Until the Stars Fall From the Sky
He tasted like Ghirardelli’s Chocolates and Jack Daniel’s Whiskey and felt like soft butter and warm ocean current. Jim slipped a hand around the back of his neck and pulled him closer, tasting their shared dessert in the deepest, warmest corners of his pliant mouth. Jim smiled against those oh-so-fucking-soft lips and purred in ecstasy. But when Jim pressed his body closer and slipped his other hand down to the hem of a blue uniform shirt, the soft lips suddenly stiffened and closed, and a pair of hands appeared at his chest, pressing him away from the warmth and soft and sweet. Jim sighed and let himself be pushed back. He didn’t bother to ask what the problem was, he just slid back in his seat and waited for the rambling apology-slash-lecture to start.
“Jim,” and here it comes, “listen, I don’t think we should… I know, you’ve been patient, and I love you for it, I really do, but the alcohol… I just don’t think we should go down that road, not like this.”
Jim stood and began gathering dishes. “Lights.” He took them to the refresher and dumped them down, heedless of the clatter of the more fragile pieces.
“Jim, please, I don’t want to hurt you. I never want to hurt you. I -I love you.”
Jim got down on all fours and began digging around under the bed. He pulled out one boot, then the other.
“Jim, what the hell are your boots doing under the damn bed? Two years in command of the Federation flagship and you still keep your room like a pigsty!”
Jim sat on the floor and toed each boot on, stabbing his foot through each of them like a hot knife through a block of cold cream cheese. His tired feet began to throb at the injustice of being forced back into work shoes, but Jim ignored it. Jim ignored a lot of things.
Jim got to his feet, sniffed his shirt, decided it too smelled like chocolate and whiskey, and yanked it over his head. He tossed that down the refresher chute as well, before grabbing a fresh shirt from his drawer.
“Jim, you’ve been on Halcore all day, you’re covered in alien grime, aren’t you even gonna shower before-”
“Shut the fuck up, McCoy.”
The silence was as brittle as the kiss had been soft. Jim went to the mirror, raked his fingers through his hair, got it to lay in the general direction that his crew was used to seeing, and went to the door. He paused in the open doorway, and said to no one in particular, “I don’t want anyone in my goddamn quarters when I get back.” And then he left.
He thought of going to the bridge, but he was already feeling fragile, unwanted. He knew that at an unannounced appearance at this hour would just look like he was checking up on them. What Jim needed was solace, not suspicion. So he roamed the halls, smiling half-heartedly at the crewmembers that greeted him on their way to or from some important something or other.
He found himself on the Observation Deck, a vague misnomer as it wasn’t exactly a deck unto itself, but a ring around the outer perimeter of Deck 9, which the crew had come to dub The Party Deck, where a number of recreational facilities were located. The so-called Observation Deck was one of the quietest parts of Deck 9, a haven for those who weren’t interested in the more strenuous activities offered in other rec rooms.
Jim walked up to the thick, transparent bulkhead that separated him from the great black nothing out there, and wondered if he scratched at it long enough, would he be able to breech the hull? Would he get sucked out into the danger, the darkness, the silence? Would it hurt as much as Bones’ last rejection did? Would he even give a shit? His face tickled. He reached up to scrub at the tickle with the side of his hand. It came away wet. Great.
A door slid open and shut somewhere off to one side. Even more great. He leaned his forehead against the cool metal and tried not to snuffle aloud. Everything hurt, like he was being twisted and wrung into a tiny ball, a coil of frustration and need winding his gut, his head, his limbs, everything. He could hear approaching footsteps and wondered if he was going to unfurl the full force of his rage and pain at the intruder, and if so, how? Would he scream and yell and wreck his image? Or would he just heave the dinner he’d shared with Bones, Bones who still didn’t think touching him was a good idea, Bones who didn’t think Jim would be gentle with his heart, Bones who didn’t think he needed to be gentle with Jim’s.
“Is sex really that important, Jim?”
Jim turned to the person who’d slowly invaded his space. Green eyes regarded him apprehensively. Hands clenched and unclenched. Legs trembled almost imperceptibly. Jim barked out a hoarse laugh that sounded suspiciously like a sob.
“Jim… please. Don’t turn this into a libido thing. We have something, something special-”
“Had, Bones.” Jim pivoted on the bulkhead, leaning heavily against it, trying not to break completely down. It wasn’t working very well. “We had something special. Now, all we got are reports and fucking duty.”
Bones’ chest began to rise and fall a little faster. “You’re… you can’t be serious.”
The dam broke, and Jim swung a fist he didn’t realize he’d balled up. It glanced off Bones’ shoulder, and Jim followed through and stumbled forward until he was nearly flat on his face. Arms caught him and pulled him backwards into an awkward embrace, but Jim was having none of it. He struggled and twisted and kicked and swung until he was finally propelled forward again, landing against an overstuffed armchair. He looked back at Bones, who stood there in the darkness of the room, haloed by distant starlight.
“I thought I could wait forever, Bones.” He sank to his knees, completely defeated. “But I can’t. I just can’t. Let me go.” He didn’t give a damn who came in the room anymore. Let them see Captain Kirk on his knees, sobbing his eyes out, let him see him break. Everyone has to take the Kobiyashi Maru with an audience. “If you love me, let me go.”
“Let me GO!”
Bones closed the space between them in two steps and was on his knees, taking Jim’s face in both his hands. “Then I guess I just don’t fucking love you, because I’m not letting go.”
His kiss tasted of starlight and forever.