New Girl by Djinn

"Who is that?" Jim asked McCoy. He was watching Chapel, who was walking through sickbay liked she owned it.

"Chapel. Christine. Nurse. Was looking for her fiance until she found out he was screwing his lab assistant." McCoy tried to guess what had attracted Jim's interest, other than the way she was wearing her uniform or the blonde hair or the bright blue eyes or... Shit, he had it bad. "And her fiance was taking credit for her work--she's a paper short of a PhD, Jim. A paper short because her original research found its way into his papers, so she looks like the plagiarist unless she does more research."

"Not good. So, which infraction ticked her off more? Being cheated out of or cheated on?"

"Not entirely sure. Why don't you go ask her?" Not that he wanted his friend to plow a field he'd been trying to get access to for weeks now. But he was sort of curious to see if Jim had any better luck with her than he'd had.

"Think I will." He grinned at McCoy, the sardonic "here I go again" Jim Kirk grin. "Wish me luck."

"I don't think so."

Jim stopped and turned. "Do I detect interest?"

"You can detect whatever the hell you like."

"Bones, come on. Do you want this woman? Because I'm sure I can help." He was laughing.

"Not a damn charity case, Captain. Do just fine on my own."

Jim held up his hands and backed away slowly. He turned and made his way--half saunter, half stroll--over to where Chapel was filling up hypos. McCoy moved so he could hear the conversation.

"Hello, there. I'm the captain."

She barely looked at him. "Amazingly, sir, I know that."

Jim took the first hit in stride. "Just wanted to welcome you personally. Nurse Chapel, is it?"

"Yeah, I've heard about that." She met his eyes. "Also amazingly, not interested." She went back to work.

"I meant on a professional level."

"Oh. My mistake." Her voice was like honey and whiskey with a big dose of yellow jacket mixed in. "Thank you, sir. Consider me sufficiently welcomed."

Jim clearly had nothing else. He walked by McCoy and made the sound of a shuttle careening through low atmo and then crashing. "All yours, my friend."

McCoy walked over to her. "Civility not in your lexicon, nurse?"

"I was civil. I just wasn't friendly." She handed him the carton of full hypos. "Make yourself useful, okay?"

As he walked away to store the hypos, he quietly mimicked Jim's crash sound.

---------------

The planet was bustling and smelled like a dog run on a hot Georgia day in August. McCoy glanced over at Chapel, who was making a beeline for one of the side streets.

"Where are we going?"

"Doctor, I have no idea where you're going, but I am going down here."

"I thought I told you to call me Len, Chris." He hurried to catch up with her. Those legs of hers that went on for miles could cover miles, too.

"I thought I told you to call me Nurse Chapel."

"You did. I'm notoriously difficult to train. "

"Really? How profoundly surprising." She turned into a doorway that led down a dank hallway.

"Do you have any idea where you're going?"

"Yep." Three knocks, a pause, then two more. The door cracked open. She held a wrapped package out, and whoever was behind the door grabbed it. Then a padd was pushed through. Chapel seemed to be checking what was on it, then nodded. "Tell him thanks."

"Tell him yourself," was the muffled reply as the door closed.

She stuffed the padd into her carryall and turned, but McCoy grabbed her arm, forcing her to face him.

"Do I want to know what's on that?"

"My research. Roger's research that is based on my research. And someone else's research I plan to replicate with his permission. Do you have a problem with this?" Her tone implied she would not care if he did.

He let her go. "This is not the nicest place."

"Well, I'm not the nicest girl." She left him in her dust, long legs carrying her far away.

-----------------

The chime on McCoy's door came sooner than expected. She stormed in as soon as he told the computer to open the door.

"You're an asshole."

He laughed. "Yeah, I am." He gestured to the chair across from him. "If you want that extra laboratory time that I just denied, then you'll have dinner with me."

She crossed her arms over her chest. "This is blatant sexual harassment."

"Dinner, not anything else. You're on my staff and you won't let me in. I have a right to know what kind of person I'm dealing with."

"You're right. You do." She walked over, sat down across from him, reached in, and hit his intercom. "Chapel to Spock."

"Spock here."

"Sir, is that offer of time in the lab still open?"

"Of course, Miss Chapel. I would be most pleased to facilitate your research." There was a long pause. "Oh, and Nyota would like to know if you are free for lunch tomorrow."

"Tell her I'm cheap but never free."

There was a long silence.

"That's a yes, Spock."

"Ah. Understood...somewhat. The lab is free if you wish to use it now."

"Wonderful. Thank you so much." She turned the intercom off. "Know this about me. I don't react well to bribery. I've had one trusted adviser turn into more, and it didn't work out so well for me. So there will be no dinners, no drinks, no socializing, no anything. Are we clear?"

He nodded.

"You appear to be a good doctor. I'm enjoying working in your sickbay. Let's leave it at that, all right, Len?"

"Fine."

She got up and left, and it took him five minutes of staring at his uneaten feast to realize she'd finally called him by his first name.

-------------------

"What's this?" She was standing at the door to his office, tapping a padd.

"My research, someone else's, too, who is amenable to letting you incorporate it into your dissertation."

"This is very useful."

He grinned. "That was the idea."

She walked in, shut the door, and sat down in the chair in front of his desk. "Why? Is this another attempt to--"

He held up a hand. "I was out of line with the dinner thing. I'm sorry. I'm just...used to people opening up to me. I guess it drives me a little nuts that you won't."

She leaned back and sighed, and for once the wary look she always wore dropped off. "Len, there are a lot of women on this ship who would love to be having this conversation with you. I don't know if you're aware or not, but you're deemed quite the catch."

"Really?" He found himself grinning. His harpy of an ex had seriously shaken his confidence when she'd left him.

"Really." She picked up a paperweight he'd gotten from his father when he graduated from med school, played with it absently. "You should set your sights on them."

"You're assuming I've set my sights on you?"

She put the paperweight down and met his eyes. "I'm wounded and bitter, not stupid."

"Right." He looked away. "I'm a little wounded and bitter, too, you know? Jocelyn ran me through the ringer."

"Did she cheat on you with her lab assistant?"

"No, she cheated on me with my lab assistant." He shot her a rueful glance. "So I do know how it feels." He leaned back, studied her. "She took a lot from me. Including my daughter. So I can kind of relate to your research problem, too. It's hell to have someone you love betray your trust."

"Yes, it is." She was looking down, and he realized she might be crying, so he waited. Finally, she looked up, and he was surprised to see her eyes were dry. "I want to go out and find him...and then kill him."

He laughed at her tone and at the chagrined fierceness in her expression. "I'm pretty sure Starfleet frowns upon murder."

"Yeah. Me, too." She stood up, brushed off her uniform as if she'd been eating something messy. "Well, then, the best I can do is not look for him. Let him rot out there."

"There you go. Death by lack of attention."

Her grin was bitter. "I know what that feels like. It'll do."

-------------------

"Doctor McCoy," Chapel collided with his chest hard, her arms twining around his neck, the smell of twelve-year-old Scotch heavy on her breath.

"Nurse Chapel." He tried to undo her arms--before she could tell how much this unexpected proximity affected him--to no avail. "Chris?"

"I, Len, am drunk." She was laughing, and it was a nice sound, would have been nicer, though, if it hadn't been fueled by hooch.

"I can tell." He moved her out of the way of traffic, to a quiet corner of the starbase lounge. "And you also appear to be alone."

"Ny and Jan were here. And it was nice and fun, but then they left, and I kept going." She nuzzled his neck. "But now you're here, so I'm not alone anymore."

"Damn it, Chris. Stop it." He pushed her away and she looked at him with a hurt look.

"You wanted this." She reached down, gripping a part of him that most assuredly did want her. "See, tell me you don't want it."

"Knock it off, Nurse." He reverted to the voice he rarely had to use, and never with her. "In this order: we are going to the ship, you are going to take some antitox, and then you are going to sleep this off. Oh and first, you are going to unhand me." Even if it felt so damn good to have her touching him.

She let him go. "I hate you. I hate you so much."

"Yeah, well it's nothing compared to how you'd feel about me if I don't do this. Now, come on." He pulled her after him, noticing that for once he outpaced her--those long legs apparently didn't work so well when she was filled with alcohol.

He made them stop at sickbay so he could load her up with antitox, and then he escorted her back to her quarters. She walked in without a word or glance.

"Goodnight, Chris," he said to the closing door.

---------------

"I'm sorry," Chris murmured as she walked by him in the narrow corridor running to the inventory room.

"For what?" He tried to keep his voice casual, a "nothing happened, move it along" voice.

She smiled, and it was a smile full of something that wasn't bitter or defensive or any of the things he was used to. "We both know one of the benefits--or downsides, depending on your perspective--of antitox is no memory loss." She moved closer. "I remember exactly what happened last night--and what didn't happen. Thank you for both parts."

"Just doing the right thing." He smiled gently.

"The right thing is, in my experience, often in short supply." A quick touch on his hand and she was gone.

"Bones? You back here?" Jim was grinning like a fool. "You will not believe what Starfleet has for us next." He glanced back the way he'd come. "The ice queen: she seems warmer. She fixing her hair different or something?"

"I hadn't noticed."

Jim's eyes narrowed. "You sly dog, you." He laughed. "So, how is she?'

"I wouldn't know, Jim."

"Seriously?"

McCoy nodded.

"Hmm. Well, this is just getting more and more interesting all the time."

"Leave it alone." McCoy winced at how sharp his tone was with his friend--with his captain.

But Jim didn't take offense...or tease. He clapped McCoy softly on the arm and said, "No problem, my friend. No problem at all."

--------------------

A soft chime on his door, a softer smile when he opened it to find Chris armed with a padd. "Would you be willing to read this over? I, um...I trust your opinion."

He realized it must be her dissertation draft. She was smiling nervously and she looked exhausted. "Up all night doing this?"

She nodded.

"I'll read it right now."

"You don't have to. I mean, yes, you should read it, but whenever, you know, it's convenient."

"It's convenient right now. I'll read if you sleep."

She eyed his bed, not very gracefully made, and nodded. "I'm beat."

He was already sitting down at his desk as she made herself comfortable, and he forced himself to call up the paper, to not look over at her. But soon, he found himself lost in her work, and he was surprised when he heard her getting up, walking over, and sitting down across from her.

"This is great," he murmured, not even looking up. "Don't interrupt me; I'm at a good part."

He could practically hear her smile.

He added one thing to the padd he'd pulled over to log his comments and then handed it to her.

She read through it, then looked at him. "That's it?"

"It's fantastic. I have no words."

She held up the padd he'd given her. "Well, actually, you have twenty comments here, so you did have words. But I expected a lot more."

"Half of those are grammar or format things. This is excellent work, Chris. Really."

She took a deep breath. "Thank you."

"Thank you for letting me read it." He frowned. "Does this mean you'll be leaving the ship once you defend this?"

"No." She smiled broadly, and the expression lit up her face. "I actually like it here. It does mean I won't be your nurse anymore. Spock said if he liked my dissertation, he'd transfer me to biochem."

"Does he?"

"Oh, I don't know. I haven't let him read it yet." She smiled, a smile he couldn't read.

"You let...me read it first?"

She nodded.

"Why?"

"I don't know. Because your research was amazing. And you found me the most incredible source in your friend--I want to meet him, by the way."

"That can be arranged."

"Good. So, this was my way of saying thanks, I guess."

"Well, you're welcome. And I'm sure Spock will love it--in his unemotional Vulcan way, of course."

She transferred his comments to her padd, then stood up. "I won't be working for you if I transfer to biochem."

"Yes, I know."

"Your little feast was nice. Next time make it scallops instead of shrimp."

"Next time?"

She nodded.

"Any other issues with my menu choice?"

She laughed. "I think you can be trusted with the rest."

"Nice to know you think I'm good for something."

"I think you're good for a lot of things." She leaned down and kissed his cheek. "Thank you again, Len."

He watched her walk out and didn't turn away until the door completely closed her away from him.

----------------

"I am sorry to have stolen Lieutenant Chapel from you," Spock said as he and McCoy worked their way through the chow line.

"I'm not. Not sorry you promoted her, either. Well deserved."

"Her dissertation showed a capacity for original thinking that is rare in a human. She said some of her research was based on your work?" Spock sounded like he clearly didn't believe this.

"That's right."

"Fascinating."

"Oh, blow it out your ear." McCoy gestured to where Uhura and Chris were sitting. "Shall we join them?"

"If you are sure your presence is welcome."

Just how much had Chris been confiding in Spock, anyway?

"I'm sure, you green-blooded..." He laughed at Spock's expression. "She and I have made our peace."

"I do hope you are right. I treasure calm."

"No kidding?" McCoy slid into the seat next to Chris without asking.

She looked over and smiled at him, a real smile, sweet and open and he felt his heart melt.

"Fascinating," Spock said as he took the seat next to Uhura.

"What is?" Uhura looked at both of them in that sternly skeptical way she had.

"Nothing," they both said at once, and Chris looked down, grinning.

"You owe me a very nice shore leave, mister," Uhura stage-whispered to Spock.

"I am aware of that." Spock did not look upset about losing whatever bet they'd had on McCoy and Chris.

"Can we change the subject?" Chris said, digging into a very small salad.

"You're not eating much." McCoy put a cookie on her tray.

She smiled. "Saving room for that dinner you're going to make me tonight."

"Right. Tonight." Jesus, God, it was tonight? He smiled at the other two, tried not to make it too big a smile. "Scallops. She like scallops."

Spock and Uhura just nodded and went back to their meals.

He felt Chris's hand on his knee and wondered if she had any idea what she was doing to him. Then she let go and went back to eating.

Dinner could not come soon enough.

---------------

"Mmmm." Chris pushed her plate away and McCoy did, too. "Delicious, but I have to say that while extremely tasty, the portions are a good deal smaller than the last time you laid out a feast for me."

"Are they?" He laughed. "It's possible I didn't want us to get overstuffed."

"And why would that be?"

"Perhaps because I wanted to do this. Computer, music, playlist fourteen." A soft, sweet melody began to play. He stood and held out his hand. "Lieutenant Chapel, would you do me the honor of this dance?"

She rose gracefully. "I like the way you say that."

He pulled her close, tried and failed to control his reaction to her nearness. She wore a light, fresh perfume. Her hair was down and looked like silk. She'd done her eyes and worn something sexy but not cheap. "God, Chris. You look so beautiful."

She nestled in close. "You're not so bad yourself, Len."

They danced through the song, then the next one, but when the next one started, she pulled back and studied him.

"What?"

She smiled, leaned back a little, letting him support her. Her movement put parts of her in close proximity to parts of him, and he forced himself not to press or grind. But she ground against him, and he yanked her up, a growl of frustration sounding before he said between clenched teeth, "I'm trying to be a nice guy."

"You are a nice guy, Len. You don't have to try." She ground against him again.

He pulled her to him and kissed her hard, pushing her back toward the bed, eager to show her that while he might be a nice guy, that didn't mean he didn't know how to have fun. He had her clothes off in record time, and she giggled, a delightfully young sound coming from her.

"Why, Doctor McCoy. I seem to be underdressed." She tried to remedy that, but he pushed her onto the bed, crawled over her, and began kissing down her body. He reached his destination, licked and sucked and felt her tense then explode, crying out loudly.

"Oh, holy crap." She was breathing hard, and a deep flush covered her chest. Women could fake an orgasm, but he had yet to meet one who could fake the post-bliss rosiness.

She helped him out of his clothes, pulled him down on top of her, into her, clenching and bucking as he moved. She met his eyes, and her expression was open, pure and his and so damn sexy.

He came as he kissed her, as he murmured, "I love you" into her hair.

"I love you, too," she said, as she held him in place with her strong, long legs. God damn, he loved her legs.

And all her other parts, too.

-------------

"Doctor, did you want this over here?" Chris was looking unbearably sexy after a night in his arms. It was all he could do not to grab her and kiss her, but he settled for pointing at a cabinet that had not been his initial destination for the shipment of whatever the hell she was bringing him from biochem, just so she'd walk by him.

As she squeezed past, she whispered, "Amateurly obvious, Len. But nice to know you're not more practiced."

He'd been married for years. He did not make a practice out of dealing with a girlfriend. His girlfriend--God, that sounded nice.

"So, what's in the carton?"

"Absolutely nothing," she said with a laugh. "I'd recommend, to avoid the awkward and inevitable discovery of a carton of nothing from biochem, that we deliver it to your office."

"Let's put that in my office."

"Okay." She did a creditable eye roll for the benefit of anyone watching, her commentary about the vagaries of doctors in charge. But as soon as he closed the doors, she was in his arms. "Just tell me I'm not keeping you from a medical crisis."

"Darlin', you're causing a medical crisis by pressing up against me that way."

"This way?" She was incorrigible. He'd have to stay in this office for a while before he'd be presentable.

"Yes, damn it, that way." He pulled back enough that he could see her expression. "Did you come here for something specific?"

She eyed his desk and smiled a dreamily wicked smile.

"Well, if you insist..." He found himself quite adept at getting just enough uniform off both of them for this to work. He had to hold his hand over her mouth to muffle the noise she was making at the end.

She returned the favor, good girlfriend that she was.

"This will wear off," she murmured. "I want to take advantage of you while I still feel like I'll die if I don't see you."

"Never let it be said you're not a ray of relationship sunshine, Chris." He kissed her gently. "We'll have more, my dear. I'll promise never to screw my lab assistant if you promise to do the same."

She laughed.

"And your research is your research. Unless you get a hankering to write a joint paper."

She touched his face. "That'd be nice. Not an offer I'm used to."

"Well, get used to it."

A chime sounded at the door. McCoy backed away from Chris and fastened his uniform, letting her slide down and do the same, then he straightened up his desk before telling the computer to let whoever it was in.

Jim took one look and shook his head in an exasperated way. "What is it that I'm doing wrong?" But he was smiling at them both, and McCoy could tell he was happy for them, even if his next words were, "Everyone's getting some but me."

Chris didn't answer, just tried to look innocent--a look that would have worked pretty well on her if her eyes hadn't been sparkling and her hair slightly askew. Next time he had to remember to fix her hair.

"You came here for a reason, I assume, Jim."

"Not that it's not a pleasure for him to see you anytime, sir," Chapel said.

"Right." McCoy stared up at Jim. "Did you need something?"

"My chief medical officer. On a landing team. One hour." Jim turned to Chris. "If that's okay with you, I mean."

She smiled. "You're the captain."

"Yes, I do still have that." He turned to go. "Carry on, you two. Never let it be said I stood in the way of true love."

The door closed behind him. Chris started to laugh. "That was awkward. But less than it might have been." She leaned down, fixed McCoy's hair. "You gave it away, Len."

He guided her hand to her own hair follies. "We gave it away."

She grimaced. "Next time we'll be more careful not to muss up the hair."

"Hell with that. Next time we'll take the extra second to get the hair right after we're done mussin'." He pulled her down onto his lap. "Now, where were we?"

"On duty." But she kissed him anyway.

For a long time. And then she left him with a promise of more later and a smile that he realized might just be his alone.

He'd come to Starfleet with nothing. He was getting a hell of a lot more than that out of it. Whistling happily, he grabbed his landing party gear and headed off to meet Jim.

FIN