Sky (skyblue_reverie) wrote,
Sky
skyblue_reverie

Trek Fic: Faraway, So Close, Part 2 of 2 (Pike/McCoy, NC-17)

Title: Faraway, So Close (Part 2 of 2)
Author: skyblue_reverie
Fandom & Pairing: Star Trek Reboot, Pike/McCoy
Rating: NC-17
Spoilers: Uh, for the 2009 movie, obv.
Warnings: None
Word Count: Just a bit shy of 12,000
Summary: In the aftermath of a classified mission, Leonard has to pick up all of Chris's broken pieces.
Disclaimer: Any resemblance to anything whatsoever is purely coincidental.
A/N : This is imachar's help_pakistan fic. It didn't exactly go according to your prompt, bb, but the boys just took over and it would take a stronger woman than I to resist the combined forces of Pike and McCoy. Sorry about that, and I hope it still pleases. It was very much a labor of love. Thanks to ennui_blue_lite for handholding, cheerleading, and being the most awesomest bff ever, and thanks to wunnerwmn for concrit and helpful suggestions. All errors, of course, are mine. Title is from the U2 song Stay (Faraway, So Close!).

Oh, and this (no-so-)coincidentally fills my hurt/comfort bingo square (spoiler alert!): brainwashing/deprogramming




Back to Part 1


That night marked a sea change in their dealings with each other. Chris didn't try to debate Leonard anymore, didn't interrogate him or challenge his version of events. In fact, he just ignored the entire situation. Instead, he focused his considerable energy and attention on driving Len absolutely up the wall with frustrated longing. When they were cooking together in the kitchen, both moving around the space, he brushed up against Len far more often than was necessary. And at dinner, if one of them passed something to the other, Chris made sure that the touch lingered as long as possible. He treated Leonard to his impressive collection of smoldering glances, and through all of this, he smiled knowingly when Len flushed, or shuddered, or goose bumps rose up on his skin at Chris's touch. And he never tried to take it any further than that.

It wasn't fair, but then Chris had never been one to play fair. When he wanted something, he went after it by any means at his disposal.

So what the hell was he supposed to do now? He wanted Chris -- of course he did. He always had. He tried to maintain his distance, knowing that this wasn't "his" Chris, but it was becoming increasingly difficult. And the truth was that in so many ways, big and small, this was his Chris. And in the dark of the desert night, when he was all alone in the bed that they used to share, he could admit, if only to himself, that he wanted this Chris too, even with the differences from the man he'd been before.

This Chris was darker, more dangerous than the other. The hungry way he looked at Leonard made him shiver in combined fear and lust. And he was absolutely single-minded in his focus and dedication -- well, that part was the same, but the subject of that focus had changed.

Before, Chris had been passionate about Starfleet and the Federation, about fortifying the UFP's position in the wake of the Narada engagement and the ripples it had sent through the entire quadrant. He'd spent more hours than Leonard could count meeting with the Admiralty, with diplomats from other worlds, with the captains of any ships that were currently in Earth orbit. He and his colleagues talked politics, they talked about espionage and potential military engagements, alliances they could forge, alliances that their enemies might be forging. Leonard had never been able to keep up with even half of the discussions that happened in their home. Most nights, he'd kiss Chris goodnight while Chris was still debating strategy with a visitor, or poring over the latest tactical reports from HQ. Chris had loved him -- of that, Leonard had no doubt. But he'd also never been in any doubt about where he stood in Chris's priority list relative to his Starfleet duties. He'd resented it, and he'd hated himself for resenting it.

It was all different now. This new Chris was bitter, jaded about Federation politics, and even more disenchanted with Starfleet, and he made no secret of those opinions. He certainly wasn't spending every waking moment thinking of ways to advance Starfleet's agenda, though at least he wasn't spending his time trying to destroy it either.

No, this Chris's obsession was with Leonard. And damn him for a selfish, greedy asshole, but he liked it. Hell, he loved it. He was absolutely helpless to resist it, and what's more, Chris perfectly well knew it.

Right now, they were sitting on the porch with a drink and a bowl full of fresh grapes they'd picked together in the greenhouse earlier that day. They both sat on the edge of the porch, the bowl between them, their fingers touching whenever they reached into it at the same time, accidental brushes turning into lingering caresses that left Leonard dizzy with the need for more.

There was a harvest moon tonight, hanging fat and orange at the edge of the horizon. It was getting on toward autumn, and Leonard shivered, more in the knowledge of the coming winter than because he was actually chilled.

Chris caught it, though -- he noticed everything about Leonard, these days. "Are you cold, Len? Want my jacket?"

His voice was pitched low, and it blended with the night instead of disturbing it. Len shivered again and this time it had nothing to do with the temperature.

"Nah, I'm fine. Just look at that moon, Chris. Have you ever seen anything so beautiful?"

Leonard was looking studiously at the moon but he could see out of the corner of his eye that Chris was turned toward him. "No, I haven't," Chris said in a husky tone.

Leonard rolled his eyes. "Please don't tell me that corny line usually works."

Chris grinned, and Leonard couldn't help the answering smile that broke over his own face.

"I've never used it before," Chris said. "I'll let you know how it works out." And then he leaned toward Len, slowly enough that he could have pulled away, only that ship had sailed, long before tonight.

He'd thought about this, wondered how it would be, whether it would be like his first kiss with Chris had been, the birth of something sweet and new, or whether it would be like coming home, familiar and warm. It was neither of those things.

Instead, it flared up between them like a sun gone nova, and within seconds Leonard was on his back on the wooden porch, his hands buried in Chris's hair while Chris braced himself above Len on strong corded arms, his knees on either side of Leonard's hips. It was rough and desperate and fierce, and Leonard had never felt anything that could remotely compare.

Chris moved on to his neck, worrying the skin with teeth and tongue while Leonard threw his head back and moaned. Chris's hands were skimming up underneath his shirt, up his sides, pulling the material up and out of the way. He tugged and Leonard sat up enough that Chris could pull his t-shirt off and toss it to the side, and then they were kissing again, as if they wanted to consume each other alive.

Chris eased him back down, never parting their mouths, and now one of Chris's hands was cradling the back of Leonard's head while the other was exploring his torso, roughly thumbing a nipple, then moving across to the other side, fingers skimming over the chain around his neck, then pausing. Chris pulled back and Len made a whimper of protest at the loss.

Abruptly, Chris pulled his hand from behind Leonard's head and reared back as if he'd been burned. "What the fuck is that," he hissed, and it wasn't really a question.

Leonard's brain was fuzzy with lust, but it was rapidly receding as he took in the sheer fury on Chris's face. He followed Chris's line of sight to the distinctive chased-platinum ring that was lying on his breastbone, the chain gleaming in the bright moonlight.

"It's my ring," he offered, knowing it was inadequate but not understanding why.

"No, it's my ring, or more accurately, it's my father's ring. How the fuck did you get it?"

Leonard was confused as to what exactly was going on here, but he was starting to get pissed off. "How do you think I got it, Chris? You gave it to me when you asked me to marry you. You said it had been in your family for generations, and you never thought you'd find someone to give it to until you met me. Now what the hell is this about?"

Chris didn't answer, just wiped his mouth with the back of his wrist, as if he was trying to scrub the taste of Leonard off of his lips. His eyes were haunted, and obviously something was seriously wrong but Leonard had no idea what. Chris stood and nearly stumbled, and that was even more alarming. Chris was grace incarnate. He never stumbled.

Leonard started to push himself to his feet. "Chris, whatever's going on, let's talk about it. Let me help."

"No. No. I need some time to think. I mean it, Leonard. Leave me alone right now." And with that strange pronouncement, he was gone, back into the house and up the stairs to his bedroom, the sudden silence eerie in the wake of his departure.

Leonard picked up his discarded shirt and made his way to his own bedroom. Whatever had happened, it was obvious that no answers were going to be forthcoming right now.

Two hours later, he was lying in bed, staring at the ceiling. It was obvious that no sleep was going to be forthcoming right now either. The room was dimly illuminated by the moonlight streaming in through the balcony doors, its glow now cool and silver-white, with the moon risen high into the sky, pale and untouchable.

He heard a tapping sound so faint that he might have imagined it, only he knew, somehow, that he hadn't.

"It's open," he said, his voice taut with sudden tension. After an endless moment, the knob turned and the door swung silently open. Chris was standing in the doorway, looking wrecked and haggard.

"It's all true, isn't it? Everything you've been telling me since we got here." His voice was barely more than a whisper, but in the silence it carried easily.

Leonard sat up and wrapped his arms around his bent knees. "Yeah, Chris. Yeah, it's all true."

"I'm sorry." Chris sounded broken, and Leonard was starting to get scared.

"Why are you sorry? You haven't done anything wrong. Good god, man, you're shivering. Are you cold? Come here, get into bed."

This, he could handle. Mother-henning was second nature. He stood, and pulled a strangely unresisting Chris into the bedroom, then got him tucked into the warm spot that Leonard had just vacated and covered him up with the down comforter. Leonard perched on the edge of the bed next to Chris and watched him with concern. Gradually, Chris's shivers subsided.

Finally, Leonard couldn't take the silence any longer. "Want to tell me what the hell is going on, Chris?"

Chris struggled to sit up and batted Leonard's hands away when he tried to keep him lying down. "For god's sake, I'm not an invalid yet, I can sit up in my own goddamned bed," Chris groused.

They both froze, looking at each other. Chris found his voice first, even if it was a bit shaky. "You used to say that, all the time, when you were sick. Right here, in this room. This bed."

Leonard nodded, not trusting himself to speak.

"Fuck, Leonard, I remember. You used to like to watch the sun set while I read to you. Walt Whitman. Leaves of Grass."

"Chris..." He didn't know whether to laugh or cry. It was happening. He was getting his Chris back, just as he'd gone and fallen completely, irrevocably in love with the other Chris.

"God, it's like -- it's like bits and pieces. Like fragments of a dream after you wake up, and the harder you reach for them, the more they recede."

"It's all right, Chris. It doesn't matter. Take it easy."

"No, I won't fucking take it easy, and of course it matters. You love him. You deserve to have him back, even if the prick doesn't deserve you."

"I love you, Chris. Him, you, it's the same person." He wasn't sure if he was trying to convince Chris or himself.

"Bullshit. I've only just fallen -- gotten to know you, and already I know I wouldn't walk away from you the way he did. If you were mine, it would be a cold day in hell before I'd leave you. If Starfleet wanted me for a secret suicide mission, I'd tell them to go fuck themselves. Maybe that makes me dishonorable, or selfish, but I'd let the rest of the universe go to hell if it meant I could stay with you. In a heartbeat. Me, the Chris I am now, I could never be like him."

"So don't." Leonard wasn't sure where this sudden calmness had come from, but it was washing over him, sweeping away his fear. "Don't be him. Your memory's going to come back -- and I want you to remember. It doesn't mean you have to be the same person you were before. Everything we go through changes us. I'm not the same person I was before the xenopolycythemia. Hell, I'm not the same person I was before these few weeks here with you. I love who you were, but Chris, I love who you are now." His voice trailed off into a whisper. "Maybe even more, god help me."

He looked into Chris's eyes, willing his face to show everything he felt. The anguished expression on Chris's face slowly eased, and then Chris was pulling him down, onto the bed, kissing him with even more desperation than he had earlier.

Leonard felt the urgency too. There'd be time for gentle, exploratory, getting-reacquainted-with-each-other's-bodies sex later, but right now, they both needed this.

Chris led the way, as he always did, but without any of his usual finesse. He got tangled in the covers and finally swept them off the bed entirely with a growl, pulling Leonard underneath him and grinding their groins together. Leonard gasped, and then Chris was tugging at his pajamas, trying to get him naked without breaking the press of their bodies. Leonard shoved at Chris's shoulder until he pulled back, and then made short work of his clothes while Chris stripped himself. Then they were pressing against each other, bare skin to bare skin, without a breath of air between them. There was no way Leonard was going to last long enough for anything elaborate. Hell, he didn't even want to pull away far enough to get a hand between them. So he wrapped his legs around Chris's back and rutted up against him, their cocks catching and sliding, all heat and friction.

Chris's breath came faster and he set up a rhythm, fast and hard. They panted into each other's mouths, not able to concentrate enough to kiss, and it was only moments before Leonard tensed and came, his semen easing the friction, and then Chris was coming too, hot and sticky between them.

Chris closed his eyes and rested his forehead against Len's while they both caught their breath. After a few minutes, Leonard reached for the box of tissues on the nightstand, intending to clean them up. Chris reached out, quick as a striking snake, and pinned his arm. "No, leave it."

"Chris, it'll dry and leave us stuck together. It's going to be damned uncomfortable when that happens."

Chris smiled and the predatory look on his face made Len shiver. "I don't care. I've claimed you, marked you, and I'm not letting you wash that off until morning. You're mine now. Not his, mine. Do you understand?"

Leonard traced one of Chris's elegant eyebrows with his forefinger. "Yeah, Chris. I understand."

"Good." Chris rolled them so that he was on his back, his arm wrapped around Leonard, pulling Leonard close against his side. Leonard opened his mouth, but Chris forestalled him with a finger over his lips. "Shh, Leonard. We'll talk about it in the morning. Right now I just want to lie here with you."

Leonard nodded against Chris's shoulder, relaxing into the feel of the familiar body next to his own. He slept easily and dreamlessly for the first time since Chris had gone away.

***

He woke suddenly, certain that he was going to find himself alone. But no, Chris was still there in bed with him, propped up on one elbow, looking thoughtfully at Leonard.

The room was too damn bright and he groaned and rubbed his eyes. "Make the sun go away, wouldja?"

Chris smiled, and without looking away from Leonard, said, "Windows, dim 90%." The relief was instant.

"Good lord, Chris, I didn't know the windows did that."

Chris looked smug. "I guess there's still a few things I know and you don't."

Leonard rolled his eyes. "Whole libraries, I have no doubt."

Chris chuckled but then his face grew serious. "So."

Leonard grimaced. "Yeah. So."

"Before you ask, I'm still not him. I'm starting to remember more, though. This is... familiar. Waking up next to you, watching you sleep. It's not exactly a memory, though -- more like déjà vu, if that makes sense."

Leonard nodded, slowly. "Yeah, that does make sense. The pace of your memory recovery may increase, or it may not. There's just no way to predict it. What I can tell you, though, is that the memories will return, I just don't know at what rate."

"That's what I figured. So tell me, Leonard, where do you want to go from here?"

Well, hell, that was a question no man should have to answer first thing in the morning without food and caffeine. He said as much and Chris smiled faintly.

"All right, then, let's go get some sustenance. But you're not getting off the hook that easily. We'll talk over breakfast."

Leonard grumbled but bowed to the inevitable. They each took a quick shower and then threw on some jeans. Leonard was about to pull a shirt over his head but Chris stopped him. "No, don't. I want to be able to see this," he said, touching the ring where it rested against Leonard's sternum.

His eyes were dark and possessive, and Leonard couldn't resist it. He stepped closer to Chris and pressed his lips to Chris's, winding his arms around Chris's neck. He had a feeling that Chris wouldn't object, and sure enough, Chris took control of the gentle kiss Leonard had initiated and turned it into something that left them both gasping.

Then, abruptly, Chris stepped back. "We'd better get downstairs now if you want breakfast. Otherwise I'm going to throw you on this bed again and have my way with you." His words were light; his tone was anything but.

The jolt of lust that shot through Leonard wasn't entirely unexpected, but still, it was stronger than he'd anticipated. He bit his lip, sorely tempted. But -- they needed to talk, more than they needed to fuck. Damn it. He motioned toward the door.

Once they were settled with coffee, toast, and eggs, Leonard felt more equipped to cope with life-changing conversations. A little.

"What made you change your mind? I mean, what was it that made you realize I was telling the truth?" That was a relatively innocuous place to start, and it was driving him crazy with curiosity.

"The ring," said Chris. "It's passed down from father to son in my family. I always knew that when I found the man I wanted to be with forever, I'd give it to him. You told me we were engaged, but you didn't have it, or I thought you didn't. So I thought you were lying."

"And then last night, when you saw it..."

"Yeah. Shocked the hell out of me. Made me re-evaluate everything I thought was true, and let me tell you, that's no easy thing. Now I have a question for you -- why are you wearing it around your neck? Why not on your finger?"

Leonard snorted. "Guess you don't remember that fight, then. I'm sure it'll come back -- it was a memorable one. You wanted me to. I said not until we were married. This was the compromise we eventually reached, and trust me, you were not happy about it."

He hoped Chris would leave it there. Of course he didn't. "All right, but why didn't you want to wear it until you were married?"

He shrugged uncomfortably. "I'm an old-fashioned guy."

"No, that's not it. Or, that's not all of it," Chris said. Damn his perceptiveness. "Let me put forth a theory, and you can tell me whether or not I'm right."

Leonard nodded, reluctantly.

"You knew, somewhere deep down, that you weren't the most important thing in his life. That Starfleet was, and always would be. You knew the minute you put that ring on, you'd be giving up the last bit of your heart, and you weren't willing to give it to someone who didn't return it in full measure. You'd wear it if and when you actually got married, because you knew he took that vow seriously, and that if he ever married you, he'd be promising to put you first. But he wasn't willing to take that step. So you were at an impasse. Stalemate. Am I right?"

Leonard was pretty sure he was gaping. It stung like hell to have it all laid out like that, like love was a tawdry business deal, tit-for-tat, and he'd refused to give his all until Chris did first.

"Shit, Chris. I'm so sorry. I should've -- "

Chris cut him off with surprising vehemence. "No. You shouldn't have. You gave him..." he paused, swallowed hard. "You gave me more than I deserved, and I gave you so much less than you did. I'm the one who should be sorry."

Leonard shook his head. They could go around and around like this for days and not get anywhere. "Let's just call it even, all right?"

Chris looked unconvinced, but he evidently saw the futility of arguing about it, so he nodded.

"It's in the past, anyway. We were both different people then. What matters is what we do now. And so, I've got to ask -- why did you want to cooperate with the Vulcan faction that was trying to destroy the Federation? And do you still feel that way?"

Chris shook his head. "To tell the truth, Leonard, I've got no idea why I wanted to bring down the Federation. I was so angry. It was like... a madness, a red haze, and I couldn't see or think about anything else. Implanted during the programming, I'm sure. But no, I don't feel that way anymore. Haven't in a while. Not since... well, not since you."

"So where do we go from here?" Leonard said.

"Hey, I asked you first," Chris returned, and there was levity in his voice but Leonard knew he wasn't going to give on this, wasn't willing to be the first to take a leap of faith.

Time to lay it out, then. "I want you, Chris. However I can get you, for as long as I can have you. Memories or not, induced personality changes or not, I love you." He shrugged. That was as clear as he could make it, and now it was up to Chris. "Now what about you?"

Chris fixed him with a look of frightening intensity. "I want everything, Leonard. Everything you have to give. I want your love, I want your hand in marriage, I want to spend our entire lives together, and if there's anything beyond death, I want to spend that with you too. And, ideally, I'd like to not spend all that time together under house arrest in the Mojave."

Leonard snorted. "That'll be up to a team of Starfleet psychologists, but I have no doubt they'll pronounce you sane and no longer a danger to society. And Chris -- I'll give you everything you want, everything I have, but I have to know -- are you going to give me the same in return?"

"If I say no, are you going to back out?" Chris sounded more curious than alarmed.

"No. No, I won't." It was the god's honest truth. "But I'll be happier if it's mutual."

Chris reached out and stroked a hand along Leonard's cheek, his jawline. "It will be, Leonard. It is. I promise."

"Let's go upstairs," Leonard said, his voice coming out a bit choked. He took Chris's hand and led him back up the stairs, into the bedroom.

A quick shuck of their jeans, and they were both naked. Leonard pressed Chris onto the bed and straddled his hips, leaning over him to kiss him. When Chris tried to turn the kiss into a duel for control, he pulled back. Several times he did this, until Chris finally relented and let Leonard set the tone.

Leonard needed this, needed to feel Chris's skin against his, but even more than that, he needed to reconnect with Chris. They needed to go slowly, feel their way to a new equilibrium between them. There'd be time for dominance games later.

He ran his hands over Chris's body, following up with lips and tongue. He spent plenty of time on Chris's chest, running his fingers through the soft gold and gray hair there, and licking and nibbling Chris's small nipples until they were tight buds and Chris was moaning softly.

He moved on to Chris's arms, kissing and kneading firm biceps, corded forearms, and strong capable hands, suckling each fingertip briefly. Then he moved his way down Chris's legs, kissing the hollow of each hip, trailing hands and tongue down taut thighs and calves. He planted a kiss on the sole of each long, elegant foot.

Chris was raising his head, watching Leonard's actions and holding himself perfectly still, even though it was obviously an effort. Leonard smiled at him and rewarded him with a kiss to the base of his cock and a quick swipe of his tongue across his balls. Chris groaned in response and spread his legs wider.

Leonard took the hint and went to work with his mouth, running the tip of his tongue down across Chris's perineum, around each testicle, then back up to his cock, which was pressing up against his abdomen, red and distended, clear drops of liquid forming at the tip and dripping down, one by one. Leonard took the tip of that beautiful, angry-looking cock into his mouth.

He'd had enough presence of mind to pin Chris's hips with his hands, but even so, Chris bucked so strongly that he nearly drove his entire length into Leonard's throat. Leonard pulled back as Chris moved, doggedly keeping just the head in his mouth, suckling it now, swiping his tongue across the tip every few seconds. Damn, he'd missed this taste, the way the slightly sharp flavor burst across his palate with every new drop that leaked out.

He moaned once and then got to work in earnest. He kept his eyes locked with Chris's, seeing the cords of Chris's neck strain as he fought gravity to keep his head upright so he could watch Len suck him. Leonard let his mouth make filthy, wet sounds as he sucked and licked and slurped. He was making a mess, drool escaping out of the corner of his mouth and down his chin, but if memory served, and it did, Chris loved that.

Chris was panting now, every muscle in his body tensed as he visibly fought not to let his control snap, to fuck Leonard's mouth hard and deep. Leonard released Chris's cock, and it slapped up against his belly with a wet smack. He wiped his mouth with the back of his hand.

"Enough teasing, darlin'. I want you in me."

With that, he found himself flipped onto his back, Chris looming over him, now kissing him with unmistakable possessiveness. Chris broke away from the kiss to find the lube in the nightstand, then he was slicking up his fingers, pressing them into Leonard's puckered hole.

"Oh fuck," Chris breathed. "You're so tight."

Leonard rumbled a low moan. "Didn't do this while you were gone. Didn't put anything into my ass. Wanted to wait for you, wanted it to be your cock stretching me out. Didn't even use my fingers. I want to feel your cock inside me now. Don't care if it hurts. I want it to hurt. Come on, darlin', do it."

With a sharp intake of breath and a groan, Chris positioned himself and pushed in, slowly but with no hesitation. It was a long, slick, searing slide and Leonard cried out softly as Chris pressed forward. When Chris was completely inside of him, as deep as he could get, Leonard wrapped his legs around Chris's back and for a moment, just reveled in the feeling of oneness. "So good, darlin'. You feel so good. Missed this so much."

Chris said nothing, but his eyes spoke volumes of tenderness and affection. He pulled out slowly, leaving just the head of his cock embedded in Leonard, and then pushed forward again, making both of them groan.

As if that had released something within him, Chris began pounding into Leonard, hard and fast, grunting a little with each stroke, and always keeping their eyes locked. He was babbling now, a semi-comprehensible string of endearments and curses. "Love you -- baby -- fuck, so good -- shit, I remember this, how good this feels -- touch yourself for me now -- yeah, baby, that's it, let me see you -- ah, so good -- fuck -- Leonard, mine, mine always, and I'm yours, never leave, swear it."

With that, Chris arched his back and came with a helpless moan, his hips spasming forward as he released himself deep inside of Leonard, filling him with wet warmth. A few more tugs on his own cock and Leonard was coming too, shaking with the intensity of it, his semen jetting out to spatter on his chest and stomach, a few drops hitting Chris.

Chris kept himself braced above Leonard, circling his hips forward gently as he softened, until neither of them could take any more sensation. Then he pulled out gently and leaned down to kiss Leonard, deep and slow and full of promise.

Finally he released Len's mouth and collapsed next to him, immediately pulling Leonard to press against his side. Leonard's come oozed between them, viscous and not altogether comfortable, but that was all right. Chris apparently now liked messy, sticky post-coital cuddles, and Leonard was perfectly willing to indulge him. He could feel Chris's come trickling out of his ass, and he clenched a bit to keep it inside for just a little longer.

"You said you remember this?" Leonard asked lazily, tracing a random pattern across Chris's chest.

"Hazily, yes. But -- I don't remember it being like this. This -- hell, Leonard, I don't even know what the word is. I don't remember feeling this connected, I guess, is what I mean. Was it -- was it like this before?"

Leonard shook his head against Chris's shoulder. "No, darlin', I don't think it was. It was amazing, don't get me wrong, better than I'd ever had before, but no, it wasn't the same as just now."

"Good," Chris said simply, and with that one word, Leonard could hear him releasing his doubt and fear that he wasn't good enough anymore, that Leonard would always regret that he wasn't who he had been.

Leonard was tired now, but he wanted to do one last thing before he fell asleep in Chris's arms. He reached around the back of his neck, fumbled with the clasp of the chain, and removed it. Chris tensed against him.

He slipped the ring off the chain and pressed it into Chris's hand. Chris's face was a stony mask.

Leonard spoke gruffly. "I want to wear it, now. Want you to put it on me."

Chris's face cleared instantly, and an expression that was relief, happiness, and just a touch of smugness came over his face. "With pleasure."

He took Leonard's hand in his, and slid the ring gently onto his finger. It felt right. It felt like it belonged there. Chris pressed a kiss to the ring, and then a longer one to Leonard's lips.

Settling his head back on Chris's shoulder, he rested his hand with its new, already-comfortable weight on Chris's chest, and Chris covered it with his own.

Leonard let go, then -- he surrendered himself, finally, drifting off to sleep in the circle of Chris's arms, with the warmth of a new day's sun gently washing over them both.


Tags: fic: trek, help pakistan, pairing: pike/mccoy
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