Episode Twenty-Six

Future Perfect

Set Post Errand of Mercy

Many Decades Later: Deep Space Nine

"There I had him," The Klingon, elderly yet speaking and gesturing with all the passion of youth, "Captain James T. Kirk, captured in my military installation!"

"Kor, we do not care for your endless prattling." Another Klingon spat, his dry tone indicating that this was a story he'd heard before, told many times in many ways.

"Don't bother, Koloth." A third replied. "When it comes to Kirk, he won't shut up."

Between the three, grinning broadly, Jadzia Dax watched their interaction with clear amusement.

"It was a battle of wills," Kor continued, oblivious to his friend's distaste, only having eyes for the captive member of his audience, Jadzia. "A battle of wits! We were not permitted to truly fight - the Organians, pitiful sheep that they were, refused to allow it! They were not humanoid as we are, but something... more." His gaze grew a little wistful. "Being unable to battle Kirk... is one of my greatest regrets."

The four of them were sitting in Quark's, each nursing a drink, and enjoying peaceful camaraderie.

"Well, Kor," Jadzia began, once she recognized his story was done. "Maybe you'll get your chance. He might be here today."

"Truly!" Kor's passion alit again, the Klingon sat up straighter, though the moment was not smooth since he'd been drinking half the evening. "What do you know Jadzia?" He slid forward in his seat, and Jadzia did the same, the both of them leaning between their two friends.

With a sly smirk, Jadzia answered him. "Admiral Leonard McCoy is on his way here, to DS9, to meet with Julian, and the rumor goes that where you find one, you find the other two." Kor didn't seem to understand what Jadzia meant, so the woman continued. "Kirk might be on his way here."

Kor was suddenly beaming, sitting fully up, while his fellow Klingons groaned their complaints.

"Damn that Kirk!" Koloth shouted suddenly. "Damn him, and those blasted tribbles!"

"That sounds like another story," Jadzia glanced at him but the Klingon turned away.

"He will not tell." Kang smirked, chuckling. "He is humiliated by the human trick that filled his ship with tribbles!"

Jadzia's eyebrows shot up. "Okay, now I have to know!" Her wide eyes happened to gaze past her friend's shoulder, landing on the doorway to Quark's, where a nervous Medical Officer stood fidgeting. She grinned. Raising a friendly hand, Jadzia waved Julian Bashir over. The man was frowning, brow furrowed, and he sped through the bar to Jadzia's side in a hurry. "How are you, Julian?"

"Horrible." The man grunted, pulling up a chair as Jadzia scooted over.

"I thought you were excited about this." Jadzia glanced over her friend, noticing the sweat building on his brow. "When you first got the news, you were thrilled."

"I was - am!" Julian insisted, running a hand through his hair. "To be hand-picked by Admiral McCoy himself to be his protege - it's an honor!" He laughed, but it was tinged with panic. "And it's driving me mad! I've rearranged the whole med bay, double checked all my officer's work, cleaned every utensil -"

"Did your co-workers finally grow tired of your panicking and kick you out?"

Sighing, Julian let his head fall. "Something like that."

"So, this McCoy.." Kor began, crossing his arms. "He may be with Kirk?"

"He was Kirk's CMO on the Enterprise." Jadzia explained. "The two of them - and Ambassador Spock - have shared a Vulcan mating bond for more than fifty years."

"If Captain Kirk is any sort of worthy mate, then he will be with this McCoy." Grinning, Kor slowly stood... or wavered. "And so after so many decades, I shall be able to face James T. Kirk, once again! And we shall fight!" He raised his glass, drained it, and slammed it upon the table.

"What's going on?" Julian leaned towards Jadzia, who answered out of the corner of her mouth.

"Kor's celebrating an old rivalry."

The man eyed the Klingons a little warily, then let it slide. "Do you really think Admiral Kirk will be with McCoy?"

She shrugged. "Maybe. He is supposed to be moving into the station for a while. Why wouldn't he bring his husband along?"

"What about Ambassador Spock?"

"Last I heard he was still on Romulus, so I doubt it."

"I guess you're right." The doctor sighed, placing his chin on one hand. "It's fun to imagine though." His face lit up, the stress which had been laying so heavily upon him lifting somewhat. "Dr. McCoy, Admiral Kirk, and Ambassador Spock, all living here, on the station." His gaze drifted upward. "Sisko would probably lose his mind."

Jadzia chuckled, drifted back to her drink, before her gaze snapped up to the door again. "Julian."

"Odo would be overworked trying to provide security - I'm sure men like that have plenty of enemies."


The second outcry was sharp and ecstatic, and finally caught Julian's attention. His gaze followed Jadzia's gaze, and settled on three notable figures at the door of Quark's, who simply by the merit of their presence, the energy they exuded, commanded all the attention of the room.

Jadzia's eyes danced over all three, but Dr. Bashir had eyes for only one person.

"That's him!" He gawked. "That's Admiral McCoy!"

James Kirk settled at the bar with a heavy sigh, allowing a little of his exhaustion to show. "Tell me again why we had to take a frieghter to get here."

"We agreed to take a Vulcan trading vessel under pseudonyms instead of a Federation starship in order to avoid, as Leonard put it, 'all the hoopla'." Spock replied to the rhetorical question with all the seriousness he would any question; a habit which had, after many years, become an endearing trait to his bondmates.

"What's the matter, Jim?" Leonard slide up onto the stool beside the once-Captain, grinning. "Getting too old for space travel?"

The matter of their age was very strange. All three were close to one hundred fifty years old; but where Spock was close to entering Vulcan middle age, and his appearance reflected that, his two companions looked much younger and were certainly more mobile. In fact, by their looks, it appeared as if they had not aged in many decades, their bodies frozen somewhere in their fiftieth or sixtieth decade.

"Of course not." The man immediately shot back with a light grin. "Just... missing the comfort of the Enterprise, that's all."

"Perhaps you should have taken Captain Picard's offer." Spock took the stool on Kirk's other side, shifting his long billowing Vulcan robes around his stool.

Jim paused for a moment, before slowly shaking his head. "No. I made a promise." Eyes lifted, he let a warm, passionate gaze pass over both of them. "I intend to keep it."

The barkeeper came by, a Ferengi eager to smooze to them for their money but seemingly ignorant of their identities, much to their contentment. The three order their drinks and settled into the peaceful silence that long decades of friendship and love had given them, before Spock turned his gaze.

"Leonard." The doctor glanced up at Spock, who had a clearly amused glint in his eyes. He was looking over the bar, glancing at a table not far away, where three Klingon warriors, a Trill federation officer, and a young human doctor were sitting. Spock's Vulcan hearing had clearly picked up on what was being said, as his eyes settled on the excitable human. "I believe there is someone here who would like to meet you."

"Dr. Bashir?"

Julian looked up and his eyes went wide as they met the brilliant blue, discerning gaze of Leonard McCoy. Immediately, the younger man leapt to his feet, rubbing his hands on his pants before extending them to meet McCoy's.

"It's an honor to meet you, sir." Julian beamed, giving a shaky chuckle as Leonard shook his hand - hard.

"Don't call me 'sir', I'll start feeling old." His harsh tone was softened by a slight smile, miles more than what he would've done in his youth. "Call me Leonard." He stepped back and gestured to his fellows. "This here's Jim Kirk." The blond shook Julian's hand, too - but where the doctor had been forceful, Kirk was almost seductive in the way he gently clasped his hand. "And Spock." The Vulcan merely gave a half-bow from where he stood, and Julian awkwardly returned it.

"It - It's an honor, truly!" Realizing he was just nervously parroting himself, Julian fought a blushed and kept going. "Um - this is my fellow officer, and friend, Lt. Jadzia Dax."

She stood, a sly smile on her face as McCoy took her hand - much more gently, Julian noticed. "A pleasure to meet you." McCoy drawled.

Jadzia beamed, like someone with a secret she was dying to share. "We have met before... though I did look different then, and my name was Emony, not Jadzia." she could see the confusion on the doctor's face - and not a moment later, the dawning of realization.

"O - Oh! Emony!" The doctor flushed scarlet and grinned like a schoolboy, his other free hand rising to cover hers. "Well, I'll be."

"Don't tell me!" Jim started laughing, glancing between them. "For once, we've bumped into one of your old flames, not mine!"

"Not my fault you've seduced half the galaxy!" McCoy rolled his eyes but he was still grinning as he let Jadzia's hand go.

Julian, still beside Jadzia, was feeling a tad jealous that his friend had taken all the attention so quickly. "Truthfully," Julian mumbled. "We've both met all three of them, albeit in a strange way." Three sets of eyes flew to his, obviously confused, and suddenly Julian remembered that whole incident was supposed to be a secret.

"It's a long story!" Jadzia cut in. "Which we'll gladly share sometime - in private." She eyed Julian pointedly.

"Captain Kirk!" Suddenly the spotlight was taken off Julian, as all three Klingon warriors stood.

Kirk, who had never truly turned his back on the Klingons, raised his gaze and gave a slight nod. Spock and McCoy were close to him, mere inches away, each poised to move at a moment's notice. Their movements shadowed Kirk's, and they kept their eyes on him as he turned to the Klingons. But he merely gave an easy smile. "Kor."

That simple recognition was enough to bolster the proud spirit of a drunken, aged Klingon warrior. Even better, Kirk turned his gaze on Koloth and Kang in turn, giving each the same treatment. While Jadzia, Julian, Leonard, and Spock stood ready to intervene, they need not have - the reunion did not end in any battle of any sort, but found Kirk pulling up a chair, and joining their revelry.

It did not take long for the trio to settle into their new home, and for their arrival to spread like waves through Deep Space Nine. Not an hour into unpacking into their new quarters, the chime of the bell at their door rang out.

"Who do ya think it is, well wishers, or Federation officers?" McCoy drawled as he took out their bedding from one of the crates.

"Or both?" Kirk added, extending his arms in a shrug as he moved to the door. When it slid opened, it did in fact reveal a Federation officer. Glancing at his rank, Kirk extended his hand and smiled. "Captain Sisko I presume?"

"Admiral Kirk." The man shook his head and for all intents and purposes seemed cool and collected; but there was a shine in his eyes that spoke of excitement. "It's a pleasure to meet you, sir."

Jim waved a dismissive hand. "Call me Jim." Then he stepped aside. "Want to come in and meet the family? We haven't really set up yet, but the couch, at least, is in working order."

Sisko stepped in after a moment's hesitation, with all the eagerness of a boy meeting his heroes. His eyebrows shot up at the sight of Spock. "Ambassador." He bowed slightly, and Spock returned it. "I had thought you were on Romulus?"

"I was - and I still travel there frequently."

Confusion came over the captain then. "I'd think sneaking in and out that way would be rather difficult. Not that I'm not glad you are able to be with your family..." He gestured to the other denizens of the room. "But wouldn't it be safer to stay enscounced in the rebel movement on Romulus?"

"In normal circumstances, your logic would be correct." Spock allowed, never ceasing in unpacking their belongings, which he was arranging on the dining table. "But these are not normal circumstances. I am in a position where I can, quite safely, come and go as I please from Romulus."

"I've said it once, I've said it a thousand times," Leonard grumbled as he set his load aside, putting his hands together in prayer as his gaze went skyward. "Thank Jesus H. Christ for Jean-Luc Picard!"

It wasn't said loudly, but the room was quiet enough that Sisko heard it, and he turned an inquisitive eye towards the man. By then, both Kirk and Spock had leveled their lover with disapproving stares, but McCoy seemed unrepentant. But Sisko got the hint, and let the subject drop.

"Well, Captain, would you mind giving us a tour?"

He would not, of course; he was more than happy to lead one of his greatest heroes and three of the Federations most famous and valued officers around on a tour of his station.

Two weeks into their stay had found them settling into a routine, where all three met for lunch at Quark's as often as they could, two or three times a week, however their schedules allowed. Leonard was often busy in the med bay and with Julian; the 'internship' the Federation had set up for the younger doctor was intense and took up a lot of both men's time. Spock, true to his word, moved back and forth from the station to Romulus often.

"I'm worried about you, Jim." Leonard said one day at their usual lunch. "Spock and I have projects, things to do, but you haven't been doing anything, and of the three of us you're the one that needs entertained the most!"

A sly look came over the blond and he shrugged. "The two of you entertain me plenty." The suggestive eyebrow lift sealed the deal and the man laughed at the blushes that came over both his lover's faces.

"He has a point, Jim." Spock redirected them back to the topic. "You are not a man to 'rest on your laurels'."

"True," Jim nodded slowly. "Which is why I have been working on something." He could see the interest, the curiosity, in both men's eyes, and in the way Leonard leaned forward slightly.

"So? Don't leave us hanging!" The southerner insisted. "What is it?"

Kirk remained quiet for a moment more; perhaps to draw out the tension, or perhaps because of the slight nerves that made themselves known in the way Jim's eyebrows drew together. But then he pulled open the bag at his side, and removed a pad, which he handed to Leonard. Spock moved closer to his human lover to look over his shoulder.

"What is this, Jim?" Leonard narrowed his eyes, scanning the contents of the pad.

"I've been... writing." If he wasn't nervous before, Jim clearly was now. His gaze averted, one hand fidgeting on the table. "About us."

Two heads shot up to stare at him. "What?"

"It's just this idea I had. Jean-Luc and I were talking..." Jim shrugged, still looking away. "He was telling me about his own struggles, about the things he'd seen his own officers go through... you know that Will Riker and Deanna Troy were together once?"

Leonard gave a barking laugh. "You just have to look at 'em to know that."

Jim inclined his head. "Well, they aren't anymore. They're still in love, but - regulations and all that."

Spock's gaze widened in realization. "You are attempting to tell our story in order to inspire the younger generation."

Just as it looked as if Leonard was going to reply, his head spun; he caught sight of his protege entering the bar and waving at him, and lifted his own hand in reply. Spock and Jim followed his gaze, and they watched as Julian took a seat at a table with a Cardassian man.

"Them, too." Jim nodded towards the table, and that drew his lover's attentions back to him. "Love between fellow officers... love between people of different species, different cultures..." Turning to face Spock and Leonard again, Jim finished with a thoughtful, whimsical look. "It took us years to move past our problems and come together. I'd like others to know it doesn't have to be that hard."

Leonard's eyes, still on Julian and the Cardassian, narrowed. "Y'know, I hadn't thought of it before, but now that you mention it Jim, the two of them are something, aren't they?"

Laughing, Jim looked at them again. "Well, all they do is argue and trade witty banter - and I think I remember a certain other inter-species couple falling in love that way?

Both his lovers blushed again, and Jim laughed harder.

Still bright red, Leonard looked back at the pad Jim had given him. "'Best Destinies: A Tale of Love and Loss by James T. Kirk'. So, what it's about?"

"It covers the first five year mission - how we met, fell in love, fell apart, all of it." Jim reached out and took the pad back, tucking it away. "I didn't write about every mission because I didn't want to drone on forever, but I think I got the good parts. Once I was done and looked back at it, I realized, there was something missing." Gaze lifting, his eyes settled on Spock and Leonard. "I think you two should add your experiences in."

"You - want me to write? About us?" Leonard spat. Then he shook an incredulous hand at Spock. "And him? About his feelings?"

"It would make for an interesting exercise." Spock admitted, seemingly thoughtful. If the determined look on his face was anything, he appeared to already have been convinced.

"Come on, Bones." Jim persisted. "Whatever we're not comfortable with sharing, we can leave out."

Snorting, Leonard crossed his arms. "Even leaving stuff out, the bare bones of the story is pretty damn invasive."

Jim nodded. "You're right. But I think it'll be worth it. We let so many insecurities and fears get in the way of us that we lost years of time - almost decades." He turned his head again. "I don't want them to go through that."

Again, Leonard and Spock followed Jim's gaze to Julian's table. By the excited, animated look on his face, he was deeply into the conversation with the Cardassian, a man named Garak, who seemed equally interested if somewhat calmer. The three men watched them for just a moment, before Leonard sighed.

"Fine." He grumbled, and Jim beamed. "It's not gonna be a pretty story, that's for sure. I mean - you remember how the five year mission ended, don't you?"

Jim gave a snort. "How could I forget?" Then he shrugged. "But those kind of slip ups make the best cautionary tales, don't they? And it turned out all right in the end." Jim smiled, looking to Spock and Leonard. Leonard couldn't help but smile back.

"Yes." Spock finally spoke up, glancing at his bond mates. "I do believe it did."