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Anusha Gupta isn't stupid. She knows it happens. When you take a couple thousand of the brightest minds in the galaxy and beat them academically to within an inch of their lives, all that stress has to go somewhere. For values of "somewhere" equal to "libido," that is.

Which is better than having to bail them out of jail, she supposes. But the image sent to her PADD this morning is something she can't ignore. Passcode-locked six ways from Sunday; it required both voice and fingerprint ID to verify that she was privileged enough to see it.

A single photograph, sent from a disposable com account so it couldn't be traced. Slightly grainy, but still clear enough to be incriminating as all hell.

Now Anusha has her gaze carefully trained on the culprit sitting across from her, fingers locked together in her lap to keep from reaching over and wrapping her hands around his throat. She had to rearrange two meetings to squeeze this in, and hopefully it will only take a few minutes—her lunch tiffin is scheduled to arrive promptly at 1200 hours. Who knew that the little Deltan restaurant down the road would make such amazing curry?

"Captain Pike, I assume you know the reason you're here."

The crow's feet at the corner of his eyes crinkle upwards as he smiles. She hates that smile. Once upon a time, Pike was the golden boy of Starfleet and to this day, he wears his entitlement like a medal of honor.

"I don't believe I do, Admiral Gupta. So if you'd care to enlighten me..." He spreads his hands wide, asking for absolution before she's even accused him of a crime.

Anusha takes a series of calming breaths. Killing him now would really create more paperwork then she's ready to deal with.

"Dammit, Pike. Do I have to spell it out?"

Pike assumes a relaxed position in a chair designed to be anything but, spreading his legs wide enough that the dark fabric of his uniform trousers presses closely against his cock. Men. Why is their first line of defense always in their pants?

"Admiral, with all due respect, I keep a very busy schedule."

She didn't expect this to be easy—Pike didn't make captain in four years by being stupid. She pulls the PADD out from her desk drawer and throws it down in front of him.

He leans in, looks, shrugs. His expression is carefully concocted from three parts bravado and a dash of cunning. "I don't see what's the problem, Admiral Gupta. It's a photo of me, helping a student review his work." He moves to rise from his seat. "Now, if we're finished here, I'll--"

"Sit. Down." Pike's takes his seat again, his eyes wary. They travel in the same social orbit, but are far from friendly. Perhaps the owner of the photo took that into consideration before sending it off. Anusha leans in, keeping her voice low as if the walls might be listening in on them. Which they damn well might be.

"This is not just you helping a student. This is you, in a bar, with your hand up the back of a cadet's uniform." His posture stiffens, and she can see him rapidly calculating all the ways he might be able to talk himself out of this situation. "Now look, Captain. Everybody knows you're gunning to take the Enterprise out on her maiden voyage. And while this is the first time I've had evidence, it isn't the first time someone's mentioned your...loyalty to the students. If you can't learn to keep it in your pants, you'll be making snowmen out on Delta Vega faster than you can blink."

Anusha knows that she's exaggerating. At worst, they'll take the Enterprise away and put him on the Farragut or the Yorktown instead.

"I am well aware of the regulations around fraternization, Admiral," he bristles, clearly used to giving orders instead of taking them.

She plucks the PADD back off the desk, chucks it into the drawer. It retracts automatically, and she finds herself wishing it hadn't so that she could slam it shut and burn off some of her frustration. Anusha knows how to play politics, but there's no way she's going to let Pike continue run wild with his frat boy antics.

"It seems we're in perfect understanding, then. Starfleet cadets have enough to deal with as it is without you fucking around with them, Pike. Consider this a warning."

He keeps his expression carefully blank. "Understood, Admiral. Is there anything else?"

She keeps him hanging for a few more seconds before relenting. "That will be all, Captain. You are dismissed," she replies stiffly.

Anusha is relieved to see Pike depart without further argument. She only has so many Head Bitch in Charge points to work with, and this little chat has completely used them up.


* * *


The door to Pike's suite of rooms in the officer's quarters slides shut behind him and with it, the tension leaves Pike's body. In his mind, this stint on Earth is just extended shore leave until he gets his hands on the Enterprise.

He yanks open the placket of his uniform jacket and tosses it carelessly over the back of an overstuffed armchair left by the room's former occupant. Pike keeps a small liquor cabinet stocked for days just like this one, and pours himself two fingers of whiskey, straight.

The burn of the alcohol as it moves down his throat helps thaw some of the cool anger that has possessed him ever since he left Gupta's office. What the hell does she know about handling cadets, anyway? Especially ones like Kirk, who would be rotting away in some jail cell back in Riverside if hadn't been for Pike's interference. Winona did her best, but by the time he was eighteen Jim Kirk had a rap sheet longer than Pike's arm. Jim needs control, needs someone to take him firmly in hand and steer him down the right path.

Pike tightens his grip on his drink, the sharp edges of the crystal tumbler biting into his palm. Just wait a few years, Chris, they had said. Just teach a few classes, do a few recruiting runs, and before you know it, the helm of the Enterprise will be all yours. He thinks about his ship, engines primed and ready, looking ridiculously out of place in the middle of that huge expanse of nothing they call Iowa.

Pike adjusts himself within the tight confines of his uniform trousers.

Thinking about the Enterprise always makes him hard.

He makes his way back to the bedroom on autopilot. With the curtains drawn tight, the room is full of inky shadows even in midday, but he doesn't bother with the lights. In Starfleet, you learn to be organized. Nothing to trip you up when the comm jerks you into wakefulness at 0400 hours and sends you stumbling through the dark trying to get into your pants with one hand and your shirt with the other because the ship is taking fire and your ass should've been on the bridge ten minutes ago. He takes another drink, leans against the doorway.

"You can stop pretending you're asleep, kid."

He can hear the hitch in Jim's breathing, and for a moment contemplates turning the lights on. But it's better to imagine how he looks, naked and flushed, spread-eagled on Pike's king size bed—the only allowance he's given himself in the realm of creature comforts. In the column of light filtering in from the hall, Pike can just make out the curve of Jim's balls peeking out from between his thighs as he opens them just that much wider in invitation.

Pike sits down heavily on the bed, feeling every day of his 47 years. He is very careful not to touch Jim—he's been waiting here since Pike left for his dressing-down with Gupta this morning, he can hold out a little longer.

"Admiral Gupta decided to tear me a new one today over the fraternization regs." His eyes follow the sweep of Kirk's spine down to his waist, which is peppered with bruises the exact size and shape of Pike's fingers. "She had pictures; said that people had been talking about us. Sometimes, I wonder if you've let something slip. Maybe to that doctor friend of yours, I know he's got a mouth on him. Or that Orion girl in the engineering track."

Jim tenses, makes a little whining noise in the back of his throat. Pike smiles to himself.

"You didn't think I knew about her, did you?"

"I didn't--,"

Pike clears his throat, and Jim shuts up instantly.

Pike runs a hand up the back of one well-muscled thigh, stopping just as he reaches the curve of Jim's ass to admire the delicious offering laid out before him for his exclusive enjoyment.

"And here I thought you were doing so good at keeping this just between us." He cards his fingers through the short hairs at the base of Jim's neck, slides his middle finger around and into Jim's mouth to feel the wet slide of his tongue before pulling back again. He puts his mouth close to Jim's ear and whispers, "If I can't trust you to behave, I'll have to bring back the restraints."

Pike considers the remaining alcohol sitting in the bottom of his glass, and empties it out just above Jim's tailbone. The burnished-gold liquid hesitates before running down the crack of his ass. Jim inhales sharply, but doesn't move save for the slight trembling he can't quite control.

"See, that's your problem, son. You've got no understanding about how a place like Starfleet works." He presses his mouth to the warmth of Jim's body, takes a moment to inhale the scent of whiskey and the bitter musk of his sweat before biting down, hard. Jim ruts helplessly against the bed, and Pike knows that the boy is impossibly hard, his cock red and leaking all over the comforter.

The thought makes lust flare white-hot in the pit of Pike's stomach, and he moves to kneel on the bed in the space between Jim's legs. Pike's breath comes fast and hard, as if someone has siphoned all the air from the room. "Do you think I brought you all the way out here just so you could run loose, so you could fuck up, make me look bad?"

Jim licks his lips, shakes his head no. For a second Pike wishes he hadn't given Jim that gag order—after all, the boy is so pretty when he begs.

The metallic rasp of Pike's fly being unzipped echoes loudly against Jim's enforced silence.

"Well. This isn't Iowa, son. I'll keep you in line, don't you worry about that."


* * *

Anusha rounds the corner on her way back to campus, the pulse of her feet against the pavement steady and reassuring. She'd spent a number of years fixing satellite arrays around starbases all over the quadrant, but there was nothing like having solid Earth gravity under your feet and the startlingly cool night air next to your skin.

She comes to a stop near the officer's quarters, taking a moment to stretch out her calves. The door of the building slides open to expel a young man dressed in cadet reds. The blonde hair and broad shoulders seem somehow familiar to her. His bowlegged gait is slow, pained, just as if--

"What's your name, cadet?"

He turns around, fixing her with an uncertain grin.

"Kirk, ma'am. James T. Kirk."

She narrows her eyes in suspicion, well aware of the fact that she doesn't look very admiralesque in her old STARFLEET MATHLETES t-shirt.

"Are you familiar with Captain Pike?"

The kid doesn't miss a beat. "Who? I was with Admiral Archer—he's helping me review for my dissertation defense."

She lets him squirm for a moment, then jerks her head towards student housing. "Go on ahead then, get out of here."

He must think she's stupid. Dissertation defenses don't start for another two months.

She is going to fucking kill Pike.