A/N: So, here we are. This is in fact the end. It came to me at work last week. I came to the conclusion that I'm at a place where I can end this in at least moderately good fashion. For about the billionth time, my apologies with the spotty updating and kind of allover plot. When I started this, I was all hopped up on the movie and Kirk and Spock and just wanting to write. I'm not making that mistake again; if I write that other Star Trek fic I gave a sample of a while back, I'll plan it out better. In any case, I bid you all farewell, and fond wishes and hope you all like this ending.
"Jim? You in?" McCoy rapped his knuckles on the door to the quarters Jim split with Spock on occasion. He'd already tried the conn, and received no answer. He waited, tapping his foot; still no answer. He stepped forward to knock again, and the door slid open, startling him.
Spock stood in the doorway, straightening his shirt that he'd clearly just tugged on. McCoy eyed him, noting the way his hair was stuck up in the back and the pale green flush to his cheeks. The shower started up and they both glanced that way.
"The captain," Spock stated, unnecessarily.
"Hmm," McCoy looked back at him, and the first officer narrowed his eyes in response. "Well, I'd like to talk to him. Mind if I sit? I know he'll be a while, takes longer showers than any girl I ever knew."
Spock motioned for him to sit, perching on the edge of the bed himself. They sat in stony silence, broken only by Jim's distant humming while he showered and dressed in the bathroom. Jim came out his usual twenty minutes later, steam puffing around him, rubbing a damp towel on his head with one hand and tossing a brush to Spock with the other.
"Your hair's all stuck up Spock; you look like a surprised bird. Hey Bones," he grinned at both, seemingly unaware of the tension ratcheting up incrementally. He chucked the towel into the bathroom, pumping his fist when it landed in the bin put there just for that purpose. He glanced over his shoulder, "Spock, brush your hair or I'll do it for you, 'kay?"
"Very well," Spock ignored the snicker from Bones and strode to the mirror, brushing down his hair to its natural smoothness.
"Something I can help you with Bones?" Jim tossed himself on the bed, sprawling slightly, the picture of ease. He knew why Bones was here, hell they all knew why; they'd been going at it in the weeks leading up to that day like bickering children, only Spock of course managing to maintain any of his dignity. But he was going to make Bones say it, make him be the one to cave first this time.
"You know why I'm here," Bones growled, fixing a glare on Jim.
"Yes you damn well do!"
Spock paused by the mirror, considering informing the doctor that resorting to cursing so soon was a sure sign of a lack of vocabulary and imagination, but thought better of it. McCoy and Jim had finally patched things up in the approximate year and a half since their last shore leave; it would be a shame to tear that all asunder simply because he had a most un-Vulcan-like urge to push the CMO's buttons. He shook his head and instead returned the brush to the bathroom.
"Yeah, I do know why you're here, but the answer is still the same. I think it would be good for the three of us."
"That's your opinion," Bones huffed, crossing his arms over his chest.
"It may just be my opinion, but I'm backing it on the grounds that I'm the captain."
"Well I'm chief medical operator, and I could say you're not in your right mind to be making those sorts of calls."
"Oh please Bones, if you did that every single time I made a call you didn't agree with I'd have never been made captain and we wouldn't be here. And," Jim paused, struck by a sudden realization. He turned a look on Bones that was equal parts smug and evil and made the CMO shift uncomfortably. "I would say that it was a call that could have had you deemed 'not in your right mind' that got me on this ship in the first place. A call you did not, if I recall, get in trouble for because I ended up recognizing the trap we were flying into." Jim sat back, and spared a glance at Spock, whose eyes had lit up ever so slightly, recognizing the check mate his captain had just played.
Bones gaped at Jim, who could see the thought working its way through his head. "So what, you're saying I owe you this one?"
"Essentially. Look, Bones it would mean a lot to me, as my best friend in the whole world, if you came with us. And I promise that one, it'll be fun, and two, I'll do whatever you want the next time we have shore leave, unless of course my mom is planetside and wants me to visit."
"Damn it all." The doctor sighed heavily, sagging back in his seat. Jim had played the best friend card, a dirty, underhanded move, and was flashing him the classic puppy dog stare, his lower lip stuck out. He knew when he was beat. "Fine, fine, I'll go on your little…vacation. But I'm going under protest, just so you know."
"Bones if you did anything without protesting I'd think there was something wrong with you," Jim chuckled as they got to their feet and clapped the other man on the back when he glared. "Trust me, we'll have good time, we'll get drunk and do something stupid, it'll be awesome."
"How you manage to function in society, never mind became a captain, is beyond me."
"Well, once you've saved a planet and defeated a crazy Romulan, people start thinking the weird things you do are just adorable, and that you're just an eccentric captain who should be indulged and coddled. Totally clears the way in case you screw up. The good looks, charm and amazing first officer and CMO don't hurt either," Jim gave Bones his best dashing smile, waggling his eyebrows. Without realizing it, Spock and Bones both did tandem eye rolling, though they both could admit to Jim having a point. He was the youngest captain, and had gotten away with stuff either because of the planet saving, or because Pike had a soft spot for him and brushed off much of his antics as "Jim will be Jim"; the lucky bastard.
"Now, Bones, if you'd be so kind, I've gotta pack, and so do you. Scotty tells me we'll be in port pretty soon, and I want to get on the road right away." Jim steered him towards the door, and ushered him through. "Now, don't forget to pack your toothbrush, and plenty of underwear, and your swim trunks and we'll meet you on the bridge once we're closer to landing, 'kay?" He ushered him through the door and into the hall, giving a small wave as it slid shut.
"Are you certain this is a wise idea?" Spock asked once Bones was gone, leaning against the doorframe of the bathroom.
"I am as certain about this as I'm certain that you look sexy as hell in jeans," Jim grinned. Spock raised an eyebrow. "Oh you know you love it," the blonde threw him a cheeky grin as he moved behind him, wrapping his arms around his slim waist. "I am sure about this though. Bones is…well, ok he's not just all talk, he'll back it up if he's got to, we've all seen that. But about this, I know, I can feel it, that he's just complaining to complain; that's what he does. It's because, in the way back of his mind, all he can think of is all the times back at Starfleet, where he'd end up third wheel when I uh, got acquainted with the lady of the week," Jim chuckled slightly, scratching the back of his neck. Spock glanced back at him, and Jim could see his eyes narrow just the tiniest bit. "Oh come on, how long've we been together? I won't do that…I mean, either of those. Quit with the glaring at me or I will ruffle the hair you just brushed to perfection."
"I would like to see you try," Spock replied, deftly turning in Jim's grasp and snatching up the brush once more before bopping Jim in the head with it.
"Ow! Hey, that's assault Spock."
"Technically it is battery. The two are often confused."
"Either way, I could throw you in the brig if I had a mind to," Jim rubbed at his head.
"How very threatening Jim," Spock retorted. "And then you would have to endure this 'vacation' on your own, without my company."
Jim blinked in surprise. "You conniving s.o.b. Was that a veiled threat of withholding sexual favors in there?" A slow grin spread over his face, "Color me impressed…and a little turned on."
Spock rolled his eyes, "Honestly Jim, is there anything in this or any galaxy that does not somehow result in you being turned on?"
"Probably, I haven't gone out of my way to find out," the captain shrugged.
"Of course. Would you like assistance in packing? My own bag is ready, but," Spock cast a glance at the jumbled mess of socks, shirts and luridly patterned underwear strewn about but not in Jim's battered duffle bag, "You are not, and you did in fact tell the Doctor you would be packing."
"Yeah yeah, I got it thanks," Jim grumbled, shoving clothes haphazardly into the bag. Spock watched, eye brow in danger of disappearing behind his hair line and wondered what his chances were as far as re-packing the bag once Jim's back was turned. He however wouldn't get that chance, as once Jim had forced the zipper shut on the bag he slung it over his shoulder and all but bounded to the door. "C'mon, let's go! You know if we aren't there Bones will just use it as an excuse to ditch us."
"And that would be quite the tragedy," Spock muttered, extending the handle on his own bag and wheeling it after Jim.
"I thought we were in a rush, or something? You were so gung-ho to get out of here, so tell me why we're hanging about the transporter?"
"Because Bones," Jim sighed, "we've got one more…ah, here he is!"
Scotty trundled up to the three, his face shiny and red and arms loaded with bags, a pair of sunglasses perched precariously on the end of his nose.
"Scotty? Why's he coming?" Bones growled.
"Nice to see you too Doc," Scotty huffed. "Jim, help a fellow out an' push my glasses up on my nose, there's a good lad." He peered over the top of the frames at them as Jim pushed them up. "So, we good to go then or what? Less you'd like to stick round here?"
"Nope, we're all set now. If you'd be so kind?" Jim gestured towards the transporter. Scotty set his bags down, revealing a luridly colored shirt, what Jim was fairly certain was called a Hawaiian print that clashed horribly with, well everything. And of course, Bones had to say something.
"Good Christ, it's a good thing I'm not hungover."
"Yeah yeah, blow it out your arse," the other man bent over the transporter controls, setting it so that it would go off only once they'd all stepped aboard. "Alright then, step on up, keep your arms and legs and bags inside the vehicle at all times and all that noise." He scrambled for his own bags and leapt onto the transporter just before they were engulfed in light only to reappear seconds later among the milling crowds at Starfleet.
"Alright Jim, you're the fearless leader here. Where are we off to?"
"Just stick close and follow me," Jim beamed over his shoulder as he grasped Spock's hand and dragged him along through the throngs of people shouting good byes and questions about shore leave plans. Bones shoved Scotty in front of him, the better to make sure he didn't drop anything and urged him to follow, cursing as he took an errant elbow to the shoulder.
"How ya doing back there?" Scotty called, hefting his bags higher.
"Marvelous, just god damn marvelous. Couldn't be happier in fact."
"Yeah, sounds like it. Ah, just wait til we're outta the crowd, you'll feel better."
"Of course I will," Bones muttered.
They picked their way through to fresh air and the exceedingly packed parking lot. At the very end, looking distinctly out of place among the newer model vehicles, was Jim's trusty truck, left there for him by his mom. Spock glanced at Jim, and though his expression never shifted, Jim could tell he was surprisingly pleased to see the truck. Even Bones appreciated it, though that was less for the truck itself and more because it was a method of transportation that stayed on the ground.
"A truck, an honest to god, four wheels, engine and all truck. And it's not even my birthday Jim," Bones was positively beaming as he hurled his bags into the bed of it and started securing them with bungee cords. The others followed suit, and after a brief debate on who would sit where, they piled into the cab, Jim driving, Spock next to him and Bones and Scotty in the back seat, though Bones was, unsurprisingly, not thrilled, despite Spock's promise to give him ample leg room.
"Were you planning on telling us where we're going, or is this essentially a kidnapping?" he grumbled.
"Do you feel like you need an adult Bones?" Jim smirked at him from the rearview mirror.
"Considering I'm not likely to find one here…"
"I resent that remark doctor," Spock interjected.
"I agree, I'd say I'm pretty adult," Scotty added, "Y'know, when called upon to be such. Do you need me to be your adult? You need only ask, I'll protect you from the scary, scary captain."
"Shut up Scotty."
"Temper temper doctor. S'not the way to get into my good graces nor make me inclined to share my vacation stash."
Spock rolled his eyes at Jim, silently asking him to break them up before someone committed an act of violence against someone else.
"Alright, alright, I'm on it," Jim glanced over his shoulder at them quickly, shifting lanes as he did so. "Break it up kids, or so help me I'll turn this car around."
"Because that would matter so much, considering where we're going. Oh wait!"
"Jim, please, just tell them where we are going." Jim peeked over at Spock, who was actually slouching, arms crossed over his chest and gazing out the window. He frowned, wondering what could be vexing his Vulcan lover; he nearly took one hand from the wheel to reach for Spock's, to offer comfort as well as try and figure out had him looking so…mopey almost, but he couldn't, not in front of Bones and Scotty. Frowning, brows drawn together, he sighed and put it away to ask Spock about later.
"Well, I had intended this to be almost a surprise. Dunno why I thought that would go over any differently than it has…anyway. So, my mom has friends from when she was in Starfleet that live on the coast. The east coast to be more precise, on the beach. They're going away on a vacation themselves, and mentioned to mom that they were having trouble finding someone to house sit for them. Mom asked when they were going to be gone, realized it was the same time we were on leave, and asked if I wouldn't mind doing it."
"They're ok with us coming along?" Scotty questioned.
"Yeah, mom put me in contact with them, and we went over stuff. I asked if three of my ship mates could join, said they'd be on their best behavior, all that. They were surprisingly enthusiastic, but from what I remember of them, they never had kids of their own, so I think…"
"They see you and us like surrogates," Bones concluded. He shook his head, but couldn't help grinning slightly. He was almost old enough to be Jim's father, he was hardly fit to be thought of as someone's stand-in kid, and the same went for Scotty. If anything, they were the parents in this outfit; with Jim and Spock as the kids…oh that was a great thought there.
"Pretty much. So, that's our leave. A beach house to ourselves, some sun, sand and surf. Maybe a bonfire, some beers, strolling the boardwalk, all those little shops with things made of seashells and sea glass."
"You romantic goof you," Scotty laughed, leaning forward to scuff Jim's hair.
"Watch it! I'm trying to drive," Jim ducked and yelped as the truck wavered, coming dangerously close to going over the line. He got it back on track, but not before someone driving by honked at them and threw a rather rude hand gesture out the window at them, which Jim returned unreservedly.
Quiet fell, for a while, broken only when Bones suddenly sat up, looking disturbed. "Wait a minute, we're driving across the country Jim!"
"That's at least five driving days, if we stop and switch drivers."
"Five huh? Hmmm…"
Jim chuckled, a positively mischievous sound that sent Bones into a near cold sweat.
"Jim!" More panicked this time.
"Spock, what d'you think the odds are we can do it in three?"
Had anyone taken Jim up on his wager, they would have lost, as within three days, they found themselves pulling up the gravel lined driveway of the beach house. A small staircase led them up to a porch that wrapped around the front of the house, then down to a patio backed by the sea wall. Another set of stairs was set right in the sand and to the beach. Jim steered them up to the side door, where the key was tucked under the mat.
Though it sounded cliché in his head, Jim could only think that the inside of the house was almost like looking back in time. Nearly everything was carved from wood, and it was warm, inviting. To the right of the door was the living room, and the far wall was taken up by a large sliding glass door that overlooked the ocean. Jim unconsciously made his way over to watch the surf while the others checked out the house.
"There is a note for you Jim," Spock called, lifting up the folded paper. Jim looked over his shoulder to read, and saw it was a "Thank You" note from his mom's friends, thanking them for looking after the house and telling them the fridge was stocked, and where they could find fresh linens and the like. Under the note was an envelope of money for them to buy food and any other necessities they might need, an amount that made Bones cough and splutter when he saw it, and Scotty have to thump him on the back until he could breathe.
"You know what the really funny thing is?" Jim looked up at the other three, a slow grin spreading across his face. "Here we are, obscene sum of money in our possession, a fully stocked fridge, and all I want is to order a pizza." A beat of silence followed, and then they burst into laughter; even Spock allowed the slightest smirk to turn up the corners of his mouth. "Alright, you guys, go check out bedrooms and stuff, I'm gonna order up a couple pizzas. What toppings should I get?" Of course, that resulted in another ten minutes of back and forth, until it was decided that individual sized pizzas were the way to go, as they each wanted their own toppings, and didn't want to share.
"Would you care for me to stay with you?" Spock asked quietly, while Bones and Scotty boisterously made their way upstairs.
"Nah, you can go upstairs too, pick which room you want for us. I won't be long," Jim clasped Spock's hand, squeezing lightly before letting him grab his bags and follow the other two up to the second floor.
He passed by the first room, where Scotty and Bones were bickering over who got which bed, attempting to solve it via the rock-paper-scissors. He shook his head and walked by to the next guest room, where he found that, as with the other room, there were two beds, neatly made, rather than one. He cocked his head to the side, wondering just how rude, not to mention presumptuous it might seem were he to push them together into one larger bed. He was not afraid to admit, if only mostly to himself, that he had grown accustomed to sleeping next to Jim, and did not fancy the idea of sleeping alone. He could do it of course, but if he did not have to…
"What're ya thinking about so hard there?" Jim insinuated himself against Spock's back, resting his chin on his shoulder. "The pizzas will be here soon. Can you believe I managed to find a place that actually makes them by hand? No replicators, just real dough and sauce and cheese…"
"I was thinking about the possibility of moving our two beds together, to make one bed."
"Ooohhhh? Interesting. Now why would you be thinking about that?" Jim's tone was teasing; he certainly knew why he would consider pushing the beds together.
"Because I have grown accustomed to sleeping beside you, and if given the option, would prefer to continue to do so while we are on leave. However, we are guests, and I do not wish to appear rude by shifting the furniture simply to suit my own desires. That is why I was only thinking about it as a possibility."
Jim pulled away slightly, shaking his head. If Spock of all people wanted to push the beds together, well, who was he to deny him?
The scraping of the beds across the floor of course was enough to draw out Bones and Scotty, who peered around the door to see what all the noise was about.
"You've got to be kidding. Are you seriously pushing your beds together?"
"Well, Spock's a secret cuddler, and if I even think about denying him that I'll find myself waking up alone on the couch, recovering from pinched nerves in my neck. So yeah, of course I'm pushing the beds together."
Bones rolled his eyes and glanced back at Scotty. "Don't even think about it."
"Oh c'mon doc, I'll bet I'm even cuddlier than a Vulcan."
"I don't care; you stay on your side of the room, and keep your hands to yourself."
"Ahh, you'll come round, they always do." Scotty ambled further into the bedroom, leaning back against the low set of drawers. "Need a hand?" he offered, watching Jim and Spock struggle to re-fit the sheets on the beds with an amused grin on his face.
"I think we…no, that won't…we got it, maybe," Jim snapped the top sheet up and out, letting it fall back lengthwise across the mattresses. Spock did the same with the other sheet, overlaying it slightly over the first, so it was almost like one large sheet. "Yeah, this should work." He stepped back to survey their handiwork, and an idea struck him. He glanced at Scotty, who raised an eyebrow at the wicked grin on his face.
"That is a look that doesn't bode well Jim."
"Weelll, not exactly no. I was just thinking; I wonder if Bones would notice if every day, you just subtly moved your bed the tiniest bit closer to his?"
"You're an evil man Jim Kirk, I should be ashamed to even think of taking you up on that idea."
"You're gonna do it, aren't you?"
"Bet your arse." Scotty looked over to Spock, who had been watching them but had yet to say anything. "And what's your thoughts on the matter?"
Spock blinked, and shifted his focus to Scotty, mildly surprised that he was asking his opinion. "Are you asking me if I think you should take Jim up on his challenge or not?" Scotty nodded, grinning widely. Spock paused, considering. "I will neither stop nor encourage you from doing such. Nor will I actively tell the doctor what you are attempting. I believe that gives me plausible deniability?"
"Something like that," Scotty chortled. "Now, pizza?"
The days passed just as Jim had promised, filled with most of the days spent in the ocean playing in the surf, or else turning steadily more tan, lounging on the porch in the sun (after Bones made them slather themselves in sunblock), taking trips to the shops when needed. Spock surprised Jim by not hesitating to join them in the ocean every day; while he had taken to it at the lake back home, he hadn't been certain that the lessons and desire to swim had stuck. However, even if it was only for a little while, Spock could be seen lunging forward with the waves, riding them nearly to the shore, his hair slicked back. More often than not, he'd catch Jim's eye, and the corner of his lips would turn up ever so slightly. Jim would laugh, and yelp as Scotty would catch him ogling and hurl a bundle of seaweed at the back of his neck. They spent each night pulled up around the fire pit, enjoying the quiet they so rarely got aboard the Enterprise, minus the odd bickering from Bones and Scotty, who had shortly been found out regarding the moving his bed idea. Jim did his best to force s'mores on Spock, having learned that chocolate had the similar effect of alcohol on Vulcans and wanting to get him tipsy. On occasion, Spock would humor him, and sample one s'more, enjoying the warmth that spread to the tips of his fingers with each gooey bite.
As the date of their departure grew nearer, the weather took a turn, seeming to reflect their dampened moods at the prospect of leave ending. Clouds the color of an old bruise roiled in the sky, lighting up and rumbling over the water. Finally, it broke the day before they were to leave, and rain pelted the windows while the wind churned the ocean into frothy waves that lapped at the sea wall.
"Jim, c'mon, we're supposed to be cleaning up, quit staring out the window. It's a storm, you've seen those before haven't you?"
"Yeah, but, not one like this…" Jim's voice was soft and awestruck as he watched the ocean illuminated by a particularly violent burst of lightning.
"Oh for…fine, go play in the storm, don't come crying to me when you get flambéed, or washed away," Bones warned, setting aside his bags that he'd been attempting to re-pack. He knew a lost cause when he saw one; Jim was utterly enthralled in the storm, for reasons he couldn't even begin to decipher.
Jim laughed, and not even bother with a jacket, or even socks and shoes, went for the door. He looked back over his shoulder at Spock. Their eyes locked, and a ripple of understanding passed between them; a promise of a storm made and kept. "You coming?" He held out his hand. Spock hesitated a moment, before sliding his hand into Jim's, threading their fingers together, enjoying the rush of warmth that followed the contact.
The door banged shut behind them as Jim pulled Spock out into the wild weather, and Spock willingly followed him.
A/N: What a long (very long) trip it's been. I thank those of you who stuck with me these…good lord, four years of writing. I'm sorry again that I was all over the place with writing, it's a habit I'm trying to break. For anyone that's interested, I'm going to be posting this also on Archive of Our Own, as well as some new stuff I'm gonna work on soon. If you want to, check out my profile for my name over there.