Title: Pretty Paper, Pretty Ribbon
Genre(s): Fluff, Humor, Crack, Christmas, Five Plus One
Warnings/Tropes: Ensemble cast, alien flora, everyone referred to by their surname except Jim. For reasons.
Summary: Five times Jim found his Christmas present (and the one time he was allowed to open it). Alternatively, five times McCoy failed to hide Jim's Christmas present (and the one time he succeeded).
Prompt: 81. When you live in a tiny cubicle of a cabin, and your partner's cubicle is only slightly larger, where do you hide the gifts? A certain amount of... creativity is called for...
McCoy stares at Jim, gaze flat as a basilisk's. "You've got nothing."
The slow smile forming on Jim's face desperately needs punching. "I totally, totally got you. Now gimme."
And he actually has the nerve to reach for the half-wrapped box in McCoy's hands. McCoy jerks it away. "It's a Christmas present, Jim," and goddamn it, why do they have to do this every year? "You open it on Christmas. Not December 1st, not whenever you happen to feel like it, but the morning of December 25th. What's so hard about that?"
"No mornings in space, Bones," Jim says, circling to the right. McCoy moves with him, keeping the box out of reach. "No months either, technically. And we never waited when I was a kid."
"Because you went and found them the second you knew they were in the house?"
Jim grins. "Momma always did say I was a terror."
There's a cocky swagger in his steps as he paces around McCoy, a smirk like he's already won this game and is ready for the next, and McCoy's eyes narrow.
"Not this time."
Jim purses his lips. "Little late, don't you think? I already found it."
"So I'll hide it somewhere else." The Enterprise is a big ship, and there's got to be one place on this tin can safe from Jim.
"Alright, fine. How," Jim says, and McCoy's back hits the wall as he presses close, "about, this," sliding his hands over McCoy's hips and pulling him in.
"You can try and hide my present," he says, voice a low pleased murmur against McCoy's lips, his jaw. "I'll find it. I'll bring it back. And you can either let me open it, or," breathed hotly into his ear, "I get to claim a penalty."
Jim's fingers snag on the edges of the wrapping paper, and McCoy plants an elbow in his gut. "Deal," he says mildly as Jim stumbles back, wheezing.
He thinks he might have an idea or two.
Three hiding places, two blowjobs, a giant purple dildo and one very uncomfortable shift later, McCoy admits that he may need some consultation on this one. And after that, some numbing cream.
"Why me?" their communications officer asks suspiciously, sizing up the small package in her hands. It's on its fourth layer of wrapping paper, because Jim Kirk is nothing if not destructive and persistent. Destructively persistent. Persistently destructive.
McCoy shrugs. "Mostly, because I know he's a little afraid of you."
She gives him a sardonic look, and he gives her a raised eyebrow in return. "Whatever works. Just put it someplace where the good captain won't think to look for it."
He never does hear exactly where she hides it, but he does hear about the impressive violence and creativity of the expletives she hurls as she chases Jim down and, if witnesses are to be believed, beats the ever-loving shit out of him.
Jim comes back to their quarters that evening with the gift, a black eye Chapel probably left to teach him a lesson, and a tiny trophy of red satin that turns out to be someone's (probably Uhura's, or, goddamnit no now he can't unsee it, Spock's) ludicrous idea of undergarments.
"Oh, yeah," Jim croaks, eyes going a little wide as McCoy straddles him, satin leaving absolutely nothing to the imagination. "These are staying."
McCoy's shoving them down the incinerator the second Jim's back is turned.
"Hide an' seek, eh?" Scotty says, giving the gift a careless toss into the air. "Well, ye've certainly picked th' right place for it."
"Please be careful with that," McCoy sighs. "Just— tuck it somewhere quiet and out-of-the-way, would you?"
The warp core levels of engineering are like a rat's warren built at right angles, a tangled up mess of struts and pipes tucked deep in the bowls of the Enterprise. McCoy's lost his way just walking through these claustrophobically small tunnels, there has to be some nook or cranny their chief engineering officer knows of that no one else does.
"Did I ever tell you about the summer I worked in Starfleet's shipbuilding yard for extra credit hours?" Jim says, stretched out on McCoy's bed with the present in hand. He holds it up to his ear and shakes it, and when McCoy leans over him to grab it tugs him down with a laugh and a filthy wet kiss.
In the applied botany labs, Sulu is growing the general rec room Christmas tree from a piece of alien flora he assures them all is completely harmless. McCoy doesn't trust it. It hums.
"I'm teaching it 'O Tannenbaum'!" the man says brightly, giving one long green branch a lingering stroke. It leans into the touch like a dog, fronds vaguely like a Norfolk pine's reaching out to feel along the tattered, wrinkled paper on Jim's gift.
"You do that," McCoy says, eying the rhythmically swaying boughs as he edges back out of the room. "Just make sure it doesn't eat it."
Apparently the humming tree tries and almost succeeds in breaking Jim in half. McCoy knew he liked that thing.
Jim is doing his level best to break him in half, and McCoy grunts, "Hate to, mmm, break it to you darlin', but I don't, ngh, really bend that way—"
"Yoga," Jim gasps, "m' gonna— get you vids, we should totally—"
"Fuck no," McCoy moans. "Fuck, fuck, fuck."
"You could always just give me the present," Jim offers lazily, curled like a cat in McCoy's sheets while McCoy heaves himself up and hobbles across the room to get a drink of water. He shoots him a glare over his shoulder, and Jim just laughs and wriggles deeper into Starfleet's sorry excuse for a mattress.
McCoy is trapped in the galaxy's most ludicrous game of fetch, and if there's anyone on this ship that reminds him of a puppy it's Pavel Chekov.
"I kin do zat!" the Russian exclaims, quivering like a bird dog scenting pheasant.
"Then go," McCoy says, head in his hand, and Pavel darts out of the lift like a shot, nearly bowling over several passers-by in his rush to disappear into the crowded rec levels.
It's a bit disappointing to realize, but, "I kin do zat!" apparently does not always translate into miracles.
"Really, Bones?" Jim drawls. "Like candy from a baby."
"Shut up, give me that," McCoy growls, and then, "We're still on duty, captain," as Jim presses a hot, open-mouthed kiss to side of his neck.
"Mmm, Bones, always smell so— ow!"
He pays for it later, but Jim needed that punch and McCoy needed it even more.
"You realize you're only encouraging this behavior," Spock says, running a finger along the slightly uneven seams of the wrapping paper— because damn it, this was the eighth time he'd had to redo it and McCoy wasn't aiming for perfect or even nice-looking as much as covered in as many layers as he can manage.
"If anyone on this damn ship has the mental advantage," McCoy says, grinding the words out, "it's you."
Spock offers him a tight-lipped microexpression that probably counts as a beaming grin on planet Vulcan. "Your faith in my intellect is noted and appreciated, doctor."
McCoy may throw up in his mouth a little, but he gives Spock a curt nod and leaves him looking thoughtfully at the small box in his hands. Hopefully this is the last time he'll have to do this, and that's worth a little humble pie.
Three shift cycles later, Jim bounds into McCoy's quarters in the middle of his sleep shift.
"I got it," he says with a manic grin, wild-eyed, the crumpled, beaten present held high like a war trophy and his uniform hanging torn off one shoulder, pants ripped down a leg, raw red scraps on his chin and forehead and blood dripping out of his nose. He's covered in dust and fine bits of debris that might have once been an instrument panel, and oh holy God McCoy has created a monster.
"What in the seven hells," McCoy starts, and Jim mashes their lips together, climbing on to the bed and into his lap and yanking at his shirt and boxers.
"I win, sex now," Jim bites into his pulsepoint. "Now, now, now."
"Wha— damn it, Jim, the uniform collar doesn't cover— that— ah!"
"Something I should know about you and the hobgoblin?" McCoy pants, collapsed back on the bed with Jim draped limply over him, all but purring with satisfaction.
"Mmm? Oh, Spock. It was epic, Bones, you always get me the best presents." Jim smiles against his chest, pressing a quick peck to his sternum. "Speaking of which—"
Tomorrow is their designated Christmas day, and McCoy throws an arm over his eyes and groans, "Fine, God. Go ahead and open the damn thing."
Jim makes a gleeful noise and rolls aside to grab the package, and McCoy listens to the tearing of paper and harsher rip of cardboard. Then silence.
"Isn't this one of the paperweights from your desk?"
And McCoy grins.
"Not that I don't love it," Jim adds hastily, and McCoy chuckles.
"Darlin', your real present has been under the rec room tree since day one, and you can open it next alpha shift just like everyone else."
He can feel Jim gaping at him, and McCoy turns onto his side with happy sigh, to sleep the sleep of the well-fucked and righteously smug.
+1. O, Christmas Tree
"I serve with a bunch of children," McCoy mutters under his breath, slumped in an armchair sipping coffee as he watches their command crew tear into the gifts scattered around the rec room.
At the officers' table, Chekov has a small stack of hardcover books beside him, while Sulu is cradling and cooing at something purple and vaguely cactus-like in a pot with a giant red bow on it. Uhura has some lovely gold baubles draped over her neck and wrist, while Spock is all but buried under several pounds of outerwear, nothing but eyes narrowed to blissful slits showing between layer upon layer of heavy black wool. Scotty and Jim are admiring the innards of what appears to be an AI parrot, feathered chassis pealed back to expose the wiring and dense circuitry.
McCoy's gift to Jim, which he'd briefly worried might be a bit anticlimactic considering the lead-up, sits open on the table between them, high-powered flairs and smoke grenades spilling out over the festive tablecloth. The advert passing around classcomm said the kit was rated up to two weeks on a class M planet, and when he'd opened it Jim's eyes had lit up like— well, like a kid's at Christmas.
"There, there, old man," Jim says, reaching over to pat McCoy's hand without looking up from the panel he's unscrewing. "I'll keep the ensigns off your lawn."
"It's not the ensigns I'm worried about," McCoy drawls, but he's smiling a little as he strokes the edge of Jim's hastily scribbled note.
3 HYPOS, NO COMPLAINING