Until the Mountain Crumbles to the Sea
The long walk back to the captain’s quarters was silent, and not very companionable. Leonard could feel the eyes of the crew on him, and swallowed down his general paranoia. This was beta shift, they rarely got to see Kirk or McCoy in person. It was simple curiosity, nothing more. They certainly had no idea that Jim had just had a little breakdown in the Observation Deck, or that they’d spent the last five minutes of said breakdown trading saliva like hormonal teenagers that just found out they were going to different schools in the fall.
Leonard’s step faltered; Jim had paused. Leonard backpedaled half a step. They were in front of his quarters. Jim was still sore. Raw, his mind helpfully provided. Whatever. His own quarters would do just as well. Leonard stepped through the locked door and waited for Jim to follow him in.
Jim did, and stood in the office area, as if he didn’t know what to do with himself. Leonard sighed a little and took his hand. “It’s just me, Jim.” He leaned forward to brush his cheek with a kiss.
Jim jerked away, first his face, then his hand.
Leonard stared for a moment, then went to his bed. He sat down heavily on the edge and began methodically stripping down. “You can either stand there and pout, leave, or join me. I made my move – the one I thought you wanted. Ball’s in your court now.”
The response was quiet, almost deadly so. “Fuck your pity fuck.”
Leonard barked a laugh, a short, humorless sound. “The day Jim Kirk is offered a pity fuck is the day everything is shot completely to hell in a handbasket with purple goddamn streamers.” He flopped back in bed, still wearing his black undershirt, and began shimmying pants over hips, down to still stockinged feet. “Jim, if you haven’t figured out by now that I don’t need to sleep with you to love you-”
“When the hell am I gonna be good enough?” Still quiet. Still deadly.
Leonard paused, mid pants leg. “…for what, Jim?”
Jim looked so small standing there. He was no longer Captain Kirk, Savior of the United Federation of Planets. He wasn’t Cadet Kirk, Thwarter of Computer Programmers and Sole Winner of the Kobiyashi Maru. He wasn’t even Mister Kirk, Barroom Brawler Extraordinaire. For all those experiences, the ones before, the ones between, the ones after, he was suddenly so young, frail and alone. In this room, at this moment, he was just Jim, and he was unhappy.
Leonard finished pulling off his pants, got to his feet and went to brush a tear from Jim’s face, but he jerked away again. Fine. “Either shit or get off the pot, Jim.”
For just a moment, the usual fire flared in Jim’s eyes. “I could say the same to you, Leonard.”
That was the first time in the five years he’d known Jim Kirk that he’d ever called him Leonard to his face. He’d thought a million times he’d be happy to outgrow that stupid ass nickname. He never thought it would hurt like this. Without meaning to, his face crumpled. “Jim, please… I…” He threw his hands up, part supplication, part frustration, and an angry sob tore through his throat. “I don’t know what the hell you want from me!”
“I want you to trust me. Why don’t you ever fucking trust me?! ” Jim’s face was red and close, too close. He’d never been dressed down by Kirk before, not really, but still Leonard knew that he’d never be like this, never so close to the edge.
Leonard swallowed down his fear, tried to stay calm. “What makes you think I don’t, Jim?”
“YOU NEVER TRUSTED ME!” Jim’s eyes widened. His mouth worked. And then he began to laugh. “Holy fuck, Leonard, you never trusted me! Even before this… this,” and he waved his arms like a broken windmill in a hurricane, “you never ever trusted me. And all this time I thought I was fighting the ghost of the ex-wife. What a fool.” He flopped his hands down and looked at Leonard with a wild smile that didn’t reach his shining, red eyes.
Leonard felt sick. “You didn’t answer my question, Jim. What makes-”
“You’ve got to be kidding me.”
Leonard shook his head and shrugged at first, unable to come up with a situation.
“Thanks for the support.”
Leonard scratched his head at that one. That didn’t make a damn bit of –oh. Oh. “Jim…”
“But we did okay. We’re alive. We’re still alive. The ship is still okay, the crew is still okay. And you still don’t trust me.”
“I trust you with my life, Jim.”
“Sure. But not your heart.” Jim scrubbed at his nose, his cheeks, his eyes. “Irony’s a bitch.” He wrapped his arms around himself and tried, unsuccessfully, not to let his laughter turn into a soft, mournful wail.
“Yes it is,” Leonard agreed softly. He didn’t reach for Jim this time. “Jim, I’m sorry.”
It took a few minutes, but Jim pulled himself together. “No, I’m sorry. I just… fuck, I don’t even know. I don’t know.”
It’s now or never. Leonard captured Jim tightly in his arms, struggling roughly when Jim tried to push away. “Told you, ain’t lettin’ go.” Jim stilled at that. Good. Leonard smoothed a hand up Jim’s back, reaching for his hair, stroking, petting, calming. “You’re right, and I’m sorry, Jim. I’m so sorry, sugar.”
He crushed Jim to himself. He was vaguely aware of his own blubbering, begging for forgiveness and understanding, but he was surprised when he fell backwards onto the bed, pulling Jim atop. He had no idea they’d been shuffling towards the sleeping area.
“Not tonight,” Jim whispered. Leonard’s breath caught in his throat. After all that, now Jim wanted to be cruel?
But Jim smiled sadly and curled up around his Bones, still uniformed from head to toe. “I want it to be happy, Bones. We have plenty of time for hate-sex and anger-sex and what-the-fuck-are-we-even-fighting-about-sex. There’s only one first time. I need you to be happy for it.”
“Oh, Jim. I already am.” Leonard looked down at their bodies. “Well… I will be, once you get those alien-grime-infested boots the hell off my goddamn bed.”
Jim’s laughter sounded like warm chocolate laced with whiskey.