Fandom & Pairing: Star Trek Reboot, Pike/McCoy
Spoilers: Uh, for the 2009 movie, obv.
Word Count: Around 7700
Summary: Chris and Len fight. Then they make up. Winter schmoop and h/c ahoy!
Disclaimer: Any resemblance to anything whatsoever is purely coincidental.
A/N : For the pikemccoy holiday-a-thon. Thanks to ennui_blue_lite for handholding, cheerleading, and being the most awesomest ever, always.
It ended not with a whimper but a bang.
Fights with Len were a not infrequent occurrence, as they were both proud, stubborn sons-of-bitches. Given Len’s tendency toward free and open self-expression, said fights usually included shouted curses and slammed doors (Chris’s restored Victorian had antique wooden doors, and Chris winced each time Leonard took out his frustrations on one of them), which is why Chris didn’t realize at first that this time was any different.
It went something like this:
“I’m goddamned sick and tired of sneaking around, Chris.”
At this point, Leonard was half under the bed, looking for a stray sock that had been flung away in their earlier rush to get naked. His bare ass was raised temptingly, and Chris could see the red marks where he’d been gripping Len’s hips when he fucked him through the mattress not twenty minutes ago. Chris was contemplating that very fine ass, and wondering if he had enough stamina for a second round anytime soon, and as a result he didn’t really process Len’s words.
Leonard pulled himself out from under the bed with the wayward sock in hand and glared at Chris, his hair adorably mussed. “Did you hear what I said?”
“Hmmm?” Not, maybe, the most articulate answer but really, who could think straight when they’d just had a mind-blowing orgasm courtesy of one Cadet Leonard McCoy, M.D., Ph.D., and when that selfsame Leonard McCoy was crawling around the floor naked looking both well-fucked and eminently fuckable?
Leonard’s glare intensified, and strangely, it only made him look even more fuckable. “I said, Chris, that I’m goddamned tired of sneaking around.”
Chris rolled his eyes. He really didn’t want to do this right now. Been there, done that, had the souvenir t-shirt.
“We’re not sneaking around, Leonard, we’re being discreet. There’s a difference.”
“Oh, there’s a difference. Well then, why don’t you enlighten me as to the difference?” Leonard’s tone was dry as the Mojave.
In response, Chris heaved a sigh. Apparently they had to hash this out right now. “You’re a cadet, I’m an instructor – “
“There’s no rule against it,” Leonard interrupted.
Chris glared. “And I’m next in line for captaincy of the ‘fleet’s flagship – “
“’Don’t ask, don’t tell’ has been dead for two centuries.” Now Leonard was raising his voice, and here they went again.
Chris tried to keep his voice level. “You know as well as I do that even though there’s a policy of non-discrimination based on sexual orientation or identity, in practice, there’s still a lot of bigotry.”
“And you’re perpetuating that bullshit mindset by buying into it and making me your dirty little secret.”
“I’m not ‘buying into’ anything, and you’re not a dirty little secret.”
“Sure feels that way to me, when you won’t even acknowledge my presence in public even though we’ve been screwing for six months now.”
Chris flinched as the barb struck home. “Is that all this is to you, Leonard? Screwing?”
Leonard didn’t back down. “What would you call it, Chris? It sure as hell isn’t a relationship, when I can’t even tell my best friend about us.”
Now Chris was really getting pissed. “Somehow I knew that this would end up being about Jim,” he bit out.
Leonard rolled his eyes. “Get over your stupid goddamned jealousy, Chris. This isn’t about Jim. It’s about how I can’t eat a meal with you in the Academy cafeteria. It’s about how I can’t let anyone at the dorm know why I come home so damn late every night – they all assume I’m a maniac who studies in the library every waking moment. It’s about how I can’t join in conversations with my co-workers at the clinic about our partners, because everyone thinks I’m single. It’s about how I have to listen to half the cadets talk about all the x-rated things they’d like to do to you and I can’t tell them to back off because you damn well belong to me.” Now Leonard was flushed and breathing heavily, and not in the good way. Chris was a tiny bit flattered that he was apparently the subject of so many cadet fantasies, but he pushed that away. Now wasn’t the time.
“Look, Leonard, you knew the score when we started this. Those were the rules we agreed to. I was very clear about that.”
“Yeah, well I didn’t have much choice, did I? It was that or nothing.” Now Leonard sounded bitter, almost defeated. Warning bells were going off in the back of Chris’s mind and he gentled his tone.
“Come on, Len, it’s not that bad, is it? You know I love you.” He barely ever said the words, didn’t like making himself vulnerable that way. But he knew how much Leonard liked to hear it, so he forced himself to say it once in a while. And besides - it might’ve been uncomfortable to say, but it always took the wind right out Leonard’s sails, made him smile that soft little smile that Chris saw so rarely.
But it didn’t seem to have the desired effect this time. “No you don’t,” Leonard shot back.
And just like that, Chris was pissed off again. “Don’t presume to tell me how I feel,” he said, and he could hear the ice in his voice. Starfleet officers and cadets alike cowered in terror at that tone.
But not Len. They were standing toe-to-toe now, both naked, and it should have been ridiculous but it wasn’t.
“Well don’t tell me you love me when you obviously care more about your public image than you do about me.”
“It’s not just my ‘public image,’ Leonard, it’s my career. It’s what I’ve worked for my whole life. Until I’m sitting in that captain’s chair, they could take away the Enterprise. If it gets out that I’m gay, I’ll be sidelined – not that I’ll ever be able to prove that’s why, but it’ll happen nonetheless. They’ll give me a supply barge in the Berengaria system, if I get another command at all. I’m not going to risk that for you or anyone else.”
Leonard reared back like he’d been hit. “All right, fine. I get it. You’ve made your choice crystal clear.”
“Why do I have to choose, Leonard? You’re the one making it an either-or situation. We can both have our careers and each other, we just need to be discreet.”
“Discreet.” Leonard spat the word out like it was a curse. “Unbelievable.” He turned away from Chris and started jerking his clothes on as fast as he could. “I never once in my life pretended to be something I’m not, until I started this thing with you. It makes me feel dirty and dishonest and it’s tainting everything between us.”
“You’re being melodramatic, Len. Nothing’s ‘tainted,’ and you’re not dishonest.”
“A lie of omission’s still a lie, Chris. I thought it’d be enough, what you were offering. But it isn’t. So I’m getting out while I’ve still got some shreds of self-respect left.”
“Self-respect? You’re an alcoholic whose drinking drove away your wife and nearly got your medical license suspended. Starfleet’s your last chance, and you practically have a panic attack every time you set foot in a low-atmo shuttle, so lord knows how you think you’re going to manage a starship posting. You’ve already got three demerits on your record for fighting, thanks to your so-called best friend, and if I hadn’t been pulling strings for you both you’d have been out on your asses months ago. How much self-respect could you possibly have?”
As soon as he said the words he knew he’d gone too far. Leonard went white, and then he turned on his heel and walked out of the room without a word. Chris heard the front door slam shut, hard enough to rattle his teeth.
It was the nastiest fight they’d ever had. Still, Chris figured if he let Len cool down for a few days, he’d come back like he always had before and they could talk it out, he could apologize for his harsh words and convince Len that they needed to stay with the status quo.
Only, it didn’t happen. Days passed and Leonard didn’t come back. As much as he hated to do it, after a week Chris swallowed his pride and sent a comm:
Please come to my office at 0900 on Wednesday, as there are several items I’d like to discuss with you.
Capt. Christopher Pike
It was the best he could do – he couldn’t afford to send anything more personal over Starfleet comm channels.
Leonard didn’t answer Chris’s comm, and he didn’t show at Chris’s office.
The end of fall term was coming up, and Academy life was a flurry of preparing for finals and making plans for winter break, for both cadets and instructors. Chris tried to throw himself into it, but somehow he just couldn’t muster up much enthusiasm. He wasn’t sleeping well, and when he lay in his cold, lonely bed and closed his eyes, all he could seem to do was replay his last fight with Leonard, over and over. When he did sleep, his dreams were uneasy, and he’d wake with vague recollections of wide, wounded hazel eyes.
He found himself looking for Leonard around campus – in the library, in the cafeteria, in the quad. He never saw him. It wasn’t that they’d ever run into each other much – they both had busy schedules that didn’t really coincide – but he was used to at least catching glimpses of him, and it had always given him a little secret charge to know that Leonard was his, even if he couldn’t or wouldn’t announce it publicly.
He was surprised at how much he missed those glimpses. He wasn’t sure if Leonard had previously gone out of his way to make sure their paths crossed and he just wasn’t bothering anymore, or if he was actively avoiding Chris. Or hell, maybe Chris was being paranoid and Leonard was just holed up in his room, studying for finals, and taking extra clinic rotations to earn a few credits.
Either way, though, he didn’t like it. He was uneasily aware, too, that he was letting the situation bleed over into his mood, which was pissy at best. He was snapping at his teaching assistants, and worse, the Academy admins, even though he knew that getting on their bad side was a horrendously bad idea. His lectures, which were usually relaxed and informal with plenty of interchange between students and instructor, were now tense affairs wherein he tersely bit out information and the cadets kept their heads studiously down and scribbled notes on their PADDs, hoping to avoid his individual attention.
If Philip had been around, he probably would have given him sound advice – well, after he slapped Chris around for being an idiot, no doubt – but he wasn’t here. He was on a posting on the Excelsior and wouldn’t be back earthside for another eight months. So Chris was on his own.
It was the last week of the semester, and Chris was in his office at 2200 hours because he didn’t want to go home and face his empty house. After trying and failing to make a dent in the stack of term papers he had to grade, he gave up and pulled up the latest status reports on the Enterprise’s construction, which had never before failed to fill him with a sense of pride and anticipation.
Not tonight. He scrolled through her schematics listlessly, not feeling even a flicker of enthusiasm at the notation that construction was actually ahead of schedule and launch might be moved up by a couple of months.
For the first time in his entire life, he felt a seed of doubt about his life’s ambition. The lot of a Starfleet captain was a lonely one, but he’d never minded that before. Then again, he was coming to realize that he’d never had anyone in his life that he really minded being away from. Now he did. And he was only just beginning to see how damn much he did miss Leonard.
Whoever said “you don’t know what you’ve got until it’s gone” had gotten it right. Also, Pike kind of wanted to punch them in the throat. Or anyone, really – at this point he wasn’t choosy. He had a sneaking suspicion, though, that his ire should be directed at himself.
He scrubbed his fingers through his hair, then rubbed his palms against tired eyes. He couldn’t keep going like this. Something had to give, and it was going to have to be him. He hadn’t the slightest idea how he and Leonard would work out their differences, but he knew he had to try, or he was going to regret it for the rest of his life.
Only three days left in the semester. He figured that Leonard would probably stay on campus over the break, same as he’d done last year, since he really didn’t have much to go home to in Georgia. On the first day of vacation, he’d track down Leonard and beg him to come back. He only hoped it would be enough.
Problem was, when the term was finally over, Leonard was nowhere to be found. There was no one at his dorm room, the receptionist at the Academy clinic said he’d taken the vacation period off, and he wasn’t at any of his usual haunts. Feeling only a twinge of guilt, Chris used his captain’s clearance to check the recent Starfleet shuttle and transporter manifests. If Leonard had used them, it would leave a trail. But he hadn’t.
He’d pretty much disappeared off the face of the planet, and Chris could only hope that that wasn’t literal. Without getting into serious violations of both protocol and Leonard’s privacy, he wasn’t going to be able to find him. Which made begging Len to take him back kind of difficult.
He sent Len another comm, but didn’t have much hope that it would be answered. Not that he could blame Len.
That left only one choice. Shit.
It wasn’t really that hard to track down Jim Kirk – the man pretty much left a visible swath of debauchery and destruction in his wake. Not to mention that everyone knew who he was, so all you had to do was stop a random person on campus and you were more than likely to be pointed in Jim’s general direction.
When he found Jim, he was at a fancy theme bar designed to look like a 20th century ski lodge, of all things, complete with roaring fire. He was holding court in front of the huge stone fireplace, each of his arms draped over a gorgeous woman, while regaling a crowd of cadets and other hangers-on with the tale of driving his stepfather’s car off the edge of a quarry at the tender age of eleven.
When he spotted Pike, he brought his story to an end and then shouted in his direction, “Captain Pike! What are you doing here, slumming with mere cadets?” Jim’s grin was easy, but his eyes were hard and glittering with dislike. Fuck. This was not going to be easy.
The entire group turned to look at him, and even though Chris was used to being the focus of attention, this was different.
He forced himself to focus. “Kirk, I was hoping to have a word with you.”
Jim raised one eyebrow, and put on a look of mock innocence. Oh yeah, he knew exactly what had gone down. “With me? I’m flattered! But as you can see, I’m a little busy right now, and I wouldn’t want to abandon anyone, now would I?”
Chris flinched. “I can wait,” he gritted out. Not like he had much choice.
Now the group had moved from vague curiosity about why a Captain had showed up at their little soiree to outright avid interest. Obviously there was a subtext here that they weren’t privy to, and Chris could already imagine the rumors that were going to start flying after this little confrontation.
“Well, then, by all means, join us,” Jim said with another one of those easy, false grins.
As soon as he’d settled into one of the low armchairs around the fire, Jim went back to entertaining his enthralled groupies – there was really no other word for them. Only now, instead of stories of daring and adventure, he went into an excruciatingly detailed – and entirely fictional, Chris would be willing to bet – story about how he’d had his heart broken by someone he’d loved with every fiber of his being, but who was ashamed to be seen with him and who wouldn’t publicly acknowledge their relationship. Some of the group shook their heads angrily, and others cooed sympathetically at Jim. From the looks of the two on either side of him, Kirk was easily going to score a threesome that night.
Chris gritted his teeth and endured it. It was no more than he deserved, really.
After an hour or so, Jim apparently decided that he’d made his point, and he rose, smiling at the disappointed faces around him.
“Hey, I’ll be right back,” he said. “Just got to go see what Pike wants. Wouldn’t want to keep him waiting, after all.”
His hangers-on nodded in understanding, entirely missing the irony. Chris had never felt a stronger urge to roll his eyes, but he heroically suppressed it and followed Jim out of the bar and into the chilly San Francisco afternoon.
“Well?” Jim asked flatly when they’d reached the sidewalk. Great. He wasn’t done making Chris suffer. Not that Chris blamed him – if the situation was reversed, he wouldn’t have been any different. In fact, he should probably be thankful that Jim hadn’t already taken a swing at him.
Chris didn’t bother playing games or trying to get into a pissing contest. It would only make things worse. He took a deep breath and allowed his pain and vulnerability to show on his face, despite every instinct screaming at him not to.
“I screwed up, Jim. I need to find him. I’ll do whatever it takes to make this right.”
Some of the tension left Jim’s posture, but he was still guarded. “Oh yeah? You going to come out, acknowledge him the way he deserves?”
Chris closed his eyes briefly. “Kirk. You don’t understand. I’m next in line for the Enterprise…”
Jim growled, and the hairs on the back of Chris’s neck stood up. “You stupid asshole. You think I don’t know what it’s like to want to rise to the top, to be the best of the best? I’m on track to be the youngest Starfleet captain in history, and one day I’m going to command the ‘fleet’s flagship.”
Chris answered slowly. “All right, then you understand why I can’t – “
“No, Pike,” and he spit Chris’s name like it was a curse, “you don’t understand. Your priorities are all fucked up, man. If I had someone who loved me the way Bones loves you, I wouldn’t even think twice. Do you have any idea how rare that is – how lucky you are?”
“I – “ Chris began, and he wasn’t even sure what he was going to say, but Jim cut him off again.
“You don’t even know that coming out would cost you the Enterprise. You’ve got plenty of supporters, both in the brass and in the ranks, not to mention at the Academy. You’re one of the most highly-respected officers Starfleet has. Did you even put out any feelers to see what the reaction might be if you actually acknowledged your relationship with the man who loves you?”
Chris shook his head slowly. He was ashamed to realize that it hadn’t even occurred to him. He’d been hiding for so long that he hadn’t even really thought there might be another option.
“No such thing as a no-win scenario, remember?” Jim’s voice was mocking, but not as harsh as it had been moments earlier. “For whatever it’s worth, if you came out, I’d go to bat for you. For Bones’ sake,” he added pointedly. “I may only be a cadet, but I do have some connections. And I know you have people who would support you too.”
“I appreciate it, Kirk, I do, but it may not be enough.”
“Well, I guess you have to decide whether it’s worth the risk. Look, I know where Bones is. If you give me your word that if you convince him to take your sorry ass back, you’ll treat him like he deserves and acknowledge him, then I’ll tell you where he is. Otherwise, you can fuck off and die, for all I care.” He crossed his arms and stared at Chris.
Well, shit. He really didn’t expect to be making the biggest decision of his entire life on a sidewalk in front of a stupid frou-frou theme bar with Jim “T-for-Tomcat” Kirk of all people, but then, life could turn on a dime and you had to be ready for it, ready to grab the moment when it came.
He could almost literally see the fork in the road. One way, and he’d have his command, his Enterprise, and a life filled with cold duty and no love. The other, and he’d have Leonard in his life, for as long as he could hang onto him – and he was smart enough to know that there were no guarantees on that score. Maybe he’d have the Enterprise and maybe not, but he’d have love, and passion, and for the first time in his whole damn life he wouldn’t be lying about who he was. He could hold his head up high and walk beside Len, and anyone who didn’t like it could screw themselves.
And really, looking at his two potential futures, it wasn’t much of a decision at all. He took a breath, deep and sure and easy for the first time in longer than he could remember.
“You have my word.”
Jim stared at him for a few long moments, and then relaxed, nodded, and gave a smile – a real one, this time. It made his eyes light up, and Chris couldn’t help but smile back. Damn, but this kid had more charisma than anyone ought to.
Jim pulled out his comm unit and punched a few buttons. “There. I’ve sent you his location. No transporter pad there, and no shuttle pad anywhere near either. You’ll have to rent a hovercar. If you hurry, you can probably still get there tonight.”
Chris took a shaky breath. “Kirk – Jim – thank you.”
“You treat Bones right, and we’ll call it even. Of course, if you hurt him again, I’m going to string you up by your balls in the quad.”
Jim clapped him on the arm, hard, and Chris winced. “Go get ‘im, tiger!”
This time Chris didn’t suppress his eyeroll. Then he turned and strode away purposefully. He had a car to rent and a strategy to plan.
The hovercar didn’t prove to be much of a problem, but the strategy did. Chris wasn’t foolish enough to think that Leonard was going to welcome him with open arms. He also didn’t think he’d have the element of surprise – no doubt Jim had let Len know that Chris was on his way the second Chris had left. That would give Leonard plenty of time to get his emotional armor in place. Chris didn’t kid himself that it was going to take anything short of a miracle to get Leonard to take him back.
Of course, you couldn’t exactly plan for a miracle. He’d just have to wing it. He hated winging it.
When he reached the general area indicated by the coordinates Jim had sent him, he felt a prickle of unease. It was really isolated, and really cold. He was somewhere up in what used to be called British Columbia. This is the last place he would’ve expected Leonard to be, which, he supposed, was the point. He glided the hovercar smoothly above a thick evergreen forest, the headlights picking out snowflakes steadily falling onto the frozen ground below.
Finally he reached a clearing with a small cabin. This had to be it. It was the only building for miles around. Now his prickle of unease was full-blown worry – this cabin was obviously not equipped with any modern amenities – there was no environmental screen to keep the snow away, the structure was old and ramshackle, and there were no lights on, no woodsmoke coming out of the old chimney. All of his instincts were screaming that something was seriously wrong.
He parked the hovercar, noting that his was the only vehicle in sight. Leonard must’ve been dropped off by someone. He grabbed his overnight bag and opened the car door, flinching at the wall of cold that hit him. He climbed out and braved the snow, walking as fast as he dared given the icy ground.
The front door was unlocked, which made sense given the isolated location. He stepped in, noting with increasing distress that the inside of the house was nearly as cold as it was outside.
“Hello?” he called. Total silence greeted him.
He dropped his bag near the door and quickly checked the downstairs, illuminated only by moonlight. Small kitchen, small living room with a cold hearth, and a twentieth-century style bathroom with an actual water flush toilet. He grimaced at the wastefulness, then shook his head. He had bigger fish to fry right now.
He climbed creaky wooden stairs to the second floor, finding himself in a corridor with a few doors. Before he could take a step, he heard a faint groan from behind the door nearest him, and he nearly tripped in his haste to rush over and pull it open.
The room was cold and dark, and once again the only illumination was from dim moonlight filtering in through the window. It was just enough light to make out a bed, with a huddled lump in the middle of it, far too still. Chris was grateful he’d heard a groan or he’d be thinking that Leonard was dead right now, and that thought brought up a panic in him that he really didn’t want to consider.
He stepped toward the bed, murmuring, “Leonard?”
He didn’t expect the response he got.
“Oh, it’s you again.” The voice was raspy and weak, but it was unmistakably Len.
Again? Who did Leonard think he was, and who had been visiting Len? He ruthlessly suppressed a twinge of jealousy.
“Leonard, it’s Chris. Chris Pike.” He felt really strange having to identify himself, and especially having to use his last name, but something odd was going on here and he didn’t want there to be any misunderstandings.
“Yeah, Chris, I know who you are. Who you’re pretending to be. Whatever. Will you stay awhile this time?” He sounded wistful.
“Yeah, you know… last time you turned into a giant mushroom and then disappeared.”
Chris felt a moment of giddy relief that Leonard hadn’t been receiving bedroom visits from anyone else, but then it passed as he digested Len’s words. Okay, this was bad. Hallucinating couldn’t be a good thing, and while he had his field medic qualification, it didn’t exactly cover these circumstances. Still, he was a goddamn starship captain, and he had handled scarier situations than this. Or so he told himself, anyway.
So, status assessment. Leonard was sick, obviously delirious. The house was freezing and dark. He couldn’t do much about the first problem until he’d fixed the second. That meant that as much as it pained him, he was going to have to leave Leonard’s side for now. He placed a hand on Len’s forehead and confirmed his fears – Leonard was burning up, even as his teeth were chattering.
“Len, I’ve got to go see about getting the heat on in here, and getting some light so I can see. I’ll be right back, as soon as I possibly can.”
“No! No, don’t leave me. Please. I’m sorry, Chris.” He sounded so forlorn, so broken, that Chris felt like he’d been punched in the stomach. Their fight was the only thing that Len could be apologizing for, and that wasn’t his fault at all.
He sat on the edge of the bed and stroked shaking fingers down the side of Leonard’s face. “Shh, Len, no. You have nothing to be sorry for. And I’m not leaving you. Never again, okay?”
Leonard shook his head. “That’s what you said last time. Then you…”
“Turned into a giant mushroom and disappeared. I know. But I’m not going to do that this time, I swear.” Luckily, that was one promise he was pretty sure he could keep. “But I’ve got to get the heat on, or you’re going to freeze to death.”
The only answer was a muffled mumble, but it sounded a lot like “Goddamn stubborn bastard.”
Chris grinned in sheer relief. If Leonard could still curse him out, things couldn’t be too bad. “Yeah, I am, but I’m your goddamn stubborn bastard and you’re stuck with me. I’ll be right back.”
With that, he pressed a chaste kiss to Leonard’s flushed cheek and then left the room quickly, before Leonard could convince him to stay.
Turned out that if this cabin had ever had central heating or power, it was long since defunct. He found an antique kerosene lantern in the kitchen, next to a box of old-fashioned matches. After lighting that, he could see well enough to start up a fire in the stone fireplace – luckily there was a good stock of firewood or he didn’t know what he would’ve done. Probably started burning furniture, because he sure as hell wasn’t leaving Leonard long enough to go chop down a tree for wood.
Once he got a good-sized blaze going, the room heated up quickly. Of course, this was the only room that was warm. There was no way around it – he was going to have to move Leonard down here.
He found a linen cupboard with stacks of blankets that didn’t seem too musty. Working as quickly as he could, he created a soft nest-like area in front of the fire. It wasn’t perfect, but it would do. Now, time to get 180 pounds of cranky, delirious Starfleet cadet down the narrow, creaky stairs. That would be fun.
It was about as enjoyable getting Leonard downstairs as he thought it would be. Len was so weak that he could barely walk, although thank god he could at least stumble with Chris’s help so Chris didn’t have to try to carry him down the steps. Leonard was confused as to why his vision-Chris was solid, and even more confused as to why vision-Chris was making him move downstairs. He wasn’t happy about this latter development, and he expressed his displeasure in no uncertain terms. Chris was pretty sure he heard threats of cream of giant mushroom soup, once Len was feeling better.
Finally, though, Chris was lowering a shaking Leonard into the blankets by the fire, slipping one of the throw pillows from the sofa under his head. Leonard turned toward the heat, gave a heartfelt sigh, and fell immediately into a deep, relaxed sleep, his shivers subsiding.
Chris kicked off his shoes but didn’t bother with anything else and curled up around Leonard’s body. No way he’d sleep tonight – he had to keep watch and make sure Leonard’s condition didn’t get any worse. But he couldn’t resist the opportunity to feel Leonard against him once more, warm and solid, before the inevitable anger and recriminations that were to come. He might never again have the chance to hold Len in his arms and he wasn’t going to waste it.
The long, dark night gave Chris plenty of time to realize how right it felt to hold Len, to understand how stupid he’d been to let that go, and to solemnly vow that he’d do better if he were given a second chance. Unfortunately, it didn’t give him enough time to figure out how to make that second chance happen.
The morning light was streaming in through the windows, gray and cold, in contrast to the warm gold of the fire that Chris had kept going all night, when Leonard finally stirred. He rolled onto his back, stretched lazily, and blinked open his eyes. His gaze met Chris’s and Chris saw a look of heartbreaking hope, vulnerability, and sadness, and it killed him to know he’d been the one to put that pain there.
Then Len stiffened, and his eyes shuttered. “What the hell are you doing here?” he demanded, the harshness of the words only emphasized by the roughness of his voice.
Chris winced. Well, at least Leonard wasn’t hallucinating any more. That had to be a positive sign.
Before he could say anything, though, Len was answering his own question. “Jim. Son of a bitch. I’m gonna kill him.”
At that moment, Chris was extremely grateful not to be Kirk. Of course, he had his own pit to climb out of when it came to Len. If only he could figure out how to begin. Well, direct was his preferred style, and Leonard didn’t much care for beating around the bush either. He took a deep breath.
“Len, I was an asshole.”
Leonard snorted but didn’t contradict him, not that he expected him to.
“I’m sorry. The things I said that night were completely out of line.”
Leonard didn’t say anything, but his gaze darkened, and Chris could tell that he remembered each and every vicious word that Chris had hurled at him. He’d give anything to be able to take it back, turn the clock back and do it differently.
He reached out to touch Leonard’s face and Leonard flinched back violently. Chris felt it like a knife to the gut. He took a deep breath and spoke, unsurprised to find that his voice was unsteady.
“I fucked up, Len. I was wrong. You were right. I should have been open about our relationship, I shouldn’t have made you feel like I was ashamed of you or of us. If you give me another chance, I’ll do everything in my power to make it up to you. It’ll be different this time. No more hiding. I swear it.” There was a long pause.
“What about the Enterprise?” Len said quietly.
Chris closed his eyes briefly. “I’m going to fight to keep her. I was recently reminded that I do have allies. Maybe I’ll get to captain her, maybe not. But if I get her at the cost of no longer having you in my life, and of having to continue to hide who I am, then the price is too high.” He looked straight at Leonard, letting him see the sincerity.
He saw doubt warring with hope on Leonard’s face, and he stopped breathing. He’d never felt more like he was balanced on the edge of the cliff’s face, with his fate completely out of his own hands.
Finally, Leonard spoke. “You better mean it. I won’t give you a third chance.” He gave Chris his trademark glare.
Chris sagged in relief, the blood pounding in his head and his face tingling with it. “I swear. I won’t screw it up again.”
Leonard nodded, and then closed his eyes, and Chris could see all of the energy drain out of his body, leaving him pale and exhausted on the blankets. He must have used the last of his reserves for this conversation, and Chris felt suddenly guilty.
“Rest now,” he said soothingly. “I’ll be here. Do you want anything?”
“Just – stay here with me,” Leonard said gruffly, sounding a little embarrassed about the request.
“You got it,” said Chris. He settled back into the blankets, wrapping an arm around Len as Len snuggled into his side, resting his head on Chris’s shoulder. Len smelled of stale sweat, and his forehead was uncomfortably clammy and damp against Chris’s skin. Chris had never been happier.
When Chris woke, it was several hours later, judging by the embers that were all that remained of the fire he’d built. He and Leonard had shifted while they were asleep, and Leonard was once again facing the fire with Chris spooned up behind him. Chris was warm and comfortable and content – and incredibly hard, his stiff cock pressed tight against Leonard’s ass. He groaned softly.
Leonard murmured in his sleep and shifted slightly against Chris, making him gasp at the friction. He automatically thrust forward, and he could tell the exact moment when Leonard woke, freezing in his arms.
“I’m sorry,” Chris said. “I didn’t mean to – “ What could he say? He didn’t mean to molest Leonard in his sleep? He didn’t mean to take advantage of the trust Leonard had placed in him, and once again prove himself unworthy of it?
“’Sokay,” Leonard said, relaxing once again. “You just startled me is all. Been waking up alone too long.”
Chris felt a new wave of guilt, and then he felt a hard elbow in the ribs as Leonard said, “Quit beating yourself up and fuck me already.”
“Leonard, no – you’re not well, and I – “
“It’s just a goddamn cold, not like I’m at death’s door.” Now he was sounding irritated, and Chris’s irritation rose as well.
“Len, you were delirious last night. It’s not ‘just’ anything.”
Leonard twisted in his arms, facing him now, one eyebrow raised. “I was delirious? What’d I do?”
Chris chuckled, running a finger over Leonard’s furrowed brows. “You said something about me turning into a giant mushroom, if I recall correctly.”
Leonard blushed slightly, and Chris thought he’d never seen anything more adorable. He planted a gentle kiss on Leonard’s lips, but Leonard was having none of that. He surged forward, turning the chaste kiss into something passionate, almost desperate.
Despite his concern for Len’s health, Chris was drawn into it almost instantly. Hell, he needed this too, this reaffirmation. He rolled them until Len was under him, their cocks lined up and pressing together through the layers of their clothing. He broke off the kiss, gasping with the sensations coursing through him. Leonard was clutching his arms, thrusting up against him, and if Chris didn’t put a stop to this, they were both going to come in their pants, and that was not what Chris had in mind for their reunion sex.
He pulled back and sat on his haunches, ignoring Leonard’s indignant protest. He tore off his own shirt and then urged Len to sit far enough up that he could pull Len’s off too. Then he moved off of Leonard, grabbing his bag from near the door, fumbling for the lube he’d stashed in there in a fit of optimism. When he got back to Len’s side, he shimmied out of his remaining clothes as quickly as possible. Leonard followed suit, shaking slightly from the exertion by the time he was done.
Chris gently pushed Len back, until he was lying flat on his back against the blankets. “Len, let me take care of you,” he said. “Let me do all the work.”
Len nodded his agreement, and that was a sure sign of how weak he really was. Chris began to have second thoughts about doing this, and then Leonard said, “Come on, Chris, fuck me already. Got to feel you in me right now.”
Any hesitation flew out the window. He groaned and quickly lubed up his fingers, pressing one into Len. Damn, he was tight, no doubt because Chris hadn’t been fucking him wide open every night. Leonard hissed and bore down, then said, “Yeah, Chris, that’s it. More.”
Normally Chris would have taken more time to prepare Leonard, both for Len’s comfort and because he liked to torment them both by drawing it out, but there was no way he could wait that long this time. He added a second finger and then a third, reveling in the helpless, wanton noises Len was making.
He couldn’t hold off any longer. He hooked Len’s legs over his shoulders and then lined up, loving the way the head of his cock looked, snug against Leonard’s puckered hole. He pushed forward, watching as his length sank into Len’s body, slowly and inexorably. Len was moaning, his head thrown back and his hands clenched in the blankets at his sides. Finally Chris was buried all the way inside, Len’s body gripping him like the warmest velvet. He let out a shaky breath. God, to think he’d nearly lost this, lost the man who was spread out beneath him. He closed his eyes and placed a kiss on the inside of Leonard’s knee, taking a long moment just to absorb the knowledge that this was really his – that he’d been given a second chance.
When he opened his eyes back up and looked down, he saw that Leonard was looking back up at him, his eyes suspiciously bright. He felt a lump in his own throat. Reaching out one of his hands, he threaded his fingers through Len’s, squeezing tight, feeling Len clutch back just as hard.
The moment couldn’t last forever, though, and the need to move became overwhelming. He had to reclaim Len, brand him so they both knew who he belonged to. He drew back slowly, pulling almost all the way out, leaving just the head of his cock embedded within Len. Then he pushed forward again, bottoming out, and they both moaned. He did it again, repeating the movement slightly faster each time, until he reached a deep, punishing rhythm that had both of them gasping.
It wasn’t going to last long, not this time, and Chris couldn’t bring himself to hold back, to slow it down and make them both wait. He dropped forward, bracing his hands on either side of Leonard, while Leonard dropped his legs down to wrap around Chris’s waist. Chris leaned in to share a desperate, messy kiss with Len, their teeth clacking together almost painfully as he tried to keep up his thrusting at the same time.
He raised himself back up until he was a few inches above Len’s face, and keeping their eyes locked together, he reached between their bodies and took Leonard’s cock into his hand, jacking it in time with his strokes into Leonard’s ass. Leonard cried out but kept his eyes wide and focused on Chris’s.
Chris thrust forward twice, three times, tightening his grip on Leonard’s cock, and then they were both coming, Len clenching his ass and spurting over Chris’s fist, just as Chris gave a harsh groan and spilled himself deep inside of Leonard.
They stilled, and stayed in position for long moments, heavy breathing gradually slowing to a more steady rhythm. Still, neither looked away from the other’s eyes.
Eventually Chris’s softening cock slipped out of Leonard, and with a shuddering sigh, Chris let himself down on the blankets next to Len, pulling him into his arms. He buried his face in Len’s sweat-damp, tousled hair and inhaled deeply. “I love you,” he said softly on his exhale.
“Love you too,” Leonard murmured into his chest.
For a while there were no words, just the glow of the embers in the hearth, the heady scent of their lovemaking, and the solidity of Len in his arms. He drifted peacefully for long minutes, content to just be.
“You’re still in the doghouse, you know,” Leonard mumbled sleepily.
Chris huffed a laugh. “Fair enough.”
“Couple more sessions like that, though, and I might consider forgiving you.”
“Noted.” He certainly had no problem with that.
“Chris?” Len sounded hesitant, and Chris tensed up a bit.
Len took a deep breath, and then, after a silent struggle, spoke. “You weren’t wrong, you know. With the things you said about me that night.” There was a bleakness in his tone that Chris had never heard before, and his gut clenched in response.
“No, Len, I – “
Len cut him off. “No, Chris, listen to me for once. The drinking, the aviaphobia, the stupid shit Jim drags me into – you were right. That stuff has to change. I just… I don’t know how.” His voice had dwindled to a whisper, and it was so different from Len’s usual brash manner that Chris ached for him.
He pulled Leonard tighter against his side. “We’ll figure it out together,” he said, a solemn vow. “Whatever you need me to do, I’ll be there, and we’ll do it together. Whatever it takes, as long as it takes.”
Leonard sighed, and Chris felt some of the vibrating tension leave his body. “Yeah. All right. But I’m bound to be a surly bastard about it.”
“I wouldn’t have it any other way.” And oddly enough, it was true. The coming days and months weren’t going to be easy, for either of them, but Chris felt a sense of calm purpose, a sense of rightness, that no promised starship captaincy had ever been able to touch.
“Love you,” Len said again, already sounding half asleep.
“I love you too. Now get some rest. I’ll be here when you wake up,” he said, so softly he could barely hear the words himself.
And so it began, not with a bang but a whisper.