Title: The Cost of a Kiss
Fandom: Star Trek XI (AOS, Reboot, etc.)
Characters: Kirk/McCoy, Uhura, bridge crew
Summery: Nyota wasn't prepared for this - the sight of Kirk of the thousand one-night stands, and McCoy, gruff and snarky divorcee, in a lip-lock that could've powered the warp core. Or for it to be so hot. (Jim-and-Bones livejournal community prompt fill).
It shouldn't be this hot.
She wasn't a prude or asexual – no matter what some of her friends and colleagues might think about her choice of lovers – and could appreciate an aesthetically pleasing sight as much as any woman. Just because she didn't let her hormones go to her head or allow sex to interfere with her long-term goals didn't mean she was without desire.
That didn't mean Nyota was prepared for...this.
For the sight of James T. Kirk – bad boy, womanizer, captain, Federation hero – kissing McCoy like it was the most important thing in the universe.
Or for that sight to be hotter than some of the sex she'd had.
Dr. McCoy – never 'Bones' except for Kirk – had been held hostage on Alpha Merni V for three days, taken while on planet to provide medical aid to the population and train the local medics to administer the vaccine and treatment therapy he'd created for the previously unknown pathogen burning through the population. Unfortunately, the planetary government had failed to disclose the fact that the virus was engineered – intended to kill a subsection of the populace who were rebelling against the leadership that treated them like second-class citizens. As final solutions went, it was suicidal as well as genocidal; despite the general attitude of the majority population, the genetic difference between the two groups was so minute that the pathogen moved easily into the larger population, resulting in the distress call the Enterprise had answered.
The rebels had sought the medical aid refused them by taking three members of the Enterprise medical team and a supply of the vital treatments and bringing them back to their base camp in the highlands. For two days, the government of Alpha Merni V had insisted on the fact that the perpetrators were a small band of anti-government terrorists. Kirk had been cold and focused, pushing himself and everyone else to find the away teams' signal, find a trace of the 'terrorists'. He had barely eaten or slept; hadn't even taken the time to shave, each millimeter of stubble a testament to the hours, then days that passed. The crew had tiptoed around him, giving him everything he asked; despite being absolutely professional at all times, there was a sense of his being a man on the edge. The odd, occasionally antagonistic, and fiercely protective friendship the captain and doctor shared was apparent to the whole crew and had been from the day they'd shipped out, and no one wanted to be the one to bear the brunt of Kirk's contained, building rage and desperation.
On the third day, the captain's dark, burning anger had been given a target.
A data burst sent to the Enterprise, from the rebel camp – including a video file recording of Leonard McCoy; tired, healthy, and royally pissed.
"Captain – Jim – we're fine. They need doctors too goddamn badly to treat us anything less than kindly. There's nearly three thousand people here, run off into the wilderness like fucking vermin. A month ago, there were twice as many people here. It's a goddamn genocide, Jim, only they fucked up, convinced themselves that anything that affects these people won't touch them. Problem is, they're the same people under the skin, so they pointed the gun at themselves as well, then used us to fix it. I made them the vaccine, Jim, and they were gonna let the rest of these people die while I cured the folks in the cities."
Kirk had breathed deeply, the coiled tension in his shoulders easing as he listened to his friend's anger. He'd shrugged off the suggestion that the doctor was speaking under duress – "he wouldn't be cursing if that was the case, and he didn't use any of the code phrases"– leaving them all to wonder why the captain and CMO had coded duress phrases while the doctor's message replayed on the view screen.
Then the captain had straightened, eyes narrowed and face set in an expression the bridge crew recognized. It was the look he wore when he was about to stick his foot in and make a big mess.
"Let's see the data the rebels sent us – on screen, Lieutenant."
It had been stark and unmistakeable – proof of blatant discrimination and mistreatment based on an arbitrary racial delineation in the population, building into segregation laws, forced exile and, ultimately, a viral genocide.
"Hail the council."
Kirk's cold tone, devoid of all emotion, made everyone but Spock shudder.
The government representatives had denied everything – up until Kirk had pulled the remaining away teams and all Federation equipment, including the vaccine, medicines, and all the medical instruments. While the pale men and women on screen hemmed and hawed, still hesitant, he'd then sent a spoken transmission to Starfleet and the Federation Council, calling for the evacuation of the survivors of the attempted genocide, as well as a complete cessation of all trade, commerce, travel, and diplomatic contact with Alpha Merni V. Then the High Councilor had – reluctantly – admitted to the truth.
While the transmission to Command was still open.
As well as the live feed Enterprise had tapped into on the planet surface. The emergency broadcast that most of the population was watching for updates on the epidemic. Including the rebels.
While the Council Hall was stormed by an angry populace, the minority leaders had agreed to release their hostages – who, being two doctors and a nurse, refused to leave their patients. Loudly, in McCoy's case.
"The hell I'll beam up, Jim – send down Richardson and I'otch with another fifteen hundred doses of the treatment and five hundred vaccine shots. And protein rations, another tricorder, and four dermal regenerators."
It was the first smile any of them had seen from the captain since they first entered orbit.
The next hours were spent directing a tidy up of the mess at the Council Hall and the coordinating of continued medical and diplomatic aid by the arriving Constellation and Intrepid, as well as the possible evacuation and relocation of the survivors who might choose not to remain on the world where they had nearly died because of the differences in their bone structure and skin tone. With additional medical personnel, McCoy and his staff were finally persuaded to return to the ship and be relieved of four straight days of duty.
Scotty and Chekov personally manned the transporter station when the last of Enterprise's crew beamed back, McCoy and his head nurse, Christine Chapel, the final holdouts. The both looked tired and a little rumpled, with Chapel's hair in a disordered bun and the doctor's typical five o'clock shadow nearly a beard after days without a razor.
"I can't let you go anywhere alone, can I, Bones?"
"It's not like I make a habit of finding trouble – unlike someone I could mention."
The banter was typical of the pair – Kirk amused, the doctor gruff – and the senior staff who had come down to see for themselves that their CMO was unharmed – Spock, Sulu, Scotty, Chekov, and herself – had relaxed, the last of three days of stress bleeding away. Not only had they worked frantically to find their missing crew, but they'd had to step lightly around the captain's temper as well; Nyota knew she wasn't the only one looking forward to a meal, a shower, and ten hours of sleep.
And then Kirk had, once again, screwed with everyone's' perception of reality, by stepping forward as McCoy left the transporter pad, and pressing their lips together.
Kirk of the thousand one-night stands, and McCoy, gruff and snarky divorcee, in a lip-lock that could've powered the warp core.
Some kisses were sweet, others sexy; this was both. There were no tongues, no moans, nothing x-rated – just long presses of lips together, the kind that were like sipping from your partners' mouth, and the scrape of stubble. McCoy cupped the back of Kirk's neck with one hand, and Kirk pressed his hands into the doctor's shoulder and lower back, holding each other still. The lack of fumbling, the sense of familiarity between the two, told all observers that this was by no means the first kiss they'd shared.
It was the most intensely passionate thing she'd ever witnessed – and the most intimate. She would have sworn Kirk wasn't even capable of the emotion he was putting into the kiss – well, plural, now – much less the expression of those feelings. McCoy? Well, he was intense and passionate – but about ideas and medicine, and in expressing his opinion. Usually about Kirk and his reckless behavior or dangerous, if brave, stunts.
Maybe it wasn't so strange to think of them together.
Scotty hooted behind them, and exclaimed something about winning the pot, and the pair drew away, lips lingering for a moment before finally separating. There was no jerking back , no blushing, and they stayed in place, only inches separating their bodies.
The captain smiled and rubbed a thumb over McCoy's rough cheek. "Nice look, Bones."
"I spent days treating thousands during the epidemic of a viral pathogen created in an attempt to commit genocide and was kidnapped by said genocide's intended victims. What's your excuse, Captain?"
"I spent three days looking for my kidnapped crew, then instigating a coup against a genocidal government an cleaning up the aftermath – which I managed to do without being kidnapped, shot, stabbed, or even leaving the Bridge."
"That's a first."
"Bullshit. Also – you're never leaving the ship without a security detail again."
"Damnit, Jim, I don't have a scratch. It was a very civilized kidnapping – they even fed us, unlike the last time you got snatched by a rogue faction. Right, Chapel?"
The blonde nurse shook off the slight daze left over from what they'd just witnessed, and replied, "Oh, absolutely – but if it's alright with you, I'd rather not have a chance to form a basis of comparison."
"Maybe if the lot of ye could stop getting nabbed by every rebel group and insurgent cell in the galaxy, it would nae be an issue," Scotty informed them all.
"Says the man who never leaves the ship," Sulu said drily.
"Aye, and when was the last time I was snatched without a warning or a 'how do yea do', hmm?"
"I imagine that pool of yours has odds on who's going to get hurt and how on each away mission, right Scotty?" Kirk asked, smirking. He and McCoy stood in their typical positions – Kirk with an arm around McCoy's shoulders, the doctor with his arms crossed, leaning slightly into the captain. Knowing what she did now, Nyota was amazed she hadn't realized they were together based solely on that very revealing body language.
"Pool? What pool, Cap'n? I dinnae know what ye mean."
"The pool which, gambling being illegal on a Federation ship, I have absolutely no knowledge of."
"Oh, that pool."
"Out of curiosity – how much did you win, and what was the bet?"
"'Tis just a wee wager on whether the good doctor was involved with any member of the crew and who it might be."
McCoy sighed. "Oh for – doesn't anyone have anything better to do? Like, maybe, their jobs?" He scowled suddenly. "My staff better not be betting on my damn love life, Scotty."
"Never mind! I don't want to know."
"Well, the odds favored you and Nurse Chapel here, Doc – "
Christine laughed. "Oh, hell no, he is not my type – I like people who can smile without cracking their face."
"Don't forget who does your assessments, Chapel."
"– but I had a feeling about you and the cap'n – and I was right, to the tune of six months water rations."
"I must point out that gambling is a violation of Starfleet's Code of Conduct, Section – "
"Let it go, Spock."
"Captain – "
"This is another example of human behavior which, while technically wrong, is not actually harmful or morally incorrect and, therefore, can be overlooked, is it not?"
"I see. Then I, too, know nothing about any 'betting pool'."
Kirk laughed at Spock's tone – dry and Vulcan, but with an edge of sarcasm that only someone intimately familiar with a Vulcan could recognize as humor.
"Alright, everyone – bed time for anyone who's worked more that sixty hours out of the last seventy-two. Since I know that includes everyone in this room, I don't want to see any of you on duty until Alpha shift the day after tomorrow. Shoo."
They shooed, heading out and off to find their beds, content that they were all where they belonged one again – at least until the next catastrophe.
At the doorway, Nyota lingered a moment, turning to look back before the doors closed. Kirk and McCoy were once again close, eyes closed and foreheads touching as they breathed each other in; absorbing the scent and feel and presence of the one you loved and, for even just a moment in depth of your mind thought might be gone forever. She knew that moment, that ache and the fear, as well as the relief so intense it was painful when you saw with your own eyes that they were safe and alive. She'd lived it, and likely would again – as would they.
The two men – utterly different and yet similar – kissed again, lingering, savoring.
Some things were worth the price.