What Jim actually wants in an away mission is to meet new alien races, have a nice dinner, and be able to take the infant down with him, so the infant can charm them all by claiming that Russians invented everything, and also leave them with the vague impression that everybody in the Federation is capable of doing advanced astrometric calculations in their heads on the fly. Which, as far as Jim is aware, is just him, Spock and Chekov right now, although if you gave Scotty a piece of scrap paper and five minutes, he'd have a damn good try.

(Bones, naturally, cannot do advanced calculations of anything besides complex hypo proportions and how much pain he can cause Jim at any moment, and is rather proud of it. Sometimes Jim wakes up in the middle of the night and wonders why he loves him.)

What Jim actually gets on a typical away mission (and don't get him wrong, he still loves away missions) is more along the lines of screaming through a communicator at Scotty, running like hell, phaser fire, Spock doing his I'm A Really Fucking Scary Vulcan, Assholes act and Bones alternately cursing a blue streak and attempting to keep someone alive by the power of the terror he has instilled in every crew member of the Enterprise. Jim personally has seen someone survive just because the thought of what Dr McCoy would do to them if they didn't scared them too much. Come to think of it, Jim has survived because Bones has promised horrible things would happen to his corpse if he didn't. If Bones isn't on the ground physically stopping someone from bleeding out, Jim's usually waking up after the mission with Spock and Bones looming over his biobed, wearing identical expressions of What Shall We Do With This Idiot.

If it's not blood and danger and excitement, it's …. well, this is actually a new one on Jim.

"I'm sorry, what?" he says, staring at the head … thing. Dude. Dude thing. Unless it's a dudette thing, which, you know, aliens, who knows. He knows for a fact that most non-humanoids cherish the conviction that humans, Vulcans and their kin actually only have one sex and all their blustering otherwise is just a sad pretense at being like the other cool kids with their twenty-six sexes, genders and orientations. All the exasperated explanations in the world fail to make them understand otherwise.

The head thing makes a passable attempt at a smile and waves tentacles around soothingly. Jim's not feeling soothed. "Release promise given condition met if," it says, and Jim holds up one finger and hits the site of his Universal Translator and then nods at them. "We give our solemn promise to release you."

"Okay," says Jim, wondering why this is his life. "Let me ... discuss this with my companions."

The aliens make gestures like they're smiling and nodding happily, and Jim turns on his heel and marches straight back to the little huddled group of the away team, to wit: Bones, Spock, Sulu, and Uhura.

"So," he says, "they're, like, researchers, and they want one of you to have sex with me so they can document it, and then they'll let us go. I'm not having sex with McCoy and I like my balls where they are, so Spock and Sulu, you guys can flip for it."

There is one of those long and terrible silences that really marks an awesome away mission.

"I'm blaming Scotty," says Jim, conversationally, pulling out a coin.

"How is this –" begins Uhura, stops, and says, exasperated, "Captain, just because Gaila is –"

"What? No!" says Jim, shocked. "I've already had sex with her, is all, so it wouldn't be nearly so awkward."

Bones is now occupied in his customary response to anything to do with Jim's sex life, which is to huddle in a fetal position, hands over his ears and eyes screwed shut, while he chants the periodic table in a sing-song voice. Jim prods him with his foot but he refuses to look up.

"Captain, you cannot expect Mr Scott to give up one of his most valuable engineers just in case you –" Spock stops, like even he can't finish the sentence without committing ritual suicide.

"Kirk," says Sulu, very seriously.

"I know, buddy, I know," says Jim, and they slap each other manfully on the back.

Spock gives them the look that means he's pretty sure he was high the day he decided to stay with Starfleet.

Jim kicks Bones again. "Get up and do the coin flip," he says. It's not really fair if he does it, and Uhura is just mean enough to cheat so Sulu has to do it. Sulu's pissed her off three times in the past month -- and while Spock and she are no longer banging, they have a really disturbingly close friendship where apparently they do each other's hair and plot to make Jim's life hell.

Bones, on the other hand, would be just as happy if Jim never had sex ever again, so he's the only choice.

He uncurls reluctantly, moaning, "Oh my gaaaaawwwwd," and takes the coin from Jim like it might bite him. "Someone pick a side. Do it quickly, so I can stop thinking about Jim having sex."

"Tails," says Sulu.

It's heads.

Jim looks at Spock. Spock looks at Jim. "A captain and his first officer have a special relationship," says Jim solemnly, and points him toward the waiting researchers.

"That was less comforting than I assume you intended, sir," says Spock. "Dr McCoy, for someone who is as obsessed as you with germs, you seem very fond of lying in the dirt and weeping."

So it's not actually that bad, once Jim convinces himself to forget the researchers. Spock has really warm hands, and his fingers are long and clever as they skitter down his body –

Also, if Jim had been Uhura, and he had known Spock could kiss like that, well, Jim would have chained himself to Spock's leg before he gave him up.

"That is a highly disturbing image," says Spock, in his ear. "I must request you stop thinking, Captain."

And, okay, Jim can do that.

Afterward, when the researchers let them go (and Jim hopes someone manages to destroy the tape before someone realizes what a gold mine they have, Jesus Christ – although one of the researchers assures them very earnestly 'any distinguish markings of' would be deleted) and they're all on board, there's a moment that could be awkward but really? He and Sulu joke about their transcendent bond constantly, but after you've beamed aboard a crazy Romulan's ship and fought your way through everything there, and after a year and change of living on a starship together – well, it would take a lot more than semi-public sex to make things strange between Jim and Spock.

"Chess tonight?" he says suddenly, as they're walking out the door behind Bones, who is not so much walking as he is scuttling hopelessly for the safety of Sickbay and the emergency rotgut he hides in one of his skulls. Jim is feeling pretty benevolent right now, so he lets Bones go all the way to Sickbay instead of telling him right away that Chapel staged a raid last beta shift and instead of cheap Georgia rotgut he's going to find a tiny bottle of synthehol and a frowny face note. It would be cruel to deprive him of his hope.

Spock looks at him sideways, and Jim takes a second to appreciate the way his black eyelashes half-drop to his cheek. "Chess, sir?"

"Well," says Jim, stretching out, smiling a little back at Spock, "Maybe we could think of something else."