Title: Five Times Jim Kirk Said 'I Love You' Without Words, and the One Time He Said It Out Loud

Warnings: Implied sex.

Disclaimer: I do not own Star Trek and this is entirely for fun and not for profit.

Notes: Inspired by the following (supposed) Chinese proverb: Married couples who love each other tell each other a thousand things without talking from space_married on LJ. This originally started life as Kirk/McCoy, but then went of an whole tangent of its own.

Five Times Jim Kirk Said 'I Love You' Without Words, and The One Time He Said It Out Loud.

I. Winona Kirk

Even at thirteen he knows his mother has made some bad decisions. He's not immune to the implications of the string of men that have been brought home for the holidays (some years it was a different guy for Christmas and New Years even). He pretends he can't hear his grandmother tell his mother that she's being "self-destructive and a terrible role model for Jimmy". He doesn't cry when his grandmother comes and wakes him up late at night to take him with her back to their house on the farm, where he gets up early to feed the chickens and pretends that everything's all right, and he's doing well in school.

When he was little, he used to hide under the covers when his mother would start screaming at her latest boyfriend. They'd shout a hundred horrible things at one another, and sometimes his mother would simply slam the door and leave, going for a drive in his dad's antique car and not coming back until sunrise.

He'd have to sit in the house, listening to her boyfriends stomp around the kitchen and call her horrible names. He could never sleep until she came home.

So, when Frank said he was selling the car, he didn't know what to do. And when the keys found their way into his hands, it was like fate had planned it that way.

He hadn't intended to drive it off the cliff. But at least this way, he knew that Frank would never come between the car and his mother again. At least Jim was both his dad and his mum's — Frank had no right to touch it.

II. Bones

He's never had a friend. He's had a string of followers, who stuck around until they realised just how much nothing his life was made of. When Bones sat down next to him on the shuttle, they spent the whole ride talking, and then Jim said goodbye and left and that was supposed to be it.

People didn't come back to Jim after goodbye. So, when Bones sat down next to him in the mess hall one rainy afternoon, he wasn't quite sure what to do.

He kept waiting for Bones to realise that, despite his skill and lackadaisical cleverness, things that Jim Kirk did were of an ephemeral nature. He flickered bright like a match in a dark room, and burnt out nearly as quickly. He kept expecting Bones to leave and stop coming back.

"If it hurts I don't care," Bones said, jabbing him with a hypospray with a far less delicate touch than Jim knew he was capable of. "You brought this on yourself."

"Wasfun," Jim mumbled, trying to stop the world from spinning and his stomach from churning quite so dangerously.

"Being pleasantly drunk is fun, you idiot," Bones said sharply, causing Jim to wince at the volume of his voice. "Getting so drunk that you pass out and nearly choke on your own vomit is self-destructive. You're lucky I'm here to clean up after you."

"You sound like my grandmother," Jim mumbled to his pillow.

Bones let out a snort that sounded like a mixture of amusement and derision. "One of these days I'm not going to be here, you know."

"No," Jim said, feeling suddenly more sure of himself than he had in a long time. "No, you'll always be here Bones."

Leonard McCoy didn't disagree, and, inexplicably, Jim went without needing a hangover cure for three weeks.

III. Gaila

He'd tried a lot of things in his youth. At one point "the stranger, the better" had practically been his personal motto. Out of all his sexual partners, though, Gaila was by far his favourite — there was almost nothing that she wasn't up for trying.

He liked the way that she would wander into his room and start taking her uniform off while talking about the latest computer algorithm she'd analysed. He liked the way that she knew exactly what she wanted, but wasn't afraid of asking what he wanted and finding a way that filled both their needs. He liked the way that there was the Gaila that drove him utterly insane with want, teasing him and drawing him closer to the edge only to suddenly break off and draw it out even longer in some utterly crazy, but utterly fulfilling way, and the way that afterwards as they lay sticky and entwined, she'd prattle away happily about computers and see right through the stupid questions he asked.

He liked the way that he liked spending time with both sides of Gaila. And that there was no pressure to commit to anything more than a good time.

"I think I love you," she said.

It was weird. Not because he'd never heard it before, it had been exclaimed loudly to the rafters enough times for him to know people said it a lot more often that they meant it to him. It was weird because he knew what she meant. It was weird because Gaila wasn't the sort of partner his mum was always looking for — someone to live with, and grow old with. It wasn't the sort of heart-wrenching, Romeo & Juliet love that made middle-aged women break down with a box of tissues and chocolates.

"That is so weird," he said, and he meant it.

IV. Admiral Pike

To be honest, he hadn't liked Pike's dissertation. It was factual, and managed to be praising without resorting to becoming panegyric on the crew of the Kelvin, and his father. But every time Pike looked at him, all Jim could see was Pike's dissertation.

It was that dissertation that had made Pike want to talk to Kirk in the first place. It was that dissertation that he used as a basis for his argument — his challenge — which had driven Jim into Starfleet in the first place.

And Jim felt that it was on that dissertation that Pike based his assessment of him. The spectre of George Kirk had hung over Jim's life, but never so much as now. Some days, it made him determined to stand up and do something bigger than his father — to take command of a starship in a crisis, save everyone, and survive. Other days, it made him not care what he did.

When he came back and transported Pike off Nero's ship, Pike had grabbed his hand and said, "your father would be proud."

It had made him feel sick to his stomach. Even now, on the cusp of the destruction of the planet, the ghost of his father dogged his every step.

But when he stood there, nearly vibrating from the exhilaration of his own captaincy and looked down at admiral Pike, he felt for the first time that Pike was looking at him.

"I relieve you, sir," he said, and felt an unexpected weight lift from his shoulders.

"I am relieved," Admiral Pike replied, and Jim felt that the words might be meant more for himself than anyone else.

V. Spock

"You'll need to fill the position of first officer," Pike had said later in the briefing room. Jim had nodded and brushed the comment aside, knowing full well who expected to give the position to.

However, being less than five hours from launch, the problem had become slightly more pressing. He had anticipated that Spock would put himself forward for the position, and had, thus, simply left the position open, waiting for the Vulcan to come to him. But it was beginning to look as if he'd misjudged the situation somewhat.

His heart felt unexpectedly heavy at the thought that Spock might not want to come with them, especially given everything that he had learned, and guessed from the older version. "I have been, and always shall be, your friend," Spock had said to him on Delta Vega. He'd had a small taste of what that might feel like on Nero's ship as they'd fought side by side, working with such co-ordination that it was startling to think that they hadn't been doing this together for years. And it had been such a rush!

He felt lost, in the knowledge that he might now have to select someone else as a first officer. Bones had simply slapped him on the back and said it was probably best that they didn't have to deal with the point-eared bastard on a regular basis, as, with Jim and Spock stuck together on a ship in deep space, it was likely that his sickbay would never get a moment's peace again. But on some level, he could tell that Bones had expected the Vulcan to come along too.

The moment the turbolift doors opened and Spock stepped onto the bridge, Jim felt vindicated. He barely managed to wait long enough to let Spock speak before replying, "it would be an honour, First Officer."

Suddenly heading off on a five-year mission into deep space didn't feel nearly as frightening.

VI. The Enterprise

Scotty had said repeatedly that he liked this ship. Kirk didn't like the Enterprise: he loved her. He loved the sounds she made when he was falling asleep at night, he loved the way that no matter how hard he pushed her, she always came through in the end (though a good portion of that was likely due to Scotty's secret magical abilities). He liked the way she felt like home, and the way that no matter how bad things got, there was always someone aboard cracking a joke to break up the tension.

He loved the way his chair felt, and the way that it swivelled.

"Mr. Sulu," he said, settling himself comfortably back in the chair and crossing his legs. "Take us out." The added "love you" he half-whispered to the chair was inaudible to everyone save Spock, who raised an eyebrow at him in toneless Vulcan scorn. Jim simply smiled back shamelessly.