"Damnnit, you did that on purpose!"

Jim looks at Bones with a 'who, me?' expression.

He growls and grabs his elbow, starting to drag him down the alley and into the shadows. "The point of stealin' is to take somethin' without bein' seen."

"No, no," Jim laughed. "The point of stealing is to take something and not get caught."

"Well, you're makin' it a whole lot easier for the guards then, aren't you?"

He rolls his eyes. "You have to admit that you're bored with just stealing things and walking away."

"No!" he snaps. "Can't I just getta loaf o' bread and eat it in peace? Why do you always make me have to run around for it?"

"Uh, you'll find it more delicious after a work-out?" he tries.

Before Bones can call him an asshole, there's yelling back down the alley and a phaser blast narrowly missing their heads. This time Jim grabs his arm and drags him into an empty building. They find the stairs near the back and make it up to the second floor. Jim looks out a window over the alley on the other side of the building. "Come on." He gestures and hops out onto the ledge that trails under the window.

"Are you insane?" Bones whispers. "You know I hate heights! And falling from them!"

"We're not going to jump, and it's only the second floor," Jim says as he shimmies along the side of the building.

He curses Jim and prays to the great Federation in the sky that he doesn't die before inching out onto the ledge. He sees Jim has already made it to a balcony and he's motioning Bones to hurry. He looks straight ahead, refusing to even think about glancing down and he slowly creeps along the edge.

When he gets closer, Jim grabs him and pulls him over the railing.

Bones barely has a moment to catch his breath before he looks into the doorway and groans. "Anywhere but there. I'd rather jump."

Either Jim doesn't hear his pleas or ignores them because he drags him through the silk curtain anyway. It parts to reveal a plush room filled with pillows and fabric. Not to mention all of the scantily clad courtesans, who look at them in surprise and fright until they recognize who they are and relax, choosing to ignore them instead.

"Jim!" a delighted voice comes from another room as a green Orion woman wearing a gold and black flowery outfit rushes out and throws her arms around Jim's neck, planting kisses on his face.

"Gaila," he says with a huge smile. "You're looking more beautiful than normal."

"Oh, Jim! Flattery will get you everywhere." Her golden lips curling into a large smile, rubbing the stubble along his jaw.


Bones turns around with a grimace to see a blonde approach him. "Eleen."

She takes his hand. She always had a weird thing about his hands. He glances at Jim and Gaila who look at them in amazement, and quickly takes his hand back.

There's a clamor of loud noises from the first floor.

"Aw, Jim," Gaila pouts. "I should have known you didn't come hear for a social call."

Bones stops himself from pointing out that they came in through the damn balcony of course they're not here for socializing!

Jim gives her a pout back. "Please?" he says, as innocent as he can muster, which would be surprisingly convincing if Bones didn't know he was so far away from innocent it was laughable.

"Well," she says slowly, seeming to consider it.

"Just hide us!" Bones whispers angrily.

She grins widely. "Okay!"

As she herds Jim to a large bedding of pillows and begins to bury him in them, Eleen shoves Bones to her own corner. He sees Gaila plop down on the pillows and the only indication that Jim was underneath was a low 'oof'. Bones is soon covered as well with Eleen lounging over him.

"I assure you, sir, there are no street rats hiding in my menagerie," Pike says, his voice annoyed and muffled through the pillows.

"While I don't doubt your word, they may have snuck in," he hears Sulu, a head guard, say.

Footsteps and silence follow after that as Sulu and his fellow guards begin to search the room.

"Get away from me!" Eleen snaps. Bones feels movement as if she's kicking at someone and he's never liked her so much as he does at that moment.

"Hey!" Pike snaps. "Don't touch what you haven't paid for. She's worth more than five of you."

There's a guard grumbling as the man walks away.

"Alright, they aren't here," Sulu says. "Sorry for the trouble." He can hear the guards noisily leave.

A moment later, there's suddenly a loud whistle and the sound of shuffling starts as Eleen gets up from the pillows. When all of the padded footsteps retreat out of the door, there's a pause.

"Both of you, out of the cushions."

Bones grumbles and climbed out of the pillows.

"Chris!" Jim says enthusiastically as he stumbles out. "You're looking great."

Pike frowns. "Unless you're here as a new recruit, get out. I don't need you spoiling the merchandise."

"With these hands?" Jim asks, bringing them up. "If I'm doing anything, I'm increasing the quality."

"I saved your pretty asses from being shot with phasers. So do me a favor. Out."

Before Jim can say anything that makes Pike call the guards back, Bones grabs him by the arm and drags him out. They make their way across Agrabah to the poorer and unsafe side of the city. The sun is low in the sky by the time they make it back to their hideout, a small run-down room in a tall empty building that they have been squatting in for years.

Jim sits on a hard bench while Bones sits against the wall. He's hungry and pissed, and the temperature is dropping, which means another cold night under scraps. He mutters curses under his breath and shifts to try and get into a more comfortable position.

Jim just looks out from the large observation window. It is almost entirely filled with the Sultan's palace, a huge structure lit up with the blue glow of spotlights from the ground. Jim always has this strange look on his face whenever he stops to look at the palace, whether they were here or running for their damn lives down a crowded street. Bones always thought it was sort of pretty, but it lost its awe-factor after a week. Jim's been staring at it like that for years.

"I don' see why you gave it all up."

Jim looks back with a subdued grin. "Gave up what?" He always gets depressed when he looks at it too.

Bones gestures vaguely to the window. "You got royal blood in you. You're supposed to be livin' in luxury. And the way you keep makin' love-eyes to the palace, it's obvious you regret leavin' it."

Jim shakes his head and looks back out the window. "It can't be the life everyone thinks it is. It can't be that great."

Bones rolls his eyes. "Yeah, I'm sure Sultan Sarek is rolling around in misery, longing to step down from his reign and live here with us street rats on a dirty floor with no food."

"That was my dad's life, Bones, and look what happened to him." Jim sighs. "I'm not going back to that." He gets up and covers the window with the tattered curtain that he hung above it. "Besides," he says with a grin. "If I hadn't left, you'd have never met me."

Bones shrugs. "Just means I'd be happier. Probably live longer, too." He smirks at the other's scowl.

He watches as Jim goes across the room and lies down, facing the wall. "Trust me, Bones. You'd be happier this way."

"I'd be happier if I wasn't hungry," he snaps.

"Sorry," Jim mutters, and he can't tell if it's sincere or not.

Bones rolls over onto his back, looking up at a bland ceiling. He honestly couldn't say that he was actually unhappy here. On the chain of street rats, they were pretty well off. But they were still street rats, and Bones preferred luxury and feasts to floors and stolen bread. He sighs and drifts to sleep, dreaming of roasted food and bourbon.