trust you – come on, man just—”
Hikaru scowls and holds up his hand to shut Jim up. “—don’t say it.” Jim clamps his lips tight, waits for Hikaru to soften. “What about the Russian? You know, who’s the actual owner of the yacht?”
“It’ll all work out – everything always works out for me, Hik, you know that?”
“Everything works out? That’s why we’re here on the run, worried for our lives. You know Nero will have followed us here, don’t you? He knows we were on that cargo ship and if he didn’t, he’d only have to ask around. I don’t want to end up in a morgue in a dress.”
“But you look so pretty in a dress,” Jim tries.
“I’m sick of being your conscience, Jim. You need to grow up.”
“I’m twenty-two, Hik, give me a break. I’ve never been in love before – I’m learning—“
“I don’t think you are. Len’s too decent a guy to do this to him.”
“I can make him happy—“ Jim places his hat on his head. “Shake my hand and nod, Len’s looking over, quick.”
Hikaru frowns, “Okay, but you’ve gotta promise me you won’t do anything to hurt him, okay?” This quite moves Jim.
He spreads the fingers of his right hand over his heart, “Scout’s honor, on my father’s grave, okay?” He really means it too. This seems good enough for Hikaru who takes the same hand and shakes it. “Tell him midnight, after the show, on the dock. I’ll take him out on the hover-boat. Please? Tell him I’m sorry and that I had some bad news or something and that’s why I was so rude, k?”
Hikaru blows out an exasperated breath and turns to return to the group. Jim raises his hand in a sheepish little wave. Bones doesn’t wave back, just gives him a long, assessing look. Hikaru takes Bones to one side and hopefully does what he does best – covering up for Jim.
Jim doesn’t wait to see what happens. He feels like he’s run a marathon, so he picks up his things and walks quickly back to the hotel to get back into his tights.
Jim doesn’t want to tear his eyes away from the vision of Bones in a tuxedo, hair all slicked back and even more handsome (if that’s actually possible) now his tan’s been topped up by an afternoon in the sun.
“What? Shut up, I’m working here.”
“He keeps looking over, Jim - I am so in!”
That’s when the penny drops. This is fucking perfect!
The Russian’s sitting at the best table right up close to the stage, and when he sees Jim looking, he raises a champagne flute, amazingly enough bypassing Jim’s smile to check out his best friend.
“Catch his eye!” Jim insists.
“No need, bro, he’s mine already! Fish is bi-ting!”
Hikaru’s not wrong; half way through the set, they take a break and a waiter brings over a bottle of champagne.
“Compliments of Mr. Chekov,” he announces, handing a white envelope to Hikaru. The Russian’s left the ballroom temporarily, his jacket still draped over the back of his chair, so Jim snatches the note from Hik’s hand and scours its contents.
“An invitation to supper on the boat. Perfect!” Jim glances at Bones then calls the waiter back, whispers in his ear. Hikaru punches Jim on the shoulder when he sees the note being re-delivered to Bones. Jim’s heart does a little dance as he watches out of the corner of his eye how Bones lowers his bottle of water and reads the note with a scowl. Please, Bones, come on…
Jim holds his breath; there’s no clue in that scowly expression as to whether or not he’ll accept. At least he’s scanning the few faces that are visible in the dim lighting, looking for the man who invited him, looking for Jim.
Bones gives a little shrug and places the champagne at the back of the stage, before tapping something on the PADD on the nearest music stand. Jim’s PADD pings along with everyone else’s and he sees a change of plan. It’s not a song he knows, and must be another Bones original. Jim scans the clarinet sheet waiting for his cue from Nyota. The song will be his answer, Jim knows it.
Bones adjusts the mic, takes up his guitar and nods at Nyota to indicate he’s ready.
Jim suspects Bones will be warring with himself. One thing he’s learned from past experience that the sight of Jim Kirk in spectacles would melt the hardest of hearts, and Leonard McCoy’s heart is the warmest Jim’s ever encountered, Jim’s pretty damn sure he won’t be able to say no.
Number One hits the backing vocal track and Bones begins to sing:
Maybe I’ll believe in you
The future of
My understanding of love
Many a time I’ve before
Before I’ve many a time
Knocked a stranger’s door
Discretion hardly I’m know for
The sentiment is all in the louche delivery, and the beauty of Bones’ rough molasses voice, hopeful and cynical all at once. He strums a folksy riff, and since the clarinet only makes a brief appearance, adding an extra romantic swell to the sound, Jim’s mostly free just to watch and enjoy.
By the end of the song, he’s not certain Bones will come. Fact is, going by the lyrics, maybe Bones isn’t sure either.
Jim sees Chekov’s and takes in how the Russian’s eyes are boring into Hikaru. When the song’s over Hikaru nods coyly towards his suitor who beams back.
It’s all going to work out just fine, Jim tells himself – the only thing Jim has left to do is persuade Hik to forgo romance on the boat for some in the penthouse instead and keep the real Russian occupied so that Jim can give Bones the night of his life.
Man, the hour till midnight sure is going to drag.
Chapter 4: part 4
Jim ejects the chip from his PADD and slips it into the coin pocket of the gray pinstripe; the chip holds his Awesome Music Mix of Love, all tracks lifted from the hotel’s data base and put together with Bones in mind. He heads for the balcony and clambers down the creepers. Checking the coast is clear, he jumps silently to the ground and jogs the short distance to the dock.
The air’s fragrant with tropical flowers; night birds and the Risan equivalent of crickets chirruping, the light silver and ethereal from the moons glowing against the charcoal, star studded canopy above. It’s a perfect night for romance and Jim feels like he’s in a movie.
Not wanting to appear too eager, as well as to give himself time to get into character, Jim slows to a walk when he spots an unmistakable figure sitting on the rails silhouetted against the harbor lights.
“Ahoy-there!” he calls out, instantly regretting how cheesy it sounds when Bones throws him a cynical look, one eye half closed as Jim swaggers up.
“You’re late,” Bones says, pushing off the rail and looking Jim up and down.
“In that case I happy give you second apology of the day, but is not really necessary as I was watching you in the ballroom… you know is not possible to be in two places at once, yes—?“
Bones takes a moment to contemplate Jim’s best ‘come on, I’m awesome face’ and the side of his mouth quirks. “Touché,” he finally says folding his arms. “But take into account I didn’t see you in the ballroom.” Ah, so Bones was looking for him. This makes Jim’s heart dance a little.
“Was very crowded.”
There’s a tense silence and Bones’ eyes flicker towards the boats then back to Jim. Bones too has made the effort to get changed. He looks casually glamorous in a simple, single-breasted black silk suit and black dress shirt with miles of gorgeous, coffee colored neck exposed, and tantalizing glimpses of chest hair making Jim flush a little.
Jim runs his tongue over dry lips and offers his hand with a half bow. “We have not been formally introduced. I am Chekov, Pavel Andreivitch. I am your servant.” And that was a bordering on camp, Jim thinks.
There’s a beat while Bones regards the offered hand and he pulls his own out of a pocket to clasp Jim’s lightly. “Yeah, I know your name…”
His body language is non-committal, guarded, like he hasn’t decided whether to take up the invitation yet. But he’s here, right? Jim thinks – and the first step is always the hardest. So, rolling out the Kirk charm, because it’s never failed him yet, Jim guides the warm, elegant hand to his lips and kisses it like he’s been a gentleman all his life.
Maybe it’s too much because Bones backs away very slightly. On the other hand, the rising flush which seems to have reached the tip of Bones’ ears might indicate that the little gesture was precisely the right thing to do. Jim looks away to compose himself because he can’t help wondering what the hell else would make Bones blush like that. He feels a throb in his cock and looks up to catch dark eyes.
“Well, you sure are a gentleman of extremes…one minute rude, and now I see you’re choosing to find your manners.”
“This is true,” Jim says, bowing again. “I owe you apology. Please accept my deepest regret, Mr. McCoy, I was not myself this afternoon.”
“Assumin’ ‘yourself’ ain’t an ass-hole, sure, apology accepted.” Bones shoves his hands into his pockets. “And thanks for the champagne. That said, I’m not sure about supper, I gotta tell ya.” He wets his lips.
Jim scans his face and recognizes the tell tale signs of fear; just like on the ship, there’s a fine mist of perspiration on Bones’ nose as his eyes flicker repeatedly towards the yacht moored well away from the shore. It’s not that Bones is worried about breaking his vow of ‘celibacy’ again – it’s that he doesn’t want to risk the motor boat. Jim smiles to himself.
“If you will allow me to take you to the Enterprise, you will see that my hospitality will more than make up for doubt, Mr. McCoy. The sea is calm, and it is mere minutes to my yacht.” Jim lifts an arm to indicate they get going.
Bones considers this for a moment then appears to make a decision his voice irritable and drawly.
“Quit with the ‘mister’. I’m Len, okay?” He moves to the steps. “And what shall I call you, Chekov, Pavel Andreivitch? That’s some mouthful and I gotta save my voice for the show.”
“Pavel is good name,” Jim says, “and if you allow me to be your host? To make up for rudeness, perhaps then you will think of even better name for me?”
Niice, Jim thinks, very smooth.
“Hold your horses, mister, let’s see what you keep in your liquor cabinet before we start exchanging vows.” And there’s that killer smile - Jim suppresses a smirk and bows again.
Jim inserts his chip into the dash then fiddles with the rope giving his code breaker time to infiltrate the computer’s system. He slips the old fashioned key in – the one he lifted from the Russian’s pocket earlier that day, and glances over his shoulder to see if Bones is settled yet - Jim can see a pulse in his cheek; the guy looks mighty worried but he’s holding it together so far.
Jim almost crows with delight when he hears: Good evening, Mr. Chekov.
He puts his glasses on quickly and peers at the screen – awesome – he’s retrieved the system's password although he doesn’t answer immediately to allow his Trojan to infiltrate and convert his voice to Chekov’s.
He puts his glasses on quickly and peers at the screen – he’s in! Jim turns to smile at Bones, and notes how his gaze lingers on Jim’s face. He indicates Bones sit down.
Jim removes his glasses and slides them into his breast pocket. The allergy to Retinax has never seemed like anything more than an inconvenience before, but now, the way Bones glances away - thank you spectacles of sexi-timez! He’s aware of white knuckles gleaming in the moonlight where Bones grips the side of the boat. Jim rests a reassuring hand on Bones’ knee; he doesn’t shrug off it off. Jim uploads his music mix and then taps the screen to fire up the boat while his first track plays:
Bones rolls his eyes, “Well, I guess I’ve heard stranger things…”
You and the night and the music
Fill me with flaming desire
Setting my being completely on fire
You and the night and the music
Thrill me but will we be one
After the night and the music are done
Jim passes the five minutes it takes for the hover-boat to reach the Enterprise in contemplating Bones who turns to watch Risa’s lights. Jim takes in the strong jaw, the way his thick, shiny hair needs cutting and frays over perfect, sun-kissed ears. He wonders what it would feel like to drag his tongue along the chest hair where the shirt’s un-buttoned, or across the soft fullness of Bones’ lips. Jim takes little mental pictures of the shadow of stubble on his chin, the glide of his Adam’s apple as Bones tries to swallow down his fear, the smooth skin behind his ear, the place Jim knows that he if were to press his nose and inhale, that’s where he’d find Bones, the scent, the essence of this man.
“Real pretty,” Bones says, interrupting Jim’s little wander down the path of man-crush.
“I was thinking same,” Jim agrees, his voice a little husky and with half an ear on the lyrics:
If we must live for the moment
Love 'til the moment is through
After the night and the music die
Will I have you?
“We’re here,” Bones says, his eyebrows shooting into his hairline when the boat bumps to a stop against the side of the yacht. Damn, Jim should have been concentrating. “That a Russian tradition too?”
“I’m sorry, I was distracted,” Jim says truthfully, reaching for the ladder with damp palms. He ties the boat and allows Bones to go first, his long hands and legs moving easily till he can climb onto the narrow, teak deck.
“Is very beautiful, yes?” Jim says. The Enterprise looks so much better than he imagined. He has to stop himself doing a little bounce, remembering that luxury and success are Pavel’s, i.e. his way of life and temporarily, Jim isn’t the same man who sold his coat to make a few dimes. Nonchalant that’s it… deep breath…”My father have in family very long time.”
His accent’s slipping. Jim suspects he’s beginning to sound Danish or something, but if it’s true, Bones doesn’t appear to notice, too busy running long fingers over the polished wood and old style handles on the door to the cabin. Bones nods towards the shore where the resort lights twinkle gold and blue in the distance, the sound of laughter and music carried by the breeze towards them. “This place must be pretty private.”
Jim nods taking in all the details of their surroundings so that he doesn’t give himself away. First thing is booze, they need booze – champagne goggles will work in his favor. Here’s hoping the Russian’s got more than vodka on board.
As Bones leans on the rail and looks across the flat water, a warm off-shore breeze stirs his hair. The light from both moons picks out the white sand below the surface even at this depth. Everything is so fucking romantic and perfect that Jim’s itching to get going on their date properly. He waits till Bones isn’t looking and tries the door to below deck.
“You enjoy view, I return in one minute.”
Now that the computer’s at Jim’s beck and call, the security force field disabled even before they boarded, he’s free to roam. “Lights, twenty-five percent,” he whispers, pulling the door closed behind him. His mouth falls open at the cosy, opulent bachelor pad before him. He can still smell fresh paint, like it’s been newly spruced up just for Pavel’s eighteenth birthday. There’s a mixture of pieces from the past two centuries in expensive natural fabrics. It must have cost a fortune just to import the boat.
Jim rummages through a mini- fridge and locates a bottle of champagne, vodka and caviar, then searches a cupboard for something to go with it. Crackers - perfect!
“Hey, Pavel, you okay down there?”
“Yes, yes – I am here.” He fluffs up a couple of pillows on the enormous couch that takes up one entire wall of the cabin, and runs a finger along a shelf filled with antique books on one wall looking for that final touch. He settles for Captain Horatio Hornblower and throws it on the pillows.
“Rewind Awesome Music Mix of Love’” he instructs the computer, “track 3,” so that by the time he’s up on deck, bottle of champagne in one hand and glasses dangling upside down from the other, Norah Jones rings out softly behind them. It’s a gamble, but Jim’s dug deep into his soppy favorites for this night. He waits for a reaction, sure it’ll be a sneer.
Bones rests the glass on the rail and watches Jim pour, an impenetrable look on his face.
“Sure, I like the old stuff…” Bones’ lips purse over the rim of the glass. Raising his own, Jim bumps his teeth when he becomes transfixed at the tan column of Bones’ neck, watching worriedly as Bones downs the whole glass in one.
As if reading Jim’s mind, Bones quirks a grin, and holds his glass out for a refill. ”That one was for my nerves, I’m slowin’ right down now...” An eyebrow raise and Bones adds, “after this one right here.” Jim pours and the bubbles fizz over Bones’ knuckles.
“Sorry--” But it’s a lie. Jim isn’t in the slightest bit sorry, not now he gets to watch Bones lick the spilled champagne off steady fingers, plush lips forcing Jim to take a steadying breath.
Jim takes a tentative half step closer and tops up his own glass. “Is very dry, extra sec, to prepare your tongue.“
Their hands rest on the rail side by side, their finger tips so close. They glance down at the same time, and when Jim looks up again, Bones is holding his gaze, pupils dilated thanks to the champagne buzz.
“Prepare my tongue for what?” he drawls, “Should I be excited?”
His fingers move so, so slightly, deliberately along the rail towards Jim’s; the sudden shift in the power dynamic making Jim feel a little light-headed. His finger tips tease against Jim’s sending little electric shocks through him.
Heart hammering, Jim turns away and indicates the door to below deck. “I have more to tempt you below, but first let us enjoy the view and listen to the music.” He tops up Bones' glass again and leans on the rail with him, watching his nostrils flare very slightly when the bubbles tickle.
“I have not brought anyone here before,” Jim says. Well that’s the truth at least.
“The hell you haven’t.“ Bones has become more mellow, less guarded with each sip and Jim’s noticed hazel eyes lingering a little longer on his face, trailing down to his lips.
“And we’re alone? No hidden army of slaves down in the engine room?” Bones takes the bottle from him, making Jim start, and the little brush of their hands sends another spark through him.
“I gave the stewart ze night off. Is just you and me, Leonard.”
Bones rests his glass and the bottle on the deck, then takes Jim’s glass and drains it. He looks directly into Jim’s eyes, the air heavy between them. “Are you trying to get me drunk, Pavel?” Jim watches dumbly when Bones adds his glass to the collection on the boards then steps between Jim’s feet and crowds him against the rail. He’s so close Jim can smell the intoxicating fruit of the champagne on his breath.
“I sink it is you getting you drunk,” Jim manages.
Bones chuckles at that. “Really now…?” He leans in and Jim swallows when a strong hand slides to the back of his neck, fingers cool from the bottle. Jim can feel sweet, hot breath puff against his mouth. Bones is going to kiss him, it’s what he’s dreamed of since first casting eyes on him, but...“I jus’ need to check one more thing…” Bones whispers close to his ear.
“Please tell me you ain’t a sax player…”
And this, this is what makes Jim’s stomach flip. Fuck, he can’t go through with this - it’s wrong on so many levels; what a time for his conscience to rear it’s unwanted head. He decides then the best thing is to have a few drinks, no making out, so the date’s a date, but he won’t be guilty of taking advantage of Bones, of lying to him. It’s just that those lips are so fucking tempting and Christ he smells so good...maybe just one...
It’s with supreme effort of will that Jim splays his hand on Bones’ chest and pushes him away a little. “I have to make a warning –“
Bones frowns. “Warning? What? Do you have cooties or something? You must have had your shots, they don’t let anyone off planet who’s not immunized…”
“Yes, I mean, no, and of course I have shots…” a second hand, this time bunching Jim’s shirt. Fuck, fuck, fuck…what can he say? I’ve lied to you, I’m in love with you, I…I’m sorry?
“I have a condition—“ Jim blurts out.
“—what kind of a condition?” His lips are millimeters away.
“I cannot become aroused, nothing works, not the kissing, not touching, not...umph...”
It’s too late. Jim’s legs almost buckle when Bones kisses him. He can see now why Bones took the breakables away – his champagne tinged tongue pushed in without hesitation. It sweeps across Jim’s, a rough chin scraping against his, fingers tightening their hold in the short hairs at Jim’s neck. His eyes fall shut and he curses the stupid lie because just this, the smell of him, those soft, dark lips insistent and yielding all at once make Jim so hard, if Bones were to touch him, he’d know. And Jim wants to touch, to be touched so bad; despite wanting to do the right thing, he can’t seem to stop.
Jim goes into over-drive and with the warm fragrant breeze caressing them, the gentle rocking of the boat adding to the mood, he throws caution aside and gives as good as he gets. He wraps an arm around Bones and guides him closer, tilting his head for better access – if this is going to be their one and only night together, he wants to make the most of it so he can memorize every detail. He wants to be Cinderella at the ball, conscience be damned, for he’ll get his come-uppance when he returns his costume later. For now, he’s got to do this or he’ll regret it for the rest of his life. He tries hard to not think about what Bones would think of the real Jim who’s a loser, a wanderer with no morals and no integrity - who’s fucking lied to him. As their tongues war and arms wind around each other, Jim vows that whatever happens, he won’t let things heat up any more than they have. A few more kisses, a couple of drinks and then he’ll take Bones back and no harm done.
They break apart after an eternity. Mouth swollen and slick, Bones looks questioningly into Jim’s eyes. “So...” he says, panting a little, while he runs a thumb across Jim’s lower lip. He leans in and whispers into Jim’s ear, “no ‘arousal’?”
Drunk on more than just champagne, it’s with great difficulty Jim manages to shake his head. “Yes, is pleasant, but no, I feel nothing more than warm tongue.”
Bones draws his eyebrows together. “Maybe we’re doin’ it wrong?”
“I don’t sink so…”
“But you felt… nothing?” Bones takes a second to process this then pulls away, runs his hand through his hair, and shakes his head. “We’re rushing things, we’ll go below, get to know each other.”
Fuck, he’s such a god damned gentleman. Jim forces a smile and moves to the door, bows so Bones goes down the steps first giving Jim an opportunity to adjust himself because this might be one lie too far – his cock’s threatening to break free of it’s own accord if Jim doesn’t help it out.
“Real cosy,” Bones is saying and he turns a half circle. “What business are you in?”
“Dilithium crystals – transportation, is big money.” Jim’s researched the Chekovs, so no lie there at least - still he’s going to have to steer the conversation away from potentially tricky topics. “Please sit, let us not talk of such…”
“…boring ass crap?” Bones chuckles, “Sure thing.”
Bones slouches on the couch, legs falling apart and his eyes never leave Jim while he moves about the small space. Jim rummages in the freezer compartment and draws a long breath to calm himself. He takes out the slim bottle of Lordanov Vodka. The Russian won’t miss it, even though it’s worth more than the entire band will earn in the three weeks combined.
“Ah, I forget, we must stand to drink wodka.”
“Is this what you’ve preparing my tongue for?” Bones points at the bottle.
“Also this…” Jim waves his hand across the caviar and the salt crackers. “Now stand, please.”
“Damn you’re bossy…” Bones gets to his feet again and moves towards Jim who’s busy pouring out two shots. His skin prickles when Bones leans close to look at the label.
“We must toast and Russian tradition is you put glass down only when wodka gone.”
“All of it?” Bones looks worried, his eyebrows drawing together.
Jim smiles - damn he’s adorable. “Just in glass. Okay – I make toast first!” He holds up the shot and tries to remember the few words of Russian he knows, curiously enough all linked to alcohol.
“ Za zdroveye!” he says and knocks back his drink then slams the glass on the table.
Bones narrows his eyes, looks at Jim’s mouth. “Come again?”
Jim repeats the toast and tries not to stare too hungrily at Bones’ lips when they curl around the unfamiliar sounds.
Bones knocks the shot back and puffs out a noisy breath staring at Jim wide eyed and not a little impressed. “Fuck!”
Bones clears his throat then tilts his head playfully all dimples and gleaming eyes. “Not sure, I need to try again. What… did you say, anyways?”
“To health!” Jim explains briskly and knocks back a second glass.
Bones looks alarmed but follows suit. Their glasses thunk on the table top. Once his face has returned to normal Bones says, “Must be my turn to toast?”
Jim nods and refills both their glasses.
“To music!” Bones announces with a grin.
“Yes! To music!”
They slam their glasses down and Jim bends to refill them. He notices Bones is beginning to sway very slightly so, “Last toast!” he announces. He only gives Bones a thimble full this time, and Jim puts an arm around him for support. Raising his glass he says quietly, “zalyoobof!”
Bones regards him with lidded eyes. “What does that mean?” he asks, his face looming suddenly very near.
Jim’s heart is pounding. “To love…” he explains softly.
“Amen to that.” Bones tips back his vodka then unexpectedly pushes his mouth against Jim’s, allowing the sharp liquid to spill across Jim’s tongue. He gasps, swallows, the tingle in Jim’s throat and gut and the back of his eyelids only partly due to the booze he knows.
They kiss long and slow standing arms wrapped around each other, vodka chilled tongues rolling gently, and finally warming against each others; Bones’ mouth pliant and trusting against his. But Jim needs to put the brakes on, he promised himself. When he tries to speak, Bones gets the hint and pulls away a little to give him room. Finally, Jim’s able to utter words he never thought he’d say until way past his hundredth birthday:
“I must remind you, I will not be able to maintain erection.”
“That’s okay…I like kissing…” Bones sweeps his tongue across Jim’s bottom lip.
While it feels, tastes amazing, his cheeks burning, his senses in override, for once Jim’s telling the truth. The irony is that Jim’s lie has bitten him on the ass. Each little touch and kiss has turned Jim inside out till he knows that one thing he doesn’t want to, mustn’t do is hurt Bones. Too much thinking about consequences equals too much blood in the brain with zero left to travel south. Fuck. He really can’t get hard.
Bones must notice how Jim’s face falls because he takes his hand and pulls Jim to the couch so they’re both sitting on the edge. “Come on, Pavel, tell me – I’m a good listener.”
Jim shakes his head, searches around in his booze-addled brain for something he can explain this away with, a plausible reason for his impotence: an injury, a shock? Better if it’s based in truth. He glances at the crackers on the table and remembers how he examined the label earlier.
“I have many allergies – not to wodka,” he forces a chuckle, “but milk, mustard seeds, peanuts… also other things…” he reaches for the gold pot of caviar and pushes his finger into the the pea sized gray eggs. “Once was making love and I kiss boy. He have peanuts on here,” Jim indicates his tongue, “and I get very sick.” He brings his finger to Bones’ mouth and offers the caviar to him. Bones clasps Jim’s wrist and pulls it closer and swallows eagerly. Bones returns the favor, dipping a long finger in the pot and pushing the caviar into Jim’s mouth; the subtle taste, rich and silky has him chasing around his teeth with his tongue,”…and now,” Jim continues shakily, “each time,” he mimics the imaginary downward droop of Little Jim with his finger.” I sink my brain is confused. I am afraid I will become ill maybe and…” he shrugs, turns away, Bones’ look of non-judgmental sympathy making his heart swell then shrink with love and guilt.
“Pavel, look at me…”
Bones’ hand is on his knee, Jim should be coming in his pants at the warmth of those eyes, the softness of his lips, but he isn’t – he’s dead from the waist down. Be careful what you wish for, a mocking voice sounds in his head. “Yes?” he croaks, warring emotions twisting and tightening around his throat.
Bones dips his little finger into the pot and regards him through impossibly thick eyelashes, “Like I said – kissing’s good too…” He deposits the caviar on the tip of his own tongue and pulls Jim forward so they collapse on the couch and Jim can take it directly from him; it’s so perfect Jim’s considering that maybe sex is overrated - just being close feels like all he can want.
Their limbs tangle, hips pressed close, and though Jim can feel that Bones is hard as hell, he does nothing to draw attention to the fact. Bones keeps his hands above Jim’s waist, stroking his hair, kissing his ears and throat but never asking for more. It fucking kills him.
They make out for what seems like hours, talking between kisses, doing just what Bones suggested - getting to know each other. Bones tells Jim about his break up, about how he dropped out of med school. It wasn’t all down to Joss but had much to do with how he handled his dad’s death really badly. He tells Jim how Spock and Uhura found him singing in some sleazy bar in Andoria where he’d hidden out for months, unable to summon up the courage to take a flight home. How if it wasn’t for them he’d be living on the streets most likely, how they’re as good as family. Jim listens and he wants to share too, but he can’t, not tonight, not like this. Fortunately, Bones doesn’t seem to notice he’s doing the majority of the talking.
“We should get some air,” Bones says after a long comfortable silence. He’s lying with his head on Jim’s chest, fingers intertwined, as they watch the light change while dawn approaches.
They untangle, gather the glasses and bottle and place them in the washer and fridge respectively. They brush the crumbs off the couch, and Jim makes a silent promise to the real Chekov that one day he’ll pay him back for this night, for the things they’ve taken; somehow thank him for this time he’s spent with this incredible man.
They walk around the yacht hand in hand, pausing to watch the moons set . The lights are dimming in Risa and for the first time Jim wonders what Hikaru and the real Chekov have been doing all night. How the hell has his friend managed to keep the millionaire occupied for the hours they’ve been here? Heavy hearted he’s about to suggest they head back to shore when Bones says: “Hey, you haven’t shown me the bridge.”
“The bridge?” Jim knows this perfect night will soon be over so he welcomes the opportunity to eek out a little more time with Bones. “Ah, you mean ‘wheel room’ - is this way.”
“You look good on here,” he says tugging at Jim’s earlobe with his teeth leaving the skin moist and tingling. Jim leans into him but, overcome with curiosity, he unravels Bones’ arms and moves closer to examine the gauge on the pelorus. He fumbles for his reading glasses, puts them on, all the while holding onto Bones’ hand. The grip tightens, almost crushing his fingers. He looks at Bones concerned.
Bones shakes his head, gnaws at his lip.His eyes are so fucking dark and gorgeous and there’s a little furrow between his thick eyebrows as he stares at Jim. “Nope.”
Bones tightens his grip even more and pulls Jim to face him and runs a finger down Jim’s nose. “I like glasses is all…” he practically growls sending a shudder through Jim.
Jim had completely forgotten - but isn’t that why he brought his reading glasses along in the first place? He could have gotten away with squinting after all. His stomach flips in anxiety and he feels he needs to explain, even if it’s just for his own benefit. “I need them to read, I’m allergic to…”
“Retinax, yeah…” And before Jim can do anything about it, Bones is kissing him again, harder, more insistent than before, like he’s gonna fucking devour Jim whole, a hot tongue pushing past Jim’s teeth, fingers edging under Jim’s jacket. Jim lets out a strangled sound and allows Bones to guide his hands for him round to cup his ass. And as if what he wants isn’t clear enough, Bones grinds his hips against Jim, sucking hungrily on his tongue. Jim never wants the kiss to end though his guilt’s still got a stranglehold on Little Jim, meaning he’s dead below the waist. All he knows is he’s got to put a stop to this. He can do this, he really can, he thinks, fists kneading the muscles of Bones’ beautiful high ass, licking into his trusting, yielding mouth.
With perfect, perhaps cruel timing, the last track on Jim’s mix decides to fuck with his head:
I’m so nervous; don’t know what I’m supposed to do
Don’t know what I’m supposed to say
I love you…
Chests heaving as one, they pull apart and their eyes lock, the air between them practically crackling. Bones’ expression is surprisingly guarded, as if he’s weighing up whether to push Jim away or pull him closer, though his body is anything but unsure, the way he’s hips are rolling against Jim’s.
Damn, what the fuck is a man to do?
Perhaps sensing he’s wavering too, Bones helps Jim out. “Come here,” he whispers and hooks a finger under Jim’s glasses to ease them off his nose. Jim’s mouth falls open and he twists his hands into Bones’ shirt letting out a little sigh when Bones leans in and kisses his eyelids softly, first one, then the other. Bones allows them to fall back lop-sided, his eyes burning into Jim’s face.
The tenuous hold Jim has on his resolve, the determination to do the right thing and stop this now, tears apart under the heat of those hazel eyes, the sweet scent of his breath. He’s reminded of the cracking of ice under his boots when he sprinted across frozen lakes as a kid, how he used to ignore it, keep running, keep going.
Jim stops damned well thinking and backs Bones roughly against the wheel.
He takes a moment to enjoy the sight before him, Bones with his legs splayed, hands gripping the wheel for support, his immaculate suit jacket falling open to reveal how his shirt appears to have lost a button in their tussling throughout the night. His hair’s a crazy mess, pointing in all directions making him look a little wild, eyebrow arched, waiting, daring Jim.
And Jim Kirk can never walk away from a dare - he’s covered in scars to prove it.
He reaches forward, trembling when Bones lets out a soft moan as he proceeds to unbutton the rest of the shirt, easing it aside to reveal the tanned, muscular chest he’s seen many times as Jemima but now he can touch, Bones wants him to touch.
Something unfamiliar but which refuses to be ignored squeezes around Jim’s heart and he closes his eyes reverently. His tongue trails along Bones’ collar bone, then he ducks to take a nipple in his mouth, worrying it with his teeth while holding Bones’ hands out of the way. He tastes clean, slightly salty, and male. And the noises he’s making, little groans and hisses of breath as Jim touches him, egg Jim on, his heart thudding in his ears, crowding out any words of protest from his conscience.
Bones leans his face into Jim’s ear, grumbling half-formed words of encouragement which Jim takes as a cue to drop his hands to his waist band and unfasten Bones’ fly. He sighs against warm skin, breathing deep to savor every last detail, every heartbeat and rise and fall of his chest, cheeks coloring in satisfaction when Bones becomes more vocal above him. Jim slides a thumb into the gap between waistband and skin, dragging a nail so slowly, enjoying how this has suddenly become all about the other man’s pleasure and nothing to do with his own.
He gazes at Bones, needing to check that this is still okay. Eyes as warm as autumn light, pupils dilated, he’s chewing on his lips, the skin pink and swollen as he watches Jim. Jim unzips him and reaches for hot flesh and Bones responds with a heated, “Yeah...” He’s hard, and fuck, his cock’s big, heavy as Jim pulls it free. Bones leans back, lets out a hiss of arousal and fumbles through Jim’s hair, tugging him closer.
Jim parts his lips and the fire he feels in his chest beats anything that could ever happen with Little Jim so, with no hesitation, Jim kneels between Bones’ feet and takes him in with a grateful moan. He works his mouth down slowly, teasingly until his nose and glasses bump against rough hairs. Bones reaches down and Jim feels him adjust the glasses. He smiles around the weight in his mouth, moans a little himself when Bones traces a finger around Jim’s lips, at the point where he’s stretched around velvet skin.
Feel so breathless as you dance around my mind
The thought of you sends me so high…
Completely overwhelmed, perhaps it’s the music, perhaps it’s the vodka but Jim finds himself mouthing the next line along the damp head,“…I love you...” He’s relieved Bones won’t know but he needs to say it, his cheeks burning with confusion at himself. He grips the base and angles it so he can lick a long stripe along Bones’ length, slow and leisurely his lips sliding easily across silken precome. He mixes it up with more deep sucking, saliva building on his chin, his free hand reaching for Bones’ balls to gently roll them between his fingers, wanting to make it good, needing to. Bones grips Jim’s hair and lets out one noisy breath after another, his teeth gleaming in the dawn light.
“That’s right…fuck…like that…”
Jim’s eyes fall shut and he breathes Bones in; he smells clean and male, making him feel heady, his chest warm, his skin glowing where his breath condenses on Bones stomach. He doesn’t want this to end, having every intention of winding Bones tighter and tighter and making this really good for him, but when he opens his eyes, looks up at Bones and their eyes meet, it’s as if something seems to break in the man. Bones grits his teeth, hand tugging roughly at Jim’s hair, then he tilts his chin up, thrusts erratically into the slick tunnel of Jim’s mouth, and comes with a choked cry.
Jim doesn’t let go, keeps milking him through it, taking every last drop into himself. He’s utterly lost in the moment, thinking this is the first time in his life he’s ever experienced ‘making love’ and how curious it doesn’t make him want to run a mile.
Eventually, Bones pushes him gently away and guides Jim to his feet to kiss him thoroughly.
“Hi,” he says softly into Jim’s cheek when they break apart to breath.
Jim feels like a condemned man, about to walk the last meter before his execution and it’s with great difficulty he manages to respond. “Hi yourself,” he manages finally, hoping Bones won’t have noticed his accent slip. They kiss again, unwilling for this night to be over, until Jim feels Bones sigh against him.
“I should get back, it’s late…early even.” Thankfully, there’s no ‘what about you?’
Bones holds Jim’s hand on the way back on the boat. They kiss one last time outside the hotel. “Thanks for a great night,” Bones says kissing Jim’s jaw and throat. Jim nods but can’t trust himself to speak, tugging Bones back for yet another kiss before he releases him.
Bones glances back before he disappears through the revolving doors, raising a hand then turning away. Jim feeling desperate and stranded, fights the impulse to chase after him and confess. Surely Bones would understand, if he told him about Nero, about how...but the words crumble like ashes and he rubs his forehead in exasperation when he remembers what Christine said about what happens if you lose his trust.
“Fuck, fuck, fuck,” he says under his breath.
Jim’s about to walk through the doors, then thinks it might make more sense to go back the way he came – he left the balcony open after all. As he rounds the back of the hotel he passes the ballroom where the three meter tall doors are open. The cleaning staff move about inside and music blares out even at this early hour.
Wow, Hik did good – the millionaire is absolutely, totally distracted. They look very cosy together, eyes locked as they traverse the floor and Hik is leading! He’s got a rose stem between his lips and making maximum use of his long black wig to toss his head dramatically. The Russian’s smitten, a goofy grin on his face, doe eyes shining and fixed on Hikaru’s face. His curls stick to his forehead, evidence they’ve literally danced the night away.
Looks like it’s four hearts Jim’s going to be responsible for breaking, all because he’s been a short-sighted douche. His face falls; the music suddenly sounds like the suicide music folk put on when sitting in a hotel room ready to say goodbye to the world – it’s cheerful and oblivious, and totally out of kilter with the pain he’s feeling.
He leaves them to their last moments of happiness and scales the vines to his balcony. Some fucking Romeo he is.
tbc, final part soon!