I couldn't resist a little Christmassy fluff now that Genesis is complete. This is a four parter that should hopefully tide you over until the New Year when we can kick back off again with premium angst! There will be some wee!Jim Christmas, some Jim!and!Bones being BFFs, a teeny tiny bit of h/c and lots of fluff. I'm shameless.
This story is set about nine months after Genesis. Much of the first scene is lifted from the episode 'The Trouble with Tribbles'. I watched it again recently and couldn't help but wonder how this new Kirk would react to his crew getting in a bar fight with Klingons…
Eleven Fleet Officers stood in a neat row. Hanger Bay D was quiet at this time during Beta Shift and the nervous stillness of the stationary officers made it quite clear that they were grateful for the lack of witnesses.
McCoy shared a glance with Spock, who was beside him, serene in his customary stance. Before leaving Earth, McCoy had never expected to see amusement on a Vulcan's face, nor had he anticipated his own enjoyment at seeing it.
Nor, and here was the biggest change, had he ever, not once in a month of Sundays, expected to see James Kirk at a loss for words.
Yet here they all were.
Most of the senior Bridge crew stood at attention in front of their pacing Captain. Most of them were bruised, all of them looked sheepish, and one or two of them –like Uhura, dear god, Uhura!- looked like they wanted the ground to swallow them whole.
Kirk had been caught in the shower when the comm. from Space Station K11 had come through the channels. He had dressed in haste, boots on, but only his blacks. His incomplete uniform lacked the rank and insignia of his office, and his tousled hair only helped make him look every inch the young man that he was. Out of the crew present, only Chekov was younger. That hadn't really helped anyone when he'd beamed down into the middle of a bar brawl and had to fish half his crew out from the mêlée. He'd picked up his own bumps in the process, but no one could wear a black eye with as much casual grace as Jim Kirk and so no one paid it much attention.
"So let me get this straight…" Jim pinched his nose as he paced in front of his crew. McCoy made a mental note to prescribe him a fresh dose of painkillers. Jim was absurdly healthy when he wasn't bleeding from various body parts, but he was prone to some particularly wicked headaches when he got overly stressed. And when Jim got a headache, it usually wasn't long before McCoy had one as well. "After telling you, all of you, most categorically and emphatically to play nice with the other kids…"
Spock's eyebrow quirked as he glanced in McCoy's direction. While in orbit overseeing the transfer of supplies to SSK11, Kirk had instructed all off duty personnel to beam down to the station for an evening of well deserved shore leave. Jim had been eager to see his crew get some personal time after a trying few weeks and had liaised with the station crew to ensure the best possible rotations during the transfer. There wasn't much exciting about SSK11, but it was a change of scenery and a port popular with passing ships from all quadrants.
Currently on site were several Federation vessels, an Orion Cruiser and two Klingon Birds of Prey.
The Federation wasn't on poor terms with the Klingon Empire, but neither were they bosom buddies. The Enterprise had only encountered one Klingon vessel in their nine months of active service, and naturally, said vessel and its crew were currently seeking their own R&R on SSK11. Jim had known as much, and after an incredibly passive aggressive conversation with the Klingon Captain, had signed off on the leave. Despite their aggressive natures, there was no tactical benefit in starting a war with the Federation over shared shore leave space and so a truce had been made.
The two crews would do their best to ignore one another, and Jim, in a surprising moment of trust, had not felt it necessary to accompany the parties beaming down.
After all, he was the only person on board who had ever shown a proclivity for getting into bar fights, and if he could resist the urge then his mature and professional crew should have little difficulty.
Sometimes Jim could be so adorably naive. McCoy could count on one hand the number of fights he'd been in before meeting Jim. The same could not be said since. Most of the times, Jim hadn't started them. Hell, some of the times he hadn't even been present.
Jim stopped in front of Chekov. The young Ensign had two black eyes and didn't seem in the least bit troubled by them. He wasn't the only crew member injured - hence McCoy's presence - but they were all on their own feet, not too worse for wear, and far be it from him to rescue them from a good Kirk tongue lashing.
Idiots, the lot of them.
"Does someone want to tell me who started it?" Jim stared at his young navigator and McCoy felt a twinge of sympathy for the kid. The Captain was pissed. McCoy knew him well enough to know that he was also seriously bemused. "Mr Chekov?"
Chekov remained silent.
"Seriously? Am I going to have to confine you all to quarters for this shit? Who started the fight?"
It was telling that Jim didn't even consider the fact that the Klingons would have thrown the first punch. It was alarming how similar their thought process could be – Jim made a promise on his honor, he kept it. The same could be said for Klingons. Not that both parties wouldn't push the boundaries on said promise. And push. And push...
McCoy's eyebrow reached his forehead when a senior officer in red stepped forwards. "There's no need to punish the lads, Captain. I threw the first punch I did."
Jim's jaw hit the floor, but he recovered quickly. "Scotty? What the hell did they do to make you throw punches?" A redheaded cliché though he was, Scott was even less prone to violence than McCoy was.
"It wasn't what they did, per say." Scott hedged. His nose was still bleeding sluggishly.
Jim shook his head in disbelief. "Are you telling me my senior crew – all of you battle tested, experienced officers – started a bar fight with a bunch of Klingons over a few insults? What the hell?"
"They said wery awful things, Keptain!" Chekov spluttered.
"Like what?" Jim demanded.
Chekov looked at Sulu, who was relatively uninjured, sneaky bastard.
"Is this off record, sir?" Uhura asked, her posture betraying her nerves.
"No it damn well isn't!" Jim bellowed.
The assembled crew all flinched. Jim didn't get angry, not with them at any rate. The most they'd gotten out of him was a stern reprimand or the occasional glare.
"You started a flight with a potentially hostile race in the middle of a civilian establishment, while in uniform, while drinking and I want to know why!"
"The Klingon Captain," Uhura spoke up, her bottom lip bleeding. "He called you," her face twisted in distaste, "an upstart child; an arrogant, insolent maggot with delusions of god-hood."
Jim blinked. McCoy snorted. "Is that it?"
"He also compared you with a Denuvian Slime Demon." Chekov said unhappily.
"And you felt the need to defend my honor…" Jim sighed. "McCoy calls me worse things over breakfast. It's his life's mission to come up with a new insult for me every other day."
"Sometimes it isn't even that infrequent." McCoy put in helpfully, smirking when Jim turned an angry scowl on him.
"He also said he'd like to take you over his knee and show you-" Uhura looked slightly apologetic.
"Yes! Okay, I get it, thank you very much." Jim rubbed the back of his head. That had been a problem the first time they had encountered the warrior race. They had taken one look at Jim and failed to take him seriously based on his youth, his size, and his good looks. "You seriously mean to tell me that you risked a war because a Klingon called me names?" He directed the question to Scott, who rapidly shook his head before cringing at the movement.
"Oh no sir!"
"I did, sir." Sulu said unapologetically. McCoy always did like Sulu the best.
Jim ignored him. "Then what?" He demanded.
"They called The Enterprise a garbage dump!" Scott exclaimed in outrage. "I mean, it's one thing to insult our Captain, but as ye said, the good doctor does that on a fairly regular basis like, and you've never seemed to mind the odd verbal barb in the past sir-" Jim's expression shifted to incredulous and McCoy had to cough loudly into his elbow to hide his laughter. "But you cannae call The Enterprise garbage and no expect a thump on the nose! It's a matter of pride it is!"
Jim's mouth opened and closed again without sound. He turned from Scotty but spun back around quickly. "Garbage dump? That was Kor, wasn't it? That bastard-"
"Captain." Spock's voice was without inflection but it killed Jim's decent to his crew's level more effectively than the sternest shout.
"I mean…fuck, I don't even..." He shook his head. "No more fighting! The Brass will think I've been teaching you bad habits."
Someone snorted and the line fell deathly silent as Jim's ire rose again rapidly. Eventually Chekov timidly piped up. "You are not angry, Keptain?"
"I'm furious." Jim said, sounding his usual cheerful self once more. "You're all confined to quarters when not on duty. I'll lift that restriction for the person who can come up with the best bullshit line for me to feed the Admiralty when I have to explain to them why we aren't allowed back on SSK11. Dismissed."
For all that they moved fluidly, orderly and without running, the Bay emptied in record time.
"Captain, if I may," Jim nodded to Spock's query. "Your expression of anger is remarkably similar to your expression of joy."
"I know, right?" Jim laughed. "I can't believe I had to yell at people for fighting. I feel like such a hypocrite."
"Speaking of fighting," McCoy pulled out his tricorder and ran it over Jim's face to check he hadn't fractured a cheekbone when he'd hit Kor's fist with his skull. "Want me to patch that up before you talk to the old man?"
"Hmm, probably a good idea." Jim agreed. He and Spock followed McCoy towards Medical. Despite Deck 7 being incredibly busy, there were perks to walking with the Captain – especially a Captain covered in bruises and whose shouting had likely been heard around the ship – and people scattered out of the way, a snappy salute at the ready.
"I can't believe your girlfriend got into a bar fight." Jim smirked in Spock's direction. From the furrow to his brow, it looked like Spock was in a similar predicament.
"It is most unlike her character." He said, before catching himself and correcting, "Lieutenant Uhura is not-"
"Save the bullshit for someone who doesn't have a pounding headache." Jim said not unkindly.
"You staying properly hydrated?" McCoy checked. Thanks to someone higher up the food chain – McCoy suspected it was Pike – Jim had been assigned a Yeoman who had made it her sole purpose on the ship to harass, harangue and bully Jim into getting his three square meals a day. Some days that meant literally chasing him around with food. Others it meant bribery, blackmail and the occasional threat to have Spock sit on him. McCoy was impressed with her creativity. Jim had a strict 'hands off' policy when it came to his crew and behaved himself but she was a pretty thing, just Jim's type, which meant he didn't tell her to get fucked quite as often as he did his doctor.
McCoy's tricorder beeped and displayed its results as they entered sickbay. "Blood oxygen level dependent has dropped," he read aloud, 'inflated cortical hemispheres are showing substantial suppression…"
"In a language we all understand, please Bones." Jim grumbled, rubbing his head.
"Means you have a headache, brat." McCoy caught him in the neck with his hypo. Despite Jim's yelp and angry glare, the rush of muscle relaxants eased the tension in his body and would assist in reducing the effects of a tension headache. He'd also thrown in a light painkiller.
"I just told you that!" Jim snapped.
"Yeah, well, I'm taking you off duty for the next eight hours." McCoy entered the data into his log and uploaded into the server. "Sleep it off."
"I don't need to sleep anything off, Bones. I'm busy."
"You're standing in my sickbay. Admitting you are in pain. The fact that the world isn't ending around us as we speak is, quite frankly, something of a shock."
"I came here to get de-bar-faced before I talk to Pike. Which I can't do if you take me off duty."
Damn, McCoy had forgotten about that.
"I will talk to Admiral Pike." Spock said serenely. "I believe you were in the middle of your off duty routine when we were summoned to Space Station K11. It would be prudent for you to continue as you were. I was myself on duty at the time and am more than capable of reporting on your behalf."
"Excellent." McCoy slapped Spock on the back before Jim could stammer out an argument. "Now you can both leave me in peace, I have catalogues to arrange."
He gave Jim a firm shove out of the door, relieved that he could trust Spock to see Jim back to his quarters without 'getting distracted' by ship's business.
He settled back into his office and drank in the quite peace. There he was, enjoying himself in space while Jim acted responsible and sensible folk like Uhura and Chekov were getting in fist fights with aliens. There he was, trusting Jim's health to someone who nine months ago had shown not even a single shred of compassion or human feeling.
Time was a funny thing, he thought, selecting the next article on his PADD and bringing it up on screen.
A week later and Jim had long lifted the restriction he had placed on his crew. He was a little like McCoy had been when he'd first had to punish Joanna for misbehaving: initially angry and vindicated in his actions, but quickly feeling like he was the one being punished.
McCoy blamed that for Jim's heightened level of twitchiness. It wasn't until he came to get his usual breakfast from the replicator his toast came out cut into the shape of a Christmas Tree that he even realized the date.
Traveling in space, with no daylight and a twenty-four hour shift rotation, it often became hard to know what day of the week it was. Even keeping regular logs failed to translate into a genuine understanding of how the year was progressing around them.
"Jim, it's over four weeks until Christmas." McCoy said as soon as the Captain took a seat beside him, coffee replaced with eggnog and his cereal sprinkled liberally with cinnamon. There was no doubt the tree shaped toast was Jim's doing- he'd done exactly the same in the Academy. "And last time I checked, nearly sixty percent of the crew come from faiths or cultures that don't even celebrate it."
"I know." Jim said, his mouth full. "Which is why I'm organizing a totally non denominational celebration of awesomeness in which everyone can bring their own ideas to the table and fun will be had by all."
He drained the eggnog in three messy gulps. McCoy was too pleased to see him actually eating to kick up a fuss about nutritional content. "I don't know, Jim…"
"Don't be a humbug, Bones." Jim nudged him with his elbow. "I'm gonna need your help."
McCoy paused, knife in hand with jelly poised to smear over the toast. Alarm bells started ringing in his head. They sounded exactly like a red alert and he looked around in panic, wondering why no one else seemed to hear them.
Jim finished his bowl of cereal and stole McCoy's toast. The alarm continued to wail.
Jim announced his Totally Non Denominational Celebration of Awesomeness later that day and by the end of Beta Shift had already heard back from a third of the crew. He'd tried to arrange shore leave for them all on Earth, but failing that, had secured three days on Risa in the Beta Quadrant that would fall some time early in the new year. At the time many Terrans traditionally celebrated Christmas they would orbiting Coridan III to oversee the lapsed trade negotiations between the Orions and the Coridanites. The two peoples had been trading for centuries and would continue to do so for many more, but occasionally bureaucracy would rear its head and talks would stall.
The Enterprise had been thrown in the deep end following its departure from Earth, spending most of the following months patrolling the Neutral Zone, assisting with the establishment of a Vulcan colony and actively discouraging those who wished to take advantage of the Federation's crippled Fleet. The negotiations were considered suitably risk free enough to ease them into more diplomatic endeavors.
Jim was dreading it, and so his attention was turned on something he could distract himself with – namely driving his crew around the bend.
"I wouldn't bother." Ensign Kevin Riley said consolingly as Chekov stared down at his PADD in despair. "Jim's always had a thing for Christmas."
Jim's senior crew, along with Ensign Riley, who worked closely with Chekov in Stellar Cartography, and Ensign Thomas Leighton, who had become Spock's shadow in the Science Department, were all sat around one of the long tables in the commissary. Even on a ship as informal as Jim's, Junior Officers and Senior Officers did not share a Mess, so after mealtimes they often found themselves gravitating to one of the shared social spaces to swap notes, relax, and commiserate.
The only people missing were the Captain himself, and Spock. The former had been in a conference with Admiral Pike for close to three hours. The later currently had the Con. despite his shift ending the same time as theirs had.
Commiserations were on the cards tonight. Jim had given Chekov the unenviable task of correlating all of his accumulated data in order to best establish what practices should be incorporated into his party plans. He'd spent the last hour bemoaning as much to Riley, who had been a patient ear right up to the point where they all suggested trying to change Jim's mind.
"It won't happen." McCoy swore. "I'm telling you, that man can barely tell you what day of the week it is but do not come between him and Christmas."
"It just seems like such a strange holiday for him to be so fixated on." Uhura had a lute in her lap and was absently strumming the strings. "I'd expect this sort of thing around Valentines day, but Christmas?"
"You mean the chance to run around like a hyperactive child, decking halls and generally causing all kinds of mayhem and confusion?" Sulu asked, "I'd say it's got Jim Kirk written all over it."
"He's no really going to deck the halls is he? Because that'll cause havoc with the filtration system." Scott frowned up at the vent over his head. "And I'm no really sure it's regulation."
Uhura lifted one delicate eyebrow. "You mean like that distillery you don't have in the Jefferies Tube?"
Scott's face was innocence personified. "Say what now?"
"I don't think it's a bad idea." Sulu said. "I mean, what can it hurt? It's been a crazy few months and it'll be good to kick back."
"Aye, you say that now…" Scott muttered. "Just wait."
"We do owe him." Uhura looked them all in the eye. "He took the blame for the whole SSK11 mess, and they really chewed him a new one for that."
"Taking the blame is his job." McCoy snorted. "If you're going to get on board with his insanity at least do it because you know it'll make him happy and not because you feel guilty."
"Will it?" Chekov looked up from the PADD. "Will it make the Keptain happy?"
McCoy sighed. He could see it in his mind, the first Christmas he and Jim had shared. It had been an accident – his shuttle to Savannah grounded by sheets of thick snow – the last person he had expected to find still in the Academy dorms was Jim.
"Look," he sighed, wondering how much to reveal. He knew that if they really wanted to, they could kill Jim's little festive mission dead. Then he'd be the one picking up the pieces of a man who tried really hard to pretend that nothing ever effected him. They sensed his hesitation and leaned in closer. He knew more about Jim Kirk than any of them there, save perhaps Tommy and Kevin, and they would never speak of the things they knew. He was often their eyes into Jim's odd little world, and they sensed an insight into him they longed for.
"Please," Chekov said earnestly.
McCoy rubbed his eyes. "Christmas is a big deal to Jim. It's not like his birthday was ever going to be fun and games," several of them looked down briefly, remembering, "It was always too much for his mom to handle. But Christmas, no matter where they were or what they were doing, Winnona Kirk made sure she gave her boys Christmas…"