"You should go."
Jim makes a grunting sound. "You got people coming over who wouldn't appreciate seeing you have a young, naked cadet in your bed?"
"No," Chris says, his voice a mixture of exasperation and amusement. "I meant you should go to lunch with your mother next week."
Jim lifts his head to look up at him. He can't see his face over the bedding and pillows Pike's lounging in, but Jim can see his own PADD in his hands. He groans and pushes his face back into the pillow as if trying to smother himself. "No thanks." This is the last time he lets Chris read his messages because Jim's too lazy to open his eyes. Jim only started letting him because it's always amusing to see Chris's face when he reads all the vulgar propositions Jim gets, which of course makes him more aggressive in bed.
"It's your mother, kid."
"Only by birth," he corrects. "And I'm not a kid, old man."
"She's still your mother." A calloused hand moves down his spine, stopping at his lower back. "And I'm not an old man, kid."
"I'm being serious about that lunch."
Jim sighs. "I know."
His mom sent him a message last week telling him she was going to be back in San Francisco for a few days and wanted to have lunch. She heard he signed up for Starfleet and said she wanted to catch up. He guesses joining Starfleet means she doesn't think he's a fuck-up anymore and is now worth talking to. He's sure she's been planetside multiple times since he got here, so she must have just heard he enlisted. Which is a little late considering it was two years ago.
He feels the hand on his back move to his hip and a large warmth hover over him. He feels chapped lips on his shoulder. "Go have lunch with your mother."
Jim hums in the back of his throat, growing content and sleepy from Chris's body heat seeping into his bare back. "An' why should I do that?"
"She's willing to talk to you now." He kisses his neck. "You'll end up regretting never speaking to her if something happens."
"I don't think that's a good enough reason," he says stubbornly.
The hand on his hip pulls and turns Jim over so he's lying on his back. Chris leans over him, searching his face for something. He sweeps over his hair, down his cheek, along his jaw, over his lips, up his nose to rest on his eyes. There's something in Chris's gaze that makes Jim both melt and shiver.
"If you won't do it for her or yourself, at least do it for me."
Jim bites the inside of his cheek, momentarily weighed his options. "Fine, but you owe me dinner."
He can see a smile play on the edge of Chris's mouth. "Oh?"
"Yeah, a really nice dinner in a restaurant that serves five course meals with non-replicated food and imported wine where the bill will take a month to pay off."
"What are you? My kept boy?"
Jim smirks. "Hey, I'm doing you a favor. And if we go someplace I can afford right now, we'd end up spending the night in the bathroom instead of the bedroom."
Chris laughs as he leans down and kisses his clavicle.
"You never laugh," Jim says, nuzzling a nose into graying hair. "I like your laugh."
He finds a piece of skin on his shoulder he seems to like and nibbles on it lightly. "You're just not very funny."
He makes an exaggerated grunt of pain and puts his hand on his heart. "What are you talking about? I'm hilarious. I've got to be the funniest guy you know."
"Not even close, but don't worry. I like you for your looks, not your brains," he jokes.
"I am pretty," Jim concedes. "And I have a great ass."
Chris's chest rumbles in silent laughter. "You're right," he says and grabs him, rolling him on top of him. "Now bring it over here so I can show you how much I appreciate it."
Jim really didn't want to be here. The only reason he agreed to come was because Chris begged him to go last weekend. He's pretty sure he wouldn't be willing to do this for anyone else. It isn't that he dislikes his mother, but he always felt rather awkward around her. He barely even considers her his mother. She was rarely there. She's more like an aunt who comes around every once and a while.
"So what finally made you decide to join Starfleet?" Winona asks, breaking the long awkward silence that resulted when they ran out of small talk. There was only so much you could say about the weather.
Jim had been surveying the cheap café when his attention was brought back by the question. "Shipyard Bar. A captain who was recruiting took some interest in me."
"Oh?" she says, barely sounding interested as she eats what he guesses is an olive from her fork. "Must have been a persuasive guy."
He pokes at his own lunch and looks down the street. "Yeah, Pike's like that."
He looks back to his mother. She has a strange look on her face, wariness covering over anger and disgust. He gives her a questioning look and frowns. "Yeah, Captain Christopher Pike."
She rolls her eyes and a grimace twitches on the side of her mouth. "I assume he knew who you were when he recruited you."
She barks a humorless laugh and shakes her head. "I'm sure he tried real hard once he found out."
His gut twists, both in anger and a sort of foreboding. "What difference does it make? A lot of recruiters go after me because of my father," he says through gritted teeth.
"But he succeeded in wooing you, didn't he?" she says, her voice growing darker with every syllable. Her expression turns stern and she points her bottle of beer at him (and even he doesn't start drinking this early in the day). "You should keep your distance from him."
"Are you going to tell me what you're going on about, or are you expecting me to beg?" he asks, probably with more bite than he means to, but come on, it's hard not to when she's insulting only one of a hand full of people who actually get him. Not to mention the guy he's in a rather stable relationship with.
She frowns and shakes her head, more in disbelief than answering no. She looks off into the middle distance and doesn't say anything for a long moment. It starts to piss Jim off, but she finally speaks before he snaps and tells her to get on with it. "He and your father were lovers, you know."
Jim's eyes widen in shock and he sits back in his chair like she just reached over and smacked him in the face. It takes a long moment for his brain to completely comprehend just what he's been told and even then he still doesn't quite understand. The only thing he can manage to say is "What?"
"Back in the academy," she says, the small twitch of disgust back on her face.
His gut starts to twist into uncomfortable knots.
"They were on the same study track," she continues, completely oblivious to his distress, shown plainly on his face. "Pike'd drag him off between classes." She rolls her eyes. "It was kind of pathetic how needy he was. Of course your father chose me in the end," she adds with a complacent smile on her face.
"No, I didn't know that," Jim says, swallowing and trying to sound conversational despite the fact his insides felt like they were trying to rearrange themselves. He has to stop himself from freaking out as he hides his shaking hands under the table
She nods, picking up another piece of food from her plate. "He was pretty angry about it, and he was always snippy with me. I guess he was jealous."
"Is that right?" he asks, his voice amazingly steady.
She gestures her fork at him. "Yes, so I'd stay away from him. He might see as much of your father in you as everyone else does. He could try and use you to capture his unrequited love." She chuckles, more to her self than Jim. "Wouldn't want that, would we?"
Jim nods slowly and looks down to his plate, his appetite utterly gone. "No, we wouldn't."
Sick doesn't even remotely describe how his stomach feels at the moment. He manages to get all the way back to his dorm and into the bathroom before vomiting what little he had eaten for lunch into the toilet. He'd scold himself for reacting like this, but shit, he can't even think straight. His mind is reeling. His life has suddenly been flipped upside down and he can't even begin to try and figure out which way is up without dry heaving. He puts a hand over his eyes, trying to stop the dizziness, and sits on the tile, his back against the shower door.
You know, I couldn't believe it when the bartender told me who you are.
...and who am I, Captain Pike?
Your father's son.
Jim curses and slams a fist on the rippled plastic at his back, causing it to shudder loudly. How could he have been so naive? It was completely obvious. Any other county hick and Pike would have just walked off. No, he heard the name 'Kirk' and his eyes must have lit up like a kid's on Christmas morning. It's a well-known fact he looks a lot like his dad. Pike must have been fucking giddy. Relive his old days. Fuck a dead lover's doppelganger. Even has the same last name.
Jim's heart beats hard in his chest. His whole Starfleet career was built on Pike. He was the reason he finally decided to come. He was the reason he stayed. He pushed and dared him to do better. Jim had said he would become an officer in three years as a flippant remark when he boarded the shuttle, but Pike actually thought he could do it. During their first advisory meeting, he laid it all out and told him exactly how, with honors. To say that he was surprised would be an understatement. He hid it under a cocky smirk and agreed to whatever Pike said with an apathetic attitude, although he was intrigued. When he actually looked at the projected timeline, it was a challenging schedule, even for him. He'd wondered at the time if Pike actually believed in him, or if he was trying to pile the work up and break his arrogance. Either way, he'd seemed impressed when he was pulling it off.
Pike continued to closely advise him from then on. But was it really for Jim? Or is he just molding him into how he remembers George Kirk had been? He's always been rough around the edges and maybe he does want to be smoothed out, to be less of a fuck-up, but he doesn't want to become his father. The only reason he even listened to Pike was because he thought the guy actually cared for him. Thought he could see through all his bullshit to who he really was. Thought he was actually proud of him when he smirked and told him he'd done fantastic that first year.
It was all just manipulations. Lies.
Jim rests his forehead on his forearms, propped up by his knees.
All those nights. He wasn't touching Jim. His fingers weren't running through Jim's hair. He wasn't kissing Jim's lips. He wasn't biting Jim's neck. He wasn't tasting Jim's sweat. He wasn't wrapping his arms around Jim.
When Pike leaned over and studied him, was he seeing his father? When he looked at his face and wore that expression that makes Jim's skin tingle, was it not for him?
Does he scream 'George' in his head at climax?
He grits his teeth. He feels so fucking used. This isn't the first time he's been used through sex, either as a way to piss off an ex or as a rebound fuck. But those times had been one night stands where it didn't matter whose name they called out as long as he knew he gave them one of the best fucks they ever had.
This time is different. It's way too personal. Not only is it happening in a steady relationship, he's replacing his father. It feels somehow incestuous. He feels disgusting.
He tries to breathe deeply and wills himself not to cry. He's James T. Kirk, and James T. Kirk doesn't cry. Then again, he'd really give anything to be anyone else right then.
He does a great job of avoiding Pike for about three weeks. Or at least that's how long it takes for Pike to finally catch up with him. Jim had always prided himself on never running away from a problem, but this was one he just couldn't bring himself to face. He knew he was being a pussy about it, but he just couldn't see him.
He canceled the dinner Pike had set up, as well as the monthly advisement that was scheduled a few days later. Pike had sent him messages, and in the beginning, he would answer back with terse and simple replies, but after a couple days he didn't even bother anymore. When the messages became more frequent and toned with growing concern, he turned the avoidance up a notch. Knowing that Pike is familiar with his schedule (and even if he wasn't he could easily look it up), Jim began only attending the classes that required attendance. Even then, he began to duck out early in case Pike decided to try and catch him afterward, thinking that he would never deliberately take him out of a class to settle their relationship problems.
Or so he had assumed.
It's about thirty minutes in when Pike shows up to Intro to Xenobiology and asks Dr. Marr if he can take Jim. He isn't sure if it's planned or just a coincidence, but it happens to be a review day so Marr acquiesces and he's forced to grab his bag and follow Pike out the door.
Jim avoids looking directly at him until he's sitting across from him in his office. He isn't in his usual sprawl over the chair, but sits stiff and straight-backed. His hands are in fists on his lap. He's fairly sure this is the first time he's ever been formal in this office. "May I ask why you asked me here, sir?"
Pike frowns slightly at him. "You haven't scheduled for another advisement meeting since you canceled the last one," he says, playing along with his formal tone.
He suddenly feels anxious. The kind of anxious that gets him into fights. "Sorry, sir," he says calmly, no emotion in his voice. It's all he can do to keep himself calm and from throwing a punch. "I just haven't found the time."
"Is that right?" he says flatly.
"You haven't been showing up to half your classes," Pike says. "Must be very busy if you can't even make it to class."
"Attendance isn't mandatory in those classes, sir."
The older man sighs. "Are we really going to keep up this façade?"
Jim flares his nostrils. "Are we going to talk about why you really brought me here, Captain?"
Pike frowns and sits back in his chair. "You're a smart kid; I'm sure you can figure it out, but I'll humor you. I want to know why you've been avoiding me," he says, the first bite of anger showing up in his deep voice and his silver eyes.
"Cut the bullshit, kid," Pike snaps. "I haven't seen you for nearly a month. What's going on?"
Jim grits his teeth. "Am I a good substitute?"
Pike looks at him confused. "A good what?"
He gives a humorless chuckle, keeping his eyes locked with the older man's. "It must have been pretty convincing. Just squint your eyes and forget I'm a screw-up; it's like I'm him."
"What're you talking about, kid?" he asks with annoyance in his voice.
"I have to admit, I sometimes caught myself wondering," he says darkly. "So, tell me. Who's better? Me or my old man?"
Pike's eyes widen in realization and his skin starts to pale. "Kid…"
Jim smirks humorlessly. "Yeah... kid," he says before standing. "Of course nostalgia always makes what you had better than what you've got, right?"
Pike abruptly stands. Fear starts to grow on his face as he shakes his head. "Ki– Jim. Listen–"
"Fuck you, Pike!" Jim suddenly shouts, unable to keep in his anger, causing the other man to flinch for the first time since he's met him. "Were you ever going to tell me? No, I guess not. Wouldn't want to ruin the illusion!"
Pike holds up a placating hand. "Jim, I swear–"
"Then again maybe you should have told me, that way you wouldn't have to stop yourself from yelling out his name when you're imagining yourself balls-deep in his ass!"
"I'm done," he interrupts. "Look for another blue-eyed blond to feed your fucking fixation." He grabs his bag and leaves the office. He can hear Pike call out for him, but he doesn't stop. By the time he's out of the administrator's building, his anger's gone and replaced with a numbness he hasn't felt for years.
Bones coughs and slams his fist on his chest trying to clear his throat, his face grimacing from the pain of inhaling his whiskey. "You're what?" he barely rasps over the loud ambient noise of the grimy bar they found that night.
"I just don't want to be here anymore." Jim swirls his glass of green whatever-it-is-that-chick-bought-him and gulps half the glass down. "I've just grown bored."
The older doctor frowns at him. "Bullshit. You can't've just grown bored. For the last two years, you've been spoutin' off about how much you wanna captain your own tin can."
Jim shrugs. "Changed my mind," he says, fixated on his glass.
Out of the corner of his eye, he can see Bones in an internal struggle whether or not to press it or leave it. One reason their friendship has worked out so well is that when one of them is upset, the other doesn't pry. If he wants to talk about it, he'll talk. If not, it would just be a wasted effort on the other's part. Then again, it's always assumed the problems aren't actually that big of a deal. Jim coming up with something that causes him to make a huge life-changing decision is different. It's apparently too much for Bones to leave well enough alone.
Jim winces. "Whatever happened to not asking?"
"Don't change the subject," he snaps, and the fact he doesn't even go off on a small tangent means he's upset too.
He shakes his head. "I don't wanna talk about it."
There's a long pause where Bones just looks at him and he has to stop himself from squirming under his scrutiny. "It's Pike, isn't it?"
Jim looks up at him in surprise. He and Bones never really talked about his relationship with Pike, but he knew the doctor wasn't stupid. He always assumed he figured it out. It still surprises him nonetheless.
Bones seems to take his reaction as an affirmative. He curses under his breath for a few moments and rubs his forehead with the hand not currently clenching his glass. "You could just switch advisors."
Jim had been steeling himself in preparation to evade all the questions about what happened, but was a bit caught-off-guard when he didn't pry further. He could tell he wanted to know, but didn't ask. He knew Bones was a friend for a reason. "Then what happens next year? When half of my schedule is classes he teaches?"
Bones lowers his hand and shoots him a hard glare. "Then you fuckin' pass 'em at the top of the class and show the bastard up." He shakes his head before snapping, "When have you ever hit an obstacle and just gave up? What the hell is wrong with you?"
Jim feels himself become defensive and that numbness he managed to create is turning back into anger. "The only fucking reason I'm here is because of him!"
"So? He may be what got you here, but that doesn't matter. The only reason I'm here is because of my ex."
"Yeah, but you don't have to see her every day."
Bones sighs in exasperation. "You can't lie to me and say you don't love bein' here, and it's not because of Pike. Your hobby is leadin' people into underestimatin' you. You live off of makin' everyone think you're an idiot, then pissin' 'em off when you show you aren't."
Jim smirks but it isn't as strong as it usually is.
"Look, Jim," he says, leaning in. "I don' know what happened, and I'm not gonna ask, but your whole life can completely revolve around Pike, even if it seems like it does. It's not worth throwin' everythin' away. You can't just run from your goal to become a captain." He pulls back shaking his head. "Let's face it. If you can't survive something like this and you do run, then I guess you don't have what it takes to be a captain anyway." He looks around and gets up, his chair scraping on the floor. "I'm gonna get another drink and let you think on that."
As Bones walks to the bar, what he says begins to sink in. Jim's gut feels like it's full of jagged ice. He knew Bones said it to be motivational, but the way he's reacting… he doesn't have what it takes to be captain. Once, he thought he did, but all of Pike's reassurance had just been meaningless. He probably would have said anything to get Jim here. He really shouldn't be here. He doesn't have what it takes to be a captain.
He's gone before Bones gets back to the table.
It's been a week since he stopped going to his classes. He figures that he's leaving, so he doesn't need to bother. He hasn't checked his messages in even longer. Only a quarter of his things are packed, partly out of laziness and partly because wherever he was going, he wasn't going to be able to take too much.
He isn't surprised when his entry buzzer sounds and Pike's voice fills the room through the comm. He also isn't surprised when he lets himself in after he doesn't answer.
Jim just lies on his bed, facing the wall. Neither says anything and he soon feels the bed dip next to him. It takes a few minutes before Pike breaks the silence.
"I, uh, accidentally deleted your withdrawal," he says softly, sounding serious and apologetic. "You'll have to send it again."
Jim inwardly curses. It took him hours of drinking to finally build up the courage to send that in. He doubts it'll take any less time or drinks the second time. It'll probably take more. "I'll make sure to do that, sir."
"I'd ask if you're serious about this, but sending that in answers that question," he says, and then continues when Jim doesn't say anything. "You've worked hard these past years. I'd hate to see you just throw it all away. Especially if it's because of me."
Jim bites his tongue to keep himself from saying something stupid. Like he's sorry. He feels guilty for making him upset, but he really shouldn't be. Pike's the one who screwed him over by screwing his father. He feels anger build in him and he lets it. He wants to leave mad so he doesn't regret it.
After a couple more minutes of silence and stillness, Pike lets out an aggravated sigh. "Jim, you've gotta talk to me," he pleads.
"What's there to talk about?" he says cynically.
"You've gotta at least let me explain."
"What's there to explain?"
"This was never about your father," Pike bites back.
Jim turns onto his back. "Of course this is about him," he shouts. "It's always been about him. Even when we first met in that bar you brought up my father. All you could talk about what about how great he was."
It's the first time Jim's seen Pike in a weeks and he looks tired. Not really angry or pissed or whatever he had assumed he would be. Just tired. "That isn't why I brought him up."
Jim frowns. "Then why did you?"
He gives a weak smile. "Because I knew it would piss you off enough to pay attention to me."
"The only reason you were even talking to me was because of him," Jim retorts.
"Yeah, the initial thought to look up your file was because of your father," he admits. "I knew with your strong blood you'd have to be smart, and your aptitude tests confirmed that. If they had been shit, I probably wouldn't have tried to recruit you. I didn't do it so I could get into your pants. Even if he was the reason I stayed to talk to you, it was about you from the start. I wanted to help you make something of yourself instead of just letting you dick around Iowa with no life ambition. I'm not grooming you into him." He gives a humorless smile and shakes his head. "Fuck, Jim, you could have wanted to become a botanist and I would've supported you. As long as it was what you wanted to do and you were actually using your intellect."
"So you're saying you didn't sleep with my father," Jim says, frowning.
Pike hesitates before turning and rubbing his face with a hand. "No, I'm not denying that."
He gives him a disbelieving and angry look. "You were lovers, and you didn't think that was something important that I should probably know?" he yells.
"We weren't lovers," Pike says quickly. "George and I… it was just sex, friends with benefits. I know that doesn't make things much better, but that's what it was. It wasn't a relationship and we both knew it was never going to be one. I don't know what Winona told you…" he said, trailing off before continuing. "I don't know what she said, but it was before her. George wasn't cheating on her, and I wasn't a man-on-the-side. He ended it before he and your mother started dating."
"She said you were angry when they got together," he accuses.
"Yeah, because she apparently couldn't trust George and me to not run off and fuck the first chance we were alone." He shakes his head. "George was a good man and he wouldn't have done that. Even if he asked, I wouldn't have agreed; I don't fuck people I know are in relationships. We were friends even without the sex involved, and she was trying her best to passive-aggressively make sure we were never within five meters of each other. So yeah, that pissed me off."
Jim stares at him for a long moment, the conflicting information colliding in his head. "Why should I believe you?"
Pike frowns deeply. "Why shouldn't you?"
Jim hesitates and looks towards the wall.
"I know I should have told you, and I'm sorry for that. But who are you really going to trust, Winona or me? I only met you two years ago and I know far more about you than she does. She's never done anything for you. She was never there," he said indignantly.
Jim knew he had a point, but it had just made way too much sense at the time, and it did turn out to be the truth. "You sound resentful," Jim comments because he doesn't know how to refute his argument.
Jim feels a hand placed tentatively on his side, and he wonders how long it took Pike before he won (or lost) his internal struggle to touch him. "Again, I'm not bitter because she got George." He leans down and puts his face at the crook of his neck. "I'm bitter because she had you for so long, but took you for granted. She's had over twenty years to discover what an amazing man you are, but you said so yourself, you don't even think of her as your mother." Jim hears him inhale deeply like a man held under water too long, as if to engulf himself in Jim's scent. "Honestly, I can't even remember what he was like."
Jim pauses for a moment before giving a subdued smile. "That mediocre, huh?"
He gives a small chuckle. "Isn't everyone when compared to you?"
Jim snorts. "Now you're just trying to win me over by flattery."
Pike– no, Chris pulls back and puts his hands on either side of the younger man's face. "Jim," he says softly in that voice that makes Jim tingle. "This wasn't about him. It never was. I don't know how to convince you, but I'd do anything to make you believe me."
He looks up at him, seeing that intense look back in his face. "You still owe me dinner."
"What? After all the shit you just put me through?" he asks, but it isn't heated.
Jim hesitates. "Did you really delete my withdrawal?"
He ducks his head slightly in embarrassment. "Not exactly. I was pissed when I read it, and I ended up throwing the PADD it was loaded against a wall and it broke."
"M'sorry," he says quietly, not just apologizing for the PADD. He suddenly feels like a major ass, for overreacting, for not talking to him, for not trusting him.
Chris looks at him for a moment before slowly crawling on top of him on the bed and pressing their lips together. "Jim," he murmurs against them, and his voice is low and thick and pleasant. Jim wraps his arms around his neck and pulls him in for a deeper kiss. He feels hands reach under his shirt to grasp his waist.
"Jim." He speaks his name repeatedly in heavy breaths and moans. He knows Chris is purposefully uttering it as many times as he can in an attempt to prove that he's the one he wants. It's a conscious effort since he isn't usually this vocal during sex, but that doesn't make his tone any less powerful, and it makes Jim gasp as he yields against his skin.
And by the end of the night, he couldn't say that he still wasn't freaked out, but he didn't feel the need to run anymore.
Author's note: Thanks to Jack Hawksmoor for being my super beta.
For the STXI kink meme prompt: Pike/George Kirk was purely about the sex - and George broke it off when he got together with Winona. Now Pike is genuinely in love with Jim. Jim somehow finds out about Pike's relationship with his dad. Cue angst and insecurity and hurt!Jim. And Pike doing whatever he can to prove to Jim that it's not about George - and it never has been.
Little different than I usually write, but I love this pair and this prompt wouldn't leave me alone. There isn't enough Pike/Jim. At least not enough that isn't daddy!kink. Can't Pike just love Jim for Jim? D: