I don't even know what to say. It's been well over a year since I posted The Fixable, and one of the last things I said was that I was determined to write a romance fic regarding Jim Kirk. That's been a lot easier said then done (Kirk's a tricky character to write, making his potential love interest even trickier). But here I am, with this fic that is nowhere near as complete as I would like. In fact, I'm doubting even putting this out here, but despite everything I feel like this has some of my best writing (so just bare with all the rest please). It will be a long fic, and I'm not even halfway finished writing it, so updates may not be a regular thing. Of course, I always welcome reviews, and this story could definitely benefit from some major feedback.

Also who can resist a bit of an Academy fan fiction? This story will be divided into two parts. I've smushed in the prologue and first chapter together, because I like big chapters. I also want to say that this story does deal with mature themes. And finally to the disclaimer...

I do not own Star Trek and I'm doing this for fun. Also this fic has a heroine who loves music. Any lyrics or music mentioned belongs to their respective owners.


Unnamed Stars

Prologue

Somewhere on the edge of Beta Quadrant—Stardate 2263.6

At one point in their lives they had all been hopeful.

"Jim," Nyota Uhura yelled, her voice straining with fear and panic. The use of his first name, a gracious symbol of their friendship, should have made him happy. Except nothing swelled in his chest but fear. Uhura's knuckles were white as she clung onto the ladder leading up to the emergency shuttle. It hovered off the ground, desperate to leave, but not willing to go without it's captain.

"Captain." Spock didn't even sound like himself. He did not speak with the normal, plain clipped tones that made all of his statements apathetic. The wind was blowing so hard that it knocked them both back, their feet staggering to stand their ground as they strained to hear one another over the whirring noise. "Captain," Spock cried again. "We must leave now."

Jim turned his head, his feet not even able to move, scanning the ground of the planet. His eyes squinted in reaction to the wind, but he could see her. He could see her, covered in an ungodly amount of blood. It coated her skin, stained her clothes, and burned an image into Jim Kirk that would never leave him. He watched her stagger and his muscles clenched, willing himself to move towards her. Spock's hand clapped down on his shoulder, forcing him to stay.

He watched, as the wind and the snow buried them, as their enemies were extinguished, as the men and women who would never get to be hailed as heroes saved his crew. He watched her close her eyes and for a moment her face fell peaceful before it crushed in painful anguish, blood violently splattering from her throat, Eleanor Slayer dying for her cause.

And in the end, Captain Kirk's decision was made for him, Spock's Vulcan strength forcing him forward and up. Uhura grabbed onto his hand and they were both tugged into the shuttle. The door closed behind him and Sulu gunned it, his face betraying the fact that he still wasn't sure if they could fly free of the danger.

After being tugged into the shuttle, Kirk never made it to his feet, instead sitting up against the closed shuttle door. His legs were loosely bent up to his chest, sweat, despite the cold, mixing with the soot that covered his face. He looked up through his lashes, breathing heavily as he stared at his crew—at his family.

Pavel Chekov bled heavily, McCoy furiously working to stop it. Uhura and Spock held onto one another. In one corner laid the dead body of a security officer. It was the only body they could recover. Two other redshirts sat near him in vigil.

Gaila was sitting in a seat, quiet and pale. Kirk wondered if she felt the way he did.

They were headed to the Enterprise, leaving a war behind. Dimly, Kirk thought about whether they had just saved the world or destroyed it.

Then he thought about how at one point in their lives they had all been hopeful.

Because the most important thing to remember about this story is that at one point they had all been so hopeful.


Part I.

I

September, 2255

Starfleet Academy—Fall Semester

San Francisco, California, United Earth

"Right," Gaila addressed the group as they walked up to the correct bar. There wasn't much to it, a little hole in the wall known for cheap beer and dealing with the plethora of Academy students that was constantly in and out of the establishment. It also hardly checked ID's which was good for Eleanor Sayer, not that she hadn't been without a fake ID since she was fourteen. "So, Arnold from first floor was telling me that a lot of people were getting here at eight."

"Then why the hell did we come at nine?" Uhura questioned, her voice agitated, using a tone only Gaila could get out of her.

"Fashionably late," Gaila said, the expression on her face saying 'duh'.

"You do realize we have our first seminar of the semester tomorrow at 07:00," Helga reminded her.

"Of course I do," Gaila rolled her eyes. She knew how people perceived her, tits and ass with a whole bunch of red hair, but she was a ringer, having graduated Summa Cum Laude from MIT with a degree in Computer Engineering. This bitch was smart and she knew her friends had already figured that out, thanks to last year's class standings.

As soon as they crossed the threshold they could see how packed the bar was. It was warm in the room, with strands of colored lights hung up to illuminate the otherwise dim bar. It was also strangely smoky, despite the commercial production and sale of cigarettes ending over a century ago.

"This way." Eleanor barely heard Gaila say. She followed the girl, all of them weaving through the crowd to make it to the bar. They had to wait patiently, the bartenders slammed as they worked furiously to make sure everybody got the alcohol they wanted.

"A classic Budweiser," Eleanor requested. The bartender nodded, not even bothering to ask for an ID.

"We'll be over there," Uhura said into her ear, jerking her head to show her which direction. Eleanor nodded that she understood and knew that they'd all be hovering in the usual spot that they normally ended up at.

"Thanks," she said when she was handed the bottle and stepped out of the way to find her friends. With Gaila's features and Uhura's graceful presence like a beacon, she easily found her classmates. What she wasn't expecting though was somebody's foot sticking out. She felt the air around her before the solid floor under her. "Oof," came out of her mouth on its own accord. She stared up straight at the ceiling, resigned in knowing she'd made a spectacle of herself in front of the large crowd.

A head swam in front of her line of sight. "Did that hurt?"

It was just the type of thing for James Tiberius Kirk to say. Not, "are you okay," or "here let me help you up". Instead, it was, 'did that hurt,' like having the wind knocked right out of you wasn't going to hurt.

"Just a smidge," she breathed.

"Smidge," the kid smirked. He offered a hand and he pulled her up. Taking in her full height, five foot two, he said the word again. "Smidge."

She frowned. "I'm not a smidge, I'm scrappy."

"No, you're Smidge," he promised, the name already taking hold.

Eleanor opened her mouth to respond, but the man standing beside him shook his head.

"Don't even start it, sweetheart," he told her. "Once this one comes up with a nickname, you're stuck with it," he said, his voice laced with bitterness.

"This is Bones," the man jerked a thumb at the bitter man.

"Leonard McCoy," he corrected, shaking hands with Eleanor.

"And I'm Jim," his friend inserted.

"Eleanor," she introduced herself.

"And you are?" Jim swung around to smile cheekily at Uhura.

She rolled her eyes, before glaring at each of the girls. "Under no circumstance is he to know my first name." Fire flashed in her eyes, so they knew not to challenge her.

"What'd he do to you?" Helga snorted.

"You make a good point, uh," he looked at her for a name.

"Helga," she supplied.

"Helga," he repeated, pointing back and forth between her and Uhura. "I have not done a single thing to you, yet you refuse me your name."

"Don't flatter yourself, by thinking you get to know my name," she replied coolly. McCoy snorted into his bourbon.

"Oh my god he's Iowa boy!" Gaila's eyes lit up as she understood how Uhura knew Kirk.

Jim, smiling wide at his notoriousness, eyed Gaila up and down. "So uh what dorms are you girls in?"

"Ew," Uhura snapped.

"Sommers Hall, room 606," Gaila informed him.

His eyes lit up. "No shit," he laughed. "We're in 506," he smirked at Uhura. "Right underneath y'all."

Uhura groaned. "How the hell did you even get into those dorms? You're a first year."

"Second year," he proudly stated. "They didn't want my talent to go to waste, so they had me test out of my first year." Uhura's mouth dropped open, growing livid at the information. "And Bones here is a doctor, so he's been fast tracked too."

"You know we'll probably host a little get-together," Gaila butt in.

"Excuse me?" Uhura's eyes cut dangerously to the Orion, who steadily ignored the look. After a year of rooming with Nyota Uhura, Gaila knew how to work around Uhura's various temperaments.

"That'd have been nice to know." Helga's dig was a little more sly, her dry humor mixing well with Jim's eccentric slapstick.

"Hey," Leonard motioned to Eleanor. "You need another?"

"Yeah," she said sadly, noting the spilled beer on her jeans from the fall. "Granted, it'd have been nicer if I could have finished off my first one."

He grimaced in agreement. "The next ones on me."

She shook her head. "Nah," she let him down. "But it's nice of you to offer."

"Just don't say I never tried to buy you a beer," he said, with one impressive raised eyebrow. He followed her to the bar, Eleanor aware that he tried to shield her from other drunken patrons. She knew he had to be the oldest out of them and that the move was done with nothing in mind other than just keeping friendlier cadets off her. She could take care of herself but tucked away the fact that he was a nice guy as she added that to all the other characterizations she had made of her fellow cadets.

In Eleanor's mind she had figured them all out. Silently collecting facts on all the fellow cadets she had met so far, creating characterizations about them, throughout the year she had been in Starfleet.

Uhura was the mother of the group. She was wickedly smart, but could easily be characterized as haughty. Gaila, the green goddess, was the party girl. Helga, the quiet one that people needed to watch, was Eleanor's roommate. There room was right across from Gaila and Uhura's. When Helga Minn-Schuster spoke, it was often like thunder, unexpected but wildly hilarious. Leonard 'Bones' McCoy was gruff and grumpy, at times looking out of place next to his roommate. Anytime he'd back away from the conversation or appeared uneasy, Jim would look his way and find a way to involve the doctor in the conversation again.

It wasn't easy characterizing Jim. There were simple, cliché, phrases that applied to the young man. Smooth bastard. Good looking. Good looking and well aware of it. But there was also something else to him. He could be dramatic, tell a good story, and yet he could also fall into a quiet bubble, taking the time to look around the room and closely analyze the faces of those he was speaking to. Eleanor could watch the wheels of his mind work, the slow turn and grind of his brain, as he subtly took note of the new cadets around him.

He was dangerous because he was smart and at one point his gorgeous blue eyes met Eleanor's sea green ones and for an instant they knew that they were both summing each other up. Not because they were being competitive, but because they were being cautious.

Just as quickly as their eyes had caught each other, they sliced away from one another. An easy going grin tugged at his lips when he began to dance slightly. Leonard looked on at him, appalled at the actions.

"Good god man," Leonard accused him. "You look like a moron, and that's in addition to your stupidity."

Uhura allowed herself to laugh at the insult. Gaila though began to dance along with the heavy beats of the song, an angry cry throughout the song. Jim began to nod his head violently, and enthusiastically, with the song.

"Oh come on," Eleanor took pity on him. She turned to head back to the bar. "Testify is a classic."

"It sounds like garbage," Leonard grumbled into his drink as she walked away.

"Hi," Eleanor shouted over the bar. "Can I have a double shot of tequila."

The bartender looked over his shoulders, to where various bottles of the liquor sat. "You got a particular brand?"

"The cheapest one," she informed him.

He nodded his head, bobbing up and down to the loud music as he served customers. He handed her the shot, which she took in one fell swoop. "Cool, can I have another," she asked of him. He poured out another double shot, winking at her as he passed it to her.

"This one's on me," he said.

She smiled, a light-headed, delighted smile before taking the shot. "A Budweiser classic," she ordered. He handed it right up to her.

"You like to mix your liquor," an impressed voice startled her. Her gaze slid sideways to see Jim next to her. He ordered another beer and the bartender gave it to him without the wink. She kinda liked being the one with the special treatment, even if it was just because of her boobs.

She shrugged her shoulders, the alcohol making her limbs lazy and feel good. She didn't care if he wanted to talk because she spun around and happily made her way back to all their new friends. His eyes followed her parting figure in the crowd, not because he was checking out her ass, but was wondering how much alcohol such a tiny person could consume—for the record it was a lot.


"I lost my shoe," Eleanor said woefully. Helga turned to her in confusion as they all stumbled out of the bar. Last call had come and gone and the lights had been turned on as everybody was herded out of the building. Uhura was keeping track of Gaila, a couple feet ahead of them when Eleanor turned back to the building. "I'll be back!" she promised, calling over her shoulder at her roommate.

"How did you lose a shoe?" Helga called back, her voice giving away how much alcohol she had consumed.

"I don't know," Eleanor answered back even though she was back in the building and Helga couldn't hear her. Loosing a shoe was just kinda Eleanor. Not unusual, not normal, not special, just Eleanor. Typical Eleanor. She bounced across the bar, seeking out her sneaker, not seeing any blue canvas in sight. She saddled up to the bar, sorry to not see the same cute flirtatious barman from earlier. "Have you seen my shoe?" she asked another barman, her voice sweet like cotton candy. She wasn't even sucking up, she just always had a funny singsong twang to her voice. A long time ago she'd had to come up with a way of talking herself out of schoolyard fights. Silly humor had often done the trick.

The man held up a blue canvas sneaker. "This one?" he asked her, his face possibly a mixture of amusement and exhaustion—like he was sick of this type of shit.

She nodded, delighted that it was the correct shoe. He handed it to her and she bent slightly to put it back on.

"And, uh, hey," the barman stopped her from leaving. He held up a wallet. "Is this one of your cadet friends?"

She tilted her head sideways, honestly not sure if it was.

The man flipped the wallet open, reading the identification. "A James T. Kirk." He paused, his brow creasing. "Oh, shit," he cried out. He looked at another barman. "You don't think George Kirk's boy has joined Starfleet?"

The other barman, cleaning beer bottles off the bar thought about it. "Maybe being a hero is genetic?" he theorized.

"Oh, god," the barman replied. "If we're talking genetics, then all I'm getting from my father is being a drunk."

"Well, you do own a bar."

Laughing at the joke, he turned back to Eleanor, silently asking her if she could help him out.

"I do know him," she admitted. "He's actually right outside."

"I'd be careful giving out somebody's wallet," he admitted. "But this guy's broke as hell." He handed her the brown leather wallet, creased and worn. "Guess they don't pay dead heroes much these days."

Eleanor took the wallet, her brow furrowed at his comments, but not properly able to analyze them with all the shots she'd had throughout the night. She just thanked the man again for saving her shoe and skipped out of the bar, before a security guard locked up behind her. The street in front of the building had cleared out considerably, only a few people still lingering. The girls stood at the curb.

"Hey," Eleanor said breathlessly, skipping down the steps to meet them. "Where'd Jim go?"

Uhura nodded back towards campus. She was holding Gaila up, who'd been doing shots with several guys. She, Eleanor proudly noted, could not hold her liquor as well as Eleanor could and while Helga was standing, she seemed dead on her feet.

"We have class at seven in the morning," she moaned as they began to walk to campus.

"You guys do know we have a curfew," Eleanor suddenly remembered. Granted, of course they knew there was a curfew. They'd had once since they'd started at the Academy. It just seemed that every time they started drinking, they'd forget. They stopped short on the sidewalk, the three of them peering down at Gaila who was doubled over, barely held up by the linguist.

Uhura looked back at them. "This could get tricky."

"Come on," Eleanor wrapped another arm around the green girl. She had done shit like this plenty of times, so she was hardly afraid of sneaking back into campus.

It did mean though, that Jim T. Kirk's wallet was the last thing on her to-do list and it remained that way until midway through the next day when she got back from a morning of seminars and searching around for specific textbooks when she spotted the brown leather wallet on the corner of her desk. Picking it up, she took the stairs down to the next floor remembering that he had said they were in the room right below Uhura's.

She knocked on the door of 506 and the door slide opened. She took a step in, pausing when she saw Leonard's face. It wasn't quite dangerous or angry, but it wasn't happy either. In fact, it was more like a cry for help.

He was sitting at the round table, flanked by two other men who Eleanor had not meet before.

"Hi," she said cautiously.

"Hey," he muttered and it actually wasn't unfriendly. It was just how he spoke.

"What are you guys doing?" Eleanor asked.

A man looked up from the table, thick black hair flopping into his eyes. "We're picking out characters so we can begin playing Spaceships and Starlords," he explained. Eleanor thought he saw a vein on McCoy's head pop out, finding the idea absolutely ridiculous.

"This is Eugene," he nodded to the one that had just spoken. "And Thyron," he indicated the other man. "They live next door," he explained before curiously looking up at her. "What are you doing here?"

"I was looking for Jim."

"Of course you were," he snorted. Next to him, Thyron turned and added a tally mark, to a large smartboard on the wall.

Eleanor laughed outright. "Oh, hell no," she said. "You erase that right now."

Still, Leonard's expression challenged her true motives and she held out the wallet in defense.

"He left this at the bar last night," she explained and he started to laugh. "I just haven't had a chance to get it to him." She turned to Thyron. "Now seriously erase that."

The alien did so and she took a seat much to their surprise.

"I would like to be a Ferengi," she announced.

"What?" Eugene said after a moment.

"I get to pick or create a character right?" she asked. "I want to be a Ferengi."

"Why?" Leonard asked, not meaning why was she wanting to be a Ferengi, but rather why she wanted to play. She didn't understand his actual question.

"Feregni are good businessmen," she replied. She leaned forward, with a playful expression. "And I can sell the shit out of things."

Her readiness to join the game, a game that was well known for its dorkiness, startled all of them.

"Aren't they sexist though," Thyrone finally said. "Like women aren't supposed to own businesses."

"That could make it interesting." Eugene nodded in thought, taking the game very serious. "And it'd go well with your character."

"That's true," he replied.

"Good god," Leonard moaned to himself, but either because he lacked anything else to really do or felt obligated to make nice with his suitemates he continued to play the game. "Is this some type of joke!" he exploded two hours later when his starship received damage from rogue Romulans.

"You alright there, Bones?"

The group looked up from their game to spot James T. Kirk in the doorway. He had a backpack slung over his shoulder, but instead of his cadet uniform, he was clad in his usual denim jeans, t-shirt and leather jacket. He dropped his bag in the corner and leaned up against the door since all the chairs were taken. He looked haggard and tired, not a good sign as it was only his second day at the Academy. He crossed his arms and looked at them all.

"I didn't think you were one for roleplaying Bones?" he smirked.

Leonard's expression turned murderous.

"What brings you here?" he asked, turning his head to look at Eleanor.

Eleanor tossed him the wallet.

"Oh, shit," he gasped. "Thanks!" He opened it, checking that nothing had gone missing.

"You're welcome," Eleanor shrugged. With his arrival breaking the game up, she stood from the table and waved goodbye.

"Hey," Jim caught her elbow before she left the room completely. He dropped his voice low as he leaned in. "Now that we're friends," he said as he motioned to the returned wallet. "Maybe just between me and you…you could remind me of all the names of your roommates."

Eleanor smiled sweetly. "I didn't realize we were friends," she glanced at the wallet, letting him know that had just been her being nice. "But okay."

His brilliant charming smile, one that lit up his entire face grew wider.

"My name's Eleanor," she informed him, snaking her arm away from his grip and walking away from him. "And if you want Uhura's first name you'll have to ask her."